My mother is amazing. Really. She is.
She is always there to rescue me from any childcare situation, takes me shopping to cheer me up, brings dinner (and attempts to hit all of my allergies and intolerances), gave me incredible genes that make me not so worried about aging and is brave enough to watch three kids under 7 (and 1 month) by herself. See…I told you she is amazing.
So when she came to me for design help, I had to put my “A-Game” on and create something worthy of her and to show her how much I appreciate all that she does.
The room and details:
Dee, as she was lovingly named by my three children, has a fabulous screened-in porch off of the back of her house. She spends lots of time there entertaining, having coffee and swinging with whichever grandchild can convince her to swing. These days, it is usually Harris.
Dee is a Southern girl to the core. She appreciates the ability (and necessity) to have an outdoor living space and enjoys watering flowers, playing in the dirt (with adorable gardening gloves, of course) and enjoying an evening meal of fresh veggies under the protection of screens and ceiling fans. She loves candles and ambiance. Bright colors and pattern. She loves interest and a good conversation piece, and I was going to give her everything.
The existing furniture consisted of a white wicker settee, two chairs and swing. A “re-purposed” and repainted armoire serves as a media cabinet and a large side table was painted black and used to create a perfectly sized coffee table. A former bistro set came apart to create a side table large enough to service both the chair and settee and the bistro chairs could add extra seating for larger parties. Dee brought a round metal and glass table from inside out and hoped we could create an intimate dining space for summer meals and she has refinished and painted two metal chairs that once belonged to my great-grandmother (Harris) an amazing shade of coral.
Dee purchased new settee and chair cushions from Pier 1 last year so we needed to find a way to work with them. They are a muted shade of teal and fortunately for me, they are still sold at Pier 1 this season.
So one Thursday shopping day (yes we have those almost every week) we set out to find some inspiration for her new back porch. Dee loves yellow. Right away, when we walked into World Market, we were greeted by vibrant yellow throw pillows and I knew we were going to hit the jackpot. For those of you who do not have a World Market close by, get online and shop immediately. They have great accessories, textiles AND furniture and the pricing is fantastic. They are also always offering 10% (sometimes more) coupons so you can typically save more than the store price. We saw tons of potential in the cushions and accessories in World Market and my brain immediately started spinning.
We decided (becuase we ran out of time and had to pick Harris up from school) that I would come home and create a design board because Dee was concerned that they vibrant pillows might not work with the current seat cushions.
I know that shopping with me when I have a vision and you don’t really see it can be hard. I really do. It works perfectly in my mind and I can see every detail down to the color of candles that I plan on using. Because my mom is so awesome and I knew she was overwhelmed with the amount of ideas I had, I offered to shop for everything, deliver it to Scottsboro (where she had two of three kids AGAIN last weekend) and setup her room. The stipulations were that she had to trust me and that she couldn’t give an opinion on the room until it was finished. That’s like designer 101.
With my design board in hand I set out to shop before a day of soccer began. I knew I wanted to surprise my mom with two elements and they turned out to be the hardest to find/make.
Element of Mother’s Day Surprise 1: With the pillows that she loved from World Market, I wanted to add a touch of European coast to this space. In my layout of the room, I realized that she would have a wall that could be a perfect spot to add art work. I wanted something with lots of the colors from the space (teal, yellow, coral, etc) but wanted her to sit at her table and imagine that she was somewhere else. Somewhere fabulous.
Element of Mother’s Day Surprise 2: I wanted to give her a piece of our house. Literally. I still have a few old windows from the restoration in our basement and wanted to hang a window over the settee to create a ”room.” This was easy enough to shop for, but I am pretty sure Brendan’s arm is still sore from the amount of scraping it required him to do.
So, the merchandise came from World Market, Pier 1, Homegoods and Target. A mix and match day of shopping that only required a few hours of time and a lot of patience dealing with Gunbarrel Road on a Saturday.
1. Textiles. I mixed and matched a vibrant solid yellow with a floral pattern and yellow lattice. The cushions on the dining chairs are an antique white and I chose a solid jute rug (on clearance at HomeGoods!)
2. Dining Area. We selected surprisingly comfy rounded back metal chairs to coordinate with the current metal table. We found plates that coordinated with the floral pillows, solid yellow round placemats, durable acrylic drinkware and yellow linen napkins with jute-wrapped napkin rings.
3. Accessories. I chose two white lamp bases with a yellow lamp shade and coral burlap lamp shade. Recycled glass candle holders for the dining table, a tall recycled glass vase with natural branches, vibrant glass candle holders in multiple colors, a votive chandelier for the living space, colorful flowers in yellow pots and Dee’s favorite, paper lanterns in coordinating floral and solid colors.
4. Art. I finally found a piece of art that would be perfect for her wall and really gave the impression that you were looking out on a beautiful vacation spot. The window cleaned up nicely and we used chain to hang it between two ferns (which I lowered to eye level) to create a cozy living space.
After a few hours of setup, it was time for Dee to see the final product. She was excited, thrilled and ready to enjoy it. Exactly what I had hoped for!
There is a certain feeling that designers get when their clients see their space for the first time. You are proud, relieved and a little sad it is over. In all of the design work that I have done, I have to say that nothing has ever made me happier than knowing that I created a space that my amazing mother loves and will enjoy. It has even passed the “girlfriend back porch cocktail test!” She deserves it because she is the best mom ever! Really.
The design board: