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.

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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.

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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.

Two years…

It’s been two years of Biscuit, and we are celebrating sale style.

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This is the big one guys, once a year. Online and in store. Get it.

p.s. Remember Year one? Or year zero? It’s been an amazing ride and THANK YOU for all of the love! xoxo

We’re rolling with it…

Thank you to everyone who continues to write such supportive comments and emails wishing us the best on HarrBear. Over the past few months we have learned a lot more about his care, and what things will look like going forward. Like most things, once the initial shock wears off, you just kind of adapt and get used to it. Babies are so resilient and Harry has never seemed to mind his tubes or any of his new gear. Harry’s doctors have been really pleased with his progress, he is growing and developing perfectly- and he is finally sleeping! PRAISE ALL!

I am thankful to report that really for real- life is good. Grace and Harry had a phenomenal time on Halloween as a Mermaid and Scuba Man. Molly was in town and helped me do some crafting- I am not a DIY-er and always feel very impressed with myself when any of my conceived projects actually come together. ;) Luckily she was there to capture our crafty success with her beautiful pictures…

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I love that last picture, and comparing it to this post from this day last year.

We were in a tough place as a family when I decided to take my break, and I have been blown away by everyone’s kindness to us that never stopped in my absence. I wanted to make sure you all knew we are doing ok, better than ok! We are happy and healthy and finding both humor and purpose in our circumstances. Thank you for the thoughts and prayers, it was a tough summer with Harry and a few other personal blows, but we’re rolling with it… (Puns! apologies for the corniness).

As for my return to posting here…The time I have taken away to refocus and truly put my family first as well as make some time for myself was the best ever, and really needed. As things started to return to normal, I got back to work with my design clients and at Biscuit and eventually I did miss getting to share my inspiration and the process behind my designs. However, I didn’t at all miss the self-imposed pressure to post 5 days a week, or any of the noise that I came to associate with blogging. When I signed off 5 months ago I said I would be back when I had any good work to share, and right now, I feel like I do. I am so lucky to have an outlet to do that, and grateful that there are people out there who still want to read about it.

So, I’m going to continue to post when I am inspired to share what I am working on and feel it might be of interest- but instead of writing about the rest of my life I am going to focus on staying present and focused and available in those moments.  Your support is a huge reason why I have so many fulfilling opportunities professionally, and I hope I can give updates that are interesting and worth your while.

If that’s cool with you, check in here from time to time! I’ll do the same.

xoxo

Biscuit Picks: Pillows

One of the best parts about our new location is space glorious space for tons of fluffy Biscuit Beds. This one is profoundly pretty. We are also slanging a dope array of pillow these days, if you haven’t had occasion to check them out…you should.

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pillow picks

It’s like a pillow personality test. I feel like I know their souls now.

Shop ‘em here.