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E-design Winner Presentation

You might remember a while back we launched a competition for one of our readers to win a free E-Design in anticipation of the launch of our new design services.  Since then we have launched the new site, completed the mood-boards for our winner, the lovely Emily Miller, and we wanted to share them with you.

As a mom of 2 kids, and with a 3rd one on the way, Emily and her husband wanted us to redecorate their bedroom, as it was the room that had been most neglected and they thought it was about time they got a ‘grown-up’ bedroom.  They wanted the vibe to feel like a calming retreat away from the chaos of kid’s toys (somewhere that didn’t feel like a playroom).  We asked her a series of questions so we could get a better understanding of her personality, style and needs:

What would you say your style is? (midcentury, hollywood regency, etc.)
Eclectic, clean, tribal, vintage, and global

How do you want the space to feel?
A retreat / escape

How will the room be used? (i.e. living room – space for our family to relax and watch TV.  Dining room for formal dinner/cocktail parties)
Sleeping, getting ready, nursing new baby, napping

What colors do you want to see in the room(s)?
Bright, bold, navy, indigo

What do you NOT want to see in the room(s)?
Floral decor, animal print, large amount of pillows, no blackout shades, sisal rugs, all white, pastel, muted or pink

Do you have any specific items you’d like to keep? 
Queen mattress, red dresser (can be painted), and we need a ceiling fan. 


We also asked her to share some photos of the room as it is now, provide us with sketched floor plan showing the rooms dimensions, and a pinboard of her ideas.

bedroom before 01

The room has lots of natural light and the walls had just been painted in Benjamin Moore Crisp Linen so it gave us a really good blank canvas to work with. The mid-toned wood floors are beautiful, but the room is crying out for a rug to cut up all that empty floor space.

bedroom before 02

Other than the mattress and the red dresser (top right) everything else could be replaced, which was great news for us.

bedroom before 03

She sent through a simple drawing with all the measurements that we needed. See? You don’t need a crazy computer rendering to send to us – just a pencil and a tape measurer.


We (Ginny, our Design Director) started pinning away and coming up with the general art direction/design plan.



Since their walls were white and had just been painted we were mainly pinning bright white spaces that had pops of color, pattern and texture. Mainly indigo blue with natural wood tones and a rustic global influence. Emily had mentioned she liked the idea of a neutral bed with color coming from the pillows and throw blankets.

bedroom layout plan

We drew up the bedroom to see if there was a better way to lay it out and show them where we wanted to add our new pieces. Once we knew the floorplan then it was time to pick the particulars.

Ginny spent hours pulling together this product board – with their budget in mind ($3k). Now, I know that $3k sounds like a lot, but it ain’t when it comes to pulling together a whole room.


Source: Fan | Bolster Pillow | Tie-backs | Curtains | RodBed | Side Table | Lamps | Rug | Mirror | Bench | Drawer knob | Paint | Indigo Throw | Dresser

As part of the presentation we gave Emily our ‘ideal’ product board that showed additional items outside of her $3k budget so that she could add more accessories and furniture pieces down the line.  For instance, they already have window shades and didn’t want to add blackout treatments, but for us to bring in more color and make the room feel more complete we suggested the blue linen curtains as an optional extra.  This option came out at $4, 112.

With the design itself we started off by choosing an affordable bed in a neutral grey linen, which is a good base to allow the rest of the softer furnishings to pop. With Emily wanting to bring in tones of indigo and navy blue we decided to do this by adding a blue rug and other accessories. This rug worked particularly well as it spoke to the Moroccan global aspect she wanted, whilst keeping in budget and adding color.

We wanted to replace the tall dresser with something more modern with cleaner lines and chose a natural rustic piece with brass handles. The mid-century style legs help with the vintage vibe she was after.

The low red dresser is a piece that has been in Emily’s family for a while so she really wanted to keep it but wasn’t opposed to painting it and upgrading the knobs.  So we suggested Farrow & Ball’s Drawing room blue paint and these cute hexagonal brass knobs from Anthropologie.  She later mentioned that they had sold the original 1950’s brass drawer knobs!

To further bring in the global theme we added carved wood side tables as nightstands and a copper colored mirror with a Moroccan style profile.

One of her specific requests was to not add too many pillows, so instead we added one long bolster that was predominantly blue and white with pops of hot pink to bring in more color.

