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DOC Wrap-Up: Mastering the Art of Small Space Design

Dianne Wright

Dianne Wright

The 2017 Designer on Call Workshop series continued Tuesday, April 18 with a presentation made by Dianne Wright, gallery director of Coats-Wright Art & Design. With over 20 years of experience in interior design (and 35 in the fine art world), she can speak with authority on all types of home decor and layout design. She spoke about how to design (and live in) a small space in a thoughtful way.

Dianne provided a slide show of her own apartment home, detailing all of the ways she maximizes her limited space with tips for storage, display and design. Her first rule is no clutter. She advises to “edit, edit, edit,” when it comes to living in a smaller-scale home.

“Keep the things you love the most and get rid of anything extraneous, not useful, or not pleasing to the eye. In a small space everything matters, because household items will often be in plain view instead of stored away,” says Dianne Wright.

Because of this, she advises people to use their cherished possessions, for every day, for display and for storage.
For example: Collected platters or trays can display groups of often-used items in the kitchen. Salt, pepper and olive oil bottles look elegant when placed next to the stove in this way. Rustic wooden bowls can hold fruit on a kitchen counter, creating a pragmatic still life. Mixing the practical and functional with the beautiful makes sense in a small area. Using the things we have already solves many problems – the treasured pieces you love get a useful life, and you don’t have to find additional storage for them.

Dianne takes that approach in all aspects of decorating. She offered many other tips to design a modestly-sized home:

1. Use combined storage

Not all of the things you need to store are nice to look at, so for those types of items, use baskets and other pretty containers to keep these things at bay. Vertical shelving and tops of cabinets and refrigerators are key as well, when it comes to keeping things available for use. She also suggested putting wheeled casters on some shelves and storage units to make it easy to move them around when they are serving dual roles.

living area, small space

Vertical storage is another key element, with room for stacking books and also baskets for closed storage as well.

2. Use double-duty furniture

In a bedroom, you can use an antique armoire to house a TV, while using the drawers below for clothing storage. Or use a small chest next to a bedside for clothing and a nightstand. In a living space, a buffet or credenza can hold a TV on top and store dining items inside, while an ottoman can be additional seating, a comfy place to rest your feet, and an expansive coffee table with the addition of a tray on top.

small space design, storage

An antique buffet is a perfect place for the television, and also for storage.

small space design

A view of the living room from above shows the ottoman, serving as coffee table, but can be pulled apart for additional seating, etc.

3. Hang family photos and art

Scattered picture frames are nice, but only when you have lots of tabletops and surfaces to display them on. Since small spaces are often lacking, hanging frames is more sensible. She also advised to create a gallery wall up a stairwell. It creates a lovely opportunity to display favorite pieces in an often overlooked spot.

gallery wall, small space design

Favorite pieces of framed fine art create a gallery wall up the stairway.

For more design and art expertise, visit Dianne at her showroom in suite 122 of the Indiana Design Center. To view the upcoming Designer On Call workshops click here.

Coats-Wright Art & Design Gallery
Indiana Design Center
200 South Rangeline Road, Suite 122
Carmel, IN 46032
Hours: Tue. – Sat. 10 am – 5 pm
PH 317.569.5980

The Coats-Wright Art & Design Gallery is an eclectic mix of paintings and sculpture by regionally and nationally known artists, both traditional and modern, whose works span the 19th century to present. Among those are T.C. Steele, C. W. Mundy, Janet Scudder, Boaz Vaadia and internationally recognized Robert Rauschenberg, to name a few. We are very enthused to be introducing to the area two artists who are gleaning much national and international recognition, painter Eric Forstmann and sculptor Michael Kalish. We are also excited to offer and showcase antiques from R. Beauchamp Antiques and provide interior design services.

NEW @ THE IDC: Mitsch Design Expands Studio

Highlights include furniture showroom and virtual reality design studio

Mitsch Design’s consistent growth, and the desire to offer clients more turnkey services and advanced technology, has prompted the firm to open an Atlanta office and triple the size of its headquarters office in the Indiana Design Center. The $2 million expansion will create up to 43 jobs in Hamilton County by 2021.

The One–Stop Source for Clients

Founded nearly thirty years ago by Jeryl Mitsch, Mitsch Design is one of Indiana’s largest firms in its field. They have a staff that includes nearly thirty accredited designers and architects, focusing on multifamily, senior care, corporate, healthcare and education projects. “We are anything but typical; we are a one-stop source for our clients,” says Mitsch. “We offer innovative interior design and architecture services, we are also a furniture dealer with over one hundred fifty lines, plus we offer branding and marketing expertise,” she adds.

Mitsch Design: Indiana residential design project.

