Feeling relaxed and boheimian

Comfort in soft colors..

image via miguel flores vianna

Client Project: Sneakity Peek

I've been remiss about getting "afters" of my finished projects for clients.  It's on my list of things to do and so this week, since I'll be wrapping up a client's living & dining rooms, I'll be sure to get photos.   Here's a shot I took today of the pen shell coffee table in the living room:

I'm slightly obsessed. 

xoxo, Lauren

Greige Wedding...

I am totally in love with this...  So wonderful and feminine...  If I were to do it all again.  This would work just perfectly!!

images via Agent Bauer and 100 layer cake by Lo Bjurulf

Fox News.com

Today on Fox News' imagazine, I was featured in an article about decorating for young families and also in another little slideshow/ article with photos & tips.  I was interviewed by Brooke Eaton of Fox News and she's a very sweet, savvy writer and can't thank her enough for the article.   I was a bit nervous to be interviewed, but it was a lot of fun and Brooke made me feel instantly at ease. 

The focus of the article was on decorating for young families, particularly those with kids.  As you know, I haven't given up the fight for a pretty house even though I have two little boys.  (Although at times it feels like a losing battle ;)  It's funny to see yourself quoted in an article and I had to laugh out loud when one of my quotes when asked about design tips for parents with young children was, "It's your life, not your kids'."  hahahah oh boy...  But as harsh as that may sound, (as far as decorating / designing in concerned ;) I believe it 100%.  Design a house that still feels adult/ beautiful by keeping kids' toys to a minimum and providing attractive, accessible storage for them.  Kids' toys can be in every room of the house without taking over.   A running joke in the family is that one of the first things you say to your newborn baby when he arrives is "welcome to our world."

BUT- All joking aside, we love our little dudes- we just think they should keep their primary-colored toys hidden ;) ;)

xoxo, Lauren

To read both articles go:
1) here (decorating for young families) and
2) here (for the Pure Style Home article/ slideshow.)

Vintage French... the garden table

I love how a well done shop can make you just jump in excitement! The layering that you cannot do in your own home is always a plus. Right now I am lusting after a little french garden table. I have no real need for it so currently it is un-purchased but someday maybe..

Today is the last day to enter to win the Recycled Canvas Purse from My Sparrow

images via eclectic revisited and eloquence

Paint Colors: In Photos vs 'Real Life'

I've gotten lots of emails asking for paint colors used in various rooms/ specific projects.  And I've been so terrible about answering them.  (I'm sorry!!)  My first excuse is that when I don't remember them off of the top of my head, I put off going down to where our paint is stored or opening a client's file and finding the name of color.  It ends up being one of those things that just gets pushed to the end of the list of things I mean to do... 

{Justin's nursery}

One of the rooms I never mentioned a paint color for was Justin's nursery.  I didn't do this on purpose (and never purposely withhold paint colors or sources) but the truth is that we used every last drop of the paint on the walls, ditched the empty gallon, and I don't remember the name of color!!!!  It was a crazy time for us and that's really all I can say.  If I got out the deck & went & matched it, I could figure it out, but my #2 reason/excuse for not being so dilligent about supplying paint colors (and the reason it gets pushed very low on the list of things 'to do') is because paint color look different in different spaces.  Light changes everything and although it will probably look close, it might not match exactly so the "perfect navy blue" in my house might be very different from the perfect navy in your house.  

I learned this lesson first-hand when I used this color as inspiration for my family room: 

{Design by Ruthie Sommers, photo by Don Freeman for House Beautiful}

When I got out the paint chip (Blue Seafoam by Benjamin Moore) it was so much more intense than it looked in the photos and I knew that it would look way darker on my walls than it did in the Ruthie Sommers house.  Here's a sample:

It was not what I wanted and I was shocked at how dark the swatch was.  I went a couple of shades lighter with a tad more yellow (in another brand- Freshaire Choice Color: "Midwest Springs") and got a very similar-looking color for my walls & exactly what I wanted:

{Our family room}

And here's the Ruthie Sommers room again for reference:

The paint swatches look very different when compared next to one another in person, but the wall colors in the photos of the rooms look really similar.  Photography, lighting, time of day, etc. all come into play when selecting a paint color and that's one of the reasons exact paint colors aren't very important to me when trying to duplicate the look of a room.  Knowing paint colors is useful for points of reference, but in the end, the color chosen on a wall needs to be specifically chosen for that room.    (I.e., knowing a paint color will get you close/ in the ballpark, but in the end go with what works best in your space.)  I can take a photo in a room of my house- morning, noon and night - and the color will look different in each photo.

