Friday, October 1, 2010

Designers Challenge 101

decorators bag

Amanda Burdge from AB Home Interiors threw down the gauntlet and challenged myself, and several other designers and decorators, to come up with a plan for an imaginary family’s living room.  The budget is $6,000.00.  Here is the lay-out of the room:


We had no restrictions, except that we had to keep in mind that there were children in this family, and stay within budget, of course.  Since it is a living room {and I will assume there is a den or family room elsewhere to house a television} I will keep this room fairly formal as far as furniture goes.

clientBackground:  It always helps if you have a starting off point.  Sometimes a client will already have purchased something to use in the room or has a color they are set on using.  In this case “my client” already had the room painted.  The following were items the client already had and wanted them to be used in the room.  The client is stuck at this point and has called me in to help.

Paint color chosen was Sherwin Williams’ Jubilee.


Window treatments {Roman Shades} made with this fabric called Perch in Dove, with a Greek Key banding in Steel from Smith and Noble. 


bandAs Roman Shades for the window.  The banding runs along the edge of the shade.  The colors here are a gray, brown and cream/white.  It is about $555.00 for the roman shade. flat_roman_shade_master-360

Existing furniture:

consoletable.ballards.tuscanbrownConsole table from Ballard Design 

ottoman.ballarddesigns Tufted ottoman in chocolate brown from Ballard Design

sidetable.ballarddesigns Side tables from Ballard Design

Note: I’ve been trying to copy a design {or vision} board over without any success, but if I do get it I will edit and add it.   Because of that I am trying to add all the design board pictures below, but please let me know if I talk about something and missed putting the picture in.

Keeping our scheme in mind, I chose the Graham Desk & Hutch from Pottery Barn {on special at the moment for $1,439.00 down from $1,598} in White.   I also liked the black {and that would have worked, too}, but because I tend to fall back on black as a default a lot, I decided to go with the white here.


Hutch and desk chair.


From Ballard Designs – Fabric: Salisbury {a blue/gray}


Sofa, from Ethan Allen


I generally will suggest a sofa in a solid color and most often neutral, bringing color in with decorative pillows and a throw.  I like to save any patterned fabric for side chairs and/or window treatments.

I’d go closer to the brown family with the sofa.  This will allow me to keep the coolness of the gray from taking over and bring the brown in the window treatment into the room itself.  I have picked a solid and a small print as choices.

coltonsepia.ethanallenColton Sepia from Ethan Allen


Sanibel Sage from Ethan Allen

Two side chairsThe Colefax Arm Chair from Ballard Designs ranging from $439.00-635.00 {depending on fabric chosen}. 


Chair on casters from Ballard Design – Fabric: Arden Blue {easy care}

I recommend chairs 99.9% of the time, in general, over a loveseat, as they are easier to move around a room based on whatever is going on at the time.

Small demilune chest to go on short stand-alone wall pictured in plan.

chest.ballarddesigns Brookfield Demilune in Antique Cream from Ballard Design 

The large mirror would be placed on the wall opposite the window/doors to the exterior. 

mirror.ballarddesigns In front of this would be the existing console table.  The hutch and desk would go into the alcove shown at the bottom part of the diagram {see plan above}, which is across the room from the fireplace.  Sofa and two side chairs in the middle of the room, existing ottoman serving as coffee table, existing round side tables, and two styles of new lamps to be used on the side tables and console.

Lamp for side tables:

tablelamp.bellacor.trumpcollection Lamp for console:


For artwork over the fireplace I went with something totally different for me, a Great Blue Heron print by John James Audobon, 24x32 size, framed in an espresso colored frame.  With the frame and an acrylic glass the cost is $204.99 from  I love the blue gray of the heron.


Two ball topiaries on the fireplace mantel and a pyramid topiary on the console table.



A few throw pillows from Kohls for $12.49 each for both styles.

