Kitchens on the Brain...

I'm working on a few kitchen projects at the moment and for the past couple of months, I've been collecting images.  One of the easiest places (besides a physical binder) to collect images is  One of the kitchens we're working on is for our clients who absolutely love to cook and they're drawn to simple, functional beauty that feels timeless & as if it's always been there with a tad of a European edge. 

{House Beautiful,,,  I looooove these leather chairs!!!}}

And not that we're doing garden mazes in the kitchen, but although a bit more formal than what we're going for, I want to bring a little bit of that traditional garden- conservatory-vibe into the house...  But in a more relaxed way...

{image via}

We're looking at going with a beautiful French range by LaCanche:

{Kitchen by Mary Evelyn McKee via}

...Except in stainless steel w/ brass accents:

They needs lots of space in the sink for washing large pots & pans & so we're considering a deep, wide farmhouse sink.  I love this laundry style sink:

{via via Brooke Giannetti}

I haven't come across any 1 image that perfectly embodies the feeling we're after but Ina Garten's home is definitely in the mix:

{One of my favorite houses EVER, featured in House Beautiful}

...We just want it to be a teensy bit less "fresh" and a little more aged.  The house is also not a rustic one & so we really don't feel that the beams would be appropriate, although we love them.   

We're using a mix of finishes in the kitchen, many of them unlaquered brass and if you haven't already read this post last week by Brooke Giannetti about mixing metals in the kitchen, then you need to hop over to Velvet & Linen to read it.  Along with Ina & a few others, the Giannetti's aesthetic has also played a  big part in this particular kitchen design.  When I first met with my client & she showed me inspiration images, so many of them reminded me of Brooke & Steve's Patina Style and when I mentioned them, my client said she was an admirer.

{ via Brooke on pinterest}

We're striving for the perfect mix of old & new, beauty & practicality.

{An old wooden tabletop...  I can't remember the source, but how amazing is this timeworn finish?!!}

I also love the baker's racks that Darryl Carter uses in many of his projects.  They're so gorgeous & functional:

We're planning on incorporating a pair flanking the range hood.

We're looking at doing plaster one similar to this (below) but with more of a curve to the front and back:

{ by Jane Ellison}

Anyway, as we make more progress, I'll be sure to share updates. 
Because it takes a lot of this....

{image from}

and this...


before you get to this...

{image from}

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Bits of Blue

Happy Friday!!  Maybe it's the unusually warm weather or that it's one of my favorite colors, but I've been drawn to touches of blue lately.  We just presented a plan to a client with a blue painted buffet in a dining room & here are a couple images that I looked at.

I love what the shot of blue does in this neutral dining room: 

{I think the homeowners are the founders of Wisteria}

I've had this image for a while (and have posted it more than once) but I looooove this Gustavian piece:

{The mix of the blue with the old door is perfection.  I can't remember the source for the image- sorry!!}

And finally (yeah, it's Friday, this is a short one ;) this past summer I found this cool old blue trunk at an atntique store and put it in my dad's almost-finished lake house dining room:

{It's great for last-minute mess stashing..  Curtains are in my Live Paisley in Antique Beige and Boys are by Lauren & David Liess ;}

Anyway, I'm off for the day but have a great weekend!!  It's SO beautiful & warm here today that I can't believe it's January!!!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Designer Showhouses- Do or Don't?

One of my favorite things to do is working on textile designs. I always have a list of designs in my head that I want to do, but sitting down & finding the time to sit down & draw them is another story. Sometimes it just takes some good motivation. The DC Design House has started up again this year & so I've been busy drawing. I've seen the new house - along with all of the other interested designers in the DC area- and have been working on a design to submit for a space. (First everyone sees the house & then we have a couple of weeks to create a design, which is then submitted for review by the Design Committee. )

I've gotten a few emails & phone calls lately from designers asking if I thought it was "worth it" to do the Design House last year. And the answer is, I'm submitting a design again, so YES definitely :)

{My room from last year.. And just to warn you, something is wrong with blgoger and it won't let me upload any other pics so this is a pictureless post from here on out. sorry!!}

I have to say though... it's really up to each individual designer to decide if it's "worth it" for herself or himself.

