Friday, October 1, 2010

Designers Challenge 101

For todays post I have been invited to take part in a designers challenge by my fellow blogger Amanda Burge of AB Home Interiors.  Amanda leads a very similar professional life to mine, in that not only is she a designer and blogger but she also has her own home decor shop too!  Which I think is pretty cool. 

(photo from Amanda's web)

It was Amanda's idea to bring together a small group of design loving bloggers where we all post blogs on the same topic the same day.  A family friendly family room.  She invited me to participate along with 5 other very talented designers and bloggers to show you our stuff. 

Traci Zellar of Traci Zeller Designs

Kelly Berg of Arte Styling

Kelly James of Design Ties

Kathy Passarette of Creative home expressions

Amanda Burdge of

 These are all very talented creative women and I am thrilled to be part of this group!

The challenge is to design a family room on a budget of $6000.00 all included.  I'm always up for a challenge. This sounds easy enough but it can be very tough to do (more about that in my last paragraph). 

 It's always been my philosophy that everything always takes longer then expected and costs more money.  Words to live by :)  and be sure to repeat to clients!  The reality of the situation is that yes it is hard to accomplish but it can be done.  However, it's nuch easier if you use some of the furnishings or accessories that you already have and incorporate them into your new space.

For this challenge I am going to press my easy button and look at a project we completed last year that falls within the budget parameters of the challenge.  If any of you don't have an easy button on your desk I strongly urge you to go out and get one.  Staples has them for 4 dollars.  I'm telling you they work :) ... if for nothing other than a daily smile or positive affirmation or both. 

I always like to start off with a before image. 
This was the previous home owners version of the family room.   

My clients purchased the house and hired me to give this room an entirely different vibe and feel.  The room had pretty good bones to start with... including that marvelous cultured stone fireplace flanked by custom built-in cabinets.  It also had 2" white wood blinds that would be staying.  We added the drapery window treatments but for this challenge I did not include them in the pricing.  That would have put me way way over!

My clients sold most of their existing furniture from their previous residence and wanted to start fresh, completely from scratch. No Problem. They desired a relaxing calm room to chill out and entertain family and friends. 

 It's definitely a family friendly room and this entire room comes in within the alloted budget of this design challenge.  Everything in this room was sourced or supplied from Moving Designz Home & Cottage.

A close up of the 4 seater sofa, cushions and floor lamp.

The bookcase is decorated very minimalistic, just enough not too much.  My new clients hate clutter! 

Simple yet elegant cocktail table accessories.

A beautiful mirror completes the stone fireplace with the homeowners antique silver candle sticks.  And note we painted the mantle piece white.
Now for the furniture breakdown:

1 Lyric 4 seater sofa $1300.00
1 Lyric 3 seater sofa $1100.00
2 Brushed chrome dimming floor lamps $350.00
1 Espresso finished cocktail table $850.00
1 Expresso finished side table $275.00
1 Comfy leather club chair  $790.00
1 8 X 10 Cream shag area rug  $980.00


1 Cream throw blanket  $45.00
5 Assorted feather filled toss cushions $150.00
1 Glass vase $12.00
5 White pillar candles $50.00
2 Silver Starfish $13.50
2 Glass dishes $24.00
1 Green orchid plant $29.00
1 Silver round mirror $199.00

Total = $6167.50  Yes, slightly over but I think I did good... Do you?

Thank you Amanda for asking me to participate in this challenge.   Hmmmm ....    I wonder what the other bloggers will do? 
Under normal circumstances I would start fresh and do a mock up of an entirely new room design.  But these days nothing is normal for me... read on...

We are very busy preparing to move the shop, finalizing all the moving details, packing box after box, ordering new merchandise, designing the new store, and keeping up with our design projects. 

