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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Houses are really my thing, but when a client recently contacted me about a new commercial venture she was starting with her daughter and a close family friend- a high-end nail salon in NW DC- I couldn't resist.  Now as much as I'd love to say that I'm a nail girl, I can't.  I have freakishly long E.T.-ish fingers to start with, garden way too much sans-gloves, and can count on one hand the number of times I've actually been to a nail salon.  (Most include weddings.)  I do appreciate the pretty nails I see on others though, and usually look at them a bit longingly at them, thinking maybe one day I'll get there. 

My clients' inspiration for the nail salon is incredible.  The vibe they're after is light, open, airy, relaxed, natural, modern & a bit glam.  I wanted to move right into their inspiration photos. 

 

{image via pinterest}

 

On top of having incredibly good taste, my clients are some of the kindest people I've ever met.  They're warm and sweet and care so much about giving their clients a truly special and unique experience.  You can also just feel how in-synch they are as a team when you're around them and their is excitement is contagious.

 

{me, Carrie, Chad & Lauren in front of the building}

 

The salon is called Varnish Lane, and will be in a building that formerly housed a bank, so we've got lots of work to do!!  A major renovation is underway.  Carrie, Chad & Lauren's initial vision for the salon - both as a brand and as a physical location- was so good it gave me chills when we first discussed it.   The relaxed luxury, the effortlessness,  the friendliness, the natural feeling woven throughout all are almost identical to the core values of my own company, so as I help design the interiors, I can't help but get insanely excited for them and what they're building and think about all of the endless possibilities they have.  There's nothing like what they're doing in DC and I think people will absolutely love it!!!   (And I might also start having pretty nails too!!! ;) ;)

 

{We plan on doing a large wooden marble-topped island with brass fixtures}

 

We'll be using lots of white, with black, gold and warm wood and leather accents.  We'll bring in color with seasonal flower arrangements and of course, in the multi-colored polishes that will line some of the walls.  The space will feel spare and open and textural, but also collected and interesting and layered in places.

 

 

{image via pinterest}

Each mani/pedi chair will have it's own ipad for clients -or their little ones- to enjoy.  (It's a gift how quiet my kids get when they're allowed to play on the ipad!! ;) ;)

 

[the master bedroom in my previous home...  this plus a bit more black}

 

Varnish Lane is opening this Fall, so we'll all be running around like crazy to get everything done in time!!  I'll keep you posted as we move forward with the design & implementation.  Carrie, Lauren & Chad have been gracious enough to allow me to share the details!! :) 

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.
For general questions, please write to me at mail@laurenliess.com.



I'm home from a really relaxing beach week in the Outer Banks and feel so rested!!  We had so much downtime with the boys and an incredible amount of cuddling.  Yesterday, we attacked our yard and went after the kitchen garden.  (Weeding and tying up 'maters!!  I have an embarrassing amount of dirt stuck under my nails!!!  I always forget the gloves.)  Despite weeds and some really terrible pests (those Japanese beetles grrrrrrrrr!!!) the garden has still grown like crazy and we're bringing lots of foot inside.  Along with the food- tomatoes, cucumbers, beets, onions, carrots, chard, kale, ochra & other randoms- we have a few herbs.  The feverview was ready yesterday so I picked a few bunches and hung them to dry.  Feverview tea has been said to help with migraines and fevers- not that we really get either of those very often- but once the bunches dry (in about a week) I'll store the leaves & flowers in jars.  


{feverview from the garden}

When I was younger, I imagined that my kitchen "when I grew up" would be warm and cozy and full of drying herbs and interesting spices in jars on display.  (Anyone seen Practical Magic?? ;) I loved going outside and finding plants, drying them and making herbal teas to give to people.  I made really elaborate packaging for my teas from colored in photocopies of the drawings of the herbs in books.    I thought I'd grow up to have an extensive herb garden and that I'd be really on top of drying herbs and making natural beauty products and teas at home.  



{our kitchen...  so not the little witch's cottage I'd imagined ;)  }


I don't really have that dark warm & cozy kitchen I imagined at all now, or the time to be as into making things with my herbs as I thought I would, but going outside and bringing in even a couple of bunches to dry does give me that little thrill & bit of satisfaction that only fulfilling a childhood daydream can give you.  My iron baker's racks work perfectly for stringing up bunches of herbs to dry, a function I hadn't even thought of when we designed them.




It's almost harvest time so I think they'll be getting lots of use this Fall.  

