Design Reveal: Charming Living Room in Alexandria

I told my family I was only going to be at this newly completed client home for an hour - hour and a half tops! It was relatively close in nearby Alexandria, and just a small living room. But as it goes, I just had the most fun getting to talk to my sweet client, Annie, in person for the first time since we started working together a few months ago! Five hours later, I did eventually get home. ;)

As we have proven here over and over again, remote interior design, (aka eDesign), is every bit as personal as in-person. We communicate very closely with each and every client regarding every decision on the space. And even though we develop a unique and individualized communication flow with each person, the months of FaceTiming, texting, calling and emailing always come to the same end result: a space that person truly feels is theirs and lucky to call home. As people who love people, this line of work is right up our alley! We adore getting to connect with others and put our heads together to create the very best home that suits their style and needs.

Today’s reveal is really fun because Annie’s style is very eclectic and she had the COOLEST stuff to start with! She has spent time immersed in so many cultures around the world, her collection of artifacts and photography is seriously impressive. So fun for a designer to play with! Want to see what the space started out as?

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Lots of stuff going on here, but also some really cool stuff. Our aim was to highlight the beautiful pieces Annie already had, add pieces that complimented those, and find a visually pleasing, inexpensive way to hide the rest! Take a look!

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One of our design concepts sent along the way. We had yet to decide on the coffee table and exact pillow placement, but that’s what a concept is - a check on the visual feel of the space. These are meant to help us know if we are heading in the right direction and what adjustments, if any, we need to make moving forward!

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Before you say anything I am fully aware that this is maybe the 4th or 5th time we used the IKEA Ivar cabinets. But you guys, at $70/unit, completely customizable, and only 12” deep, these babies are a small space small budget best friend. Not to mention ideal hidden storage for a small apartment with (almost) no closets. We hiked these Ivars up on black stainless steel legs which set them at a much more versatile height, and gave them a much needed layer of visual interest for this small space.

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Big fan of this chair in this space! It’s modern but rustic enough to pair well with the English roll arm sofa.

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This home wears the glow of Summer well. I may have to book some time here come February!

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That’s a wrap! Happy to say we are already locked in to work with Annie on her bedroom next! But before we start on any new projects I’ve got a few more weeks of Summer to maximize with the kids. Taking this season off has resulted in the best time with my kids. I love this age so much and have thoroughly soaked in this time together practically distraction free.

I hope you all enjoy these last weeks of Summer and amidst whatever your responsibilities are can find moments of joy and rest. Thank you so much for taking the time to come by today!

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Wink of Wood

 
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This pair. This pair of 3 drawer chests. This pair of 3 drawer chests with their clean lines and their gold buckle hardware. I wanted them so bad that I drove two towns over to pick them up. Twice.  No - not because they didn’t fit in my car but because for the first time in my furniture flipping career, I had to call an audible on account of the screaming baby in the car.

When I set up the meet, I figured all I really had to do was get baby H and me dressed enough to be considered decent, drive out there to pick them up, throw them in the car, then head home. Easy, peasy lemon squeezy.

That was my first mistake.

Baby fell asleep on the way. The seller was running late - no big! We can just wait in the car.

Strike two.

I had scheduled this pick up during what I learned later that many moms call “the witching hour” - that hellish time of day where baby can seem inconsolable…

YOU STRAIGHT FOOL YOU.

Never. Stop. Driving. If baby is asleep in the car, you keep that magical motion going or you’ll have hell to pay. Unbeknownst to me, the delicate window to get these pieces and be on our way without a nuclear meltdown BEGAN TO CLOSE as soon as we pulled up to the rendezvous. After 10 minutes of waiting, baby H went all Chernobyl and we had to evacuate STAT.

Driving home, my hormones triggered a meltdown of my own. I had been so hell-bent on maintaining my need to create that I hadn’t stopped to consider her needs. What if we drive all the way out there and we can’t get the pieces to fit around her car seat? Where will baby wait if I have to finagle them down some stairs?? What if something breaks in transit and there is super sharp debris rattling around her in the car??? These questions were raising an unforeseen growing pain of new motherhood (emphasis on the pain): how to rewire a ME to better think about SHE.

As she was wailing for relief from the car seat, I realized I had popped her in the car like an accessory. Something I could just bring along with me on a craigslist pick up like a tape measure or moving blanket. Yeah… NO. Babies are not tape measures people. And they will (un)happily let you know that.

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It was a valuable lesson about new motherhood and I have a hunch that I’m not done learning it. And perhaps never will be. Yes these dressers were a great buy for the business but if it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t work out. I pulled a new-mom mulligan and reached out to the seller to explain our no-show. She was gracious enough to reschedule with me the following day so I had a second chance to make juggling baby and a small business work. So we set out again - this time I made sure that baby had a full belly and a clean diaper first, and that the pieces were grab-and-go ready, and that they would fit safely around my most precious cargo (the baby… not the dressers). Fortunately for us this time, it worked out in the end but I’m acutely aware that that might not always be the case. And that’s ok. The beauty of owning your own business is that you should make it work for your family. Not make your family work for it.

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With the challenges of my first postpartum pickup behind me, I worked on the dressers when it wouldn’t interfere. Stringing together bursts of productivity during naptime or when Dad was home - and even sometimes with baby snuggled up and strapped to my chest.

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A series of nicks and dings meant I had to paint the majority of the pieces after all the repairs. I chose a favorite sIlky black paint finish for the body but still wanted some way to keep at least a touch of wood.

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The only place I could salvage ended up being a unique opportunity for a wink of wood. I knixed the original concave metal backplate in favor of staining the recessed cavity behind the gold buckle pulls.

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It’s just a peek but I hope someone will appreciate the subtle detail.

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I added dark walnut legs with brass sabots (that’s fancy furniture talk for brass shoes) to play up this little detail.

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With such richly dark pieces, I decided to keep the styling simple with a couple white accessories and a pair of arched floor-length mirrors.

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These babies are ready for a new home and I’m ready for a new project - provided I’ve figured out how to be a mom and a maker… *wink*

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Black 3-Drawer Dresser Set
Now Available for Sale
32”W x 18”D x 30”H
$795 for the pair

If you are interested in this piece or a custom order like it, email me at cate@stylemutthome.com

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