So enough with 2 x 4’s, electrical wiring and space planning. My brain needs a break, some color, some pattern and some fun! Yesterday morning Mark and I met with the plumber, electrician, insulation company, framers and sheet-rock guys. All at the same time. The two of us got there at 9am to start marking everything and then everyone else arrived at 10am. We got about 25% of our planning done beforehand so it was a madhouse by 10am. Determining where I want chandeliers, sconces, recessed lighting, sinks, tubs, showers, vanity lights… all before I have picked out barely a thing is rather challenging. This is where my “dream list” comes in super handy and makes all of those things not quite as necessary early on in the renovation process. I will talk more about that shortly!
Mark knows me and my crazy design brain incredibly well by now but it’s always funny meeting with new people. They try and argue, or change my mind, or challenge an idea. But after my lengthy “why” explanations, they give up. And things move much faster that way. Now don’t get me wrong, a plumber and electrician are MUCH more knowledgeable in those areas than I am and I always get lots of advice on the technical/functional details but when it comes to where to center lighting and wanting a vanity cabinet to be a focal point rather than a tub/shower combo, those I always win. Contractors love designers. I just know it.
After meeting for over three hours to finalize everything, our electrician dubbed our house “the house of islands”. Once again, that was something on my “dream list” so I added one everywhere. From our master bathroom to our closet. I went a little island crazy. But as of right now, it is all finalized and underway and we are breathing a huge sigh of relief! I had pushed off those meetings for the last two weeks as I wrapped my brain around the final plans. I think Mark started to lose faith in my quick decision making abilities. But those are all mega important things that you don’t want to have re-done! But I feel great about them now. And now I also know exactly what I need to find and purchase!
In the meantime, as promised, I want to really dig deep into design and how I personally design a home from start to finish. Although my design planning posts will be on a large scale, like an entire home, you can still take these overall planning ideas and apply them to anything from choosing a single inspiration item to designing a room to renovating an entire home!
Step One: Dream List
You know that Pinterest board you have that now has 25,789,451 pins? Yes, that one. Ever wondered what that was ACTUALLY for? Well, here you go… it becomes your “Dream List”. Yes, it must be mega narrowed down but it serves as great inspiration to create the list that will guide your project. I have spent the last several months pinning lots of ideas HERE. And yes, designers pin and find inspiration through other designers too. Although my design brain may function a little differently than a non-designer, this step remains the same. Pin lots and lots and lots, and then scroll your boards several times and make a list, or several organized lists, of your MUST HAVES. Limit each list to 1-2 pages MAX. Because let’s be honest, you will not be scrolling your entire Pinterest board on every home shopping trip. It all becomes completely forgotten. You walk into a store and your mind goes blank. You look at all of the rugs and lighting and wallpaper. You get overwhelmed and you leave with $400 in pillows and candles. You know it’s true…
So today I am focusing on DESIGN ideas and inspiration. If you are planning an entire room or home or are doing a large scale project, I suggest making numerous lists. Today I titled mine “Decorative Ideas”. These are completely random, decorative ideas that I have seen, dreamed up or envisioned in a future home at some point over the last couple of years. It can be that you’ve always wanted to paint a room black, a patterned tile floor or a teal chandelier. Whatever it may be that you KNOW or THINK YOU KNOW you want, write it down.
Oh and remember those islands and that lighting plan I mentioned earlier, I will give you a sneak peek into creating those lists. Those fall into my “Fixture Ideas” list. From bathroom and closet islands to loving sconces to wanting two chandeliers over an island. Those are the items that although not yet chosen, my dream for the overall look guides the lighting plan.
Step Two: Go Shopping
As crazy as it may sound, go shopping… but maybe don’t even buy a thing. Just get out there, see what’s available and what catches your eye. Whether it’s online or in person, get a feel for your options. I start EVERY SINGLE home, room, space or even accent wall with an inspiration. I personally draw most of my inspiration from lighting, wallpaper and rugs. Those are usually the more expensive items and I want those to be the focal point, the shining star, the main attraction in my more colorful/pattern-ful spaces. Because I love to incorporate color and pattern most, I start with those items FIRST. Yes, before I choose a paint color, before I pick out flooring and before I choose furnishings (when possible), I start with some of the lesser needed items. Wallpaper may seem like something you’d choose last but for me, it can serve as inspiration for EVERYTHING in a room. Plus, as I always say, unless your inspiration is a wall color (which is totally fine and wonderful), there are ENDLESS wall color options so start with the more limiting selections first.
So over the last couple of weeks and even more so over the next couple of months, my sister and I have been heading out on weekly shopping trips. From Anthropologie to ADAC in Atlanta to Hygge & West, we have been to all of my faves. What I love about doing this early on is that I can sometimes snag up some great deals while I am at it! I have gathered up bags and books of wallpaper samples, fabric samples and lighting ideas for our new home. I even found a great deal on two lighting fixtures that I absolutely LOVE so I went ahead and purchased those! And of course each of these will be my starting point in designing each room I have envisioned these fixtures for…
Maybe you stumble across a great deal like I did that you cannot pass up or maybe you see something new and unexpected and you take home a sample or snapshot, those are all new inspiration items. But remember that “dream list”, don’t forget about that too! These shopping trips are where you also want to hunt down all of your options for those items. For example, my “dream list” involves a floral wallpapered bathroom. Yes, call me crazy but I love that this is a historic home and I want to create a juxtoposition between “your grandmother’s” floral wallpaper and rustic or industrial touches. I also really want to incorporate some black/white wallpaper possibly in the foyer. So for each of my “dream list” items, I tried to gather up all of my options. And one of my biggest pieces of advice… GET SAMPLES! Even if they cost you a tad, this is the BEST way to create a cohesive home and do further planning. You will be able to see it all together in one place.
All Wallpaper Above… Hygge & West
So in summary, narrow down those Pinterest boards, create a “Dream List” and then ALWAYS start with an inspiration. An idea, a color, a look, a pattern… it can be anything at all! And when I say anything at all, let me show you my powder room inspiration…
Yes, this image by @mintarrow totally caught my eye and I fell in LOVE with the juxtoposition between the beautiful, vintage and super girly floral dress with the rough concrete and metal siding. This is where I drew inspiration for the room I had mentioned previously. And see the wallpaper in the picture below at the bottom right? Could it be any more perfect for that idea? Yes, inspiration is EVERYWHERE!
LOTS more design planning, inspiration shopping and construction updates coming soon!
XOXO, Brittany Hayes