June 9, 2015

New Project: Better Homes and Gardens Innovation Home!

The past couple of weeks have flown and I can’t believe our new little one is five weeks old today!!  I’m taking maternity leave from work this summer to be with the baby & the three boys (well, as much of a maternity leave as you can when it’s your own business 😉 but will be returning to blogging.  I seriously can’t believe summer’s here already!! Woohooo!!!

{our kitchen garden is growing!!!}

For the past few months, we’ve been working on a really special project and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it with you!!!  This winter, Better Homes & Gardens contacted me about an unannounced project that they’d been working on- an idea house that showcases innovations in technology- and asked us to decorate it!  (The BHG Innovation Home!)  The team at BHG has researched many of the newest home technology products, picked their favorites, and built a house that showcases them.  We came aboard in time to assist with some of the finish selections and went to work on the decorating right away.   Construction on the house- located in Mequon, Wisconsin- by Lakeside Development Company was majorly underway when we came aboard and it’s now just about complete and is being photographed in a couple of weeks!!   It will all be revealed in the October Issue of BHG.   The house will be for sale and open for viewing this Summer!




Like all projects, we began with an inspiration meeting, though this one happened remotely with the BHG team in Des Moines, Iowa.  Working for a magazine vs. working for a project is similar in lots of ways- I take the information that’s been given to me and put together a design that I feel like is “them” – but the difference is mainly that the information being given to me when it’s a magazine is based upon what the magazine feels the readers would collectively be happiest seeing in the pages of the magazine.  We have to be sure to include ideas and things that will get readers excited and also ones that readers can replicate and do in their own homes.  When you’re decorating a house for a single client, you do exactly what they/you want but when you’re decorating for such a large readership, you need to make sure that you’re illustrating new ideas that are doable for lots of people and in a price point that they’re comfortable with.  Better Homes and Gardens readers have a distinct style and are attracted to a certain type of decorating, so it was our job to deliver it to them.  (And I’ll now be on pins & needles until October, hoping they like what they see!!)

I was asked to create a decorating scheme that was fresh, cheerful, colorful, included a mix of high & low pieces, and that was traditional with a modern farmhouse edge.  Our team presented a design that included our usual mix of natural, both new & vintage pieces, and lots of texture.  I took inspiration for the color palette for the house from an old chintz pillow I have in my house that I’m obsessed with that includes all of my favorite colors-  blues, grays, olive greens, and a hint of gold/mustard- and then added in some purer blues to freshen it up.

{My starting point chintz for the color palette…  The fabric isn’t actually used anywhere in the house.}

Once we presented the design to BHG, it was refined with input from the magazine over the next couple of months, and then we began the procurement process.  Many of our original selections were swapped with new selections that could be delivered more quickly or that would be at a better price point, and we all hope it’s now exactly what readers will love seeing!!

Here’s a little peek at some of what’s going on to give you an idea of what to expect:






As the big reveal gets closer, I’ll be sharing more details and in-depth info about my thought process for the decorating in specific areas of the house.  Installation is this week (wohoo!!) so I’ll be sharing some updates form the install team via Instagram.  (My name on there is “LaurenLiess”.)   Hope you enjoy & I absolutely CANNOT WAIT for you to see this place!!!


Join Our Newsletter

Sign up to receive design inspo, exclusive content, shopping guides, and more.