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Three Projects, Three Different Looks

Like most of the east coast my family and I made it through the earthquake and hurricane Irene without too much drama or damage.  Even though my kids' classrooms shook for sixty seconds on the first day of school, they didn't seem to miss a beat.  I was more nervous then they were.  This weekend, my neighbors had a pre-hurricane party and served us "Hurricanes" and "Dark and Stormy" drinks as we watched the white caps on the creek outside their window.  A fun way to welcome Irene.  During the hurricane, my kids thought sleeping on the first floor with mom and dad was pretty cool too.  So all and all an exciting week but I have to admit that I am looking forward to what I hope is an uneventful week.

I'm thrilled to share some photos of three recent projects.  All of them are done (almost).  They still need a couple tweaks here and there but they are so close and I just couldn't wait to share.  These three projects are so different in look...the first room is elegant and more formal, the second room is cozy and inviting, and the third is an eclectic powder room with a touch of Hollywood (I'll explain why later).

Project #1 - Elegant Living Room

The first time I visited my client's house it looked like this throughout their home...

They had asked my help to select paint colors for every room in the house.  That's a tough one as a designer.  Usually picking a paint color is the last thing you do when you design a room.  But when you custom build a house, before you know it your builder is bugging you to pick colors.  Rarely do homeowners know the furniture, floor coverings, accessories and lighting that are going in every room beforehand, so you do the best you can with what you've got.  In this case selecting a warm neutral color that sets off the gorgeous moldings and Brazilian wood floors worked well.  

After their house was complete, my client moved in their furniture that had been handed down to them from their families.   It did not represent their style or go with the look and feel of their new Craftsman style home.

They soon asked for my help with decorating their home which included designing their living room, the first room you see when you walk into the house.  Their wish was to create an inviting, elegant, and peaceful space that could be used for reading and entertaining.  A place to sit by the fire after eating a delicious dinner with friends.    

I created a space plan to determine the best furniture type and size to meet my client's needs.  Then I selected the furniture and fabrics to create the look and feel we wanted for the room.  The feature fabric, a raw silk with a painted Asian floral motif by Designers Guild, was used for pillows in this room.  The same fabric was used in the adjacent dining room for the window treatments.  For the living room window treatments, we used a simple raw silk fabric that was trimmed with a geometric woven border.  The drapery hardware includes dark walnut rods with silver painted rings and brackets.  The chairs are by Hickory Chair and covered in a soft chenille Pindler and Pindler fabric with a subtle geometric pattern.  The Davis and Davis rug was custom designed.  We are in the process of adding a few more accessories and the room will be complete.

Here's a peak at their family room.  A much more casual room that is almost done.  A few more accessories will complete the look.  This Lee Industries chair is covered in mohair and trimmed in leather.  Mohair fabric is made from Angora goat hair.  It's very durable and was supposedly used on train seats in the early 1900s so great for a modern day family room.  The rug was custom designed for the room.  I'll share more pictures when the room is complete.

Project #2 - Inviting Family Room

Like the home from Project #1 this house already had great architectural details to start with which honestly makes my job easier.  The room had a coffered ceiling, gorgeous wood floors, built in cabinets for the television, and a great fireplace.  These are all details that I can design for a client but the work had already been done by them and their renovation team before I started.  When I started this project, the room looked like this.

The only items that had to stay were the leather couches.   Also, like the previous project, we started with a feature fabric which you can see on the window treatments and pillows below.  The window treatments soften the windows and provide color and pattern.  After some space planning, we decided to replace the coffee table with a round one made from an old wagon wheel and glass.  The table's round shape fits the couch configuration well and the glass provides reflection and lightness to the room.  A custom swivel chair was added so someone can either join the conversation or turn to watch the television.  A stripped natural fiber rug was added to provide additional interest along with lighting and accessories to complete the room.  The last finishing touch will be a chunky knit throw with the same blue color as the chair for one of the couches.  

Project #3- Eclectic Powder Room

This project was for my own powder room.  I have found that if I'm going to get anything done in my own home I have to actually treat it like a client project, meaning it becomes part of my work week and gets managed as such.   I just started doing this and it's amazing how much more is getting done around here.  For my powder room, I was really liking this wallpaper called Twig Jaspe from Cole and Son.  

It has a light metallic background with teal and brown trees (there's a little "tree hugger" in me since I'm the daughter of two parents who grew up during the 60s).   But we decided not to spend the money on wallpaper since the bathroom may be reconfigured with the next phase of our renovation.

I feel that a powder room is a great place to experiment.   So I decided to do a paint treatment myself with the same colors that were used in the wallpaper.  My goal was to pull out the teal glaze on the mirror's frame that you can barely see in the picture below.

I was very intimidated to do my own faux painting.  For client's projects I hire decorative painters.  I had never done it before (I don't think using Ralph Lauren's suede paint counts) but it turned out to be a very fun project.  It's not perfect but I did it and have decided I really like it.  It helped a great deal that a good friend thought it was cool because it reminded her of the therapist's room in the movie, The King's Speech.    Turns out the wall treatment in the movie was quite the hit in the design world.  These scenes were shot in an old London building.  The bohemian styled room had a wall partially covered in peeling  oil-infused wallpaper.  The production designer loved the look and recreated it with layers of plaster and peeling wallpaper for all the walls.  

So here's my powder room, walls and all.  The sink skirt was made using fabric by Michael Smith's Jasper, called Indian Flower.  The japanese paintings I picked up at the Bethesda Fine Art Festival a few years back.  The mirror I had custom framed at Framer's Vise, a great local framer.

I have several other projects I'll be sharing soon...a cozy kitchen redo, an elegant home office/library, and lots of smaller projects too...window treatments, artwork selection, and accessories.  I'm also doing a couple commercial projects... a waiting room for a group of psychologists and a contemporary office space in Eastport.  

I can still take on a few more projects this fall so don't hesitate to contact me if you would like help transforming your home or office into a space you love.

Have a good week!

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