Location: East Memphis, Tennessee
Type of Project, Living room
Project time: 3 months
A big, beautiful room. Broad wall space. Huge, vast bookcases reach to the ceiling. Gorgeous windows bathe the entire room with sunshine.
Sounds magnificent, right? Very much so.
But, also—very daunting.
This month, we are fortunate to highlight Katie’s living room as our featured home space. Two years ago Katie and her husband, Ryan, bought their home in East Memphis. Katie quickly fell in love with the living room but felt overwhelmed with the space’s all consuming size. She knew then that she didn’t just want to fill it with needless items simply for the sake of quick decorating. Katie realized she needed to wait and decorate it on her timeline; she needed to find pieces that worked well for the room, rather than for the immediate future.
Moreover, Katie’s living room project allowed her to work alongside some people with whom Blue Pencil Home often collaborates. It’s important for us to work with those to whom we refer our clients, as we often make personal recommendations about their services.
As you may be aware, Blue Pencil Home offers concierge moving and relocation services. As a part of our services, we work closely with home stagers, designers, real estate agents and many others who help prepare homes on both sides of a move. When a client chooses to work with Blue Pencil Home, we are prepared to help them with every detail of a move or project—starting with meeting with moving companies all the way to even buying the groceries and making up beds in their new homes in the new cities. We are here to handle every detail.
Because of this and because we value collaborating with people and companies with whom we have personal relationships, Katie was thrilled to work on her living room with Sarah Spinosa of Sarah Spinosa Design, someone with whom Blue Pencil Home has worked with in the past. We are fans of her work and love collaborating with her when we get the chance.
Sarah shared, “After living in her home for a few years, Katie grew tired of her kids using her empty living room as a skating rink and indoor tennis court; and that’s where the collaboration began. We took [the space] from an empty room with only a sofa to an adult space to entertain.”
When the Perfect Pieces Make the Room
Around the time Katie bought the home two years ago, she found a gorgeous navy blue velvet couch at The Find here in Memphis. She bought it immediately and knew she wanted to work the living room around the piece. She just needed to wait for the right time.
It was this couch and two special pieces of art that became the central focal pieces of the room. Sarah used these three items as main design components in the room. Sarah offers, “Katie’s living room is a large space. I used a comprehensive computer program for furniture placement. In order to maintain a family friendly space, I chose performance fabrics and leather for upholstery items.”
One piece of art for the space was commissioned by Katie from Leslie Barron of Memphis. This sumptuous piece of a woman wreathed by roses, holding an owl, graces the fireplace regally watches over the room.
The second piece, by Candice Boatright, is a uniquely perfect companion to Barron’s work, in that it’s personal and exudes childlike innocence. This portrait of Katie’s children captures their youth well and perfectly plays off the sunlight streaming in through the windows next to the picture.
The couch, paired with the art, brings Katie’s personal touches to the room, making the space feel uniquely special.
That being said, the space did feel overwhelming to Katie when they first moved in two years ago. This is why she wanted to bring in pieces that had connections to her own family. This is also why she didn’t feel the need to immediately fill the space. She took her time and waited for the right items that worked well in the space. Haphazard buying of random items isn’t Katie’s style. She wanted her new home to be intentionally planned.
Sarah was in agreement with Katie on her intentionality in choosing items for the room. Sarah shared, “Because of her organizational background, Katie shared my vision for a ‘clean space.’ When Katie works with clients, purging is often part of the process. Because of that, Katie accepted the fact that pieces from her previous home wouldn’t necessarily work in her new space.”
Why Trusting the Expert Makes Collaboration a Success
In addition, Katie knew that she could trust others, like Sarah, in the process of planning to do what they did best. Katie deferred many of the designs, colors, and aesthetic decisions to Sarah. They worked in phases, carefully choosing patterns and wallpapers that Katie would love, taking time to be patient and careful in decision making.
Katie and I both know the value of trusting professionals to do what they do best. This is the key to success in collaborations. Sarah is excellent at her job and we both love working with her. Katie basically stepped back and let Sarah make excellent choices. She offered strong selections from which Katie could choose.
Sarah agrees, “All in all, Katie and I worked well together because we trust each other as experts in our field. It’s important to trust the opinions of people you hire because they have the experience and expertise.”
The living room’s color palette was a bit varied in that the piece of art over the fireplace has darker, deeper tones and the children’s portrait is done in pastels. This could be challenging to a designer, having to tie it all in; but Sarah took this in stride and worked all the colors in through the fabrics and other design elements.
In the end, Ryan, Katie, and their two children, are thrilled with the final results. The room looks fantastic and the timeline was a success for their family. Nothing felt rushed or pushy and the room is classically beautiful, but livable at the same time. The family is overjoyed with being able to use such a beautiful space in such a functional manner.
Katie’s collaboration with Sarah was successful and it gave Katie a first-hand experience of how Blue Pencil Home clients feel in working with one of our close partners. We couldn’t recommend Sarah’s services more and look forward to more collaborations with her in our future.
Until next week...