The Design That We’ll Never Get to See in Person – AT’s Small/Cool Event + 5 Renter Hacks for a Small Space

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Remember back at the beginning of March (what now feels like a year ago) when we showed you a Sneak Peek Into Our Current Design Projects? Well, today is the day to show you the “final results” of one of them. No, this isn’t our typical room reveal. A lot has shifted between then and now. And other things take priority as they should. But our ultimate goal here at EHD is to try to bring a little joy to your day and since it’s Monday morning fingers crossed this does the trick. This “room reveal” is one where neither you nor I will ever see a real photograph of but that’s okay since I stayed up late trying to recreate the space as realistically as possible for us all to enjoy by using my trusted confidante, SketchUp.

I bet by now you are asking yourselves, “Which project are you talking about?” If you didn’t already guess from the snippet above it’s our Eclectic English space for Apartment Therapy’s Small/Cool Event which officially went live (virtually, that is) last Friday. The event showcases 20 current home trends by 20 designers for the year 2020. Very clever AT team. 😉 The trends range from Art Deco Influence by Gabriela Gargano to Maximalist Boho by Jessica Bringham and everything in between. Ok so let’s start with the design inspiration for our room!

The Trend: Eclectic English

photo source | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

I was very excited to take lead on this bedroom design project after all I know a thing or two about designing a small bedroom after my own MOTO. When the AT team asked us which trend we would want to showcase it was a no brainer. Emily had just written about her current love affair with this New (Old) Trend that was going to help her get her color/quirk back into her life and I was so on board to oversee the design. This trend is the metaphorical fresh-design-air that we have all been waiting for and like I’ve stated before I am ready to trade in the neutral world for a multi-colored one.

The Space

This all sounded great in theory until I saw the photographs for the original space where the event was to be held in Brooklyn, NYC. Talk about a design challenge. This warehouse didn’t invoke that eclectic old world at all that we wanted the expected 12k+ visitors to feel as they walked into our space. I started to think, “Why didn’t we choose postmodernism? That’s also cool right now.”

But this type of challenge is what drew me to interior design in the first place, working within a set parameters of a building to find those creative solutions that will ultimately transform a space into something new. Challenge accepted.

Emily also wanted me to point out the fact that we were designing this space from 3,000 miles away which is a challenge in itself but since starting at EHD almost 3 years ago this is nothing new to me. The two main projects that I have worked on – the Portland Project (961 miles) & the Mountain House (84 miles) – weren’t exactly distances that screamed let’s just go “swing by” for a site check-in today. Working solely based off of a few measurements and online shopping was okay by me especially for just one small room. The real challenge was creating a space that looked curated over a long period of time in the span of a few weeks from a handful of online vendors.

Yeah, you could say I was slightly stressed.

The AT team was so great and sent through this very thorough SketchUp drawing of our space including all the dimensions I could need plus the very elusive NYC fisherman. His name is Gary and he was super helpful to clue me in on the exact scale of the space we were working with. Thanks, Gary. Bye, Gary.

Now that I had a better idea of the exact measurements for the space, Emily and I did our initial brainstorm of how to add that “cozy factor” we knew it desperately needed. Let’s just say our hopes were as high as the NYC skyline: “Maybe they can add a ceiling so people don’t see the exposed ceiling”, “Could we add wood floors?”, “Some added millwork would help transform the space”, or “An overhead diffused light to make the space feel cozier”… there was some wishful thinking but one worked out in our favor. One thing I have learned in the past couple of years is that you’ll never know what your options are until you ask. And ask I did, thank you again to the AT team for answering my endless emails. I love an email. Especially those who respond quickly and they did, thank you.

You’d think that creating a space from a blank slate would be a designer’s dream. But when combining that with the fact that it also has no fourth wall and everything in the space has to “work/look good” from one angle it shifted my mindset of how I’d typically design a room. Function still played a role but in a new showcase-y kind of way that I wasn’t familiar with. So, instead of thinking about the room as a 3-dimensional space I looked at it as if it were first a piece of art that you could then jump into and walk around. It had to work as both.

The solution was layers and layers and then some more layers.

Here was my initial paired down mood board that we showed you a few months back. Giving you all a sense of the space without giving it all away. That wicker bed from Serena and Lily was the first piece I picked out that made me believe that this space could work. Followed with a close second & third by the Matrix Chair from Article and the Hay Design Matin Lamp that I think everyone in the office including myself has had heart eyes for once or twice. We’ve loved a pleated lampshade ever since Jess pointed out the newly rising trend way back when.