On a quick side note-  I wanted to let you know that I haven't been blogging as much lately because I've been working a lot on my book. ( A Field Guide to Decorating)  I'm not one of those people who can write and write and never stop or post just for posting's sake.  It's an outlet of sorts for me.  To be happy (& stay sane!! ;)  I'm only able to put in a certain amount of time writing each week and so I hope you'll understand as posts are less frequent in the next couple of months as I write the manuscript.  After it's off, I'll be able to post more frequently again.  Thanks!!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.
For general questions, please write to me at mail@laurenliess.com.

{Our Kitchen Garden}

I CANNOT BELIEVE how quickly Summer's flying by!!!  Crazy.  I haven't gotten the chance to spend as much time in our vegetable garden as I did last year, but - although the weeds are close to conquering it-  it's still my little happy place and I try to get in there as much as possible.  

A week or so ago, I was contacted by someone from the Ball Brand, asking if I'd like to have some {free} products for review and to giveaway.  I rarely do product reviews & giveaways (pretty much unless I think I'm going to LOVE something and really want it) but this was one of those times because the products were right up my alley.  I was waaaay too excited when my box of goodies arrived because it was filled with the new GREEN Heritage collection of jars!!!  We already have the aqua ones and use them a lot at home, mostly for drinking out of (I got rid of all of the lids) and I see them fairly often out shopping, but I'd never seen the green ones before.  


{The Ball Brand Goodies: 2 cases of Green jars, 5 Blade Herb Scissors & Dry Herb Jars}

I love the herb scissors...  I'm not really a gadget person and don't have many, but these guys are great for quick snipping of herbs in salads & dishes.  I haven't tried drying my own herbs yet but popped some of the dried herbs from my spice drawer- which is terribly disorganized- into the herb jars because they're lower than my spice jars and can fit in the drawer standing up & take up less room:

{spices}

{

{dried lavender}

They sent us a book on preserving & canning so I might attempt it this Fall with our tomatoes.  My absolute FAVORITE THINGS THOUGH- are the Ball jars themselves.  I used them for drinking & for arrangements, and now, "to go" cups.  We make a smoothie for the family every morning.  Dave & I usually take them to go and drink them on the way to work together for breakfast.  We don't have any "to go" cups (weird, I know) so we normally just bring a glass from the kitchen but now, the smaller size Ball jars are the perfect for our smoothies!!  When we're finished drinking them, we put the lids back on and don't have to  worry about the old smoothie glass dripping in our car. (Taking them home & washing them at the end of the day is oh so appetizing ;)


                         {Pear Kale Parsley Pineapples & Banana Smoothies "To Go"}

The Ball Brand is hosting the 4th annual Can-It-Forward, a day full of workshops on canning, gardening & food and they asked me to help get the word out.  You can participate online or in NYC.  

DETAILS:  Saturday, August 16, for International Can-It-Forward Day Hosted by judge of Bravo’s Top Chef Hugh Acheson.  Click here for more info.



Anyway, I'm loving my goodies & if you're interested in entering the giveaway for a chance to win the whole kit, just answer the question below in the comments section.  I'll be picking a winner by random next week.

Here are the Giveaway Goodies:  Limited Edition Spring Green Heritage Jars- 2 cases: 1 lg pckg/ 1 small pckg, Dry Herb jars, Herb Keeper, 5- Blade Herb scissors, Preserving Book

QUESTION: WHAT WOULD YOUR SUPER POWER BE & WHY???  (Besides being able to heal others because I kind of feel like we'd all probably choose that one)

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.
For general questions, please write to me at mail@laurenliess.com.

So I cannot believe we finally made the switch, but we got a new KING sized mattress to replace our queen and it is HEAVEN.  That additional 16 inches is a-mazing.  (Queens are at 60" wide x 80" long and a standard king is 76" wide x 80" long.)

We've always had a queen and been fine with it, though our dog sleeps in our bed (yeah, I know) and we often have lots of little nighttime visitors.  There are times when there are five of us plus our pup in the bed and it gets tight.  I hadn't thought much of ever really switching because I love our brass headboard (my husband found it on the side of the road and it's actually a full size that we made work with our queen mattress) and because I didn't want to fill up our entire bedroom with bed.  

