The Design Milk Family Room Reveal
Approximately nine years ago … bc … Jaime Derringer, founder of Design-Milk (and my friend) reached out, asking me to help her with her family room. I didn’t want to say ‘NO’ because 1.) She is great and I love her. 2.) It would get great press as it would be on her blog and, 3.) It’s just a room! How long could it possibly take?! HA. Well today, we finally have for you (almost one year later) the reveal of Jaime’s cozy, modern, and fresh family room. It took a while but we did it.
Let’s backup. About two weeks after she approached me I realized that I was simply far too busy to actually do this by myself, so Ginny and Mel (the lovely design team that used to work for me and are now on their own … hire them!) took over the execution. Read the full intro post here. Jaime pinned, Ginny and Mel pinned back and it was a love affair from San Diego to LA, but mostly over the internet (per usual, these days?)
Here is what the space looked like when we met it.
Ha. I bet she meant just for me to see these, but alas they are the only before photos we have. She had a few pieces that she wanted to keep (the sofa, dining table and chandelier). Generally she liked the relaxed vibe but just wanted it to look better. It is their TV room and she creates her art in the part of the sectional on the right (thus the need for a U-shaped sectional). When they bought the house and moved in she basically moved what she liked into the house, but none of it was necessarily meant for this space. So our job was to use what she loved, replace what she didn’t, and bring cohesion of fun, practicality and style to this family/TV room.
The dining room had a table from Restoration Hardware that she wanted to keep and that chandy (which we liked but ended up swapping the white paper – see the afters below) but other than that she was open to new items. She had tried a few paint colors on the wall, as you can see, but ultimately decided to keep the walls that neutral tone.
The space is shared with the kitchen and opens up into the hallways so she also didn’t want us to paint the walls – it was a ‘where do you stop’ kinda problem since they were all that color and there wasn’t any real stopping point.
We designed and executed this completely via email with a couple Skype video chats – which, full disclosure isn’t ideal nor easy and is why it took so long for us to complete this project. I’ve realized that I REALLY need to be in a space to A.) Care about it and B.) Do it right. You just feel less engaged if you haven’t actually experienced the good or bad elements that you are working with, right? Typically, you get inspiration from the architecture and the personalities who live there. Thank God I knew Jaime and knew her brand and that is what got us excited about the space and the project and what kept us going.
Anyway, Jaime was super patient (it was a trade situation so she knew it would be slower than a paying client) so thank you Jaime for not nagging or making us feel terrible about how long this project took. Hopefully it was worth the wait 🙂
After the initial calls we pulled together a board that all of us loved, and represented Jaime’s style.
Then we found the more major pieces that worked with that style – incorporating her sofa.
Obviously there aren’t enough accessories here, but that’s part of our process typically. We lock down the major pieces and fill in when we shop and then style it for the shoot.
Once we had made decisions on what we wanted we then ended up waiting for like 9 months for certain pieces to come back in stock. Not naming names, but every designer knows that it’s SUCH A BUMMER when a client finally approves a major piece, and a room is designed around it, then it goes out of stock all of the sudden. RUDE.
So we waited, which was fine by me as I was slammed anyway but poor Jaime was like ‘hey guys, have you heard of that room in San Diego that took 4 years to design?’
Oh and then we had one more big hiccup. Her sectional. We didn’t mind it, nor did we love it and Jaime didn’t want to spend the dough to switch it out. Near the end, I lost motivation to put the resources towards shooting/finishing the project because I felt that the sectional wasn’t working with the rest of the more poppy-er pieces in the room. Her style is so architectural, edgy and modern which we felt clashed with the more overstuffed beige sofa. Since we were doing this project for press/portfolio/fun and not for money I finally had to speak up and say, ‘Yo Jaime, can we get you a new sectional?’ Her response was ‘I was waiting for you to say that …’.
