In the Works . . . A Week in the Life . . .

Hey . . 

So last week was a busy one.  I installed an amazing family room Monday (photos to come) and started all the painting on the first floor of another client to install tomorrow.   It was a ton of painting to include 3 coats on all the trim and 3 coats to create a black dining room!  I also shopped around for accessories for several August installs and scored on several unique pieces, I love that.

 Mid week I meet with my new clients to show them my thoughts for their projects.  Nine new jobs,  I was on a bit of a roll.  It reminded me of last year when late Spring was full of new design projects to create and when August came I was installing like a mad woman.  Looks like a repeat is ahead of me.

Thought I would share the thought process and give you a few ideas  . . . all these projects have design challenges, some that you might be facing.  Take a look at the "before" pics, and then the design boards, might answer your design questions or give you some inspiration.

Project No. 1 "Teenager Overhaul"

This client has a 16 year old daughter, with a room that needs a make over.  Creating a more grown up space yet with a bit of whimsy.  No. 1 request . .  a touch of dirty lavender, not baby lavender, more of a heather color - mixed with navy.  I searched first for a rug, something that would hopefully combine the two . . score.  With a specific color want - look at rugs or window treatments first, that should be your starting point.  Take a look at the pieces I am pulling in . . .

This room is tight in size and the one place for the bed a lot of people don't think of right away is centered on the window.  It creates a beautiful focal point and will often give you more room, opening up the side walls.  We are using a strong navy graphic wall paper behind it, just on that one wall.  To save more space, we are adding two wall sconces and just one table.  She also has an existing cherry bed which I want to paint pale grey.

Opposite the bed, a new dresser with a pop of navy in the way of a lamp, as we plan to paint the other 3 walls cream.
This room has a small side niche with a closet.  Bringing back the wall paper on the window wall ties it all together.  The heather color - popped on the windows in the form of tailored romans.  Romans rather than curtains behind a bed create a sleeker back drop and are easier to open and close!

We met last week and it's a go . . . only one client request. . . not painting the cherry bed grey.  Leaving the bed cherry,  I chose to do a white dresser.  I didn't like the idea of a cherry bed next to a cerused oak dresser.   Can't wait . . stay tuned for a September install.

Project No. 2 "The Grown Up Lounge"

I run into a lot of homes with "formal" living rooms across from "formal" dining rooms as you enter the front door.  When was the last time you sat with company in a formal living room?  I hate to waste valuable space and turned my once "never sat in" living room into a more casual, eclectic, somewhat "girl" space to escape the kids and husband family room (ooh.. sorry about all the air quotes I am finding myself doing here).  Anyway. . .  

I worked with this client in the past creating a full family room and dining room with a very cohesive color scheme.  As to avoid an overly color matched house, I am introducing a green to mix with the greys and browns.  I will bring back the blues from the other two room in the form of accessories and most importantly art.  This once "office" will now be a cozy second room for lounging and the perfect place for their new piano.  All right by the front door.  A much nicer visual than all that paperwork.

Take a look at the existing two rooms we did last year to tie back to.

So for this new lounge, I am pulling in the right green mixed with neutrals.

This bookcase is actually 2, side by side.  They come with an open back, so I plan to add a backing covered in a green grass cloth.  The dark chocolate grass cloth on the walls above the bright white wainscoting is striking and clean.  The addition of the back panels on the shelves calms down the look as these open shelves will have a wainscoting backdrop.

This large piece of art visible through the french doors from the foyer will tie the blue from the other rooms and create the drama this room needs.  Large scale art is often better than a zillion small pictures - more drama and cleaner.

How about a chaise as oppose to your typical 2 chair in the window scenario !

I cannot wait to get this going.  

Project No. 3 "A Master Retreat with a Seaside Vibe"

The call I received was to look at an empty wall for built ins, for a return client of mine whose son is my 9 year old's crush (I doubt they will be reading this . . . Kate would die but then totally agree)

My client wants a soothing master bedroom and wants storage -  all with a somewhat "beach" vibe.  Soothing was the name of her game.  The name of my game was to give her that but having the "built in" created in a way that could be taken if they ever decide to ever move.

Take a look at the overall color scheme.

This "built in" wall isn't really built in at all.  I've included two pieces from a vendor of mine, with a low center connector piece to be built by my great carpenter.  The doors of the center custom piece will be stretched with grey linen and that same linen will be upholstered to the wall behind the TV, creating the look of one unit.  The top of the piece will have a bench cushion to house all those pretty bed pillows at night.

