Wednesday, June 27, 2012

I'm Shopping for... Spool Chairs

When I shared sneak peeks of a client's project about a month or so ago,  I received a few emails asking about the spool chairs.

{Spool Chair in my client's home...  Custom LL Textiles "Squircles" in fresh blue & oatmeal}

I loooove spool chairs.  They're deceivingly comfortable and just have this relaxed & carefree vibe.  You'd never see them in a stuffy room.  My clients grew up together in the Northeast and we wanted to bring that feeling of "home" into their new house, which is here in the DC area, so I proposed a pair of spool chairs.  I was thrilled when my client loved the chairs too & we decided on one of my fabrics printed on an oatmeal-colored groundcloth. 

Spool or "bobbin" chairs, also called "Carver chairs were named after John Carver (c. 1576–1621), founder and first governor of the Plymouth colony in America. A chair of this design, reportedly owned by the governor, was displayed in Plymouth, Mass., in the late 19th and early 20th centuries."(source-  ...Which explains why we they have that Northeastern / coastal vibe :)
We looked at a lot of different options before presenting two options (a lower end option and a higher end option) to our clients...

We ended up going with Vanguard's spool chair, shown here in white:

..And here in a dark stain:

{Vanguard Furniture}

...But I did fall in love with some others during our search:

{Hickory Chair}

It has box cushions so it's a bit more structured-looking.  It also has casters like the version we selected.


{Noir Furniture...  this was our other option, available in black.}

I saw this one, below, a couple of Markets ago, and it felt very rustic with their fabric selections & showroom design:

It's by the Penisula Home Collection Company & here it is in white:

I sat in it & while comfy, I have to say, the spool chairs with the arm cushions are much more comfortable.  I would use if it were a spot for shorter sits, vs. comfy, cozy long ones.

Here's a beautfy by Motif Designs:

..And I loooove the little cushion detail in this one by Julian Chichester:

...Anyway, as you can see, they're available at a number or pricepoints & there are so many to choose from.  (If you google it, you'll see even more options.)  

If I ever have a lakehouse, I'd love one or two of these for their laid-back days-gone-by feeling...

Where would you put yours?

xoxo, Lauren

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

Also---  I need a HUGE favor for a friend of mine, Elise, who recently opened the Design Center of NOVA.  She is applying to win a business grant and needs 250 votes by Friday in order to be considered.  If you have a spare moment, please vote here!!

Just enter in "Design Center of NOVA" to vote!! THANK YOU!!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Renting Textbooks = Happy Parents + A Mama Bird

With two kids in out of state colleges, expenses are incredibly high.  My son decided to take a couple of classes this summer.  Imagine our surprise when the professor let him know that he needed the book, "Modern Industrial Organization" that costs $180!

We checked out and the exact book  can be rented for the summer for $29.74.  They not only have amazing prices, they also offer free shipping both ways!  We will definitely be ordering from them right away.

If you want big savings on book rentals, be sure to check them out!

**Update on the book rental.  I ordered it on Tuesday night and it was delivered to my son 800 miles away on Friday morning!  Great service!!

I am so thrilled that my birdhouses provide shelter for many birds during the summer.  The other night I was outside and was lucky enough to get a picture of the mama bird feeding her babies.  Boy did they squawk when she got close!!

Thanks for your visit!


Saturday, June 23, 2012

I Love June in the Garden

June and July are my favorite months in my yard.  Just about everything is blooming and the hot, hot days of August haven't yet taken their toll on the flowers. 

 This is the beginning of the third summer for the plants around and in the pond to grow.  Everything is filling in nicely.  The daisies on the right are enormous!!

The lavender and some daylilies are blooming. The daisies and coneflowers are about to explode with blooms. I can't wait!

Several families have taken up residence this year. Some of the places look awfully full of nesting material!  I absolutely love that the birds use the birdhouses!

Thanks for coming by.  I hope everything is blooming in your yards now too!


