Well happy 2022 and happy Valentine’s Day to you!! It’s been a while since I’ve checked in on here but if you’re on Instagram you might have seen that we’ve been busy renovating and moving and renovating some more!  We moved into our new (temporary) house just after Christmas and we’ve been loving it!!!  It’s such a laid-back easy house to live in.  We’ve been working on purging our stuff (how does so much STUFF accumulate?!!!) and getting organized over here. 

I am so into this house and it just makes me want to get my hands on more and more of these houses that would otherwise be torn down!!  When we walk through the house one evening last spring we had heard that an offer had already been made earlier in the day so we literally raced through the house in less than 15 minutes and made an offer on the spot.  We were (and are still!!) so grateful to the sweet family who sold us the house and love getting to be a part of its story.  There was A LOT of debate about keeping the “conversation pit”- below:

the “conversation pit”- before

 

We ultimately decided to get rid of it so we could slightly expand the kitchen and put our dining room there.  We got lucky that the floor height fit just under the existing hearth. I loved the pit but I reeeeally love eating dinner in front of the fire.  The stone on the front of the house and on the fireplace is basalt/ lavastone and I’m obsessed. It’s got such a great vintage-natural vibe and we didn’t have to do anything to it.  The pendant over the table was backordered and hasn’t arrived yet but I cancelled it last week after realizing that not having the pendant forces us to do candlelight every night and I’m loving that.  We may end up hanging one for resale but will keep it empty while we live here.  (This was a lot of food for thought for our next place…  I see myself doing less lighting than I normally would – hallways too.)

our new dining room 

our “temporary” house- we’ll sell it when our house is finished
Gisele looking out the window in our bedroom… I’m so glad we added this massive window to our bedroom! (which was actually originally a secondary bedroom… we stole it to make the primary suite/ bathroom/ closet bigger.) It’s the first place the kids run to when they wake us up in the mornings.

 

My 3rd book – FEELS LIKE HOME (below) came out in October and that’s been an awesome whirlwind!! I’m working on some new books and am also attempting to work writing time into my weekly schedule so I can get moving on them all. Writing has always been something I’ve done on the side but I’m definitely feeling the urge to give it more time in my life right now. For years I’ve been dying to write a children’s book (or 2!!) so I’m going to finally get to that (before mine all grow up lol!!) 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Just before Christmas we decided to close our brick and mortar shop (the online shop – Lauren Liess & Co.– is still happily up & running!) and move our design studio in there. There isn’t much retail traffic in Great Falls (this is our second timing trying retail here 😉 and we just couldn’t get it to go. I’m loving our new Lauren Liess Interiors spot though and it feels like a little house in the middle of town! 🙂  We still have our cabinetry showroom with Unique Kitchens & Baths in the studio so clients buying cabinets can make an appointment with UKB to come by and see the showroom anytime. 

Aurora and Gisele have a little “work” table in the front window of the studio

 

Progress on our house is a happening!!! It’s a major renovation- adding extra bedrooms and dormers upstairs, turning the garage into a family room, and adding an orangery addition.

I’m calling this place our “forever” house because I feel like we’ll be there for “forever” but I’ve also learned to never say never and to let life takes us where it goes. 🙂 But for now, let’s go with “forever!” I’ve been dreaming away about it and spend most of my time on it planning the grounds/ gardens. The interiors were designed around having access to the land surrounding them and I’ve got doors wherever I could get them!!  

The stucco has been removed and our house looks like a gingerbread house!
I’m drawn to naturalistic gardens by people like Ginny Blom (above), Piet Oudolf and Dan Pearson. The gardens right around the house will be a tad more structured and then lead into blocked gardens similar to the one above and then gently turn into my best attempt at a meadow for the big hill/ acreage in the back of the house.

 

The inside of the house is gutted… here’s a pic of our meeting with our good friend & contractor Mike Carr of CarrMichael Construction to talk through the floorplans. We’re standing in what will become the primary closet

 

 

 

 

In other news- which isn’t really news if you follow me on Instagram- we bought a beach house that we’re in the middle of renovating in Duck, North Carolina (The Outer Banks) right on the ocean!! We originally planned to rent it out the summer but we are currently considering selling it and doing more instead.  Anyway, meet the Dune House- coming summer 2022!

 

We bought the house sight unseen but fell for the amazing two-story ocean and dune views!!!
I feel so much freedom in this project… I love getting to think about all the people who will make memories and get to experience this place. It’s so fun to “set it all up” for them but not have to ask any sort of permission to do anything. We’re planning to do more vacation houses in the near future if we can find the right places… I’m calling them our “lost cottages” and we’re going after houses that would normally be tear-downs, and renovating them to bring them back. The question will always be whether to keep to rent out or sell… it’s all a numbers game and comes down to the cost / market etc. and it’s reeeeally hard to find these properties with any room for renovation costs, but I’m pretty excited about introducing a new aspect to our business. I also looooooove any excuse to have to go down to the beach more 🙂 If you or anyone you know are interested in renting or buying Dune House and want to be on the list of the “first to know” when it’s available, send an email to lostcottages@laurenliess.com I’m off for the day but I hope you’re well!! Thanks for catching up with me and sending you hugs!! xo