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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Happy Friday!  Today's Pretty Little Friday is a snapshot of our mantle right now.  I pulled out this creepy Conquistador painting (long story- but my parents had a framed poster of the original painting while I was growing up and I came across this really old oil reproduction last year and just had to grab it)and put a few skulls around the house & cheesy grave stones in the front garden.  I wish I could be one of those people who do really elaborate Halloween decorations but I'm lucky to have even gotten out the skulls.  Hope you're enjoying all the pre-Halloween mayhem & have a great weekend!!

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

{one of my favorite photos ever by Noboyuki Taguchi Photography...  I can stare it for quite a while, just thinking about what's going through the different kids' heads...  especially love the little daredevil leader and the face & body language of the last kid to jump.  If I were one of them, I'd probably be the one who looks like he's concentrating and was quite possibly the first to jump, but that doesn't mean he wasn't scared.   This photo is like the essence of lake life as a kid. }

Things have been progressing at the lake house, and our builder, Sid Cutts of Corbitt Hills Construction, sent us some post-demo photos yesterday!!  I'm telling you, it's KILLING me not to be there, seeing everything.   I CANNOT WAIT to be able to visit Lake Gaston and actually spend the night night instead of driving 3 hours down and 3 hours back up in a day like we usually do!! 

Floors, woodwork and doors have been removed throughout.  Almost all signs of pink have left the building.  

When we visited last week, we decided to turn a small office in the basement (in photo below, the room through the doorway on the right) into a bunk room (with capacity for 2 built-in bunks/ 4 total beds) by removing a large closet under the stairs to open up the room a bit, making room for bunks.  I am SO EXCITED about this because we were able to add another bedroom to the house!!!  We're hoping for lots of visitors so this extra bedroom is key.  We added a small office space for my dad in the back of the basement family room (in left side of photo below)  where there was a bit of an awkward shape due to the shape of the kitchen where the window is (pic above.)  

In the office, we'll do built-ins along the angles for a small but functional space.  The framing is in place and it will have a set of double pocket doors, so he can have them open when he's working and close it up when he's finished to protect it from my brood.

We're adding larger glass exterior doors to entire the basement to lighten it up, but it's already a walk-out and has a fair amount of light.  Eventually, it'll become a big family room space with a TV, game table, etc.  

On the other side of the house, there's a second (large) bedroom in the basement, which will become a guest master bedroom and it's currently really dark.  (pic below...  creepy dark.)  We're adding windows on one wall and a wall of doors on the wall that faces the lake (underneath of a deck above) so it should feel fairly light when we're finished.  We've added an entrance from the bedroom to the bathroom, which we enlarged considerably by stealing space from a large closet and hallway just outside the bathroom.  (Framing is already in place in the pic below for the newly expanded bathroom)

As much as I really want my bedroom to be the one on the top floor of the house with gorgeous lake views, I'm guessing we'll be spending many-a-nights in here so we can be closer to our little guys who will be around the corner in the bunk room.  I'm hoping I can make it great enough that I WANT this one more than the other...  but I'm a sunlight fiend, so it all hinges on how much the wall of doors and three windows lighten it up.    

I'm working on the kitchen plans this week and will be back soon to share!!  In the meantime, here's an inspiration photo I've been thinking about a lot for the kitchen & great room palette:

{image via pinterest}

And I'm thinking I'll do the basement walls in a blue similar to this one:

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

We're back from a whirlwind trip down to Lake Gaston and then to High Point Market, and after loading up the studio with some of our new finds and rearranging a bit, I thought I'd share some pics with you!  I NEED change so rearranging the studio is really fun for me. 