And this was just the beginning…

The first and probably most important layer was to cover up those stark white walls. This space needed a dose of traditional character and nothing says that more to me than the trusted wallpaper and board & batten combo. Chasing Paper’s Tree Toile in Mono was the quintessential pattern for the space. It adds that layer of depth without being too overwhelming. I’m talking to you art wall. There are two types of texture you can add to a space one is 3D like a shag rug, our millwork, or pattern. I decided to include both with our board and batten walls painted in Behr’s Red Pepper. I’ll be honest, I was a bit nervous to tell Emily that this is the paint color I wanted to use in the space. The lady likes red but more of a bright and happy red of which this isn’t really. But once she saw it on the mood board she was all for it.

There was a fine line of how high was too high or too low the millwork should be. In the end I decided that the height should be based more on the headboard height of the bed more than anything else. At first, I had it at 60″ high on the back wall and 48″ on the other two but something felt off. Then I realized that if it was that high on the back wall there wouldn’t visually be enough breathing room for all the art I had planned to go up there.

So, after playing around with it for a few hours in SketchUp (love you) I went with 54″ high on all 3 walls. It was a little over halfway up the wall which would’ve felt awkward had I not filled the walls with other visual weight. That is always something you want to consider when determining the height of your millwork and also where it will intersect your light switches (something we didn’t have to think about for our space) or other permanent fixtures along your walls. Be sure they are either included in the millwork or sit above but not half and half.

Above are the profiles I chose, with plenty of help from Charla and Justine, from our favorite vendor Metrie. They are the same two lovely ladies that helped Emily and I to pick out/design all that millwork in the Portland House. For this project, we got our material inspiration from The Gold Hive – Ashley Goldman’s Master Bedroom which included some very thin lattice which would be our flatstock with a low profile. This would take up just a little real-estate in this tiny space.

That isn’t our only small space/renter hack that we have for you today read more below.

But first…here she is our Eclectic English lady!

Side Note: Some of the items in the render like the lounge chair & dresser are not the same as in the mood board. Building detailed furniture in SketchUp can be tedious and extremely time-consuming especially ones with realistic-looking cushions. So I took the easy way out (aka saved hours of on the clock time) and downloaded similar options. It was late. I was tired. And this is a skill I am working on so I think this version is much better than what I could’ve come up with. So imagine that awesome Matrix Chair from Article and this nightstand.

As Emily would describe her she is, “…just a touch senile, with a dirty martini in her hand, perhaps some sort of old Hollywood headpiece, and head to toe in patterned clothes. She freely tells us about her affair with Wes Anderson (a younger man! Grandma!) and maybe she has tons of cash hidden around the house. But she’s a little old world too – she loves a floral print, she’s always ready to put the kettle on and share some well-earned life experience, and her shelves are stuffed with souvenirs from decades of travel. My friends love her, and my kids can’t wait to visit her because surely she will tell them something they are far too young to hear.”

Do you see her? Do you love her? Or is she just a little too much for you? You can be honest cause she would tell you the harsh truth right back to your face. But then I am not her, so I ask of you be constructive in any of your criticism you might have. Thanks 🙂

5 Renter Hacks for a Small Space:

  • Re-think The Gallery Wall – As we all know a gallery wall is a sure-fire way to add that needed dose of personality into those box-like apartments but then you’re stuck with patching up who know how many holes when moving out. Cause I know that for every piece of art that I hang in a gallery wall there are probably 3x the amount of holes necessary behind it. Done is better than perfect around here and I don’t have the patience with templates. So instead, consider a picture hanging rod which will require minimal holes in your wall and you have more freedom to swap out art over time. This idea works well in the space since we added the millwork which projected out from the wall which let us still overlap the art.
  • Layer Up – If you live in a space with flooring that you wish you could just replace or snap your fingers and make them disappear, then consider getting a rug approx. the size of your space and layer a smaller rug on top. This typically works best if the smaller rug is about two sizes down and is in the same style. Also, be sure that the rug on top has a higher pile than the one below.
  • When in Doubt Mount It – Want to add a coat rack to your space? Try a 6-arm coat hook instead. Thinking about getting a bookcase? Maybe opt. for some shelves. Anything that you can install on your walls to free up some coveted floor space is golden in a small room.
  • Double Duty – In a small space it is a great idea for your furniture to serve multiple purposes when you lack the square footage. We made sure our floor lamp had a small table attached and our dresser’s marble top was the perfect place for a martini station. Although, I know I could’ve done a better job on more storage for the space like including a nightstand with a drawer or a bench with a shelf. I choose the more visual pleasing option, form over function and I am okay with my decisions. It is a showroom after all and our hypothetical lady is a maximalist minimalist at heart. Avert your eyes on this fact I just pointed out and let’s move on!
  • Not Your Average Sconce – Since there wasn’t going to be any overhead lighting in the space due to the lack of a ceiling which is hopefully not an issue any of you are running into in your home… We got a little creative in the lighting department. A floor and table lamp were probably sufficient enough for the space but to bump up the quirk factor I wanted to “DIY” our own plug-in sconce. Using an iron hook and utility bare bulb pendant, the plan was to wrap the cord somehow (Sara and I were going to figure out this little factor when we got there) to create a sconce.