{Our bedroom with a queen sized mattress & double sized head brass headboard}

BUT... about a month ago when we installed the mountain house project, I slept on one of the new mattresses there and something amazing happened...  I haven't mentioned it on the blog but I've had some pretty crazy neck issues for the past two years.  They came about around the time Lou was born (you know that awkward newborn hold/ terrible way of standing where you sort of hunch over them?  Well it messed me UP.) and at first it was really painful (my neck would kink randomly all the time) until eventually the pain stopped and my hands arms and feet just started going numb at night.  The more I'd lift during the day (ie moving furniture around on installs and photoshoots) the more numb my body hands and feet would go at night and even during the day.  I've had an MRI (showing some disc bulging) but they really haven't been able to figure out what was wrong. A brain MRI was recommended just before I left for the mountain house last month.  


{my little pain in the neck = totally worth it}

SO when I woke up the first morning after arriving at the mountain house- after moving more furniture than I should have the day before- I realized I hadn't gone numb that night. (!!)  I didn't think much of it -as the day was insane- but a few days later I realized that I hadn't gone numb any of the nights at the mountain house.  (!!!!)  I honestly couldn't believe it.  After two years of random pain & being numb I felt amazing.  I wasn't sure if it was the mattress or the injury finally healing. (??) Not a single doctor had mentioned my bed as being a possible issue.

When I came home and slept in our (very firm, queen-sized) bed, I went back to going numb at night.  I called the company my cousin had gotten the mattress from and ordered it right away.  The brand is called Dutchcraft and it's some sort of gel mattress.  (Odd, I know, but I really didn't care what the thing was made of.  I don't even know the name of the mattress, I just asked for the same one my cousin had ordered.)  It came rolled up.

We decided to go for a king sized mattress for obvious reasons, but I did worry about how it would feel in our bedroom.  I was sad to see the brass headboard go and I've gone with a very different style of bed to replace it.  The new bed will arrive sometime in the Fall, so we've been sleeping with the mattress right on the floor for the past month.  It's kind of fun but I think it changes the way the mattress feels a bit because it's not on a boxspring, which has more give than the floor does.  I don't go numb most nights but have gone numb a couple of nights...  I'm really hoping that when it's sitting on the bed slats, I'll be good to go.



{my bedroom, now, with a super-stylish mattress on the floor}


So clearly, with the switch in bed sizes, I've made a complete mess of the bedroom I'd so carefully planned out.  I'm keeping my fern star duvet cover (not seen in the pic above, which shows an old queen-sized comforter we had that just barely fits) and will probably just get the same bedding I already had in king size because I'm hoping to make minimal changes.  We've removed the old marble console/ writing desk from the left side of the bed and put the black dresser there instead because it's slightly smaller & has storage (and with a king, both pieces don't fit.)  We took a set of nesting tables from another room and are using them on the right side of the bed.  I'm dreading having to rearrange the gallery wall above my bed haha.  I probably wouldn't touch it (I'm pretty over doing things in my house at the moment) but I'll need to shift my right wall lamp a bit to the right, so the entire "center" of the wall will shift.



{gallery wall planning for the queen sized bed... tear.}

I've played around with the idea of moving my botanicals somewhere else in the house altogether.   Because they're behind our heads when we're in bed, we only really get to see them when we're walking around (rushing usually))...  On one hand, I like this because when I'm in bed, the room feels very clean and almost empty because I can't see the craziness behind me, but I also don't get to enjoy them as much as I'd like.  When the new bed arrives, I'll have to see how it feels in there and think about it then.  

Anyway, I have to say that now that I have a king sized mattress, I see what all the hype's about.  I'm in LOVE.


ps- Thanks for your patience with my less-than-frequent posting lately.  I'm knee-deep in working on the book right now and am learning that I'm really only able to put out so much writing/ content in any given week.  I have a few before-and-afters coming up on the blog as soon as I can get to them.  If you've missed me at all, I'm posting on instagram pretty regularly (ie probably waaaaay to much!!) so there are almost always updates there. Hope you're enjoying your summer!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.
For general questions, please write to me at mail@laurenliess.com.

{The pressed fern frond I found on my nightstand this morning... love those boys}


I just watched as my screen deleted a post I'd been writing for the past hour and a half.  :/  It's Friday night and I don't have the will to write it all over again.  It was an attempt to fill you in on what we've been up to at work lately after my grandmother called me this morning and asked that I write a post because it's how she "keeps up with me" ;)  Suffice it to say, things have been great and pretty exciting over here-  lots of installs, photo shoots for the book, and new projects underway.  I hope you're well and I'll be back next week!!  Have a grrrrrreat weekend!!  I'm off to eat disgusting amounts cheese with wine.  HAPPY SUMMAH!!!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.
For general questions, please write to me at mail@laurenliess.com.


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