{I went crazy with vintage botanical charts and charts of various wildlife...  I'm going to have trouble parting with the buttercup one I found, above.}


The massive clam shell has been in the studio for a bit and it's probably one of my favorite things here: 


My vintage painting collection is growing:



Doing a studio or a store is so different than doing a home.  We have ours set up like little rooms with each section having its own feeling/ color palette.  I had fun doing a little corner of the shop in pale beiges, golds and aquas:



I love going down to Market and seeing so many different point of views, all displayed in the different showrooms so beautifully.  It's really a "to each his own" sort of thing and I feel like everyone goes home with a little bit of this from one place and a little bit of that from another place and creates her own point of view/ style at home.  I have to laugh because sometimes people will come into our studio and say things like, "Oh this is odd," or "Hmmmmm..."  or my favorite, "This stuff is old." and it reminds me that different things float all of our boats.  As a rule, I buy what I love, what moves me in some way.  If something makes me laugh or smile, it almost always comes home to the studio.


I got made fun of today by Dave & Meghan in the studio for putting this miniscule fern in this oversize antique urn:


{I deserved it.  I WISH I had the room for this piece at home.... another favorite}

The fabric room now has a little Danish-inspired chair for relaxing:


We have a big install tomorrow so today was a good day for me to "shop" at the studio for one-of-a-kind accessories.  We found some really incredible pieces at Market that will ship to us soon.  I have a chair problem and must have purchased at least 14 of them.  I have NO IDEA where we'll fit them all.   


I'll be sure to post install updates on our project tomorrow on instagram for those who are interested.  (my name on there is just my name "laurenliess")   Hope you enjoyed the little peek of the studio!  {For anyone in the area, the studio is open Monday- Friday 10-5.}  I'll be sure to post when our Market haul arrives!  I'll be back later this week to share a couple of projects of ours that are currently out in some shelter magazines!!

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

So excited to tell you that... Liess Baby Number 4 is on the way, due May 2nd!

{We'd just found out that another one was on the way in this pic that Christian, our 7 year old, took.}  

Our 3 guys- 7.4 &2- are everything to us, and we're so happy about having another one!!!  I grew up basically as an only child (my little sister was born when I was 15) and I've always wanted a bigger family of my own.  Dave is one of five so no surprise there.  Our lives have obviously felt very full with three boys, and as much as we wanted to stay on easy street (= life without an infant), our family just didn't quite feel complete to us.  It was like someone was missing.  Odd, I know.    

We're waiting for the baby to be born to find out if he's a boy or a girl, but I've been calling it a "he" and accidentally saying things to the boys like, "your baby brother..." because I honestly  can't fathom having anything other than a boy.  If a little girl pops out, we will be SHOCKED.  (Though just as thrilled.)  Anyway, we couldn't be happier about our impending little one and I have already started to eat my weight in food on a daily basis.  

{The boys hanging on at my dad's new lake house}

On another note, and a bit more design-y, I wanted to share some photos of my dad's new lake house with you!  It's a little over 3 hours away from us and is on Lake Gaston on the North Carolina side.  We're really hoping that my dad (who currently lives in Illinois) will be able to spend a good amount of time at the lake house so we can see him more.  He plans to travel back and forth because his work is in the Midwest.  

{Louie stepped into a mud wasp nest and got a few stings right before this pic so was hanging out a little bit away from the water's edge, where he got stung.}

My parents divorced when I was two years old so I've lived twelve hours away from him pretty much my entire life.  We've always wanted to be closer and it's finally happening!!!!  The boys are so excited that Nanoo's moving closer and of course are pumped about the water & all the fun things they'll get to do:  Waterskiing, swimming, fishing & boating, jetskiing & tubing etc.  We're never going to want to leave!!!

{back yard view}

We're planning on adding some additional bedrooms to the house in the future but for now, we're working on the bones: flooring throughout, kitchen, bathrooms, and fixing doors and windows.

The great room is what made me love the house when I walked in for the first time:  

{the great room}

The back of the house is pretty much all windows and doors with views straight to the lake.  There's a catwalk area above the first floor and the left end of it leads to a master bedroom and the right side (seen in pic below) will eventually lead to another bedroom.

{the view from the kitchen to the back of the house}

Most of the doors have issues being opened & closed (meaning, they don't really work at all) so they'll need to be replaced.  I haven't decided yet on the exact style but I do think- though I like the doors that are currently in the house- that they're not quite right for the more contemporary architecture of the house, so we'll probably go with something a little more modern.  All mouldings throughout the house are being removed and replaced with pieces with straighter/ cleaner profiles.

