Built-In Inspiration: Shelving

Custom millwork is a great way to maximize your existing space. Whether it be built-in storage, open shelving or seating - we collaborate with custom millworkers to create classic, functional pieces that utilize every inch of space.

Open shelving is common in our built-in designs as they provide a place to store and showcase our client’s own collections, pictures or memorabilia that really personalize the space.

A few things to keep in mind when planning built-in shelving:


Styling bookshelves, especially a large wall of them, requires planning. Empty shelves feel boring and cluttered shelves are overwhelming to the eye. We like to use a mixture of objects and books in styling bookshelves. Many people will arrange their books based on size but you can also arrange them based on color.


Plan to light your shelves! This truly takes planning because as you’re working with a contractor, you’ll need to make lighting decisions early on, so they can wire accordingly.


You know we love wallpaper! Custom shelving is a great place to add it! If you don’t want something with a print, try grasscloth or keep it simple and go with paint.

With these tips in mind, here are a few things for you to think about:

  1. With any shelving that currently exists in your home, how can you make it better? i.e. lighting, paint, wallpaper, styling your shelves with books and other decor.

  2. Is there a space in your home that would be more effective with custom shelves? Be intentional.


Guest Room Inspiration


We’re loving these coastal vibes that this guest room shares with it’s visitors! Optimal sleeping space for a small bedroom, we like what trundle beds offer. We’ve paired navy with a softer coral/red color and tied in some fun artwork and accessories to pull the design together. Everything has been ordered and we’re excited to see it come in place in just a few short weeks!

If you’re stuck on colors, look at your artwork and pull something from those pieces!

Wall Removal for a Better Use of Space


We’ve been working with our client’s in Harpswell to furnish their new home, which is moving along so well! But aside from specifying furniture, we also partner with many of our clients on renovations, which can often include removing walls in order to rework a space to match a layout with client goals. That’s the case in Harpswell! Not only are we selecting furnishings, we are also reworking some unused space.

Opening up this wall from the office into the dining is allowing so much more light to pass through the whole space, including the kitchen. This work was just started last week and it’ll move along quickly! The removal of the wall also allows for a larger dining table with more walkable space by the sliders heading outside to their wrap around porch that offers beautiful views.

If you’re struggling with the functionality of your home or you have unused space that you’d like to work better for you, send us an email at info@huffardhouse!

Practical Lighting Tips to Use Right Away

Ever get the sense that the lighting in your home just isn’t quite right? A lot of people feel that way at some point in their home design. Here are some helpful tips next time you’re thinking about lighting and when in doubt, add a dimmer!


A general note is that each room should include 3 layers of lighting:

General lighting, which is typically an overhead light

Task, like floor or table lamps

Accent, such as low level lighting like candles

Here are some specific thoughts about types of lighting:

Ceiling lights:

In an open space where people walk, you need at least 7 feet from the bottom of the hanging light fixture to the floor. For high ceilings, add more height. For example, 9.5’ ceilings should have a distance from the floor 7’6”.

Table lamps:

For a lamp placed on a side table, the bottom of the shade should be at about eye level.

Floor lamps:

Place these in corners or next to sofas. Make sure it’s at a height so the bulb is always concealed.

Wall sconces:

Wall sconces should be at about eye level, so anywhere from 5-6’ from the ground. These should also have a little space between items they’re placed next to, so plan for about 3-5” between the sconce and a piece of art or whatever else you may have hung.

As you make selections, finish up with these tips:

Add color and texture with the bases and the shades should feel almost matched

Be sure the scale matches the size of your room (and your furniture)

Outdoor Living

It’s time to start dreaming about utilizing your outdoor space! When we’re specifying high end, quality pieces, lead time can be 4-12 weeks to arrive, so it’s always good to start thinking about summer before our yards even look ready.

Outdoor design is one of those times where we continue to think about pairing function, style, and comfort. Your outdoor space, whether it’s multiple decks like this recent delivery in Biddeford Pool (shown below) or patio space beside your pool, should maintain all three of those design elements.

Go take a look outside and begin by asking yourself:

  • what will we use the space for?

  • what storage do we need?

  • what comfort elements are important to us?


Space Planning in Your Living Room

One question we are often asked is: How do we plan our layout? This is especially the case with living rooms. We wanted to address it here in case you’re looking for a quick fix, you have some tools to help you.


Here are some few big picture things to consider before you begin:

  1. First, think about the function you need from the space. What will you be using the room for? Once you answer that question, decide the pieces of furniture you need. For example, storage for games, toys, books, etc., optimal number of seating, etc.

  2. Think about the focal point in the room, i.e. TV, fireplace, artwork.

  3. Create a central point in the living room. This is usually the coffee table. If you have a large living room, it can be helpful to create two central points with an additional seating area or play space.

Now, here are some specifics to work with:

Seating: Begin here as you place items. Remember to make your living room livable and cozy. Create a space where conversation and living is easy.

