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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BLOGROLL

Six months or so ago we switched from a queen to a king-sized mattress and I've been loving it!!  (For anyone who remembers that I had neck issues...  they are pretty much GONE now thanks to our new mattress, a Dutchcraft Mattress Co. 12" gel mattress!!! Seriously changed my world.)  For a few months, we had our mattress and boxspring sitting on the floor, and then got a cheapie temporary bed frame for another few months.  


{Our old brass bed...  goodbye my love!!}

I'm usually pretty decisive, but with no deadline of any sort, I took the scenic route in finding a new bed.  (It was actually kind of wonderful!!)  I was a bit bummed to have to let our antique brass bed go because I loved it so much but I ended up putting it in my dad's lake house so I didn't truly have to part with it.  I didn't want to go with a new brass bed because I knew I wouldn't love it as much as my old one, so for a while I did nothing...  But those nesting instincts kicked in recently and I got sick of the bed drifting out from the wall all of the time and the pillows falling in the crack.   It was like one day I was fine waiting until forever and didn't care and then the next day I was over waiting and feeling super pregnant and done.  So... we ordered an upholstered bed from Restoration Hardware that arrived within a couple of weeks.  I'm not going to say I'm in love with it but the speed and price were right so we went for it.  (What I really wanted was almost twice the price so we didn't want to go there.)



{our new bed in '"sand" Belgian Linen}

The new bed arrived a month or so ago and we shoved it against the wall where- as expected-  it didn't really fit with the location of our gallery wall and wall lights.  The paintings dipped below the headboard and the lights were incorrectly placed over the now-king-sized bed.  The gallery wall looked like mayhem and it felt crazy-chaotic in there with the center all life and the pieces all askew.  We wanted to tackle it before the baby arrived and finally got a quiet morning at home this weekend.  Here's a pic of the "holey" wall once the whole gallery came down, complete with random light placement:


{Saturday morning: A wall full of nail holes and the lights hung for the old queen bed... And that beautiful little thing on the right pillow is my blanky.  Yes, I still have one.  Always will. }

We had pretty limited time while all three of our boys were occupied doing who-knows-what and attacked that thing.   



{Propping art along the headboard to get a feel for where things would go}

And here it is all done:



There is SUCH a difference in the room now that everything actually fits!!!  



People have asked me how I'm able to "rest" in a room with so much going on but when I'm in my bed, I don't actually see any of it... just the view of the garden. (below)  (It's probably how I was able to go so long with it looking so terrible!!)  I only see it during the day when I'm running around the room and am obviously awake, which is the time when I like having interesting things to look at.  



Now that everything's in place, I'm thrilled with the bed and the whole room: 


I'm so happy to be done procrastinating in here!!  Hope you enjoyed seeing the evolution!!  Have a great week!!


*the professional pics are by Helen Norman... the washed-out ones are by me ;)

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

I'm back from a completely relaxing Spring break with my family and am feeling great! (Only two more weeks until this baby is due- eek!)  


{One Kings Lane Style Spotlight}

I'm so excited to be taking part in a "Style Spotlight" with One Kings Lane, which is a new series of theirs that entails curating a sale based on a particular designer's style, including a tour of a home they've designed and tips on how to achieve his/her style.  They interviewed me and asked me all about what I like, what types of things I tend to include in rooms, and how to get my look etc. and put together the MOST BEAUTIFUL combination of products that are totally "me."  It's been such a fun process and I seriously want to buy so much of it for my own home!!  (No joke... I'm in love.)  Here's a quick peek at some of my favorites, most of which are vintage, one-of-a-kind pieces:

{Love you light fixture!}
{A gorgeous collection of botanicals & vintage textiles-turned-pillows}
{Beautiful lines on this new white slipcovered sofa}

{A vintage Turkish Kars...  my FAVORITE type of rug}

{An old English folding chair}

{A vintage blue striped kilim... I wish I still needed one for the lake house argghh!!}




{The dining room in the home I did that the sale is based off of.  Photo by Helen Norman.}


The sale goes live Wednesday at 11:00 AM Eastern so click here to shop the sale and/or see the story anytime after that!  Hope you enjoy!!

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

We made it to the lake and it feels like a massive exhale.  It's been really bittersweet though...  my dad isn't coming which is a huge bummer.  Things are too crazy at work for him to get away and he isn't feeling well so the sixteen hour drive was just too much for him.  So...  him seeing the house for the first time will have to wait.  It is what it is and I've been trying to stay positive.  (For those of you who are new here, my dad bought a lake house for vacation/ eventual retirement  -sight unseen- and my husband and I have been managing its renovation and decoration for the past six months and just finished it in time for Easter when we'd planned for him to come and see it.)

