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E-Designing A New Space for a Family

A Modern Eclectic Family Room

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Hey everyone, it’s Ginny again with another family room e-design. This time our client was a lovely family with an 18 month old baby. They moved into the house a year ago and wanted help finishing off the room. She used our design services page and sent a brief description of her style and desires for the room:

I love stores like Anthropologie and Restoration Hardware. I think my style is sort of vintage modern farmhouse remix. Def nothing trendy!

I want the space to be classy, but cozy and inviting. I want some statement pieces that no one else will have mixed with some less expensive pieces. We just want to love coming home and spending time in the space. It’s an eyesore right now!

Family room – to relax and lounge; the main gathering place for friends and family. Dining nook and kitchen is where we normally eat, cook, hang out, and spend the majority of our time. We have a formal dining room and formal living room as well, that eventually will need to be furnished.

I love neutrals with pops of colors. Greys, golds, blacks, creams, greens, blues, and mustard yellow. I don’t want anything too bright or flashy… no hot pink or lime green.

Sonal Patel Living Room Makeover Before Photo 1

They had some pieces that they’d recently purchased, like the roll arm sofa, the tufted ottoman, and the dining set that they wanted to keep. But were open to switching out everything else. And her overall budget was $9000 for furnishings and materials.

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Ali started to pull together some inspiration images based off what Sonal had spoken of, as well as images she had pinned and sent to us. Typically what happens with our process is, whoever leads the design on the project will come up with a page of inspirational images then send them over for me to check over. Once we’ve got a strong direction, they get to work on the product selects. Throughout the process there’s a lot of back and forth between the designers and myself to fine tune each design.

With Sonal’s design in particular, we wanted to play up the relaxed but classy environment she had asked for by keeping it more traditional in style, not too trendy, and with some rustic elements to play into the modern farmhouse. We also kept the palette fairly neutral since she didn’t want anything too bright.

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We kept the layout similar to the arrangement they already had, with the sofa being on the back wall and accent chairs flanking on either side.  We liked the idea of keeping the connection between the kitchen and living room more open by using two chairs and therefore not closing it up by adding a solid sofa.

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Black Circles Framed Print | Time and Again Abstract Art (no longer available) | Franklin Table Lamp | Globe Arc Floor Lamp (no longer available) | Elke Round Marble Side Table | Rounded Inlay Side Table | Parlour Chair in Corinthian Saddle Leather | Natural Cowhide Rug | Ivory Linen Drapes | Heathered Chenille Jute Rug | Zuzu Basket | Shag Puff Pillow | Geo-Block Pillow (no longer available) | Navy Velvet Lumbar Pillow (no longer available) | Camille Scroll Pillow (no longer available) | Linen Dorada Chair | Fernando Black Accent Table

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Black Circles Framed Print | Time and Again Abstract Art (no longer available) | Franklin Table Lamp | Shaded Arc Floor Lamp | Marengo Pedestal TableRounded Inlay Side Table | Parlour Chair in Corinthian Saddle Leather | Patchwork Hide Rug | Ivory Linen Drapes | Zuzu Basket | Shag Puff Pillow | Geo-Block Pillow (no longer available) | Velvet Scroll Pillow Cover (no longer available) | Cotton Luster Velvet Pillow | Heath Armchair | Vince Metal-Clad Accent Stool

As with most of our e-designs we often provide a couple of options. That way the client can pick and choose items and see how it could look with slightly different pieces. We sent through the two above options with this:

We worked to create a room that is classy, yet still cozy and inviting. We kept your blue sofa as well as your cocktail ottoman in the design plan. Since you mentioned comfort in your request, we brought in two linen armchairs (at two different price points) as well as a more modern leather chair to work with the more classic lines of the sofa. The leather also helps warm up the space. We love the idea of a cowhide rug in your space. We suggest either a patchwork style or a one piece cowhide layered over a jute rug. We recently used a patchwork style in Emily’s bedroom. It is super durable and has held up surprisingly well! We brought in a cool floor lamp to be placed in the back corner of the room and we found a few newer styles from Target. They bring in just the right amount of brass and black to the room and look way more expensive than they are! I know you mentioned plants, and we think you should bring in an indoor plant or two to add some life to the space. We picked one you could put next to the sliding door. To keep things from feeling too traditional we opted for a more abstract large scale piece of art to go above the sofa and then also a black and white piece to be placed on the wall next to the window. With the cowhide rug, leather chair and ottoman, velvet sofa, and linen chairs, we’ve worked to bring in lots of different textures to keep things cozy yet still interesting. We also added in even more texture with pillows.
We don’t think standard drapery will work because of the size of your windows (unless you bought multiple curtain panels) therefore we would recommend going the custom route. We would love to see one large curtain rod in the living room across the sliding door and window and then have two panels (one to the left of the sliding door and the other to the right of the window). We recommend a black or brass rod with a lighter color drape such as an ivory linen.

