Connecting Life and Home in our "Home away from Home"

It has been a busy few weeks here at the Staalsen home and I've had a wonderful vacation.  I'm back to work, but thought I'd give you a little glimpse of what life has looked like over the past month.

We had a special Christmas together with our family! We hosted 18  for dinner on Christmas Day, which  was a ton  of work but so much fun. Getting all the food on the table hot was a chaotic challenge, but we did it.



Because there were so many of us, I opted to use paper plates which made all the teen dishwashers happy.  I found these gorgeous paper gold chargers. I used clear plastic plates for the food and it looked amazing.


My favorite part of hosting is setting up the main table and the buffet tables.  This year I used one of my sari's from India on the dessert table.


 For bringing in the New Year, we  took 20 college kids camping. We were the cooks! I was glad to be in our "home away from home " with my heater, Keurig and shower.


 The kids were brave and slept in their hammocks. Brrrrrrrr


Thanks to Kennedy with Perspectives Photography for the pictures below.

We brought the New Year in around the fire with sparklers and lots of loud fun.


We made memories and continued our tradition from last year.


Life is about these moments!  Community with those we love, even the crazy ones.


There is something about being around a roaring fire that makes us bring life back to the basics. It is the  imple things in life that makes it so rich.



My 2 words for this year are BE PRESENT.


Life is too short to not be in the moment with those we love. I challenge you to think on these words as you continue with your goals for the year.

Be present and be connected!

I have lots of fun things to announce in the next few weeks so stay tuned!

Industrial Farmhouse Chic Kitchen


What a fun few weeks we have had here at DecRenew Interiors by Ruthie Staalsen!


We finished up about 4 big remodels about a month ago so have been doing  some photo shoots!  Photo shoot days always involve a lot of packing, lugging, wrapping and sweating but it is always worth it!


I thought I'd post this Industrial Farmhouse kitchen first since I just love it!  We only have a few before pictures of this kitchen which makes me sad.  I met with the client for a walk thru consultation to discuss what they wanted done and how we were going to proceed.  It was a fantastic consultation with loads of brainstorming and thinking on our feet with my team.  Before I left their house they said they would let me know when they were ready to proceed with the demo.

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  The next day I got a call from them saying that they were leaving on vacation that week and decided they wanted the demo to go ahead and start while they were gone.  Ok then, I love decision makers!  So refreshing!

My team got busy but we forgot to take before pictures, urggg! We did get these few!


The kitchen was incredibly un-functional and was closed off to the rest of the house.  I suggested we open it all up and create two islands.  One in center of the kitchen for their prep work, etc. and the other one where we opened up the space into the family room.

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They had a formal living room that they hardly ever used so opening up the space into that room made sense.

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They had a round dining table in the kitchen area that they used daily. We made the bar area nice and big so the family can sit and do their homework while mom or dad cooks.


The family room had beams but they were off scale. We widened them and added new beams to the area where we tore down walls.


There are barstools on each side of the island as well because we all know the kitchen is where everybody hangs!


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The kitchen was totally gutted and we started from scratch.


The wood floors were the last thing to go in and once they were down it all came together beautifully, just like I saw it in my head during our walk thru consultation :)


I just love the handmade subway tile and the lighting we chose, it really gave the kitchen that industrial farmhouse feel. I think Jo Jo would approve, don't you?

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Stay tuned for more before and after from some of our other remodels!

Montclair Estates Elegance

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This past week a had a quick getaway to Arkansas to kick off the summer with my family.  It was an incredible time.  It was eye opening to me to see how my "DecRenew" team took care of everything while I was away!  I am extremely grateful to the contractors that work along side me, they are continually making my job such a pleasure.


 It was hard to come back after being in paradise at Lake Greeson in Arkansas.


My mind was renewed (as much as it can be for a few days away) and I was ready to get back to work the day after we returned.

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A wonderful family hired me to decorate their piano room, dining room and entry.  They have been in their home several years now and have remodeled each room.  They just hadn't done any decorating  to their 3 front rooms.  Of course, these are the first rooms guests see first. They hired me to make it look inviting, comfortable, classy and welcoming.  This is Phase I of the decorating.  We will be adding some additional items sometime next month.

 The dining room was already furnished and had all the lighting.  We just added draperies, artwork and accessories.




 Amazing what a difference color, texture and draperies can do to a room.


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The artwork was inspired by the drapery fabric.  Mary Howe from Divine Inspirations did the painting for us.  I outlined the concept and colors and she did her magic like she always does, such talent!

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I created the urns by adding moss to a round Styrofoam ball and then surrounding them with grapevine to give it a really natural look.  I just love using greenery that has lots of branches incorporated.  Truly looks like you picked it off a tree.  The urns were aged with an aging solution.

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 My camera died in the middle of taking these photo's so I apologize for the "not so vibrant" shots.

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The piano room was cleared out completely.  We kept the piano where it was because it is the star of the room.




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  We had the fireplace fauxed with layers of  grays.  It now is more of the focal point in the room and coordinates with the colors in the entry. We added all new custom furniture, rugs and accessories, leaving the piano as the focal in this room.



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 This oil painting is the mom of my client.  She is perfect for above a mantel in a piano room don't you think?


