Earlier this winter, I headed to snowy Grand Rapids for a long awaited Designed in a Day session. The task was to help a family of three design the main floor of their new historic home. My clients had recently relocated to Grand Rapids, and they hoped for a clean, warm interior with lots of texture and natural wood tones. Their daughter was just a toddler at this point, so we'd also be considering some kid-friendly design elements.
The main floor, while not being a completely open concept, is still fairly open from the front room all the way to the play room, so we wanted to define each space while making sure the style, color, and vibe would flow well from one room to the next. Let's dive in!!
Style Discovery Conversation
Before each session, I have clients pull together a Pinterest board with a handful of spaces that speak to them. So first up, we sat down together and talked through each of the images, and what they hoped for in their own space. Here is a sampling of the images from their inspiration board (I'd love to give credit for these photos, but the majority were screen shots from the client, so if you know the source, please share!).
While the house was early 1900's, they had an affinity for more modern and Scandinavian design elements, which personally I love layered into a historic home of this era—it really lends to a gathered and layered aesthetic, which is my favorite:
Creating the Floor Plan
Once we had an idea of the general style direction and their needs as far as functionality, I got to work measuring the space and putting together a layout. Generally, during a DIAD session, I'll create one or two options for an ideal floor plan, and then the clients and I will regroup to discuss the flow, and any changes to the layout they might like to see.
In this case, we were tackling their main living space (all the way to the right), their dining room (center room), and what would be their daughters "play room" slash where their TV would live.
The front living room is right off their main entry, and has an angled fireplace. They wanted this space to be mainly for entertaining and spending time together as a family. This area also would house their record collection and record player, and they also envisioned using this space for reading.
To keep an open flow, I went with a single lower profile sofa positioned in front of their main window (lower profile = less blockage of the beautiful view), a small round coffee table, and a single accent chair for their main seating. We'd ground this area with a large vintage rug, and added in a couple lamps with accent tables. On the wall opposite the fireplace, we planned for a long credenza to house their record player, and a single funky accent chair for reading and listening to music.
The dining room was fairly straightforward. We centered the dining table under the light fixture and defined the space with a large neutral area rug. In this space, we planned for some large potted plants to bring in some texture and color.
Lastly, in the playroom (far left), we decided to go with a smaller scale sofa with chaise, a cozy rug, and a couple small poufs instead of a coffee table, to keep this area flexible as far as space to play. We also planned for a media console with a Frame TV mounted above.
The Furniture Plan
After we agreed on the layout, I got back to work sourcing product while my clients went out for a bite to eat. I had a LOT of furniture to source and not a lot of time to do it, but I was so happy with what I came up with!
THE LIVING ROOM
Here's a couple snaps of the living room—bear in mind, they had literally JUST moved in that week, so the rooms are fairly sparse! I'd met with these clients a few weeks earlier to do a paint color consultation (which isn't typically something I offer, but it worked out that I was in town for another day session, so we got creative!), as they planned to paint before moving in, which is always better than waiting till after the fact. We chose Sherwin Williams Greek Villa for the walls throughout the main floor, which is one of my top go-to whites!
For the living room furniture, I chose a neutral sofa as the base with some earthy green accents in the curtains and accent chair. We brought in lots of different wood tones (tip: don't be matchy-matchy with your wood tones!), but chose a warm, light neutral for our main wood pieces to emphasize that Scandinavian style they love so much.
Because of the shape of the space, which is not symmetrical, I chose to go with different side tables and lamps on either side. I brought in some color with a vintage rug from The Loom House, and went with a funky round coffee table to soften up all the angles in the room.
QICK TIP: when you work with contrasting accent chairs vs. matching accent chairs, try to vary their shape, as well as how much negative space they have. In this example, the dark green chair has an exposed frame, which allows you to see through the arms and takes up less visual space. The leather chair, however, is more solid. That allows the pieces to exist together well and not compete.
THE DINING ROOM
In the dining room (pictured below), I chose a very simple but modern dining table design. I particularly love this style of dining table because it creates the most possible space for chairs/legs beneath: there are no worries here about bumping your knees on a pedestal or trestle base.
For our head chairs, I went with a lighter neutral leather with wood frame arm chair, and paired those with a simple wood frame dining chair for the sides. We went with an oversized lantern as their dining chandelier, and balanced out all the neutral tones with some large green floor plants.
Lastly, I brought in some texture and contrast with a black oak and cane storage piece that would sit along the wall that goes into their kitchen. When you're playing with lots of tone-on-tine, texture is one way you can create some interest. Here, we did this with different materials like the paper lantern, the cane doors on the storage piece, the leather, and the plants.
THE PLAY ROOM
The final space would be their play room slash den (pictured below). We based the room around this gorgeous, simple sectional, which comes in both a soft grey and a neutral color. We went back and forth on the color, and in the end went with neutral color, which we both preferred. Our main concern here was that this would be a space where their toddler would spend a lot of time, but since the fabric is a performance fabric, we decided to go with our preferred aesthetic. Sometimes style wins over function :)
We chose neutral curtains in this space to contrast what we did in the front room with the green, and chose some fun woven poufs so they could put their feet up while watching TV. I decided on a wall mounted lamp so there would be no risk of their daughter knocking it over, and found this gorgeous media credenza to sit below their TV. Unfortunately this particular one is discontinued, but I've rounded up a few other styles here.
The Wrap Up + Item Links
All in all, this space came together so beautifully! And the best part? We were able to create this entire design, which my clients could then execute on their own timing, all in a single 5-hour session.
I find that setting aside this focused, limited amount of time helps my clients to get really clear on their desires and come to our session very prepared, and it also lends to making decisions more quickly, along with coming up with some very creative solutions.
In this particular case, my clients left this session with their full customized design plan. This included style boards for their three rooms with the exact pieces I recommended, a link to their custom collection of furniture that allows them to order their items via a one-click checkout, and a to-scale floor plan so they know how to set it up when items arrive.
AND—if you love this collection, links to individual items can be found below. Items ship directly to you via our online trade portal:
ABOUT THE TRADE PORTAL
+ This is a trade-exclusive online portal which allows me to provide you access to trade-exclusive items at "Internet Minimum Advertised Pricing" + shipping via a one-click checkout.
+ Orders are fulfilled by our third-party trade vendor, SideDoor, which ships all items directly to you. Items lead times are shown in the portal.
+ Sales are final on items purchased through the portal unless they arrive damaged, in which case SideDoor will either send a replacement or facilitate a repair. Items are from quality manufacturers I am familiar with.
+ You can place orders from your online collection all at once, or, make individual purchases over time as it makes sense for you.
+ When you go to the portal, you'll be prompted to make an account. You can add each item individually to your cart, change the quantities if applicable, and go to check out.
+ We receive a commission on anything purchased through the portal, and so appreciate you supporting our small business!!
Is "Designed in a Day" Right for You?
Designed in a Day has hands down become our most popular service, and it's easy to see why! It's incredibly cost + time effective, and it's super flexible as far as the kinds of projects we can tack
le, the range of budgets it fits, and the kinds of styles and functionality needs that clients have. BUT. Because these days generally require travel, as well as being fairly energy intensive, I offer just one of these session per week—for my own sanity :-D
If you'd like to find out more, you can click here to view the service, and then complete our project intake form here and I'll reach out to schedule a discovery call to discuss your project. Can't wait to help you create a space that works for you!!