Monday, 27 December 2010

Christmas Present

I'm so sorry if I'm totally driving you crazy with our Better Homes & Gardens article but I've been meaning to share the article on here for readers who weren't able to get a copy.  (And, it really was the hi-light of our year; I'm not gonna lie.)  If you click on the pics (photos by Helen Norman), you should be able to see them larger. 

{Stockings by Handmade Pretties on etsy...  I loved the title of the article because "Christmas present" applies to living in the present moment which we really try to do and also to our baby Justin who was born on December 22nd just 3 days before Christmas... Go Joanna! }

{I'm always walking into the house carrying beautiful flowers with my cutie sitting there waiting on the stairs for me;) ;)  .. hee hee I wish.  I've gotten lots of emails/ calls about my bag & boots.  The bag is by UGG and the boots I'm wearing are MUDD... both from a few years ago.}

{You might notice they brought in a new coffee table by Wisteria to replace our lucite one & my cow hide rug wasn't in the shot.  We filled one of my glass lamps with glass ornaments. } 

Here's a photo to compare: 

{A year later at our house means changes...  Obviously I've rearranged the floorplan since then.  (This happens a lot.)  I've also replaced the Arteriors glass table lamp with the Arteriors glass floor lamp.  (It actually took over 4 months to get to me and was once of the first things I ordered for our living room but wasn't here in time for the shoot.)  I've also moved our cow hide into our bedroom and reaplaced it with an antiqued wool rug.}

{I love how beautifully these gifts were wrapped and I love that they were able to use so many of our own things in the shoot.}

{Isn't it funny to read your own quotes???   hahaha  I think I meant that nothing's really set in stone around here, that we're picking thigns up and adding traditions as we go each year.  I took the photo of Dave & Christian making the showman last January during one of the snowstorms before the photo shoot in February.  }

{looooooove this pic...  On the shelves, they brought in some copper to add to my white ware which was so pretty & warm.  Of course now I want some.  We borrowed the ironstone platters & cakestand from my friend Donna at On a Whim Antiques in Lucketts, VA for the shoot. The rest of the pieces are mine and I found the ceiling medallion I propped up on the shelves for only $1 at Goodwill five or so years ago.}

{and they were able to sneak an extra little page in at the end which I love...  Christian had such a blast opening the bulldozer toy over & over.  what a champ.  The food was beautiful and we used a milk glass urn turned upside down with a plate above & below for a makeshift cakestand.}

And here's a close-up of the beautiful table Jessica Thomas did:

She used my silverware & china over my Pottery Barn plates and little polar bear Christmas ornaments for name tags.  - my handwriting on them- yay! ha    The vintage fabric draped over the parsons chairs really added something.  I found it at Goodwill years ago as a set of curtains and it's gotten a lot of use.  I even made a blanket out of some of it for Justin's room. 

And, I was also picked as the blogger of the month which was such a nice surprise:

The funniest thing is that I was at an antique store this Fall & almost bought that exact little squirrel nutcracker (old, not new of course)  for Christian.  He was $32 and I didn't buy him- what is wrong with me?- and had regretted it since.  When I saw it on the page I wanted to kick myself! :)

Thank you so much again to the team at Better Homes & Gardens: editor & writer Joanna Linberg, stylist/producer Jessica Thomas, and photographer Helen Norman  & her assistant F.J. Hughes. and all of the in-house people like Shelley Caldwell who put the story together and to field scout Bonnie Broten...  You guys are truly the BEST.  Thank you, thank you. 

xoxo, Lauren

ps- I'm really trying to take a break & stay off of the computer this week so you won't see much of me until Monday!! :)

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

*The caged lantern in our entryway is by Minka Lavery...  I have gotten tons of phonecalls & emails about it and I think may have been discontinued.  The wallpaper in our breakfast nook is also discontinued.  Our front door is "maple leaf" by Behr and our kitchen cabinets are "witch hazel" by Behr.  I used the book Leonardo's Notebooks for the sketches in the entry.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Countdown & treats

{3 more days!!!}
{The Better Homes & Gardens team made the adorable glittered construction paper chain garland over the chalkboard for us & I love it!!  It's one of those things I'd planned on making more of but didn't.  Glad we saved it.}

Yesterday our babysitter. Lizzie, surprised us with a box full of homemade cookies.  Her mother is a friend of ours and teaches at the high school with Dave -and has brought cookies in for the family before from Lizzie- which mysteriously never seem to make it home. 
So this time Lizzie brought 'em home to mama.  ahhhhhh yessss...  I was all alone when she dropped them off and got to work on them immediately:

But, unlike my husband, I didn't eat them all and saved some for my family. 
(I tried... there were too many.)

I also have a neighbor who is one of those people who seems to do it all.  (Melissa, if you're reading, this proves my point because -somehow- you even  have time to pop in here!!)  She & her daughter Claire dropped off some pumpkin bread the other week and I didn't get a picture of it because it was gobbled up too quickly but it looked like this and it was Heaven:

{photo from}

I'm always so touched (and thrilled to be the recipient!) when people bake for the holidays and share it with others.  It's just one of those fun things that I try to do every year but don't always get to.  (like this year...  although there's still time??  maybe tomorrow??  There's always Tollhouse break'n bake.)  

