Friday, July 29, 2011

Client's Traditional Living Room: Before & After

I just got photos back from a recent photo shoot with my good friend & photographer Helen Norman & her assistant, F.J. Hughes.  Remember the install I wrote about a couple of weeks ago here?   Well, my clients went on a family vacation & while they were gone, we installed the living room so they got to come home to it {almost} finished. (Minus the delayed sofa.)  Here is what the living room looked like at our first meeting:

{Now also remember my photography skills are nowhere near Helen's}

It's one of those long rooms that can be tricky with furniture-arranging. 

My client's style is traditional and she was looking for sort of a fresh, comfortable "traditional"/ for their Colonial home.  She's attracted to architectural drawings and Colonial fabrics and blues, and there's a real "Virginia" feeling about their house.  We were keeping the existing end tables, chest and bookcase and everything else would be new (or atleast new for the space.) 

For clients' designs, I typically start with a general floorplan and then get started on soft goods, which inspire me the most, and in this case it was the fabrics.  I knew I wanted to do something fairly bold on the plan's settee, and I fell in love with this overscale floral chintz, "Hollyhock," by Schumacher:        

From there we started pulling other fabrics to develop a general palette.  We selected a combination of neutral velvets and some patterned linens & cottons.  I spec'd a beautiful antique-washed wool rug that I'd seen the previous summer & couldn't get out of my mind. 

Being so overscale, and being a floral, doing the Hollyhock on a settee was a stretch for my client, but I urged her to mull it over.  It was our linchpin & I'd based the entire palette around it.  If we switched the fabric to a safer one, I knew the results wouldn't make her as happy.  {Presenting plans with a bit of "risk" in them to your clients can be challenging.  I think a designer's job is to push his or her clients a bit outside of their box, but not so far that they don't love the end results.  It's walking this line that creates a room clients really love...  I find that lots of clients push back a little on one or two presented items, which I think is good.  On items like these, I like to give my clients time to think & let the new idea sink in before we axe it all together.  Sometimes it just takes finishing up the presentation and sometimes is takes weeks to get used to an unexpected idea, but I feel that we all need to go a bit outside of our comfort zones a bit in our homes to get a really special result that will excite us...  }  My client was very willing to think on the fabric and I was thrilled when she decided to go for it.       

Here's one last pic of what the living room looked like before:

And here it is now:

We rearranged the long room so that the sofa now faces the windows and a pair of chocolate-milk-colored velvet wing chairs.  The walls were painted a soft cream to lighten up the space and we had a seagrass rug custom made (by Tolvin at the Carpet Customizer-  he's THE BEST) and layered the antique-washed wool rug over it.    

We layered the coffee table with a wooden tray holding pretties like this clay pot by Lindsey Augustine, a pair of old brass candlesticks, and an "M" candle:

I placed a large console behind the sofa and used a pair of  blue lamps by John Rosselli on top:

{The basket under the table holds a coiled snakeskin my clients found}

There are a couple of areas we didn't get photos of.  I layered in artwork - both new & old (found at Spurgeon Lewis Antiques in Old Town/ 1st Dibs).   I also created a gallery wall of my clients' collected family photos.   It's such a large wall & it has photos that span years so it really tells a story about them & who they are.   Here's a close-up of the neutral/ wheat-colored fabrics on the english arm sofa:

{The pillows are by Schumacher and the paisley throw is from my line of textiles} 

This next photo is my favorite one.  I had this image in my mind long before the room even came together & was so excited to see it in person!!  

(A couple of weeks before the room was installed -ie months after we'd ordered the furniture & selected the fabrics, I was looking through old House Beautiful Magazines and I came accross a project by Albert Hadley titled "Colonial Design"  using this exact same fabric 40 years ago in a living room and reusing the same pieces again in a 2009 project when the same clients moved to another Colonial...  I was at once both thrilled and disappointed.  Thrilled because it's Albert Hadley and because I got the instant gratification of seeing what the fabric would look like on a settee when before, I'd only imagined it, and disappointed because I felt extremely unoriginal & slow on the uptake.)

Anyway, here's what the foyer looked like before:

Small drawings were placed around the foyer on different walls.

And here's an after shot:

I reunited the collection of drawings all in a row above the chair my client found.  We restyled the table/ print in the background for this shot because we couldn't get a good one of them in their original position. (I've learned so much working with Helen!)

Without knowing about the Hadley project, F.J. dubbed the project "Colonial Chic"  which is hysterical, especially if you knew F.J.   

Anyway, I hope you liked the before & afters, and getting details of the in-between. 
Thank you so much to my very patient clients who were a dream to work with!
Have a great SUMMA weekend!

xoxo, Lauren

We're taking on new clients for this Fall!  If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.  We work locally around the DC area and travel for select projects.  :)

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Now & Then

Today I'm over at Emily Clark sharing a picture from my very first apartment in college & comparing it to my current house.  Emily's series "Now & Then" invites bloggers to talk about their evolving design style & what makes them cringe when looking back.   (There's a lot to cringe about with me ;) 

I'll give you a hint that my first college apartment looked like THIS:

I wonder what happened to that wooden owl?? 
I have this weird feeling his head came off during a party...

