Monday, 29 April 2013

LL Textiles

Things have been busy with our fabric line, Lauren Liess Textiles.  I've been working on some new designs and I've also added some new colorways to the existing line.  I got them in on Friday and I'm so excited so I had to share with you!!!

{Squid Flower in Wine and Fern Star in Sepia}

Bringing in these most recent colorways has really gotten the line where I want it to be.  These are the colorways I've been after...  earthy, inky and vintage-feeling.  The line is where I want it to be and I can really feel the collection taking on a life of its own.  I'm becoming more confident in what it is I want to put out there and the feeling I want the collection to have.  Although drawing is difficult for me, I've learned that I like how my drawings are ending up, and that somehow, as a medium, textiles are working for me.  I might not necessarily like a drawing of mine framed on a wall, but colored the way I want it colored and put into a repeat in a textile, I'm happy with how it turns out.

I love seeing the transformation of drawing into actual textile.  (It's kind of like getting your photo airbrushed!! ;)

{Buttercup, which I drew in the car on the way to visit my dad in Illinois last summer}

{A pillow in buttercup}

Some of my favorite parts about textile designs are figuring out how I want a design to connect to itself and repeat.  It's sort of like a brain teaser. Once you decide what you're drawing, you have to draw it so it fits together like a puzzle.

{Buttercup in Black}

I know in terms or what's "right" my technique (or lack of it) is totally elementary....  but I'm not after creating    examples of great textile "designs"...  I'm after creating a fabric or wall covering or whatever that I'll (and hopefully others too!) have an emotional reaction to.  Something that I love and want to incorporate into my home or others' homes.  To me, it's not about technique, it's just about the feeling the piece has when it's done.

I'm often drawn to blockprinted fabrics with no intertwining at all, like in Squid Flower, below:

or Fern Star:

Other times, I make each repeat itself obvious because part of the interesting thing about the pattern is the shape the repeats make meeting.

The new colorways are in and I'm working on a 15 foot long window seat in our upstairs loft to layer with pillows in lots of my prints.  Wild Chicory will definitely be on there because it was my first design (and my logo!)...

I'm in the process of putting together memo books to show to select to-the-trade showrooms in hopes that they will decide to carry our full collection.  It's a time-consuming process and it's a little nerve-wracking.  I'm so crazy about the collection but am not a sales person at all so it's not coming easy to me.  I made a call a couple of weeks ago to an amazing showroom in LA and before even asking my name or looking up my patterns or website or anything, I got the "there's no room at the Inn" (showroom) door politely shut in my face.  :/   haha  ouch  

It's totally to be expected though, and I'm sure I'll get a lot more of those before I find the right fits.  I've learned that you can't just call a company up like that too...  So I might be travelling a bit to get everything off the ground properly.  But I'm excited about this new venture!!  The fabrics are so personal to me and I love working on this part of the business.  

Keep your fingers crossed for me - I need all the help I can get!!

I'm working on some new designs week and will share as soon as they're ready.  Also, some of you have asked how you can view the entire collection of order memos.  You can view it at and just click on "LL Textiles."  I haven't updated the site with some of the newest patterns and colorways yet and am working on it so as soon as they're all up, I'll let you know!!  If you' have an account with us (or want to set one up) and need some of the new colorways or patterns before they're up, just contact

Have a great day!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Friday, 26 April 2013

No One Ever Says...

"I want my home to feel stale, cold and impersonal."

"I want people to feel unwelcome and like they can't sit down anywhere."

I think about ridiculous statements like these all of the time to make myself laugh, especially when I'm sharing a "Before & After" on my blog and I'm describing what my clients wanted for their homes or when I'm reading a magazine article that describes what the people wanted out of their home.  Of course, what people are attempting to create in a home is always thought of positive and they carefully analyze and describe how they want a home to feel.  Each adjective has real meaning and a connotation.  But a fun game I play in my head is to :

1) Say the opposite of what people want.
2) Say a less positive way or more direct way of what someone actually wants.
3)Reverse husband-wife statements

So, since it's Friday, I thought I'd share some of my favorites with you.  So, whichever way you think of these statements (opposite statements or direct versions or husband-wife reversals) I hope you enjoy!!
Here goes:

No one ever says......

"I want my home to feel outdated and contrived."

