Client Project Case Study #1 | Small Room Design Challenge

How Lisa Jensen Interior Design Solved A Client’s Small Room With A Tall Order And Created A Perfect New Den For This North Shore Couple!

By Lisa Jensen Interior Design

My client called and needed help at her waterfront home in Salisbury MA with a few rooms, but the first room she wanted to tackle was a small space right off the front entry. Thankfully she was super patient and willing to wait several months before I could add another project to my schedule!

Here’s the room BEFORE I worked on it:

  Before photograph of the Salisbury Massachusetts small room design challenge Lisa Jensen Interior Design solved for her clients. The designer started with developing a Floor Plan and Layout for New Furniture, the designer added ample Lighting, Window Treatments, an Area Rug, Artwork, and Home Decor to complete the new Den/Office Room Design.

Before photograph of the Salisbury Massachusetts small room design challenge Lisa Jensen Interior Design solved for her clients. The designer started with developing a Floor Plan and Layout for New Furniture, the designer added ample Lighting, Window Treatments, an Area Rug, Artwork, and Home Decor to complete the new Den/Office Room Design.

My clients had recently retired and needed the room to function as a Den where their two grandchildren could watch television, he could work at a desktop computer and sometimes nap on a couch, and she wanted a reading chair. That’s a tall order for a room not quite 10’ x 12’!

So, I started by planning out the space and drafted a scaled furniture floor plan:

  A scaled floor plan was drafted to ensure proper sized furniture was selected and then arranged in order to leave proper pathways and provide all of the different functions the clients were looking for with their new Den design.

A scaled floor plan was drafted to ensure proper sized furniture was selected and then arranged in order to leave proper pathways and provide all of the different functions the clients were looking for with their new Den design.

After developing a new floor plan that would allow the space to meet all of the clients needs by finding the perfectly sized & scaled furnishings, including a corner desk with a corner tv installed above, I then used the floor plan to determine a rug size that would be appropriate for the room. I selected a nubby wool rug that would:

  • add warmth to the room during cold New England Winters

  • quiet the acoustics when the grandkids were watching TV

  • make the room feel bigger by going with a larger rug size in order to define a larger footprint

  • add texture to the overall decoration

So many factors go in to choosing the exact right pieces, for every single item, in each of my design projects I work on, including the client’s budget, possible allergies, product availability, everything bulleted above, and so much more!

Here’s the room AFTER I designed it:

  After photograph of the new small Den Design and Decoration Lisa Jensen Interior Design created for her clients in their Salisbury MA waterfront home. The designer successfully incorporated all of the clients wishes to have a desktop work station, a sofa large enough to lay down on, a reading chair, and to make it comfortable for both adults and grandchildren.

After photograph of the new small Den Design and Decoration Lisa Jensen Interior Design created for her clients in their Salisbury MA waterfront home. The designer successfully incorporated all of the clients wishes to have a desktop work station, a sofa large enough to lay down on, a reading chair, and to make it comfortable for both adults and grandchildren.

After the rug was selected the next design decision I made was to add window treatments to the room which would:

  • offer light control when watching TV

  • provide some thermal control in the cold seaside New England Winter

  • help with those television acoustics

  • soften the space

  • provide a feeling of height and spaciousness in the small room by using one of my favorite designer tricks and installing the window treatments right up to the ceiling which draws the eye upward

Every inch is accounted for in a small room design, as seen below:

  Lisa Jensen Interior Design selected the perfectly sized petite end tables for her client’s small den.

Lisa Jensen Interior Design selected the perfectly sized petite end tables for her client’s small den.

Each piece of furniture needed to fit perfectly in this small room as exemplified in the photo above. Because I take my own field measurements on every project, I knew I had exactly 117 inches to work with along that particular wall. I needed to do a full size sofa that would be 84 inches in length so my client could lay down on it. That left me with 33 inches for 2 end tables, not a lot since a true standard end table is 24 x 24 x 24. Regardless, I met the challenge head-on and sourced tables that were exactly 16.5 inches wide, leaving 0 room for anything else, including error, and they were perfect! 16.5” table + 16.5” table + 84” couch = 117” wall. That’s how to maximize a space!

I also purposely selected tables that were a little taller so the couch pillow my client rests his head on while laying down would be less likely to knock over a drink sitting on a table that’s a little more elevated than the standard 24” height. Also, like with the window treatments, going more vertical with anything in a small room is going to add the feeling of height and spaciousness.

Custom framed Salisbury MA map the designer found for her clients, shown below:

  A copy of an old Salisbury Massachusetts map Lisa Jensen found for her clients hangs on the wall in their newly designed Den. The custom framed map is flanked by battery lit candles used with the new forged iron wall sconces.

A copy of an old Salisbury Massachusetts map Lisa Jensen found for her clients hangs on the wall in their newly designed Den. The custom framed map is flanked by battery lit candles used with the new forged iron wall sconces.

