Monday, 29 July 2013

A Peek: Our Kitchen Garden

With things as hectic as they've been lately, I've been truly cherishing my time in our garden.

{We created our garden with the help of my friend Danylo, owner of Organic Edible Gardens who we worked with to design & install the entire thing.}
 It's the first thing I do when I wake up (ok, after kids and putting out fires) and walking through it, weeding, snipping things here and there just makes me feel at peace. 

We found an old potting table and it's made planting, cutting and washing so much easier.  Having a place to stash everything has made such a difference and I now can't imagine the garden without it:

The garden's full of flowers right now, including limelight hydrangeas, echinacea and English roses.  I've been loving cutting them and bringing in fresh bouquets.

 The Asian cucumbers are possibly our favorite thing in the garden right now.  This one is over a foot and a half long and I even plucked it a little early!--

They're so good we can eat them plain!!

There's something about bringing things inside from the outside that I just can't get enough of.  We cook with herbs from the garden almost every night and have just been getting to enjoy the tomaters!!!

The boys fight over who gets to actually pick everything.  I'm looking forward to when all of the plants are producing fruit so "picking" is a little more peaceful ;)
Here's one of my favorite most recent meals from the garden:
Eating from our garden makes me so incredibly happy!!!  The boys love to help out and this weekend we put together our own little invention (which I'm sure has probably been invented before)- "pestodillas:"
Here's the Recipe:

-We took fresh baked whole wheat tortillas (whole foods' fresh baking, not ours ;) and layered them with pesto from the garden, shredded parmesan cheese, fresh spinach, garden tomatoes and a wheat tortilla with garlic butter on one side.  (Oh sooooo bad but so good!!! Will try without the garlic butter next time to be good ;) ;) 
-We microwaved them for a minute and were in love!!
I hope you get the chance to try it = Heaven.
Anyway, I'm off for another crazy day, but I hope you enjoyed this peek into our garden.  We're photographing our house next week and there's still so much that needs to be done...   Curtains & artwork need to go up (and be framed!!) , hardware needs to be installed, things need to be painted, bedding and pillows are being made, and we have a couple more small construction projects to finish up with.  So many things need to fall in place in order for next week to happen and I'm really feeling the pressure.  We're photographing it as early as we are because I want to have the photos happen when everything is in full bloom around here, which is now.  This morning I woke up sort of just wishing I could give up though. :/   (I think that's mostly because I'm tired & sick and it's Monday ;) ;) 

I think I need to take one more little walk through the garden this morning. 
Have a good one!!

For info on Organic Edible Gardens & their services, visit here. 

ps- If you missed my last post, our new distance decorating service - PARCEL- is finally available!!!  We've had an overwhelming response to the service (which is available on a first-come, first-serve basis) and I can't thank you all enough for spreading the word and for your support!! 
If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.  If you are interested in PARCEL please mention it in your inquiry.

Thursday, 25 July 2013

parcel: design delivered to your door

1. something wrapped up; package
2. a group of people or things having some common characteristic
3. an essential part of something
4. a package of bespoke designed goodness delivered to your door


I am so excited to announce parcel, our newest decorating service!!   Over the past couple of years, I've been unable to keep up with servicing both traditional clients and online clients, so I've had to put the whole online decorating thing on the shelf for a while.  We've had lots of requests to bring it back though, and we've been working really hard to try to rework our company so that we could, and  it's finally time!!

SO, we came up with parcel.  It's basically this:  design delivered to your door in a pretty little parcel.  It's everything you need to put the room of your dreams together, the way we do it. 

{a recent project}

 Instead of meeting traditionally, we communicate via emails and questionnaires and our clients receive a chic little parcel of essential step-by-step design plans in the mail that they can implement on their own.  We're starting parcel projects in just a few weeks and are taking on new clients right now for the Fall so if you know of anyone who might be interested, please let them know that they can sign up now!  If you'd like to sign up yourself, go to the contact section of our website (, which is switching over to next week!)  and submit a project inquiry, mentioning that you're interested in parcel. I'd love to have you as a client!! 