I am linking to the following parties:

>Cottage Garden Party

Thursday, June 21, 2012

A New Addition to our Team

I am SO EXCITED to announce that my husband David (or Dave/ Dav) is coming to work for our design business!!  Today's his first day at Lauren Liess Interiors (which I now feel like I should have named "Liess Interiors")  and we are seriously giddy.  (Or at least I am.)

{I also just found out about Instagram pictures and am addicted.  Thanks Eddie!}

He'll be managing the implementation phase of our clients' projects / timelines etc., handling the accounting and working on product development (you know, all the fun stuff ;) ;)   For a while now, we've enjoyed going to Market together & meeting & making friends with others in the design industry, but now we'll be really freed up (schedule-wise) to travel when we need to & to get more accomplished.

Our goal is to not only have our business running smoother than ever before, but to free me up a bit more to spend more time with clients, more time designing (vs. paperworking & coordinating) and more time working on the fabric line. We've also been reading your emails about our online decorating services and are planning on bringing them back as soon as I get a bit more adjusted to the new baby/ being back at work/ etc.  (I'll be sure to post as soon as the service is available...  and thank you so much to those of you who've shown an interest!!) 

{The living room of a very stylish long-distance client of ours, Anne.  Her home was featured by Jenny on the Little Green Notebook .  Anne took with the suggestions I gave her and seriously ran with them to create a gorgeous very personal home for her family.  She's one talented mama!!!  Photo by Amy Majors Photography.)

Bringing Dave into the company is a HUGE change for our family & for our business.  I'm both nervous & excited.  It's always been a dream of ours to work together.  (We're sort of one of those annoying couples that likes to spend a ton of time together & never gets sick of being together...  But we aren't PDA-ish, I swear!!!)  It's a big step & we're hoping & praying that it works out.  (And will be working like crazy so that it does.) 

I know Dave will miss working at the highschool (where he was teaching English & was the English Department Chair) and  I've been so proud of him & all that he's accomplished there.  I hope that he loves this as much as that.

okay.. Did I say I was excited already?!!!!!  Because I am TOTALLY FREAKING OUT I'm so excited-  eeeeeek!!!  :)  
(That's me squeeling...  and yes, I really do say "eeeeeek")

So anyway, things will be changing a bit around here, but definitely for the better!!  Keep your fingers crossed for us!!

xoxo, Lauren

To view our e-design client, Anne's whole home tour, visit Little Green Notebook, here!  Thank you so much to Jenny & Anne!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.  We are booking for early August for traditional (in-person) full-service projects.

Before & After: Remodeling in Roosevelt

The summer is (pun totally intended) heating up and as it goes, this is looking to be a busy one around these parts. We’ve been working on projects all around the five boroughs, remodeling kitchens, replacing roofsand installing patios in some backyards. And then there’s this job, in Roosevelt, where we got to transform a bathroom from low end to luxury with new fixtures, retiling and some tear down. We opened up the shower to include a bar and a seat, put in a new sink, faucet and cabinet, a custom-made radiator cover, and a new toilet. The lighting is also new, giving a far more comforting ambiance, along with the new tiles. It turned out about as good as I could’ve hoped.  



Wednesday, June 20, 2012

3 Household Tips for a Safe and Clean Home

We’ve all seen the adverts on TV telling us to make sure our smoke alarms are working properly and we all think to ourselves “ours is probably fine” – but you may be surprised to know that on average only one in 3 households have a working alarm on every floor of their homes.
With that in mind, in this article I intend to give you 3 household tips for a safe and clean home, all of which are problems that can easily be avoided and therefore making our homes a safer place.

Check our smoke alarms work

“Smoke alarms were absent from the fire area in 37 per cent of dwelling fires (16,400 fires). Of the total of 306 dwelling fires fatalities in the Great Britain in 2010-11, 112 (37 per cent) of these fatalities were in fires where there was no smoke alarm present, and a further 76 fatalities (25 per cent) where a smoke alarm was present but did not operate.”

