October 21, 2010

How I begin a project & the beautiful mess

A project always begins with some sort of inspiration.  When I first get into a new project with a client, after talking about generally concrete things like color, fuction, style and general needs & wishes, we dig a little deeper and think about how the room should feel.

To me, the feeling in a space- the atmosphere, the mood- is what’s most important.  Rooms can be happy, thoughtful, fresh, light, airy, clean, cozy, warm, moody…  (we could go on & on here.)  Sometimes we want rooms to inspire conversation & other times we want a quiet place to read & retreat to.  We really can’t choose colors or finishes or furniture (or anything) until we know how the room is supposed to make us feel.  Clients are typically comfortable talking about colors and needs and style, but atmosphere talks don’t always come as naturally because it’s not something people tend to think about.  Yet it truly is the starting point.  I don’t feel confortable making any design-related decisions until I know how a room should feel.

Once we’ve gone through the process, we can move onto some tangible inspiration.

Here, my client has pale greeny-gray walls and an open brick fireplace.  Her home feels cool right now and she wants to warm it up without painting.  She loves reds and oranges and wants a warm, happy,”cozy,” relaxed & comfortable space where she can hang out with her son and entertain.  It’s going to be be pretty but people should always feel like they can put their feet up and stay a while.  Fabrics will be soft, comfortable & durable.  Her home is a 70s split foyer with vaulted ceilings & reminds me so much of my own house…  with these modern homes, the mix of old & new, classic & modern is a serious balancing act…  in our area, many of use live in these 70s houses because they’re everywhere…   but we aren’t ready to go 70s mod and filling these houses up with traditional furniture just doesn’t work.  We have to walk the line.

We’re putting in a new kitchen with dark walnut stained cabinets and the most beautiful vintage-looking handmade subway tiles.  Here are the two colors we’re using for the tile by Pratt & Larsen:

When I found the tiles, the rest really fell into place.  They tiles were our literal starting points of inspiration because they work so perfectly- they’ll serve to warm up the space while still working with the existing wall color and they create that modern-meets-patinated-thing we want going on- but our true point of inspiration was a feeling.
One of the highlights of my trip to High Point was my good friends’ Eddie Ross & Jaithan Kochar’s talk about creating buzz for your business.  They mentioned the concept of a “beautiful mess” which I love so much.   The photo above is an example of a beautiful mess & Eddie’s blog is full of them.  It’s the starting point for projects…  all the bits and pieces that will go into creating something and when we see the “beautiful mess” we get excited for what’s to come.  I realized that -like many of you I’m sure- much of my work starts with a beautiful mess.  My worktable is full of them and I love tweaking to them & adding to them until it feels right.  Once I’m “finished” with my clients’ messes -that’s relative, I’m always playing with them- they go into a carrying case so they can come with me anywhere- to clients’ homes, showrooms, flea markets, etc.
I wish I’d had a video camera with me so I could replay their amazing talk for you.  They’re seriously such generous people and their presentation was so honest & real.  Eddie & Jaithan were both fun & witty as always and we got so much out of it.  they’re awesome.
  {Eddie Ross, Traci Zeller, me, Maria Killam, and Jaithan Kochar}-  love you guys!!!
I’ll be sharing hi-lights of my trip throughout a series of post…  there’s just way too much to fit into one.  I learned so much & am honestly just in awe of this whole industry.  I was gaga over the goods we saw- the furniture, the fabrics, the showrooms, the lighting- yet it was the people who truly blew me away.

xoxo, Lauren

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