We live strange lives where if two bloggers with strong followings ask a brand for a sectional, that brand tends to give in exchange for press/photos/product placement. I wasn’t going to ask Jaime to spend $3k simply for my own portfolio/blog. So I reached out to West Elm and found the perfect one before I told her my true inner thoughts. Jaime wanted something huge, comfortable, U-shaped and neutral and we wanted those same things, but more modern. Brian Henderson would look at the two sofas and not notice a difference but WE (the collective WE) know the difference. West Elm’s Harmony Sectional had the same function, but with more modern lines which we felt strongly was necessary to co-exist with her uber modern style. It looked 100 times better and our excitement was renewed.
So we waited for that piece to come in and then finally went down to San Diego to shoot the space. I couldn’t go because I was booked in New York so Ginny, Mel and Tessa styled and shot the space, sending me screenshots for approval.
Without much further ado, here is the poppy, modern, edgy Design-Milk family and TV room.
We LOVE how it turned out and it looks like Jaime – graphic, modern, edgy (could I use those adjectives any more? someone get me a thesaurus). Do you see how that sectional made such a difference? The arms are squared off and slim and the cushions are flatter and less stuffed but it’s still super comfortable. It has the EXACT same function and sat as many people, but just looks so much better in the room.
The rug isn’t her original rug despite looking a lot like it. Her’s was too small and wasn’t nearly cozy enough. She wanted something darker because of the kid/dog thing and we were happy to do that since a light one would potentially look boring with the neutral sofa and the neutral walls and Jaime isn’t boring.
It really grounded the space and brought in the black that we needed – plus it is painfully cozy. We thought about a pattern, but once we found those chairs we didn’t want to bring in too much as they were BIZZY. I also felt that a thin rug wouldn’t look great with her old sofa – chunky sofas often need thick rugs to visually look balanced. I know such a simple statement is going to cause blog upheaval – like how chunky? How thick of pile should it be? But, I think if you are going to have a more chunky, comfortable sofa that it kind of wants a comfortable rug to finish telling the story. So a flat woven rug could have looked disjointed and unbalanced with her old sectional. Since we changed out the sectional to something more modern I’m sure that we could have done something more modern here (like what we used in the dining room).
Which brings me to that thought – since it was a shared space we needed to consider the patterned rug in the dining room, too. So much to consider and MY GOD I’VE BEEN TALKING FOR HOURS ABOUT THE RUG WHEN YOU GUYS JUST WANT TO SEE THE REST OF THE ROOM.
Apologies. Here you are.
The coffee table was custom designed and made by us (with Mel leading that up). We thought this room, with it’s big square sectional needed something round but failed to find something on the market that we loved, was the right scale, but within the budget. Now our friends at Nickey Kehoe make a STUNNING one for $3,950 if you are interested. This one cost $900 to make. Still ain’t cheap but it’s beautiful. I believe is 48″ across, out of light maple. The one we linked up below is only 37″, but it’s pretty darn great.
I love how we styled the coffee table – although I caught that they switched out the tray for different shots. It feels clean, fresh and modern but with enough personality.
The credenza is from Blu-Dot and it’s beautiful. The room needed a dose of darker wood and a piece that could be large enough to fit under that TV. This piece did just that and we also loved how the lighter boxes broke up the wood and added a graphic element.
I love how they styled it – simple vertical books with bookends, a more graphic stack in the middle and a collection of objects on the right. That piece in the middle is by Bari Ziperstein, an artist/potter whom I LOVE.
Jaime only has white books THANK GOD. JK. Expert tip: Whilst styling simply pull your favorite things from around the house and rent or buy/return from your favorite stores, thus curating a totally unattainable look that everyone wants and yet very few people can execute. We are the perpetrators of (and ourselves feel victimized by) this crime on a daily basis. Sorry.
The custom curtains were done by Decorview and are pretty stunning. They were lightly lined, as blackout wasn’t necessary. We gave them a 3″ pinch pleat at the top which I thought gave it some nice texture. It’s more traditional and brought some elegance to the space. She had shades on the windows, but the room just felt too bare and boring and we needed some color and texture. Wallpaper wasn’t really an option so this gave us that dose of pink that we needed.
