Reveal: The Concrete Cave

Hi friends! Jumpin' on with another eDesign reveal today - this week's space is tucked inside Chicago's Wicker Park neighborhood and was a real test to my cozier sensibilities. Last week's space I did in Boston was easy peasy- exposed brick, large windows, warm wood floors - all the ingredients to go cozy to the max! The space I'm sharing today gave me a bit of a chill when I first saw the photos the client sent over:


The window-less room above is the bedroom. So what to do? Embrace the uber modern elements or go against the grain and add warmth and texture? I settled on both and found some helpful inspo images before finding the right mix of pieces!

With the influx of eDesign reveals here I cannot express enough how much I value floorplans! They are the least visually appealing aspect of a job but allow me to really understand the space. I play with various arrangements until I find one that enhances the elements of the room best. Here's a peek at the final arrangement and the floorplan we stuck to the closest.


And to help the client 'see' the space, an example of one of the design boards used for this project:

Chicago Sonder 404 Living Room.jpg

Without further adieu, welcome to Chi town!


The physical space is unlike anything I've ever worked with; it's industrial, yes, but also modern in an almost sterile way. My objective was to embrace both the industrial and modern, but also to warm things up, (without going all bohemian with layers).


If you can't beat em', join em'! I really love how this concrete coffee table pulls it all together; like it was grown right from the floor!


The bedroom was really exciting to me! A room without windows - no problemo! I chose a dark charcoal gray for the walls and my favorite CB2 Mantis sconce in nickel and wood. A leather headboard finishes it off and it's transformed into a sleek hideout cave complete with concrete bedside tables.


That's it! A short and sweet tour for today. Thank you to the installation team up there who hammered it out and got it done! I always have a feeling of anticipation when I know a design is getting installed and I'm hundreds of miles away waiting to see how it turns out! It's exciting, indeed, and good for my blood pressure, too. ;)

Thank you so much for coming by today!


Reveal: Industrial Meets Cozy in Beantown

Got another eDesign reveal today! The client started with a very industrial 2 bedroom space - interior brick, city views and large windows; all my favorite things together! I had complete stylistic freedom, but a limited budget and limited time to get it complete, so I started with some design inspiration to help me hone in on the ideas I wanted to prioritize. Some of my favorite inspo images are below and with each one I had made a note of what caught my eye most.

For this project I was given a sketched floorplan and a video tour of the space. Since I didn't have photos to go by, I was meticulous with the floorplan. I had a vision of what I wanted the space to look and feel like, but a vision is just a vision if the pieces don't fit perfectly and the flow is not a hundred percent comfortable. I created a floorplan for each room in the space and several for the living room - it was an oddly shaped room and I wanted to try some different layouts, but the one seen below is what we ultimately followed the closest!

Finding the right pieces for this space was an absolute blast, but not without some particular challenges! The client needed the design completed 2 days from handing me the specs on the space, so I needed pieces that were not only friendly to our budget, but that offered a speedy delivery! Below is one of the final moodboards of the living room. I used several to indicate some specific details, but this one shows the jest of it.

Boston Sonder Living Room 1.jpg

And voila!


I really trusted the client's measurements of the space as well as the measurements indicated with this sofa - if either had been off it wouldn't have worked. Luckily it was a perfect fit and I got to tuck the sofa cozily inside this brick clad nook.


I'm so grateful to the hardworking installation team that carried out this design to 'T'! eDesign is most successful when the designer can clearly indicate the details of the design and the installation team interprets the instructions properly. The team did a fantastic job carrying this design to fruition; it turned out exactly as I had imagined and hoped!


Although the kitchen was an itty bitty little thing, the client desired a small eating area that could accommodate 4. I used a modest round table and simple chairs on the smaller side, but also shared in the design boards a couple fun alternative options for one of the chairs to be used elsewhere for when space is needed during meal prep. Options are always good!


I wanted to give the bedrooms a cozy, sophisticated feel that is so true to Boston. Bostonians are not excessive in their style; nothing too contrived, function over form. Always. It's been a while since I've lived there, but that aspect of the city as a whole has been around for ages. There's an old story of a Boston matriarch bein where she got her hat, to which she responded, "We don't buy our hats, we have our hats."

Bedroom 1:


Nothing too fancy here, just classic, comfortable design.


Bedroom 2 is the slightly less sophisticated younger sibling of Bedroom 1. But they 'speak the same language', as Cate says, and the laid back, comfortable vibe is consistent between the two.


It's such a delight to see this space finished - it was a whirlwind putting it together in a matter of days but I absolutely adore how it came together! Even with such a short timeline to work with, the creative freedom to do just about anything I wanted with this space was an incredible opportunity to be entrusted with. I look forward to sharing more such projects with you soon!

Thank you so much for coming by!


Life Happening! (Updates, Changes and Prayer)

Hi friends! It's been a while and I've missed getting on here more regularly to spend time with you! Today is the first day of school for my three and since my heart aches for the Summer behind us, I figure it's the perfect time to soak in a bit of community with you all here. I'm sure your Summer's were full but, I hope, equally as wonderful. There's nothing like a change of pace but I'm really looking forward to getting back to a schedule again!

