One Room Challenge- Week 3

We are halfway through this challenge (eek!). And while I still have a ways to go, things are really starting to take shape. Fabric and accessories are arriving daily and it's feeling a bit like christmas with all of these packages. This week I want to go into a little more detail about the good, the bad and the ugly with this project so far. 

Without a doubt, the furniture item I've put the most thought into with this space is my desk chair. I really wanted something special; faux leather roller chairs need not apply. I was originally leaning towards a very light, soft, feminine pink chair in keeping with my overall color scheme. But after I painted the room such a vibrant color, all of the softer blush shades started to look a little washed out. I still wanted pink (I think it is a totally boss move to have a pink desk chair) so I decided to match the boldness of the room and go for a much brighter jewel tone shade. In addition to thinking about the color, I also wanted the style of the chair to feel a little bit more residential than your typical office chair, since this is of course a home office. After looking at approximately 578,946,385 different options, I finally settled on the perfect one. I knew it was meant to be when I saw it was named the "Kate" chair.  It arrived this week and I am in love! 

Like. A. Boss. I love the idea of having a non- traditional office chair.

Like. A. Boss. I love the idea of having a non- traditional office chair.

While getting some of the furniture has been exciting, I would be remiss if I didn't discuss the challenges I've been facing with this space. There are three main "issues" I've been dealing with since the beginning and I think I've finally started to come up with some solutions.

Challenge One: Size vs. Need. This is an objectively small space and to make matters even more complicated, I need this space to be multi-functional. The primary focus of this room will be my office, but this room was originally designed as a dressing room off of the master and I will also be using this space for some of my hanging clothes and shoes. My goal is to make this space beautiful and functional to serve this duel purpose. As many of you know, my background is in the fashion Industry so I am used to working around clothes.  Even though things will be a tight squeeze I am happy with the idea of combining these spaces. Call me crazy, but since my job as a decorator involves picking out colors, textures and prints, I actually like the idea of being surrounded in a space by different colors, textures and prints. And while making this all work in 130 sq feet is a challenge, I am both a former New Yorker and a child of the 80's so small space Tetris is my jam. Challenge accepted. 

I already picked out this  hanging rack  as a small space solution to my needs. This has a hangbar on both sides and can fit A LOT in a little space. I like that it has pagoda-like detail at the top and room for extra storage on the top and bottom.

I already picked out this hanging rack as a small space solution to my needs. This has a hangbar on both sides and can fit A LOT in a little space. I like that it has pagoda-like detail at the top and room for extra storage on the top and bottom.

Hi, my name is Kate and I have a tweed jacket problem.

Hi, my name is Kate and I have a tweed jacket problem.

Challenge Two: Budget. This room is being designed on a shoestring. After moving from a small apartment to a (moderately) large home we have spent A LOT on furniture already this year. As much as I would love beautiful bespoke pieces lining my entire office, it just isn't in the cards for this space right now. My solution will be to get creative on my splurge versus save pieces. I will be incorporating some luxe pieces I already own with some thriftier finds (and some literally thrifted finds). I'm doing most of the labor for this space on my own. I saved a huge amount by painting the room myself last week. I'm also going to do a DIY window treatment projects that I'll walk you through next week. Refer back to earlier statement about being a former New Yorker, let's just say I'm resourceful! 

Challenge Three: Layout. Saying this room in an awkward space is a kind way to describe it. I live in a 1919 dutch colonial and while having a 100 year old house means that it is filled with so much charm, it also means we get our fair share of quirks. This room is an example of the latter. It's part of the master suite and so even though it is a small space, it has 2 doors in it; one that leads to the bedroom and the other to the bath. This adds a bit of a design challenge because it cuts the room off and I don't want to block either door.  Since this is a dutch colonial, one of the walls has a slanted ceiling which makes the room feel even smaller. The room also has two windows (neither being standard size), a long radiator, 3 sconces, and one wall that juts out with a column where the chimney from the fireplace below passes through. And while I'm almost always a fan of built-ins, this room has a a bookshelf that is only 8 inches deep. Those are a lot of obstacles for a little space! After thinking long and hard about these challenges, I've decided to break the room off into two sections. The first will be dedicated as a working space. I'll place the desk under the slanted ceiling to help naturally bring your eye down. The desk area is also adjacent to the bookshelf, which I'll use for small item storage and display. Because it is such a small built-in I didn't want to highlight it as a design feature the way I typically would with a larger piece. I ended up painting it the same color as the walls so it adds functionality, but isn't jarring to look at. 

Note the slanted roof, and chimney placement.

Note the slanted roof, and chimney placement.

