October 24, 2009

Design Lines celebrates 30 years!

A few weeks ago we celebrated a big event at Design Lines - 30 years in business! My boss Judy Pickett started our firm in a yellow house on Glenwood Avenue in 1979 with $500 in her pocket.

Not long after that, Laurie and Molly joined the firm, and Design Lines moved into a house on Peace Street. An old ad is shown above, featuring an old logo.

We celebrated at Judy's house with current and past clients, vendors, and of course the Design Lines staff! Cydney English at The English Garden provided the flowers - and they were beautiful as always!

Brittany's beautiful handwriting tagged each food item on the menu. The event was catered by Lip Service, and everything was delicious! Kyle and I had a great time. I especially enjoyed introducing him to clients and vendors that I work with everyday, but he'd never met before.

Client's really enjoyed getting to see Judy's elegant home. Food was scattered in different rooms, with a tent in the front for additional gathering space. I snapped these photos before the guests arrived.

The powder room and entry hall are shown above.

I love this shot of the master bedroom - the soft light coming in the windows made the whole room glow!

The dining room is shown above left, with the dining chairs pulled away to allow room for guests. And on the right, another shot of the master bedroom. Judy has an amazing collection of original art!

The 84-85-86 crew! (In reverse order, based upon the year we were born.)

And finally, the whole Design Lines team at the end of the night: Laurie (business admin), me, Ashley (designer), Judy (owner and designer), Molly (designer), Hilaire (communications), and Brittany (designer). The event was a huge success with around 200 guests! Design Lines has come a long way in thirty years!

October 21, 2009

Decorating on a Budget

A friend of mine from college, Katie Carruth, told me a few months ago that she was starting her own interior decorating business, Charming Innovations. I was excited to hear about her shared passion for helping others with their homes, and I'm thrilled that she is pursuing what she loves! This past week, I was featured as a guest blogger on her site talking about decorating on a budget, and I thought I would share it with you!

Set a budget

This is probably the least fun part, but the most important! To prevent overspending while decorating, you need to understand what you can spend on each item. Begin by making a list of the items you need (sofa, pair of chairs, etc). Then, estimate how much you can spend on each and add the amounts together for your overall budget. This total will dictate what items you can afford to buy new, and what may need to be reused or bought secondhand. If the total you'd like to spend is more than what you have on hand, you should plan to make purchases over time, saving for the things you want.

Holly Becker of Decor8 spent 1,400 euros or about $1,650 on her living room in Germany.

Know your options

As you begin to think of what you need for your room, realize that your material choices can directly affect your budget. For example, paint is less expensive than wallpaper, but if you really want the look of wallpaper, perhaps a stencil or wall decals could give a similar look. When shopping for upholstery pieces, know that leather is going to be the most expensive. Pre-made window treatments are less expensive than custom draperies, but you can get a similar effect by adding trim. As Callie mentioned, sisal rugs are usually more affordable than wool rugs. Laminate wood is less expensive than hardwood. Sometimes you can get the look for less!

This is one of my favorite before and afters from Design*Sponge! Look at what a difference a little paint and fabric can make!

Do it yourself

You can easily save money in your home by tackling some projects yourself! You can paint a room in a day for very little money. Painting is probably the cheapest and quickest way to transform a room! Hanging wallpaper is also a skill that can be learned fairly easily. Consider learning more about how to paint furniture, just like Katie has done. You may be able to transform furniture pieces that you are considering tossing! If you know how to sew or have an interest in learning, you can make pillow covers, tablecloths or runners, curtains, and more. That is a perfect way to give your room a custom look without paying more for it! When shopping for new furniture, look for pieces that you assemble yourself. They tend to be less expensive, but can have the quality of already-assembled pieces. You can also create your own artwork! Be inspired by abstract artists or take photos of some of your favorite places and have them enlarged! In your kid's rooms, photocopy illustrations from their favorite books for art they'll love! If it is a custom size but needs to be framed, buy a standard size frame and have the mat cut to size. Reusing anything you already have will certainly save you money - look for ways to transform it!