Sofas: Start with a sofa or sectional and add an additional sofa across from it or a pair of chairs. In smaller spaces, try adding one accent chair.

  • The sofas and chairs don’t need to match entirely, but have them relate in some way. Maybe the have a similar arm shape or the same fabric.

  • Be sure to consider the scale of your room. Don’t buy an overly large sofa if you live in a small space.

Chairs: If you have a pair of chairs, you ideally want about 40” of space between so that you can place a small accent table between them. In a smaller room just place chairs next to one another. Consider swivel chairs because they can be faced in any direction!

  • After you add the bigger pieces, add smaller accent seating like benches or stools. These are so versatile and easy to move around as you need them.

Coffee table: This should be at least half the length of your sofa because you want the two to relate to one another. It also shouldn’t be more than a few inches lower than your sofa’s seat height and if at all possible, it shouldn’t be higher.

  • Placement: about 18” from your sofa

  • Selection: round or square if you have a larger living room with seating across from one another. You can also choose this shape if you have a sectional. Go with rectangular or oval in other layouts.

  • Remember that this is a good time to think about function. Add storage here if you need it.

Side tables: these shouldn’t be more than 3-4” lower than your sofa’s arm height. Ideally they’re 1-2” lower than the arm height. Make them easy to place a drink on!

  • These should be placed anywhere someone sitting down cannot reach the coffee table.

Sofa console table: If you choose to have one, ideally, it’s a few inches shorter than the overall height of your sofa. The width of the table should be slightly smaller than the width of your sofa with 3-6” on each side.

Area rug: Get one large enough so that your sofa’s front legs are on it and any other furniture like chairs, can also be placed on top. You want the room to feel like it belongs together. In most cases, the edge of the rug shouldn’t be too close to a wall. Allow for at least 2’ so you create negative space.

Walkways: Allow for 30-36″ of a walkway between large furniture pieces, but if your living room is smaller, try for about 20”.

TV: Hang or place it at about eye level of your seated height. The distance from your seating to your TV should be about 6-7’.


Now for the finish: Add dimension to your living room. Think about textiles with accent pillows and throws. Add artwork, framed photos, mirrors, and lighting. Don’t be afraid of color! This is the part we really love to have fun with! Choose a main color and then add accents to compliment it.

So, go take a peek at your living room. How does it match up with things we’ve listed for you here? If you don’t love your space, try readjusting. Still not happy, send us an email so we can space plan for you!

Buried in Tile!

We’re keeping a full office over here lately! We have a lot of tile coming in for a project, including tile for bathroom floors, shower walls and floors, a mudroom, a laundry room, and kitchen backsplash. As you may know, it’s important to inspect each tile when you receive an order. Damage can easily happen, especially if they aren’t crated well. So Ashley and Jacqueline have been busy unloading the tile off crates, unboxing and unpackaging.

Take a look at what’s come in! We are especially smitten over the hexagon tile with one corner of blue!

Thinking about changing a space by adding tile or changing it? If so, send us a quick email at info@huffardhouse.com so that we can help with your selection process!


Renderings to Real Life: Wallpaper



Real Life

Real Life

Wallpaper can be so hard to envision for some of our clients. We love using it though and so do our clients. It adds personality and character to any space in your home. We’re not afraid to use it in bathrooms either! Because it can be hard to picture, we often take the opportunity to show you a rendering before we place the order, which helps you feel confident about the design decision.

This one above is placed on a central double-sided fireplace in a condo in Portland. The room is coming together and after the rug delivery, it’ll be complete!

Renderings to Real Life: Tile Surround

3D Rendering

3D Rendering

Real Life

Real Life

This project proved to be quite a challenge. After measuring and working through the details, we discovered the fireplace wasn’t exactly centered on the wall. After finding out that it couldn’t be moved, we reworked the renderings multiple times to trick the eye. We made adjustments with the mantel and with the tile in order to find a good balance. There was a lot of quality communication between the woodworkers and tilers to make this project a success. Can you tell that the fireplace isn’t centered?

Built-Ins with Huffard House

Working with us, you’ll have an opportunity to explore built-in options, providing you with more storage and character for your home in the spaces you really need it.

We’ll start by providing you with 3D line drawings to provide you with different options. Once we make a selection and revise the first draft, we begin customizing the piece even more. We’ll propose countertop material, paint colors, a moulding option, lighting, and any other details to make the custom work feel like it’s always belonged in your home.

Here are some examples of what phase I of this process looks like:

If you’re thinking about a built-in for your home, send us a quick email at info@huffardhouse.com. We’d be more than happy to assess your space, make a recommendation, and work with a local contractor to get something built for you!

Cottage Inspired Guest Room, Part II

Last week, we shared a design board for the cottage inspired guest room and this week’s follow up shares more of the color inspiration behind the design. We just received these wood samples in and got excited to put them together with the lamps which already arrived!

