Santa at the #biscuitpaintwall!

Ho ho ho…..Christmas is coming a bit early to the #biscuitpaintwall this year. We wanted to find a way to give back to the community this season so we’ve partnered with Casa de Esperanza to host a diaper drive at the store. With the donation of diapers or wipes you can get your picture taken by the professionals with the real deal Santa. We hope to see you this Sunday! Wishing you happy holidays from Team Biscuit!

unnamed-1

casa

Welcome To The Shmamptons: Renovation Update

It’s been about a month since my last #WelcomeToTheShmamptons update, and we are planning to stay there for the first time in a mere 9 days. As a reminder this is our to-do list:

  1. Add decorative trim to exterior, replace front door, paint.
  2. Add door to front parlor to create fourth downstairs bedroom. Skim walls, prep, wallpaper.
  3. Remove built ins in Master ante-room to make space for bunk beds/crib, paint.
  4. Remove shower in Master, add shower plumbing to tub, larger vanity, reconfigure layout, prep for wallpaper.
  5. Take space from existing 2nd bedroom to make room for new bath, move doorway, paint.
  6. Add full bath with hallway access. Frame, plumb, new vanity, tile, glass shower door, prep, wallpaper.
  7. Paint kitchen & cabinets, remove island, replace countertops, move lighting.
  8. Replace mantel in family room, add bookshelves on either side of fireplace.

We are re-painting throughout the house, and replacing the majority of the lighting fixtures- but those are decorative changes that I will make over time so I didn’t include them on this list. Our initial plans were a lot more extensive (gutting the kitchen, adding on to the original home to create a true master bedroom suite, and two new full baths) but ultimately I realized I was overcomplicating the situation (super uncharacteristic ;) I know) creating huge solutions to tiny problems. So we scaled back our plans, and I am so happy with how simple changes are making a huge difference! But because everything in my life has to be a little complicated I tacked on HOSTING MY ENTIRE FAMILY FOR THANKSGIVING as the finish line for the project. Pete and I drove out on Saturday to check on progress, and I don’t know guys…you tell me.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

 

We have crossed a lot off the list, and I knew some things like the new bathroom, were never going to be completed in time- but whether you are the client or the designer this is always a tough phase in the renovation. That time period where you have been doing the dirty work for what seems like forever (whether the project is 6 weeks or 6 months- it tends to seems longer than you were expecting) and you have spent the money, and you know things are getting done, but there is not much to show for it. After managing so many projects over the years, I have learned to take pleasure in the small improvements, but psychologically people can only put up with so much “progress” before they need to see some actual pretty. It’s amazing how fast those finishing touches come together in the end, and I do think things will happen in time for Thanksgiving…I think…But I would still like to see some pretty already. So I leave you with this:

afterlight

Our final fabric/paint/wallpaper selections. Pretty please.

#CottonMakers

I have been meaning to post this forever, but now seems a particularly appropriate time. A few months ago we were selected to be part of a #CottonMakers series produced by Hearst and Discover Cotton highlighting people across the country who are making beautiful things with cotton. We had the best time working with their team, and I have been so inspired by the other makers highlighted as each video has been released. The videos were done beautifully, and it is a subject I have become passionate about in my work with Biscuit.

cottonfield

As I write this, Isabel and I are back at the factory in South Carolina printing Season 4 (!!!) which we will debut in the new year. We have gone in a different direction this time- only two prints in three color ways that we are really proud of and I can’t wait to show you bits of how this season was created. Our first three seasons were produced back to back within 11 months- Now it has been over a year since we were last here, the longest we have gone between printing. In that time we have grown so much and really started to define who we are, what we believe in, and where we want to go as a company. Having time to reflect on Biscuit, and coming here with two years of experience behind us, has been a huge reaffirmation of our commitment to support American industry.

It’s not just a concept or a marketing tool; It is one of the elements of what we have created at Biscuit that I am most proud of. It is a motivation for all of us to make Biscuit a success that can be enjoyed not just by our team in Houston, but by the people we work with in South Carolina and California who work every day against a lot of odds to ensure we can still have quality products made in the good ol’ USofA. I love that this #CottonMakers series highlights that, and I want to share more stories of the people behind our product with y’all as we go forward.

Thank you to everyone at Cotton for having us, you can check out our full video here and make sure to look around at the rest of the makers, there are some really inspiring people I was stoked to learn about!

Molly’s ORC!

I hope y’all already saw Molly’s ORC reveal from Wednesday- and clicked through to see what all of the other impressive participants pulled together in 6 short weeks! Molly recently moved into her own apartment, and when she was asked to participate in the ORC she came to me to see if I could help her pull it off. We decided to do an e-client set up since I couldn’t come up to Dallas to execute the project during the timeline, which meant that we worked together over pictures and email to come up with a plan for her space, and she then ordered and pulled everything together all by herself. (!!!)

Let’s hear it for the girl! Let’s give the girl a hand.

You can read more about my approach to the budget and our inspiration hereMolly is one of my dearest friends and someone I go to regularly for her opinion on both my personal style and my design work. While I gravitate towards abundant color and feminine patterns, Molly favors a subtle palette and edgier/more modern design. I love Molly’s influence on my taste, and was flattered she trusted me to bring her vision for a fresh but sophisticated, cozy yet bright,  pretty, edgy bedroom to life.

ORC Inspiration 1

ORC Inspiration 2

While Molly loves her apartment complex, she has said she will probably only be there for another year before finding something more long term.

The implications for the design were that we couldn’t do much about the less-than-glamorous shell of the space (read: pile carpeting, tea-toned trim, ceiling fan, window blinds) and it was important to focus on design elements that made a big impact to distract from these elements- but still versatile enough to transition easily when she moves.

