Do What Works for Your Lifestyle

So far in my series of home renovation tips, we’ve talked about following your gut and not being afraid to ask questions. Combine those two premises and you’ll discover what you want and the questions to ask to make sure the design fits your lifestyle.

Just like everyone has their own unique aesthetic, everyone also has their own unique way of living and utilizing space. One of the hardest parts about making the said decisions was the balance between loving something for its look versus its function in everyday life. You know, the old form verse function debate?

I designed our first floor to accommodate our two wild boys and my love for an open floor plan. The flow, or lack thereof, of a 1950’s Colonial was transformed into a brighter, more open plan by doing the following:

  • Taking down a load bearing wall.
  • Getting an engineer to approve the removal of said wall.
  • Putting in an extremely expensive piece of metal
  • Using every ounce of my creative power to come up with a way to make it look cohesive with the rest of the house!

Another example was again, the light switches… damn light switches! When one enters a room, you need to turn on the light, but if there are more than one entryways and exits to that room, you also have to think about how to turn off the light from a different exit and think about how you’ll be leaving that room on a daily basis. Ridiculous, right?

Another decision was in the kitchen. With the big island in the middle, did I want the stovetop on the island, and the sink in the countertop, or the other way around? Thinking about how I use the stove versus the sink, I decided that it would make more sense for my family to have the sink in the island and the stovetop in the countertop. We use the sink exponentially more than the stove, so I wanted it in a spot that was easier to get to for not only me but for the kids. I also didn’t want a hot stove in an area where my kids do puzzles and draw and eat. And for aesthetic reasons, I didn’t want a stove in the middle of my kitchen because I didn’t want a huge hood fan sitting above it and ruining the openness of the room.

In the end, we now have a space that works for our family. Before anyone takes down any walls, walk through your plans. Imagine your family (or whoever will occupy the space) and all of the different ways they will use the space. And don’t feel pressure to get onto any trendy trains, do what you like. (That’s a little hint for my next posting!)

Until then, here’s a look at the old and the new!

Original kitchen from 1951. Even the inside of the cupboards were lined with 50’s style wallpaper. 

Looking into old family room from the kitchen.

Demo of the wall between old family room and what will become the new family room.

This is looking at what was the kitchen sink and countertop.

Take another fun look inside Alisa’s home in this Houzz article.

For more design inspiration, find Alisa’s home and others inside the pages of, “Your Home, Your Style” By Donna Garlough.

Alisa Kapinos has been a fashion stylist and personal shopper for almost 15 years. She started her career in fashion working for a Boston based magazine as their Fashion and Beauty Editor and then went onto become their Editor in Chief. During this time she produced and styled countless photo shoots, working with top designers and top photographers. She has been lucky enough to attend many New York Fashion Weeks, also styling shoots for commercials and print ads, as well as assisting in styling Samantha Brown on the Travel Channel and the Jonas Brothers on their Boston stop during their musical tour. She then began her career as a personal stylist to some of Boston’s most notable people, as well as women and men from all walks of life. What her clients love about her is her attention to detail, her understanding of personal style (not just what’s trending), and her ability to mix high end with affordable pieces that fit everyone’s budget. Through her work in the fashion industry, she has also partnered with many charitable organizations to bring awareness and raising money for their causes. Recently, Alisa has taken her passion for interior design and has worked on a few interior projects for local clients. She has had her own home, which she renovated herself, featured in a home design book and a few home websites. Alisa’s greatest loves are her husband of 11 years, her two dogs and her three kids. She loves photography and taking photos, loves to travel, to write, to garden, to decorate, to cook and spend time with her family and friends.

If you love style and want to keep up with Alisa, check her out on Instagram @styleproductions. For more info on her personal styling and home styling business, check out her website,