First of all, Children's Hospital is an amazing cause & each year, I try to do something special to help people through our design work, so I think that's an important "pro" for doing any charity design showhouse.
Being involved in the Showhouse makes you feel like you're part of this big team & it's a ton of fun. I can't say it in any other way other than it just makes you feel special. (It kind of reminds me of doing plays in gradeschool :) People are generally really supportive of one another and in our showhouse, we had a great PR person (Sherry Moeller) who sent so much press everyone's way, so that was amazing. You get to work alongside amazing designers and see all these beautiful spaces happen up-close. It's really nice & exciting to be around so many people in the industry.
One thing that has to be taken into consideration is the cost of doing a room in a showhouse. Both time/ opprtunity costs & money. A showhouse is different from other projects in that you are working around a lot of other people and there are certain times when you have to get things done. The schedule is very compressed & there's a lot of pressure to get things finished much quicker than you would in an ordinary project. (For example, if you're doing COM upholstery, a typical lead time for a sofa could be 8-10 weeks or even more depending upon your fabrics & availability. Well, with the compressed showhouse timeline, you might only have 7 or so weeks to get everything in. Last year I was on pins & needles waiting for all pf my pieces to come in on time.)

As far as money goes- things start adding up. I tried to get as many donations & loans as I could. (I am forever grateful to companies like Peter Dunham Textiles & Michael Smith, and Stark Carpets and lots of others who donated their goods to make our room happen. And The team of people I work with was also right there for me, donating labor & time, which I never could have afforded on my own.) But expenses still add up & there lots of things you just have to purchase (sometimes custom ones for example) and you do end up spending quite a bit of money.

But I think being in a Showhouse really gives you the chance to show others that you're there. It puts you in a place to get noticed & to help make a name for yourself, and as anyone in our business knows, that's what keeps your business going.

Another question I get a lot is- "Did you get clients from the Showhouse?" ... My answer is a hazy one. We had lots of inquiries into our services, but not many that panned out into full projects.

We received lots of inquiries for consultations but unfortunately, due to our workload & staffing, we're only able to take on full-service projects. The one project we did take on that was related to the Design House was with a client whom a previous client had already referred to us & who was already considering working with us before the Showhouse. I think seeing the space we created in person convinced her & her husband that we were "right" for them. I would say if you're doing a showhouse because you expect to directly get clients from it, then you might be disappointed. Go into it thinking you won't get any clients & if you do, that's a great perk, but don't count on it for your finances.

Other people have asked about getting Showhouse rooms published in shelter magazines. It's another thing I would say to not go in expecting. Typically, certain magazines will shoot a showhouse for an upcoming issue. Home & Design Magazine (our local Design Magazine) used photos of every room of the Showhouse (I think) last year & so that was great for everyone. And Traditional Home also typically shoots the DC Design House, so of course everyone is dying for their room to get chosen. It seems like the more public/ larger spaces are typically shot for this like the living rooms, master, etc. but you never know- it coule be you! Last year, we were lucky enough to have our room photographed for an up-coming Better Homes & Gardens Magazine issue (coming out in April!! :) and I'm so excited about the article because it really focuses on the design decisions made & how to go about creating a room with that type of feeling.

And another thing I would think anyone submitting a design for a showhouse agonizes over (I know I do) is which room to pick to submit a design for.  When big, talented & established designers do showhouses, I would think they pretty much get the spaces they want to do.  When you're new to the industry & haven't yet quite made a name for yourself, deciding on a room can be really worrisome.  Last year I chose a smaller bedroom space upstairs for my design.  I didn't get the bedroom I submitted a design for & was moved right next door to a very similar bedroom so I could keep my general design.  I felt sooooo lucky.  I loved my space and was happy with my decision to start small.  ...  Now what do you do if you decide you want a more prominent space?  (Spaces on the first floor of showhouses are really desirable and I think they are generally harder to get.)  I honestly don't have a good answer here, as this is the big question going through my head right now.  Part of me says, "play it safe.  If you're newer or have never been involved with a showhouse before, just choose a space you think you might actually have a shot at and play it safe."  The other part of me says, "Go for it.  What do you have to lose? Be true to yourself and if you think you can create an amazing design for a space, then do it, regardless of who you are."   No guts, no glory, right?  (But that's not exactly true in a showhouse ;) ;)  If you aim too high, you could just miss it altogether or you could be rewarded.  You never know.   

