How I begin a project & the beautiful mess

A project always begins with some sort of inspiration.  When I first get into a new project with a client, after talking about generally concrete things like color, fuction, style and general needs & wishes, we dig a little deeper and think about how the room should feel. 

To me, the feeling in a space- the atmosphere, the mood- is what's most important.  Rooms can be happy, thoughtful, fresh, light, airy, clean, cozy, warm, moody...  (we could go on & on here.)  Sometimes we want rooms to inspire conversation & other times we want a quiet place to read & retreat to.  We really can't choose colors or finishes or furniture (or anything) until we know how the room is supposed to make us feel.  Clients are typically comfortable talking about colors and needs and style, but atmosphere talks don't always come as naturally because it's not something people tend to think about.  Yet it truly is the starting point.  I don't feel confortable making any design-related decisions until I know how a room should feel.

Once we've gone through the process, we can move onto some tangible inspiration. 


Here, my client has pale greeny-gray walls and an open brick fireplace.  Her home feels cool right now and she wants to warm it up without painting.  She loves reds and oranges and wants a warm, happy,"cozy," relaxed & comfortable space where she can hang out with her son and entertain.  It's going to be be pretty but people should always feel like they can put their feet up and stay a while.  Fabrics will be soft, comfortable & durable.  Her home is a 70s split foyer with vaulted ceilings & reminds me so much of my own house...  with these modern homes, the mix of old & new, classic & modern is a serious balancing act...  in our area, many of use live in these 70s houses because they're everywhere...   but we aren't ready to go 70s mod and filling these houses up with traditional furniture just doesn't work.  We have to walk the line.

We're putting in a new kitchen with dark walnut stained cabinets and the most beautiful vintage-looking handmade subway tiles.  Here are the two colors we're using for the tile by Pratt & Larsen:


When I found the tiles, the rest really fell into place.  They tiles were our literal starting points of inspiration because they work so perfectly- they'll serve to warm up the space while still working with the existing wall color and they create that modern-meets-patinated-thing we want going on- but our true point of inspiration was a feeling.   

One of the highlights of my trip to High Point was my good friends' Eddie Ross & Jaithan Kochar's talk about creating buzz for your business.  They mentioned the concept of a "beautiful mess" which I love so much.   The photo above is an example of a beautiful mess & Eddie's blog is full of them.  It's the starting point for projects...  all the bits and pieces that will go into creating something and when we see the "beautiful mess" we get excited for what's to come.  I realized that -like many of you I'm sure- much of my work starts with a beautiful mess.  My worktable is full of them and I love tweaking to them & adding to them until it feels right.  Once I'm "finished" with my clients' messes -that's relative, I'm always playing with them- they go into a carrying case so they can come with me anywhere- to clients' homes, showrooms, flea markets, etc. 

I wish I'd had a video camera with me so I could replay their amazing talk for you.  They're seriously such generous people and their presentation was so honest & real.  Eddie & Jaithan were both fun & witty as always and we got so much out of it.  they're awesome.

  {Eddie Ross, Traci Zeller, me, Maria Killam, and Jaithan Kochar}-  love you guys!!!

I'll be sharing hi-lights of my trip throughout a series of post...  there's just way too much to fit into one.  I learned so much & am honestly just in awe of this whole industry.  I was gaga over the goods we saw- the furniture, the fabrics, the showrooms, the lighting- yet it was the people who truly blew me away.  


xoxo, Lauren


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

22 comments:

traci zeller designs said...

What super examples of the "beautiful mess!" What a beautiful room you can already tell that it is going to be!
xoxo
Traci

vicki archer said...

Beautiful Mess.....that is such a wonderful concept...xv

Devon said...

Lauren, I was struck by your post today. Look how far your business has come since we started blogging around the same time! I'm so happy for you and proud of you. You are very talented and I enjoy reading about your journey each day. Best, Devon

Vintage Home said...

...Wow great concept!

Susie @ Maddie's Nest said...

Interesting concept. I think I posted my "beautiful mess" last week in a couple of posts on my new nursery inspiration....but didn't know that was the term!

I am sure the whole experience was amazing...I am heading into the hospital tomorrow night for baby 2 or I would have loved to have made the trip down. Look forward to your updates.

Karen@StrictlySimpleStyle said...

Hmmm, maybe I need to get behind this "beautiful mess" concept so that I can complete at least one room in my home. I've been working on my great room for nearly 15 months and it still isn't complete.

dovecotedecor said...

Sorry i missed you at the Eddie Ross event. I was late posting, as usual. I'm really a slow, slow poster. I heard he was great and caught the cliff notes. It is probably a good thing we didn't stay until the wee hours. I posted the Velvet and Linen pictures along with some others. Let's do this again! Anyway, you've been re-blogged! If you have any good pics, will you send them to me
Best,
liz
liz@dovecotedecor.com

Sharon @ Real Estate Resuscitation said...

A beautiful mess perfectly describes my life in general right now. I love the expression!

Antiqueaholics said...

Wow, what a great combination. I love the colors, the texture of the brown/aqua fabric, the tile. It all works so beautifully together. I hope you post the photos of this project when you are finished.
Patti
antiqueaholics.blogspot.com

L.Duncan@Home23DuncanBoys said...

A beautiful mess it is! I love the colors Lauren! And Eddie and Jaithan are the most down to earth people I know. I loved meeting them back in April;-)

Carol@SofasandSage.com said...

What an experience it must have been! I love the gorgeous fall leaf in the inspiration "mess". You have a gift for adding the natural and the honest into what you blog -- like the leaf. I've used that floral fabric before -- talk about warm and cozy.

A Flair for Vintage Decor said...

Oh, I really like the "beautiful mess" and what comes out of it at the end! What a great way to describe the process! Take care, Caroline

Julie Holloway said...

girl, you've got some mad skills. You are such a natural talent--your work always inspires me!

La Petite Gallery said...

Great photo with all the Designers. The layout is beautiful, earth tones and warm and cozy. Very
lovely choices.
yvonne

Gretchen O. said...

I can't wait to see this home completed. I am going to have to use the "beautiful mess" phrase all the time now. (although can you use it with a pile of laundry???) I am looking forward to meeting E & J in Charlotte in a couple of weeks.

Looks like you had an amazing time in HIgh Point.

--Gretchen O.

kayce hughes said...

I can relate to a beautiful mess. That would be my desk and office about 95% of the time!

Loretta Fontaine (APPLESandRUBIES) said...

Lauren- I wish I could have heard Eddie and Jaithan's talk. Could anyone send me the Cliff Notes? I love that idea of "a beautiful mess". (And the messy piles for that room you are planning look great already! There's an interesting contrasting mix of colors on that light tile that I imaging will blend into an mellow, organic tone when the tiles are in masse on the walls)

I'm reminded of a time when a client came into my studio and told me how she was surprised my studio was so "messy" when my jewelry was so neat and detailed. And I felt really badly!

But this post reminds me that some people just don't understand that being creative is inherently, well, messy.
Loretta

Karen Davis said...

Great Colors and I really need to go to High Point next year it is on my list!

Room Service ~ Decorating 101 said...

L, I do the same thing. I want to know how the client wants the room to feel and you are so right about most the time they don't even know a room has a feel... great post.

Maria Killam said...

Lauren, I love the way you put that together! Wow my green jacket sure is green in this picture! haha

Living It At Home said...

Your trip sounds wonderful and this was a wonderful post to read!

pretty pink tulips said...

Beautiful mess.....I think I could use some of that. I don't often show the "process". Leave it to E+J to coin a new phrase!! So happy you got to spend time with them and all the other talented folks at High Point!