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How to Use Window Films

I have a kitchen window that looks to nothing but my neighbor’s greystone 6 feet from me….I can see that she needs new windows and isn’t taking proper care of her lentels or her masonry. Also her bedrooms windows are across from me and she has horrid draperies…so I need to cover it up.

I could do a window treatment but I want the natural light to come through, but want privacy. So after much thought, I’m just going to do this cotton linen like window film.

Where else can you use this film:

1. Top Boxes where you don’t want to do anything decorative on top but want the lights to shine through
2. On kitchen cabinetry on the glass panels, so the items inside don’t have to be so need to be so perfectly displayed…but it still will slightly show through so you can’t have it be a mess either.
3. Basement windows where you want privacy from your neighbors on the side windows and you want the natural light
4. For Double Hung windows where no one is living above you and can look down into your top part of your window and then the treatment can be like a top down, bottom up shade.
5. Bathroom windows around a tub window or a toilet room widow, where you want tons natural light but camouflaged privacy.
6. Kids rooms to look as a sheer with curtains if very close to a neighbor’s house.
7. Front Door Glass to let the natural light through but privacy (plain frosted or cotton or linen)

Photo Credit: Decorative Film Store

How Décor Can Help You Look Younger

Just as outdated clothes scream that you bought them years ago, outdated home décor can loudly show that your home’s interior design is from a different era. Design site ShelterPop did a great piece recently, cutely pointing out “The bad news: Your decor is aging you. The good news: Redecorating is less painful than botox.”

The rest of the article goes over ways your décor can make you seem younger. A couple of suggestions include updating drab florals with more current ones, like metal flower-shaped accessories, or switching from overhead lighting to the younger look of lamp lighting. Like we said, it’s a light-hearted but interesting article, and we suggest you check it out.

If you really want your décor to make you look younger, hiring an interior designer who knows what’s current will do the trick. Contact CMR Interiors for help updating your old Chicago-area interiors.

Image: Arteriors via ShelterPop

Master Bedroom: Before and After

Have you ever been faced with an empty room? For a lot of people, it can be an intimidating experience. This was a condo project at the Chandler building in Chicago.

How should you choose a color scheme? Or find the perfect furniture? Or, for that matter, know where to place said furniture once you do find it? Decisions, decisions.

One of our clients came to us with a completely clean slate—which designers love. Makes the job easier for the client and the designer because we can have one consistent statement through the house instead of it looking hodge podge.

Here’s what it looked like before:   inflated bed on the floor and that’s about it. And a view with no window treatments.

I took the colors from outside…those greens and terra cottas and brought them indoors….gorgeous green iridescent grass cloth wallpaper–which makes these shoebox like condo’s so much more warm. Worth every penny. Linen bedding, all custom casegoods except for the dresser. Drapes for blackout at night that go all the way across on a sliding track. A few textural Pillows and one print…..Here’s what it looked like after transforming it into a comfortable and beautiful after. I wish we would have had a larger budget so I could have done a better chair in the room but this client was adamant on their budget and money only goes so far in these projects…so to me the chair is okay, but it could be better. It should be taller to give height to that side of the room and be more in line with the bed.

If you have trouble envisioning the perfect after look for your space’s barren before, contact CMR Interiors. We offer interior design consultation and selection expertise in the Chicago area.

Photos: Designs by CMR Interiors

6 Handy Design and Renovation Resources

Did you know April is National Decorating Month? For the occasion, we thought it’d be fun to offer some helpful design resources. Since we’ve done a number of posts that provide design guidance and solutions, we decided to look back at our blog and compile six of these in one convenient location—this very post!

  1. 5 Steps for a Great Interior Design Consultation
  2. Part 1: Building Custom Homes or Large Scale Renovations
  3. Part 2: Smart Planning for Custom Homes and Large Renovation Projects
  4. Chicago Townhouses: Renovation and Interior Design
  5. Popular Kitchen Renovation Trends
  6. How to Work with a Tiny Master Bath

Hopefully these will get you all set and ready to go with your design projects for National Decorating Month. What do you have planned for your interiors this April? Let us know! And if you need new construction selection expertise, design consultation, or turn key design for interiors, contact CMR Interiors.