{The Adirondack chairs by loll arrived on Friday and we've been loving relaxing on the dock.  We have the same chairs in black at home and they're great...  they're made from recycled materials and they wear really well.  They also have a handy dandy bottle opener hidden under the right armrest ;) ;) }

 

The baby's due in three weeks, which is surreal.  We got here on Thursday night and I've taken a nap every afternoon since then which has been glorious.  I think I'm finally at that very end point of pregnancy where you get first-trimester-sleepy again.  (Or I've run out of steam ;)  It feels SO good to have a week ahead of me with the boys and pure family time after these past few months.

It's been great being at the lake house and seeing how it lives after so much planning.  I used lots of materials I've never had any personal experience with before which is always fun for me. 

{breakfast biscuits on the bluestone countertop}

The honed bluestone countertops in the kitchen are a new love of mine.  I've never used bluestone before and it's SO different from other stone countertops.  We went with two-inch thick slabs and had them treated with a water-based sealer which has kept the color a chalky gray.  (An oil-based sealer would have made it a dark gray... basically it would look like it was covered in oil and it would be at its darkest.)  The things about the countertops being a chalky gray though (with the water-based sealer) is that oil DOES show up on the countertops.  You can literally see everything.  The kids' eating areas at the island show their messes after they've left  and the same goes for oil spills.  We wipe them down with a stone cleaner which sort of blends it in but not completely.  I'm going to see how it goes before making the decision but we may end up having them sealed with the oil-based sealer in the future, but for now we're rolling with it.  It looks and feels so natural and reminds me more of a stone you'd see outside instead of on a countertop.   

An old butcher block in the small foyer has been surprisingly functional as a little console with charging station for the phones and a place to plop down keys and wallets:

 

Many of the furnishings we used here were things I'd collected in the studio, so it's been great to see the things fitting and working well. 

 

{About a year or so ago, Christian (now, 7) made his first fabric pattern- "Birdfeet"...  here it is now on a pillow!  He was so surprised and proud to see it!!} 

 I just broke my charger trying to plug it into my computer and have been informed by my computer that I have two mins left of battery so I'm off for the day!!!

{The "river rock" floors in some of the bathrooms feel so good underfoot}

Looks like a forced VACAY!!!  (I can't say I'm too disapoointed!! ;) ;)

Have a good week & will be back when I can!!

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

Last week, we installed one of our biggest projects ever, shot it for the book, and revealed it to our clients with Michael Franck and the team at Franck & Lohsen (some of the nicest, most talented architects ever!) and Mike Carr of CarrMichael Construction.  Our clients have been waiting for so long to get to this point, and to see their faces as they walked through the house was amazing.  It's got to be my favorite part of this job.  When you work on a project from the ground up for this long (almost a year and a half) you sort of eat, sleep, and breathe it (Seriously, I dream about it) so to get to this point was a huge milestone.  There's a second phase in the works, so there's still a lot to be done, but to get to finally see the implemented vision that so many people have poured so much into for so long is extremely satisfying.  My clients are now working on moving in and getting settled as the dust literally settles.   


{"Before" on Install Day 1 Morning}

This house and my clients' style is completely different from anything we've ever done before and it's been SO MUCH FUN.    The color palette is insane in a beautiful way - blues, greens, chartreuse, amber, silver, turquoise and red- and I've been dreaming of it all weekend long.  Working in all different types of styles stretches me so much creatively and keeps things exciting for me.   This house would have come out 100 different ways for 100 different people and it's the client's style that most drives any design.   

{Layered rugs in the living room}


It was also our FINAL shoot for the book (wohoo!!!) and that is surreal.   Photo shoots have been our lives for the past few months and to be "done" just doesn't seem possible.  Am going to miss seeing Helen Norman (Our crazy talented photographer and friend) but not the running around.   I'm now looking at the first pass layout of the book!!  (I didn't know what this was originally so for anyone who doesn't, it's your book, printed out in the actual size on paper - not bound- for review and editing.)  I've been working on it all weekend.  I cannot sing the praises of my book designer, Sarah Gifford, highly enough.  She has put together such a visually stunning book and I'm kind of flipping out.  I'm now working on adding in the photos from our final two shoots, finalizing captions, and editing.  We still haven't settled on a cover but I'll keep you posted.  Dying for that piece to fall into place!! :)  

I'm due to have the baby in a month (April 30th) and I can't believe how quickly the time's flown.  On one hand I feel like I've been pregnant forever but on the other hand it feels like it's been so quick.  I am SO excited to take time off to be with the new baby.  I cannot WAIT to meet this little thing!!!  I have no idea if I'll have the baby a couple weeks early (like I did with #1) or a couple weeks late (like I did with #3) ... so  I feel like my due date is a month long!!

