DESIGN PLANS FOR A MULTI USE SPACE

Design plans for a multi use space can sometimes be tricky. It can be difficult to balance the requirements of a room that needs to function in different ways but still look and act like one cohesive space. When Julie came to me looking for help with her kids’ homework room/hangout space/guest room, I knew it would be a challenge to find a way to incorporate all of the different functional necessities within the confines of a relatively small and irregularly shaped space. But, after seeing the room, I immediately saw potential and was ready to take it on!

Here’s where we started:

design plans for a multi use space

design plans for a multi use space

Julie’s main objectives for this multi use room were to provide a space for her kids to do homework, create a comfortable place to hang out and watch TV, and also to act as a guest room (where adults would be comfortable) when she had company visiting. She was tired of pulling together a hodgepodge of existing pieces in the space and wanted something that felt comfortable and contemporary while still looking pulled together and well designed, something I think we can all relate to. That should be easy enough, right?! Here’s the kicker, we needed all of that to fit within approximately 140 square feet. Challenge accepted.

We both agreed that a functional (yet stylish) sleeper sofa was the way to go in order to satisfy those guest room needs in this small space. I also proposed taking advantage of the dormer space/desk nook and going bold within that small space in order to make a big statement in the room. Often times, people are afraid to do something bold in a small space in fear that it will make it feel smaller, but in the right setting, going bold in a small space can help to draw the eye up and trick you into thinking it’s larger! Julie was on board, so I put together 3 preliminary inspirational moodboards for her to take a look at.

Moodboard #1 included contemporary shapes mixed with some more traditional elements to create a sense of warmth and comfort in the space. I proposed focusing on the dormer desk nook and really making it feel like it’s own entity.

design plans for a multi use space

Moodboard #2 went a bit more mid century modern with bold pops of navy and natural wood tones. I suggested a fun, geometric wallpaper for the dormer desk nook to make a bold statement.

design plans for a multi use space

Moodboard #3 embraced graphic black and white patterns and colorful graphic accents. This one felt fun and playful for a kids space but still contemporary enough for adults to enjoy.

design plans for a multi use space

After looking them over, Julie really liked elements in each of the moodboards so I put together a concept that incorporated all of the things she liked with additional elements to round out the room.

design plans for a multi use space

In order to give Julie an idea of layout and to show her how each element would look within the space, I put together a few renderings.

I went with a cool, neutral gray on the walls throughout the space, and we settled on a bold geometric wallpaper for the desk nook. Julie found a photograph of the beach she visited as a child that we are having framed, and a corkboard adds function to the homework area and also creates a space for the kids to display their own artwork.

design plans for a multi use space

The other side of the room is a cozy and stylish spot to relax and watch a movie and the sleek, contemporary sleeper sofa will instantly turn the space into a guest room when company is in town. Hitting that design sweet spot with all that form and function ;)

design plans for a multi use space

design plans for a multi use space

At this point, orders have been placed and pieces are slowly arriving as the room starts to come together. Julie snapped me some pictures of paint going up on the walls this weekend and the draperies are being hung as we speak.

 

I’ll keep you all up to date on the progress of the room as it happens. Trust me, this before and after is going to be a good one!

Some of you may know that I also work as an interior designer over at Havenly. Is your home begging for a little design refresh? Use the code MAGGIES when you sign up here to receive $20 off of your design fee through May 30th! You’ll get the chance to choose to work with me or any of our other amazing designs to create a stylish and functional space of your own! Happy designing!

 

THE ULTIMATE WOMAN CAVE WITH CHAIRISH

To be honest, I’ve always kind of scoffed at the idea of a “man cave.” Most if my disdain would come from watching episodes of House Hunters with practically every man expressing his desire for, nay, requirement of the obligatory basement or attic space in which to do whatever it is that these men do. A space of your own to do with whatever you like? pshh. A spot in your house to express your own sense of style? Whatever. Your own little escape from reality when you just need a break? Wait a second…maybe I’m starting to understand. What I don’t understand is why the boys get to have all of the fun!

So when Chairish, my go-to source for vintage furniture and decor, asked me how I would create my ultimate “Woman Cave,” I jumped at the opportunity…because we can’t let the boys have all of the fun ;)

woman cave

Now, my version of a “Woman Cave” is, mostly likely, a bit different from the sports bar/beer mecca of my male counterparts, but the idea is the same. It’s a space where I could go to unwind with my girlfriends, get away from the stresses of life, and do the things I want to do (which may or may not include sappy romantic comedies, trashy reality shows, and the occasional one too many drinks with my girls) that the others in my house aren’t so interested in.

I started with this pair of dreamy vintage barstools from Chairish (check out their full collection of amazing vintage barstools here). I wanted a really calm and comfortable design that would promote relaxation and settle my mind. I stuck with a really neutral base full of metal finishes, natural wood tones, and soft textiles and brought in a little color and contrast with muted artwork and a gorgeous vintage rug.

ultimate woman cave with chairish

reclaimed counter table // vintage barstools // pendant light // artwork // barware

ultimate woman cave with chairish

tufted bench // vintage rug // pillow // tray // napkins // chair

Well, men of House Hunters, I get it now. I’ll take it easier on you next time.

So tell me, what would your Ultimate Woman Cave look like??

