Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Progress in the Guest Room

A couple of months ago we took our scary storage/ workout room....

...And turned it into a guest room.  We started by tearing out the drop ceilings & then having the walls & ceiling re-drywalled.  A closet door  was also added to hide the massive storage closet/ understairs storage.  We took our old guest room and turned it into another office for me & my assistant, Meghan.  (We are still waiting for our furniture to arrive in the office but I'll post pics when we're finished!)

The guest room is pretty much a hodgepodge of things we already had, with the only new item being the linen curtains I had made out of my new Thistle fabric.  I used the vintage wooden dresser I found a while back & truth-be-told, it's stuffed with off-season clothes.  My wooden lady (who is super-heavy) makes me happy:

We're still missing one of the most important elements in the room- the headboard!!- so I have to warn you that the pics really don't look that great, but I'm excited about the progress we've made & wanted to share.  (The pics are also really grainy- sorry!!!)  It's a very tiny room so just room for a bed with a small trunk at the end.  (Which I couldn't even fit into a picture)  I used white/cream bedding we already had & have been having fun layering the bed with different quilts to suit my different moods.  Right now I wanted sort of a Fallish-Bohemian feeling so I used a couple of old vintage quilts.  Here's a blurry pic I snapped of the half unmade bed this morning:

{The quilts are vintage and the 2 boudoir pillows are in a Peter Dunham linen}

I used my favorite pair of massive glass lamps on either side of the bed & was able to just fit in our pedestal table along with the dresser:

{The window isn't centered in the room so we had to go with two totally different sizes of end tables...  Since we were using pieces we already had, the pedestal table is a bit shorter than I'd like so I raised the lamp up with some books to make it more even with its mate.}

I have a collection of old mushroom prints on one wall and wooden printers' trays that the boys & I are working on filling with natural objects on the other, so I'll be sure to share overall pics when we're "finished."  I'm planning on doing a headbaord upholstered in warn oatmeal linen that will stop right at the window sill.  I'm debating on on its shape because I am still to excited over my curtains to cover them up too much with a straight headboard so it will either be rounded or I'll cut out the corners.

Here's a close-up of the curtains in Thistle in Sepia & I'm pretty excited to see them in there:

{I chose them because I could mix them with just about any colors I wanted when my moods change}

Anyway, I'll share more when there's more to see.  I hope you liked it & that you're having a great week!!  I also took a few more photos the other day of one of our most recent installs & will be sure to share.  My client's bedroom turned out beautifully & is really different from this one, so I'll try to post soon.

xoxo, Lauren

If you're interested in purchasing any of my fabrics, you can visit my online store here.

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Monday, November 28, 2011

I'm back from Thanksgiving break and it was soooooooo great to get to just relax & hang with my family.  (And eat, of  course!)  I was thinking about it...  and isn't it funny that for this one day a year, almost all of us Americans are eating pretty much the exact same thing?  How weird would it be if we all did burgers on Tuesdays or pesto on Fridays?  ...  the grocery stores would be pretty profitable.  Random, I know. 

{We braved Black Friday - not bad at all, very odd- and found these cute little boots from Gap Kids}

We finally finished raking our yard and I got in a few pics of the boys:

{Christian, 4 and Justin- almost 2!}

I took a complete break from work, which was really nice, but I couldn't help going back to look at pics of some of our recent installs from last week...  Here's a mid-stage pic of one of my favorite rooms as we were moving everything in:

(The curtains are LL Textiles Live Paisley in Gold and I wish the were in my house :)

My client made a last-minute color switch on the walls & they turned out to be too pink.  We're going back to our original color which will be a cream.  {She had a color from one brand reproduced in another brand and it didn't come out perfectly to match the swatch... }    {I'd love to hide all of the not-so-smooth details from you to make it all seem perfect, but just keepin' it real & hopefully it'll help someone with being exrta careful about switching paint brands/ paint matching.}  This room is definitely going to be one of my favorite rooms we've ever done when we're finished.  My clients have the coolest style (she's traditional, he's a bit more edgy- so the mix is perfect) and I'm in love with the room.   