{FYI- A fairly good angle to take a pregnancy pic from because I'm MUCH more massive in person}

I'm hoping he/she hangs in there long enough to get the book off to print and so I can be around for our last few design presentations at work.  We also have some really cool projects coming up that I can't wait to share with you!!  Speaking of cool projects, this year's DC Design House is opening to the public on April 12th in McLean, so if you're local, stop by & check it out- it looks like a gorgeous home with lots of talented local designers!!  


{the 2015 DC Design House}

I'm off to finish up my edits, but hope you're having a good Monday!!  (is that possible?? ;)

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

We officially FINISHED my dad's lake house this weekend & we're so happy with how it turned out!!   We installed and photographed it last week & then got to spend a relaxing weekend there afterwards--- exhaling and watching my cankle swelling go down.  We didn't have the entire place photographed for the book so I thought I'd share some of the iphone pics I snapped of the rooms not being being featured over the next couple of weeks.  One of those spaces is the master bath off of my dad's room.  Here it is "before":



{On a sidenote--- I saw a pair of the exact same lucite and brass light fixtures on sale at Market this Fall for $4900!! crazy.} 


We originally planned to do nothing to bathroom other than painting the vanities, replacing plumbing fixtures and removing the decorative lighting & mirrors, but about a month ago our contractor found that the shower was leaking and that we'd need to retile it so we decided that while they were at it, we should retile the floors and tub surround too.  (and then the countertops in a sort of If you Give a Mouse a Cookie fashion.)  My dad was pretty much fine with the bathroom as it was so I didn't do any decorative lighting or special mirrors and just hoped to update it a bit.  It was an afterthought full of game time decisions and I was honestly shocked when I walked into the finished bathroom for the first time, because I hadn't spent much time thinking about it and just didn't realize how much I'd like it when we were done. 

Here it is now:



We replaced the floor tile with river rock and I'm seriously gaga for this stuff.  We used a gray grout and I think my dad is going to love it.  We replaced the tub surround and shower walls with inexpensive subway tile and also used gray grout.  We kept the original tub and swapped the brass tub filler with a classic polished nickel one.  The grab bars have been sprayed and I don't think they'll last very long but we figured it was an easy temporary fix for now.




Our contractor (Sid Cutts of Corbitt Hills Construction) suggested raising the height of the vanities to 36" (they were previously only 30" high) and- OH MY GOSH - so happy we did.  My dad's a tall guy and this will be so much better on his back.  They simply added a panel above the existing cabinetry and then painted the whole thing and swapped out the hardware with the more masculine polished nickel ones I'd found:



We had plain mirrors cut for above the vanities and went with honed absolute black granite remnants for the new countertops.


 

{I'm a little obsessed with these tropical leaves and put them in pretty much every picture because they make everything look better.}

The shower feels clean & fresh with new simple seamless glass doors, white subway tile and basic polished nickel fixtures:


We had a blast giving the kids a bubble bath and turning on the jacuzzi jets.  (yeah, I know you're not supposed to do that to the jets but it's way too much fun to care.) It was ridiculous!!! The bubbles were eating them alive.  

Anyway, my dad will see the house for the first time in less than two weeks and I CANNOT wait!!!!  I think he's going to flip out and I'm really hoping that some of the more modern elements in other spaces of the house aren't too much for him. 

Hope you enjoyed this little peek into the project!  Full reveals of the house will be featured in my book (Habitat: The Field Guide to Decorating- due Fall 2015)and -SERIOUSLY- this fall can't come soon enough for me!!  (I'm trying not to wish the time away because we have such a special Spring & Summer in store with the new baby, but it's crazy to have so many projects hidden for so long!!)

...And on a quick book note: I think we may have arrived at the final photo for the cover and I'm so excited!!! It's been such a crazy process because it's something that everyone (me, my editor, and the team at Abrams) all have to agree on...   Because there are so many different types of styles featured throughout the book, it's been tough getting everyone to agree on the same image.  I love all of the photos in the book so much but selecting the one that epitomizes my style is a tall order.  Anyway, I think we got one last week and I'm hoping to be able to share it with you soon!!  Fingers crossed!!


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


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