OK, I know this is my work blog, and I use it to show you adorable babies and their chubby wrist rolls and holiday card recommendations and announce minishoots (yes, that’s a link for you enterprising types who are ready to think about my April Public Garden minis – I just announced the date this morning and haven’t sent the email out yet…) But normally this blog is all biz, all the time…
But I just need to take a break from all that work stuff (it is a snow day, after all) and tell you what we did this year to our living room. Because I’m bursting about it. It’s so super duper insanely fabulous now that I just want to shout it from the rooftops and tell anyone and everyone they must MUST hire Meghann Van Dorn to help them with their interior design.
I love beautiful spaces, I really do. I see my clients’ gorgeous homes all the time and I salivate, loving all the beautiful design choices they make. And when we did our kitchen renovation a couple of years ago, the incredible Dennis and Matthew DeMello of D. J. DeMello Custom Building and Woodworking did incredible work and I somehow managed to get through that process only asking Meghann for help a handful of times with some critical decisions along the way (quartz surface for the counters, TYVM). Somehow hard surfaces and kitchen/bathroom design decisions felt manageable. But once we decided our living room needed help last year, I felt completely overwhelmed. For some reason matching fabrics and thinking about upholstery and curtains made my palms sweat. I just didn’t feel like I could trust myself with it.
See, we live in Milton, in a cozy little house on an incredible street, but it’s tiny. We’re only four people, though, and though my smaller people get bigger every day, we really don’t need any more house than we have. We know we’re not moving because we love our street and our neighbors so much, but we are always looking for ways to make our small house even more right for us.
For me, I needed to bring more light into the living room. We had these IKEA shelving units along one wall that were super dark:
And we needed good seating options for the living room space, so we crowded it a bit with a loveseat that totally didn’t fit and a long rectangular coffee table that I thought fit the space because we loved to play mexican train on it… (even though it made for a good game surface, that didn’t mean it fit the space). The couch was also dark purple from Jordan’s (to hide the inevitable small child mess) and I was reluctant to upgrade it even though Meghann told me it would change everything. Again with the failed before photos, but this should give you a sense of what it looked like:
Basically it was crowded and had big comfortable pieces of furniture in it that worked for our lives but didn’t look great.
So when we were able to go ahead with the built-ins Dennis and Matt had proposed (insanely talented amazing contractors/builders, amazing workmanship all around), we also got in touch with Meghann and said – OK, let’s do this thing. Let’s take this space seriously.
She started by coming in and taking measurements. We knew we had to keep the piano where it is, and we knew where our built-ins/TV would be, but the rest of the space was up for grabs. We knew we needed the seating to double as a conversation area but also function as TV watching spots.
So she came back to us with a layout – which was amazing because I’d never thought of a circle coffee table in the space, and the idea of adding another chair blew me away. If they were swivels, we realized, they could work in either direction – pointed at the coffee table and couch to talk, or swiveling to watch TV. Brilliant!
Where Meghann excels is this next stage of things. I’ll admit I guffawed at the idea of buying all this new furniture – it seemed crazy, especially after I put some numbers in an excel spreadsheet and thought about what the entire room’s redo would mean. But Meghann took this project on and became what I felt like was my personal Craigslist savant. She convinced me we didn’t need to buy everything new. We just needed to be patient. She was sending me links at all times of the day and night. “How about these light fixtures?” “OK, hop in your car RIGHT NOW and go get this coffee table for $40, it is perfect!” (note: I do love it – it’s great. Might someday upgrade it but for now it’s fabulous.) “If you recover this chair it will be amazing. Look at the lines!” (note: it is, and after her incredible upholsterer guy recovered it with fabric Meghann helped me choose at an insanely cool fabric store, it is one of my favorite pieces of furniture ever) And I’d get texts with photos from her as she wandered TJ Maxx – “Jess, this rug is $100, and it’s soft and thick like you said you wanted. I think you should get over here and feel it in person. I think it might be perfect.” (note: it was) “What about this side table?” (nope) “This one?” (nope) “OK, how about these four I found online?” (YES!!!)
She just took on the project with such zeal – and it was such fun to work with her. I loved that she had strong opinions for me and told me why – I’m easy to convince if someone has good reasons. (For example, we knew we needed more light, and the Grey Owl paint Meghann had recommended for the rest of the space downstairs seemed like a good starting point for brightening things up in there. It’s so much brighter now.)
So I guess I’ll end this and feed my kids some lunch – it’s time for the big reveal. First, I’ll start with Dennis & Matt’s gorgeous perfect built-ins:
Don’t you just die? So in love with them.
And then here’s the full picture of the whole room. Thank you thank you thank you, Meghann.
It’s perfect, it’s finished, and I couldn’t have done it with you guys. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
And now to finish today’s edit!! #yayforsnowdays