HITTING THE DESIGN SWEET SPOT

our current house

If you follow me on snapchat or instagram, you may have noticed a mention or two about in impending photoshoot over at our house. Havenly, a company I do design work for, asked if they could feature our home over on their blog and I jumped at the opportunity. So, naturally, I spent the next couple of weeks getting our house ready to be photographed by professionals. The days leading up to the big day may or may not have been calm, relaxing and stress-free ;)

our current house

It was really fun to spend the day with the photographer and get some tips and tricks from a professional and we ended up working really well together. We kind of hit the sweet spot in terms of combining a technical mind with a design oriented way of thinking. If you’re local and ever in need of interior or real estate photography, I highly recommend Gene over at Pittsburgh Real Estate Media.

current house

Speaking of sweet spots, you can go check out the rest of the images from out photoshoot along with my designer tips for hitting the design sweet spot over on the Havenly Blog!

MIXING DESIGN STYLES (BY CHOICE AND BY NECESSITY)

Recently, a good friend of mine with a similar design background brought up a point that got me thinking. She was visiting our house for the first time and during the obligatory house tour she said something along the lines of “I’m trying to figure out your style.” After a brief back and forth, we came to the conclusion that the style of my current home was a little bit contemporary, a little bit rustic and a whole lot of in between. This came as no shock to me. I’m a big fan of mixing design styles and think that’s how you can truly create a space that feels dynamic and interesting and I’m fully aware of the blending of styles in my own home, but the conversation got me thinking a little bit deeper about the why. 

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current dining room

While some of the mixing of design styles is intentional, some of it also comes by necessity. At this point, I’m in house #2 of my adulthood (we’re not going to count the college apartment that made my mother cry…) and like many other 20-somethings, I’m slowly acquiring a household full of meaningful and long lasting pieces but am certainly not in the position to go out and furnish an entire house. Nor would I really want to for that matter. 

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current dining room

While we have added a few new pieces here and there to this house, much of what we had came from our previous house, one with a very distinctly different style. Some of what worked perfectly there gets a fresh new perspective here, while some of it just isn’t quite suited to the shape, size, and style of this house. The challenge now is blending those different elements in a way that not only feels intentional but also feel right for the bones of this house.

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

view from the dining room

 

Our big living room is one of the spaces that I’ve struggled with the most in terms of mixing styles and combining old with new. In general, the room is much larger than our old living room and the pieces that were chosen for the previous space aren’t pieces that I would have chosen starting fresh in this room. The room also has it’s own unique attributes that make furnishing it a challenge. The elements that make the space really special (like the full walls of windows, two doorways, and brick wall) also make things like furniture selection, scale, and layout pretty challenging.

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current living room

For example, the fun mid-century coffee table that I loved so much in our 1st house just isn’t right in here. It’s too small for the space and the style just isn’t right in this room. And as much as I love our current sofa (and will find a spot for it in our home for as long as it lives), this long rectangular space screams for a big lounge-y sectional or sofa with a chaise. At this point, I have nailed down the layout that I know will work and it’s just a matter of finding the right pieces over time. The purchases that I do make moving forward, will be made with that vision in mind in terms of size, shape, color, etc. When there is a goal at the end, it makes purchasing piece by piece a little bit easier.

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current living room

The aforementioned friend and I also talked a bit about purchasing quality over quantity at this phase of our lives and agreed that the buy what you can for as cheap as you can as fast as you can phase is where we find ourselves moving away from. This living room currently houses some quality pieces that will remain in the space but the search for permanent replacements for other items will take time and those future purchases will be made with the intention of longevity. As tempting as it is to replace the items that you know just don’t work, chances are those impulse buys and quick fixes will be the ones that need replacing before long. Patience is so annoying, I know.

mixing design styles by choice (and by necessity)

our current living room

Do I love the combination of different styles in my home? Yes! I think it makes it feel young and fresh and fun. Are there changes that I’d like to make in many different spaces? Of course! But the time and energy that you put into making your space feel just right, piece by piece, is a big part of what makes your house feel like a home, don’t you think? When you can look around the room and remember where you bought this or why you bought that, what a deal you got on that thing or the pile of treasures you dug that out from under, and relive the excitement of the hunt, that’s what makes is special.

So back to the main point (which was what exactly? Stop rambling, Maggie!) when it comes to mixing design styles, sometimes we do it by choice, sometimes we do it by necessity, and often times it’s a little of both. A few tips on making purchases and adding pieces to a mixture of design styles, you ask? Don’t mind if I do…

  1. Purchase quality pieces with intention. As tempting as it is to replace something that isn’t working immediately, impulse buys are often the ones that need replacing right away.
  2. Purchase what you love. Mixing design styles can seem daunting, but chances are if you simply buy things that you love and that speak to you, they will all end up working together to create a space that you’re obsessed with.
  3. Pick a color scheme and stick to it. In order to make a collection of different styles feel cohesive, stick to a strict color palette. This will be the thread that sews it all together and makes the space feel intentional.
  4. Have a goal in mindWhen you have an idea of what you want in the end, this makes purchasing piece by piece a bit less daunting. This doesn’t mean you have a concrete plan of exactly what you want and where you want it, but having a general idea of how you want the space to feel allows you to work towards a goal. This will help different purchases that are made over time work together in the end.