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Black Windsor Dining Chairs | Skyline RugRaleigh Park Rug | Madeleine Side Chair

Sonal also asked us to help source a rug for the dining room and give her guidance on whether they selected the right furniture for in there.

We know you want to keep your original table, but if it were up to us, we probably would have recommend a table that expands. We do like the style of the table and suggest two different rug options that work well with what’s going on in the living room. If you want to keep things more neutral we selected this ivory and gray option. If you want more color we opted for a more colorful option that still coordinates with the colors in the living room. We don’t particularly love those chairs with that table. It seems a bit heavy so we included a couple of lighter chair options if you ever decide to switch them out. If you do keep them, we would consider recovering the green fabric in a lighter gray linen.

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They also asked for us to give suggestions of what they could do with the nook next to the TV/Fireplaces, so we suggested adding some kind of built-in bookcase.

We like the idea of doing built in shelving in the media nook as well and feel it would look best. We would recommend doing some closed cabinets below (where you could hide all your media components) and then some open shelving above where you could display accessories or other personal objects or photos. We also think it would be nice to add a sconce to the top of the shelving for a nice finished touch and have included a couple of hardware options for the closed cabinets.

We got some initial thoughts back about the design:

I finally got some time to look through everything!  The design looks great… thanks for providing a couple of options for each room.  I love the mix of different styles and textures, while still keeping the classic look.  And I like that everything is pretty neutral, without being boring! I’m so excited to start buying all the pieces.

Following this we got a few emails from Sonal being concerned that some elements felt too modern, some felt too traditional, not enough pops of color and that she wanted to see accents of Parisian glam, mid-century, and boho. Lots of different styles which started to blow our minds a tad.

As with a lot of clients, whether it be a full design client or e-design, they often don’t really understand what they actually want until they begin the design process and start being presented with ideas. We had a full service client in the past go from wanting jewel toned glam to opting for neutral and serene.  It’s only when people actually think about it that they realize their style or tastes are not what they want to surround themselves with everyday.  And it’s our job to interpret what they really want. This was the case with Sonal, and after several emails between us, I got down to the crooks on what it is she actually wanted from the design: cozy, eclectic, neutral with pops of color, not too traditional or too modern with a touch of mid-century & boho. With her favorite of Emily’s designs being Bri Emery’s Living Room, Ian Brennan’s Living Room and Emily’s own Living Room.

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With that being said, Ali got to working on a new inspiration page that included more eclectic feeling spaces with more color and a good balance of modern vs traditional. She already had a good base of traditional with her roll arm sofa and tufted ottoman; however, we slightly tweaked the furniture layout to incorporate the rounded back club chairs.

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Overarching Floor Lamp | Toro Lounge Chair | Abstract Art Print #1 | Abstract Art Print #2 | Palmette Wool Pouf (no longer available) | Belgian Flax Linen Pillow Cover (no longer available) | Mongolian Lamb Pillow Cover | Tasseled Pointilliste Pillow | Braided Cable Wool Rug | Marble and Wood Tray (no longer available) | Small PlanterElke Glass Coffee Table | Oversized Adjustable Metal Rod | Pom Tassel Drapes | Large Planter | Throw Blanket in Poppy | Antwerp Armchair (no longer available) | Rounded Inlay Side Table | Metallic Ikat Dot Pillow

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Overarching Floor Lamp | Toro Lounge Chair | Abstract Art Print #1 | Abstract Art Print #2 | Palmette Wool Pouf (no longer available) | Belgian Flax Linen Pillow Cover (no longer available) | Shag Puff Pillow | Tassel Stripe Pillow Cover (no longer available) Braided Cable Wool Rug | Marble and Wood Tray (no longer available) | Small PlanterElke Glass Coffee Table | Oversized Adjustable Metal Rod | Pom Tassel Drapes | Large Planter | Throw Blanket in Poppy | Antwerp Armchair (no longer available) | Rounded Inlay Side Table | Metallic Ikat Dot Pillow (no longer available)

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Madeleine Side ChairSkyline Rug | Windsor Dining ChairsTech Center Chair Option 1 | Tech Center Chair Option 2

Here is your final design plan. We really reworked the design to bring in more color and give you more of the mid century, glam, and bohemian feel you were hoping to achieve. I know you were not a fan of the armchairs so we switched them out for these new more modern options from West Elm. The curved backs mixed with the mid century legs coordinate nicely with your sofa and the leather chair. To keep things eclectic and bohemian, we used a mix of textures and brought in some global inspired pillows and pouf. The black and brass accents keep things from feeling overly feminine but help keep things glam. We also provided you with two chair options for your tech center in the kitchen. We feel both of these work well with the dining area as well as the living room. We took the budget down to just over $8000 including the dining room rug. This should leave you with extra money to do custom drapery, although we did provide a drapery option for your living area in the revised design plan.

