Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Opinions Please...Umbrella Strollers

We are in the market for an umbrella stroller and I could use some advice.  These are the finalist so far but I am open to suggestions!
Above Maclaren Volo, Below First Years Ignite

Above First Years Jet, Below UppaBaby G-Lite

And yes, I am looking for black or dark colors.  Our UppaBaby Vista (which I still love) looks like it needs to go through a car wash.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Clients' Family Room & Dining Room; "Before" & 2 years "after"

A couple of years ago, I met Aimee & Dave and wrote about their design plans & project here.  With life being so busy for me (& them! :) I never ended up taking pictures of their finished space.  It's always been one of my favorites because they were willing to take some BIG design risks!!!  We finally got together & I snapped a few quick pics to share.  We started working together when the home was still under construction & looked like this:

Now, a couple years later & lived in and loved, it looks like this:
The orange floral sofa was thought about - long & hard- by all of us.  It was a really bold move by Aimee & she is still totally loving it so I am so glad she took the risk!!!  Walking into the room with this sofa in it made me smile instantly.  It's soooo much fun and just so pretty in person. 
You might remember the design plans & the VERY rough skectches I made, helping Aimee & Dave visualize what their space would feel like:
This is how the actual space looks now:
They've kept the center of the plan fairly open for the kids to spread out & play on the floor.  We still have plans to swap out the sunburst mirror with an Audobon print and move it to the bedroom.
Here's a close-up of the super-comfy velvet chairs with a peek into the dining nook in the kitchen:
I didn't get a good pic of the 19th Century barley twist table with original needlepoint insets that I'd found for them but here's an old photo I took of it before it went in.  THIS THING IS INCREDIBLE:
It sits between the two velvet chairs.
I love the lamp by Haeger Potteries atop the media cabinet:
And then here's the kitchen dining nook when it was under construction: (hey! looks like how we're living at our place right now!! ;) ;)
And here it is now, truly being used:
The custom parsons dining table is by The Lorimer Workshop in Rhose Island.  (They're amazing.)  I loooooove the kids artwork collection simply taped to the wall!!  (You may have noticed a few other artwork walls in the other shots too ;)  They can add the collections whenever they want. 
And finally, here's one last pic of the family room with Aimee & Dave in it.  (They are STILL the cutest!! :)
I'm so thankful to have such wonderful clients like them who have let me into their homes & lives!!

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

St. V's Nursery Details Part II

Hello there, I hope you had a great weekend.  Shall we continue with the details of the St. Vincent's/ABC3340 nursery?  First up.....
The glider came from Storkland and the pillow from Etsy.  We added another pillow that matched the ottoman, not pictured here.  Ottoman was custom made, e-mail me @ for quote.  
Bedding- Sheet and crib courtesy of Pottery Barn Kids, skirt Robert Allen available through Marianne Strong Interiors.
Not a great picture but the best I had of the skirt close up.
Frames Target, painted custom color.  Prints inside frames are actually pages from the book Wherever You Are by Nancy Tillman. AKA the book that makes me cry every time I read it.
Light, to the trade, available through Marianne Strong Interiors.
Ceiling- you probably already know since it is a cult classic- Osborne and Little's Coronata Star.
Dresser available through At Home.
For specific pricing or questions e-mail me or Laurl @
Images Wynter Byrd and Marianne Strong Interiors

Friday, 26 October 2012


Well I thought the second part of the nursery details were coming today but that didn't happen.  Instead I wanted to share these pictures from the St. Vincent's Nursery that I thought were so telling.  The family who won the nursery lost their entire house in a tornado.  Through the window you can the destruction of a neighbors house...
The rest of their house was still in the construction stage when we revealed the nursery.  Photo taken from living room looking back into the nursery.

