Apr 17, 2013 | Post by: mnanda001 No Comments

A Tudor To Treasure Blog Series Post #1: To Have and To Hold


Do you remember Siona’s Space blog series?  Well, my blog series is back!

I’ve been trying to figure out an effective way to share more of my projects via of my blog. I came to the conclusion that it’s probably good to continue to share my design journey on some of my projects and to share things in-process because many of my projects are on-going (implemented in different phases) due to client’s budget contraints and competing priorities.  We can all relate to this, right?   I thought sharing the design process and certain elements of a project mid-stream shows a more realistic portrayal of the process (versus just the before and after only) and more importantly I hope it will serve as inspiration to you within your own home!

The industry gives a lot of credit to the designers for beautiful spaces, but really it’s the clients (the homeowners) that make their space beautiful.    Sure, the decorator may have a beautiful design plan, but if it wasn’t for clients with their own sense of style (we all have it in us), who have an open mind , who ‘get it’  and have trust in the creative design process the decorator’s vision may never be implemented.

The design process is one of my most favorite part of my ‘job’.    And boy!  It can be quite a journey, but it’s like solving a puzzle and literally my heart skips a beat (I’m not kidding!) when I find the perfect elements and I see the design story coming to life.  I just hope my client feels the same way when I present the ideas to them.

Sometimes the challenge is illustrating the vision to my clients.  It’s a balance for them…. a balance between their own sense of style, their gut feeling and trust in me.  The home is a sacred place for so many people (as it should be) and to put your trust in a designer to help expand your design horizons should be a good and exciting feeling.  Thus, it’s so important to have a good rapport with your designer.

So with all this being said….here’s a sneak peek of one of my projects of a living room that began in Fall 2012 and we’re right in the middle of this project as I type this blog post today.    As such, this is the first post of a blog series I’m calling…. “A Tudor To Treasure”.


My client lives in this charming 1920s Tudor home on a family friendly tree-lined street in a suburb near Chicago.  They’re a beautiful, down to earth family of five on the move with two boys and a girl.  They enjoy the simple joys of life with family and friends that include outdoor activities, exercise, sports, traveling, cooking, wine, entertaining…just to name a few.  (And I can’t forget to mention that they’re hilarious!)    Like many of us,  their home is where their heart is in terms finding comfort,  recharging their spirits and just having a lot of fun together.  The home structure is quite charming indeed, but the family within this structure makes it a treasure.

Their overall decorating style I’d say is casual, comfortable, warm and cozy.  Definitely eclectic with old world, rustic and ethnic touches with a tad of whimsy.  The main things that were important to them when it came to decorating their living room were really quite simple.  They  wanted a space that made them smile, captured the charm of their 1920s Tudor style home and was comfortable for their entire family, yet also a space for just them (aka adult space…no toys, TV etc…) for some quiet time and grown up entertaining.  I’ve included some pictures of the living room during my initial visit this past Fall.

Since many people relate to stories I typically begin projects with a design story that captures the feeling, function and style the client wants for their space.   This design story is then translated into design elements to help the process of enabling the client to envision the design plan.  Typically my overall design story stays in tact throughout the design process with tweaks as we move along the process.

I knew their design story for their living room would have to capture their focus on family and friends and create a space that does the following:

  • Creates a casual elegance for entertaining friends and family
  • Creates a warm and conformable atmosphere to promote conversation, laughter and some silliness
  • Creates a comfortable sense of sophistication and stillness to read and just think during the very few moments of alone time

The design story for this living room Tudor is  ”Old World elements meet tailored sophistication with vintage eclecticism paired with ethnic touches.”  ”What?”  You may be thinking.  Just wait.

This design plan will be characterized by old world touches with some wrought iron accents, tufted furniture and potentially some natural stone elements.  The tailored sophistication will translates to the ‘grown up’ elements of the space with proposed built-in bookcases painted in a sophisticated, a bit of a masculine, yet rich paint color.  In addition, brass accent pieces will be incorporated throughout the space.  Vintage eclecticism will find it’s way by adding charming,  fun, somewhat whimsical, bold  and unexpected patterns paired with rich and warm colors in the rug, fabric, pillows and lighting.  Lastly,  the ethnic touches will come in from their existing carved wooden mirror (on the mantle)  and potentially wood accent tables or coffee table.

Other than the grandfather clock given to them as a wedding gift from her mother the room was a blank canvas.   I knew lighting (at this point no major electrical work is in the budget) and scale of furniture were going to be key to this space.   However,  there was no one inspiration piece that I started with like I do with some spaces, but I did draw upon their dining room.  I used their dining room window treatment fabric that we collaborated on together earlier in the year as my starting point for their living room.  The rich colors, bold patterns, yet casual elegance was my inspiration.

We decided pretty quickly to lighten up the living room  by bringing in the same creamy wall color (Ben Moore OC – 1 Natural Wicker) from the dining room into the foyer (the foyer connects the dining room and living room) and into the living room as well.

In addition, I knew I wanted to reupholster the Louis XVI style chairs that were given to my client by her mother and before that the chairs belonged to her grandmother.

My client was really open to anything I had to share.  That’s always fun for a decorator.  We’ve worked on a few smaller projects in her home previously so that always helps in understanding each other’s style and approach.

It’s an honor to do what I do on day to day basis….working with people creating along side them a space that they love to be a part of (really that’s a part of them), a space they share with family and friends and a space where they’ll create memories for a lifetime.

This post is to honor and thank all my clients for their willingness to go out of their comfort zone, but still stay true to themselves as it relates to design.    Good design takes some experimenting, collaboration and trust.  ”To have and to hold” takes on a whole new meaning when I’m working on a project with clients, but is the best way to illustrate in words how important each client and project is to me.

I hope you’re intrigued with this Tudor home’s design story and will enjoy the design ride along with us as I plan to share my design ideas and pictures along the way as significant elements are completed in the room.  Kind of a “play by play” blog series of sorts.   Unlike my design plans, this blog series is not planned out per se so I hope you enjoy the spontaneity of it all too (and bare with me the photos taken by me that I’ll be sharing)!  So stayed tuned for more blog posts of  ”A Tudor To Treasure”!

Now, it’s off to Sonoma, CA with my husband for a few days….I’m sure I’ll find some inspiration there (and maybe enjoy a glass of wine or two or three!)….ahhhh….can’t wait.

Until next time….




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