Anyway, I'm off for the day to a master bedroom installation.  I'll be sure to share some peeks!!  Hope your Thanksgiving was special!!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Monday, November 21, 2011

I can't wait...

...For Thanksgiving.

{Barry Dixon}

I am so ready to relax with my family & eat some goodness!!    We have a few loose ends to tie up at work and then we're off on Wednesday for the holiday.

{Image by Lisa Cohen: From }

I've been collecting Fall & Thanksgiving images for a while on pinterest so I figured I'd share a few that really make me happy. 

{Image via}

I am so excited to wrap up in a blanket by the fire and hang with my husband & some good music.  (I have to admit that Christmas music DID get played this weekend while raking.  I have a problem :) 


 Anyway, hope you have a great last few days of work before vacation!!!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Family Room Redo: Sneekity Peek

To say this week has been crazy would be an understatement.  Installations are really the most fulfilling part of my job because it's like surprising someone with an awesome present.  I love seeing & hearing about my clients' reactions when they see their finished spaces & there's nothing better in this job than making them happy.  This week we installed for a few clients: a family room & some common areas, a living room, and we placed the final pieces of art in another favorite project of ours.  We get the chance to work with some of the sweetest, most amazing clients and I feel so lucky.

I just wanted to share a little tiny peek of one of my client's family rooms.  I particularly loooove her slipcovered linen ottoman and the rug she found on One King's Lane.   We had a few delays this week which were tough, but in the end it will all work out.  I'll be sure to share more when I can... the photos I took were all pretty grainy so I need me some Helen Norman. :)

Enjoy this beautiful weekend!!
(And thank you to my amazing clients if you're reading-- you are really all the best!) 

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

A week of installations!

We have a big week lined up here with a few different client installations happening.  I'm so excited!!!!  I love installation days (or in this case, weeks) because your clients finally get to see the design plan fully realized.  And, more importantly, they get to live in and love their new spaces!!  The holidays are great deadline-makers and so we've got a bunch lined up just before Thanksgiving.  As I mentioned a while back in this post, we do our installations pretty mtch all in 1 day.  We have a team of people who inevitably work together on every project.  Having an amazing team is the key to successful projects and it has taken me a few years to put it together: 

Before we can even get to installation day, Mike Carr and his team from CarrMichael Construction usually get the space in move-in condition.  They handle any painting & electrical that needs to happen along with pretty much anything else. 

On installation day or a day or so before, Tolvin & his people from the Carpet Customizer deliver the rugs when the room is empty:

{Tolvin, on the left & his great guys on the right.  My husband, Dave, often makes an appearance at installations to help with a thing or two...  or fifty.}

I bring over a car full of one-of-a-kind accessories & smaller items that I've been gathering for the project so that I can try different things out:

The whiteglove delivery service comes with all of the furniture:

My {awesome} assistant Meghan -whose picture I don't have because she is so photo-shy..  oh wait, here's here Halloween pic:- runs around "getting it done" and making the day better.  She pretty much just makes things happen.

Paul & Nancy Johnson of Paul David Design come & hang the window treatments they've made and bring all of the pillows & reupholstered pieces they've done.  They help hang art too. I can't dig up a good picture of them right now but suffice it to say we couldn't do it without them.  Our electrician also comes on the day-of to install the fixtures which has such a big impact on the spaces. 

Once everything is in the house, we scramble to get it all into place & make it look perfect before our clients come home for the big reveal.  It's both exciting & a little nerve-wracking because everything needs to be just right & there are so many pieces that need to fall into perfect place to get it all done.  I've noticed that since I've been pregnant, I've been more forgetful with bringing things for installations (part sleepiness, part preggo brain) so I'm really hoping I remember everything today so that we don't need to drive back to the office. :)   We have the most amazing clients who really trust us with everything, and making them happy is honestly the most rewarding part of this job.

Today we're working on this space:

and we're installing a variation of this plan:

..And then we have a few more for the rest of the week.