And the reading corner of the room will have two recovered chairs, floor lamp and the "inspiration" pillows - from my client.

Successful meeting on this project.  Only tweak - she wanted a calmer accent wall paper, so textured grey grass cloth it is for a more tone on tone look.  I will have to add a big piece of art of give that bed wall some color.  Excited to begin ordering for a fall install !

Project No. 4 "The Chic Office"

Susan Brown (and her chic self) is back and in need of an office space.  She has a big, 'ole empty upstairs guest room with two file cabinets and random furniture in it and she's working on a tiny desk in her master.  The time has come.  This time I am taking my inspiration from myself.  We finished her main living space not too long ago, I am pulling my colors from this room.
My plan is this . . . now that I has convinced Susan wall paper is so awesome, I plan to bring it back in this room.  A very sophisticated white on white leopard print.  Yum.  With that subtle, pattern backdrop, I am bringing in the greys and taupes with a touch of the teal we used downstairs.

This space has a nook window.  A storage bench will be tucked in there, jutting a bit from the window to create a comfortable seating area that is deeper than the actual side walls.   I am hanging the panels on the outside of the nook to create more visual interest rather than tucking inside against the window.   Her new desk is streamlined and we are bringing one of her dining room chairs up for the desk.  This floral fabric is absolutely perfect in that it mixes the light blue of her dining chair with the darker teal found in her living space.  It can be hard to find that one fabric that brings it all together.  I had to have this one and I am glad she was game.
This space should suit her love for all things chic and beautiful.  And if you have to work, why not make your space inspiring - you get more done.  Game on, so happy she liked !

Project No. 5 "Losing Baby Boy"

Nichole Randol.  Love my long, long distance Oregon client.  We have been working together over two Christmas Cards and never met, though I feel like I know her.  She's laid back and easy.  She's game for anything and she's great at the detailed measuring emails.  Her son Ben needs a new room, he's a big boy now.

Mother and son went on my site and he loved this ikat fabric.  That was all I needed to get it going.  Tiny room with bay window.  At first we pondered the bed in window look, which I love, such a focal point, but with all the things we needed to stuff in this room, we chose to move it to the side wall on the right and add a desk in the window.  The floating bookcases on the two skinny walls are a great way to save valuable floor space as are wall sconces rather than side tables and lamps.  

I need to go to Oregon one of these days, having tackled her daughter's room, 2 bathrooms, family room and kitchen it's time.  Would love to meeting this Mom of 4 and see it all in person!

Project No. 6 "Crisp and Eclectic"

This client has great taste and was so fun to meet with last week.  We had a few phone calls and she sent me pictures of her space.  The layout was great and she had some pieces I loved.  An Oly mirrored armoire, great lamps and coffee table.  What didn't work for both of us was the existing color palette and she was never a big fan of her existing sofa.   Her personally does not correspond with builder beige and it fills this room.   She sent me images of fabric swatches, prior to our meeting, that she was drawn to . . .

These fabrics really showed me what she truly wanted, crisp color, graphic with a touch of the organic, blues and greens.   I also had her email me images of the rest of the rooms in the house.  Even though we weren't doing those, I wanted to see more when it came to what she was drawn to and to make sure this new look would jive with the rest of the house for now until we were ready to do those.  I then asked her all the real questions a designer should ask . . . lifestyle, pets / no pets, kids, budget and mainly . . how much does your husband care (ha ha).

Her response to the husband question was . . . "comfortable seating to watch T.V."  I get that a lot.  I also knew if I put something leather in the room, I could probably get my wall paper and crazy fun colors.  It worked (sound familiar Joan!).

When we met last week I showed Betsy these two design boards.  The biggest visual element was the wall paper.

We both loved it, but sometimes at my studio full of every piece of wall paper you can imagine  my client want to make sure there isn't "something else out there."  Well there's a million things out there.  We started looking at a few other options for the paper.  Betsy fell in love with this one.  A few tweaks and done.  I love the color mix of teal and green.  She also brought up her love a orange.  I love this combination.  It was a fun meeting with a lot of collaboration.

Take a look at our tweaked version!

This room will being the starting point in adding her love for color throughout the house.  Need to win over the husband on the process and we are good to go on the other rooms . . .