{"I know the TV is too large for the room and my husband begged me to get a smaller one but I refused because the TV is the most important thing to me."}  image here

"Oh please!  Make my house feel like a brand new house in America that's trying to look like it's a house in Tuscany by putting pictures of Tuscany and rolling Italian fields all over it!!  Don't forget the Tuscan dish cloths and the dusty olive oil jars in the kitchen!!  Perhaps a large Tuscan scene in my kitchen backsplash above the range??"  (And I know this one so well because I once wanted this for myself.  hee hee)

"I want it to feel cheap and hodgepodged.  Like I got everything from a thrift store."  image here  (This is definitely one of my "direct" or nonpositive descriptions for sure!! haha)

"I want a gaudy and overstated home."   image here

"I've got it!  Let's add some completely inappropriate Corinthian columns to the inside of our house!!"

"I want to break the bank."

"I'd love my house to look like it was decorated in a day!"

"I want it to be matchy-matchy."

"Oh I know... even though that brick fireplace is hideous and is ruining my living room, it's just wrong to paint brick so we won't be doing anything about the elephant in the room.  But please, make the room beautiful. Thanks."

"I want to feel depressed when I come home.  I like things disorganized and I don't want a place for everything."

"Hello!! Can't you see I just I want what everybody else has??"  image here

"I'd like my living room to look just like a page from a catalog, or a decorator show house."

"I want it to look like we have money."

{"IT'S KILLING ME.  I'd love to paint the paneling white, but my wife simply won't allow it!"}image here

"I want my home to feel unnatural with no absolutely connection to the outdoors."

"I care more about the wood and floors and the moldings being shown off than how the room feels as a whole, so I'm willing to have you decorate the house improperly so I can just stare at those awesome elements all the time." Image literally from

"I don't need my home to be practical or functional, as long as it's beautiful."

"I dislike natural wood.  Please paint it all."

"My husband thinks a chandelier in the dining room would be beautiful, but I can't bear to be without the ceiling fan in there." image here

"I despise extra storage."

"I want my home to feel really jarring and I don't want anything to flow."

"I have things in here that I absolutely hate but I'm going to build an entire home around these items."

"I want it to look like a museum and I want my friends and family to be afraid to touch anything." Image here

"I want my house to look like a college apartment." Image here

"I want the study to feel claustrophobic, cluttered and a bit manic." OR "I plan on redecorating the office and then continuing my hoarding behaviors from a clean slate." image here

"I want it to look like my Grandma decorated my house."{Image here}

"Please, make my home feel sterile and cold."

"I was going for 'formal' 'uptight' and 'bland' when I decorated my home."

"I love builder grade fixtures, especially anything with shiny builder brass."

"Accents walls are so chic."

"I hate color, and I want my home to reflect that."

"I'd rather not use an interesting mix of periods and styles.  I prefer it to look as if I simply bought everything at one time."

"I don't care if the sofa is comfortable, as long as it looks good."

"I really want new curtains but my wife is insisting we build a new deck instead." Image here

I could probably go on for hours...  this might be my new game to play on road trips.

How do you want your home to feel and how do you "say it?"  Does saying the negative version of that sentence make you laugh?? Or the direct version?   Can you reverse the things you & your partner say?  I'd love to hear some of yours!! Leave a comment if you've got a good one!!

Have a great weekend & I'll be busy "shopping for ridiculously quirky objects so that my home is sure to look meaningful and personal.  The things I find will really show the world that I love the earth and who I am deep down." ;) ;)

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

A Southern Magnolia For Me!!

I turned 31 today and this arrived from my husband and the boys:

{A Southern Magnolia Tree}

I LOVE Magnolias...

{A magnolia my husband picked for me in our old neighborhood}

I'm actually kind of weird with the blooms because I just put them in front of my face and smell and say "ahhhh" and "Oh my gosh this smells soooo good" for an awkwardly long period of time.  (You can read about my obsession with them here)  But I can't wait to have some of my own!!  Enjoy your day!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Tuesday, 23 April 2013

Market Report

We're home from a whirlwind few days at the High Point Furniture Market.  I'm exhausted!!  It was so much fun and we missed our kids like CRAZY.  :/    We found some incredible companies to work with, got completely inspired and had time to catch up with old & new friends:

{Me, our good friend Eddie Ross who is now the East Coast producing editor at Better Homes & Gardens, Scott Wood of The Adventures of Tartanscot, and Dave, my husband and partner in everything.}

My favorite part about this Market (besides the friends!! ;)  was checking out all of the great one-of-a-kinds, vintage and antiques...  Because we're "finishing" our house this Summer (and by that I mean we're "photographing" it this Summer and will continue to change it forevermore) we spent a lot of time finding special pieces that are really "us" and that mean something to us.  

