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Fresh Living Room in Atlanta

Happy New Year! What resolutions did you make for your space this year? Have you said to yourself, “You know, I’ll get a new sofa and the room will be done.” New sofas are great. New beds are great. New furniture is fun and when you’re starting with an empty room. Foundational pieces are essential for a great design. The problem is: the life of the room doesn’t come from those large pieces. The life, the movement, the feel of the room comes from accessories. These accessories: the pillows, the framed prints and photos, your books, your art, the rugs all contribute to the dynamic story of your space.

My clients already had some great furniture in their living room – we did not need to start from scratch like we did in their office. They’re quirky, they were open to anything: the more fun, the better. They had spacious shelving filled with interesting books and perfectly stylish, comfortable seating. What they needed was a room that functioned for their lifestyle (no centrally located television, thank you very much) and fit the overall open feel of their fantastic home in Atlanta. Even in an open concept first floor, their furniture arrangement made the room feel closed off.  Here’s how we found the space:

The furniture stayed. We moved a rug in from the sunroom, layering it onto a large, natural woven rug to anchor the seating area. The rug also served as the inspiration for the colors in the room. The navy and pink served as the perfect, funky combination that fit the personality of my clients and BONUS, it came from an item they already owned.

We reimagined the space with new overhead lighting and a new fan (it gets HOT in Atlanta, ya’ll). To solve the TV issue, we purchased a small media center on wheels that allows the family to access the television when they want to, but keeps it from being the star of the space.

The reveal!

Moving the TV to the corner allowed for the living space to be reframed by the two sofas. Moving the sofa in front of the main front windows opened up the space, welcoming any person entering the front door to sit down rather than enter a room blocked by the back of a sofa. The leather ottomans provide additional seating that was lost by the removal of the side chair and adds texture and warmth to this bright room. We removed the mirror and replaced it with a bright print that gave an unexpected pop of color as the focal point of the space.

The life of the room is in the accessories. The colors of the pillows play perfectly off the hues in the rug, and we chose quirky accessories (doesn’t everyone need a hot pink spotted brass cheetah on their mantel? Methinks so.) to reflect the personal style of the clients.

Do you have a room that has great foundational pieces but it simply does not feel like YOU? Give me a call. Let’s give that room some life together.

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Urban Cabin

Decatur is known for its distinct, historic neighborhoods, eclectic food, and vibrant downtown: it is not known for log cabins. My clients are the owners of this unlikely urban retreat, and wanted to design a space that provided a TV-free zone to read, relax, eat, and play games as a family.

Here is how I found the space:

While the living, dining, and kitchen spaces were wide open, the furniture placement prevented those in the kitchen and dining area from seeing those gathered in the seating area in the living room. To take full advantage of the open space, my design plan included a reading nook in the area of the room that could not easily be seen from the kitchen and to move the seating area to the middle of the living area, anchored by the huge fireplace.

The inspiration for the space originated on a House Beautiful cover, designs by a favorite of mine: Thom Filicia. My clients loved the combination of a striped throw and kilim pouf, so we started with those pieces.


The clearest expression of our inspiration can be found in the reading nook, which now occupies the space that most of the furniture used to be in the room. The space is cozy because it’s rich with texture: the leather chair, the wool throw, the patterned pouf, and the industrial shelves create a feeling that this space has been used and carefully curated for years.

Cati Teague Photography

The new seating area shares the spotlight with the grand fireplace, providing a place by the fire for hosting company and playing games.

Cati Teague Photography

Cati Teague Photography

The dining area joins these living space with the kitchen. Even though it’s a small space, the custom, expandable table leaves plenty of room for entertaining. We sourced the fabric for the shades from West Elm and gave the entire area a pop of color with the red dining chairs.

Cati Teague Photography

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Bedroom Colorblocking

We started with a dark blue nursery. The twins that share the room are nearly two years old and it was time for the nursery to convert to a big(ger) boy room.

Our first order of business of lightening up the space. We decided on colorblocking, and added a lighter shade midway up the wall that instantly unified the weird angles of the room, provided a graphic element, and made a formerly dark room very light and airy.

The artwork in the room centers around animals. Animals are printed on book pages, there are pixelated representations of animals to keep it modern, and Etsy enabled us to create a custom penguin print that included four penguins, instead of 3, to represent the four boys in the house. #protip: never be afraid to ask an artist about options for custom work — especially on Etsy.

The activity of the space focuses on reading, so we provided a large sitting area and plenty of book storage for the boys to utilize as they transition to activity in their new room.

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An Office for Two

A doctor and a writer. Odd hours. They needed a workspace that was functional, clean, and attractive given that it’s seen as soon as you walk in the front door. They came to this design party with funky art, cool tchotchkes, and great taste. Here’s what we started with:

Any workspace begins with a desk. A great desk. To appeal to their love of Danish design, we opted for drawer bases from IKEA: simple, white, functional. To maximize their workspace and streamline the room, I had a 12-foot, maple desktop created to span the wall.

Cati Teague Photography

It was important that the wall viewable from the home’s entry serve as the focal point of the space, so we painted the wall a rich teal and peppered it with dynamic prints and wall art. Given their tastes, I pointed them to some of my favorite artists (and because you’re special, you can visit them here, here, and here) and they selected their favorite images. I chose the sizes and frames, supplemented with other great pieces, and then mixed in a couple from their collection.

To further the function of this area, we commissioned custom magnet boards for each of them. (We love magnet boards: check out this custom board we made for a playroom!)

After function, we focused on comfort. An antique kilim rug is the perfect complement to the orange womb chair (what could be more comfortable than a WOMB chair?!), which provides a cozy space to read, relax, and retreat.

Cati Teague Photography

It’s time for your office to look this good: whether you can see it from your front door or not! Gina Sims Designs is now booking for 2018: call me.

 

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Classic Dining in Avondale

The first time I met my client was on the soccer field, and our conversation included the exclamation: “come and paint my dining room!” As the kids say: the rest is history. My client is a Classics teacher and has an obvious affinity for classical literature and languages, Rome (well, let’s say all things Italy), and has a house filled with heirlooms. Basically, she’s a dream client. Inspiration at every turn.

Let’s start, as we did at our first meeting, with her dining room. Here’s what we started with:

The room already had solid pieces. She’s the mom of two boys, so we needed to make sure any design could stand up to the activity of kids in the house. Spoiler alert: We did a bit more than paint it.

We painted those walls a beautiful, breezy blue and brought in floor to ceiling curtains to make the room (and the windows) seem larger and more grand. We swapped out the cart for a life-giving element — this fantastic, vibrant plant on simple plant stand, which will allow guests to more easily move around the table. The room is illuminated by a stately quatrefoil chandelier, which nods to her love of classical art and design. We replaced the rug with a neutral, natural toned rug to bring some texture into the space.

We swapped out two of the dining chairs with upholstered parsons dining chairs to add a modern touch to the traditional hutch and table. #PROTIP: Changing out a few (or all!) of your dining chairs for a contrasting style from your table instantly transforms a dining area or breakfast nook. For a personal touch, we hung her father’s gardening hats on the wall.

Finally, reorganizing her beautiful china and adding some decorative accessories to this amazing hutch make the piece (and its collections) seem new again. An absolutely charming and inviting transformation, just in time for Thanksgiving.

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