If any of you are interested in this look here are all of the products:

1. Floor Lamp (no longer available) | 2. Accent Chair (the original one) | 3. Blue Lumbar Pillow | 4. Wallpaper | 5. Paint Color | 6. Blue Curtains | 7. Curtain Rod | 8. Endcap Finials | 9. Stool | 10. Utility Plug-In Pendant | 11. Cast Iron Hook | 12. Bar Tool Set | 13. Bar Tray | 14. Cocktail Shaker | 15. Coup Glass | 16. Smaller Red Toned Rug | 17. Bed | 18. Mattress | 19. Green Pleated Table Lamp | 20. End Table | 21. Large Light Blue Rug | 22. Nightstand with Drawers (the original one) | 23. Curtain Hook | 24. Bench | 25. Circle Pillow | 26. Pom Pom Lumbar | 27. Bed Throw | 28. Sheet Set | 29. Blue Sham | 30. Duvet Cover | 31. Curtain Rod | 32. Endcap Finials | 33. Solid-Brass Double Jack Picture Chain | 34. Pair of Heavy Open Asymetrical S-Hooks – 1 1/2″ | 35. Art-Nouveau Picture Rail Hook | 36. Broken Clouds by Stephanie Goos Johnson | 37. Winter Wren by Olivia Kanaley Inman | 38. Semicolon by Alex Isaacs Designs | 39. The Humble Egg by Monica Loos | 40. Antique Yachts Canvas 1 | 41. In The Branches Print | 42. Remember: Lily of the Valley by Renee Anne | 43. Blue Heron Framed Print | 44. Lake Air Canvas Print | 45. Alpine Lake Framed Canvas | 46. Solid Pine Panel Mould | 47. Fingerjoint Pine Stop | 48. Fingerjoint Pine Baseboard | 49. Solid Pine Lattice

There were a lot of accessories that Sara and myself were going to play with once on-site so instead of letting all those sourcing hours go to waste we figured to round them up for all you Eclectic English Enthusiasts. Enjoy!

1. Farm House by Lindsay Megahed | 2. Ribbed Blanket | 3. Natural Hyacinth Noelle Tote Basket | 4. Organic Percale Pleated Sheet Set | 5. Wheaton Striped Napkins | 6. Bunny Trinket Dish | 7. Palomino Alpaca Throw | 8. Nesting Glass Shadow Boxes – Hexagon (Set of 3) | 9. Tomah by Lorent and Leif | 10. Foundations Bowl | 11. Oversize Wool Throw | 12. Antique Florals | 13. Fiber Dye Napkins | 14. Dara Velvet Lumbar Pillow Cover | 15. Creative Women Handwoven Cotton Napkin

In lieu of the original event plan, Apartment Therapy created these adorable illustrations (see below) and animations of all 20 spaces. You can check out our space here!

Be sure to peruse all the amazing work by the rest of the designers as well including: Hilton Carter, all-of-our-favorite Orlando Soria, one of the cutest/creative couples Nate Berkus & Jeremiah Brent, one of Caitlin’s Favorites Caitlin Murray plus many many more talented designers.

That’s all she (I) wrote! I hope this brought a bit of sunshine to your Monday morning. And I can promise you that you will one day see a real room reveal again but in the meantime I’ll be practicing my SketchUp skillzzz.

For those of you that are skeptical of the Eclectic English trend, I am curious. Does this design convince you that it is the new cool trend or does it still give you frightening flashbacks?? Let’s talk more about it below!

The post The Design That We’ll Never Get to See in Person – AT’s Small/Cool Event + 5 Renter Hacks for a Small Space appeared first on Emily Henderson.

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