Yellow: bed frame

Soft Blue (top): dresser

White: bedside tables

Blue/Green (bottom): metal lamps on the bedside tables

We were so excited to see these come together and once install happens in approximately 8 weeks, we’ll share some photos!


A Cottage Inspired Guest Room, Part I

If you haven’t noticed yet, by looking back through our blog you can see we work with such a variety of aesthetics for our clients. From traditional vibes to contemporary styles and everything in between, we love that our work has us dipping our feet into all of it!

One of our newest projects has protected ocean views that we hope our clients get to enjoy daily when the warmer months arrive.


The ocean view has them thinking about cottage vibes in their guest room and the design board below shows us the direction we’ll be going!


Working with Fabric

Unable to find a trim that mirrored an inspirational photo we discovered, we decided to create the trim from a fabric. These fabrics are working together to create drapes for a home in Portland. Keep in mind that colors aren’t always represented well in photos and that’s true of this one below, but we’re working with a piece of furniture in the room painted a shade of green shown on the Farrow and Ball swatch boo.

This gray fabric will be the main selection for the drapes and for the edging, we’ll fabricate a trim from one of these other options.

Screen Shot 2019-02-27 at 12.37.56 PM.png

An Installation in Progress

We’ve had quite a few deliveries and a recent one included this custom coffee table by DSO Creative Fabrication. The crew at DSO are always such a great team to scheme with and can make anything happen!

This install is a work in progress, but we wanted to share their talent evident in this table! If you look to the photo on the right, you’ll see that the metals are two different colors. The rug is temporary and the one on the way will really show off the color contrast on the coffee table. More chairs are coming too, as well as a wallpaper installation on the fireplace accent wall.

Stay tuned to see an update within a few weeks!

Meeting Storage Needs

We work with clients who have various design needs. Our projects vary in scope and size and our work includes the following (although this list is just a beginning):

Color selection

Space planning

Project management



New builds

Furniture selection

3D renderings

One of our current projects involves a renovation. We’re renovating two spaces: 1. a family room above a garage so that its functionality aligns with the family’s current and ongoing needs and 2. we’re also renovating an entryway to also meet more storage needs.

You’ll definitely be seeing more progress of these spaces, but for now I wanted to give you a look into these custom built-ins. A room with virtually no storage (and a home with very little), now will have these built-ins with adjustable shelves on each side of the television and cabinetry below. Across from these is a large unit with more cabinets and drawers plus the room will now have a bigger closet as well. Stay tuned for more photos, especially before and afters, as well as a comparison of the 3D renderings to the final photos.

And remember, if you’re thinking about a renovation, send us a quick email at info@huffardhouse.com so we can chat about how we can be helpful with your ideas and plans.


Bathroom Design

Living on the coast inspires so many of our clients, so it’s common for us to design spaces with blues and greens and elements true to our oceanside location.

One of the projects we’re working on right now is a new build with expansive ocean views. It’s a two story home with five bathrooms on the second floor living space. Each bathroom is proving to have its different features, but the one attached to the bunkroom is especially feeling like the outdoors is being carried in.

Our favorite features of this design are the dusty blue sconces and the penny rounds which will accent the subway tile in the shower.

This project is far from being complete, so there isn’t an end photo to share yet. We’ll keep posting here to share the journey with you!


Lighting Install


Lighting installations always make a big difference in a room! This light features two shades that can be independently rotated, creating a playful geometric design, which allows light to be funneled in specific directions. It’s a great choice over a game table, adjacent to a living room.

Renderings to Real Life: custom built-in unit

In 2018, we began offering 3d renderings as way to help clients see what we’re envisioning for their space. Take a look at the two photos below to see just what this looks like.

The top photo is a rendering we created on the computer and the photo below shows the work in real life. This space was in need of storage and some character and by working with a custom cabinet builder, we were able to share our ideas while he made it come to life.

Next steps: adding wallpaper, tile surround on the fireplace and lighting!

Send us an email at info@huffardhouse.com if you have a space in your home you need help finishing.


Delivery Day!

Last week we shared a recent design board for a children’s playroom and we’ve already begun receiving some of the items at our office. Take a look at what we’ve unpackaged! This gorgeous grey swivel chair has a pink velvet pillow to pair!

See more on Friday after delivery!

A Playroom with Color


A great place to play is definitely a necessity with a little one at home. When we’re thinking about these play spaces, we’re sure to ask the important questions that will lead us to understanding how your family will be using the space.

In this most recent design board with a playroom for a youngster, we started with some really bright, fun colors in the rug while toning the space down with neutral colored larger furniture pieces, and then we pulled the colors back in with the accents. There are great greens, shades of pink and blues.

Storage is crucial in a playroom, as you Mom and Dads know! There is storage in the bench seat and the side table with a closet in the room as well. This little girl is sure to enjoy her new space!