{the living area}

I love the open floor plan of the house and cannot WAIT to hang there when it's finished!!!  The three windows in the back of the house (pic below) will be replaced with windows of equal sizes.  

The entire current kitchen is coming out and I'm having the angled wall to the right (see pic below) squared off to allow for the refrigerator to be moved over there and to add a closet in the foyer on the other side.  It will make the kitchen perfectly symmetrical which will feel so much better.

I'm not thrilled above the bay window wall in the back of the kitchen but have some ideas that I think will make it work.  Lighting is incredibly tricky in the kitchen/ great room because of the ceilings.  In the kitchen they're all angled so I'll be using mostly wall lighting and the ceilings are so high in the living room/ dining room area that it's a challenge.

Here's a view of the dining area & stairs:

The railing will be replaced with iron ones with a thinner profile.  All of the floors will be in random width wide plank reclaimed oak floor boards except the laundry room & bathrooms, which will be tiled.

The master bedroom on the main level has a fireplace, which my dad will really enjoy. (see pic below)  I'm going ot give it a little facelift because it feels a bit temporary to me now:

The upstairs master bedroom will be our bedroom and I really love it!!  Sadly, the chimney from the master bedroom below it blocks a good portion of the view out the back, but it has a pair of doors that lead out to a private balcony.

I'm really thinking about wallpaper in here...  I love the idea because it's not an every-night-of-the-year-bedroom so it can be a little more out-there than my normal bedroom would be and it's also fairly bland, architecturally-speaking.

We're completely redoing the bathroom:

We'll be adding windows for natural light.

Here's the view off of the balcony towards the woods:

And here's the view towards the lake:

My dad -who has incredibly traditional taste but is starting to trust me more- is giving me a massive amount of leeway in the decorating decisions, and I'm bringing in his favorite colors: blues & grays.  The house has a similar feeling to my own home in terms of a bit of a light & airy, natural, vintage/ 70s modern vibe, but the palette will be slightly fresher and whiter/ cooler to reflect the home's surroundings.  I have to be really careful about how much midcentury makes its way into the house because my dad really is a rolly-scrolly type of guy.  BUT- We have a really cool retro (50s) coffee table with little white and black stones all over the top (scary-sounding, I know) that was my grandparents' that I'm thinking of putting in the living room.  My dad loves it because it's sentimental.  I remember it so vividly from their Chicago living room when I was a kid and looking at it just brings me back to that house.  (It was a big old bungalow with secret passageways in some of the closets!!!!

{Christian, a couple of weeks ago, loving the lake}

We're stopping by the house today on our way down to High Point Market to check out progress at the house.  (Demo only...  they started Moday.)  I can't wait to see!!!  I'l keep you posted and will be back soon to share kitchen plans.  I'm not quite sure what the timeline is on the project, but it's possible that I'll be able to include it in the book...  my fingers are so crossed!!!

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

I'm so excited to share a little glimpse into fellow designer & blogger Erin Gates' new book, Elements of Style: Designing a Home & a Life, which came out this week!  I'm sure you've probably seen photos of the book itself, which is gorgeous.  I love the black & white striped binding!

Elements of Style is part decorating & style guide and part personal memoir.  If you've read Erin's blog, you know that Erin is hysterical and incredibly honest about her feelings & opinions, and the book is written in her signature bare-all style.  She shares behind-the-scenes moments of being a designer and a blogger and we really get a true peek into her life and personality. 


The book is organized by room and the photos in it are just as pretty as Erin's blog! I love being able to finally see all of the gorgeous projects we've been waiting for so long to see.

Erin is in the midst of a whirlwind book tour and her next stop is Jonathan Adler in Georgetown this Friday from 6-8!!!  The first book signing in Boston looked like so much fun with lots of ladies showing up in Erin's signature leopard print & stripes!  For details on how to RSVP to the event, check out the book tour page here.  (So sad I have to miss it but we have family in town Fri night.)

Cheers to Erin on her beautiful new book!! I know it's going to be a huge success!!

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



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