Remote worker wins room makeover that transformed home office

Remote worker wins room makeover that transformed home office

Remote worker wins room makeover that transformed home office

Original Post from

Ever since the COVID-19 pandemic started, Kristi Pies’ office has been somewhere in her Hawarden, Iowa, home.

First, it was a corner of the basement. Then, it was a spare upstairs bedroom where she shared space with storage.

So when she drew the winning card in Montgomery’s 135th anniversary room makeover giveaway, the office became the clear opportunity for a top-to-bottom transformation.

“I had been in the Sioux Falls store maybe six months prior just looking for living room furniture, and it was the first time I’d ever been there,” Pies explained. “As I was walking out, a salesperson asked if I wanted to enter the giveaway, and I said, ‘Sure,’ not really thinking anything would become of it.”

She’d forgotten all about it until receiving a postcard saying she was one of 135 finalists and inviting her back to the store for a celebration and the drawing to determine the winner. In celebration of its 135th anniversary, Montgomery’s gave away room makeovers at each of its four stores, with budgets of $13,500 each.

“Montgomery’s wasn’t like any of the other furniture stores in town I had visited,” Pies said. “I was honestly a little overwhelmed at first. But we walked around and got ideas about what we’d do if we won, and they talked with me about the kind of furniture I liked.”

Her husband had a hunch she should attend the event – and he turned out to be right. Montgomery’s connected Pies with director of sales Nita Flagtwet and designer Aimee Bridgeman to begin the Montgomery’s room makeover.

“We decided to work on the office since I’m there eight to 10 hours a day,” Pies said. “I ended up going to the store and walking around while they helped me pick out different things I liked.”

With a budget of $13,500, she easily could address “the whole office,” she said. “They helped me put together the room by doing a floor plan and giving me ideas of ways to set it up.”

A piece of art Pies saw at Montgomery’s served as a focal point and inspiration in the space.

“I was super excited when Kristi won because she’s so nice and her office was just a spare room and we got to make it functional and pretty,” Flagtwet said.

The home office before the makeover

“Who doesn’t want to sit in a space all day when you’re surrounded by beautiful things? We get to do that at Montgomery’s every day, and now we had the chance to do that for Kristi.”

The artwork “is fun and a little whimsical, and the fun and the color was really good for what we were trying to achieve in the space,” she continued.

The home office after the makeover

A new desk big enough for multiple monitors and a copper-infused antimicrobial chair were designed to support the many hours Pies spends there as a marketing project manager.

“The chair has a lot of options for adjusting, including bringing the seat forward and back, which is very important for people doing remote work,” Flagtwet said.

The Montgomery’s team helped Pies select a buffet to serve as a working credenza behind her and place for her printer.

Bookshelves now provide new space to display everything from family heirlooms to her framed winning card from Montgomery’s.

A new floor lamp complements the natural light coming into the room, and an accent chair for guests features cowhide, playing off the featured artwork.

“The layout of the room makes a lot of sense, and I like Kristi’s vision of having the desk floating in the room,” Flagtwet said. “A lot of times people face the wall, and this allows for a great view and more free-flowing space. I feel like we met all her needs as far as equipment and made it really cozy.”

Pies agreed.

“It’s been great,” she said. “I spend too much time here now! And Montgomery’s was so helpful in putting it all together, from picking colors to choosing a rug. I have ideas but needed help putting them all together.”

And you don’t have to be a big winner to take advantage of that expert assistance: Montgomery’s offers this kind of free design work to all customers.

For Pies, there even was an unexpected bonus: Her anniversary makeover budget left room for some new outdoor furniture, creating an ideal setting for when she steps away from the home office.

“We added maintenance-free chairs you can leave outside year-round, and we love them,” she said. “We’ve already used them a lot.”

Custom design in small spaces can lead to big impact

Custom design in small spaces can lead to big impact

Custom design in small spaces can lead to big impact

Original Post from

You might think custom interior design work is just for large luxury homes, but your new apartment, starter home or historic residence can benefit from the same service.

“I’ve done lofts, and I’ve done smaller homes everywhere from McKennan Park to near Sanford Health,” said Emily Connolly, senior interior designer with Montgomery’s in Sioux Falls.