Molly would also be upgrading from a full to a Queen-sized bed for the first time, so that became the focus of our design. Elsewhere we went for a mix of high/low, old/new- a desk from West Elm got knew hardware, an existing chair handed down from her grandparents was reupholstered in a funky floral, and a vintage dresser Molly found at the 11th hour got a fresh coat of blue lacquer to become -IMHO- one of the greatest finds ever.

A_Piece_of_Toast_OneRoomChallenge_141105-111

A_Piece_of_Toast_OneRoomChallenge_141105-4

A_Piece_of_Toast_OneRoomChallenge_141105-10

A_Piece_of_Toast_OneRoomChallenge_141105-51

A_Piece_of_Toast_OneRoomChallenge_141105-6

A_Piece_of_Toast_OneRoomChallenge_141105-8

A_Piece_of_Toast_OneRoomChallenge_141105-9

I could not be happier with how it came together- or more proud of Molly! She found the art above the bed (totally brings the color palette together and is scaled perfectly), the dresser (come on now…), the inspiration for the monogram (the coolest ever), managed all of the custom work that can be one of the biggest challenges of my job (custom curtains, upholstery, painting), and styled everything beautifully (though I already knew Molly has a knack for styling).

I loved working with Molly, sometimes it can be hard to work with friends but we have always had a connection that easily moves between our personal and professional relationship and we are already brainstorming for the design in the rest of her new apartment. When she asked me to help, I never thought twice about saying “yes”, nor did I worry much about the long-distance aspect of the job. When I first started working with clients 5 years ago, I almost exclusively did e-design projects, but the past few years I have shifted to mostly local full-service projects- and I was reminded doing the ORC just how hard it is to work with clients from a distance. I have always tried to pull back the curtain on the realities of my experience working in design- and I wanted to share a little about what’s on my mind.

First, as a decorator, you are only as good as the tradespeople you work with (curtain fabricators, wallpaper installers, upholsterers etc) and it is challenging to work in a new city without your go-to people to execute the vision. I use the same workrooms here in Houston time after time, and have developed close relationships with them which produces consistent quality work I can count on. Molly found some fantastic artists who were very reasonably priced and did the work quickly and with quality (I mean…look at that dresser. I could not be more obsessed). If you are in Dallas email her for their contacts- we couldn’t have done it without them. I was lucky here that Molly had those contacts to share, and that the work was done so well, but I am just not sure I am comfortable relying on luck with my clients money & trust.

Also, I am a very hands on person, and I felt frustrated that when the inevitable hiccups happened (rugs with undisclosed lead-times, lamps on back-order) I couldn’t just go find a bunch of new options to take out on approval and try in the space until we found the perfect piece like I would if I were there. That burden fell on Molly, and I didn’t feel right about that. Molly was so patient and positive and really deserves the credit for making the goodness happen- as do all of my past e-design clients.

There are a lot of people out there offering e-design who do a great job pulling off the service, but I will be the first to admit it is a tough thing for me to get right. I have seen some inspiring work done by others through e-design, and I’m not speaking to those experiences or their process- there are obviously ways to minimize the issues I am bringing up; I just personally don’t have a good system for doing so and I’m only reflecting on where I stand with my ability to offer e-design. Which is that, in my experience, you end up relying on the client to do things that are really your job, and while the lower fees offered for e-design reflect that reality, I’m still not sure it is the best service I can offer people.

In the end, I had so much fun working on Molly’s ORC, and am obsessed with how it came out. I just think it is easy to get caught up in the fantasy and the pretty- and there is a lot of that here, and it is important to also talk about the difficulties and share what was learned. Six weeks is a crazy short time to pull off a design that lasts under any circumstances, and I think we definitely achieved our goals!

For more gorgeous pictures, links to posts from all six weeks, and a full list of resources check out Molly’s post hereand while you’re there make sure to click through some of the links to see what other participants did with their One Room Challenge. It’s pretty amazing!

IMAGES: TAKEN BY JULIE NORINE MATT & JULIE WEDDINGS

Farrow & Ball Texas #CityPalette

I was delighted when a few months ago Farrow & Ball reached out to me about curating a Texas Palette for their #CityPalette campaign- for many reasons not the least of which was being called a Color Ambassador. I have long considered myself a diplomatic asset to the color cause, and it’s about time somebody bestow a title upon me recognizing my work fighting the beige lunatics of the world- one prismatic room at a time. ;) Other than reasons of pure egomania, I was excited to participate because:

Firstly, I had seen what Mrs. Lilien, Nicole, and Lindsay had done and thought the project was such a fun idea.

Second, I love Farrow & Ball. I used their Hague Blue in Harry’s Nursery, and Orangery in our living room. Whenever I am working with clients and we are considering a color with a potential to go wrong if we don’t nail it (blues can be surprisingly tricky, pinks are scary for some people, and neutrals tend to be tough for me) I always suggest Farrow & Ball. Their smaller palette is easier for people to process than other brands with massive fan decks, and their high level of pigmentation creates a depth of color that can make even the trickiest hues just right.

Third, I love Texas. I grew up in Houston, and lived in Austin for three years- but I also have spent time away living in DC, Connecticut, and Chicago. We have been back in Houston for two years now, and could not be happier to be living in my home state again. When we were planning our Season 3 bedding line, it made perfect sense to do a Texas Collection inspired by the diversity of influences and cultures people sometimes forget, instead seeing Texas as all Deserts and Cowboys.

City Palettes-Texas

In choosing this palette I tried to show some of that diverse character with landmarks across Texas- I love how the Farrow & Ball team assembled our palette- and now I am itching to take a road trip and see more of the quirky and beautiful spots on my list!farrow and ball - brush strokes

Thank you to everyone at Farrow & Ball, and you can see more inspiration on their blog, The Chromologist.