Images Wynter Byrd and Marianne Strong Interiors

Thursday, 25 October 2012

A Client's Home Office Before & After

Since having Luke (our 5 month old) and unexpectedly selling our house & moving to a new one a couple of months ago, I've felt like time has truly been passing at the speed of light.  It's been a whirlwind.  I don't think life ever really slows down but I think it might calm a little once our house is through construction.     Since being in such a busy phase, I haven't had the chance to take many photos of finished projects to share...
Before Luke was born, I began working with a client who occasionally works from home and wanted to have her office redesigned.  The project was installed when I was around 9 months pregnant & when I was able to visit afterwards, I had my brand new baby with me so there wasn't time to take pictures.  I received the sweetest thank you card in the mail from her last week that she'd made from photos of the office & I just had to share! 
Here's what the loft office looked like when we started:
My client has very defined tastes and she's a minimalist.  I think she's also the neatest person I've EVER known.  (I'm seriously envious of how perfectly she keeps her home/ office.)  She likes her spaces to feel clean & open & airy & natural and loves a warm modern feeling.  We decided to reuphoster a pair of her existing chairs & to change out pretty much everything else. 
Here's what it looks like now:

We used a glass table between her reupholstered chairs so that the view from the new daybed to the living room below would be unimpeded.  To make the daybed exactly as my client wanted it, she & her (SUPER-handy!!) husband actually cut down the legs of the daybed for a lower/less traditonal vibe and painted the feet.  We used some of my fern star linen for throw pillows on it. 

We used a lot of glass & metal throughout the space but the live edge desk is one of my favorite pieces in the room.  We had it made by the Lorimer Workshop. It's a live edge top on metal legs.  I love it juxtaposed against the white leather & chrome chair.

I'm off for an installation (so be sure to check out instagram where I'll be posting photos of the project) but hope you enjoyed & thank you so much to my client for sending me the photos!!

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

St. V's Nursery Details Part 1

Alright, let's get back to the St. Vincent's Nursery.  Some detail shots and information for y'all.  
The first time I met the winners they told me their son was going to be named Boston in part because of  Dad's love for the Red Sox.  When I saw this mobile I knew it was meant to be.
Above, custom color stool from Stray Dog Designs, available through Marianne Strong Interiors.  Below,  just one of the amazing frames from Scripture with Pictures, thank you Paula!
I have received lots LOTS of inquiries about these letters.  They were my starting point in this space and I LOVE them just as much as y'all do.  They are from Frontera in Birmingham, I also saw some similar at Scotts in Atlanta.  
This light is a trade item and available through Marianne Strong Interiors.  I included this shot though because you can see the inside detail.  I knew I wanted an iron/industrial look to the light but when it went up it needed something else.  All brown iron was too much, too dark and imposing.  So, I painted the inside a metallic silver to match the stars in the wallpaper and it ended up being just what the light needed.  I swear it is the smallest details that matter.
A HUGE thank you to the vendors who helped make this room possible.  The design of the room did not start until after the winner was chosen.  I felt it was important to really design the space for the specific family so I did not try to start a design before I knew who it was.  That left less than 3 weeks to pull everything together and that meant a lot of express orders/shipping/overall general break-neck hustling.  I could not have done it without wonderful companies.  More to come tomorrow.

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

You Need These.

 Trust me here people, I am a writing instrument connoisseur and you need one of these.  

Might replace these as my favorite. Available here.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Fern Star Baby

This weekend was amazing in that nothing really happened at all.  We veg'd at home and enjoyed being outside & having a grill to cook with.  (We sold our house with the grill since we'd built a countertop around it & it fit perfectly so we have been eating TERRIBLY since we moved to our new house without a kitchen.)  I cannot describe how HEAVENLY it feels to eat good food again.  (Even if the "good food" consists of grilled meat with microwave rice.)

When I was little, my mom used to lay a blanket out in the yard for us and now it's one of my favorite things to do with my little guys.  I couldn't resist putting Luke's head in the center of one of the fern stars on the quilt and taking some pics.   It's definitely the little things & it's in the moments where I'm thinking of nothing else but that moment that I feel the most connected to & invigorated by life.
Hope you had a good one! 

