Project Reveal: Living Room Styling Before and After

AFTER PHOTOS BY PAMELA YOOL

 

Last year I had the honour of being a featured decorator at Elte Mkt Designer Day, and it was through this event that I started working with this client. She scheduled an appointment with me, after that meeting we booked a consultation, followed by a Finishing Touches session. I gotta be honest, Finishing Touches sessions are some of the most exhausting days for me, so much so, that I tend to only schedule one maybe two a month. It starts with 8-10 hours shopping, then styling day is an intense 8-10 hours of non-stop styling (stopping only for about 10 minutes to stuff my gullet). I love it though, the clients leave for the day and come home to the reveal. This is a really important step in the process, because I know myself well enough to know that I do my best work with I don’t have someone watching me, because the reality is, it’s chaos before it ever becomes the beautiful room they see when they get home (lucky for you, I often do behind the scenes video on my Facebook page!). There’s literally NOTHING more satisfying than this kind of transformation in such a quick turnaround.

With this space, the client already had all their furniture and was looking for help with styling. I recommended a lighter couch that would feel less heavy in the space, they ended up changing it and it made a huge difference. They found the mirror themselves after I provided the direction and size recommendation (faux suede mirror from CB2). We had the window seat cushion reupholstered and ordered custom pillows and the rest was all in the accessorizing. They had a few great accessories I was able to work with, along with some super cool items from their travels. It’s important to me to incorporate personal pieces in the decorating, your home should feel personal and be a reflection of you.

Accessorizing is often where people fall short, truth be told, it’s not inexpensive to accessorize a space and make it look magazine worthy. This room, for example, was $2500 to fully accessorize plus my service fees (not including art, window seat reupholstery or the mirror, and don’t forget they had a few accessories for me to work with!), it’s definitely an investment, but once you see the before and afters, I’m sure you’ll agree it’s totally worth it.

I thought it might be time to mix things up, in this post I’ve interview my client about her experience! I can’t thank her enough for her thoughtful responses. 🙂 Enjoy!

Why did you decide to get help decorating instead of doing it yourself?
While I think I have a decent eye for design and style, I was struggling with balance, colours, scale, object selection etc. No matter what combinations I tried, I wasn’t able to bring the right pieces together to achieve the clean and serene look I was after.

Knowing you wouldn’t be home while I styled, were you nervous about the reveal?
I was more excited than nervous. I fully trusted your taste and was really looking forward to seeing how you would pull it off!

What was your initial reaction when you came home to the reveal?
I was overjoyed because the look was 100% in line with my vision. I was relieved because my years of struggling to properly style my 20+ built-in shelves were finally behind me. And, there was no more clutter!

(keep scrolling for more of our interview)

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How did you feel in the space before the transformation?
I loved it before we bought the house (in 2013) because the previous owner was a professional home stager. There was a contemporary, clean look in every room with a lot of great pieces.

Enter us.

When we moved in, my feelings about the space became less than enthusiastic because I didn’t have the skill to decorate the space using our own furniture and objects to achieve the look I was after (i.e. the look that the space initially had before we moved in! LOL)

 I felt frustrated with how cluttered the space was with our books, picture frames and kids’ stuff.

How do you feel in this space after the ?
We love it because we feel like it finally reflects who we are and our  personalities: me: vibrant, spontaneous, and a little bit fancy; him: contemplative and calm with a passion for travel, unique items and places.

[Have I danced alone in the space since the redesign? Maybe. Has he? Not yet.]

In the end, my husband finally understood the difference between our D-I-Y style vs. a professional’s touch. He agreed that working with you was worth the investment which is great because I’d like to hire you again…

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What is your favourite part of this room now?
It’s impossible to choose. There are so many fresh items of interest (that you selected) that we really enjoy in our new space.

The reupholstered banquette is definitely my new favourite go-to spot on Saturday mornings with my coffee, NY Times and a kid or two! The pillows from Tonic Living are the perfect combination of comfort + glam.

Were the design fees and recommended budget ($2500) to accessorize worth the investment?
Absolutely worth the investment! As a mom of four kids and full time lawyer I did not have time to carefully source and select items for 20+ shelves or, shop around for fabric, pillows and furniture. These things take a lot of time and planning so I appreciated and needed the efficiency that comes with working with a decorator. You brought samples to my home to select; I regularly flipped you emails of inspiration and you did all the sourcing, shopping and styling to bring it all together for the big reveal.   

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Have you felt different about entertaining in this space since?
We have always enjoyed entertaining but since redecorating we have definitely increased our guest count because we love our new space so much and want to share it with our friends! Our visitors are definitely impressed with the new look and some have wondered where all the clutter went (answer: basement + donations). Others knew right away that a decorator must’ve been here because I’m not THAT good.

What advice would you give someone struggling with a room in their home like you were?
First, declutter. It’s impossible to achieve your optimal look with too much stuff in the way. Only keep (or bring in) what you truly love and what  brings you joy. Find some Instagram inspiration for your space and then consult a professional. Be upfront about your budget and focus on one space at a time.  For us, the next stop is the girls’ room!