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I'm sure other people have other ones though, so if you've participated in a Showhouse before & have any advice, I think everyone (me included!) would love to hear it.

One last thing-  Never let fear of rejection keep you from making the Showhouse decision.  Don't even let it weigh in.  Rejection is scary and kind of makes me sick, but I think it's something we all experience & know we (eventually ;)  get over.  I was sooooo nervous last year & I'm surprised to see I'm even more nervous submitting a design this year, and that rejection fear is very real for me, but I'm fighting it because the risk is worth it. 

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Extra Extra- Thanks!!

January is always a little crazy in this business.  (Ok, let's be honest, what months aren't in anyone's life??)  But anyway, we've been busy shooting projects, working on new ones, and thinking about & planning for the the Springtime which brings on design showhouses to visit, more projects and.. a baby!!! (due in May:)

{Yes, I know how scary this 3D pic of our Baby Liess looks...  All of that tissue looks like hair!!  My 4 year-old looked at it and said, "Oh... it's a girl because she has all that hair!"}  Ah vell. 

We've also had some really nice mentions & magazine features lately.

Thanks so much to Victoria Magazine for including me in their Special Entrepreneur Issue!!

The article I was featured in focuses on women who have created businesses out of their passions.  (I'm honored to be included among them.)  I'm feel so lucky to be working in a field I love so much, but owning your own business puts you not only in your field of work, but also into the "entrepreneur" category.  It's a hat you sort of put on without realizing, and it was really interesting to look back for this article & talk about how I got my start & the business going. 

Before the article, I was unfamiliar with Victoria Magazine, but I was BLOWN AWAY by some of the homes featured in this month's issue.  (and flowers!!)  Serious eye candy & I'm hooked.

I was also thrilled to be included in Washingtonian Magazine's new blog column of before & afters by DC area designers.  (click on the link aboce to view it.)  I can't wait to check out the next ones!

And thank you so much to Cassandra Lavalle for including a snippet of my bedroom in this month's issue of Rue Magazine!!  It's a great little page that shows unique ways to store your magazines.

{I keep my current ones in this massive old bowl}

So be sure to check out Rue --- I am in love with a photo collage one of the rooms in there this month!

And finally...  we've been working on our back office some more.  Our desks & chairs came in- yay!!

{Don't you love my Christian Patrick Liess originals hanging on the wall  above my computer?? - left}

We're doing inspiration boards along the entire wall above our desks & my assistant, Meghan, has been gathering hers up for a while now.  The other walls are full of shelving which is making life soooo much easier. 

Anyway, I'm off for the day but have a great one!!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Interior Design Business- Tips for Getting Productive & Reducing the drudgery

Thanks so much to everyone who commented & sent emails about the last post & the "glamour" of interior design. 

Something that came up was different programs designers can use for accounting, project management, etc.  In our office we use Quickbooks.  There is NO WAY in the world we could function without a program like this (& our accountant!!)  There are lots of options out there but Quickbooks works really well for us.  It's great for making estimates for clients, then turning those into invoices, and also for placing purchase orders, writing checks, viewing profit & loss statement, etc.  While Quickbooks works for my interior design business, it isn't perfectly tailored for the type of interior design software we're looking for.  I'd like to find something that assists more in creating design plans and also in the implementation of them.

{A system we tried a while back of having every client's To Dos on the blackboard...  We started getting lazy and not filling in the sheets on the board & just doing ones in our client binders instead.  We may go back to this... I'm not sure.}

As many of you know, when you get into a design project, there is a lot of work of course involved in coming up with the design, but a HUGE amount of the work is actually in implementing & managing the project & keeping it going when there are hiccups & product delays.  (And there always are.)  There is a timeline you need to work from and every little thing needs to fall into place at the right time.  SO much effort & time goes into this process, and you really need to have it nailed down in order to run things smoothly for your clients.  I find this to be the most challenging part of this business because you can have everything in place and then something doesn't come through for you & it's your responsibility to make it right.  Right now we do all of this manually, which is extremely time-consuming. 

