Bringing a Photo to Life

I'm dedicating my very first blog post to one of my amazing followers - Stefanie Martingano @stefmart10 who reached out to me sharing photos of her recently renovated Powder Room that was inspired by one of my projects. I was completely blown away by the beauty of the space and knew it belonged on The Real Houses of Instagram, but it also got me thinking about the entire process of seeing a random photo (online or in a magazine), feeling inspired by it, and bringing it to life in our own homes. We all do this in one way or another, and I love the generosity of interior designers or anyone willing to share their work to inspire others!

Taking on a remodeling project can be extremely overwhelming. Where do I start? What look am I going for? Where do I buy all the beautiful products I see in interior design photos? I was happy to chat with Stefanie about her experience and the entire process of bringing a photo to life in her own home.

Here is the original photo of the Powder Room I recently completed for a client that served as inspiration for Stefanie's beautiful makeover:

And here are the photos of Stefanie's gorgeous new Powder Room!

Now let's get to know Stefanie a little better and chat about her project!

Stefanie Martingano


Kate Rumson (K.R): Where do you live? 

Stefanie Martingano (S.M): I have lived on Staten Island, NY most of my life, but my husband and I just moved to Hazlet, NJ. 

K.R: What was the look/style/feel you were going for when you decided to remodel your Powder Room? 

S.M: I didn't necessarily have a style in mind, but I most definitely like a clean sleek look. I also knew that I wanted wallpaper on the top portion of the bathroom. When I saw the pictures of the paper you posted I just felt like it was what I needed to get my bathroom style going! 

K.R: How long were you looking for inspirational photos for this project before committing to the photo you saw on my personal page?

S.M: Luckily not too long. When I saw the wallpaper you posted and researched a little further it just seemed like the best look and I ordered it! I'm usually not one to make decisions so quickly, but there was something about it that stood out. 

K.R: What did you like the most about that photo?

S.M: From the photo I couldn't tell if the design was more silver or bronze and lately I love mixing the two tones so I felt like it would work best in my space! The fixtures are bronze but the sink hardware is silver and it just ties it together. 

K.R: How long did this renovation take?

S.M: My husband and I closed on July 1st, so we have many projects going on. This took about one month to complete. 

K.R: What was the most difficult part?

S.M: I was torn between a vanity and a pedestal sink. This probably took the longest to figure out, but when I picked my kitchen granite I came across my bathroom granite and that's what forced me to go with the vanity! 

K.R: What is your favorite platform/resource for interior design inspiration (social media/magazines/tv/websites) and why?

S.M: I Pinterest EVERYTHING! I also love Property Brothers, it's one thing my husband and I love to watch together and it gives me so many ideas. 

K.R: How long have you been following @the_real_houses_of_ig?

S.M: Definitely for over a year I screen shot pictures and save them for inspiration all of the time! 

K.R: Who is your favorite blogger/celebrity to follow on Instagram?

S.M: My style is more eclectic/rustic I would say. I love to look at Kourtney Kardashian's home when she posts things of herself or her kids. In terms of my own style I also love Jessica Alba. 

K.R: Favorite color?

S.M: My own personal favorite color has always been purple, although that won't show up in my house too much other than a small decorative floral arrangement. I'm obsessed with taupe tones in my house. My husband and our painter make fun of me, "you know it could be grey or it can be brown." But it's true it can!

K.R: Favorite fashion designer?

S.M: I follow so many fashion designers on Instagram and drool over their pieces! I mostly buy YSL for my purses and I love Valentino and Jimmy Choo shoes. My day to day clothing though is Free People, I love girliness!

K.R: Favorite food?

S.M: I love a good Spanish meal! A nice glass of sangria or margarita with guacamole and a fajita style meal! We love to go to Dos Caminos in NYC!

K.R: Favorite place you've visited or would like to visit?

S.M: My honeymoon was amazing we went to Hawaii and it was so peaceful and serene, but we have gone to Cabo San Lucas a few times and it's just our favorite getaway because it is peaceful and fun at the same time, so many party spots!

K.R: Any advice to anyone looking to take on a home improvement project but doesn't know where to start?

S.M: Peruse the Internet and get inspired! You can literally make anything come to life and fall in love with your own space!

Thank you Stefanie for sharing your story and inspiring us with your photos!


And for everyone else out there - if you or anyone you know was inspired by any of the photos you saw on @the_real_houses_of_ig or @katerumson we'd love to hear from you!

If you've incorporated any of the products I've used in any of my projects in your own spaces - please send your photos my way! I spend countless hours choosing wallpaper, lighting, tiles, appliances, faucets, counters, paint colors and all other finishes for my projects... There's nothing that makes me happier than seeing that all that time and effort doesn't stop at my projects and continues to live on inspiring decor of your homes all around the world! I look forward to many more "Bringing a Photo to Life" blog interviews featuring your projects!

Please click here to submit your space inspired by any photo you've seen on @the_real_houses_of_ig or @katerumson for a chance to be featured on @the_real_houses_of_ig and interviewed for the blog.