Do you have any special pre-holiday tradtions?

xoxo, Lauren

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

Monday, 20 December 2010

So Close!!

Sorry for the lack of posts - as you probably know, work's always nutty right before the holidays!  I just wanted to drop in with a little recap of what we've been up to.

{our front door}

This year we got a bit further as far as outside Christmas decorating goes than last...  We got lights up outside, but Christian wasn't happy with them because they're not the "pretty" colored lights. 

{image via}

I feel his pain... I remember thinking that way back when.  I could possibly be swayed to the colorful side...  There's something wonderful about terrible Christmas decorations.  It's definitely got to be better than the dying leyland cypresses I strung up with pretty white lights...  It's a process.  (We planted them too close to our house so the roof overhang kept rain from getting them.. ehhhhhhh.)  Maybe next year we can have alive shrubs strung with lights.   I'm also kind of craving the big vintage colored lights my grandparents have on their house. 

We got a second tree this year for our family room.  It's artificial but I'm really into it because it's flocked:

I'll attempt to take better pics later!  Dave & I camped out in the family room this weekend because I love being near the tree so much.  I wish I had one in our bedroom too.
And, whenever we can squeeze it in, we've been playing Christmas music & dancing:

{I have really big hands}

In my area it's 97.1 that plays nonstop Christmas music.  love it.  I think they probably stay in business just because of their month of Christmas music. 

Delilah anyone???

xoxo, Lauren

Friday, 17 December 2010


You know when you see something ordinary that's just so beautiful?  You get excited about it, maybe take a picture if you can & file it away for the future.   This succulent I came across was one of them.  It was massive and composed of the most luminous shades of green.  It seemed to glow in the sunlight.

I love the feeling of this plant and realized it's often the mood I go for in my own house, particularly our living room.  Fresh & happy with a calmness about it.  It almost looks like a velvet.  It also reminds me a bit of a rug I found that woke up my living room when I brought it in.  Or an old oil painting...  It's that perfect blurring of color.  Ah just love it!! 

Anyway, I'm thinking I want to be better in the new year about collecting my inspiration photos & ideas.  Maybe a massive board in my office that's ever-growing??

{image via apartment therapy}

Or since I have no free walls in my office, maybe down the lonely hallway off of my office???  I might have to go start right now...  The walls are peeling anyway in there.  (One of our future projects! ;)

And...  we got snow here yesterday and so it's really starting to feel like Christmas- yay!!!  Have a great weekend!!

xoxo, Lauren

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

...** UPDATE*** 
......Ok, I'm back (10:15 :)  and my new inspiration wall has begun!! yay!!  It's small but it's a start:

{Thoughts I'd been collecting for a new project I'm working on}

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Client Plan: New French Country

"Chicken with its head cut off" would hardly even describe my true state this week...  We've been running around like mad with pre-holiday final appointments and presentations and installs.   I actually love it when it's like this (haha maybe taken down one notch) but my body (more my throat) does not.  I'm one of those people who doesn't sleep well when I'm super-busy so I guess that doesn't help.  Although have you noticed that some of your best ideas come late at night?? 
Anyway, I thought I'd share a little peek of the fabrics in a client's plan we've been working on.  Although you know I'm not big on "themes," she loves French Country so we decided to do a more modern / less obvious version of  for her not-so-French home located in Northern Virginia.  The design needed to work for the here and now and not look like something trying to be what it's not, so we included some more graphic modern fabrics and are keeping the furnishings fairly classic. 

The striped dark brown velvet will go on this sofa (below) and the curtains are in the tapestry floral.  English arm chairs will be in the golden embroidered paisley and the black & brown graphic print will be on an unpholstered bench.  Other fabrics might work their way into pillows and walls are a soft beige-cream.
(Sofa available through Lauren Liess Interiors}

I looooove this pillow option.  Fringe typically isn't my thing but it will work beautifully in the room: 

{China Winds pillow also available through Lauren Liess Interiors}

On another note, over Christmas I'll be working on my design proposal for the DC Design Showhouse this Spring..   We had the walk-through and I chose my space.  I've started work with an insanely talented artist, Matthew Moore    and super-innovative lighting designer Rick Singleton (both introduced to me by Eddie Ross - thank you E!!) and am staying up late at night thinking of the space I'm competing for.  I'm seriously nervous- there was so many talented designers at the walk-through- and haven't wanted something this badly in a long time.  The panel of judges/ board will look through all of the design proposals/boards and make their selections in January.  I fell in love with the room I'm after and the house itself is just so incredible.  I've been debating about mentioning this on the blog- there is a huge chance I won't be chosen- but it's tough for me to keep anything I'm really excited about off of the blog.  At first I thought I'd be embarrassed to tell you if I didn't make it, but I pretty much lay it all out on here and figured you wouldn't hold it against me if I'm not accepted. (And send hugs my way  haha)

Anyway, let's just hope that this little door of opportunity is ready to open...  because I'm so ready.
eeeeeeeeeeeek ;)

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

Monday, 13 December 2010

1st birthday party

Gooey post.. skip if you read for design ;)

Last night we had a small family birthday party for Justin who will soon be a year old.  (On Dec 22nd)  We celebrated a little early because it's so close to Christmas.  I made him a firetruck cake and dressed the boys in red & white.  We didn't tell anyone about the "theme" (we only decided on it the day or two before) but he ended up getting lots of firetrucks for gifts and the boys had a blast.