We created a gallery wall with all of the oil paintings that were done by family members.  Framing them all in the same frame made them a grouping that works together, even though they are all quite a bit different.




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 I didn't use the oil painting with the fruit because I felt like that one is more appropriate for a kitchen.

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Substantial dark frames changed the look of the artwork drastically!  Grouping them together makes it more of a collection.  Spreading them out all over the home would have lost their impact.  Seeing them all together tells a better story and showcases the collection.

I found the glass  lamp bases and changed out the shades with something a little more decorative than plain white.  The muted chevron pattern is gorgeous with the rug.

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 These custom chairs are my favorite thing in the room!  The colorful  pillow makes the entire room come together. Well....I love the gallery of artwork too!

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 The entry accent wall was painted a similar color to the fireplace surround,  uniting the rooms together.

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 I found the chair at an estate sale and had it painted a light gray.

 Reupholstered the seat to match the pillows in the piano room and united everything together with a  cream Brazilian  hide.

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 These Spanish doors were added to the stairway wall and are an incredible statement to the home with their weathered texture and color.

The amount of work that goes into one of these installs in incredible.  It always blows my mind to see the ideas that have been swirling around in my head come together within an 6 hour time frame. Months of preparation and organization.  Such an  awesome feeling to see it all put together.

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The reveal is always so exciting and this family all gathered together to do the final walk thru after being gone all day.

The moment you drive away from a client and watch as the family walks back into their home is always such a rewarding feeling.  I love knowing that as they enter the front door, new memories will be created as they have friends and family gathered around for meals around their dining room table.  I can imagine lots of gatherings around the piano too, especially  for holidays and special occasions.

Thank you Lord for the blessing of using my gifts to warm the hearts of others.  It's a gift that comes back to me ten fold.



Fresh Decorating Ideas for the Color Blue

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Yesterday was a great day!  It is always fabulous to have a job in your head for so long and watch it come to life.  I put together a design plan for my client after our Initial Consultation and I listened carefully to what they wanted their family room to look and feel like once it was totally transformed.


They desired something comfy, crisp,  relaxing and wanted blue and gray to be the color scheme, combined with warm tones as well.

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I presented the plan to her and she LOVED it.    A design plan is a great way for the client and I to get on the same page before we start the job which is ALWAYS a good idea.  It is a chance for my client to see my vision for their space and helps them visualize themselves what it could look like.


Some of the items I actually know where I'm going to purchase, other items are a concept or an idea and will be selected/created as I go.

My job is to then make that vision come to life.  After all the main items are finalized, all the details start falling into place. It's a process and my creative juices are constantly working while choosing every single item.


I pour myself into my designs and it's my baby for about 6 weeks.

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Every selection is chosen for a reason and I make sure each item is the right color & scale.  I'm known for adding a touch of fabulous texture, and I always  incorporate accessories soft curves and shape.



The Design Plan also allows us to get realistic about the budget and helps us prioritize what we really can and can't do.   Of course, there are always changes and adjustments to the plan and budget, and some special surprises I save for the install day which always makes it fun!


So yesterday, we cleared the room with the old furniture & rug.  We installed the custom sectional which the client loved because it is super comfy and perfect for their family life. The only piece they wanted to keep was their bookshelf which I agreed to (because I had a plan)  and I suggested that we reuse their console table since it was the perfect height and color.




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What a difference!  What do you think?

Here is the console table in it's new spot,  just cleaned it up (thanks to good "Old English").


We added these gorgeous ginger jars with some branchy greenery to create height.

decrenewinteriors15We have a new coffee table on order but in the meantime, we used their existing one.  We added an incredible bench which is made from an an old door.  I had it custom painted to work with the room.  There are tiny bits of blue paint peeking through.  The artwork is so cool and I almost kept it for ME!  This was my added bit of texture!


I originally planned for the painting to be above the bench, but once we placed it, it wasn't as beautiful there.  I opted to hang it to the left of the bookshelves because the colors really came to life on that wall.  On install day, my client usually trusts me to make the best decisions and believe me, we make sure each item is in the perfect place.  Things get moved around several times before they find their true home and sense of belonging :)

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The painting was created especially for the room.  We knew what fabrics we were using so the artist "Mary Howe" with Design Inspirations created this one for me.  The two of us make a great team, I give her my ideas, concepts, colors, etc. and she creates it based on the vision I've presented to the client.   She is incredibly talented and the artwork in the room always makes the space have personality.

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Ruthie Tip:  If you have a dark bookshelf in your living space, a way to lighten it up and update it, is to use lighter accessories.  Don't use items like wrought iron or dark photo frames, they just disappear with a dark background. As you can see above, I used a lot of gray and white accessories to make the items show up on the dark bookshelf.  This same concept applies to your fireplace mantel.  I actually found the ceramic books at an estate sale (they were bright gold)  and had them painted and they are now gorgeous.

These two dark blue velvet chairs were added underneath the window for another little sitting area.  They swivel so you can turn them around to watch TV.  I'm in love with the draperies too.  The blue glass lamp is stunning up against the window.


I have 2 more installs this month so I'll post pictures as soon as I'm finished with those.  Hope these images have inspired you to make your home beautiful!

If you would like to see more of my work, visit my website at