I fell in love a bit at Asia Minor Rugs, whose collection is just incredible:

We brought a couple rugs home for our own home and I'm so excited!!!  One is a small Turkish rug that was made by a bride before her wedding to take with her into her new home.  The rug is one of a pair that stayed in the same master bedroom for 75 years before it was purchased and brought here.  I can't quite explain it but when Dave & I saw the rug and heard the story, we looked at each other and just knew it was coming home with us.  The design and colors in the rug are so cheerful that I can't help but think the bride was happy about her impending marriage as she wove the rug.  Little birds perch all over the branches of a beautiful tree (or bush?) and we felt like coming home with us would be a good new second life for the rug since we're excited about being together ourselves.   It fit perfectly in our foyer:

It's a bit more feminine that really fits our home and I really do want the foyer to set the tone of our house, but if I can make it work by finding the right foyer chest & mirror, it might stay there.  If not, I was thinking I'd love to frame it and hang it somewhere in the house, probably in our bedroom. Louie though -above- is a fan of keeping in the foyer.

We also brought a beautiful 90 year old Kars rug from the East of Turkey.  Kars are made out of wool and typically most of the color seen in the rugs is the actual colors of the wool.  They will sometimes have naturally-dyed hilights.   When I saw our Kars rug, I didn't even want to know how much it cost because it was so perfect.  I asked anyway and was utterly SHOCKED at how amazing the price was.  I've been looking for the perfect rug for a while now and had honestly given up thinking we'd never be able to afford what I wanted until we came across our rug.   Our house is modern and our great room has high ceilings and lots of glass windows and can come across as a bit stark so I've been after a warm rug with lots of patina.  I wanted something old that felt modern and more on the masculine side.  This rug is exactly what I was looking for!! I'll be layering it over a natural fiber rug to get the for size and to add more layers in our great room...

I cannot wait to incorporate some of their rugs into our clients' projects too. 

Anyway, soon after we came across Cleveland Art and were loving Jason Wein's blown glass and repurposed industrial pieces.  

I'm dying to use some of his things in client projects and came home with a bunch of the hand-blown drinking glasses above.  Jason went to Alaska for a while to "study water and ice" and so you can really see how that comes across in his glass.  I've been looking for just the right glasses for our house- they need to be beautiful and practical.   (most of our old ones have broken so we're down to about 7 random ikea, Target and thrift glasses)  Our shelves are open in the kitchen so I wanted something I'd love to look at but we also are pretty rough on things and have little boys (who tip glasses easily) so we were after sturdy, heavy glasses.

Here's some of his lighting:

I could go on & on but definitely check out his website.  They have shops in LA and New York: 

Jason & I were exploring the possibility of him carrying pillows made from my linens in his shops so I'll keep you posted.  

I couldn't believe it when I visited the Barn on Sweetwood and decided to purchase a beautiful set of old pine nesting tables...  We were trying to figure out shipping when we discovered that we actually live near each other!!  I loved meeting the owners, Stephanie and Denise, and am so thrilled to have met some new (super-talented) friends who live so close to home!!  Their style is so good and I know having them so close will really help me with my desire to use more one-of-a-kind pieces in my clients' homes.  I really wish I bought this table and may have to call them: 

Next we saw this guy, hanging out in Stephanie Schofield's booth:

It was painted in the 60s and the artist is Ernest somebody (I will have to look when it gets here) and apparently this man is in lots of the paintings.  I wonder if it's him or someone else??  I'll have to do more research when I see his last name again.  Anyway, it's definitely one of the oddest pieces Dave and I have ever found...  He's a little younger than most of the guys in my "Old man Painting" collection but I guess that's okay.  The colors are just so pretty, it has such a beautiful patina, and it's such an odd piece it makes me laugh a bit, which I'm realizing as I get older, is some of my favorite type of art work.  I particularly love portraits because friends always seem to ask about them.  We usually have names for the people in the paintings and say, "Oh that's Dr.Lilandi" or "Captain Herndon." 