I’m sure you’ll agree that these are shocking figures to read.  The worst part about it is we see so many deaths each year that could be avoided by simply checking our fire alarms work on each and every floor of our homes. It’s pointless having a smoke alarm if you don’t know it works - taking a couple of minutes every six months to check your fire alarm could potentially be the difference between life and death.

If you know you will forget simply set yourself a reminder on your phone or leave a note on your calendar - and just to be safe you could even replace your everyday alkaline batteries for some lithium ten year lifelong batteries, this could be a blessing in disguise for you.

Clean your stove and utensils

On the hygiene front so many of us do the obvious things such as cleaning our toilet or cleaning the chopping board, yet so many of us leave our stove after use but we don’t think about the many bacteria that is then attracted and living on it.

The solution is simple, clean your stove straight after use - It will only take a few minutes but it could save you getting unwanted stomach bugs.  While it is fairly unlikely you will become really ill from it, but you could be leaving your home at risk of a potential fire once again due to build-up of fats and oils from food.

As well as your stove remember to clean your drip pans and all cooking utensils well - it is also crucial you replace these every couple of years, especially when your pans become stained as it’s highly unlikely they will come clean again

Take some time to clean underneath your fridge

As well as sweeping away bits of food debris that gathers underneath a fridge in a kitchen that can attract mice - very few people know this but underneath your fridge is a cooling fan along with a set of coils which need to be cleaned at least every year.  The coils looks a grate or a radiator and their function is to remove heat from within the inside and that heat is then dissipated through a radiator like appliance, this is located at the bottom of the fridge.

The reason for cleaning this appliance is that if you don’t clean those coils you cannot expect them to function properly and they will fail to give off heat as a efficiently as a consequence, creating issues with overheating.

To clean them simply unplug your fridge and locate the grate like coils, and clean with a long thistle brush, and get the vacuum cleaner out to clear any lint, pet hair and food from the coils.

This article was provided by Ryan Hirst who writes helpful guides and tips for Eurofit Directon their blog

Natural Cleaning Solutions for Your Home

Have you ever felt like you need to wear a Hazmat suit when you use your regular household cleaning chemicals? Often the chemicals used to scour bathrooms, glass, and other parts of a home are far more potent than they need to be, and breathing the fumes of these chemicals is an unpleasant part of cleaning. However, using such strong chemicals can be easily replaced by using many eco-friendly solutions. More specifically, many items that you already have around your home can be used as green cleaning products, providing both an environmentally friendly and budget friendly alternative to regular cleaning products. 


Vinegar is one of the most underused (but excellent) all natural cleaning solutions. White vinegar is acidic enough to perform the necessary cleaning function of dissolving away household grit, but it is also gentle enough to use without the need for wearing gloves. Vinegar makes an excellent glass cleaner and can be used as an affordable alternative to Windex. For added economical value, vinegar may be diluted in a spray bottle, using about half a cup for of vinegar and filling the remainder of the bottle with water. This diluted vinegar solution is gentle enough to be used on hardwood floors. 

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is also an excellent cleaning solution. Just as this compound is capable of cleaning out cuts and drawing out the grit in them, hydrogen peroxide can also be used to clean out the grit in kitchen counters and other grouted surfaces. As an added bonus, hydrogen peroxide can also often be used to draw out yellow perspiration stains in the underarm pits of white shirts. However, when using hydrogen peroxide for this latter purpose, be sure to gently rinse out the compound prior to washing the shirt with other articles of clothing. 

Baking Soda

Another great green cleaning product is baking soda. Effective at cleaning just about everything from filthy ovens to dirty carpets, baking soda offers a non-toxic way to freshen up your home. To use baking soda to clean carpets, simply sprinkle some of this compound onto the desired area of your home and subsequently vacuum it up; the baking soda should help remove odours from this area of your carpet. At the same time, as briefly mentioned previously, baking soda can also be used to clean ovens; to do this, simply make a paste of baking soda, coarse salt, and water, and leave this paste on the desired areas of the oven for several minutes before scrubbing it off with a wet rag. Baking soda can also be useful for keeping a refrigerator smelling fresh; leave an opened box of baking soda in the fridge to enjoy this benefit. 