Christie Kauffman at Just Beachy spent under $2000 on this room. She bargain hunts and uses slipcovers because she loves to change up the look.

Shop smart

If you are on an Ikea budget, you shouldn't walk into Pottery Barn to find your main pieces. Be smart about where you allow yourself to shop so that you aren't tempted to overspend. You can find quality furniture and accessories at secondhand sources like Craigslist, Ebay, yard sales, consignment stores, flea markets. Check outlet stores or shop end of season sales. For your main pieces, don't buy anything too trendy that you are likely to tire of. Instead, use inexpensive accessories to add interest.

These two rooms were designed by Susan Tollefsen on a $5000 budget for the Nation's Next Top Model Home competition - I love her design!

Spend wisely

For the most part, the saying is true - you get what you pay for. I'd like to make the point that getting the best price now may not be the wisest purchase. For example, bargain furniture stores sell sofas for $500 or so. A $500 sofa is made differently than a $1500 sofa. What is the difference, you ask? While it varies, it may mean that the wooden joints haven't been reinforced, the cushions are made of foam, and that the upholstery is synthetic. This means that the piece isn't as structurally sound and may crack over time. Foam cushions aren't as comfortable as feather cushions, and they aren't as likely to bounce back with use. Synthetic upholstery can be resilient, but I can promise you that the fabric on a $500 sofa was not expensive. Micro-fiber fabric, which is commonly used, is composed of little bits of fiber that are glued together to form the suede-like fabric. Overtime the glue will break down and the fibers will flake off. Consider that a $500 sofa may only last three years, while a $1500 sofa may last twenty-years, saving you a good bit of money in the long run. (The amounts mentioned are general, and are not direct indicators of the quality of the furniture.) I can hear you thinking: It makes sense that a $1500 sofa would be better quality, but I just can't afford that right now. Instead of buying new, consider buying used, but look for things made by reputable furniture companies.

Find out as much as you can about how the furniture is made. I've seen pieces of painted, solid wood furniture that weren't primed first, and over time the wood began to show through! As for me, I spent the most on my sectional because that was the place that I could feel the biggest difference in quality based on the comfort. On the other hand, I knew I didn't want to spend much on a coffee table because I wanted to be able to put my feet up on it. Decide what is most important for you.

I hope these tips help you stick to a budget while decorating your home! If they left you feeling overwhelmed about where to start or unsure of what items to keep and what to toss, consider hiring a professional to help you develop a design plan. With experience working within budgets, we can help you know where to look and how to cut costs. Happy decorating!

October 18, 2009

My Chair & My Inspiration

My chair is back from being reupholstered! While I've had it a few weeks, I just hadn't found the time to blog about it until now.

Before and after. It love it! It is so comfortable and so cute now! I bought the chair for $100 on Craigslist. Since it was made by Hickory Chair (which is a company we carry at work), I knew that it would be a well-made piece that will last forever. I refinished the legs myself and then had it reupholstered in an ikat fabric. Last weekend I made the brown lumbar pillow for it. I was excited to get my sewing machine out since it had been a while, and now I'm excited to do more projects!

The ikat fabric I chose reminds me so much of the fabric used on the pieces above. That fabric is by Madelin Weinrib and is sold for around $500 per yard! If you aren't familiar with ikat, you should check out this post on ikat at Design*Sponge. True ikat is made by painting the threads before weaving the fabric - which creates the irregular shapes that characterize the patterns. I'm planning to make accent pillows out of the floral fabric to the above right.

That fabric was designed by Celerie Kemble (above) - one of my favorite interior designers. I love her style! And, as you can see in the photo above and the article below, she used the Madelin Weinrib ikat in her nursery! (I'm a green addict too.)

September 11, 2009

And the winner is...

