An E-design Project

Many of you know I offer e-designs for clients who live outside the Birmingham area.  These are a great way to get a plan in place for decorating your spaces.  With access to the Internet, this type of design has become a very cost effective way to get a high end look for your home.  Recently, I completed an e-design for a client who lives in Hunstville, AL.  The home is in a much sought after neighborhood in Huntsville.  Here is a picture of the exterior of this incredible house.  

While the exterior of this house is very Victorian, the homeowners are a young, hip couple who are actually drawn to a more modern aesthetic.  So, I was asked to come up with a new design for their family room that would satisfy their modern taste while still blending the Victorian style and antique pieces in the rest of their home.  A tall order!  But, I was completely up for it.  I do confess, I spent several sleepless nights working on this project.  The layout of the space was very difficult.  These older homes have lots of little niches and details which add tons of character to the overall look of the home, but make furniture placement for practical living incredibly challenging.

Here are a few before pictures of the family room.  .  .
While the space was very pretty and open, it was not was not really working for their family.  The doorway you see to the right of the fireplace is coming in from the garage.  So, their rug was getting lots of wear from this traffic pattern.  

Due to the placement of the TV(in the picture below), you had people crossing between the sofa and the TV which can be distracting.  Also, if you wanted to sit in these chairs, you had to swivel them around to see the TV.  

This built in area was serving as their breakfast table and at first glance seemed to be working for the space.  However, the banquette was completely throwing off the main seating area and was making it impossible to line things up on the fireplace which was the focal point in the room.

Also, if you were in the kitchen, you could not see the TV which is not any fun when you are hosting a football game party!

Here's a close up of the bookshelves  - the clients were at a loss of what to use the deeper cabinet to the left for in the space.  They already have a fantastic bar area in the space.

So, after several sleepless nights (and I do mean several), I came up with two options for the space. 

And Option 2

My clients decided to go with Option 1, but with one small revision (based on option 2).  They made the decision to go ahead and remove the pass through to the bar. This allowed for more wall space in the new design for artwork, and for the addition of upper cabinets in the new butler's pantry (rather than "bar") area.  Also, notice in both designs, we removed the banquette.  Now, I realize this move may seem counter intuitive to some of you; but, the banquette (which was put in by a previous homeowner) was really limiting our ability to create a large seating area centered on the fireplace.  Sometimes, you have to really evaluate what is working in the space and what is not to create the very best layout possible. 

OK, so now for the fun part!  With most e-designs, I never get to see the space in person.  It's one of the biggest negatives for me in doing e-designs.   However, since Huntsville is not that far away, I had the rare opportunity to see the space in person!  My client asked me to come up and style the new space. Additionally, they asked for a complete redesign of the other rooms on the main floor of the home.  This is a great way to make the other rooms in your home (that are not getting any new furnishings) feel fresh and new.  You will have to wait to see the redesigned rooms (that's a whole post in and of itself)!  But for now, here are the images of the family room. 

  They are still working on some of the furnishings for the new space; however, they have made huge strides on the implementation.  So, far, they have removed the banquette area, closed up the pass through to the bar, reworked the bookshelves, and purchased lots of new items for the space.  We did complete the styling of the bookshelves and table tops, but some items are on order.  So, the space is not completely finished.  Here are a few shots I took while we were there.  The new dining table is still to be installed, but the leather bongo stools (and the new fabulous chandelier) are in! 

The swivel chairs in their new home (coupled with a table we moved in from the living room and a lamp from the foyer).

The amazing piece of artwork was hanging at the top landing of the stairwell, and it was just too fabulous not to be seen.  So, we pulled it into the space.  There are still a pair of small scale chairs that have yet to be delivered.  They will go on the left side of the sofa.  Also, notice we have included a new glass top coffee table to give the illusion of more floor space.  Any trick you can to make a small space feel larger!

Now, for the bookshelves, we had the uppers finished out to match the other bookshelves (removed the doors too) and moved the AV equipment to the lower cabinets.  This created a more cohesive look.  We also painted the backs of the bookshelves for some contrast.  Now, they simply wrap around and allow for the inclusion of more books and accessories.  Since this space is not huge, we really needed one more spot to display accessories.

This is a shot looking into the kitchen - please excuse all the accessories on the kitchen island.  That's what it looks like when we are styling a space.  That is cute Laura Cope who helped me with the styling on this project!  We had the best time in Huntsville!  Sorry to digress!  There will be linen drapery panels on the windows to the left to soften this area.  Also, I wanted to show you this Chesterfield sofa and new pillows.  What I love about this sofa is that it can read modern or traditional depending on the space you include it in.  This is the perfect combination for a traditional house with homeowners who like a modern vibe.  

That's it for now! As for the rest of the rooms we did a redesign in, you'll just have to wait!  Have to save something to look forward to, right?! M.


  1. your clients must be thrilled, all resolved, beautifully

  2. Great work! We have a LR with a tricky traffic pattern too so I appreciate the difficulty in furniture layout. I like option 1 plus closing the pass-through too.


Thank you for thoughts on my post! M.