{so happy...  just before getting kicked off by big brother}

There's lots I could say about how quickly it's flying by (scary really) and how we didn't even notice as the sleepless nights turned into restful (sort of) ones... Having 2 kids & a business is definitely not a cake-walk by any means, but I have to say that Justin's made it as easy as it could possibly be for us.  He truly is a sweetie pie and is so patient and happy.  He puts up with so much abuse from big brother Christian (who loves him but also loves hurting him) and rarely complains.  He has a deep little raspy voice that makes me need to kiss him all the time and his thighs are a thing of beauty. 

{I love you my little one year old}

xoxo, Lauren/MOM

Saturday, 11 December 2010

The "big" world

{Just one of the girls}

My mom snapped this photo of my little sister during a pre-prom party my senior year of high school.  I love seeing the moment from her unexpected tiny perspective on the ground.  In that second in time -which we high school girls thought was all about us- the pic shows how really any moment is everyone's moment.  We're all experiencing it from our own perspective and forming our own feelings & opinions even if we're not the one in the spotlight.  

ps- My grandmother made my white dress out of a Vogue pattern we tweaked and I'm still crazy about it... 
along with my headless best friends, Veronica & Alissa.

xoxo, Lauren

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

Friday, 10 December 2010

Online store coming soon!

Several of you have emailed asking if my online store is up yet...   Well, it's been a loooong process (with my endless editing & changes- i might be the WORST client ever!!) but it's almost up & running!!  The online store itself has been created and here's a little sneak peek of the sign that's hanging up:

{created by super-talented Emily Thompson of emmarie web design ... adapted from the blog logo created for us by Jessica Nell Graves of Front Porch Studio whose work I also love}

I'm busy loading photos & descriptions of products & have decided on trying to use the same background for most of the products for now....

{Vintage canvas fruit picker and simple white background}

...and then -where possible- adding them into little vignettes for additional photos & ideas for what could be done with them:

{Fruit picker used to hold cleaning supplies & get them from room to room}

...Again, here's an antique pot:

...And in the pic below I filled it with chrysanthemums and added in some other items:

Here's a rustic hand-carved wooden tray:

And in the pic below I used it as a tray on the nightstand to corral books, jewelry & random things:

Anyway, all that's left to do is "set up shipping & taxes" and get the site online (no idea what this all entails but Emily's on it, so I'll keep you posted!!

The shopping categories I've decided on are:


Under "uncommon finds" you can expect to see similar items to the accessories used in the pic below of our living room:

{photo by Helen Norman}

...And the rug in our living room is one of the group of rugs we purchased to sell...  although it's now living with us.  (I told you I have a problem.)  People have asked me for prices on these wool rugs and they'll be priced from $3,400- $4,400.  They're handmade sun-washed reproduction rugs made to look like antiques and I've been told that I've priced them low for what they are.  Items in the store will run the gamut from $15-$20 all the way into the thousands with average accessory products in the $50- $150 range. 

There's nothing selling in the store that I wouldn't have in my own home or a client's home and I've chosen things that have caught my eye for one reason or another.  I typically go with my gut.  I'm not sure how quickly or slowly things will sell and have no idea what it will be like but am ready to give it a shot.  I'm putting everything that I currently have to sell in the store so if it sells out, I'll have to refill it with new things, and if nothing sells, I'll obviously wait :)     

I'm also in the process of working on a line of upholstered furniture and textiles and it will be a few more months before they're available.  Locally, they'll be available to sit on, lay on, etc. in the new Design Center my friend Elise is opening.  She's in the midst of negotiations for a space so I'll let you know the exact location as soon as we're sure.  The soonest would be February but we need to keep our fingers crossed for that.

Anyway, have a great weekend & stay warm!!!  This afternoon I'm off to help my cousin pick out a wedding dress!!! 

xoxo, Lauren

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

Thursday, 9 December 2010

Welcome Meghan & a giveaway!!

{Meghan working on a furniture plan }

I'm so excited to introduce you to my new design assistant, Meghan Short!   Meghan recently graduated from the Interior Design Program at James Madison Univeristy -YEAH DUKES!!!.. can you tell I went there too? ;) -  and I'm thrilled to bring her on board.  She's also now the advertising/ PR contact for the blog and if you have any questions you can email her at

Also, my friend & new blogger Danielle Sigwalt of Fresh Quince  is doing a giveaway of her beautiful handmade pottery.  If you haven't checked out her blog yet, it's all about beautiful green living and one of my favorite features are her "Friday Finds" in which she finds cool craiglist items and shows how you could make them chic.

{To enter the giveaway click here}
Thanks Danielle!!

xoxo, Lauren

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