Total Design Interiors Creates Works of Art

In high school, Carla Radcliffe loved to experiment with color combinations and fabric. She started sewing in 4-H, and after graduating from Spirit Lake, she went onto Wayne State College where she earned a four-year degree in Interior Design. Carla purchased Total Design Interiors in 1995, right after marrying John Radcliffe.

“Seeing how color and designs went together was always something I was interested in,” Carla shared. “I loved decorating and design, even as a young girl.”

27 years later, Carla has transformed countless houses, always adding her personal, creative touch, from walls and Hunter Douglas Window Fashions to furniture and floors.

“No two house have been the same in the 27 years I’ve been designing for people,” she said. “I love my job and I love to meet so many different people.”

Hunter Douglas blinds, shades or shutters is one of Carla's major parts of her business. She loves seeing how HD has evolved these last 27 years. Many clients love all of the options that include motorization/automation of the blinds because they not only look good but are easy to use and help heating and cooling a home efficiently. She provides free in-home consultations and installation. She said there is an option for every need and sometimes the only design element needed to refresh a bedroom or living room are new window treatments.

“Often the window fashions selected will balance out the other colors in the room. Because there are so many colors and products available, it’s fun to showcase what’s offered,” she said. “I also find out what’s important to the client, whether it’s blocking out sun or creating privacy. All of the options are vital towards conserving energy at the window.”

Hunter Douglas accents provide extra drama and elongate the windows with texture and dimension.

"The Hunter Douglas options are really endless; we can find the perfect product for any need," she explained.

From Traditional to Modern
When Carla goes into a home, she finds out how the client wants to recreate the space. She listens to the ideas they share and pays close attention to interests, likes and dislikes.

When specifically working with the client showcased below, she knew that the kitchen countertops, cabinets, and floor were staying. However, the cabinets had a reddish-orange tint, so she had to be careful with how she selected color combinations to update the kitchen.

“A great way to update the kitchen without tearing everything out is by updating the backsplash and changing out the cabinet knobs,” Carla shared.

As design decisions are made throughout the process, Carla always brings several samples to the client meetings. For instance, the kitchen tile for the backsplash was an option she included, and she felt the homeowner would find the selection appealing.

“I saw the gray design and knew they would love it, but it would also help neutralize the orange,” she added.

In the nearby dining area, new lighting and a custom-made table were added. Lighting is a great way to update a space as well. "In this remodel, we changed out many fixtures including the one over the table," Carla explained. "The lighting fixtures are practically artwork and great conversation pieces."

In the living room, built-in cabinets were ripped out and replaced with open shelving, while the crown molding came down from the ceiling. They also added custom-made floating shelves, showcasing the client's unique taste in decorative accessories.

For this house, the homeowner wanted to remove the home’s traditional design and transform the entire home into a more open, modern look.

Creating Conversation Starters
When looking down at the main floor, the open atmosphere draws viewers towards several conversation starters, including the floating shelves or the windmill-like fan and light. The room has a floor to ceiling fireplace that stayed and became one of the important infrastructures incorporated within the updates.

In the half bath, Carla gave the client several wallpaper samples to select from, while also picking out new lights and cabinetry.

“It became an awesome powder room that is attractive,” she added.

A major creative undertaking took place in the east room. Prior to the remodel, the overall vibe of the room was traditional and elegant, with a fireplace centered in the middle. The homeowner shared a picture that gave Carla a starting idea. With the fireplace at the center, Carla took blue painters’ tape and designed a wall masterpiece.

“I spent an afternoon with tape and levels, creating lines throughout the east wall. Then the contractor took those lines and created the artwork on the wall,” she shared. “We then painted it gray to match other aspects of the house, removing the traditional design and incorporating a modern look.”

Creating Upper-Level Comfort
Like much of the other parts of the house, the client also wanted the master bedroom less traditional. While Carla had the installers replacing the carpet, she transformed the east bedroom wall with her unique creative touch and then coordinated the design into the master bath and closet.

“I took an old design style and made it modern,” she said. The gray farmhouse shiplap design on the wall coordinate with the grays in the carpet. Carla also used the shiplap in the ceiling tray to add a creative twist not often found in a home.

Staying Within Budget
Every client has a different budget and brings different needs to the decision process. Because Carla provides multiple options, it helps a homeowner make decisions best for them.

“We first decide what stays and what goes. Every house is different, like this home we didn’t change out the kitchen flooring, cabinets and kept the fireplaces. Another home could be completely different, and those elements would be replaced,” she said. “At the same time, I will gladly help someone who is just looking to change a few design elements and has a smaller budget.”

Carla loves to personal shop for people and help transform a space, including holiday decorating for all seasons. She will renovate a space with new wall decor, pillows, shelf accessory pieces, countertops, or new living room carpet or rugs. Hunter Douglas Window Fashions can also quickly alter a space. Carla also loves to use, paint and tile work to give a space an uplift.

"It is surprising how just painting the room can change the whole look," Carla added.

Carla also offers the help of a worry-free remodel. If there is drywall work needing to be done, she schedules them in. If there is plumbing or electrical work, she does the work for you and schedules it all. She handles all types of flooring, from carpet to tile to wood; she can help pick what works best for the home and get it installed.

Contact Carla at Total Design Interiors to renovate your home and make it perfect for you. Call or email to schedule your free in-home consultation at (712) 320-3701 or Also, follow her on Facebook at her new page "Total Design Interiors by Carla Radcliffe" and Instagram at "Total Design Interiors."

With Carla's assistance, however big or small the project, the finished product will be a work of art—from Hunter Douglas Window Fashions to decorating tips for any need!