And Sonal’s response:

I love the revised design! It’s def more the look I wanted.  I love the mix of styles and textures and the pop of color.  It’s the perfect combo of boho/glam/midcentury without overdoing it.  I like that there is touch of traditional with the black accents which keeps things classy.  The whole room is warm, cozy,  inviting, and super stylish.  I’m so excited to start purchasing off the list! I really appreciate the time and effort of your entire team!  Thank you all for being patient and understanding.

We were so happy to hear back that she loved the design. Although, full disclosure: we offer one round of revisions within our e-design package so that clients can swap out one or two items i.e. coffee table/artwork etc.  With this design we went above and beyond to make sure she was happy with the end result. And since this project, we have been sending clients initial inspiration boards to 100% check we’re on the same page before moving onto product selects.  We’ve found this to be a beneficial additional to our e-design process.

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  1. I just went through the exact same thing with one of my design clients. I usually have them send me images they draw inspiration from and this particular person was inspired by boho/MCM but at the end of the day they were really looking for ZGallerie/Palm Beach Chic. Oh boy. And it took awhile to get there. I’ve learned that clients have a really hard time pulling inspiration images themselves (and can’t rely on their Pinterest either), so like you, I’m going to have to pull inspiration images for them to respond to up front. I hate to add the extra step for e-design, but I know it will save me some headache on the back/sourcing end.

    1. I markup images specifically circling the parts I am looking to implement and write a short description why. That seems to reduce confusion ( the old “what do you mean whey you say________” challenge) and make sure that the words the client are saying don’t mean something different to me than they intend. I’m an architect so many space planning decisions are driven by a look that I can imagine but would be time intensive (and therefore costly) to draw in detail for clients. Annotating photos to piece-meal the final space is a great time-saver and conversation starter 🙂

  2. It’s surprisingly difficult for people to put their fingers on what they truly want, even with Pinterest – there are so many factors (light, contrast, pattern, finishes, color, saturation, textures, room and photo composition, etc) working together in a good interiors photo. It’s so difficult for someone who’s not fully aware of all those factors to isolate the parts of a room that they do and don’t like. Maybe, for this reason, Pinterest even makes it harder? Emily, I feel like there was originally a segment of SFAS where you showed clients a tear sheet with multiple styles of one piece of furniture (12 different chairs, or dining room tables, or benches, etc) to help understand their styles and I think that can be helpful in addition to showing them entire finished rooms. Sometimes I see rooms that *feel* the way I want my home to feel, but upon further inspection I realize I hate every piece of furniture in it. Anyway, nice work. I’m impressed that you guys seem to really go above and beyond to understand what your client wants and making it happen!

  3. I love to watch your design process, cannot wait for this reveal!

    http://www.shopthecoconutroom.com

  4. I love where you ended in your revisions as well. I think the space looks a little lighter and brighter, and individually each piece has so much interest without anything being overbearing in the room. I think that couch is divine but it didn’t pop as much in the first e-design- in the second, the color seems to really stand out!

    -Stefanie
    <a?http://www.thestylesafari.com

  5. Interested to see the results of this e-design. On a complete tangent, does anyone know the name of the plant in the basket in the first two mood boards? Thanks!

    1. Looks like a fiddle leaf fig! Soooo pretty!!

  6. I’m obsessive about things like this, so maybe you already know and your client is fine with it (not to mention that your last name is out there everysingleday) — but, her last name is listed on the first photo. I’m touchy about things like that, so I just wanted to point it out. Internet murderers and all (or people that want to track down and steal an awesome sofa. ya just never know.)

    1. Thanks for the heads up! We’ve swapped out the photos 🙂

  7. This is a really great post! Thanks for the amazing content. I do have some feedback (how do I say this without being hurtful and without appearing rude)? The first paragraph was pretty hard to get through. The grammar needs a bit of help. I’m not usually a grammar-nazi (and I’m clearly not a writer myself), but when I have to re-read the sentence a few times in a row, just to understand it, it makes it difficult to read the rest of the post. I hope you take this as constructive! I’m not trying to tear anyone down! Love the content! Keep it up!

