Client's Traditional Living Room: Before & After

I just got photos back from a recent photo shoot with my good friend & photographer Helen Norman & her assistant, F.J. Hughes.  Remember the install I wrote about a couple of weeks ago here?   Well, my clients went on a family vacation & while they were gone, we installed the living room so they got to come home to it {almost} finished. (Minus the delayed sofa.)  Here is what the living room looked like at our first meeting:

{Now also remember my photography skills are nowhere near Helen's}

It's one of those long rooms that can be tricky with furniture-arranging. 

My client's style is traditional and she was looking for sort of a fresh, comfortable "traditional"/ for their Colonial home.  She's attracted to architectural drawings and Colonial fabrics and blues, and there's a real "Virginia" feeling about their house.  We were keeping the existing end tables, chest and bookcase and everything else would be new (or atleast new for the space.) 

For clients' designs, I typically start with a general floorplan and then get started on soft goods, which inspire me the most, and in this case it was the fabrics.  I knew I wanted to do something fairly bold on the plan's settee, and I fell in love with this overscale floral chintz, "Hollyhock," by Schumacher:        


From there we started pulling other fabrics to develop a general palette.  We selected a combination of neutral velvets and some patterned linens & cottons.  I spec'd a beautiful antique-washed wool rug that I'd seen the previous summer & couldn't get out of my mind. 

Being so overscale, and being a floral, doing the Hollyhock on a settee was a stretch for my client, but I urged her to mull it over.  It was our linchpin & I'd based the entire palette around it.  If we switched the fabric to a safer one, I knew the results wouldn't make her as happy.  {Presenting plans with a bit of "risk" in them to your clients can be challenging.  I think a designer's job is to push his or her clients a bit outside of their box, but not so far that they don't love the end results.  It's walking this line that creates a room clients really love...  I find that lots of clients push back a little on one or two presented items, which I think is good.  On items like these, I like to give my clients time to think & let the new idea sink in before we axe it all together.  Sometimes it just takes finishing up the presentation and sometimes is takes weeks to get used to an unexpected idea, but I feel that we all need to go a bit outside of our comfort zones a bit in our homes to get a really special result that will excite us...  }  My client was very willing to think on the fabric and I was thrilled when she decided to go for it.       

Here's one last pic of what the living room looked like before:


And here it is now:


We rearranged the long room so that the sofa now faces the windows and a pair of chocolate-milk-colored velvet wing chairs.  The walls were painted a soft cream to lighten up the space and we had a seagrass rug custom made (by Tolvin at the Carpet Customizer-  he's THE BEST) and layered the antique-washed wool rug over it.    


We layered the coffee table with a wooden tray holding pretties like this clay pot by Lindsey Augustine, a pair of old brass candlesticks, and an "M" candle:


I placed a large console behind the sofa and used a pair of  blue lamps by John Rosselli on top:

{The basket under the table holds a coiled snakeskin my clients found}

There are a couple of areas we didn't get photos of.  I layered in artwork - both new & old (found at Spurgeon Lewis Antiques in Old Town/ 1st Dibs).   I also created a gallery wall of my clients' collected family photos.   It's such a large wall & it has photos that span years so it really tells a story about them & who they are.   Here's a close-up of the neutral/ wheat-colored fabrics on the english arm sofa:

{The pillows are by Schumacher and the paisley throw is from my line of textiles} 

This next photo is my favorite one.  I had this image in my mind long before the room even came together & was so excited to see it in person!!  

(A couple of weeks before the room was installed -ie months after we'd ordered the furniture & selected the fabrics, I was looking through old House Beautiful Magazines and I came accross a project by Albert Hadley titled "Colonial Design"  using this exact same fabric 40 years ago in a living room and reusing the same pieces again in a 2009 project when the same clients moved to another Colonial...  I was at once both thrilled and disappointed.  Thrilled because it's Albert Hadley and because I got the instant gratification of seeing what the fabric would look like on a settee when before, I'd only imagined it, and disappointed because I felt extremely unoriginal & slow on the uptake.)

Anyway, here's what the foyer looked like before:


Small drawings were placed around the foyer on different walls.