Dave and I got a private little lunch in the "Boiler Room" at the Antique Center...  We had the most delicious  homemade pimento cheese sandwiches and some beer:

No one was there but us and it was just so much fun.  There are so many other great antique & vintage booths there but I started getting bad with my camera.  I wish I could go there every month!!

We came across Barloga Studios whose photographs I loved and came across as modern and a bit moody to me.  Most of all, I loved the unframed papyrus pieces that were simply tacked onto the wall... The artist, Roy Barloga, said it's how they're meant to be hung, which I think is so simple and natural.  I think this is something that might scare a lot of clients but something I'd do in my own home in a heartbeat.  Lately, I've been trying to work on suggesting things to my clients I would do in my own home, that may not be typical or a typical "decorate" thing to do, and I think this is the perfect example.


I also loved Itinerant Studio whose photography was printed on birch:


One of my absolute favorite of the larger showrooms to visit (scratch that, maybe my favorite??) was Verellen:

Their upholstery is incredible and we recently started carrying it.  I am so excited!!!

To say I was in awe is probably an understatement.  It was not only one of the most beautiful, inspiring showrooms we saw at Market, but it was full of the nicest team of people.  Tom Verellen, the owner, made sure to spend time with everyone and was a wonderful host.  Everyone there was so down to earth and warm.  Relaxed elegance starts to describe Verellen, but there's just so much more.  I feel in love with the kitchen they whipped up before Market:

It's so natural and modern and rustic.. All of my favorite elements rolled into one crazy-unexpected kitchen:

I love the wood on the refrigerator!! What a perfect way to make a boring fridge cool!!!  

The island was made out of piled rocks corralled by rebar:

The countertop is sheet metal.

They made cabinetry for storage out of reclaimed wood and fit the rocks around it:

I fell in love with these chairs next door at Textures:

Another favorite is Design Legacy by Kelly O'Neal:

They carry a mix of new and vintage pieces mixed in with their colorful fabrics and artwork...  Their fabrics and art is like looking through The Cabinet of Natural Curiosities, or some other beautiful books full of botanical and nature studies.  They're quirky and earthy and fun.  Their prices are great too.

I loved seeing how these little lucite pedestals really elevate simple objects:

We have so many cool things we've collected outside that would just look like art sitting on these.  honestly, even a found pine cone or a piece of bark would look good.   I want them!!!

And oh my goodness check out this gorgeous piece of quartz:

{Come to me!!!}

On our way out, I snapped a picture of the best company motto, EVER:

Love it.

And, my favorite part of Market is always catching up with friends & meeting new friends.  I met so many of my Instagram/Blog friends in person and they were all so sweet and fun!!!  

We also enjoyed a yummy dinner with our good friends Jaithan Kochar & Eddie Ross at {one of the prettiest restaurants ever} the Proximity to celebrate Eddie's birthday: 

{Dave & Jaithan}

{Eddie & me}

There were more friends there I missed and wish I could have seen too, but the days just flew by.  I also have some great things in the works with my fabrics and as soon as I can, I'll let you know what's up!!  I think my overall feeling with this Market was that I most enjoyed seeing the things and showrooms that (obviously) were new to me, but also that my goal really is to use as many one-of-a-kind items as possible for client projects, for those clients who are open to it.  Antiques & vintage items are often more challenging to convince clients to incorporate into their homes, because lots of times,because by nature, they're generally imperfect.  Many clients want things in perfect condition and that feel "new" and presenting vintage items is difficult because they're often gone before clients make up their minds... but I'm really going to make even more of an effort at it.  It's been my resolution for the past year or so but this trip totally reaffirmed that the effort is worth it.  

We always leave Market wanting to open a store.  It's been a dream that I've thought about since I was a kid when I saw the pretty store the Witch sister has in Practical Magic... haha   

Whenever we think about the practicality of it though for our family and the financial pressure, it scares us away.  Who knows?  Maybe one day.

Coming home to our boys last night was incredible.  We missed them like crazy.  I am really struggling with going back to work today when I am missing them still so desperately.  I did get in lots of quality time with this guy though, which was amazing:

I'm off to work but hope you enjoyed my Market Recap!!

If you've sent me questions or emails in the past week or so- sorry I've been really busy and probably won't catch up for at least another week or two.  If you don't hear back by then, just email me again.  Thanks so much for understanding!!!

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.