Here are some tips we received from readers, along with some of my thoughts on them:  (and no more pictures, sorry!! )

-A few people wrote in about strictly defined hours.  I couldn't agree with this more.  We work 9-5 and if you own your own business, I think you need to impose rules on yourself.  Now, if you do own your own business, you clearly know that you don't work a 9-5, but I think at least trying to enforce the rule makes it better than not doing it at all.  When you work from home (the way I do) it can be really difficult to shut your office down at the end of the day & on weekends.  I have been really good about the weekend rule lately & it makes my familly much happier.  I think most successful business owners probably have workaholic tendencies but -especially if you have a family- to lead balanced & happy lives, I think we need to fight those tendancies a little.    I used to meet clients at night & on the weekends & realized not only was it hard on me, but that it was hard on my family.

-Delegate!--- This has worked out really well for me.   At first, delegating & handing over responsibility can be like teeth-pulling (from yourself!) but once you can learn to let go & give some resposibility to others and learn what jobs you should & shouldn't be doing, you will be waaaaaay more productive & you can handle more projects & clients.  I would never be able to go back to life without my assistant (Meghan) and finding people you trust is key.  Think of everything in your business that requires you and only you, and attempt to delegate the rest.  From a strictly business point of view, you should try to delegate almost everything that isn't directly bringing money in the door.   Spend your hours doing billable things that include important decisions like designing and meeting with clients and finding the perfect piece for a room.  (not that I do this at all, but it is my goal...  It's very easy to get sidetracked and start doing things that you should be handing over :)

-Accounting-  We have an accountant and my husband does the bookkeeping.  Again, there's no way we'd be able to take the workload we do without this help.  (this sort of goes back to delegating)

-Virtual Assistants-- has anyone had any experience with this?  My friend Amy Meier loves the company she uses, Designer Advantage, and they do A LOT.  It looks awesome.

-Outsourcing Floorplans--  I think this is great.  One of the first things I hired my assistant for originally, was to do floorplans.  You can still decide where everything will go, but have an assistant draw them out for you by hand or in some type of CAD program.  This saves everyone time & benefits your clients because it takes less of your time/ costs less.

-Filing & doing paperwork every day VS Letting it Pile up-  There seemed to be two categories of people here.  It seems that some people actually like having it pile up and doing it all at once while others like to do it a little at a time.  In our office, we try to do a little every day, but of course that doesn't always happen and it can pile up.  I really never like for it to pile up over a weekend though because I hate being greeted by a mess on Monday mornings. 

--Katherine wrote in "Before you shut the door each day, make a list of what you need to achieve the following day & definitely tidy up / put everything back in it’s place so you feel refreshed when you return in the morning."-- I think this is a GREAT idea,  I try to do this but it doesn't happen every day.  I feel much better on the days when I walk into an office that's ready to work than one that's littered with our mess from the day before.   I like having a To Do list for the next day ready & waiting for me.

-After reading my last post, my dad wrote my a {super-long} email about his "spiral notebook" of To Do lists & notes.  I'm a bit old school like that too, like I mentioned, I always have a clipboard with my current To Do list on top of it with important info behind it.  It keeps me on track.  I even write To Do Lists for my assistant (which I'm sure she loves;) to help me clear my own mind. 

-Eileen @ A Creative day wrote in that in her office they normally try to block out at least one day a week from client meetings to stay in the office and get paperwork done, so they can stay on top of it and not get buried! --- I think this is SO important.  At our office, I feel like we need a good 2 days in the office (at least) to get everything handled properly.  Your meeting & shopping days are your busiest with running around, but I find that we really get everything handled & do the majority of our work on office days.  (the work sweats days...  ;)  They are the most productive.

-Scheduling is one of those things that can end up taking a lot of time.  Sometimes there's a lot of back-and-forth when trying to coordinate dates with contractors or clients so we've been working on me doing less of that in our office so I can be freed up to do other things. 

-Sarah from Sarah's Fab Day wrote that "One thing that always worked for me and kept me on track was keeping on top of those crummy "easy" jobs (you know the ones that aren't so easy when you let them pile up?). I would always dedicate a time block to those jobs in the morning and then my afternoons would be free to tackle the jobs that would take a good amount of time."  --- We do this in our office every day.  The real design work typically never happens until after 12 or so (on a good day) because I like to get all of the little thigns & loose ends out of the way so I can concentrate on the big stuff.  (A while back, I realized I really needed help & better systems when I wasn't getting into the real work until around 4 or so... Then I'd end up working all night & it just wasn't fair to my family.)

