Friday, 25 February 2011

DC Design House Bare Bones Tour!

If you're free tomorrow, I'd love to see you at the DC Design House Bare Bones Day!  You can view the "before" of the empty house and view designers design boards for their spaces & talk to them about their plans.  I'll be there bright & early in my updtairs bedroom at 10.  (10 is bright & early for this mama who lives way out in the 'burbs ;) 

Tickets are $20 each and proceeds go to Children's Hospital. 

We're flying out to LA for the Design Blogger's Conference tomorrow late-afternoon so I'll be staying at the Showhouse until a little after 1 or so before heading to the airport. 

Here is a little peek at a photo of the grisaille "sketch" done by John Matthew Moore for my design board:

{I want to be there}

Outside of the house in DC, there are boxwood gardens so we thought this painting of English gardens would be fitting for the room.  This little painting is based on a photo Matthew took on one of his trips.   I cannot wait to see it enlarged!! 

{John Matthew Moore in his gallery}

Want another peek of his gallery?  (I thought you would so I took lots of pics!)  The Gallery in McLean is not completely finished but is still gorgeous:

{Recognize those robin's eggs paintings?}

{Some of the beautiful frames available... art in and of themselves}

{Loove these chairs... Matthew reupholstered them in a levendar-gray velvet with jute trim.}

{the desk}


{I love these little sheep paintings hung in the window}

{The pedestal table displays some of lighting designer Rick Singleton's repurposed lighting projects}

{check out this antique beauty... I love the nailholes left over from its lifetime of different identities}

{And one last parting pic of the Gallery}

For information on Matthew, Rick and their work, go here.

I met Matthew & Rick this past September when our good mutual friends, Eddie & Jaithan were visiting.  We went to the best little burger place around in McLean & had a great time.  I was literally blown away by their work & couldn't wait to use pieces of theirs for clients.  When the DC Design House came around, I immediately thought of Matthew & Rick & how amazing pieces done by them would be.  I was thrilled when they were on board to contribute to the bedroom!  They have both had pieces featured in past Design Houses and I kid you not, I got so excited I chills when I saw the gallery the first time with Eddie & Jaithan.  It just oozes with creativity and makes you need a piece for your own home. 

Throughout the next coming month or two, I'll be sharing photos & info on all of the people and companies who are contributing to my room in the DC Design House.  They're such a creative talented group & they've all been so generous.  The Children's Hospital Showhouse definitely takes a village and I can't wait for you to "meet" everyone! 

The Design House Bare Bones Tour tomorrow will be a lot of fun, so please come if you can!! 

For the address & info for tomorrow, go here.:

xoxo, Lauren

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

Thursday, 24 February 2011

Apartment Therapy Design Evening in DC

If you're in the DC area, come out to this month's Apartment Therapy Design Evening on March 16th.  I'll be speaking about design, my new fabric & furniture lines, the showhouse and other random things and would love to meet you!!  (Like I mentioned, public speaking makes me a little nervous so friendly faces would be a huge plus :)  It's a great chance to get to meet other bloggers & design-obsessed people and it should be a lot of fun.  So come out if you can!!

To see details and RSVP, go here
The location listed is tentative so be sure to check back prior to the event... they are trying to get a larger space. 

Fingers crossed! eeeeek

xoxo, Lauren

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

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Newest Textile Design- Magnolia

I wanted to share another little peek of my new textile line...  This design is called Magnolia and my friend (and super-talented artist), Kat Wright, painted it for me.  It will be available in several colorways and here's a quick look at two of them, both on linen.

Here's the blue colorway:

{"Magnolia" in blue by Lauren Liess Textiles}

And here's the True/Green:

{"Magnolia" in true by Lauren Liess Textiles}

I had to use my camera phone & the pics really don't do them justice, especially the True.

I love magnolias and look out at my neighbor's massive magnoilia tree fairly often, wishing it were in my yard.  For this pattern, I wanted an overscaled pretty-yet-wild feel.  It's a floral but its leaves are just as prominent as its blooms which I think makes it a little less sweet.

I can't wait to start using these in projects ----   eeeek!!

I'm still working on finalizing pricing but hope to have them up and for sale in my online store by mid-April.

ps- I looooved your ideas about outdoor fabrics so am looking into it!

ppss-- I'm headed to LA this weekend to the Design Blogger's Conference and we're taking Christian to Disneyland!!  Let me know if you've signed up for the Conference!