Part 2: Smart planning for custom homes and large renovation projects

Candice Mathers of CMR INTERIORS, LLC.


1. Don’t rush into the process without a plan!   If you have NO plan, then definitely hire a designer to help you wing all details that will be demanded from your contractors daily.

However if you want to custom build, and have the luxury of time, pass a plan around for a year before breaking ground letting many eyes critique and make suggestions. Search & bid out all your dream finishes, sinks, fixtures, and price it all for all baths and kitchen details so you can make sure you are within budget.


2. Remember this: Perimeter comes first,  then the interior design. Perimeter is your envelope which are the main characters in your “story”.

Example:  doors, trim, kitchen cabinetry, its layout and feature, baths, stair design, floor choices, hardware and knobs, any moving or extra  window or sunlights, millwork that is built in, A/V and low voltage wiring, etc–all and should flow and work together in harmony for a consistent statement. Then be prepared to spend an extra 75$-100 a square foot typically for interior design once the perimeter is finished.



3. Always have extra funds, because you ALWAYS spend more upgrading, especially when working with a spec builder on a custom home. Have a fairly large contingency budget for any extra unexpected costs that come up with renovating, or upgrades of at least 50-150K–for larger homes. For smaller homes, 30-70K. The truth is when you build custom, most contractors price their goods based on cheap materials from the local depot and if you don’t want those items you are going to pay for a change order. And if you don’t plan well and dislike all of the builder’s choices —all those change orders per room will easily add up to be thousands and thousands of dollars.  It’s common because the client doesn’t like what is normal and wants something they see in all the design magazines.  Those items are far more expensive than standard spec house goods from the local depot. Furthermore,  there are price increases on nearly every product every year at the Merchandise Mart showrooms, for carpeting companies, for kitchen and bath cabinetry and plumbing fixtures, and other high end showrooms many other companies.


4.  Hire a designer with project management experience,  before hiring the contractor. Why?   Because your contractor will need a specific and detailed set of plans to bid the job correctly and so will subcontractors if you want to do contracting on your own!


5. Good Designers have quality subs and contractors. The client doesn’t have to take their suggestions but things tend to run more smoothly when true professionals work together. These large projects require major coordination, and effective communication for a fantastic result.

6. Less Space is MORE. More character or architecture vs vast dry wall and extra rooms that are costly to decorate is always my advice. When you custom build you pay more than your neighbor who simply took and ugly house and made it look better in taxes. Many people don’t realize they pay a premium in taxes for insisting on having a new house. New homes are taxed at a higher rate and property taxes are ridiculous in the suburbs and city of Chicago. They certainly never go down.  

All these factors should be weighed when building. I say renovate over building custom and build smaller. These ridiculously sized homes are over with. They are super high in utilities, property taxes, and design costs. It’s better to have a smarter layout, then a larger one. If you must build your dream home, ask yourself if you really need a living room and formal dining room? Why not just have the house be more kitchen centric, with a large kitchen, eating area and huge family room, and skip the formal dining room and living rooms that rarely are used anyway. This is the new trend in home building. Have a large unfinished basement when you finish that is not taxed,  and work with an architect to get something a little smaller, cozier, but with all the storage you could ever need.

7. Bidding: It’s not who is the cheapest of the 3 bids. Learn the right way to work with contractors:  “How to hire, manage and fire your contractor” by Carmen Amabile . It will give you more confidence to deal with your builder and make sure you hire the right one too. Very  important.

8. Make sure you are clear on your builders/contractors policies on change orders, how emergencies will be handled, who the emergency contact is, have all phone numbers, and have a clear understanding of who will be on the job site daily, who is responsible on their part, and understand the chain of command on the job site. Again, READ the book listed above please. You will find it very helpful.

9. Don’t buy the lot until you know you can secure the financing. In this new market, its not so easy to secure financing for building. Make sure you do this in the right order. Don’t take financing for granted anymore.

10. Dream big for your custom home or renovation but also be smart about it. It takes diligence on your part to do all the legwork in order to do it right. Your designer/architect/contractor are all separate pieces of the pie,  and can work together,  but they still need accurate budgets, definite plans,  so be focused like a laser –and get your end of the work done upfront– so you know what to delegate to others so that they can be a successful partner for you.