This corner pretty much sums it up. Slanted ceiling, built-ins and sconces, oh my! I'm hoping that by making the bookshelf monotone to the rest of the space it will help to showcase what is on the bookshelf as opposed to the shelf itself which is rather underwhelming.

This corner pretty much sums it up. Slanted ceiling, built-ins and sconces, oh my! I'm hoping that by making the bookshelf monotone to the rest of the space it will help to showcase what is on the bookshelf as opposed to the shelf itself which is rather underwhelming.

While these obstacles are really putting the "challenge" in the ORC, I'm still really optimistic about the overall design plan. It's been so much fun seeing this room start to take shape over the past 3 weeks, and I can't wait to see the full transformation in a few more.  

xx Kate

One Room Challenge- Week 2

Back for week 2 of the ORC and I want to dive a bit deeper into my favorite subject; color! I was blown away by the response I received to my initial post last week, and the number one comment I kept getting was about the colors I'm using. I'm so glad that so many of you love green, teal and pink as much as I do! Typically when I start a project I kick off with an inspiration item or image. Maybe I'm overdue for a vacation, but with this project all I kept thinking about was Bermuda! Bermuda is one of my all time favorite places in this world. I've made so many beautiful memories there and I adore everything about the Island. Pink sand and dark and stormies? Yes, please! 

The office itself will not be "beach themed" in any way, but I did snatch my entire color palette from the below image.

Picture of the  Fairmont Southhampton .  Perfect mixture of lush greenery, beautiful blue ocean and pink sand! (I promise I'm not being sponsored by the Fairmont for this post, although I wish I was! Call me, OK?!)

Picture of the Fairmont Southhampton.  Perfect mixture of lush greenery, beautiful blue ocean and pink sand! (I promise I'm not being sponsored by the Fairmont for this post, although I wish I was! Call me, OK?!)

With my color scheme in place it was time to pick paint. I decided to focus on green as the base color of the space and then use pink and teal as my accents. Green is so versatile because it looks great with other brights, but can also be toned down with neutrals depending on the effect you're looking for. Green pretty much goes with everything, and if you don't believe me just take a look in any garden. I ended up going with Bunker Hill Green by Benjamin Moore. I initially saw this color a year ago in Domino Magazine.  It was used in a home office in a beautiful and restrained way. My use of this color will be less restrained. It will be ALL OVER. Call it PTSD from 10 years of NYC apartment living in a white space, but I wanted something bold. 

I fell in love with this space from the moment I saw it! Full photos and story available at  Domino

I fell in love with this space from the moment I saw it! Full photos and story available at Domino

Once the color was chosen I started in on the painting process. This project is being done on a tight budget, so I actually rolled my sleeves up and did the painting myself! I'll admit that when I first started this project my husband entered the room and laughed at the resemblance to a Master's jacket. While I get his point, and whole heartedly laughed at his joke, the space will eventually be balanced out by lots of pinks and teals, and even toned down with some neutrals. After a terrifying looking first coat, (eek, first coats always look so bad!) I think the finished product came out great! I can't wait to start moving some furniture in later this week and move onto some of the new design challenges to follow.

First coat looks terrible. Never judge a paint color based on it's first coat.  I always buy samples and test a double coat in a small area before moving forward. I also look at the sample at different times of day to see how the color looks in different lighting.

First coat looks terrible. Never judge a paint color based on it's first coat.  I always buy samples and test a double coat in a small area before moving forward. I also look at the sample at different times of day to see how the color looks in different lighting.

Happy with the results after 2 coats. I can't wait to add some pops of pink and teal!

Happy with the results after 2 coats. I can't wait to add some pops of pink and teal!

Thank you to everyone who is following along! There are so many talented designers participating in this challenge and I'm personally having so much fun following along with everyone! See you all next week!

xx Kate

One Room Challenge! Week 1

I am beyond excited to participate in the One Room Challenge this Fall! For those of you who don't know, The One Room Challenge is a biannual event taking place every April and October. Linda from Calling it Home invites 20 designers to transform a room in just six short weeks. In addition guest participants can play along with the madness, designing their own spaces. Each participant blogs about the progress weekly and we all get to follow along with the crazy ups and downs, ultimately showcases an amazing transformation 6 weeks from now. 

While I have followed along with the challenge for years, this will be my first time actually diving in to do a room for myself. The timing couldn't be more perfect because with a new business launched there is one room that really needs a makeover and that is (drumroll please).........my home office! We moved into our new house about 6 months ago and as with any big change it has taken us a little while to get settled. We are still far from "done" decorating, but every room has had at least a first pass laying the basic groundwork. Every room except for my office. This is the space that I'm most excited about too! It is really the only space in the house that is entirely mine. 

