Lauren Liess Interiors
luxury interior designer

As a decorator & a textile designer, this is my place to muse... Reality and charm fascinate me; perfection isn't really my thing. Fresh floppy flowers from the garden over long-stemmed roses any day, I love it when things are slightly off and tell a story.

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It's been in the works for a while now, but I'll now be officially contributing the!  As you know, I love Domino Magazine, and was super-impressed with the team when they came to our house - almost one year ago- to photograph it for their Spring 2014 issue.  I found their true-to-life style of shooting really cool (& scary!! ;) and refreshing.   I'll mostly be posting similar things to what I'm posting over here -though probably more on the before & after side of things vs. what' I'm up to and business practices- but I'll let you know when new posts go up!   

One of the first things I'm doing over there is sharing my 5 favorite gifts from their holiday gift guide and hosting a giveway over here.  As you know, I very rarely do giveaways or anything like that, but am really excited to take part in this one because a lucky winner will actually get TWO of the same gifts- one to give and one keep (no shame in that!!;) And these are GOOD gifts.

To enter the giveaway:

1)Visit Domino's gift guide and 

2) Enter your email address into the Domino giveaway page and

3) then come back here and write what gift you'd like to win (2 of!) in the comments section.  Please be sure to leave your email address here too!

Here's a quick rundown of my favorites: (and these are all available to win!!)

The No. 175 Tote ....  I love a good all-purpose heavy duty bag like this one.  Our family has a similar one and it's like Mary Poppins' carpet bag because you can fit everything in it & we never know what's going to come out of it.  (And that's actually a really good thing when you're in need of a spare diaper or a random change of clothes ;)  


The This Bag is Not Yours Luggage Tag...  Hysterical. My husband would love this.


These wooden lawn dice look like so much fun!  We'd probably use them just as much inside as outside but I think they'd make the typical board game way better.  


These oval horn salt & pepper shakers are so pretty.  They'd add the perfect natural touch to the table.  WANT!!!  



I love this porcupine quill/ brass quill pendant.  (If I were shopping for myself, this piece would be mine!! ;)

Anyway, to enter the giveaway:   

1)Visit Domino's gift guide and 

2) Enter your email address into the Domino giveaway page 

3) then come back here and write what gift you'd like to win (2 of!) in the comments section.  Please be sure to leave your email address here too!

The Winner will be announced by Domino on Nov. 28th!! 


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

I just wanted to pop in to say hi!  I've been furiously working on my book this week, so I haven't had the chance to post, but this baby is almost finished!!   And, even once it's finished, I'm guessing there will be a lot to the editing process.  (We also still have a bunch of projects to shoot, but compared to writing this thing, that will be easy.)  I'm actually pretty nervous about turning the manuscript into Abrams, who works/ has done books with designers I really admire like Bunny Williams, Phoebe Howard, Thomas O'Brien and so many more.  I cringe inwardly when I think about my editor reviewing it.

But I cannot tell you how excited I am with how it's coming along.  During this writing process, I've gone through points where I think the entire manuscript is a piece of garbage and just want to hold the delete button down for five minutes, to thinking it's "meh," to now- this week- thinking, "people might actually really like it!!"  So far, it's been sort of a massive brain dump of really basic things- like sizing rugs properly for rooms or how to determine the number of curtain panel widths for windows of various sizes- to more out-there things like aesthetic and how it influences our style, creating a collected, charming & personal home, how our memories affect how we decorate & more stuff that hurts my head at times.  I'm truly trying to share every little thing that I know about decorating.  The book's set up as a reference book- The Field Guide to Decorating-  but I'm still in there with my voice.  

{This girl's been my writing companion these past few months}


Now that the brain dump is over, I've been going through, editing & refining and attempting to make it readable, and also listing everything in the index so it's really easy to reference.  My hope is that someone can either read through the book front to cover or pick it up with a question and quickly find the answer by easily looking it up in either the table of contents or the index.  And of course, it's going to be crammed with eye-candy.  All of our newest projects are going in here...  over 20 of them!!  (It's killing me not to share them with you right now!!!)

Anyway, just wanted to let you know where I'm at and what it's been like.  I still feel like I've got a long way to go, but I can definitely spy the finish line around the corner.  Ps- all great on the pregnancy front! Feeling good!

Have a great weekend!!!

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

We're in the process of finalizing the kitchen & bath plans at my dad's Lake Gaston house and our builder is MOVING!! :)  The kitchen area is really awkward...  I mean, the most awkward kitchen space I've ever worked with.  It's a fine size, and will be functional, but getting the elevations right and handling the awkwardness of the ceiling- which affects lighting terribly and makes a range hood tough- and all of the angles has been a challenge.  (And I'm saying that nicely.)  