This simpler, more efficient turnkey business model has helped the firm expand its national market reach with multiple projects underway in nearly twenty states. Local projects have been completed for Angie’s List, Dow Agro Sciences, Citizens Energy, Eskenazi Health, Delta Faucet, Flaherty & Collins, Indianapolis Museum of Art and many others.

“Here in Indianapolis and across the nation, our clients value spaces that encourage face-to-face interaction and green space that creates a connection to the outdoors. The workday can be stressful, so like in a home, we aim to create spaces where people can find a sense of retreat or personal connection,” says Mitsch.

Mitsch Design: Lakes of Valparaiso multi-family project – outdoor space.

Efficiency, Collaboration and Amazement

“We are in a creative, technology-driven business and our headquarters are designed to reflect that,” says Keith Cole, principal at Mitsch Design. Mitsch Design staff members will enjoy the high-tech efficiency and ergonomics of the latest work stations at the newly-designed office.

Mitsch Design: portfolio – commercial project.

In addition to the expansive corporate furniture showroom, the new headquarters will include a space not found everywhere—a Virtual Reality (VR) Studio. With the use of special design processes, software and goggles, Mitsch Design clients will be able to visually and functionally immerse themselves into design options. This ability helps with decision-making and eliminates costly errors. “Virtual Reality is a leading-edge service, and that’s what Mitsch Design is all about,” Cole states.

Local news sources have reported on the Mitsch expansion, including Indiana Economic Development CorporationIndianapolis Star, and Inside Indiana Business.

“Indiana has an abundance of talented and knowledgeable individuals graduating from its universities, so it makes sense for Mitsch Design to attract and hire forward-thinking individuals from our own state to maintain our leadership as innovators in our field,” said Mitsch. “Working with the city and the state will help us to hire and train the high caliber talent that our clients deserve.”

The IEDC has offered the firm up to $75,000 in training grants and up to $225,000 in conditional, performance-based tax credits.

DESIGN NEWS: Drapery Street Awarded “Trendiest Customer of 2016” by Trend

Tenth anniversary celebration honors 32 vendors nationally with Trendiest Customer award; Drapery Street only retailer in Indiana/Michigan region to receive honor.

Drapery Street announced that it has received the Trendiest Customer 2016 honor from Trend, a leading worldwide distributor of decorative fabrics, as part of Trend’s 10-year anniversary celebration.

“We were so honored to be the only Indiana company awarded Trend’s Trendiest Customer 2016,” says Caryn O’Sullivan, owner of Drapery Street. “Trend is one of our favorite resources for exceptional fabrics, trimmings and hardware at a value-conscious price point. We love working with Trend and are proud to carry their line in our store,” adds O’Sullivan.

Designers and clients collaborate at Drapery Street.

The Trendiest Customer designation was awarded to 32 retailers nationally, and Drapery Street was the only recipient of this honor in all of Indiana and Michigan. “What sets us apart is our ability to design with both trends and value in mind delivering beautiful shades and draperies that are trend classics. Our customers value fashionable, stylish designs, and with the recent addition of our extra space, we have been able to showcase more of Trend’s unique styles,” says O’Sullivan.

The textiles and design industry changes quickly as new looks and technologies emerge. “From emerald greens to bold floral prints, velvet and menswear-inspired patterns, Trend has incredible offerings that are on point with the styles our designers and clients want for 2017,” says O’Sullivan.

emerald and gold drapery street

Emerald and gold designs from Drapery Street are on trend for 2017.

You can find photos on Instagram with the hashtags: #10YearsofTrend and #trendfabrics. You can also follow Drapery Street: @draperystreet and Trend: @trendfabrics.

DESIGNER SPOTLIGHT: Rosalind Brinn Pope Interior Design

Rosalind Pope

Rosalind Brinn Pope

Please join us in congratulating designer Rosalind Brinn Pope, who is celebrating 5 years in her studio at the Indiana Design Center and recently won a 2017 Best of Houzz Award for Service. Rosalind also won this award in 2016. In addition to serving and creating for her clients, Rosalind is giving back by participating in this year’s Decorators’ Show House and Gardens.

“I’m so happy to be working with St. Margaret’s Hospital Guild on the Decorators’ Show House again. The event has a wonderful mission that I love to support while showcasing my design work,” said Rosalind.

A classic look with French and English flavor is what Rosalind is best known for. She believes a home should feel as if it developed naturally over time, never trendy or contrived. In achieving this look, her designs include English fabrics, fine silks and woven fabrics, sumptuous trimmings, tassels and plump down-filled upholstery. Her experience includes remodeling projects, kitchens and bathrooms. Attention to detail is what makes Rosalind’s creations truly custom.

Classic design by Rosalind Brinn Pope Interior Design. This dining room was featured in a Decorators’ Show House.