Also, for any other decorators out there who've been considering offering online services, I can say that I really loved doing it in the past, and that creatively, it's very similar to taking on traditional clients, but that's it's so different (of course never actually seeing the client or home in person) in that it's really more time spent designing vs. communicating and meeting and managing projects.  I loved doing it- which is why I've brought it back- but for me personally, I also needed the flesh and blood relationship-building side that traditional  projects offer.   I'm hoping this will be the best of both worlds!!  I'll keep you posted!

ps- Would love to know what you all think of it!!  

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.  If you're interested in becoming a parcel client, please mention that in your inquiry.  Thanks so much!

*images via pinterest and photo of our recent project by the talented Helen Norman

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

Southern Living Shoot Today!

Photo by Helen Norman

I'm off for the day to do a shoot at our client's dining room for Southern Living's November issue!  It's our first project featured by Southern Living and I'm so excited!!  Laurey Glenn will be photographing it and Susan Victoria is doing the styling.  I'll be posting behind the scenes stuff today on instagram so be sure to check it out!  Have a good one!

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

Monday, 22 July 2013

Big Changes at Lauren Liess & Co and for our Family

It's been almost a year now since my husband, David- Dave or Dav (at home ;)-  came to work full time for our design/ textiles business and it's been a whirlwind of a year.  We debated hardcore on whether he should make this move.  (Playing devil's advocate, doing worst case scenarios etc.)  We finally came to the conclusion that we'd always wonder "What if?" if we didn't give it a go.

{Us with our middle guy, Justin.  Photo by Helen Norman.}

So, putting all of our egg's in one figurative basket, Dave left his English teaching position and began working full time for our company. Last summer, I'd just given birth to our third son, Luke, (Our "Louie") so Dave & Meghan (our junior designer) were in the office more than I was actually, as I attempted maternity leave with three boys to take care of.  (Ha!)

Driving home from our beach vacation last July (pic above) we were browsing houses for sale online "for fun" and came across an affordable (and very intriguing!!) fixer-upper house a couple of towns away. The next day, we went to the open house and decided to make an offer.  We knew what we were doing looked crazy: Hey let's quit work and go buy a new house!!  We knew the best financial move would be to sit tight in our newly finished home we loved and wait to see how things worked out with both of us working for the company, but sometimes your gut pulls you in a different direction.

So, we moved to the house in September, immediately tearing out the floors and walls and adding new windows, and have been putting it back together over the past ten months.

Our oldest, Christian, started kindergarten this year and we hired an amazing nanny- who's now like part of our family- to take care of the boys during the day.  There are days when I just don't know how we're ever going to get everything we need to get done, done... and there are days when I look over at Dave as we're out doing something together for work and I think, "I can't believe we get to be together every day."

We're one of those annoying couples that's basically attached at the hip (it used to make our college friends roll their eyes...  maybe still does ;) and always wants to be together.


It feels like we get enough time.  We were only married a year before I was pregnant with our first "surprise" son so maybe it was that the newlywed phase was joined so quickly by our little guys.  Anyway, suffice it to say that I love being able to work with my husband.

In the past year, though, there have been some crazy times.  Most days, Dave & I do completely different things and don't really get to hang out until work's over.  We've pulled lots of all-nighters trying to get things done for our house or for work.  Designing this house has pretty much happened on borrowed time.  It happens on nights & weekends and when the contractors show up and need an immediate answer on something.  We've also seen our business grow, which is really exciting.  I'm thrilled that we're now a part of more & more projects being built from the ground up or project undergoing extensive renovations, which is a true passion of mine.  I love being a part of the architectural process and being able to help make choices that will make the house come together perfectly.

But as the business has grown, things have had to change.  A couple of years ago, we stopped offering consultations and online decorating, because I couldn't keep up with both consultations/ e-decorating and full-service projects.   I haven't been thrilled about that and I've always intended to hire more people to be able to bring these services back, but just haven't had the bandwidth to do it.  Lately, though, we've been doing a lot of thinking and reorganizing and are in the process of finally making the move and I'm so excited about it!!!