About a month ago, I got an email with an ad for a contest. To enter, you simply had to follow them on Twitter. I thought that sounded pretty simple, so I entered - and I won!

I won two original acrylic paintings by Jamie Packard from New Era Portfolio, usually sold for $2,000! I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet. (I think they would work best in a kid's room, but we don't have any plans for that right now.)

September 10, 2009

Congrats Mr. & Mrs. Lagstrom!

Yes, it has been awhile since I last blogged - what can I say, we've been busy! This past weekend was filled with fun celebrations for Allison and Scott's big day!

Their fiesta-themed rehearsal after party featured a mariachi band and mustaches for everyone!

Their elegant wedding was held at Prestonwood Country Club in Cary! Taylor shared a wonderful message relating Christ's love for the church to the love of a groom and his bride.

Beautiful details from the wedding - a bridesmaid's bouquet, the most delicious cake, and tall centerpieces!

As they left, bubbles filled the air! Seriously - there were tons of them! Congrats Lagstroms!

August 18, 2009

We all need a little help from our friends

Since our Community Group started meeting back in February, we've found out that we like each other - a lot! The people you surround yourself with are so important, certainly they influence us, and it's amazing to have others there when you truly need them. Kyle and I have enjoyed getting to know our group - and watching it grow. But last week we had to say goodbye to a few. Hayley left us for Wilmington for her first year of college, and Phil moved up to DC for a new job in animation. (The extra sad thing about Phil leaving is that it means Katy, his fiance, will be leaving soon as well.)

Kyle made banners to show our love, and we enjoyed a night of great food and great conversation.

Phil and Hayley - You are missed!! (FYI, that's not Hayley rolling up the banner, that's her sister Lara. Hayley is in the paint splattered shirt beside Lara in the top photo). Lara was careful to save Hayley's banner for dorm room decoration.

August 17, 2009

Design Lines' new website!

We've been working hard over the past few months to revamp our website at work - and it's finally finished! The blog is the next thing on the list for a makeover. Check it out here!

August 4, 2009

Our Anniversary

To celebrate our first anniversary, Kyle planned a trip to Charlotte, back to the hotel where we stayed on our wedding night. We relaxed, laid out by the pool, went shopping, and out to eat. It was great to get away for the weekend!

Upon arriving at the hotel, we were greeted with a surprise - my mom went to the hotel earlier that day to drop off the top layer of our wedding cake and treated us to a bottle of champagne and a bowl of fresh fruit. She is always so thoughtful!

We went downtown to eat at Flemming's on Saturday and enjoyed a four-course meal! It was delicious! I don't think I've ever been so full in my life. I recommend the banana crème brûlée!

And on our actual anniversary, we traveled to High Point for Bruce & Sarah's wedding! Congratulations to the Carroll's!

August 2, 2009

Five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes

One year ago - 8/02/2008

Happy Anniversary Babe! I love you!

July 29, 2009


The past few weeks have been busy with thing like the premier of the latest Harry Potter movie, a pool party, praise and worship nights, a blood drive, a bachelor party, and studying the book of Mark with our Community Group.

While waiting in line for Harry Potter, Kyle ate the largest rice krispy treat I've ever seen! On the right is our latest project. We bought a chair on Craigslist with the idea that it would be recovered. I pulled some affordable fabric options, and we decided on the red ikat fabric at the top right - except in green. I can't wait to see the result, and I'll be sure to post pictures when it's finished! It is quite funny to me though - several of our friends are against us recovering it. The chair isn't in bad shape at all, but it's just not quite my style. :) I knew it would be a great piece because it is by Hickory Chair, a company I use a lot at work. I've been to their manufacturing facilities, and I know this chair will last as long as we would like to keep it!