-Katherine also wrote in that she believes the most essential thing to a successful business is making your workspace .. well .. “you” .. surround yourself with things you love & you will feel like you belong in the space = you will be sure to succeed.   --- I think this is to true too.  Most of us are in this business because we believe that our surroundings have a huge effect on us.  I'm much happier working (or doing anything really) when I like my surroundings.  I feel more productive when everything is organized & has a place to go to.  Also, if you do work in an office with other people, everythign being in its place is key to staying on track because everyone needs to know where everthing is.
-One reader (Allumer Decor) recommends buying & reading THE BUSINESS OF DESIGN by, Keith Granet and she loves it.--  I definitely want to check it out.  I have a few business of design-type books but can't think of the titles right now.

List of software/programs that can help:
-Studio Webware
-Design Manager
-Specify-- This is the one I'm trying out right now.  Has anyone used it?  When I figure it all out, I'[ll be sure to post.  It has a monthly fee vs. a one-time fee.
-A few people wrote about Google calendar. They can add others to their calendars so they're all on track ----- Oooh I'm definitely going to try this!!

ps- when I mentioned my office looked "lovely,"  what I meant was that it never looks that good :)  On any given week day, there's stuff EVERYWHERE.  It was made to look "pretty" for the photoshoot.  (I do put it all alway on the weekends though.)

The paint color is Midwest Spring by FreshAire Choice, the No VOC paint brand @ Home Depot. 

..As far as all of the design software programs go, I would love to do a roundup post one day with people's thoughts on the different programs.  This week is crazy but I will try to do that soon.

**UPDATE-  Just one more thing to add-  If you're a newer business and you're not using Quickbooks or some type of accounting software or service, switch over to one ASAP.  Your business will start to grow quicker than you can imagine and you will need that system in place for when you're really busy!!  (It's much easier to learn & convert over when you're a smaller business than when you have lots of different projects going on.)  And, even if you plan on taking things smaller, it will free up a lot of your time.  :)

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

The Glamour of Interior Design

I think it's sort of a common stereotype that the job of a decorator or interior designer is a glamorous one:  Meeting with clients in beautiful homes, looking at pretty fabrics & swatches & tiles in a perfectly organized office, Shopping all the time, presenting beautiful design plans, networking at parties, doing magazine shoots, creating inspiration boards, showhouses...  all of that.

{Doesn't my office just look lovely?!...  This is the office made to look pretty for our Piccola Magazine photoshoot.  Photo by Maya Wechsler}

Well, yes, these things do happen, but they are done between the many days & hours spent doing paperwork, billing, emails, FILING, driving from showroom to showroom in search of a parking place, running out the door like a crazy person, meeting deadlines, backordered items, talking on the phone to try to get damaged items repaired or making returns, coordinating shipping & delivery, chasing down & coordinating contractors, creating quotes and preparing budgets, trying to fit waaaay too much stuff in your car, making timelines, scheduling meetings & jobs, and generally just always needing to do more than you could possibly do in one day.

{The carting tons of stuff around part}

Lots of days, I wear my "work sweats."  (This is my fancy term for sweats... I always say that in a Nacho Libre voice:  "I need some sweats!")  I've told my assistant that she too can wear work sweats, but she rarely takes me up on it.  (So I'm guessing maybe this is not as normal as I wish it was...  A client stopped by a couple of weeks ago unannounced & I definitely regretted my choice of work sweats & no makeup that day.) 

{Nacho/ me on the work-from-home days}

I always feel a bit like I'm the only one who has it this unglamorous, but in talking to friends in the business, I don't think I am.  (I do think I take the glamour down a few notches more with the work sweats though ;) 

I'm always analyzing my business & how we can get things to run more smoothly, make the experience better for our clients and for us, and to make the most of our time.  I'd love to find more ways for my assistant & I to spend more time doing the fun stuff and less time doing the business side of it, but the unglam stuff is typically even more important than the fun, creative part in this business and only having the one side of it just isn't reality. 