...SO, wish me luck that all goes smoothly (or ends well...  there are always hiccups ;) this week!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Expired by Food & Stuffed Tomatas

I cooked a lot this weekend.  My college volleyball friends and I started a food club and we had our first official "meeting" Saturday night.  It's called the "Expired Food Club."  (I'll explain...  we don't eat expired food. :)  When my friend Kat (the one who painted the magnolia fabric design) and I were talking about how much we loved eating one night (ah yes, we have such erudite conversations!) and how we should get together to eat, I was so excited and talking so quickly that I tried to say "I'm so excited & inspired" but instead I just burst out with "I'm so expired!!"  She was like whaaaaat???  And then I explained & we now have the "Expired Food Club."  The theme for the first meeting was "Stuffed" and we all brought stuffed foods.. mmm mmm amazing.  I brought stuffed peppers & the other food was all sooooooo good.

But I was so in the "stuffed" mood that I also made tomatoes stuffed with curry chicken salad for my book club the next day.  (It's very weird.. I really don't think of myself as a "club" type of person but I actually had two of these very girly-club things planned for the same weekend.)  Anyway, my book club was cancelled  last-minute, so I am LIVING in stuffed tomatoes and chicken salad.  That's okay with me.  I am crazy for these things.  They fill you up in such a good way.  I feel satisfied but not "stuffed" (there I go again) after having one:

It's really easy. I'm not a measure-it-out type of chef, but here are the ingredients if you're up for it:

For the chicken salad:
- A pre-cooked rotisserie chicken--> dice the chicken into small pieces
-Approx 1/4- 1/2 a red onion
-fresh crushed garlic clove (or 2!)
- a few celery stalks, finely chopped (how "cookbook-like" do I sound?)
- a teensy squirt of lemon juice
-salt & pepper
-Sour cream & mayo --> add both of these in until you like the consistency
-Curry powder--> add to taste but I usually keep adding it until it's a pretty shade of yellow
-walnuts and/or anything else you like to add to your chicken salads
-Stir it all up and add more whatever until it looks & tastes good to you 

Then carve out the tomatoes like you would a little pumpkin & fill them up with the chicken salad.  Top with scallions and add a few lettuce leaves on the side.  It's also yummy served with fresh steamed basmati rice on the side.

If you're in the mood, I promise you, this food will make you so happy.  I can't WAIT for lunchtime already.  mmm mmm mm!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Friday, November 11, 2011

LL Textiles Giveaway Winner!!

We have our giveaway winners! Each winner gets 2 yards of a fabric.  I used a random number generator and the first winner picked was Terri from Windlost who also happens to be one of my first blog friends!  (Terri is somehow related to Abe Lincoln and my husband is somehow related to him too so we say we're cousins...  And I promise there was no nepotism involved in the giveaway!)

The second winner is from B&E Friske and she wrote one of the nicest (and funniest!) posts about the fabric line.  (There wasn't a blog header to steal but she is a gorgeous & adorably pregany wife with a fun blog. :)

I hope you both enjoy the fabric!

Also, some people have asked how to view the fabric "stories" and lifestyle shots.  (like the one above) If you go to the online shop here you can then go to the LL TEXTILES page and start clicking on the fabric pictures.  You'll see a little description of each fabric & then you can click on thumbnails to enlarge them to see the photos we took with our good friend & photographer Helen Norman at her farm.

We've had a great response to the fabrics already at the online store so keep your fingers crossed that it keeps up!  Also, I really wanted to thank everyone for the kind comments, emails, tweets, facebook mentions & blog posts about the fabric line.  I'm overwhelmed in a good way...  You have all been so supportive and I am so thankful for you.    

Have a great weekend!!

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Price Points & Fabrics

Well, it's been 2 days since we launched the online fabric store and I just wanted to say thank you so much to all of you for your kind words, comments & all the fabric orders!!!  I'm really blown away by all of the support and appreciate you all so much!!