Also, The DC Design House Bare Bones Tour is this Saturday from 10-4.  I'll be there so stop by if you can!  Click here for details. 

Finally, I'm joining up with Apartment Therapy on Wednesday, March 16th for a Designer Night in DC.  They're still finalizing the location so as soon as I know you'll let you know.  I definitely get a little nervous about public speaking so fingers crossed.

xoxo, Lauren

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

Monday, 21 February 2011

Garden of Giants

Why is it that when we're outside, we create spaces that remind us of being inside, and when we're inside we (well, definitely me) create spaces that remind us of the outside?  Outside we make "outdoor living" spaces, treehouses, fun sheds, outdoor kitchens, patios with rugs, etc...  and inside we want our windows wide open to reveal views of the outdoors, and we use natural materials & objects to bring nature in.  I'm really not sure why but I guess I'd say it's because we want the best out of both??  As humans, the outdoors is beautiful & awe-inspiring but maybe it's just in our DNA to make shelters and/or nest?  I'm guessing not everyone has this bug, but for those of you who have it, you know it's like that pregnant "nesting" stage for life. 

{image from Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Blog}

I loved my treehouse as a kid... I seriously used to sweep it!! (and you know I hate cleaning)  Yet just as much, I loved sleeping with my windows open so that it felt almost like I was outside.  I loved camping outside but I loved going into the cozy tent to sleep. 

{our Girl Scout tents were soooo not this great... image from }

Anyway, when it gets warmer out, my mind always goes to gardening & enjoying the yard.  Last year we planted wisteria along our fence and are a backwards with it, but are adding a pergola to our gate for it to grow over this year.  There's something about outdoor spaces that are just a tiny bit enclosed & private that I love. 

This year, we're planning something really special for the kids (&us)  thanks to this book my mother-in-law gave me:

{by Sharon Lovejoy found here}

It's called Roots Shoots Buckets & Boots and I am craaaaazy about it.  Seriously, it makes you want to go out and start digging.  I planted my daffodil bulbs this weekend after taking a peruse.  (I know I'm a couple of months late on that but I heard from  good source that they might have a shot?? )  In her book, Sharon Lovejoy outlines 12 different types of gardens you can make with y our kids.  (And honestly, whether you haev kids or not, these gardens are a-mazing.)   I want to do a couple this year but the one we're definitely doing is the "Garden of Giants."   It's actually a "living fort" that the kids (and me!) can play in.  They crawl through a tunnel of beans to get to a teepee of gourds surrounded by a giant pumpkin patch. 

{image from how gorgeous are these hanging gourds?!!}

You have to wait to start planting until it stays above 70 on most days so we'll need to wait a while for that (umm... yeah snow storm coming tonight what???!!) but I CANNOT WAIT!!!  For anyone interested in joining us, you can buy pre-done seed packets for the Garden of Giants here or you can get them on your own. 

I'm curious to see how this turns out.  I love to garden {mostly on weekends} but am an impatient & neglectful gardener...  things that don't need a lot of tending (or um watering) do really well at our house.  So we'll see how this goes.  If it works, I'll take lots of pictures.

xoxo, Lauren

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

Thursday, 17 February 2011

Design House Progress

First I just want to say THANK YOU to all of the amazing comments you left on the last post.  We're definitely not alone and it's nice to know that.  I nodded, laughed and even teared up at some of your comments from yesterday's post.  Each & every piece of advice is awesome so if you didn't get the chance to read the comments, check them out. 

On a totally unrelated note, things have been progressing with the DC Design House.  In case you don't know how it works (I didn't until just a couple of months ago) I thought I might explain the process.  In December, just before Christmas, the house was open for two days so that designers could drop by, choose a room and measure & photograph it.  (Like I've mentioned before, the house is amazing.)  I was seriously nervous.  It's an interesting feeling to be in a room with other designers, measuring the same space.  Everyone was really nice though & there were no reality-TV drama moments or anything like that. 

{See the balcony?!! Looooove this house... and this room.}

We had a couple of weeks to put together a design proposal & board for the room we'd chosen.  We scampered around making phone calls for donations and getting everything just right.  We had an artist do renderings of our proposed space and we submitted the board and portfolio to be reviewed by the Committee.  That was on January 7th. 

We had to wait until January 31st to find out if we had been selected or not.  Twenty-four days doesn't seem like a long time, but by the last 3 or 4 days I could barely stand it.  I got a phone call that I had been selected (eeeek) and then it was time to get to work.  I got a different room from the one I had submitted a design for (I am thrilled with my new room!! :) so I had to change the design a bit.  (The room determines its design just as much as what someone wants to do with it.)