I especially love the part of the design process when I’m developing new ideas for my client’s rooms that will not only incorporate all of their needs and desires they expressed to me during their Intake Interview, but will also make the space personal for them. While I always enjoy sourcing products for my projects, it’s especially rewarding when I can find something truly unique like this cool map of my client’s hometown - they were so happy when I found that for them! It was also an intentional tactic to select that particular map that would carry a little bit of the turquoise and teal accent colors found throughout the space over to that wall.

My client also loves the ambiance of candles and these battery operated candles are a safe alternative for every home, especially ones with grandchildren and pets. The sconces were an easy, affordable, and creative way to add 3-Dimension to a wall that lacked any other architectural detail.

Interior design details closeup

  A closeup of furnishings selected by Lisa Jensen Interior Design showcasing a balance between textures, materials, colors, shapes, masculinity and femininity.

A closeup of furnishings selected by Lisa Jensen Interior Design showcasing a balance between textures, materials, colors, shapes, masculinity and femininity.

I hope you enjoyed reading about this client’s project and how I solved their small room challenge and designed a new Den for their needs, lifestyle, and preferences! They loved the way this room turned out and we ended up working together on several other spaces in their home.

If you have a room that you’ve been putting off updating, I’m here to help you with that and we’re accepting new projects right now!

Let’s work together to transform your home!

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Transition

Driving up Route 1 yesterday in the late afternoon I read a sign that spoke to me on many levels:

"In order to get the fruit of the tree

you have to go out on a limb."

Further up the road I passed several breathtaking marshes transitioning into their Fall colors.  The misty fog backdrop heightened their vibrance:  deep russets, rich layers of greens, splashes of burgundy, crimson, tiny dots of bright yellow and deep purple replacing last month's lime greens and softer blues.  Even the river reflection had taken on its own renewed color - more of a teal than it's Summertime blue.

Witnessing Mother Nature's prowess started me thinking about Transition.  I believe our homes, like our lives, should constantly be evolving & transitioning as we grow and our needs change.  What we really liked and suited our needs 10 or 20 years ago may be completely different from what we like and want to live with today.  Whether it's simply evolving or just a flat out mistake there is no sense to continue trying to make something work that you've finally admitted just isn't working - life is too short (and I may tell you that your curtain panels are, too).  Perhaps it is better to let go of the old in order to make room for something that is a better fit for you and your home today.

I've experienced this first-hand with several clients over the years who bought the oversized chair-and-a-half that eats up far too much floor space and is just not practical anywhere in their home.  I've also had clients who purchased a forest green sofa when they really desire a more soothing palette of light grays and blues.  Other clients have bought a "bedroom set" rather than integrating a mix of furnishings that would create a more interesting mood in their sanctuary.  I do always encourage my clients to keep anything they really love and want to make work somehow, but it's transitioning the mistakes out of your home that will make way for a fresh start in order to create a better match for your needs of today.  And whatever you let go of will find a new home and be loved elsewhere.  Of course there are some of you who make the right choices from the very beginning and can love an object your whole life, but even those beloved items will need an occasional renewal with periodic new paint, stain, parts or upholstery.

After my drive I returned to my studio and grabbed a few Elle Decor magazines from lower on the stack to be sure to re-visit some older issues with a fresh eye.  The first page I opened to, the very first article I opened to was by Holly Petersen 'Turning The Tide' July/Aug 2014, and the first sentence read:

"Change is a funny thing.  We fear it at first,

but once we take the scary leap, we are drawn

to it like bugs on a porch light."

How apropos.  Change is in the air this Fall!  So, go out on a limb, garner some confidence, be brave, make the decision to start fresh and allow yourself to think about what you really want in your life and your home - today - and make that transition this Fall, or at least take the first step toward it.  Maybe it's something you've been thinking about for the past 5 years and been putting it off, but for what reason?  My advice is don't wait any longer - I'm telling you it's time to pursue what it is that you want; don't prolong loving your surroundings.  Whether it's your Bedroom, Living Room, Bathroom, or other, if you need help with your transition, complete the Client Questionnaire form on our website and someone from the studio will follow up with you.

Please keep in mind that we are typically booked 5-6 months out throughout the year so be sure to plan ahead.  Visit our portfolio to view some design transitions we've done for clients:  http://www.lisajenseninteriordesign.com/residential/

Hope you enjoy!

~Lisa

Bathroom Design - From New Orleans to Boston

Here is more design inspiration I garnered from my recent trip to New Orleans and will inform a future design project back in Massachusetts.

Bathroom Interior Design New Orleans inspired

I snapped this very quick photo walking down a street in New Orleans (my husband gets antsy if I stop to carefully photograph all of my inspirations - as really EVERYTHING is inspiration to me, so we'd be at a constant halt).  I'm surprised the photo even came out, but I'm happy now to have the record.

