October 1, 2010

"Designers' Challenge 101" with AB Home Interiors

Pin It Now! Welcome to "Designers' Challenge 101!" Here's the scoop, if you haven't already heard:

Several weeks ago Amanda over at AB Home Interiors invited a group of designers to participate in an interior design challenge. We were given an empty space to work our magic on and a budget of $6000 (not bad!)


The clients presumably have children, but no other information was provided as to their lifestyle, design aesthetic, etc. Tough for me, because I usually get my design inspiration from the clients themselves! I personally had to develop a bit of an idea who I was designing for before I headed straight into the actual design. With a little imagination, the clients became a young-ish artistic straight couple with 2 kids, about 4 and 6. The husband and wife both work, occasionally from home. The home is not huge - maybe 1200 square feet - so this room needed to have multi-functional qualities. The clients like to read and entertain, and aren't big on trends. One thing they were emphatic about - no "boring beige."

Here's the client's floor plan. (Room dimensions approximately 16' x 20')


And here's my proposed furniture layout.
Keeping things simple and uncluttered was an objective, as the space is the main living area for a family of four with two young children. The client not only wanted a relaxed atmosphere for hanging out, reading and entertaining, but also needed space for a home office. This was naturally accommodated thanks to the small niche in the southwest corner of the room. 

The client was not afraid of do-it-yourself projects, and wanted to put their artistic skills to use - especially on the hardwood floor, which was in need of a little TLC. They opted for a organic painted pattern, setting the mood for the entire design which became, through a hunting and gathering process, bohemian, artsy, and with an eclectic color sense.

Inspiration Board


And how much did everything cost? Here's the price breakdown.


The bulk of the budget ($2200) went to this great sofa from Room & Board. The clients wanted a statement piece. A beige sofa was NOT on their wish list.

Hutton Sofa in Blossom
Urban Outfitters was the source for the Ikat side chairs, orange upholstered bench, metal side table and hanging birdcage light fixture.

Jet Set Storage Bench - Orange Tweed ($250)

Birdcage Hanging Lamp ($100)

Metal Accordion Side Table ($60)

Slipper Chair - Indigo Ikat ($350)
The floor lamp is from Wisteria ($350.)

Industrial Iron Floor Standing Lamp
The coffee table is from Ballard Designs ($350.)

Durham Cocktail Table


The pillows are from Anthropologie, however the clients have the option of making their own similar style patchwork pillows with bits of fabric remnants. 

Anthropologie pillows ($80 each.)
Additionally, the clients had fun furniture hunting on craigslist and came across these lucky finds!

A gorgeous kidney-shaped mahogany desk for $250.

A pair of antique bookshelves for $100 a piece (to flank to fireplace.)
Quirky Victorian chair for $145.
The clients also were inspired by this image from Apartment Therapy for creative, inexpensive wall art. Because they have a bunch of extra frames and craft paper already in the house, this was a no-cost project!


The clients expressed from the onset of the project that they wanted to get as far away from white walls as possible. Having lived in rental units for much of their lives, they were ready to embrace bold, rich color in this new space. Taking a cue from the Ikat fabric in the Urban Outfitters chair, we opted for a deep indigo blue on all the walls. The paint color creates a sense of depth and mystery, yet is enveloping and cozy when matched with the warm wood furnishings and red, orange and yellows distributed throughout the space. 

Pratt & Lambert Black Violet ($50)
{Note: Try as I might to steer clear of trends for this client, upon attending the Sherwin Williams Colormix Presentation in San Francisco last week - after I designed this project, mind you - it was revealed that "Indigo is very important moving into 2011." Oh well.}

The clients will paint the floor pattern themselves. They were inspired by this photo from design*sponge.


Here are the paint colors they are currently considering. They plan on trying out a few color combos and painting techniques until they get just what they are looking for. They realize this will be an artistic process - their current floors are worn and discolored, so there is no way to know for sure how the colors will read until they get down and dirty with their paint and paintbrushes! (Well, they might need more tools than that. Kristie at Making Arrangements just put up a great post on painted wood floors. Perfect timing, Kristie!)
Pratt & Lambert Windham ($50)
Pratt & Lambert China White ($50)
So, grand total for this project? $5075 (give or take a few bucks.)

The clients are also considering getting an area rug, but they aren't sure how much of their masterpiece they will want to cover up. If they do opt for a rug, I think a great option would be this soft white wool shag from Overstock ($649.) That would bring the total room cost to $5724.

Overstock hand woven wool rug
The best thing about this space is that it can grow with the family. Because it is relatively unstructured and informal, the client does not have to worry about adding and subtracting items. It is meant to be a free-flowing organic design that can evolve with them as they grow into the home, and themselves.

Designer Challenge met! I could move in...how about you?

Thanks to Amanda from AB Home Interiors for heading up this fun little project. Please be sure to visit the following blogs to see how other bloggers addressed this Designer Challenge!

Traci Zeller of Traci Zeller Designs
Kelly James of Design Ties
Dayka Robinson of Meditations on Life and Style 
Kathy Passarette of Creative Home Expressions 
Amanda Burdge of Abhomeinteriors.com
Susan Snow of  Movingdesignz