Rosalind holds a bachelor of science in Interior Design from the University of North Carolina in Greensboro, and has over 20 years of professional experience designing beautiful and comfortable home interiors. As a member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), she belongs to the country’s oldest and largest professional association for Interior Designers.

Visit Rosalind’s portfolio page to view more of her work.

Rosalind Pope

Classic design by Rosalind Brinn Pope Interior Design.

Classic kitchen design by Rosalind Brinn Pope Interior Design.


MARTIN Gallery of Fine Art presents the pop art world of accomplished artist, Howie Green. Green’s paintings are characteristic of the pop art movement – bold and colorful.  The gallery is currently featuring works that depict famous musicians and notable sports figures, many with Indiana roots.

Green’s artistic career stemmed from his childhood dream of becoming a cartoonist. When he was 11 years old, he received a Christmas present consisting of a large pad of multi-colored newsprint paper and some drawing supplies. From there, something clicked inside of him and he has been drawing ever since. He has always been a pop-culture collector and enthusiast heavily influenced by the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein.

When Green entered art school at RIT in Rochester, NY, it was the mid-60’s and an explosive time in popular culture. As a student, he met and collaborated with several artists who would later make their mark in the art world such as Mike Gilbert, Karin (Harter/Berg) Lewis and notable painter, Peter Berg. After school, Green worked for the next several decades as an award-winning illustrator and designer. It wasn’t until 1992, when he finally gained notoriety for his paintings with the publication of his book Jazz Fish Zen: Adventures in Mamboland.

Martin Gallery of Fine ArtVisit the MARTIN Gallery of Fine Art to view Howie Green’s work and discuss custom sizes and commissions with owner, Marlon Marton. MARTIN Gallery of Fine Art, Indiana Design Center, Suite 120-B,

Gallery Hours: Mon – Sat, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.

Maximize Your Budget with Expert Refinishing Solutions

Want to elevate the look of your kitchen but don’t have the budget to pull and replace all of your cabinets? Shines Studios decorative painters, Sarah Hines and Mets Schilstra, shared how you can have the kitchen of your dreams on a tight budget during a workshop hosted at the IDC in March.

A major kitchen remodel is one of the most expensive home improvement projects to undertake, second to adding an entire room addition. The good news is, many homes already have good quality cabinetry in place and simply need an updated finish and hardware selection. With the right artisan and expertise, cabinet refinishing services can be half the cost of new cabinetry.

Kitchen “before”: Shine Studios was called in to modernize this kitchen.

Kitchen “after”: This spacious kitchen now feels more modern with glamorous touches. From the design portfolio of Shines Studios.

dinning room

Dining room “before”: the client wanted to refresh the space while staying true to its architectural details.

Dinning room

Dining room “after”: The custom paint application completed by Shine Studios and color brightened up the space and added visual interest. From the design portfolio of Shines Studios.

Professionals like Sarah and Mets can help you overcome the most common remodeling challenges reported by users:

  1. Finding the right service provider
  2. Sourcing the right products and materials
  3. Staying on budget

In terms of technique, refinishing cabinetry is like refinishing furniture, and not as simple as painting your walls. This is where a decorative artisan painter makes all of the difference. Artisan painters use the finest tools, techniques and spray equipment. They know the right paint and glazing products that won’t chip, fade or yellow. And, they can easily customize a paint finish to suit any design taste. The result: beautifully refinished cabinetry at half the price of brand new cabinets. Below you’ll find examples of Sarah and Mets’ work which extends beyond the kitchen into bathrooms, faux painting, countertops and more.

Staircase revival in a historic home by Shines Studios.

Custom bathroom wall treatment design. A great alternative to wallpaper by Shines Studios.

Custom countertop treatment by Shines Studios.

Custom basement bar cabinet by Shines Studios.


Sarah and Mets have been providing professional refinishing solutions to their clients for years and are both members of IDAL, the International Decorative Artisans League. Sarah is also a CIR for Caromal Colours, a division of Country Living Magazine. Mets is a certified installer for Vahallen Papers which are cutting edge in design for commercial and residential settings. When they are not in-studio, they travel to other markets conducting seminars on techniques and paint products across the county. Thinking about starting a remodeling project? Look to Shines Studios when assembling your design team. They offer cabinet and faux painting at its finest which include: cabinet refinishing, cabinet staining, cabinet glazing, faux finishing, concrete countertops, furniture refinishing, Italian plasters, decorative finishes, Venetian plasters, wood graining, backsplash finishes, wall finishes, ceiling finishes and furniture restoration.

Sarah Hines & Mets Schilstra
505 Sunset Drive
Noblesville, IN  46060
P:  (317) 709-8015

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