  8. SO EMILY, I JUST HEAR YOUR VOICE ON THE YHL PODCAST TEASING THAT YOU’RE ON A FUTURE EPISODE…. SOOOO EXCITED!!! (AND Orlando!!!!)

    1. YHL podcast! over to yhl to check out

  9. I so enjoy reading about the process. Looking forward to seeing the finished room.

  10. Okay, so I didn’t read this post word for word (so sorry) but I noticed that you recommended a large arc floor lamp. I just bought the Winslow Arc Sectional Floor Lamp from Pottery Barn (http://www.potterybarn.com/products/winslow-arc-sectinal-floor-lamp/)… actually, I found the score of the century for this lamp on Craigslist, brand new in the box! $150 for a $699 lamp, I’ll take that any day. ANYWAY, I got the brass shade one and put it in the corner of my living room, hanging over the right seat of the sofa. I think it looks super cool, but it kind of looks like it’s sitting in la la land, out in time out form the rest of the furniture. Not to mention the cord is SO LONG that there’s all this excess pooling around the base which isn’t cute at all. Anyway, any recommendations for a way to “anchor” the lamp so it feels like it’s been invited to the furniture party? TIA!

  11. HELP! **what do you do when you need/want a lamp in your living room space but dont have a nearby power source and dont want to drag cords all over your home?? Are there lamps that do not need to be plugged in or not really??

    1. I always wonder that too. Maybe they put plugs in the floor.

      1. Yes plugs in the floor are pretty common. If you have an unfinished basement they are typically not that difficult to add to an existing home. In my own home (slab construction) I have cords taped to the floor under rugs and furniture so they stay in place.

  12. How do you assess the comfort of the seating you select?

  13. These posts are SO fun and my favorite. Any way you could update us with a photo from the client of the final product?? 🙂 also — i’m KICKING myself, i was at an estate sale over the weekend and they were selling similar chairs to those RH ones for like $5 – i knew i should have got them….

  14. I am all heart eyes for that sofa! that classic english roll arm sofa. I realize that this is the client’s existing sofa, but it looks like maybe you’re using a specific product image or stock image. Would you mind sharing the source of this sofa? Thank you! Love these beautiful e-designs – thanks for sharing both the beautiful designs and a glimpse into the client process.

    1. Me, too! I want that gorgeous sofa (and I promise not to let the dog climb on it!). And I didn’t see one like it in your recent sofa post. 🙁

  15. I tend to have the same issue with e-design clients. I had one client tell me it felt like I was making her “do a lot of work” but if you’re investing in your home, it’s going to be a bit of upfront work. As designers, we can do lots of things in good taste. That doesn’t mean it’s *your* taste. It’s just a tape measure friends, not a magic wand. =>

    http://Www.christineschwalm.com

  16. I really love these posts because I feel like I’m learning so much about your whole process. I’m in the process of starting my own design firm, and would really like to offer edesign to clients. Can you tell me the name of the program you use for your mood boards? I have looked at and tried a few, but these are so clean and simple to understand! Thank you!!!!

    1. I was curious about the mood boards too.

  17. I have that exact same sofa! I was curious as to what color ya’ll suggested she paint the room? I’m debating between a black/green or a light gray/mushroom. Any suggestions?

    1. Ashley –could you share the source of your sofa. I love it!

      1. I got mine through a local company called Christian St. Furniture who sells Studio Rowe furniture. But if you look at Roger and Chris furniture, they have a very similar one with lots of color options. It was what I was going with until I found one locally. Hope that helps! 🙂

  18. wow, i really loved this post emily, its by far one of my favorite designs; i guess her style is much like mine lol. i have followed you for years and love everything you & your team do! ill keep following along 🙂
    p.s. i think your 2nd set of mood boards for the LR are identical…with the poppy colored throw 🙂

  19. I enjoyed over read your blog post. Your blog have nice information, I got good ideas from this amazing blog. I am always searching like this type blog post. I hope I will see again..

  20. I love all the concepts! Refreshing you find items from all sources such as Target & Anthro to West Elm. If they did not have the sofa what would you have suggested if they could start fresh?

  21. It’s surprisingly difficult for people to put their fingers on what they truly want, even with Pinterest – there are so many factors (light, contrast, pattern, finishes, color, saturation, textures, room and photo composition, etc) working together in a good interiors photo. It’s so difficult for someone who’s not fully aware of all those factors to isolate the parts of a room that they do and don’t like. Maybe, for this reason, Pinterest even makes it harder? Emily, I feel like there was originally a segment of SFAS where you showed clients a tear sheet with multiple styles of one piece of furniture (12 different chairs, or dining room tables, or benches, etc) to help understand their styles and I think that can be helpful in addition to showing them entire finished rooms