I never mind getting questions about colors so of course keep them coming but if I don't answer you, please know that I've put it on my list of colors to check!!  Hope you had a great weekend & yay for summer!!!

xoxo, Lauren

Update-  Just to clarify:  I should mention that I don't do "trial & error" painting & you can train yourself to properly visualize the colors before they go up on the walls.  (Clearly trial and error would not work for clients, and it's years of experience and knowing how colors will look once they are actually painted on a wall as opposed to how they look on a sample that will get you the right color choices...  Because I knew how the Blue Seafoam sample would look if actually painted on my wall, I knew right away it wasn't the color for me.  What was shocking to me was how it translated in the photo...  As a much lighter color. :)  Hope that makes sense!     Check out Colour Me Happy for expert color advice & prefessional training!

White wash

The ceiling height in here is amazing!  Can you imagine..

image via Ditte Isager

Weekend wishes...

I hope you are having a nice relaxing weekend!  Oh what I would not do to have that chaise to relax and read on...

Don't forget to enter our Recycled Canvas Purse giveaway from My Sparrow..

Image via Ditte Isager

For two

so so relaxing...

Congratulations Class of 2010

This past week, Fairfax County's seniors, the Class of 2010, graduated.  My husband, David, teaches English at our local high school, and was voted by the seniors to give the Commencement speech at the graduation ceremony.  He was introduced at graduation as "hard & crunchy on the outside but soft & chewy in the middle."  The student speaker joked about how Dave used to make fun of a student because of his long hair, but they thought it was only becase he was jealous because he doesn' have any hair.  The student introducing him also told a story relayed to him by a teacher: "I mentioned to David that I was hungry in school one day & had forgotton my lunch.  When I got back from teaching my next class, there was a happy meal waiting on my desk for me."

{Dave with the boys}

I loved his speech and wanted to share it with you.  (I'm not including the ad-lib funny parts, because you had to be there for those ;)  I know it meant a lot to the kids & parents there...

{The Graduation at the Patriot Center}

"Ladies and Gentlemen, Distinguished Colleagues and Guests, Principal Bates and of course Class of Two Thousand and Ten, it is a great honor to be here before you speaking today.

Eleven years ago I sat where you are now, looking up at some old, bald guy telling me that he once sat where I was sitting... But I all I could think about was when is his speech going to end so I can get to beach week at where else? The Jersey Shore.

The moral of this story is that by the age of twenty-one this attitude had me bald with a terrible GPA and nothing but a couple of Beer-Pong Trophies to show for it. I made a lot of bad choices in my youth and I've spent the past seven years working harder than I’d ever thought possible to remedy them. Immanual Kant says ‘the only thing that can bring you morals are the starry sky above and the moral law within” and Saba (a student) has fallen asleep. Just like class.

Fine, I get it, no Kant. But seriously listen… you are the result of the choices you make. How about a Batman Quote?  It’s not who you are inside but your actions that define you. Better? It’s not who you are inside but your actions that define you. The scary thing about this is that half the time you don’t even realize the choices you’re making because you’re just doing what you always do- what you’ve always done. When you’re in a situation for the first time- that’s when you think about what you’re going to do and why. The first time you get too much change back at McDonald’s: Are you thinking, “Sweet, I’m sure I’ve overpaid before,” or are you thinking about that worker’s register coming up short at the end of his shift and that money coming out of his paycheck? Say you take the money, no biggie, fine- but the next time you’re given too much change, that money just goes right into your pocket; you don’t need to think about it. You’ve already had this conversation with yourself, why have it again?  You’re on auto-pilot. How about the first time someone calls you a bad name in elementary school?  You have to think about how you will react- you can:

A) call them one back – even though mom said not to call names

B) punch them in the face – they do have it coming


C) walk away – everyone’s going to make fun of you

You choose your action.  But no need to think about it next time. Next time you’re just going to react. Get it?   Re- Action- Repeat your Action. Eventually we all are faced with enough situations that we stop thinking about why we are doing something and just do what we’ve always done in that situation. This is now who we are. Sometimes people will observe our behaviors and label us. What a “Pyscho!” What an “Idiot!” She is such a “blank.” He such an “blank.”  (My speech got edited ;)   But you know what kind of labels are out there. And more importantly, what kind of behavior gets you those labels. The sad part is, when you got that label you probably didn’t even think about what you were doing, you were just reacting, doing what you always do in that situation. That’s why those initial choices are so important.

At twenty-one years old, I realized I didn’t like who I was. I met this girl who kept telling me “that’s not ok,” when I would do something morally wrong, and the funny thing was, deep down I knew she was right: How I was acting didn’t reflect who I was inside. I had to figure out why. I started thinking about why I was doing the things I was doing (like punching people in the face) and then I had to change how I handled those situations... (Actually she stills tells me when I’m not doing the right thing, but it's way less often now.)

I want to do the same favor for you. Class of 2010, you’ve made many achievements and accomplishments in your four years here at Herndon and I have truly enjoyed teaching you.... but… not all of you have been the model of good behavior. Secretly, I think that’s why you picked me to make this speech. You knew you would get honesty.... So some of those choices you’ve made these past four years: “That’s not ok.” So think about how you came to those decisions.

All of you are going to be faced with many new situations in college and in the “real world” and you are going to be in some familiar situations. When someone asks you to go out drinking what are you going to say? What about Sex? or Drugs? What happens if you say ‘yes’ to the first one, do you answers to the second two change? How about Cheating? Plagiarizing? Speeding? I’m just saying… think about where you stand on these things and why.   I’m telling you this because nobody told me this.  College is the chance to start over. You can change that label - You can change your answers to those questions, or if you like them, keep them the same. Just take this opportunity, Class of 2010, and think about who you've been the past four years. Do you want to be the same person? You are the only one who can answer this and you know deep down there is something you want to change.
Do it.
Make it happen.
Be who you want to be, not who you’re friends want you to be.
Let your actions define you proudly.

...And oh yeah- Congratulations! "

I'm so proud of him and won't go on about my feelings to save you from my cheesiness.  But Congratulations to all of you moms with graduating seniors and YAY FOR SUMMER VACATION!!!

xoxo, Lauren

Design ideas from Darryl Carter..

It is possible that I am a little obsessed with Darryl Carter... but I saw this short video and I thought that you might enjoy another peek at his amazing house and hearing what he has to say about color and design.

Also, in a side note you can grab a copy of his book from Amazon on the side bar on the left...

More great clips from Sonu and Darryl here

My Sparrow Recycled Canvas Purse giveaway!

Today's giveaway is from My Sparrow, they are offering their Small Recycled Canvas Purse.  This purse is a great look for summer...

Best of  luck!  

For a chance to win please visit My Sparrow and leave a comment below, for an additional chance to win you can tweet or blog about our giveaway.  The winner will be chosen at random on June 28th .  

**Don't forget I have to be able to contact you...  Please leave your name and some type of contact information if you are not able to be contacted with your profile** 

** Congrats to Patricia of PVE on winning our giveaway!**

Good Morning!

Taking a short break from the chair posts... sorry it seems I have been unknowingly posting about chairs, chairs and more chairs...  Have a lovely day!

images via  Ditte Isager

The French House

The French House is located in England and it looks like a little piece of chair heaven!  I am obsessed with old chairs and recovering them (currently have 5 projects in the works for old chairs).  I think I would die if I were to see so many beauties in one space... Not to mention all of the other treasures it looks like they have there!

Images via light locations and the french house

My New Go-To Dress

Kayce Hughes, the super-talented designer of Pears + Bears, became a Pure Style Home sponsor a couple of months ago.  I was immediately smitten with her company and her iconic designs, and fell head over heels for her denim tunic dress.  I love Kayce's style and I'm crazy about her chidlren's lines too.  {Oh my goodness so adorable!! Best gifts ever!!}

I'm always on the look-out for "Go-To" clothes:  The pieces in our wardrobes that always work, that we're just guaranteed to feel good in.   Kayce's dress looked like one of those magic pieces to me and now that I have one, I can honestly tell you that it is!! 