I recently just found some new interior design project management software & I think it's going to cut out a lot of our "business" time. I'm so excited but want to wait to share with you until I can be sure. (I'm doing a free trial right now & will keep you posted.)

So I'd love to know- If you have your own business (any business)- How do you maximize the creative part of the process and reduce the drudgery?  Got any tips?  Programs? Systems?  Schedules?  Would love to know!  If we get enough comments, I'll be sure to compile them all together in a post later on in the week.  Thanks!! 

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Congrats to a friend!!

Happy Friday- HURRRRRAYYY!!!!!

My good friend, Elise Seidita, recently opened her new design center- The Design Center of Northern Virginia!  I'm so happy for Elise & she's created a super-functional to-the-trade showroom for designers where we can view fabrics, wallcoverings, furnishings, lighting and even one-of-a-kind accessories & artwork.  To kick off the new year, Elise is having a sample sale - on everything- on the showroom floor.

The showroom is located in Herndon, Virginia, and the sale will be open for one week for designers only (Jan 16th-27th) and the second week to the general public (Jan 30th-Feb 3rd) and they will be offering trade only items at 10% less than designer's net price. (!!!) 

{I COVET that old factory table you see in the background...  would be such a beautiful island!!  ahhh no one buy that please ;) ;)

Elise has stocked the showroom with lots of cool one-of-a-kinds and some great upholstered pieces like sofas & chairs. 
{How fun are the lanterns?!}

(On the showroom floor, they have sofas/chairs/case goods by Vanguard, Hickory Chair, Nichols and Stone, John Richards, lighting by Ralph Lauren/Visual Comfort and Currey & Co, plus one off pieces and accessories.  The Madhatter chairs I used in the DC Design House last Spring are also there and they are an insane deal right now!) 

Elise has been so supportive of me from the day we met (2 years ago) and has really encouraged me to follow my dreams & to dream even bigger ones.  She is a really special person who is extremely driven & determined, and sees no limit for potential & I really admire her.  So many things could have stopped her from opening the showroom but she never gave up & kept on trusting that she could make it happen.  She has worked tirelessly  to get the showroom up and running and her business has grown so much - even in this tough economy-  and I'm so excited for her.  So, if you're looking for the perfect piece to fit somewhere at home or for an amazing deal, please be sure to stop by the sale!! 

Designers' Week-Jan 16th-27th
General Public Week- Jan 30th-Feb 3rd
(9:30 AM- 5:00 PM every day)

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

#2 I'm Shopping for... The Perfect Rug

This week's "I'm Shopping For" is about finding the perfect rug for a client of mine. (FYI- I'm patting myself on the back right now for doing an "I'm Shopping For" two weeks in a row.)   My client, Ashley, is young & stylish and lives in a beautifully redone old condo in DC.  Her style is sort of an updated traditional.  She's drawn to rooms that have an interesting mix of patterns with furnishings on the traditional side and bolder, more vibrant colors.  She's collected some pretty antiques over the years- both family pieces & on her own, and her place has great bones.  When I first came to check out her living room, it looked great already.  (And I'm thinking- are you sure you need me?! ;)  She, of course, wanted to keep her antiques & we decided on using a few other pieces she already owned that we loved for the new design - one of them being a patterned soft pastel area rug- and I got to work.

{We immediately decided the coffee table was staying.  The sofa too, and the slipper chairs could stay or be reupholstered.}

When I first dig into a design for a new client, I pour over their inspiration images, noting similarities and patterns in the various pictures.  With Ashley's pictures, I was a little stumped though.  I wasn't seeing the connection between what we were working with in her current living room and where we needed to be feeling-wise.  The one thing I noticed in Ashley's inspiration rooms was that they had bold mixes of patterns & colors and some of them had that sort of laid-back "undecorated" feeling so many of us strive for (vs. a more refined, planned out one)  yet they still contained some more formal & sometimes glammy pieces mixed in with more casual ones.  There was an energy about the spaces she loved.  And one recurring element I noticed: many of the rooms had antique graphic-patterned rugs.  The rug Ashley & I had decided to keep (above) was beautiful, but the more I got into what I thought was "her," and what she wanted out of her new living room, the more it seemed the washed pastel rug wasn't right for the design.  I initially tried to work out a scheme that felt like "Ashley" out of soft colors that were beautiful with the rug, but it just wan't quite jiving with what she wanted.