Here's what we started with:

And here's where we're going to end up:

{window still TBD}

The kitchen, though already open to the living room, will feel even more open because we've removed the cabinetry/wall thing that previously blocked the left side off.  We're not doing any upper cabinetry (the shelves in the pic are just placeholders... I'm working on something else) because I want it to feel really airy and clean.  In my own personal kitchens, I really resist upper cabinetry wherever possible because I like space when I'm working and don't love  a cabinet  near my face.  If I had a large enough "dream kitchen," I'd probably have a combination of shelving and uppers.

I'll bring in a small rolling island in the center of the kitchen for additional workspace.

And now onto the awkwardness...  There is a beam going right through the center of the kitchen... On one side of the beam, the ceiling is angled, and on the other side, it goes up 25+ feet.   This makes a range hood situation pretty difficult because it has nowhere to really stop.  The only range hoods that I think look very good without continuing up into a ceiling are those which are rounded at the top.  Like this one:

{By Rita Konig}

...I love it!!  These are usually a pretty penny though, and our space is more awkward because there would be a beam hitting it at the top, not perfectly centered.  Arghhh. 

 We'll have a gas range so it's especially important that we have a good venting system for it.  I've been doing a bit of research on downdraft units (that hide behind a range) and they don't sound like they really do the job all that well.  (There seems to be a 13" high Thermador which is supposedly slightly better than some of the other brands because it's taller so I'll look into that.  It also seems that some homeowners might not be using some of their  units correctly/ having them vented properly so I'll be talking with our appliance person.)  On the other hand, my dad doesn't cook that much and we'll probably be doing a lot of meals on the grill so maybe one of the downdraft units would be fine. (though loud, I've heard.... anyone have any experience with them??)

And then there's the lighting situation...

Wall lights will suffice for lighting the counters and shelving properly (Will do one above the windows and one above each shelf to the left and right of the window) and I'll have something made for above the peninsula that swings out over it from the wall above.   In the end, I think it'll be a really cool detail.  We'll replace the existing recessed lights with smaller ones.  The dining room will be much trickier to light because the ceiling is almost 30 feet high and I'm just not sure I want a massive cord coming down - ruining the view a bit- for what will need to be a rather small light fixture over the table.   The table will float in front of the stairs like this:

{Looks like they went for the long corded chandelier... a possibility.}

 I've been thinking about doing candelabra style lamps on the table but am not sure how we'd like dining with lamps protruding into the conversation and with having so many short heads around the table it might be an issue...  It is gorgeous though!!

{By Darryl Carter in Elle Decor... love this and feel like something like this might work because of how narrow the lamps are}

I guess we'll just need to think about what will bother us more... insufficient lighting, a loooooong cord, or possibly-in-the-way lamp bases.  I may just wait and see how it feels and go from there.  I've  also thought about keeping hurricanes on the table to for forced (but truly needed!) candlelight.  We'll see.

And for the final bit of awkwardness... we have the backsplash.  I'm not 100% decided, but I'm leaning towards going with a shiplap that will continue up onto the ceiling in the kitchen.  I think it'll help the ceiling and take a way a bit of the 90s feel the room has.  

{House Beautiful... one of my favorite rooms ever}

There's not really a good stopping point in the left wall for it as the left wall is also the living room wall, so I may only be able to do it on the angled back walls.  :/   Which would mean I wouldn't have it behind the range... Not the end of the world.  (We don't have a backsplash at all in our kitchen at home, even behind the range, and we cool a ton and are seriously messy.  We used washable matte paint on the walls so when something does splash on the wall behind the range, it wipes right off.) But it's the starting and stopping of a backsplash in a seemingly arbitrary spot that kills me.  When I get an hour or so, I'll get to pondering which stopping point will be the least awkward,    (ohhhhh...  I just had an expensive thought... what if we did the entire room??  May have to get a quote to see how bad.)

For countertops, we're going with soapstone.  We have it in our kitchen and home and I can't get enough of it.  I'm hoping to do an integrate soapstone sink:

{image via pinterest}

We'll be doing shaker cabinetry (like in the image above) and I haven't yet picked the color.  I'm all over the place on that...  I could go white but I'm open to colors too.  Once I finish up with the living room fabrics, I'll have more of an idea of where we need to go in the kitchen.  In general though, I know I want a heavy does of white (which we'll be getting with the shiplap) with warm wood and black accents.  I'd like the shelves flanking the windows to hold wooden cutting boards and am hoping to find just the right wooden island or butcher block.  A mix of blues & indigo for the fabrics and furnishings in the living room, and depending upon how dark/light things are feeling to me, it could go on the cabinetry too but we'll see.  