“We’re used to working with smaller rooms, lots of walls and limited space. And no matter what your budget, we’re able to work with you to optimize your space and bring in custom touches.”

Here’s a before-and-after look in McKennan Park:

Connolly draws on plenty of personal experience in her work. Her own home is a 1950s dollhouse-style property with 800 square feet on the main level and 400 square feet below.

Her eye for opportunity allowed her to create an eat-in kitchen by adding a butcher block counter space and stools.

“It creates a multiuse space with being able to serve banquet-style, drink my morning coffee or use as an office space with my laptop,” she said.

“The dining area was a small bedroom converted into a formal dining. By adding a slider door, it created a pass-through to the entertaining space. This space has window treatments that is the jewelry of the space and makes the space feel larger.”

This dining room is only 9-by-10-feet, but it feels larger.

“Utilizing vertical storage with a cabinet brings your eye up and layer accessories — or in my case plants — has created depth and, again, makes the room feel larger,” Connolly said. “Layer is key. The dining table is small, and then I can add leaves to accommodate my larger family at Christmas. For everyday use, the small chairs with the condensed table work perfect.”

As part of Montgomery’s Whole Home Experience, Connolly and her fellow interior designers offer every customer free top-to-bottom design services, no matter what size space or project.

Here are some of her other pro tips for designing in smaller spaces:

Don’t do the showroom solo

When you own a smaller living space, it can be tricky to maintain a sense of perspective while shopping.

“Showrooms are a large space, which means sometimes pieces can seem smaller than they are,” Connolly said. “I usually set up a house call with clients, so I can get a sense for the space, measure, take pictures and make sure the pieces they select fit the space.”

Those in-home visits – which are complimentary, like the rest of Montgomery’s design services – allow her to “feel the flow and see the light coming into the space, how high the ceilings are and how much wall space you have. There’s a lot I can see when I come out.”

Strategic decisions save space

Optimizing a floor plan can be as simple as adjusting the depth of your sofa – going with a 36- or 38-inch instead of a 40-inch with smaller arms, for example. Utilizing chairs with curved backs allows them to tuck into corners.

Drop-leaf tables allow flexibility for larger groups and daily dining.

“I suggest you do a round table in a smaller space,” Connolly said. “You’re not going to get hit in the hips when you walk by it and you can soften the area and often fit more chairs around it than you would a square table.”

In bedrooms, lower headboards can help elongate space, especially with lower ceilings. Height does the same thing.

“If you have a bed with legs that go higher up, it’s going to feel lighter,” Connolly said. “And you can float nightstands. Any time you raise something up off the floor, it adds space. And you can add a pouf or cube if you want something maybe to put your shoes on.”

Starter budgets still can go far

We know you might have to get your head around using an interior designer for a first or second living space – but this free service actually can help you optimize your budget.

“You can still get that Instagram-friendly look for your home and not buy pieces that are going to wear out in six months,” Connolly said. “Often ,we’ll look at a higher-quality sofa because it’s used so much, and then we might do a couple chairs that are less expensive.”

Also good to know: Montgomery’s can take care of you with great financing options.

“That’s a great way to get started and get some quality pieces at a variety of price points,” Connolly said. “A lot of people come in and think they’re going to destroy furniture and don’t want to spend much, but the reason the furniture is destroyed is because they didn’t spend a little more to get better quality.”

Design for loft life with personality

If you’re renting your home, you still can put in tons of personal design touches.

“When I lived in a loft downtown, my space was a lot of fun. I had my kayak hanging in there, which became like a piece of furniture,” Connolly said. “I’ve even had people in lofts change out lighting if that’s been allowed, accessorize above the cabinets and just generally personalize it to their personality. We help with everything from floors to light fixtures and everything in between.”

And speaking of flooring, two words: area rugs.

“They help a lot with sound absorption,” Connolly said. “So if you’ve living above someone, we can soften that foot traffic, which is huge.”

