I've been putting off sharing about the room we did for the Birmingham Home and Garden Inspiration House until the magazine was out. AND it finally is! Although I must admit, I kinda missed its initial debut. I knew it was the November/December issue, but somehow November 5 was still October 25 in my mind. This time of year flies, doesn't it? SO now that it is november 12 (!), it seemed like the absolute right time to share.
For the house, we were to do the small study at the front of the house. Working on a project that doesn't have a real, live client involved is both freeing and tricky. Freeing because you are your own boss and you can be a little more bold/wacky/interesting/etc. than you might be in another person's home. But on the other hand, its hard to design a space when you don't have a person in mind. So much of what we do is a reflection of the people who live in the homes that we work in so when you're left without that important piece of a puzzle things get a bit hazy.
But not to worry! We fixed this problem by taking the liberty to "imagine" the person who would use our study. Our idea was that this was a study for a 20, 30 something stationary designer/ blogger who uses this space to work on her projects and posts early in the morning with a cup of coffee by her side and then late into the night with a glass of wine. We wanted to create a space that was calm & peaceful but still interesting with a sophisticated edge. This is a woman that needs a peaceful surrounding for all her ideas to run wild but also needs a space that is sophisticated for meetings. The space’s sophistication is still casual; nothing is too set or too perfect, inviting you to put your feet up or grab something to read from the shelves.
For the palette of the room, I started with the beautiful Mary McDonald Schumacher fabric that was used for the panels at the back of the room. disclaimer: THIS WAS MY FAVORITE PART! The panels serve as an anchor to the room and provide interest and warmth to the space. In addition, they can also be used as a pin board for invites, notes, cards.
Using the colors from the panels, we choose other neutral pieces for a calming layered look. Color was introduced by adding in pops of green and blue through artwork and pottery. We love the photo of Venice by the talented Hardie Cobbs, and we made the room a little more personal by adding in one of my own works on paper.
On the floor, we layered a hide on top of a sisal. This is a great way to achieve that layered look without spending too much. The lighting in a space really helps establish the “feel” of the room and its best when the lighting is layered through the space — so think different heights, different locations, different intensities.
In order to introduce a contemporary edge to the room, we chose fixtures with tailored lines. For example, the desk lamp by Aerin is both functional and cool — a little piece of sculpture on your desk. Over the bookshelves, we installed some of our favorite book case lights. They serve to wash the book shelves with the appropriate amount of light but they also help “complete” the look of the space.
My hope is that the room would be both peaceful and inspiring to all that take a seat at the desk!
THINGS I LEARNED FROM THIS PROJECT:
1) YOU CAN literally order books by the COLOR ONLINE.. I KNOW THIS IS NOT THAT BREAKTHROUGH but i'd never tried this before. So i was literally amazed when i googled "white books for design project" in google and boom! there was a whole website dedicated to the particular color book jacket you needed. i went with the white (obviously). i loved having these books to mix in with some design books on the shelves. since its a small space (and make belief!), we wanted to keep it simple with a white palette. don't get me wrong, I'm all about real, beat-up books that are your favorites but in a project like this books by the foot was a life saver.
2) Always remember that design magazines are always a few months/season ahead. this shoot involved a christmas element that i completely forgot about until the day of the shoot. hard to think christmas when its 95 out in alabama
3) fiddle fig trees are hard to move by ones self. you'd all have been howling with laughter if you'd seen me try to wrangle this thing into my car. so tip- use two people or at least one tall person when dealing with a tall fiddle fig
4) lightbulbs make a huge difference. for this project, we changed the bulbs in our lantern from 60 watt bullet shaped bulbs to little indicator lights with a low wattage and it totally set the right mood in the already bright space
5) good projects involve chocolate. we included a little bowl of hershey kisses in our room and they were a crowd pleaser.
6) A GOOD OFFICE NEEDS A GOOD CHAIR. WE LOVED the LOOK OF OUR FIRST CHAIR BUT IT DIDN'T FILL UP THE CORNER WELL (TOO WISPY) BUT IT ALSO WASN'T NEAR COMFORTABLE ENOUGH. the ROLLING LEE CHAIR FROM CIRCA WAS the PERFECT FIT... I SAT HERE A LOT JUUUUUSTTTT TO MAKE SURE :)
7) WORK WITH THE RIGHT PEOPLE. WE WORK WITH SOME AMAZING PEOPLE AND I'M ALWAYS AMAZED BY WHAT THEY CAN MAKE HAPPEN. EVEN IF IT COST A LITTLE MORE, THE RESULTS ARE FAR WORTH IT. THEY MAKE OUR DREAMS INTO REALITIES, AND THAT IS AWESOME.
8) friends are the best. WE ARE SO THANKFUL TO HAVE SUCH WONDERFUL FRIENDS AND VENDORS WHO HELP US GET THINGS DONE / don't THINK WE ARE (TOO) CRAZY when WE ASK FAVORS OR TO BOTHER THINGS AT THE LAST MINUTE. THANK YOU TO SO MANY PEOPLE BUT TO NAME A FEW: CIRCA INTERIORS, HILTZ LAUBER, PAIGE ALBRIGHT, GRANT TRICK, HANG IT UP, CDT LIMITED, MARCIA UNGER ART, HARDIE COBBS ART, AND LEAF &PETAL.
9) EVERY ROOM NEEDS SOMETHING GREEN (THINK- PLANT, CUT FLOWERS). OUR ROOM WAS COMING TOGETHER BUT WASN'T QUITE THERE UNTIL WE INTRODUCED THE GORGEOUS FIDDLE FIG AND CUT FLOWERS ON THE DESK. THEY WERE A GAME CHANGER; BRINGING THE ROOM INSTANTLY TO LIFE!
10) BIRMINGHAM IS A SMALL CITY WITH BIG DESIGN TALENT.. I AM CONSTANTLY MORE AND MORE AMAZED BY HOW MANY TALENTED PEOPLE THERE ARE IN BIRMINGHAM. THE LONGER I WORK IN THIS BUSINESS, THE MORE I GET TO MEET THEM OR JUST ADMIRE THEIR WORK FROM AFAR. i AM SO THANKFUL TO BE WORKING IN A PLACE WITH SO MANY PEOPLE TO LEARN FROM AND WORK WITH. IN FACT ONE OF MY FAVORITE DESIGNERS (LAUREN LIESS) RECENTLY BLOGGED about HOW AWESOME BRIMINGHAM IS; CLICK HERE TO READ. and a big thank you to the talented cathy mcgowin and birmingham home and garden! we are so lucky to have a publication of this caliber locally!
get the look
MIRROR: okl // wall panels: schumacher // desk lamp: aerie for visual comfort // pillow: custom fabric // olive jar: okl // hide- paige albright orientals // desk chair and ottoman and french market basket: circa interiors birmingham (lee industries) // desk: currey and co
if you made it this long, THANK YOU TIME A MILLION!!