Interior designer Carole Hiatt’s expertise is high-end homes and businesses.
She used a recent home update for a Cottleville, Mo., client as an example of how to get a fresh look.
“I lightened everything up with yellows, taupes and creams,” she said, showing photos of the updated kitchen, great room, dining room and foyer. “Ivory is the most universally flattering color to an individual and an area. Pale taupe is easy on the eye. Yellow with a hint of gold is cheery. Before, it was all peaches. That color was very big in the late ’80s. After more than 20 years, you can tire of it.”
The renovation involved a mix of old and new.
Carole, a Belleville-based professional designer for more than 35 years, kept the furniture because of its “good bones,” but reupholstered. Goodbye pastel florals and fringed pillows. Hello, neutral tones, texture and subtle prints.
“I had originally chosen all the great room and dining room furniture,” she said. “We were in essence recycling, updating the furniture with new fabric.”
The pale plaid on dining room chairs looks like silk, but is a durable polyester.
“You can spot-clean,” Carole said. “Today’s fabrics are very easy care. Use cold water Woolite. It’s the same way with carpeting. Everything is protected. Today’s lifestyle is a bit more casual. With raising a family it has to be something functional and easy care.”
She replaced the great room fan with an elegant light fixture, then did the same in the foyer. They coordinate, but their quirkiness makes them conversation pieces.
A more dramatic change? A wall was removed in the dining area to open the space. Living room pillars add interest.
“The marble I kept in the foyer. It was in great condition.”
A new area rug there in bright yellow and taupe ties it in with the rest of the redo.
The great room with its wall of windows has a new mantel and its surround is a deeper taupe than the walls. Artwork above adds a splash of color to the neutral tones.
“I consider lighting and artwork extremely important to the project,” Carole said. “A lot of my clients have good artwork. They buy pieces at Art on the Square or are collectors.”
The happy yellow kitchen, which has an eating area overlooking a golf course, has white cabinetry, countertops in Cambria quartz and a backsplash of glass and metal mosaic tiles. Staggered pendant lights above the kitchen island create more interest than a straight line.
Both she and the client were pleased with the results.
I always say, ‘I am in the happiness business.’ That’s what I do. I want to make people happy and feel good about their environment.
Carole Hiatt on her priority
“I always say, ‘I am in the happiness business.’ That’s what I do. I want to make people happy and feel good about their environment.”
Carole, a professional member of American Society of Interior Designers, works on projects large and small. An orthodontics office in Marion is among her current projects. She is also one of three finalists for a design award for a bathroom under 150 square feet.
“You want to utilize every inch of space,” she said. “It was 120 square feet. I gutted it and reconfigured the space to give more storage.”
Carole, who grew up in Belleville, is a graduate of the former Notre Dame Academy and Southern Illinois University Carbondale with a bachelor of science degree. She lived in Belleville until 2 1/2 years ago when she remarried and moved to Hillsboro, Mo.
“I married a widower,” said Carole, who had been single for 25 years. “Between the two of us, we have 24 grandchildren. I have five and Dave (Neptune) has 19. It makes for a classroom, I always say. My two boys who went to Creighton (in Omaha, Neb.), live within five minutes of each other.”
Here are a few tips.
▪ Call a professional. “It’s very difficult for homeowners to be objective. They see what’s around them on a daily basis. Most of the time, they can’t re-envision. Hire a designer for a couple hours. What you are spending will more than make it up in what you are saving from costly mistakes. We can see what a client cannot. ... The first hour discussing the project, I ask a lot of questions and I really listen. (Carole’s initial one-hour consultation is $125. Her hourly charge is $75.) It’s always a learning process. Sometimes, people know immediately what they want or don’t want. Other clients aren’t sure. They will say, ‘I’ll know it when I see it.’ Being in business going into my 36th year, I can pick up on what a client may be leaning toward.”
It’s very difficult for homeowners to be objective. They see what’s around them on a daily basis. Most of the time, they can’t re-envision. Hire a designer for a couple hours. What you are spending will more than make it up in what you are saving from costly mistakes.
Carole Hiatt on how a designer can help
▪ Create a budget. “Don’t be afraid to estimate a budget. That doesn’t mean I will spend every dime. I can tell you if it’s realistic. If it’s not, I can do part of it. Some people don’t have a budget. Empty-nesters want what they want. They want to enjoy this time in their lives. People in their 30s are more upfront. Their mentality may be Crate and Barrel, Pottery Barn, Ikea. That’s a whole different ballgrame. They may say, ‘Let’s use this bookcase from Ikea, but let’s invest in a good sofa that will carry us the next umpteen years.’ When you’re young, you have a limited budget. You’re not going to spend $3,000 to $4,000 on a sofa.”
▪ Ways to bring new life into a room: “Reupholster furniture. Add pillows. Pillows are an inexpensive way to change a look. Change out as the seasons change to give it a different feel.” Paint. “It’s the least expensive way to decorate.”
▪ Create a color scheme that you love. “I make suggestions or say, ‘Look in your wardrobe. What do you lean to?’”
▪ Patience: One contractor hinges on another, particularly in the kitchen, she said. “Countertops can’t be installed or measured until the cabinets are in, then proceed with tile. ...” Don’t think it’s going to work like an HGTV remodeling show. “From the idea to the end, it was a six-month project. In the real world, 99 percent of the time, it doesn’t happen that quickly.”
▪ Color trends: “Gray continues to be a very popular color. For 2016, we are going to be seeing a lot of whites paired with splashes of color. You are not seeing a lot of heaviness in colors. ... According to Benjamin Moore and Sherman Williams, shades of white is the color of the year. Some lean toward a green or a gray. There’s a creamy white, gray white, pinky white. Take the white you like and hold it against a sheet of paper. You can see if it leans toward gray or pink. ... Be careful if you have an all-white room. It has to have a lot of texture to keep it interesting. In the kitchen, white cabinets continue to be extremely popular. ... Lighting is very important with whites, how it’s going to play in your room. If it’s a dark room, you may want more of a warm white than a gray white.”
▪ What to look for in furnishings: Choose furniture that is durable, comfortable and clean-lined, she said. “Maybe I want nail heads on my sofa. That gives it a more substantial feeling.”
▪ Bottom line: Surround yourself with what you enjoy. “I don’t live there, they do,” said Carole. “Trends come and go. It’s what you feel comfortable with.”
For more information
- To contact Carole Hiatt Design Associates, call 618 233-1789 or 618 806-6012. Carole, who had an office on West Main Street for many years, now has quarters inside McCullough Flooring on North Belt West.