There probably are more furniture options than you think

If you have an older home with older furniture, you might be surprised how the industry has changed. While the trend was “up-sizing” furniture for decades, in the past five years “people started migrating toward the city and into urban life, and lofts came in to play, so people were looking for smaller pieces,” Connolly said. “We have a lot of smaller pieces; you just need to know where to look.”

Trends toward Scandinavian and its newer cousin “Japandi,” which blends a Japanese aesthetic, have inspired many new pieces – and your interior designer can help you source them.

Accessorize and minimize

One easy way to make a room feel deeper: wallpaper. But not the whole thing.

“Adding wallpaper on one wall as a backdrop creates a focal wall,” Connolly explained. “It draws the eye back and makes the room feel deeper.”

Window treatments that go all the way to ceiling draw the eye up and make the room feel larger, she added.

“We do custom draperies, and you see how window treatments become the jewelry of the space. Once you put it in, it changes the space completely.”

And when it comes to accessories, think going vertical with your shelving and artwork, and don’t overdo it.

“I never put something on a wall unless it’s perfect because it just detracts from everything else, especially in smaller spaces,” Connolly said.

“The idea is to create depth, and the more depth you create the larger the space is going to feel.”

Ready to partner?

If you’re ready to take advantage of Montgomery’s Whole Home Experience, no matter what your home size, just stop in the store anytime or click here to get started.

Spruce Up Your Home In Time For The Holidays

Spruce Up Your Home In Time For The Holidays

Spruce Up Your Home In Time For The Holidays!

November 6, 2020
Post by Emily Connolly

Okay, okay. I KNOW we are all tired of 2020. It’s been a long year, and it seems like more than 11 months have passed. So, now that people are spending time with family and small groups of friends at home, it’s the perfect time to give your space an update. Here are some tips for creating a new, comfy feel to your home.

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Paint your front door! Nothing sets the tone for your home like a freshly painted or stained door. Always keep your home’s style in mind when picking the picture-perfect color. Modern Homes can handle energy-rich colors, like indigo, to liven up your entry as a guide. Classic homes embrace the timeless look with a fresh red, blue, black, or deep charcoal gray. For the traditional architectural homes, add a bit of those bright pops of yellow, orange, or red to liven up and create a backdrop for your fall foliage. Add textures like a basket with fall foliage and layered rugs.

Switch up your entry: Grounding your space with texture and pattern can be a great way to make a person feel at home. Bring in those plants from your patio and repot them in a container with a pop of color. Place a mirror to make small spaces feel more extensive, and layer with your favorite fall accessories. Place in a textured cube, providing a place for your guests to remove their shoes.

LAYERS. LAYERS. LAYERS! – Going into the cold seasons, we’re aware of layering our clothing, but this works exceptionally well in the home also!

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Change out your old rugs with the season! Nothing says new season like new rugs that will draw your eyes to the floor. Layering is a great way to liven up your home and create more texture, patterns, and depth to the flat surface. Using this technique will make an eye-catching point of interest. Look outside the box and layer with the one of a kind character of a hair-on-hide rug. The textural difference of this natural rug is well suited for all décor styles.

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Liven up your bedding: 2020 has been a year of unexpected, and winter is upon us in South Dakota. When all you want to do is crawl into hibernation, you know you have to adult and go to work. Even IF it is only down the hall and you’re still in your pajamas… So how do you create that homey, cozy, safe, comfortable, relaxing oasis in YOUR bedroom? Add knits! Knits are so comfy and are always in style during the colder months. It’s easy to drop-in some knit pillows and blankets in bright colors or a patterned quilt or two at the end of your bed layered on top of a solid-colored, down-filled duvet to create the comfy and inviting look of a well-tailored, layered outfit.

Add foliage: Succulents are all the rage. Unlike your dog, they need very little water and attention. Just pot and go! Enjoy the texture and vibrant colors all winter long with the ease of these all-year plants.

Add lighting: You can add a bit of extra light in the simplest forms, from a cluster of candles to a new fixture in the corner of your room. A multilayered floor lamp is an easy addition anyone can make! Remember, lighting changes do not have to require an electrician. Think of lighting as jewelry for your room. A quick change by adding or clustering multiple light fixtures helps create a mood and style as unique as you!

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