Don’t reinvent the wheel … MAYBE drive somewhere new!

Not every home is a blank slate.

And that can be a good thing!

It means we don’t always have to start from scratch and tear the structure down to the studs. This can 1) highlight and maximize the potential-filled elements that already exist and 2) make your investment go further.

While it’s fun to come into a white-walled space where everything needs to be redone, it’s also wonderful to come into a space where some things already work. We can build on those elements, and make them even better with what we decide to create around them.

In your space, we can look for — and keep — the good we can build upon. 

  • Look at the possibilities. Essentially we are asking: How can we make this yours, while keeping the positive aspects of the space — and making them sing?! 
  • Save the good bones. What’s good about the house? Perhaps we have great hardwood floors under a rug? Maybe we have high-quality cabinets, a centerpiece window, or an ornate stair banister that needs some love? It’s easy to overlook these gems when they are surrounded by less-pleasing elements. At KLJI, we always mine for gems.
  • Determine the best places to invest for maximum impact. If you have quality cabinets, but the color doesn’t work, we could paint them and update the hardware. You get a whole new feel while retaining the quality of the cabinets — and it leaves money in your pocket for other improvements.
  • Realize the power of thoughtfully-selected furnishings, art, and colors. Even with a foundation of pre-existing elements, the most dramatic outcomes are possible with expert interior design and strategic choices.

Working with Karen Lee Johnson Interiors can open up possibilities you don’t see within the space, and ultimately result in a space that feels like it was entirely created for you.

Here’s an example…

A recent client had purchased a (new to her) home. It was built over twenty years ago, and she didn’t want to feel like she was moving into someone else’s house. Although the home, overall, wasn’t her style, there were some design positives that had promise. We didn’t have to reinvent the wheel — we just had to drive somewhere new … someplace that felt more true to her vision. 

In addition to wanting to aesthetically make this house her home, there were a few other considerations:

  • What should I bring? Our client was downsizing, and wasn’t sure what to bring.
  • How can I adapt to open-concept living? The new home was open concept — and this was new to our client, as her previous home had more defined spaces. 
  • How has my style evolved? How had her style evolved since decorating her last home? How could this new home reflect who she is now, instead of who she was in the past?

Calling upon our interior design expertise and process, the house became her home.

Ultimately we decided to repaint the main level, continue the hardwood flooring in an area that had carpet, and refinish the floors in natural wood to look brighter and more updated. We added new paint colors, removed fans and added improved lighting, both functional and decorative, changed hardware to enhance the kitchen cabinets, selected new kitchen counter stools, and acquired new artwork, rugs, a dining table and chairs, and a new bookcase.

Here are a couple of glimpses on our in-progress changes


All of these choices and improvements were based upon the most important part of our process — getting to know our clients and their needs, tastes and vision. 

This approach works, even when you’re not moving!

Another long-time client came to us because their space — after quite a few years — started to feel a bit stale. They had good bones and items they loved, but overall it needed a refresh. So by changing out the tables, lamps, paint, pillows and rugs, we went from this, to this.


Refresh achieved! Changing out a few elements, while keeping the ones that worked, made it feel like a whole new room.

Not sure if anything in the space is salvageable? Maybe it’s not. But at Karen Lee Johnson Interiors, we have years of experience and an eye for beauty, even when it’s hidden. No matter what, we’ll help you maximize your impact and opportunities in creating a true-to-you space that feels 100% your own. 

Want to create or redesign a space that’s as unique as you are? We can help.What’s your vision? At Karen Lee Johnson Interiors, we can help you create spaces you love! Why not book a call and we’ll talk about it!

Karen Lee Johnson, interior designer in Milwaukee Wisconsin

Hi, I’m Karen!

I’m the Founder/Creative Director of Karen Lee Johnson Interiors, a residential design firm working with clients seeking a professional, innovative and collaborative approach to design. We partner with you to creatively and meticulously translate your dreams and visions into reality. Learn more about our services or book a call to tell us about your project!

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