 Khary Leaf Decorative Pillow


Budget and Resources breakdown:

  • Graham desk & hutch, Pottery Barn ~  $1,439.00 {currently on special}
  • Hastings sofa, Ethan Allen ~ $1,699.00
  • Amiel Arch Leaner Mirror, Ballard Design ~ $699.00
  • Trump Home Silver Lake Table Lamp, Bellacor $160.20 each (2 used)
  • Sylvester Table Lamp, Bellacor ~ $162.80
  • Camille Tufted Chair, Ballard Design ~ $339.00
  • Colefax Arm Chair, Ballard Design ~ $439.00
  • Brookfield Demilune chest, Ballard Design ~ $499.00
  • Artwork {framed} for over fireplace, ~ $204.99
  • Topiaries, Ballard Design ~ $29.00 each {3 used}
  • Pillows, Kohls ~ $12.49 each {4}

Total spent: $5,939.19; and, as I tell my clients, all prices shown are retail and do not include any trade discount that may apply.  With the $60.81 left I would most likely purchase accessories to place on the tables, fireplace mantel, desk or console.

Thanks so much, Amanda!  I always think this is the fun part ~ pulling things together so the client can have a visual.

Here are links to the other design challenge participants’ blogs:

Traci Zellar of Traci Zeller Designs

Kelly Berg of Arte Styling

Kelly James of Design Ties

Dayka Robinson of Meditations on Life and style

Amanda Burdge of

Susan Snow of  Movingdesinz


Jen @ said...

Wow - what a fun challenge. I love everything that you have chosen for the room. So pretty!


Susan said...

Your room looks very inviting. I adore the sofa...the large mirror... and the console table. Nice work :)

Anonymous said...

Oh Kathy, all of those choices, all put together...fabulous!! love them all.

I just order a similar demilune for my Christmas present from hubby :) from Ballards that is similar but smaller with an open bottom shelf.

One Cheap B*tch said...

You always did have the best taste!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful project Kathy. Your ideas are fabulous!

The French Bear said...

Kathy, you can come and decorate for me any time!!! I love everything you chose for your room, what great taste you have, and you stayed in the budget.....fantastic! So are you going to be on Nate soon? I can let him know you should be!!!!
Love the room.
Margaret B

Design Esquire said...

Great job! I love everything you chose.

Marsha @ Tattered Chick said...

Ohhhh, I love it all, but the ony thing in my budget are those pillows at Kohls, LOL, which I think I'm going to go over there today and see if I can find that striped one!!!

Have a great weekend, Kathy!


DesignTies said...

Love everything, especially the colour scheme :-) The fabric for the romans is really pretty, and the Greek Key banding is a nice touch. The desk chair is charming with the Salisbury fabric, and the heron print is unusual -- the colours are perfect for the room :-)

It's so cool that the my living room has at least one thing in common with each of the other living rooms :-)

I had a long and convoluted way for creating my storyboard. I'll e-mail you the details.


Unknown said...

What a beautiful room this would make. Love all you choices. Great job.

Marty@A Stroll Thru Life said...

Great inspiration and such a lovely room this would be. I love all the elements that you have collected. Hugs, Marty

Unknown said...

Superb Kathy! Thanks so much for participating and taking the time to enter this fun challenge. Your ideas are a completely different direction than mine, and I just love it!! Creativity is awesome!

traci zeller designs said...

So fun to see how different, yet similar, all of our projects are!! Definitely some similarities with ours, starting the the Graham desk and hutch, of course! ;-) The Roman shades are my FAVORITE part of what you did. Love it!

Tammy@InStitches said...

I must say I love the romans too ! The room is going to be gorgeous !

Dayka Robinson said...

I didn't think of roman shades, but a nice big one would be great on that window. What I love most about your design is that it's so different from mine, and that's why I love a challenge like this--you get to see 1 space interpreted through the eyes of many! I love the Ethan Allen sofa, and the Graham desk/hutch is such a showstopper!

Decor To Adore said...

You rose to the challenge!

Sonya@Beyond the Screen Door said...

What a beautiful room you've designed! You had me at the wall color!

Sissie's Shabby Cottage said...

Hi Kathy!
I would die for a room with all of these elements. You are fantastic and your design choices are so beautiful.

Love it.


Manuela@A Cultivated Nest said...

What a fun challenge! I love the pieces you chose especially the PB hutch!


Unknown said...

Just popped in from Amanda's blog...great job. Love the hutch and the fabrics!

Karena said...

Wow Kathy I am very impressed! I love the color palette you chose and it all works together beautifully!

Art by Karena

Pamela said...

That would be one awesome room! Now spending that kind of money on just one room would make me have a heart attack. I could do several rooms for that. BTW I am loving the new front door color!! I need to stain ours but that will wait till after the holidays when I take down the wreaths.

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