Lemon Juice with Olive Oil

Finally, a combination of lemon juice and olive oil can be used to tackle a number of common household cleaning concerns. Like vinegar, lemon juice is extremely acidic and can effectively eat away at grit that has accumulated over time. Lemon juice is also an excellent way to combat mould, mildew, and other unwanted household fungi. Simply apply a lemon juice solution to any affected areas to enjoy this benefit. At the same time, olive oil is an excellent all natural polishing solution. To enjoy the combined benefits of lemon juice and olive oil, create a solution of two parts olive oil to one part lemon juice and rub it into wood furniture for a lovely shine and fresh scent.

The author, Hugo Riddle, writes about several topics including home contents insurance and other finance subjects. Find more on Your Insurance Quote.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Carnival Style


There's something beautiful about a carnival.  Yes, they're full of over-the-top pictures, rides, toys, signs and loud noises, but there's a beauty in the mayhem.  We went to a carnival recently and to me, when I looked at things individually, they were just rides or tacky signs or whatever, but when I looked around at the carnival as a whole, it was something better.  It was a little world of whacky and crazy and vintage-feeling fun.  And it was beautiful. 

Once nighttime falls over a carnival, it becomes special.  Whatever field or parking lot that used to be in its place is totally transformed, and you forget all about what used to be there and what will be there again when the carnival leaves town. 


I haven't been to one like this is a while, but my favorite carnivals or fairs are the kind that have sideshows.  I was fascinated by these when I was a little girl and won't ever  forget the sword swallower I once saw in a tent...  or the contortionist.

I love that sense of mystery...


I would always try to pick the prettiest horse on the carousel...  usually pink with lots of roses.  ;)

...  And the food is so bad but so good...  I love the crazy vintage signs.

It was sitting here, at the counter of the carnival snack wagon the other night, that I started appreciating the details.  I mean, how perfect is it that the snack truck had this little fold-out set of shiny blue barstools to pull up to the counter?  They were just the right size for our boys.  And I love that they serve sodas in the vintage style glass bottles.  They taste so much better that way. 

{my guys- Christian and Justin- sharing a funnel cake}

I love that all of these little over-the-top details and the busyness makes something that's just right.  There's an energy & an excitement about carnivals that's fueled by all the bright colors and the in-your-face everything.  All of the colors and things shouldn't work together, but they do. 


And it reminds me of certain rooms & styles of decorating.  (In a very good way.)

{miles redd, house beautiful}

There are so many different bright colors in the room by Miles Redd above, that you wouldn't ordinarily think could all work together, but they do.  It has this great energy to it.

The room below has a bit of that quirky vintage feel to it of the classic old-fashioned carnivals.

The whacky mix of patterns on the floor in the room below creates that happy feeling.  It's so perfectly "off." The little stack of books on the table reminds me a bit of circus tents.

The tufted turqoise sofa, below, is one of those super-saturated colors seen all over carnivals.  The vintage touches and quirky shapes throughout the space add to the excitement.

{apartment therapy}

The mix of art and patterns below totally comes off as crazy in a good way.  There's so  much going on, but as a whole, it just works.

{elle decor}

The space in my friend Jenny's house (of Little Green Notebook) is perfect in its mix of bright happy colors combined with the vintage gilded mirror.  It's so unexpected but just comes together to create a truly charming space. 

{little green notebook }

I'm sure none of the designers of the rooms above were inspired by carnivals, but they all managed to create spaces that, to me, are energetic and fun-feeling and are really unexpected.  Some are more dramatic while others are more laid-back but they all have that fearlessness that I think epitomizes a carnival.   I reminds me to look harder at everything I'm exposed to, because there's inspiration in all of it, even in a place that at first glance is loud and garish and a bit sticky.

Our boys are already asking about when they can go back.  And next time they might actually reach 42" which means a whole new set of rides!!

xoxo, Lauren

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