Project Reveal: Sorority House

I’m thrilled to reveal the UCSB Delta Gamma House here on the blog today! This project is dear to my heart because the women I worked with were fabulous, they trusted me fully, and seeing the excitement on the girls’ faces as they moved in was so rewarding. High impact on a tight budget became the running theme throughout the first phase of this remodel, and today we’re going to walk you through the big and small changes that added up to a completely new space for these 43 girls. But first, have a look at what we were working with at the beginning of the design process. Before After When designing large open spaces, space planning can be especially tricky. We wanted the sorority house to feel homey and comfortable, but also needed it to be functional. We focused on creating different areas throughout the space to successfully accomplish this. The Chapter Room got divided up into study nooks where smaller groups of girls could sit and work together, as well as the more central living space with the big cozy chairs and beautiful sofas nestled around the fireplace. We made sure everything was upholstered with the best stain resistant, performance fabric so it stays looking good as new for a long time to come! These photos get me every time - what a difference! The choice to go with warm luxury vinyl plank flooring throughout each space made the biggest difference. The dark carpet in the lounge areas and the tile flooring with dark grout in the dining area made the entire main floor feel separate and choppy (and the fact that nobody knew if the grout was originally dark, or if it was just that dirty was too much!) Now, consistent flooring connects all of the spaces, and the bright, crisp white on all of the walls does the same thing. Luxury vinyl plank flooring is great for heavy use of the sorority house long term, and consistent paint makes it even easier to touch up when the girls move out each year! Let me tell you friends: flooring, art, and paint can COMPLETELY transform a space, don't you think? The dining area was one of the most hated rooms in the house. Because the budget went toward other areas of the house, we kept the original lighting and furniture, but the patterned wallpaper had to go! We removed it, painted the walls and ceiling the same crisp white, and painted the paneling and trim in a bold, high contrast color (Farrow & Ball Hague Blue is so good!) Such a drastic change was a lot to swallow during the design process, but we had our contractor paint a large panel to test drive the color, and everyone was thumbs up from there! Bright linen drapery instantly freshened this space up, and we also replaced the ceiling fans with sleeker, modern white fans that blend in with the paint color. For the last touch, we curated the artwork from a few of our favorite shops on Etsy. Downloading digital art and having it printed can be a huge money (and time!) saver. We focused on pieces that gave the space that Santa Barbara feel with hints of our moody blue. Remember - high impact, low budget!⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ That Hague Blue color was too good to only have it in the dining area, but where to incorporate it..oh, yes - the built-in cabinets! The contrast of the moody blue cabinetry with the lighter (and stain-resistant) cozy chairs just makes my design heart so happy! This long room was also broken into intentional gathering spaces - a long study table in the back, a big comfy sectional and TV in the middle, and a set of 4 chairs that make for easy conversation. And did you notice we used the original sectional? This project is a great reminder that you don’t have to throw everything out to make a functional and beautiful space! The moody blue cabinetry was a great jump off point for the fun rugs with rust and blue tones we added in here too. The patterned rugs are very forgiving to dirt and stains, and these bold colored chairs also wipe clean! You don’t have to decide between form and function - we make sure our clients get both! Listening to the excited squeals of each girl as they walked through the doors on install day made this all worth it! Several of them who I had never even met came and gave me a hug and thanked me profusely. And that is why I do this. It’s beyond rewarding knowing that the 43 girls who reside here are proud to come home to this space... and I am honored to have been given the opportunity! Stay tuned for phase two developments later on this year over on my Instagram account!

Hi, I'm Madi!

When I'm not designing beautiful homes, I am at home in Ventura with my husband and three dogs. You will find me biking along the ocean, kayaking in the harbor, or looking for the best local tacos. 

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Madison Nicole Design is a full service interior design studio located in Santa Barbara, California. Madison and team take on projects of all sizes, from furniture styling to large scale remodels, locally and abroad via e-design services.

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