And here's an after shot:



I reunited the collection of drawings all in a row above the chair my client found.  We restyled the table/ print in the background for this shot because we couldn't get a good one of them in their original position. (I've learned so much working with Helen!)

Without knowing about the Hadley project, F.J. dubbed the project "Colonial Chic"  which is hysterical, especially if you knew F.J.   

Anyway, I hope you liked the before & afters, and getting details of the in-between. 
Thank you so much to my very patient clients who were a dream to work with!
Have a great SUMMA weekend!


xoxo, Lauren

We're taking on new clients for this Fall!  If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.  We work locally around the DC area and travel for select projects.  :)

64 comments:

eclecticrevisited said...

what a transformation...I love the beautiful fabrics..
and the arrangement of the furnishings makes much more sense...in my humble opinion, it is so worth hiring professionals to plan your home...
love your style, Lauren...
best,
maureen

Naomi@DesignManifest said...

gorgeous!!! I especially love the new floor plan. I would never think to use a small settee, but it functions great and sets the style for the room.

karen e dutton said...

Hi Lauren! I am obsessed with home decor blogs, but I always read yours first... you inspire me with your positive attitude (and your young family!). I have a question regarding the blue lamps (which are beautiful)- where are they plugged in? I often wonder this when I see photos of a living room, and the lamps are in the center of a floor plan (not near a wall). Thank you for all the work you do to keep up with your blog - I always look forward to reading it. By the way, I make custom framed collages if you are ever in need of a unique piece of artwork. My website is www.pieceofkind.com, which will give you an idea of the aesthetic, but I am presently working on the content to have it fully up! Sorry for such a long comment, but thanks in advance if you have a moment to reply. Have a wonderful day, Karen

Nicole @ one half world said...

What a lovely room! I like how you redid the floor plan; I probably would not have thought of that but it looks great and is so much more intimate for conversation. I love the colors and fabrics too!

Sarah said...

Absolutely beautiful Lauren. I've been following (ok stalking :) your blog for some time now, and I am always blown away by the fact that each of the spaces you design fits with the client's vision while still managing to look so "you." And I cannot say enough about how lovely your fabrics are. The Queen Anne's Bouquet is really really calling my name, and I can't wait to see when and how you make them available. Anyway, thanks for the inspiration and for the insightful posts on behind-the-scenes stuff. As someone who isn't a designer but likes to pretend with my own home, it's all so interesting!—Sarah

Katy said...

Wow, this is stunning!! A Pinterest must! You are just so talented, I absolutely love everything about this room. I really can't pick a favorite element! Maybe the lamp, or the wall art, or the fabrics, or the coffee table...I just don't know!

bryn alexandra interiors said...

LAUREN I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!! AMAZING!!!!!

karen e dutton said...

Hi again, woops, I forgot to leave my email (technology is not my thing!). It's ked0662@comcast.net Thank you, Karen

Allison said...

I am in love with the plants you use....Can you tell me where you found the tree in that room, I have been looking for one like that? Also your topiaries is there a local nursery you can find these in? Thanks!!

Cathy Wall said...

This is just beautiful! It is wonderful to see such a fresh take on more traditional interiors. You have such an eye Lauren! Thanks for sharing...

Cathy @ Room Rx

Aimee said...

Beautiful! If I were the client, I would have been apprehensive about the fabric too, but you were absolutely right. Where did you find that gorgeous rug?!

Wives said...

wonderful!

Vanessa@decor happy said...

It's absolutely perfect!

Acquired Objects said...

You did such an amazing transformation Lauren and it's so beautiful. Your clients must have been over the moon in love with their new room. I would have been nervous about using such a large floral print too but you made it work seamlessly. The room is gorgeous.

Emily A. Clark said...

Beautiful, Lauren! So sophisticated. I'm curious how long a project like this typically takes from start to finish. . . Okay, maybe I'm just nosy :)

vignette design said...

You transformed this bland living room into an interesting, beautiful, elegant, and sophisticated room.
The fabrics, prints and colors all work wonderfully together.
Come by and see me sometime! I have exciting news and a fantastic giveaway that would look fabulous in your kitchen! ~Delores

Nancy @ dream it ... build it...style it! said...

I love this look. It's timeless and sophisticated. Beautiful work.