I got the chance to measure the new room and meet there with our contractors.  The new room needs something a little different than the what the first room needed, so I tweaked the palette and of course reworked the floorplan & furnishings to fit the new space.  Here's a quick pic of the original board being torn to bits as we tried to salvage the pieces of it that we are reusing in our new room:

{Don't get too attached to anything other than the Peter Dunham Fig Leaf fabric you see in the pic}

I created a new plan for the new room and we finished up the board today.  It'll be shown on Bare Bones Day, which is when people can tour the house to see it "before."  I'll be there and if you live in the area & are free, you should come check it out!  (info here)  We've spent the past couple of weeks sourcing the pieces that will go into the room, finalizing plans, and securing donations from generous companies & contractors.  It's been crazy because it's not a normal house you can just go to whenever you need something.  There are specific times you can go & meet with contractors and everyone needs to be on the same schedule. 

{design house room before}

The Bare Bones Tour is next Saturday and work begins the following Monday.  Our rooms need to be finished by March 31st.  Press Day is April 1st and the Design House opens on Saturday, April 8th!! 

I'll keep you posted as our room progresses.  First up is removing the current wallpaper!

xoxo, Lauren

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

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

What happens by Thursday...

...By the time Thursday rolls around at our house, it's trrrrrrrashed... Bad. 
In need of detox:

{There is this much food on the floor underneath my one year-old's high chair after every meal. 
Thank God I have a dog.}

Sometimes I look around and just wonder how in the world it happens?  How does a house get so destroyed in just 3 short days?  And the scariest part is, today's only Wednesday! Tuesday! (oh wow.  I totally wrote Wednesday and believed it until I realized my husband had class tonight, and he has classes on Tuesdays...  eeek)   We haven't even hit detox day yet!

{Clean me mommy!  Clean me!}

I sometimes wonder, "how do people do it?"  I only have two kids and it's madness here!  Last night my husband & I were hanging out in the kitchen attempting to make a yummy Valentine's Day meal, just enjoying each other's company for a few short minutes, when the dog came in, soaked and covered in PINK stuff.  And she smelled like strawberries!!

We followed her wet trail down the hall to our bedroom to find Christian (3 1/2) & Justin (1).  Justin was also covered in strawberry-flavored pink stuff literally from head to toe. 

Kids' toothpaste.  Awesome.

It was really hard not to laugh- especially when after a quick glance around my bedroom I could see that my room was okay (only half-kidding)...   And especially when it was one of the nicest-smelling messes our house has ever seen.  So I sort of laughed and hid my head and this time Dave got to be the stern parent.  All was well.

Christian has started reminding me of a little boy from Lord of the Flies. His hair goes wild at night and when he wakes up in the morning he rips all of his clothes off for his bath... but way earlier than need be.  We just need a fire.

{Christian... }

But anyway... my question...  how in the world do people do it??  I imagine nice calm breakfasts like in Lady & the Tramp where the family sits and eats and then everyone goes on their merry way.  Each dish is put into the dishwasher and the beds are made.  We rush around like crazy people in the morning and trash our house.  Why??

Case in point:  my husband just walked downstairs to where I am now writing, saying "I cleaned and I picked up, and I cleaned and I picked up, and I cleaned and I picked up..."  (I got all excited here) "...and it's still trashed."  oh.  And then he walked down the hallway and I heard,  "ooooooooooohhhhhhhhhh!" and I will not tell you what he found because I still have maybe half an ounce of self-respect left but let's just say the dog's in trouble. 

The strangest part about all of this is...  I'm coming to terms with the mess, which is a little scary.  I know we fix it every week and I know it comes back every week.  It's inevitable and I've found it interesting to observe that Thursdays really seem to be the culmination of the mess.  (And a little freaked out to realize that today is only Tuesday and it looks a lot like a Thursday around here.)

So anyway...  every so often I bring up this topic on the blog, because every so often I need to make changes.  Sometimes I just want to sit down and give up on fighting the inevitable mess.  (Ummm... and sometimes I do.)   BUT, it's at times like this when we need to FIGHT THE FIGHT.  (Yes, I'm pep-talking myself here.) I have to remind myself that if we don't keep cleaning, the goverment would have to come dig us out of our house.   No really though...  if we don't keep trying, life wouldn't be as great.  It's hard to enjoy the people you love when the mess is eating them.  We have to periodically come up with new solutions to force ourselves (and our family) to keep the house neater...  to change our natural tendencies into ones that don't require detox Thursdays.  I'm too tired to come up with any enlightening solutions right now, but my question is-  how do you do it all?

xoxo, Lauren

ps- This post here from last year is a bit more helpful  (as are the comments) if you're looking for some solutions to this problem! ;)

Sunday, 13 February 2011

Brooke & Steve's Gilt Showhouse Room!