Project No. 7 "Lake Shack - Not"

I say "lake shack . . not" because my client is renovating his dream house on the lake and it's full of amazing windows, angles, decks, porches and gorgeous floors.  He is giving me the bones.  We just need furniture.  A large, open floor plan (with a few challenging angles), I am in the process of finding the right pieces to fit and create a cohesive look.  I have a rug and grass cloth to work around on this project.  A very tone on tone color scheme, we will probably amp it up a bit with pillows and art.

With the open floor plan, the key is creating "zones" that flow from one space to the other.  We are moving the T.V. from over the rock fireplace, where currently only 2 can watch, to a larger walls in the larger living space.  A new sectional will designate this zone, but still flow to the smaller "reading area" over by the fireplace that flows into the kitchen.  What's interesting about this space, is the wide foyer.   My client had a great idea to add a long table against the wall which can be pulled out for large dinner parties.  Great idea.  Centering that table in the foyer will easily accommodate 8 and why waste the space.  Multi-use is great.

A few tips you might be able to use if you have a large open floor plan . . 

- create zones

- use the same color scheme, yet layer the graphic with the organic 
- need really big rugs? find a great carpet and have one made in the size you need

With a "to the trade" showroom near my studio, we met last week and my clients were able to sit on and get a good visual of the furniture source I was considering.

Project No. 8 "More than a File Cabinet"
The Bouleware's are back as well and in need of an office space too.   With their family room looking so pulled together, we wanted to bring that look to the front of the house and tackle a room that gets lots of use.  I really believe an organized, visually pulled together office space, makes paying those bills and bring work home a little more enjoyable!

I took my inspiration from myself again and am bringing the blues to this space, but only in touches here and there.

  Their front living room is predominantly yellow.  I chose to mix the front with the back of the house using blues and yellows, but this room's primary need is function . . in a pretty way of course.

Built ins for any room are great, if they have a little interest in the way of space and / or color.   Just like "builder beige," "builder white stock cabinets" can be equally dull.  I have painted and wall paper backed more flanking fireplace storage pieces that I care to mention.  I try not to do the typical built in look in any office especially.  There are pieces out there that are functional, built ins don't always have to be the go to.

I found these gorgeous file cabinets and when closed, you'd never know.  A bit of a mid-century vibe, rich in texture, and a warm wood tone.  The plan is to add 2 on either side of the window with both a piece of art over 1 and T.V over the other.  The new 6 foot table top desk has hidden pencil drawers and will be closed enough to access the files.

  I am bringing in a 75" apartment sofa with nesting tables which can be moved around.  Sleek lighting and a few contrasting pillows.  The space will make doing all that dull office work a little nicer.  Client was game with no tweaking involved !

Project No. 9 "For the Love of Purple"

Never been to St. Paul, Minnesota, but received a call to help with a tiny room that needed some style.  Biggest challenge in this room, besides the lack of space, the rough, mudded walls, ugh.  Walls like that can only be painted, unless you want to go the expense and mess or sanding them down.  Our budget would be blown if we did that so my challenge was to bring in color for this pre-teen, as well as pieces that were more sophisticated but not all custom and crazy expensive.   Lavender seems to be the favorite color of the girl's I am working with these days, so lavender it is.  

This design took the lead from the Urban Outfitter duvet cover on the bed.  I started there simply because I knew I couldn't do much in the way of pattern on the walls - that texture wouldn't allow it.  I brought all the pattern in the room on the bed.  Urban Outfitter's "apartment" section has great, inexpensive duvet covers" that can get the ball rolling.  This one had the key color request, purple.  I started building the design board adding lavender walls, a yellow rug in a graphic, with pops of the blue in the lamps.

The biggest difference in the room will be the layout.  Moving a new bed in the window and raising the window treatments to the ceiling will had height and open up those side walls.  That nook to the right of the mirrored closet is better suited for one of her dressers with a fresh paint color.  We are adding upholstered art on either side of the bed, raised high for more color.

I called St. Paul and spoke with my client . . . loved the duvet cover, layout, furniture, and windows . . her only request . . . not a big fan of yellow.  No worries, I had pulled 3 different color combination, I shot her another design board and all was well (one of these days I'll get my lavender and yellow).

Whew !  Like I said, busy week.  Key to all this, being in the design zone.  I love pulling options and creating these boards.  I am grateful my clients are so open and agreeable, there isn't much in the way of back and forth.  Bree is great too.  When I get the "go" it's all handed off for ordered and orchestrating. Wondering about the process?  Usually about 6-8 weeks - granted nothing is back ordered !

Pretty excited to see these come to life.  This upcoming week I am installing what I started in late May/June.  Mekenzie, you'll be up.

Happy Sunday !