We added blue linen curtains to add texture, color and warmth, and an indigo throw blanket that she could add to the end of the bed.  They have enough room at the foot of the bed to add a bench, so we chose this woven bench in a darker wood tone to contrast with all the other woods going on.

They wanted to replace their existing fan which we were in total agreement with. We’ve suggested a white one that is very simple and modern in shape without feeling contemporary.


Source: Fan | Bolster Pillow |  Bed | Side Table | Lamps | Rug | Mirror | Bench | Drawer knob | Paint | Indigo Throw | Dresser

We also give her the option of sticking around the $3k budget and tried to include all of the major pieces that would transform the room.  We did go over a little on this but it’s always good to push the boundaries a little if you’re going to get that little bit better results.


Source: Fan | Bolster Pillow | Headboard | Side Table | Lamps | Rug | Mirror | Bench | Drawer knob | Paint | Indigo Throw | Dresser

We then gave her options of how she could pair down the costs by swapping out some of the items, like the bed could be switched out for a headboard (because she already had a box spring and mattress) and we also changed out the side table and lamps. This option came in at $2, 521 (I think Target had a sale on at the time which made the headboard even cheaper that it’s showing online now) and if she wanted to include the accessories it would have been $3, 540.

Once we had compiled all the information and sent it onto Emily, she and her husband pretty much loved everything except for the side tables. Emily’s husband wanted something more traditional with storage, so we gave them these 6 options for them to choose from that fit within their budget.

bedroom nightstands 2

Nightstands: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I love the nightstands that Ginny chose originally, but we all agreed that storage is better – it just upped the budget for that piece a bit. I mean, I have like 9 face creams (that I still don’t use) just sitting on my nightstands that I love shoving in my drawers where I will surely never EVER use them, but I’m still so happy that I have the drawers.


Since we issued the e-design to them they have purchased the headboard, the dresser with matching nightstands and the rug. They decided they didn’t love the bench we had proposed so decided to hold off on that.

I’m DYING to see the after, so if any of you know a talented photographer in Oklahoma let me know, so we can shoot and blog about it.

We estimated at least 2 full days (16 hours) of work and we think we spent 20 hours all in. So it was a good lesson for us to really count how long a room takes to pull together, on budget, coordinate emails and then put in a presentation so we can price all future E-Design services with that in mind. Ginny is the Design Director and deserves full credit on this E-design. We met about the project 3 times to make sure I liked it, obviously, but she did a great job of pulling together this beautiful board that made the client oh so happy. Now, Emily (the client), please finish installing this bad boy so we can shoot it and show everyone the final transformation.

Any questions?

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8 years ago

This is unrelated to the post, but I have to ask if you were in the audience of the Bachelorette Men Tell All last night? If not, your twin was there wearing a blue dress 🙂

8 years ago
Reply to  Sarah

Yes! I want to know what it was like. How does it compare to what we see on TV? Pretty please.

8 years ago
Reply to  Brady

I couldn’t even concentrate on the show…I was too busy focused on some lovely woman’s rack!!! 🙂 (Seriously, I watched the show just to catch a glimpse of you, and a glimpse of you I did see….repeatedly!!!!! Got it, flaunt it)

8 years ago
Reply to  Brady

EIGHT HOURS?! That is insane. It was so fun to see you in the audience, I weirdly felt famous by association. Even though I don’t know you. That’s normal, right?

8 years ago
Reply to  Brady

Will you PLEEEEEEEASE do a post on what it’s like behind the scenes????

8 years ago

I love how you balance more mid century pieces with classic ones. My husband and I both love an old Engligh estate look but he also wants to have some funky 50’s vibes. It’s been a challenge (and will continue to be in the new house) so your mood boards have been great inspiration!

8 years ago

Hi Emily- I live in Oklahoma and know a few talented photographers. I’m happy to put you in touch. Are you looking for someone in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, or somewhere in between?

8 years ago
Reply to  Brady

We’re in Bartlesville. Tulsa is just an hour away, so that would be closest. I better get this room finished!!!

8 years ago
Reply to  EmmyA

My husband’s aunt lives in Bartlesville! LeAnne Christensen. It’s so weird because I’m reading this from my home in Japan…so random!

8 years ago
Reply to  EmmyA

Please let me know when you’re ready to have the space photographed and I can recommend someone in OKC and in Tulsa.