Thanks so much to Emily for inviting me to participate in her series!  It's been a lot of fun to read!!
 Emily is such a talented & kind-hearted blogger & designer who seems to balance it all, so hop on over if you can!  Click here to read and see more of the room.

xoxo, Lauren

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

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Front Yard in Bloom

I love gardening and would do it everyday if I could.  Unfortunately, for about six or seven months out of the year, it's not possible.  When my flowers are blooming, I am in heaven!  :)  I planted the perennials  last year and am happy with the way everything is filling in.

This is the area along my driveway.  There are coneflowers, daylilies, daisies, cosmos, lavender, lamb's ear, snapdragons and artemesia in here.

 This area has cosmos, rose of sharon, coreopsis,  and cranesbill.

 The bees love the coneflowers and lavender.

We've had very hot weather and some very windy days, so I'm counting my blessings that everything is blooming as well as it is. 

Thanks so much for coming by!  


I am linking to the following parties:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Summer Food

I love eating.  It's definitely one of my top three favorite things to do.  I try as much as I can not to gorge, but it's just so much fun.  In the summer, I'm more in the mood for lighter/ fresh foods.  I had to take a picture of the fruit platter my husband put together the other day:

We've been really into kiwi lately.  A friend mentioned how much he liked kiwi a few weeks back and it was almost like our forgotten fruit and we remembered how good it was so we've been eating it like crazy.  And I love summer cherries!!  We found one smeared all over one of our white chairs the other day-  awesome.  Not sure who did it or how he/ she got away from the kitchen with it, but it actually did come out. 

Could it have been this sweet little girl?:

{I just snapped this pic- what a rough life!}

Or this masked man??:

...Or this toddler in a ridiculous onesy?:

...I'm betting on the toddler. 

So another easy summer meal we made recently was this grilled steak with a cilantro puree.  (pic below) I made the puree out of onions, garlic, line juice and cilantro & salt and I'm IN LOVE.  I'd had a Cuban steak at one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, Cactus Cantina and copied it.  It was so easy & seriously good.   Dave did the lime shrimp on grill and I made fresh guacamole and lime rice:

(I'm not going to mention the fish because it wasn't that great.  Very 'meh' without much flavor.)

Anyway, I would eat this for breakfast if I could.  I love a fresh summer meal.  I think I need it again tonight.  mmmm mmmm mmm!

Ok, I'm off for the day!!

But on a really random note- Can I tell you that the funniest spam comments I get on this blog is an ad saying to "Boycott American Women" and marry a bride from overseas???  hahaha 

I love that whoever is putting it on there thinks that young single men are reading my blog.  

xoxo, Lauren

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

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Favorite Baby Bird Picture and A Winner!

I am obsessed with the baby birds in my birdhouse.  Every night when I go out to water, the mother is frantically flying back and forth with food.  I took this one last night.  I'm thinking that the baby is almost ready to spread her wings, as I think she's bigger than Mom! 

When we moved into this house two years ago, my family teased me for putting up so many birdhouses.  Well, this neighborhood obviously needed some birdhouse real estate as most of my houses have families!  A neighbor even came by last night and said that they've noticed a marked increase in the number of birds in the neighborhood since we moved in.  That makes me so happy!!

Thank you to everyone who entered my Rustic Box Giveaway.  I appreciate all of you coming by and leaving sweet comments and for following me here and on Facebook.  Using True Number Generator, at, the winner is:  Lori @ Thrifty Decor Mom  (sorry, I'm not smart enough to figure out how to show the results.) 

Have a great weekend!


Queen Anne's Bouquet

Just wanted to share a quick peek of another one of my newest textile designs, Queen Anne's Bouquet, which I'm using on curtains in my bedroom at my dad's cottage in Antioch.  It's in an ivory linen & reminds me so much of our little field of wildflowers (including a ton of Queen Anne's Lace) growing right across the street from the house:  

{The kids picking wildflowers last summer}

I can't wait wake up to these in the mornings:

{It's actually a pretty large repeat but looks much smaller in this pic}

Here's a picture I took (color is off) of a print-out of my original drawing:

As soon as I have pics of the actual fabric/ curtains, I'll be sure to share!!
Have a great weekend & stay cool!!

xoxo, Lauren

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

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

It Looks Like We're Going to be Empty Nesters Soon

I've been seeing two birds in one of my birdhouses for weeks and wondered how the babies were doing.  I hadn't ever seen them, but I could see a lot of nesting material in the birdhouse.  Today I was outside taking pictures of my front yard and I got to see the babies!


 The mother (or maybe the father?) came back several times with food for them.  Boy was there a lot of squawking every time the food was getting close!

***You can click on any of the pictures to enlarge them.  Please excuse my very elementary photography skills!  :)

What a fun surprise this morning!  Good thing I had my trusty helper!  :) 

Isn't it fitting that I received this gift from my good blogging friend Martina @ Northern Nesting yesterday?  I was the winner of her recent giveaway.  I love her blog and love this gift!   Thank you Martina!

Thanks so much for coming by!


I am linking to the following parties:

Stuff and Nonsense
My Romantic Home's Show and Tell Friday
Chic on a Shoestring Decorating