Time to talk about those chairs. Now I’ve wanted to use these chairs for a LONG TIME. I didn’t have a project for them until Jaime’s family room came into my life.
They are pretty darn great. The shape is modern, sleek and vintage-inspired. And the broken black and white stripe pattern is so fresh and adds a HUGE dose of personality into the space. Once we locked those down we didn’t feel the need to do too much else with pattern.
We shoved a gold square side table in the middle to bring in another finish and some glam. duh.
On to the dining room.
MAN. I love those chairs. They are the perfect combination of classic and modern. They are Hoffman chairs that DWR produces and they come in a few different finishes. The arms also fit underneath the table – which sometimes doesn’t happen and ends up creating an awkward problem spatially. These are just great.
The rug is from Armadillo and Co, and makes me so happy. We custom designed it and it’s pretty much perfect for this room. It added a pattern without being busy, and the colors tied the whole space together. Plus it’s flat-woven which is obviously better for under a dining table.
They styled out the top with some pretty amazing vessels, books and a tray of pretty things.
We switched out the paper in the chandelier to the white version which we thought added a lightness to the space since the table was so visually heavy. A good tip is that if you have something dark on the floor (like this table), you will want to balance it out with something lighter up top (like the white chandelier). Rather than having something dark up top which would make it feel super heavy and small. This table was instantly lightened by switching out the paper.
We LOVE the way it turned out and I have to give a huge thanks to Ginny and Mel for executing. This project is so different than many we have worked on recently (think how different it is from my house?) and really shoved us stylistically into a direction we loved navigating. I suppose that is the real reason I wanted to collaborate with Jaime – I knew that her style was so different than mine and despite it being out of town, I wanted the challenge of wrapping my brain around this more architectural and modern world that is Design-Milk. Be sure to head over to Design-Milk for her full reveal as well.
Thanks, J. I hope you like your room 🙂 If you guys are interested in this look or like some individual pieces, here you go:
1. Sofa | 2. Coffee Table (similar) | 3. Black and White Stripe Chair | 4. Gold Cube Side Table | 5. Charcoal Rug | 6. Black and White Pillow | 7. Mint Linen Pillow | 8. Diamond Pillow | 9. Black Floor Lamp | 10. Black Round Side Table | 11. Color Block Pillow | 12. Palm Pillow | 13. Pink Pillow | 14. Foot Paperweight | 15. Mini Jack | 16. Pink Tray | 17. Rope Bowl | 18. Walnut Console | 19. Pink Bookends | 20. Copper and Blush Vase | 21. Color Block Throw Blanket | 22. Candle Holders | 23. Brass Circle Frame | 24. Small Pink Tray (similar) | 25. Brass ‘X’ Coasters | 26. Tray | 27. Wood Side Table | 28. Gold Picture Frame | 29. Black Box | 30. Angles Vase | 31. Small Teal Vase | 32. Marble Coasters | 33. Brass Geometric Tray | 34. Print | 35. Chandelier | 36. White Rectangle Dish | 37. Gold Tray | 38. Black Sculpture (similar) | 39. Black and White Throw Blanket (similar) | 40. Teal Planter (similar) | 41. Black Succelent Planter | 42. Black and White Vase | 43. Curtain Rod | 44. Curtains (Carole Fabrics: Prophet Pattern in Cameo) | 45. Dining Armchairs | 46. Dining Chairs | 47. Dining Table | 48. Black Planter | 49. Color Block Rug (custom)
***Photos by Tessa Neustadt
Now since I’m working with Samsung on The Frame I had to go ahead and show you how much better her family/TV room would look with that TV. The partnership with The Frame came about after we finished and shot this space, but now that I know that TV exists, it’s hard for me to not wish it were up there instead of the black box. I mean, doesn’t it look so good?! If you are in the market for a TV, even if it’s for your TV room, please do yourself and your family room a favor and consider this TV. Here’s the difference in the room (we worked a little photoshop magic on the below photos):
Much improved. Jaime is probably seeing this for the first time and calling up Samsung’s marketing department as we speak … It’s just so much better 🙂