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

A Milestone

 Today marks the 5 year anniversary of going out on my own, the official beginning of Marianne Strong Interiors.  Honestly, I can't believe it, time has flown so fast.  I look back on those first few months, the literally sleepless nights, the tears shed and the excitement of it all.  It seems like yesterday and a thousand years ago all at the same time.
(picture taken several years ago in my original office in the house, with my original assistant)

I am so proud of how far this little company has come.  From a small room in my house all by myself to an office I love to come to everyday with an employee by my side.  I know my company in the grand scheme of things is small fries but to me it might as well be a Fortune 500 company.
(This is not the first room I did but it is one of the first I have a picture of)

Of course I could not have done it on my own and today I want to take some time to say thank you.

Starting with my Husband.  Patrick has been my biggest cheerleader and in the beginning when I was making pennies, he was our sole provider.  He gave me the space and support to chase my dream and together we have celebrated the highs and held on through the lows.  By being such an amazing father, he has continued to make my job easier since Henry was born.
(Patrick and my Dad- move in day, an office to call my own!)

Speaking of cheerleaders, my parents and family have been there the whole way.  My parents have always believed in me (and my brothers) to the fullest extent.  It never dawned on me growing up I would not be successful because of the confidence they instilled in me.  Not loud, not proud or boastful, just a quiet voice that always said try hard, don't give up, you can do it.  For 5 years now my Mom has basically been my CFO, definitely a liaison to the accountant and that has been priceless. 

A HUGE thank you goes to an amazing Interior Decorator, Jenny Edwards...also known as my former boss.  I worked for her for several years and during that time she let me start small projects on the side on my own before fully taking on Marianne Strong Interiors.  The depth of my gratitude for her, my time with her, what I learned while working for her is bigger than words.  She changed my life.  I am eternally grateful.

There are so many friends and business peers that have given me countless pep talks along the way, those stick.  They have also shared in celebrating the triumphs, those memories stick too.
(Card attached to flowers-and a giant margarita glass because they know me so well- sent 5 years ago.  Still hanging up in my kitchen today.)

I am so, so thankful for all my clients.  Sometimes I like to open Quickbooks and go back through all the names.  I am fortunate that most of them from the past come back again and I don't have to ever fully say goodbye.  Of course without clients a business could not exist; but it is the enjoyment of working with them, their company, their families, their homes that make my days meaningful and much more than just a job.
(Sneak peek of a project we are having photographed soon)

Last but certainly not least, I have to thank the Big Guy Up Stairs.  I get asked for business advice all the time and there are pointers I give, but I believe there is one sole reason I have been so successful and that is God.  Oh so many prayers have been whispered over these years.  Hundreds.  Thousands.  Only He knows for sure.
(The new website is coming along! Now updated pictures needed.  This could take another 5 years a while.)

I am looking forward to the next 5 years and beyond.  I can't imagine how they could possibly top the first five but you never know what is right around the corner.  Since having Henry the work landscape has changed.  I have had to reign in my workaholic ways- an ongoing struggle.   My biggest goal for the next five years is to continue to grow and find success while making sure my most important job- being Henry's Mom- always comes first.

Thursday, 18 October 2012

St. Vincent Nursery Pictures!

This past Spring I had the incredible honor of being asked by St. Vincent's Hospital to design a nursery for a deserving family.  St. Vincent's partnered with ABC33/40 to host the contest.  Out of all the entries three were chosen to share their story on Talk of Alabama.  From there, viewers voted and one deserving family was picked.  The Reed family lost their home during the January tornados that came through Alabama.  They had to rebuild from the ground up.  I am so, so grateful I was able to design the nursery for them.  Two weeks was all the time I had once the winner was chosen.  Usually in this industry you cannot accomplish anything in two weeks but some amazing people and companies helped me out.  Details shots and information coming in a follow-up post.  
Images Wynter Byrd Photography and Marianne Strong Interiors