Now that I look at the photo I see how I would use this inspiration and translate it into a client's interior design project.  I would love to replicate this aesthetic in a client's bathroom.

My

Bathroom Design

would consist of:

1)  A stone or cement floor (heated of course)

2)  A Venetian plastered minty green wall treatment

3)  A soaking tub like this one below

66-inch Double Slipper Copper Pedestal Tub with Decorative Rings by Randolph Morris

Hope you enjoy!

~Lisa

New Orleans Love!

I just returned from another great visit to one of my favorite cities - New Orleans!  As a designer I gain so much inspiration for my 'vault' to use in current & future design projects.

 

I love the great architecture, the live music everywhere, the garden courtyards, the mighty Mississippi, the free spirits of today (and the spirits of the past), the Cajun cooking, Michalopoulos, that distinct New Orleans accent and much more.

Here are some of my inspirations:

Brass trumpet light fixture for a Musician Client & blue globe pendant installation for a Client's Dining Room

Bottle ceiling installation for a Client's Bar - residential or commercial

Medallions for adorning a wood fireplace surround, a wood framed mirror, or a bookcase

I'd hire my talented artist cousin from Salem, MA Jill Pabich to paint this in a children's library or playroom

Quintessential New Orleans

 
 This is Soul Project.  Go hear them live if you're in NOLA!  

I'd repeat the magical quality of this beaded tree in a client's Outdoor Room

I loved meeting this artist Steve Martin!  He has great energy & enthusiasm...and art.  These frames are salvaged after Katrina and he has a great story behind his works.  
 
 Visit his gallery if you're in New Orleans.
   
 Colors for a Master Bedroom
 
 Kitchen inspiration

Great colors, details, materials & original use of beads 

 Kitchen Floor inspiration (I did something similar in a client's bathroom)

 
Interesting moment

  
Fun kids artwork
   
Was here in 1995 on a cross country drive...it's still there!
 
The End

Hope you enjoy!

~Lisa



Happy Friday Everybody!

I just got an email from my friend Molly with this beautiful invitation.  If any of you readers live in the Boston North Shore area you may want to contact molly@mollybrownsales.com & attend this trunk show tomorrow in Marblehead, MA.  Even if you have to drive a bit out of your way Marblehead is always worth visiting (I grew up there and to me it's one of the most beautiful places in the world).

Inline image 1 

I visited the website and the Birdaria Lucite Trays are fabulous!!   I used to own a home decor shop ELIXIR and I loved carrying serving trays, but they were always hard to come by.

  Bamboo Hexagons, Green, 9x11 Tray

Birdaria also carries great bold colored canvas art, which is customizable, too.  My pick is the Birdaria Falling 4 U Light Pink / Tangerine .


If anyone is interested in purchasing from the Birdaria line please contact my friend molly@mollybrownsales.com.
 
Hope you enjoy!
~Lisa

Before & After: Outdated Ranch House

Greetings!

So a few minutes ago I was reading up on how to get my new blog noticed out "there", one thing led to another and I ended up at Grace Bonney's Design*Sponge blog where she had some business tips - thank you Grace.  

But then she had a post Before & After: Sarah's Real World Makeover about Sarah Hubbell, editor at Emma Magazine.  What caught my eye is that FINALLY someone else painted over their wood paneling rather than removing it and then having the standard (and boring) flat walls.  I rarely watch home shows but whenever I have it seems they're destroying wood paneling when in fact it adds so much character and architectural detail when painted out white.

Below I'll share with you my own Before & After project with wood paneling, painted out in white (though it is hard to see the paneling detail from these photos).

BEFORE


AFTER
 

 

Hope you enjoy!

~Lisa


The First Blog Post

Hello everyone! 

I am thrilled to finally have made the time to start my interior design blog.  I have been so knee-deep in client projects for years on end that I am guilty of never having made the time to check out the entire blog world.  I know that sounds crazy.  My friend Beth is constantly referencing design blogs to me & I feel awkward to keep saying, "No, I haven't heard of (fill in the blank)." 

Have I been living under a rock?  Possibly. 

                               Photo:  Client Living Room Interior Design
Actually the truth is I've had anywhere from 6-14 design client projects going at any given time over the last few years and I am purposely making myself slow down just a bit.  It's easy to get so stressed about a client's fabric that has been delayed for 3 more months, or the dye lot sample that keeps coming in darker than the client wanted, or any number of design-related crisis'.  

It's time to take things a little slower and with that comes my taking a bit of time for myself to see what the design blog world is all about & get involved.

If you'd like to view some of the design projects I've been busy working on, please visit my official website at:  www.LisaJensenInteriorDesign.com

I hope you enjoy!
  ~Lisa