It's really hard to believe that our one year anniversary is coming up this weekend! We are heading to Charlotte to stay at the Ballantyne Hotel, where we stayed on our wedding night. Looking back to a year ago, I was miserable - I had a tear in my esophagus in the week before the wedding! It was very painful, but Kyle was great - he helped me pack up all of my stuff and moved it to our apartment! I'm so thankful for an amazing husband, and I look forward to many more years to come!

And - we got a universal remote! Now there is only one remote to lose!

July 15, 2009

The 4th of July

Kyle and I took a "staycation" over the 4th. Instead of going away for the weekend, we enjoyed spending time at home.

The Joel Lane House is literally across the street from where we live. They were having an open house on the 4th, so we took the opportunity to check it out and learn a little bit about the history of our city and state. Joel Lane was instrumental in making Raleigh the capital city. It's crazy to think that this house was around before anything else; now it is crowded by businesses and town homes.

It wouldn't be the 4th without hamburgers and hotdogs! We ventured just a bit further to get some food from Chargrill. I like the new designs that Coke has out for the summer!

July 9, 2009

Also on Saturday, the 13th

My friend Sean (who I've known since middle school) got married about a month ago to his lovely bride Jamie! They met the same summer that Kyle and I did - and in a similar way - through a Summer Beach Project with Campus Outreach. I remember talking to Sean that summer, telling him about getting to know Kyle and hearing about the beginning of his relationship with Jamie. I hated that we were unable to go to their wedding since it was a destination wedding in the Bahamas, but we saw the newly-weds last weekend at their reception in Shelby. They used the same wedding photographer that we did - I can't wait to see more shots from their big day!

Haha... I like this picture because it is such a Sean face, and Jamie looks beautiful! What a gorgeous setting!

Kyle and I with Mr. and Mrs. Collins at their tropical-themed reception. Kyle had fun with the decor. Congratulations Sean & Jamie!!

July 1, 2009

Lake Trip Awesomeness

This past weekend, we headed to Lake Norman to stay at my grandparent's house and spend the weekend with members of our Community Group. The weather was beautiful, and we had a great time growing deeper in community! We started off Saturday morning with a time of prayer and praise. I think you can see from the pictures what we did during the rest of the trip:

Jumbo tried (unsuccessfully) to catch the ball in his mouth. Katie enjoys a very delicious slice of watermelon.

Kyle jumped off the double-decker dock... several times.

The whole group! What a fun weekend! (You may recognize some of the crowd from the latest Harry Potter poster featured below.)

June 30, 2009

Movie Night

Kyle created this for our first movie night, taking place in a few weeks after our usual Monday Community Group gathering. Any guesses to what we are watching? ;)

June 29, 2009

Kyle's New Toys

Now let's see if I know what all of these remotes are for: the tv, blu-ray player, ipod dock, speakers, ceiling fan, dvr box, receiver, and the dvd player. Whew! (And that doesn't even include our Wiimotes!) Half of these arrived in the last week, and Kyle and I just finished watching our second movie in blu-ray (and the first movie with the new speakers - the new 007 movie was intense!) Kyle did an amazing job researching what he wanted - and finding great deals on all of it!

Consider this your invitation to come over for a movie! We certainly don't have all this to keep it to ourselves - it is our hope that our home would facilitate fun times with good friends.

June 24, 2009

Recent projects at work!

After five years of college and three internships, I absolutely love working on real projects and getting to see my designs come to life! Here are some recent shots I took on the job.

Not your typical client meeting: Brittany meets with a client to select paint colors on the side walk outside of our office. And to the left, wallpaper I selected for a laundry room - I love how it looks installed!

An all-cream master bathroom with an onyx tile floor. On the right, I love the corner chairs that flank the entrance to this room, the paint color, and the cornices!

On the left, a lovely chair from Hickory Chair, one of my favorite companies based out of Hickory, NC. The fireplace on the right was one of the first things I designed when I was an intern, and I got to see the result a few weeks ago! (The screened doors to the left allow remote signals to pass through, without all the electronics being seen.)