I received a comment about the "sticker shock" one reader got when she headed over to the Pure Style Home Shop to view fabrics & she asked me what I thought about the price point & using it in my own home and in clients' homes.  I have to say that I really appreciate this commenter's honesty and of course, with a price point of $120/ yard for our fabrics, I knew this would be an issue and have mentioned it serveral times before on the blog, but I thought now that the fabric line has actually launched, it would be a good time to talk about price points & what all goes into it. 

First question- Do I have fabrics that cost this much in my own home?  Yes. 

Do I use them in client's homes?  Yes, in pretty much every single project....  BUT, my client's budgets determine where the fabric will go.  For example, right now in a tight budgeted living room we're working on with a client, we are using a $275/ yard Ralph Lauren fabric in the room but it's going on a pillow so we need only 1 yard. 

{Some Schumacher Fabrics mixed in with my Live Paisley in a client's living room}

Statement fabrics play such an important role in creating a vibe & a mood in a room and showing a family's personality, that for me they're really one of those "splurges" that we typically recommend making in a room.  We may use pieces from Ikea or Target in a room but the little shot of the perfect fabric in there (whether it be $25 or $250/ yard ) is what brings the room up and makes it personal & right.  We often use the most expensive fabrics on the pillows to keep the budget down, while still getting that perfect fabric in our rooms.

Do I love it when amazing fabric can go on the curtains?  Yes!!  But is it always practical for the budget? Nope. 

{my house}

In my own house I have off-the-rack cheapie curtains from Ikea along with curtains I made myself out of inexpensive white linen, but I have awesome pillows ;)  Some of my favorite pillows in my house are $200+/ yard and some of the others were $10 thrift store fabric finds...  The cost isn't the determining factor for me because if it's pillows, you only need a yard.  

It's all a matter of what's important to you & what you value and where you decide to put your money in a room.  And beautiful rooms can be created at virtually any price point.  No one needs decorative pillows to survive, but most of us have them anyway. 

The next question that I've just learned the answer to myself through this crazy process of creating a line of textiles is: Why do fabrics cost what they do?  I often wondered why I could buy a Duralee print for $30/ yard and then buy a Schumacher for $120/ yard?  Was it because the Schumacher people were just making waaaaaaaay more money?  But there's so much more that goes into it than that.

I've learned about mills & jobbers and open textile designs and exclusive textiles designs and the difference in mass-produced and smaller companies...   I'm still learning and it's kind of confusing but this is what I've gotten out of it all so far:   There are companies out there who make "open" prints.  They mass-produce fabrics and sell them to as  many textile companies as they can.  Kravet, Duralee, Fabricut, Calico Corners and others can all buy the same prints and sell them under their own names.  The prints cost less because the print is "open" and anyone can buy it.  It's basically up for grabs.  This is why you might see Kravet and Fabricut carrying the same fabric.

There are other mass-produced designs that the big textile companies buy that are "exclusives."  They buy the design (maybe for just a period of time in some cases) and they are the only ones selling it.  This is good for them because they don't have competitors selling the same product.  Lots of times these exclusive designs are by certain designers and they also have rights to use the designer's name on the fabric collection.  This of course, adds to the cost because the designer has to get paid royalties too. 

...Keep in mind that all of these instances deal with fabrics that are massed-produced in huge quantities.  These big fabric companies are carried all across the US in showrooms and retail stores and are very popular.  Because they are producing & selling so many yards of fabric, the production and materials cost per yard is very low so that it's still low by the time it gets to the general public.