{Love this palette by Tom Scheerer, one of my favorites!!  The blues are just what I'm envisioning... We'll leave out the browns. }

Anyway, hope you liked this little peek into the lake house plans, and I am off to WRITE!!  I only have a couple more weeks until the manuscript for my book is handed in!!! EEEEEEEEK!!!!   Wish me luck!!!

ps- For any designers in the DC area who are interested in checking out the new design center when it opens next week... I'll be part of a social media panel hosted by Robert Allen and houzz in the brand new Robert Allen showroom on opening day!  It's at 1:00 OM in Suite 410.  RSVP  here!  Would love to see you!! :)

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

I'm not big on beauty products, but I swear by my skin care routine.  I started using it fairly recently (before that I was terrible.. using whatever was around, and not religiously at all) and am addicted to it!!!  So when I was asked to share my favorite beauty product by Style Bistro, I was more than thrilled to share my new love because I think everyone - and literally- their mother should use it.  So if you're interested in that kind of thing, click here.

(A blurry iphone pic of me with my guys that makes my skin appear flawless  ;)


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

On of the most satisfying aspects of being a decorator is that I constantly get to walk in others' shoes, style-wise.  I've yet to meet a client who shares my exact style- though some are really close!- and I have so much fun designing different types of homes for different types of clients.  Although I approach every project with my own aesthetic & style - which is fairly constant- I honestly can't imagine what it would feel like if all of my clients shared the same style.  It would get tedious... quickly.   The fun comes in looking at a house and then looking at my client, and figuring out how to make the project fit him or her.  

I'll admit, I definitely have a "look," and a way of approaching design because of my aesthetic, my love for nature and the way I like things balanced out in a room, but all of the ingredients- styles, color schemes, levels of formality, mood, etc.-  that go into a room change with different people, and that's where the challenge for me lies.  One of the things I'm so excited to share in my book is the variety of different types of projects we've been working on that's currently not very evident in the portfolio on my website.  The book will feature almost 30 different homes, whose owners couldn't be more unique- from modern condos in the DC to traditional Virginia Colonials to grand historical homes in the city to quaint places in the country- and I can't wait to share it with you!!  There are so many different styles and points of view.

Because the projects are so different, there's no way anyone would ever look at every house in it and think "I could live in any of these," but I hope that readers will be able to look each of the projects individually and appreciate them for what they are and for what can be gleaned from them.  

For about a year now, we've been working on a really interesting project in DC with Franck & Lohsen Architects & CarrMichael Construction.  It's very different from anything we've ever done before and I'm so thrilled that my client knew we were up for the challenge even though none of our previous work featured anything quite like it.  it's a beautiful old historical home on an incredible piece of property that had some unfortunate "updates" done to it in the 70s- including walling in a staircase!!- and chopped up rooms.  Our client's style is fresh, bold, colorful and glamorous.  She and her family love to entertain and will use all of the rooms in the house- even- and especially- the formal rooms, which I'm so excited about!!  (I feel like most people these days really seem to be using all of the space in their homes and trying to make the most out of every room... have you noticed that?  Love it.)  Our client is truly fearless about decorating and knows what she wants.  (In fact, the only thing I can say she is afraid of is "blah..."  If her eyes don't immediately light up when we present something, I know we need to go bolder & more special, more unique.  We've been having so much fun!!)

The house itself is going to be beautifully classic when it's finished.  Franck & Lohsen have been a-mazing to work with.  They really seem to think creatively and nothing is too far-fetched or impossible for them.  They're filling the house with beautiful details, like plaster ceiling designs in the living room and library, and the most beautiful woodwork and moldings throughout.  

{Design by Bunny Williams.  The style is very different from what we're going for, but this was one of the images I looked at when thinking about the palette....  the cobalt blues & greens.  And I LOOOOVE that velvet table cloth!!!  mmm mmmm!!!  }

As far as the decorating goes, we're bringing in a palette of intense blues, mixed with hints of gray, mossy greens and chartreuse.  There are warm, organic elements woven throughout to warm it up, like burled woods and antiques with lots of patina, and there will be lots of sparkle.  We're going for a sort of modern mixed with old-school decorating approach to the design meaning we're mixing crazy Midcentury pieces (like murano glass chandeliers & sputnik-esque fixtures) with French and English antiques, lots of new comfortable, tailored upholstery and chintz.  It's sculptural and clean-feeling yet extremely layered with textures & materials- velvets, silks, linens & seagrass- and art.  

{The color of these curtains is close to the silk ones we're doing in the living room.   Image via pinterest.}

We've been collecting things for this project for almost a year now and I've been having so much fun shopping for it!  It's really satisfying to be able to travel and find things for others that you know they'll love- living vicariously I guess! ;) ;)

{the antique pink rug we found for our client's dressing room... in love!!}

The renovation is moving full speed ahead with completion planned for the end of the Winter.  Our clients cannot WAIT to move in!!  I'm hoping to share more with you as things progress on the interior construction and if all goes as planned, will be able to include the project in the book.  I'll keep you posted!!

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



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