Emily Swenson Davis
8 years ago
Reply to  Lisa

Hey Lisa,

I am an interior designer in Tulsa and have been looking for an interior photographer for a while. I would be so appreciative if you could send me the name of any good photogs that you know in Tulsa.

Thanks so much,
Emily Davis

8 years ago

I love all the pieces that you chose and that color scheme! It’s such a beautiful room!


8 years ago

I would live to know more about your e-design services!! Do you have information on your website? I hired a designer earlier this year to help me pull together a few rooms and was left feeling like I was robbed at gun point – and none of my rooms are any better off for the experience. Ugh!!!

8 years ago

Lovely room. I am currently redoing my bedroom so I especially love this. I might need that mirror! Also, I grew up in Tulsa, OK and know photographers in Tulsa and OKC if you need references.

8 years ago

Awesome! And great to get a feel for the e-design services. I’d like to use that for half of my house : )

Amanda Watson is an Oklahoma photographer. Specializing in weddings – but great at all sorts:

8 years ago

Hi Emily, I was wondering what program Ginny uses to layout your great floor plans! I’m a recent interior design grad and am looking for a more affordable option than getting an AutoCAD license. Thanks!

8 years ago
Reply to  Alexis

I had the same question! Always looking for the best cad programs out there.

8 years ago

The new room will undoubtedly look gorgeous with all these beautiful accessories you chose! Another rug that would work well would be this Moroccan beauty:×7-bb5857-rug

katie duplass
8 years ago
Reply to  Kasia

ummm… this rug is 15 THOUSAND DOLLARS!

8 years ago
Reply to  Kasia

A $15,000 rug for someone with 3 kids and $3000 room budget. Thanks for the laugh!!!

8 years ago
Reply to  Kasia

SPAMMERS shame shame

8 years ago

Hey guys. I live in OKC and know of Ely Fair and Abby Coyle. Although Abby just move to Nashville (but depending on when you shoot, she may be in town visiting family). You might also reach out to Sara Kate Studio’s. I know she’s been using several locals. Can’t wait to see the finished room!

8 years ago

If its not too late, I hope to warn you against that rug. We have it and it’s awful! It sheds like crazy and shows everything. Threads are starting to pull and the texture makes it impossible to vacuum well (the vacuum can’t hit the low spots). I cant wait until we can afford to replace it. Its at the top of my list of things that have to GO!

8 years ago
Reply to  Olivia

So interesting – I was hoping someone would comment about the rug, i have had my eye on it for a while and have been dying to know what it is like in person since it is so cheap. Thank you!! This is one of the major bummers about e-design, designers don’t get to touch and feel the materials they are recommending!

8 years ago

Hi Emily! Long time reader, first time poster. I’m dying to see the after, *and* I have a great architectural photographer that travels in the midwest is very competitively priced:

Courtney F
8 years ago

Love this mood board! I’m sure the room will turn out so nice once it’s all put together.

Can you give us an idea for how much you would have charged for your services for this room?

Just trying to figure out if this would be possible for me financially.

8 years ago
Reply to  Courtney F

I have the same question!thanks!

8 years ago

I enjoyed reading this post so much! Thank you for being so detailed/descriptive, I swear there is no source out there that comes close to this type of content. Sometimes I think I’m taking a home design course at school (with a hilarious teacher)…and I love every bit of it.

I really think one thing I’ve learned from you over and over again about a bedroom is; BUY AN UPHOLSTERED bed. It just seems to transform the room so much. And, thanks for sharing the budget. And, that mirror!! unbelievable.

By the way, I think your site is caching again because I didn’t see you content today until I did a hard refresh on my browser. I don’t mean to bother you with site issues but a lot of visitors might be missing your post today.

8 years ago
Reply to  Kelly

I agree with Kelly – The content on your blog is fantastic. It is so, so very quality. I love the hilarious teacher aspect, too.

I follow several blogs, and while I enjoy them all, I consistently lately keep thinking to myself that Emily’s is putting out the best quality content.

8 years ago

So I’ve had horrible (HORRIBLE!!!!) luck and customer service with West Elm on more than one occasion. My most recent horrific experience trying to purchase a chifferobe convinced me that no matter how cute their stuff is, I can’t endure the horror of dealing with them again (“trying” isn’t accurate, I did purchase it because I paid for it in full in January, I just haven’t received it yet…the story is truly too long and painful to fully recount). Anyway, what I’m wondering is if you have suggestions for other stores/websites with a similar mid century aesthetic that won’t drive me to the brink of insanity? Also: BOYCOTT WEST ELM!