The Pink Pagoda said...

So fresh, clean and lovely. Amazing job!!

kayce hughes said...

So beautiful!

A Perfect Gray said...

that rug MAKES the room. donna

Tammy@InStitches said...

Milk chocolate velvet, yum !

Holly Irwin Fine Art said...

It's gorgeous! I love the tailored feel of the room with the architectural prints and wing back chairs, all of it softened with the beautiful textiles. Thanks for sharing it!

Elizabeth said...

I have been stalking your blog for awhile, but I don't think I have ever commented, but now I must. This is my absolute favorite room you have ever done. I want to move in. Where did you get that gorgeous rug? Maybe husby will let me hire you in a million years (ok 3) when he finally finishes his Ph. D. and we buy a house. I cannot say enough praises about this room.

Allison Harper said...

Love it! The settee looks great even though the fabric has been used before. :)

Jane @ The Borrowed Abode said...

Wow. Just wow. I think this is my favorite of your before and afters so far.

Barbara Bussey {The Treasured Home} said...

You and your clients must be thrilled. Great, fresh new look, while maintaining a traditional vibe. Glad the client listened to you!
Cheers!,
Barbara

Kristy @ I Design Love said...

Ohh My GOODNESS!! So gorgeous!! I love this room, the rug is amazing and I love how you placed the furniture!! It is simply stunning. You are so talented, this should be in a magazine :)

www.idesignlove.com

Tina said...

This room is absolutely beautiful and so your style! I love it, amazing transformation and great floor plan as well!!

Creative Choices Interior(s) said...

Absolutely Beautiful! I love the transformation. What a huge difference. Love it all.......

Chlvie

decoratica said...

Lauren, your style is AMAZING. I've been following your blog for about two years now and you never disappoint me! Congratulations!

Diane James Home said...

What a beautiful room! You have such a great eye and wonderful taste - it is inspiring to see a room so well put together.

Ashley said...

Just thought I'd let you know that I featured you on Decorology today!

Sarah MacMillan {Prairie Perch} said...

What a transformation! I love the coffee table and fabrics. Well done. Such a beautiful home.

Pam said...

Gorgeous! Really great feel.

paula said...

wow, that looks amazing, you are very talented, what a beautiful space.

traci zeller designs said...

Lauren, this is just beautiful. I think it's my favorite before and after that you've done. Love!!!

xoxo!

Karena said...

Lauren absolutely beautiful and that Hollyhock fabric, perfect!! So glad your clients agreed with you!!

xoxo
Karena

Art by Karena

Unknown said...

Hi Lauren, Beautiful room! Just discovered your blog recently and now I HAVE to have a set of English roll arm sofas. Where did you purchase the sofa for your clients...I'm guessing it wasn't cheap? Since I'm not having your Craigslist luck, I'm wondering if you've found any cheaper resources for this style sofa other than Lee Industries? I'd also like a double seat cushion flat back preferably no more than $1500 each. I would really appreciate any help! Thanks!
Lauren M.
laurenmisajon@gmail.com

carla said...

A beautiful room Lauren. I have bought a new house and my lounge room is also same shape as this. I also just purchased 2 big amazing arm chairs second hand and plan to do a similar style. I'm a designer in australia and love your work!

Abby said...

Your rooms are always beautiful and I just love to see the way you blend your unique style in with those of your clients'(whether they lean more toward traditional, modern, french country, etc). I'm always checking out your blog for inspiration, and someday I hope to work with you on my own home. So glad you're having such great success!

Liz Hancher said...

Beautiful! Especially love the two velvet chairs...where did you find them? Lizhancher@hotmail.com

Rebecca said...

Hi!

Really great room.

I have been wanting some new lamps for our livingroom/only room for some time. Everything I have seen is either out of my priced range or not to my liking. My home is a take on the casual trational style of this room. I am liking the lamp to the left of the settee. If you could contact me about this it would be appreciated. How do we go about this? You can email me at wrsch1966@hotmail.com

Jan Hales Designs said...

Lauren,

You did such an amazing job! What an elegant yet cozy space you've created! I love all of the different patterns you chose. Everything looks as if it was gathered over time perfectly :)

-Jan

Carmel @ Our Fifth House said...