For boutique and smaller companies (like me!) the production costs are much higher.  If you are producing in smaller runs and have a smaller market, it just costs more to produce per yard.  Add high quality linen & printing procedures and you have a more expensive end product.  I could never have afforded to do a mass-produced line.  It's been a while since I got the information, but if I remember tallying up what it would cost to set up 1 design in 1 colorway and print a certain number of thousands of yards, it was something like $20,000- $30,000!!  (Ending up with a fabric collection that would have cost me a cool 1.5 +/- million in investments.  ouch!  But just not possible.  We've invested a lot to create our fabric line, but nowhere close to 1.5 ;) 

If you are buying mass-produced items, you get the price benefit of everyone else's dollars combined with yours to make a less expensive item.  If you're buying items from smaller companies, with smaller markets, you don't have that benefit, but you are receiving something that not as many people have, so it's a bit more unique.  Pros & cons to both.   It's a bit like Home Depot vs. your local hardware store or Superwalmart groceries vs. your local grocery store groceries.  Walmart's stuff is cheaper because there are Walmarts everywhere.  The local grocery stores selling items at higher prices aren't making more, they're just paying more so they have to sell their goods at higher prices.  It's up to you which way you decide to go where you spend your money.  I don't think either is right or wrong, but some people have very strong opinions one way or the other.

{image from here}

Another thing I've learned is that fabric (or any product really) passes through many hands before it reaches the end consumer.  When we buy things from a retailer, they are marking it up.  They have to.  It's how they stay in business. 

There are lots of different ways that fabrics are sold & the internet is often making a direct connection between fabric companies & the end user, but in general, this is what I've noticed the exchange of goods normally looks like:

Production Cost --> Fabric Company --> Fabric Showroom --> Decorator -->End user

Production Cnst--> Fabric Company--> Retailer--> End User

{The Washington Design Center is filled with fabric showrooms; image from }

There are retail prices marked on many items & typically, you can find things at just below retail on the internet, in effect, creating a new, slightly lower retail price.  But basically, the real retail or the lowered retail price is the price that most end users pay for fabrics whether they buy through a retailer or a decorator selling at those prices.  (Decorators all charge differently & have different contracts so this isn't always the case.)

So when the final retail price for a fabric is determined, it's based upon:
first, giving the showroom a price
next, creating a trade-only price
and finally, determining the final retail price

or just going from retailer to final retail price.  (If you think about it, retailers are getting a very good price from companies, but retailers typically have more overhead than showrooms and designers because retail rents are usually fairly high, so they need to mark up more to stay in business, ending up with that same retail price everyone else is selling at. ALTHOUGH..  A lot of online stores are putting retailers out of business now because they don't have that overhead but are still getting those prices from wholesalers...  world's a changing!)

{image from here}

As I just mentioned, the internet has provided a direct link from companies to the end users, but in order for companies to remain loyal to the people selling their product and not, "cut them out," companies need to be sure not to undercut their distributors (ie showrooms, decorators and retailers.)  It would be very easy to cut out all the "middle men" from the equation, but in the end , then they would have no one but themselves selling their products & depending upon their business model, it could be difficult to stay in business. 

I thought long and hard before deciding how I wanted to sell my fabrics.  I thought about just selling online retail myself.  I thought about taking my designs to a large company & selling them, virtually having no fabric company but getting paid for my designs and trying to keep my name attached and being able to retail my fabrics online at lower prices along with anyone else who wanted to retail them.  And I thought about selling through showrooms and select retail stores... 

{I thought about what was best for all of us}

It took me a while to make the decision, but I finally decided that I wanted to keep control of my line &
my designs and the company itself.  In the end, because of this decision not to go mass-produced, my fabrics will not be as affordable as I wish they could be and not everyone will be able to buy them.  It's a fact I wish I could change and I would looove for everyone to be able to afford yards & yards of them.  I truly do.  But it's not reality. 

It's also important to me to support & protect those companies & people selling my products because they are the ones really getting it done.  As a decorator myself, I appreciate companies that offer trade pricing and I wanted to be able to do the same for decorators who want to use our products. 

And I know there are those out there who are not in the interior design trade who think that they should get wholesale & trade pricing on everything they buy, but I don't think that's very fair.  Designers buy thousands & thousands of products per year and build relationships with the companies they work with to get the trade pricing they have access to.  It's how they make their living.   I think it's unfair for someone in an unrelated field to expect that they should be able to get the same price that a distributor of a product gets.  (Don't hate me if you're one of those people please!! :)

I want a deal as much as the next person, but when I buy my clothes from say Macy's or Nordstrom, I don't get employee discounts because I don't work at either of those places.   And I don't expect one either.  It's the same thing when buying goods for the home.  When a decorator buys something from a company for a client or a showroom purchases something, they are selling a product for that company and they get that discount / they get paid for selling the product. 
And the fact is that almost everything you buy passes through multiple hands before it reaches yours.  (Most companies just don't lay it out the way I just did because it can scare people away...  I hope I didn't scare you away though!!)