There are a number of design obstacles that I'm facing right off the bat with this space, but I'll get into those in more detail in a later post. For now, I'll simply share the before pictures, as well as my color inspiration and mood board. If you like color, I'm your gal. This room will be chock full of prints and color and a mix up of everything that makes me happy. So please come back to check out the progress each week, and follow along with the other designers on the One Room Challenge site. 

Going big in the color department! Check back next week as I walk through the specifics of my color choices. This room might be small, but it will be BOLD.

Going big in the color department! Check back next week as I walk through the specifics of my color choices. This room might be small, but it will be BOLD.

Mood board with some of my inspiration pieces.

Mood board with some of my inspiration pieces.

The "BEFORE". Current panoramic view of the room. Right now it has nothing going on, short of a paint sample I tested in the built in! This space is sad. It needs way more than a facelift, it needs an entire overhaul.

The "BEFORE". Current panoramic view of the room. Right now it has nothing going on, short of a paint sample I tested in the built in! This space is sad. It needs way more than a facelift, it needs an entire overhaul.

View of the door which leads to the master bath. For a small space, this room awkwardly has 2 doors. It was originally designed to be a nursery. 

View of the door which leads to the master bath. For a small space, this room awkwardly has 2 doors. It was originally designed to be a nursery. 

This is the main door which leads to the Master bedroom. Note the weird cutout and the slanted ceilings.

This is the main door which leads to the Master bedroom. Note the weird cutout and the slanted ceilings.

Express Yourself!

"An interior is the natural projection of the soul." - Coco Chanel

For those of you who know me well, you know I have never been shy about expressing myself through my home or what I wear. People are made up of a variety of characteristics, so I think that our interiors should reflect this mash up. I have my serious business side, my type A side and my mom side. But I also have my crazy/silly let loose and party side, my dance until dawn side (ok, let's be real, dance until midnight), my let's hop on a plane and travel the world side and my "I still feel like a kid sometimes even though I'm well into adulthood" side. It's all of these parts of me mixed into one that make me who I am. So why is it when we decorate our houses, so many people decide to limit themselves to a very specific, and often generic style?

I'm not saying a home shouldn't have a point of view (I'm all for direction), but it shouldn't be forced into one neatly checked box. Your home should be as unique as you are! One of my goals when working with new clients is always to get to know a little bit more about the people living in the home before moving forward with a design. At the end of the day, their homes should reflect them, not me. 

Style is subjective and some people have a much easier time verbalizing the things they like than others. Many of us haven't even sat down to consider it. I find it helpful to ask a lot of questions and to show people a lot of pictures. It's extremely telling to not only hear what people have to say, but to see their facial expressions when they see a photograph of a space they love or hate. I also like asking clients about their favorite outfits, jewelry, accessories, and even flowers. When we take a closer look at the other things we choose to fill our life with, it gives us better insight into what we might want in our homes as well. The outcome of all this isn't to get a "perfect" space that looks like it's from a catalogue, but to get something that is so much more interesting because it's so much more YOU.

So let's all make a little pact right here and now. Whether you're working with a decorator, or styling things on your own. Whether you have a bank rolled budget, or your hunting thrift stores for treasure. Whether you love clean lines, or feel more is more. Whatever your style, budget or space, just make it your own. Design your home to be as crazy, beautiful, serious, funny, comfy, wild as you are. Because let me tell you from experience, when your home truly starts to reflect who you are beautiful things will happen!  

XX Kate

Keep following along weekly with my blog for a closer look into my crazy, beautiful and unique world

Our very unique brass coffee table is actually a family heirloom. More on my love of antiques to follow in a future post!

Our very unique brass coffee table is actually a family heirloom. More on my love of antiques to follow in a future post!

A mish mosh of some of my favorite pictures (prom with my husband!) , some children's books my daughter loves, and some fun tongue in cheek accessories (the Mr. & Mts. Smith Hotel collection is a favorite for obvious reasons!)

A mish mosh of some of my favorite pictures (prom with my husband!) , some children's books my daughter loves, and some fun tongue in cheek accessories (the Mr. & Mts. Smith Hotel collection is a favorite for obvious reasons!)

I LOVE color and I have a lot of it in my home. What's right for me might not be right for you though. Feeling some moody grays or some crisp whites?! Go for it!

I LOVE color and I have a lot of it in my home. What's right for me might not be right for you though. Feeling some moody grays or some crisp whites?! Go for it!

Countdown to October!

 

Hello! I'm so excited to announce that Kate Smith Interiors will be officially launching in October 2016. Through this website and blog I hope to give you a glimpse into my design sensibilities, my inspirations, and everything fun and exciting as it relates to interior design. Hope you enjoy!   xx Kate

Sneak peak of what will be coming soon in October!

Sneak peak of what will be coming soon in October!