Our Summer was absolutely lovely, (though nothing I expected) - the time with the kids was just wonderful. They, (and Matt!), are my most precious companions and I really just love spending our days together, even if it's running errands! The twins are now 7, (turning 8 in October), and Mason is 6.5, so they are so much fun to interact with now as they need me less but engage with me more! This age has been my favorite so far, indeed.

In preparation for the Summer and wanting to spend as much time with the kids as possible while they were out of school, I had arranged our client schedule to allow for flexibility and a relaxed pace. I love our clients and am so grateful that they all 'got it', even though few of them have children of their own. Plus, almost everyone had travel plans of their own so it really worked out to set several projects aside for a bit. However...

After the very first week of the kids' Summer break I got an email that would drastically change the pace of my anticipated relaxed Summer. A company named Sonder reached out asking if I would be one of their designers for the hundreds of units they are purchasing to offer for short term stay travel. They are essentially like airbnb, except without the awkwardness of staying in someone's guest room, or in their own bed while they're out of town. They purchase apartments and condos in major cities around the U.S., (with international cities in process as well), and offer them fully furnished for travelers. Though they are not a brand new company, they are just starting to work with designers who are experienced with digital eDesign on their units so they can remain competitive in their market. With hundreds of units onboarding every day to their site, the work is plentiful!

This opportunity came during a time in the year that I really didn't want to work, but after talking things over with my ever wise husband, Matt, we both had faith that this was the right 'yes'; the opportunity I have been waiting for. (By the way, Matt's encouragement to move forward was not without a heavy load of help on his end - time and again he will say to me, 'Just let me know what I can do', when I'm feeling like my hands are tied between kids and work. He is a jack of all trades and none of this would exist without this dear man I get to walk life with). It's been a tricky balance pursuing a dream, figuring out how that dream could possibly turn into some helpful income, while meanwhile trying to give the loves of my life the best childhood I'm capable of giving. With the kids home this Summer I often worked early in the morning and then late into the night so I could keep the days open for wherever the wind took us. It was exhausting. I'm exhausted. With the kids back in school I am grateful for the possibility of balance once again, where I can work while they're in school and then be free for them when they get home! I do want to give a big ol' public Thank You to my dear friend, Kate Good. She has three kids of her own and in my first week doing work for Sonder she took my kids for an entire day so I could learn the ropes. Supportive friends and family are a total game changer, I tell you!

This opportunity doing freelance design work with Sonder does not replace client work. I absolutely love working with clients and will continue to do so, but it has proven a difficult profession to make a full-time living from for two big reasons:

1. We don't want to increase our rates just to make a full-time living. Our desire from the beginning has been to make design services attainable for another tier of people, predominantly young adults looking to go from hodge-podge college furniture to a sophisticated, soulful home.

2. We have realized our capacity for clients at one time. Although we currently have a client wait list that reaches to the Holiday season, that doesn't necessarily mean we are making a full-time living from our current clients. There is so much that goes into working with clients; the communication, waiting for decisions to be made, edits and re-edits, tweaks and re-tweaks. It's so incredibly important to us that each client completely loves their space when it's finished, but getting there takes so much time. Our capacity is roughly 10-12 clients at any given time, depending on the depth of the job. Depending on the project, some are finished within a month, others closer to 8! We can only move as fast as our clients are able, so if their plates are full, the project might take on the longer end.

Since realizing this capacity for client design work, we have been praying for a way to turn this fulfilling work into a fuller-time income. It's been a test of patience, for sure, to wait for the right opportunity that would be consistent with our work with StyleMutt Home, but offer the financial support that we need. For me, this opportunity as a freelance designer with Sonder is a dream come true in so many ways. I will continue to work from home, and I get to design to my hearts content. As for Cate, she has welcomed an awesome opportunity with Apartment Therapy that I'll let her tell you about soon. :) But we are both so encouraged about these opportunities that have only been made possible by StyleMutt Home's own growth, (and I CANNOT wrap my mind around how this all began with a small furniture refinishing business right outside in our garage after Mason's birth! Every door that's opened has been a gift; I don't know why or how, but I'm runnin' with it!) Our hearts are exceedingly full by the countless blessings the Lord has shown us with this business and we've both been reflecting on all that we are so grateful for.

Perhaps the best news with these new ventures is that there will be more content for the blog! For every 5 client spaces we finish, we might get one job that we can actually take pictures of and share here! But in my work for Sonder, every unit I design for them will be professionally shot and I am free to use the pictures however I wish, so I'll have a lot of fun spaces to share here!

I'll be back on Wednesday with my first Sonder design reveal for a unit I completed in Boston! Think big black factory windows. :) It's a good one and I'm so excited to see it in completion!

Thank you so much for joining Cate and me on this exciting adventure! We started StyleMutt Home with completely open hearts to whatever the Lord would guide it to be, and the friends we've made along the way are of the most unexpected and treasured blessings we've enjoyed. You are so dear to us and hope you know we count you as part of the StyleMutt Home team!

Thank you for stopping by!


P.S. We have read this verse with the kids a few times and it lifts my heart at the start of each day. It's so common to start the day with a pit of worry in our stomach about what the day may hold; this promise always encourages me, so I wanted to pass it on.

Psalm 121
I lift up my eyes to the mountains-
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip-
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel will neither Slumber nor sleep.

The Lord watches over you-
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The Lord will keep you from all harm-
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forever more.