8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

Totally agree!! Love the look but the customer service and quality…just not worth it!
I usually try and find the same look but search other stores- it’s not easy

8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

Agreed! More than one of their pieces arrived broken or otherwise marred, then I got to wait one to two months for replacements and no shipping charges recouped. They are TERRIBLE!!! One of their rugs I purchased also really has not worn well, started losing threads within the first month of purchase. Crate and Barrel/CB2 on the other hand are a dream!

8 years ago
Reply to  Laura

I effing hate West Elm. They have just come to UK (London) and they are H.E.I.N.O.U.S to deal with. Such a shame they have such great products…..urgh.

8 years ago

Love seeing this post! I had been curious about how this edesign was going! I’m looking forward to seeing the final space, maybe with the client’s comments on how it went from their end. Hopefully you’ll be able to post future e-designs, if the clients are willing!

8 years ago

AHHHH!!! There’s my sad bedroom before pictures! We are working on getting it put together and finished…but baby is due any day, so it’s been a little slow going. The rug, headboard, dresser and nightstands, lamps, and bolster are in, and look great. Even in transition we feel so fancy! The fan is out of stock, so we’re waiting on that, and the mirror is in transit. We haven’t gotten the other dresser painted yet (I blame having two kids and being pregnant), but I have friends who are up for helping. Thanks for doing such an awesome job of giving us a master bedroom we already enjoy being in! I can’t wait to snuggle my new baby in our new retreat!

8 years ago

A new reader of your site and I just love it!! This post is amazing, as I have been interested in how this service works. Curious if you can share how much the service would have cost, outside of the client’s $3K budget?

8 years ago
Reply to  Brady

Awesome – Thank you so much for the response!

8 years ago

I just thought it was funny how the client said her style is eclectic, global and tribal yet couldnt handle the actual global and tribal components like the bench and the carved table that Ginny initially put out then eventually ended up with the solidly american side table. I guess we clients really have no idea what we want.

8 years ago
Reply to  Lila

I can answer that question as the client…I have a husband that is MUCH more traditional and not so eclectic as I am. I answered the questions because if it were his choice we would buy a matching set from a furniture store. When we got the mood board, I felt like he needed some input too, and those were his choices. Having traveled quite a bit, I have some art and accessories I brought back from various places that may not look especially tribal, but are definitely the real deal.

8 years ago

Aaron Snow is in OKC and is an excellent photographer!

8 years ago

So that exact rug is on Overstock and is like $200 cheaper than Lulu & Georgia for the 8 x 10 size:

Anyway, just buying the rug from a different source would take $200 off the cost.

8 years ago

I really liked this design although I wouldn’t have chosen some of the elements myself.

I’m also a spelling nazi so in a positive way, can I say that it’s pare back the cost. Not pair. Loved the post tho

8 years ago

I’m excited about this and the design agony question availability.

Annie H
8 years ago

Liked the curtains a lot but have some questions.

Ginny – Have you used curtains from Country Curtains in the past? How would you rate the quality/price?

Emily Miller – Did you purchase the curtains from Country Curtains? If so, can you comment on the quality?


8 years ago

Team Emily – Can you offer any tips on how to paint furniture like this dresser so it looks professional and lasts many years? I’ve painted furniture before and it never looks as amazing as I envision it will. Any tips you can offer would be much appreciated!

8 years ago

I really really loved this post. Its better than just a normal moodboard post…I think its much more interesting reading about the clients brief and their budget and how Team Emily work within that. And I loved seeing the progression of the design as it went back to the client and the clever ways Ginny adapted the design to suit. I really hope we get to see more e-designs and to Client Emily…no rush! I am perfectly happy to wait a while to see the final result!

8 years ago

Let Fair Photography would be great for this!

8 years ago
Reply to  Danae

Ugh. Auto correct. That should be Ely Fair photography.

8 years ago

Hey Emily (and team!)! This looks awesome! I’m a designer in Northwest Arkansas, and Rett Peek is a pretty awesome photographer from Little Rock, but I know he travels some. He comes here to Fayetteville a lot so I’m sure he’d travel to Oklahoma. He does a lot of work for At Home in Arkansas, a great publication here in the state. Hope this helps 🙂
-Sara Denney Steen
(if you want to see his photography (and mine), look on our website at

8 years ago

Ashley Ann photography is located in Oklahoma.