Your clients must be absolutely thrilled! The room looks amazing!!! Love that you honored their traditional style in very fresh way! One word - stunning!

Rachael said...

I love this transformation. The palette is so beautiful and so interesting. Your clients must be loving their new space. Brava!

Cote de Texas said...

BEautiful Lauren!
I love the settee the most - just love that fabric!!!!!

Joni

Cherie said...

The floral was a stretch but oh so lovely and what appears to be a perfect choice for this ensemble. I chose to have our settee covered in a P. Kauffmann Leaf Cloud fabric, scared the bejeebers out of me, but ended up guiding the whole room and working so well. It still feels neutral to even though it's floral and graphic, all at once. floral with a modern, organic edge.

Carla@DesignintheWoods said...

Love the upholstery! Great job. I love stacking that art on that small wall. So much more effective.

Velvet and Linen said...

Standing, clapping and cheering!
What a beautiful and serene room, Lauren.
I love the Hollyhock fabric with the touches of green.
And that carpet...Love!!!
The window treatment adds so much softness.
Bravo!

xo
Brooke

J and Company said...

I love the architectural prints you hung. Is there specific name for them...are they considered blueprints or? Either way, they make the room stunning. Love the lamps as well.

la Happy Sally said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
la Happy Sally said...

I will echo all of the sentiments above, I love this room! What a beautiful transformation! I just have to know where you got the coffee table. I am in love with it and have been searching high and low for one for my own home. Thank you!

Sally (sally@lahappy.com)

Jilly said...

Lauren, it is really awesome collection. Furniture with the glass is awesome. Now a days this type of furniture is very much popular in market. Also stone pieces is very beautiful.
web design

Jennifer said...

totally beautiful! you gave the room style and integrity!

Wendy said...

Beautiful! Where did you get the fig plant? I live in the area and I'm looking for one for my living room :-)
Great job!
Wendy-

Ayleen said...

Lauren, this is definitely one of my favorite installations that you have shown! Fantastic job :)
wonderwallinteriors.blogspot.com

Ann said...

Lauren, Beautiful, as are all your projects! I love the fabrics on the sofa. And, like a previous poster, I would love to know where you found the English rolled arm sofa. My next sofas will be tightbacked, such a clean look. Love the velvet wing chairs, too!

Ann

EDYTA and CO. INTERIOR DESIGN said...

Beautiful job Lauren! Fantastic photos too! :)

Lisa S. said...

The room is beautiful. So peaceful but visually interesting, my favorite combination! I had to comment because I am so intrigued by the window treatment. Linen drapes layered over a roman shades? So casual/comfortable but elegant at the same time!!!!! Are the two fabrics the same or just slightly different in shade? I would love to see the top of the window, what hardware you chose, etc...

Lauren said...

Hi! Here are some of the sources asked about:

The English Arm sofa is by Vanguard & it's really comfortable.

(I'm not sure of a source that sells English arm sofas as low as $1500 though.)

The velvet wing chairs are by bernhardt

The cocktail table is by Worlds Away


Thanks so much!!
-Lauren

The curtains & shdes are both in linen & one is a ton-on-tone pin stripe (the shade)

Bdifferent said...

I am dying right now !!!!!! I love your attention to detail and proportion. It looks as though you added a great deal of accessories to create the final look and I was wondering if you could ballpark the budget for this room minus design fees? I was also wondering what you charge to look at some photos of my current spaces and offer some accessorizing ideas.

You are so inspiring !!!

Mo Thygesen said...

I keep going back to this post - I dont understand how you could transform that room so much - I just cant see the old room in the new decor. Amazing - I wish I had that talent. And Im so glad you share yours! Thank you. /Mo

Nan Davis said...

I love what you have done. I wish that I had that talent of being able to see what would look best and where. My mother was an interior designer, but I didn't get that trait. I have to get ideas from other people. Thanks so much!

emily said...

Hi Lauren,
I love your style and am taking your family friendly style advice to heart as I redo my living room with 3 kids 5 and under. I am looking for a small settee to do a bold fabric on. Could you share your source? Thanks, Emily. Eyoung1973@gmail.com