As a decorator, I feel that it's my job to push my clients a little out of their comfort zones so that I can create spaces they'll really & truly love & be excited by, but not to push them so much that they're unhappy or really uncomfortable with anything like budget, style, etc., so it's sometimes hard to know when to speak up and say something that might possibly push your client too much.  Anyway, I got in touch with Ashley and she was very open to moving the rug to her bedroom (which btw will be perfect in there with its soft blues- yay!) and trying out a new one in the living room  (= dream client! ;)    She totally got what I was saying about needing to go a little bolder with our colors & style and I was able to move forward on the project in the right direction.  Thus began the hunt for the perfect antique(ish) graphic rug. 

Rugs can be tough because you're looking for the perfect style, the right feeling and colors that work.  In some cases I found rugs with great patterns but their colors weren't right for what we needed or vice versa. 
To find the perfect rug, I look through hundreds of rugs, but I'll only share the ones that caught my eye for the project.  Anyway, here's the story of the rug hunt:

I came across this little beauty from French Market Collection, but it was still too soft-feeling for what we needed.  I did like the central pattern though:

This rug (below, also at FMC) is definitely going to have to go somewhere for someone whether it's me or a client.  I looooove it:

.... It still wasn't what I was looking for though.

I loved the graphic pattern of this David Easton rug but this wouldn't work for our colors:

I'm also gaga for this rug by Megerian, but again, the colors weren't right for the project:

{must find a home for you my rug love!!}

I started getting more into the neighborhood of where I wanted the rug to be when I came across this one, (below) but it just didn't quite have that teensy edge I was looking for and is a tad too "pretty" for what I wanted:

And then I  found this beauty also by Megerian (my new obsession btw):
{It is perfect!!!  Absolutely perfect!!}

I presented the design plans to Ashley yesterday (she loved the rug) and we're tweaking fabrics this week & should be ready to roll by next week.  I can 't wait!! I'll be sure to share more when I can!! :)

Does anyone else know of some great rug sources for rugs similar to this one that they'd like to share?  If so, just be sure to leave a link in the comments section :)

xoxo, Lauren

ps- If you have any questions, be sure to check back in the comments later, because that's where I'll answer them :)

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

SEHD Unveils Awesome New House Plan

Today at Simply Elegant Home Designs we unveiled an awesome new house plan - The Willowbrook!  Check it out and let us know what you think.

Birdseye view of front entry

Front View

Rear View
This house plan would be suitable for the shorelines of lakes, rivers and oceans; but would be equally at home in the country, or on a large wide lot with beautiful views!  You can obtain more information on this fresh new country house plan at Simply Elegant Home Designs website by following:  The Willowbrook

SOS- artwork help!

A client of mine recently moved into a condo that was converted from an old Church, St.Monica's.  It's pretty amazing & the architects did a beautiful job of incorporating details from the original church into the house.  Her kitchen island is the original altar & the place has sort of a modern-Gothic feeling.  (Don't worry, the altar was deconsecrated first!)   My client fell in love with the house & its history and she was thinking that it would be special to have a prayer to St.Monica hanging somewhere.  We need an oversized piece to float above some low shelves in her study/ dining room so we were thinking it could be the perfect spot for the prayer. 

{something like this piece above...  Room by Muse Interiors}

I was thinking even that if it could be hand printed/ painted in a sort of edgy printing it might look cool too.  Here's what's going on in the house furniture-wise:

{The page to the left is for the study/ dining room and the others are the living room.}

So.. my S.O.S to you is-  do you know anyone who does this sort of thing?  (Can make an overscale handwritten piece of either wood or canvas?)  I know so many of you know great artists on Etsy or some of you are even artists yourselves, so if anyone has any course, I'd love the help.

Thank you!!

Anyway, hope you had a great weekend!!

**UPDATE*** Thank you so much for all of the emails & comments with info on artists!   We've gotten over 50 leads so far & we will be reviewing and passing on the information to our client who will be making the final decision.  I'm blown away by all of the help & all of the talented people out there.   I can't thank you enough!!  (And I have NO idea how we are going to make this decision with all the beautiful choices out there now!!)

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.
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