Kayce & I swapped clothes for ads and I would so not do this if I weren't in love with her stuff.    ("Modeling" is not easy as I learned when taking these pics with a dying camera battery but VERY worth my new beautiful go-to dress!!  Thank you Kayce!!  I love it!!!) 

So, what are your favorite go-to pieces?  I always think how I would love to have a fairly modestly-stuffed closet full of only go-to pieces... 

xoxo, Lauren


ps-  Stacy just asked a good question in the comments:  It looks longer on me than it is on Kayce in her photo on the website.  I'm 5'8 and it hits me just above the knee.  I love it at both lengths and I am guessing the one Kayce is wearing is hemmed shorter, but as soon as I hear back from her, I'll let you know.   (ok eeek-  now I need 2!!  one long and one short!! hahah)

Playing Favorites

This is one of my favorite images...  I am not sure why I just love it!
I am not even sure where it is from...

Happy First day of summer!!

Hope you are enjoying the first day of Summer! 

images via Christine Rudolph

Erin Martin Rope Chandelier

I am totally in love with the rope chandelier from Erin Martin Design...  So cool and I love the table display with the coral and the candles!

images via Erin Martin Design

Justin's Baptism

We have family in town so I need to be quick but wanted to share a couple of pics from Justin's Baptism yesterday.  (above)

Also, I'll write more later about THE BEST SANDWICH EVER (pictured below)

Hope your weekend was great!!

xoxo, Lauren

A Little more Darryl Carter...

I found these cool little numbers on his site..I am sure we have all seen the bath before but I am in love with the lounge in the top photo and the pics of the puppy..

images via darryl carter

Advertise on greige

Interested in advertising on greige? I am now accepting sponsors for July. For more information on advertising please check here.

image via Aaron Hom

Stop and stay awhile...

I found this on one of my new favorite blogs... yummy pictures here my friends.. eclectic revisited  you simply must go by and see!

Truth in Design

Honesty in art & design...  It's often a very elusive thing to achieve.  I find that I'm constantly searching for an understanding of how to create honest, true, "real" designs.  It's not an easy task and one that I've made it a goal to get better at through the years.   

{Darryl Carter in his DC townhome featured in Elle Decor, photo by Simon Upton}

Much of my design work comes from logic, careful planning & attention to balance, scale, color, harmony...  but then the other part of it comes straight from my gut.  (I think this is how it is with many people)  It's that "gut" aspect that can't be forced.  That has to be real & honest and current.  It's not a recreation of what's already there, but a new concept...  something created or incorporated to spark a feeling.  

{Our living room}

In his lecture Some Hints on Pattern Designing  (delivered on October 4th 1899)  textile designer, artist, socialist, and writer William Morris said, "Every work of man which has beauty in it must have some meaning also; that the presence of any beauty in a piece of handicraft imples that the mind of the man who made it was more or less excited at the time, was lifted somewhat above the commonplace; that he had something to communicate to his fellows which they did not know or feel before, and which they would never have known or felt if he had not been there to force them to it."

{portrait of Willian Morris by George Frederic Watts}

I haven't been able to get it out of my head because it's just so true.  The words "I'm so excited about..." come out of my mouth (and often onto the blog!) pretty regularly...  (Hence the overabundance of exlamation points you're used to seeing here ;)  Now I'm not saying that what I'm necessarily excited about is anything new to anyone else, but to me it's new, and the potential for beauty I see is exciting to me... My goal with every project I do is to create something that is new for my clients & provokes a feeling that they would not have without my design...  To spark a feeling, to create a mood, to set the perfect (in the realest sense) backdrop for my clients' lives.

{Women's Shelter bedroom by me & Rebecca Ilgenfritz}

To do this, a design has to be true & honest.  It can't be a copy or an imitated-version of another room.  Anyone can do that and I wouldn't want to pay someone to do it for me.  Because each person, each family is different, their homes should reflect their uniqueness.  One of my favorite parts of meeting new clients is helping them figure out their personal styles.  And then taking that style and applying it to the mood of a room, because even someone with a self-described "casual elegant" style may want a room that makes him or her feel happy or a room that makes him or her feel alert or relaxed or calm or whatever.  There are different goals for different spaces in a home, and I love figuring out the desired mood/ feeling in a space and to set about making it a reality.  Again, to create a truth or an environment that did not exist before the design came to life.

There are so many different levels and depths to decorating/ design.  So many goals and so many desires.  Some people's desires are more surface-grazing: a beautiful room that they and the people who visit their home will love...  It's well-designed and often complimented.  Others want a home that is updated and comfortable: Does it have hardwood floors? Check. Does it have granite counters? Check. Does it have my favorite color? Check. Does it have 'art?' Check.  Pretty and comfortable furnishings? Check.  Is it "pulled together?" Check. And this is totally okay! 

...  But there are others who want something deeper.  Honestly, it's what I'm after.  I want a feeling... It has a "pace" or "speed"...  a level of motion or a "pitch" if that makes any sense.  (See synesthesia if this isn't clear)  My desires for the feeling I want in a room change failry regularly... often seasonally.  But the essence of it remains.

{Our foyer at Christmas}

It can be a new observation or true appreciation for a type of art or a fabric.  When we laugh out loud because of a movie or something we're reading, we often find ourselves saying to ourselves, "that's so true."  (Think of Seinfeld...  observing life's daily monotonies and saying the statement/ observation out loud.  We laugh because of the truth of what he's saying.) 

We also feel other emotions when presented with truths like these in stories or movies, songs,  or to sum it up in all types of "art."  Honest representations have meaning or truth behind them.

{Iwo Jima by planetware.com}

Like many things there's the cheeseburgers and the prime rib...  (I think Stephen King said this??)  But sometimes  you are in the mood for a cheeseburger and sometimes you're in the mood for prime rib.  Although prime rib is widley regarded as "better" than a cheeseburger, the best cheeseburger in the world is better than a poorly cooked prime rib.  Think of design/decorating like that.  In honesty, in creating what is "real,"  you can create the perfect cheeseburger, and isn't that better than making a crappy prime rib?  My point is be what you are.  When you design, design for the space and the client at hand.  Beautiful things like crown molding exists, and when used in the correct spaces, are perfection, but just because crown molding exists and is beautiful and you can do it, does not mean it is right for every space and will necessarily make your space look beautiful.  (The same applies especially for granite countertops!! ;)  Honesty in design is appropriateness. Do what you do and do it well.  Don't worry about it being what everyone else is doing or what's "in" or "out."  It needs timeless appeal to you and/ or your client.

{image from babble.com}

Our house is a cheeseburger and we've tried to make it the best cheeseburger ever for us:  which would be one with lots of garlic and basil added into the meat, and even sometimes carrot puree.  A lot of people might not like all that stuff in their burgers...  So, even the "best" cheeseburger for us isn't necessarily the "best" to others and might not have mass appeal, but we love it and we live here. 

{The Something's Gotta Give Living Room via Cote de Texas}

However, many of the rooms that we (design-lovers) do fall in love with, are seemingly personalized spaces, because we appreciate how perfect and appropriate the space is for the people who live there.  (Think of the Something's Gotta Give House, above.  People (me included) feel head over heels for this it!!)  We appreciate the honesty in creating a space that's both highly personal and beautiful.  We take inspiration from these rooms and cherish our magazine tear pages. The inspiration should translate into learning,  reinterpretation, personalization and creating...  not necessarily copying if we're trying to actually create something new, something with its own soul....  something that wouldn't have existed if we didn't create it.


I am still learning and know it's a lifelong process.  I know there's still so much more to know.  There's a potential that I hope to reach and I know I'm not even close to it.  I don't say this to be vain, but because I'm sure you feel it too.  We all have this potential we're striving to reach...  to learn to create a truly honest design. 

Sorry to get all heavy on a Friday but I just had to get some thoughts out. :)  See you Monday and get excited about the weekend!!  ;)

xoxo, Lauren
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