We're in the process of hiring a new business manager for Lauren Liess & Co and will then be hiring another junior designer in addition to Meghan.   We recently hired a part time assistant/ intern named Daniel, who helps with a lot of the literal heavy-lifting.  With these new additions to our team, we'll be looking at an office space to lease because we pretty much just won't fit in our home office.  If you've been reading my blog for a while, you probably know that we've mulled over moving our office out of the house or keeping it in the home for years now.  I love being home and being near my boys (our youngest is only a little over a year) during the day so we're really trying to make this move carefully.  I plan on working both from home and from the new studio so it needs to be nearby.  We're also trying to figure out exactly what our needs for the studio will be:  do we want potential clients to be able to come and visit?  Do we want a space with a small showroom?  A store? etc.  I love the idea of clients being able to come into an environment we've created but I also want to be careful about this move too.  I don't want to take on too much financially, so we're thinking we'll move slowly.

{...But how amazing would something like this Liz Cann door be??!!  I've always wanted a black & white striped awning!!! :) }

Anyway, these are ideas we've played around with for years and will probably always be playing around with.  I'll keep you posted on our search and may be taking you studio shopping with me to get your input.   :)  And as soon as I can introduce our new team members to you, I will!!

Also, we've gotten lots of inquiries regarding our online decorating services and I'm working like crazy on trying to put together the packages we'll be offering. As soon as I have everything put together into some sort of intelligible format, I'll be sure to post about it and then we'll open up the list for new e-decorating clients.  I hope to be offering some sort of online or phone consultation services too for those who are looking for more of a general home consultation.

{an old project board from way back when...  our new online services will be similar but clients will actually be mailed a physical package of custom designed goodies.}

So, please keep your fingers crossed for us over this next month or so as we begin making all of these changes within our business!  It's not going to be the easiest transition but I really hope it's for the best!

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

*****UPDATE******  Our fabric website is down for maintenance this week as we launch our brand new website, blog and online store so if you'd like to place any fabric orders this week, please visit our website and go to "contact" and let us know what you'd like to order.  Thanks for your patience!!

Be Right Back

I am taking the week off for some much needed R&R.  I hope y'all have a wonderful week, see you soon!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

The Butterfly Garden

When we moved to our new house, I was so happy to see an overgrown butterfly bush in the back yard!!  We'd had one at our first home and loved watching all of the gorgeous butterflies on the blooms.  It sits right on the edge of our kitchen garden:

We have butterflies of all colors & kinds and the perfect view of it from our living room window, where I planted a little lavender garden that they seem to love too.  

Here's one I took a blurry picture of this morning:

{Love her!!}

It feels almost like we're outside when we're inside and it just makes me so happy to have that little bit of beautiful life around the house.  In the evenings we take the boys around to visit the butterflies & it's so relaxing.

The butterfly bush also has such pretty blooms that I love to bring inside.  Here's a little arrangement I picked for our clients earlier this week in their new dining room:

And a little more of a peek into the finished dining room with my clients' new little monkey prints:

It's the little things that make life feel good.  As we try to get through this insanely busy time, I'm really trying to stop and take it in. Wish me luck with this, I need it right now!!!  And you too!!

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

Market Review Through The Phone Lens

I wanted one of these to hang from the ceiling in a playroom but none made it home with me....this time.
 Testing out seating....

Monday, 15 July 2013

Client Nursery

The precious twins I did this nursery for just turned one this past week so I figured it was about time to show you pictures...that seems to be about how long it takes these days.
The client wanted a gray based nursery and we added touches of blue and pink for a boy and a girl.
 All of these pictures where taken by me and not a professional so please keep that in mind when looking at photo quality.
 I loved these letters, the painted color letters are the babies initials- pink and blue respectively with the last name initial painted in silver.
 We had the light custom made, I love the strong feel against all the softness.