Anyway, I'm still learning and it's all very new to me.  But this is what I've gotten out of it all so far.  I hope this explains how we've determined our price & I hope it makes sense to you.  It's so important for me that anyone who buys our fabrics feels that they are worth what they are paying for and that they're happy with their decision. 

Anyway, I'm off for the day but don't forget to enter the LL Textiles giveaway if you haven't already!  It ends Friday & click here to eneter. 

xoxo, Lauren

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Lauren Liess Textiles Launch & Giveaway!

I'm so excited- the Pure Style Home online shop is UP!  wahooooo!!

If you have somd time, I'd love for you to check it out:   (And be careful because it's ".co" not com.  )  And, going live later today, if you click on the top right "SHOP" link at the top of this blog, it will also lead you to the store.  If you're reading this in email form, and you want to access the shop from the blog, just go to the blog itself ( and click on the top right SHOP link.

Included in the shop in the FAQs and POLICIES sections, you can read all about the fabrics & their uses, how to open a trade account if you're an interior designer, and how to order.  (it's easy! :)  On each fabric page, I described what I was thinking when I designed the fabrics & a little bit about what's behind them.

An important thing to think about when looking at our fabrics is that I washed many of the fabrics in the photos to give them a softer, more timeworn look.  I created the designs with this in mind & it's how I envision people using the line, but it's really up to you whether you wash the fabrics or not.  Some people like a crisper look, while others prefer the softer look with a bit of patina.  I have used them both ways for different clients, depending upon their preferences.  Washing the fabric, softens it and slightly fades the patterns.  Many of my patterns have been intentionally mottled to give the feeling of age, but washing them adds another layer of that timeworn quality, which I love.  It changes the patterns with darker backgrounds the most because the fading is more apparent.  For example, I washed this fabric below, multiple times on the "heavy" cycle of the wash with towels to roughen it and left it wrinkled to give it this look:

Those patterns with light backgrounds aren't as "aged" by the wash and it's hard to even tell the difference between washed & unwashed:

I'm thinking about doing a duvet cover for out bed in one of the fabrics with the light backgrounds...  The fabrics do not come washed so that part is up to you.... Just something to think about. 

ANYWAY, to celebrate, we're doing a giveaway!!  There will be two winners and each winner will receive 2 yards of a fabric of their choice each.  (A $240 value each)  I decided upon 2 yards because it's good amount for a couple of pillows, a body pillow or for framing fabrics like I did in this project a while back. 

{Filigree Chevron in Blue}

To enter the giveaway, just head on over to the Pure Style Home shop and come back to the blog & leave a comment in the comments section saying which is your favorite fabric pattern.  Be sure to leave your email address too so I can get in touch with you if you win.

You can get extra chances to win the giveaway if you:
-tweet about it or
-mention it on facebook
-or mention it on your blog. 

(For a total of 4 possible entries)  Just make sure that if you tweet / facebook / or blog about it,  you leave additional comments in the comments section for your additional entries. :)

I'll announce the {randomly chosen} winner Friday.

Good luck and thank you so much for coming along with me on this journey to getting the fabric line up & running.  I never would have had the confidence or energy to do this if it weren't for so many of you, encouraging me & just being there.  I really appreciate it & just knowing you're reading does more for me than I can even describe.  Thank you.   

Here's the link to the new shop: Pure Style Home Shop

xoxo, Lauren

photos by Helen Norman

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Thank you so much to my amazingly patient web designer Emily Thompson of Emmarie Web Design who worked with me to create the shop.  If you need help designing your website or blog, check her out; she's awesome.