Long Distance Designing…

I’m super excited about this post because I get to write about two absolutely fabulous people.  Meet Lara and Adam.  I feel as though this post is going to require a lot of strength to not just talk about the antidotes from our 20 year friendship, like weird massages from dreadlocked men in fake massage studios in Guatemala.  This is a design post, so I will try to focus on the DESIGN aspects of this fabulous couple.

Circa 2008? I think?

I met Lara for the first time when I was like 10 or 11.  She was (and still IS) as an amazing athlete and she was infamous for her crazy abilities with tennis, basket and soccer balls. I always hated competing against her in any City of Salem sporting event.  She was rad.  I was so intimidated by her fierceness and hot red hair.  I was no match for her smarts, confidence and overall super human powers.  I may have made fun of her name, because I was jealous of her. I called her Larva.  (I’m still so sorry about that by the way.)

And then, as fate would have it, this nervous high school freshman walks into her first period  AP History class and only recognizes one face: Larva.  We sat together and we became fast friends. I wasn’t the only one falling in love with her, Adam was too.  Yes, you heard it correctly, this couple is one of Salem’s finest high school love stories.

Our friendship has taken the three of us around the world and back again on many crazy adventures.

And today it takes us to their family room in their new home in Hyattsville, Maryland where they live with their steak’n CUTE little boy, Ruben (he has RED hair too!), and their Nicaraguan dog, Rum Raisin.

My husband Jake and Rubencito

They both work from home every now and then and have grandparents and friends that come to visit a lot so they said they want their family room to work on a few different levels for them.  In Lara’s words they are looking for.. “a comfortable place to work from home, to watch Netflix and have some floor space for Ruben to play with his choo-choos that could double as a backup guest bedroom when we have my parents and Patrick in town at the same time.”

Here is a visual on the room so you can get an idea of what it’s current state looks like, along with a basic floor plan that Lara sketched up for me.


They said they are not attached to anything in the room and will totally Craigslist any or all furnishings. The main needs on their list are a brighter light fixture, a file cabinet of some sort for their work space and room for two laptops. They would like to paint the walls and molding too, whatever it takes to give it the facelift they are looking for.  Their goal is to complete this project within their $2,000 budget.


They have been pinning a few room inspirations along the way and here is what they are drawn to:


So with all of that information, I got to work on their design plan.  First thing’s first, thinking of different space layout options for this lovely family.  I think that the layout that they have right now works, but I added another option that would increase the size of desks for them along with the open space for Ruben to play.

Next, I came up with two visions for their space.  One is more dark and moody while the other is a bit more refined and streamlined.  This first phase, is for clients to just react to the colors and ideas presented so that I can refine and edit the design down to something more concrete for them.  I mean, who doesn’t enjoy looking a photos and giving opinions?



They both really liked both options, but had some feedback and initial reactions from the photos. “My favorite elements are the lights and the desk and that train photo!  Wowzers I can’t chose between them.  I will say that white furniture does scare me, even with the bleaching option because it means I actually have to remove and wash.  The dark is also intimidating because Pasa (their dog) is white.  So maybe grey?”

I also suggested that they turn both the closet door and entrances door into sliding barn doors, so they have more space available to work with in the room.  Doors can sometimes eat up necessary real estate!  I had suggested that perhaps instead of a sectional, since they can be a tricky fit for a smaller space, to find or make some excellent upholstered ottomans that can be used for major leg comfort to maximize the couch napping possibilities.

They are totally down with those ideas. “The barn doors.  YES!  I am totally in.  I really like the idea of the painted trim.  I think I am ready to commit to the concept.  The DIY ottomans are a done deal.  I am loading up my staple gun as we speak.  I have seen this fabric, in fact, my yellow chairs are currently upholstered in a darker version of it.”


So with that feedback, I narrowed down their plan to this.

And they are ready to call in sick from work to make this happen ASAP! They are still debating over which layout will work the best for them, but now with the options they can start moving things around to get a feel for different layouts.

We decided to paint the walls something dramatic since the rest of the house is pretty neutral.  I suggested Gentleman’s Grey by Benjamin Moore for the walls and White Dove for the trim.  To save money on the rug, since buying an 8’10” can be cost prohibitive, I recommended purchasing a 8’10” Jute Rug and layering it with a 5′ 8” patterned rug to give the room a fun textured look.  The sofa is from one of my favorite online furniture companies, Interior Define, and that fabulous light fixture is from All Modern.

The barn door and the roman shades are projects that one can easily do at home with a little help from YouTube tutorials and some serious determination.

The best part about this plan? Is that it comes in at around the $2000 mark, right within their budget.

So please stay tuned for more fun news on this family room as the Clark-helm’s share their progress with us!


And remember, you have a creative gene, you just need the right inspiration to feel energized to complete your room design. Need that inspiration? Look no further, I’m here to guide you through your design dilemmas, even if you live on the coast, we can make your design dreams come true!