I'm so in love with this room by Brooke & Steve Giannetti for the Gilt Home/ Ashton Kutcher Showhouse.  The online sale of a select number of pieces from each room are on sale though tomorrow.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to DNA, a charity started by Ashton Kutcher and his wife Demi Moore to combat human trafficking.  To shop and help the cause, go here.  (Can you believe the water paintings are Steve's?!!)

xoxo, Lauren

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

Friday, 11 February 2011

DC Design House Room Before

{My DC Design House Room, Before}

Yesterday was a long crazy day in the city (I'm pretty much a total suburban girl) and I have before photos to show you of our room!  My assistant, Meghan Short, has been invaluable.  (Meghan graduated last Spring with an interior design degree from JMU- go dukes!- and I'm very lucky to have her.  She's seriously talented and just "gets" it.)  To give you an idea of what our mornings are like when we head to the Design House...  Mine starts around 6:30 laying in bed pretending I don't really need to get up... oh wait, that's not what you wanted to know??   sorry :)  ....Meghan arrives at our house at 8 and helps me get the boys out the door to daycare by 8:30 or so... which has been a lifesaver.  (Any of you with kids know that getting out the door with 2 under 3 is no small task.)  From there we head straight into the city and arrive by 10.  

When we got there yesterday, there was an introductory meeting with the members of the Committee and all of the designers.  We got the rundown on the house, dos & don'ts, cans & can'ts etc.  It was fun seeing so many faces I'd only seen in photos!!  (And some familiar ones too!)  

Ok, and now what you really want to see... more of our room "before:"

{The right wall when you walk in}

It's approx 12x16.5 feet and I love its proportions.  It's currently wallpapered.  There are funky angled walls & a cozy bay window nook. I'm crazy about it!!

{The left wall.  We do have to work around the air conditioning unit in the window...  And it actually needs to be running during the Showhouse.}

Here's the view looking at the entry door.  The door on the right is a little closet:

We met with insanely talented artist John Matthew Moore who is creating something I can barely sleep over for our space, lighting designer Rick Singleton wose work I loooove, the BEST carpet guy around -Tolvin Griffin- who owns Carpet Customizer (he is cutting, binding & installing a Stark rug for us), and our new go-to builder- Mike Carr with CarrMichael Construction -who is doing the brunt of the work.  They are all generously donating their talents and this room would not be possible if it weren't for them.}

We are planning something for the bay window but need to work around the radiator.  Here's a pic Meghan snapped of Mike & I figuring out the best way to make it work:

And here's a pic Meghan snapped of what it {sadly} looks like when I'm working:

We typically spend much of the palette-planning stages on the floor in my office, so I was pretty at-home with the lack of a table in our empty room. 

And one last shot of the room "before:"

I absolutely love this house & wish I could move my family right on in.  It's a 1920s tudor with beautifully proportioned rooms - both dark & moody and sunny & light like ours- and a million little nooks & crannies.  It's the type of house you wish you could be a kid in & just run around exploring & playing hide-and-seek.   In the master bedroom closet, you can open up a wardrobe door and there is another set of doors that opens onto a balcony overlooking the massive formal living room.  I can just picture it filled with people at a glamorous party, Sound-of-Music-Style.


(yeah, I totally thought it was "Avida say goodnight" until I googled it.)

xoxo, Lauren

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

Check out DC Design House details here

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Happikat by LL Textiles

{'Happikat' by Lauren Liess Textiles-- eeeek}

I definitely squeeled when I received our very first fabric strike-off in the mail today.  I'm sooooo excited and it's amazing to see the designs we've been working on for so long on a beautiful linen.  I can't wait to get my hot mitts on the others.  I named this overscaled ikat "Happikat" because it really is one of those fun, fearless fabrics that just makes me happy. (And -only half-kidding here- it helps me remember how to pronounce "ikat"  ;)    My good college friend & artist, who helped me create this design {with her magical skills}  is also named Kat!   rarrrr  {Kat Wright technically}