We are finishing packing all day today, Oct 01.  Yesterday was our last day open in Summerside.  The movers are coming tomorrow. Next week we will be settling in and setting up the new shop. It's all so exciting. Our Charlottetown address is 98 Fitzroy St in the new Homburg Financial Tower, main floor. 
More about our new space here: 

(Anita to the left, then Ashley and Susan on the right)

Here's my wonderful very talented team last Wednesday night as we attended the grand opening for the new building.    These girls have been working so hard over the last month checking things off our never ending "to do" list.  Thank you to both of you, I'm lucky to have you with me :)

And Thank You to our very loyal customers from all over and especially our Summerside friends.
  Please come visit us, we will miss you.

Thanks for reading.  Have a great weekend!


DesignTies said...

You're lucky you have a real actual room to use for the challenge!! And we're lucky that we get to see your design come to life :-) Love the stone fireplace and the built-ins. And all the Moving Designz pieces, of course!!

Good luck luck with the move!!


Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions said...

What a great room you had to work with Susan, and I never thought to even use one I've done! The fireplace with the built-ins are my favorite. I love when you have a good foundation to build off of. Love the throw pillows, just enough color. The mirror over the fireplace is perfect and helps break up a lot of the straight lines. Nicely done, Susan!

Kelly Berg, IIDA, IACC-NA said...

The room design looks great, Susan! It has a comfy yet polished lived-in feel. Nicely done!
And, I don't blame you one bit for re-purposing a prior project. It's good for the environment, right? ;)

Congrats on your new store location, and good luck with the move!

AB HOME Interiors said...

Susan, Thank-you for participating in this ridiculous challenge! Time constraints, life and work...oh and let's throw in a move and a BIG blog challenge to get up by Oct 1st!! I cannot believe you agreed to do it, and with such grace! The design is beautiful and I thank-you again for carving out a moment to partake in the fun!

traci zeller designs said...

So fun to see how your real room came together! It looks fantastic!!! Congrats on your move. So exciting!

Vanessa@decor happy said...

It's amazing what decluttering the bookshelves can to do a room. Love the way you styled them and the whole room looks fresh and comfortable.

Good luck with your move and congrats again on your new space.

Elise Lowerison said...

I love the look of the room you designed for this challenge, it is homey, yet sophisticated. I came across your post this afternoon while browsing interior design blogs and the topic of window treatment selection was very interesting to me. Could the window treatments in this room bring out some color? It is true that you must dress your windows appropriately to bring out their true beauty. Thank you for writing and as a special thanks to you and your readers, I would like to offer a 20% off coupon using this code upon checkout: BLG20.

Dayka (Life +Style) said...

So funny that you've already done a space very similar to the one we were given! You did a beautiful job in the room , and I can't believe that you came in so close to budget--wow. Congrats on your move!

Kerri said...

I love what you did there Susan - I'm always partial to a lovely stone fireplace, and the built-in cabinets look great. As with all of your designs, it looks warm, relaxed and stylish all at once. Good luck with the big move too!K xx

Jessica said...

Oh wow - you did an outstanding job! The transformation is incredible. I love how the room feels light and airy - definitely a place I'd like to curl up and gab with friends!

Donna @ dh designs said...

Great job Susan! I love all of your choices! It looks like a very stylish comfortable family room - one I wouldn't mind spending time in myself.

Best of luck with the move and new store location.

Anonymous said...

Of all the rooms in this challenge your is my fave by far.

Lisa said...

I love the summery fresh feeling you gave the family room. Good luck with the move I'm sure you'll be settled in, in no time!

The Zhush said...

Having the design actually installed is so great! Love what you have done here, the accessories really elevate the whole room, love them all!

Ideezine said...


It appears you have a full plate of projects to juggle at this time. Good luck in your new space, and projects new and existing. It's a great feeling to complete projects especially those with challenges in budget and timelines.

Most people don't realize that you must work backwards
(completion date) in order to move forward on projects. List ing out all possible situations (decisions, out of stock, discontinued items, errors in communication, and even weather) to make it work or look so-easy.

Flexibility in attitude, tone, and reaction keep a project moving and Susan you've got it covered!

Fun post and thanks for your comment @ Ideezine.