Ah, the lake house project. This project will always have a very special place in my heart and my career. It was an insane first year post-show and I was branching out into the “normal” design field. I had very little experience on how to find the right clients, how to charge, how to pay employees, and generally how to not fail miserably. Some jobs were successes (like this one and a few others) and some were more ‘learning experiences’ as we like to call them (successful for the client – but we realized we weren’t charging enough to really profit – whoops). Either way I learned a ton, don’t regret a thing (isn), and can look back on this project with mostly fond and happy memories.
This client was kinda our dream client. They had good taste (she’s actually gone on to become an interior designer for HomePolish, ha!) and had a doable budget - which will remain private because well, they aren’t me and actually have a sense of privacy, but just know that we still needed to be very budget friendly. Plus, they were fun to be around which is the key to really enjoying a job because you spend A LOT of time with them. Lastly, they were really trusting.
I chatted with them on the phone and liked them. Then we flew out to meet them and loved them. And then we looked at their house, saw the potential and committed to them. The chemistry was just so right. Here are the pictures from Zillow that we saw before we visited:
The space had soooo much potential. It was big, open, airy and led right out to the lake. In these photos the finishes don’t look that bad, but everything was cheap builder grade. It had been flipped 7 years before so we were dealing with a lot of post-flip problems. I know there are a lot of good flippers out there now, but man do those dudes do some ugly damage. Lets name them shall we? The ‘wood floor’ was laminate. The beams were painted chocolate-brown which is a huge ‘no no’ in my book. It’s either stained wood or painted white (or a color), but you, Mr. faux wood, are fooling no one.
I’m realizing that this post could potentially be 95 pages long, so I’m going to break it up and in this post talk just talk about the kitchen. The kitchen had like 6 different finishes; stone, tile, wood, other tile, accent tile, other stone, granite, bad wood, nickel – pretty much just whatever was left over from other jobs. There were 70′s heater boards everywhere, and the kitchen was abnormally huge and yet felt like a ton of wasted space. So first things first – design direction of the whole space:
It’s so funny looking at these photos/mood board because it was almost 3 years ago – so all those pics above there were brand new on pinterest and now, well, they aren’t. But regardless you get the feel – bright, airy, fresh, fun, kid-friendly, warm. As far as styles they wanted a mix of “mid-century”, “japanese organic”, with a little bit of “edgy traditional” in there. Yes. I just said ‘Edgy Traditional’ and I kinda want to burn off all my finger prints, change my name and move to Bakersfield. A similar feeling to when I uttered, ‘lifestyle moment’ the other day … but the thing is … you all know what I mean .. Oh and because it was their country house, just for weekends, we/they didn’t want to blow a ton of money on any one thing. This was not for luxury, it was just to make a nice, pretty, retreat from the city so all the finishes needed to be good quality, but simple and affordable. And here it is all blank, right before demo:
Click through to see the renderings and my poorly photographed ‘after’ photos. (more…)