This design was basically a serious doodle for me.  As you might remember, I can't draw, so I just sort of let go and had fun with it.  I incorporated a little bit of a Grecian vase shape into it (which isn't in this section so you can't really see it) and just kind of added curls & little paisley shapes & dots where it felt like it needed it.  I knew I wanted a bold overscaled ikat with a linear feel and just sort of kept at it until I was happy with the way it all intertwined.  Kat then took the drawing I made and evened it out/ made it perfectly symmetrical and made it look as pretty as it was in my head.  (because mine was scaaaaaary in actuality)  It's been amazing to work with the artists on these designs because they are talented enough to create what you have in your head & are trying to communicate.  It's a totally different form of design thatn I do and I'm in complete awe.

I'm using the new fabric in the bedroom/ sitting room I'm designing for the DC Design House, so I'll be sure to keep you posted on our progress.  It'll be available in several colorways on linen.  (The background of this black & white print is a bit creamier than it's reading in the photos and we still have a few tweaks to make here & there.) 

I've got a busy day heading over to the Design House tomorrow to meet with the other designers & our contractors, so gingers crossed all is smooth!  For the past couple of weeks we've been working on securing donations from companies in the industry, shops, artisans & contractors, and I'm really amazed at everyone's generosity.  {Like I mentioned before, all proceeds from the DC Design House go to Children's Hospital.}   I can't wait to share everyone's info with you because so much of their stuff is to-die-for and you will looooove it like I do.

**update:  oops I almost forgot:  I'm hoping to have the fabrics ready to rock by April.  :)  ...working on  on pricing & on finalizing some of the designs.  {And just to fill you in/ warn you, high-quality linen textiles are not cheap, especially when they are not mass-produced.  I am working on getting the price down as low as I can to make the textiles as affordable as possible, but our fabrics will in no way be at the low-end of the spectrum both price & quality-wise.-  hope that made sense! ;)   

xoxo, Lauren

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

The natural element

When examining rooms that I really love (both in photos & in life) I've noticed there there almost always needs to be some natural elements in a room for me to really love it.  By natural elements, I mean wood (either stained or raw), textured materials such as natural woven shades, baskets or natural fiber rugs rugs, leathers, plants, etc.  and I've noticed that that same feeling can come across in certain textiles,  metals and paintings so often they serve that purpose.

A room that's full of bright, bold happy saturated color needs grounding elements in order for me to love it.   I've noticed that I tend to like rooms missing the brown element at first glance, but that as I study them, I often grow bored.  They feel a little one-dimensional and unsophisticated and a little bit like children's rooms:

{My little guy Christian's bedroom...  the woven shades add a little of that brown I'm talking about, but this also gives you the idea of what I mean about how a kids' scheme often feels}

Below, I love this room by Betsy Burnham.  The metal drum table, the inside of the fireplace, the lamp, and the bird figurines on the mantle, are these natural (brown as is often the case) touches I'm talking about.  They ground the room just enough and make it perfectly livable & comfortable. 

(image via Apartment Therapy...  ps- I'm doing a 4-chair arrangement with a client in her living room right now & I'm so excited about it.  loooove the cozy layout.}

In the room below by Gerrie Bremermann, it's the sisal rug & tapestry pillow on the left that provide this natural element.  They bring this elegant formal room down just a notch so that it's perfectly comfortable & a tad more approachable: 

{image via Cote de Texas}

It's partly my love for the outdoors and partly a need for texture and layers that has me craving natural elements somewhere in amost every room.  There's a lot of it in this room below (Lonny) with the exposed hardwood floors and A-mazing tapestry:


I'm not saying that there aren't beautiful rooms without the natural element...  because there definitely are...  but for me personally to really fall in love with a room, I need it. 

{The armoire, floors: Southern Accents}

{The rug, painting, table and kitty stand: Domino}

{the shades, S.Gambrel}

{I can't remember where I found this...  the bed, tableand mirrors in reflection}

(Windsor Smith's living room in House Beautiful...  It's the rug, chest and other wooden elements throughout the room.  loooooove}

Adding the natural element is simple.  It can wake up a dead space like nothing else.  Add some natural woven shades to your windows or bring in a big gorgeous fern (which is always semi-temporary in my case because of my black thumb).  Add a natural fiber rug under your current rug for another layer of natural texture...  Switch out some artwork, swap pillows, add textured blankets in, baskets, etc. 

Anyway, the kids are up and I hear giggles from the nursery so I have to run.  Have a great day!!!

xoxo, Lauren

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