The Gilbert's Basement

A few months ago my friend Bethany asked if she and her husband Allen could hire me to help decorate their basement. They'd recently finished a mini basement refresh in which their old carpet was replaced with an updated neutral, all the walls - including the existing dull sage green wainscoting - got a crisp coat of white, and they purchased a modern grey sectional for optimum Netflix binge-watching. All of these changes helped diminish the typical dark basement vibe and provide a nice neutral foundation. However, after living with the changes for a while they felt it lacked the coziness of a room interestingly and intentionally decorated.

Bethany is a talented photographer, incredibly stylish, and has great taste as evidenced by her already lovely home. So, I suspect she and Allen mostly wanted to throw their fledgling designer friend a bone. And I was incredibly excited to accept their offer! 

Sometime between agreeing to work on the basement and before chatting with Allen and Bethany about their vision I saw this picture on Kelly Wearstler's Instagram. I was completely inspired. I couldn't get that rich cobalt blue out of my head and sent a quick text to Bethany asking how she felt about the color. To my joy she was into it! After we got together to chat about what they wanted for the space I came up with this inspiration board filled with cobalt, lots of pattern mixing, and a killer wallpaper from Graham and Brown:

Gilbert's Basement

Gilbert's Basement by mpettipoole

Initially, my idea was to paint the wainscoting cobalt. I thought it would be just the right jolt of energy and enhance that detailed character around the room. While she was keen on so much of the inspiration board, in the sweetest way, Bethany expressed that she and Allen were both apprehensive about that idea. Having spent so much time covering the previous sage green she didn't relish the idea of an even darker color encircling the room's perimeter. Totally reasonable. She may have even saved me from making a big mistake anyway. Instead, we've decided to paint the back of the built in's and the media console cobalt. This should still give us the punch of our inspiration blue, but help keep the room looking light and fresh, and most importantly, not basement-y. 

Tomorrow we'll wallpaper the accent wall and I'm excited for the room to start noticeably taking shape. At this point my only experience with wallpaper was watching my mother cover almost every room in our house during the mid-90s, but I'm feeling moderately prepared after viewing multiple youtube videos and googling various forms of the phrase "how to wallpaper." Wish me luck.           

Living Room Ideas

I've been toying with the idea of intentionally decorating my living room. Up to this point I've operated on a piecemeal + time approach. I still love the curated and collected look of a room accumulated over time, but, really, I'm just curious to know if I can actually do it. Can I be a designer?

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My First Client!

My friend Laurel is beautiful, clever, charming... and incredibly patient, as this project has taken much longer than initially intended.

Recently, she and her three stylish roommates moved into a new house, and naturally, designated an entire room to be their communal closet/dressing room. As a result, she no longer had a need to store any clothing in her bedroom's closet and casually asked if I had any ideas on helping turn her unneeded closet into a vanity area. 

Of course I'm crazy, and immediately went into hyperdrive brainstorm madness, my mind bombarded with a multitude of ideas for this tiny space. Here's what it looked like to begin with:

But before I went manic with an influx of creativity we chatted about her vision and style. Analyzing Laurel's personal style and it's influence on her home aesthetic was a fun exercise. The clothes she wears are predominately effortless and classic, but always punctuated with a twist like a bold lip or crazy hair. In a similar manner her home style is heavily comprised of natural elements and rustic finishes, but with a few quirky components mixed in. Decorating in neutrals and texture-rich pieces seemed the best course of action. I thought of baskets, old botanical sketches, wood finishes, and decided to use gold to add the fun. Here's the inspiration board I came up with:

Natural Gold Vanity

Natural Gold Vanity by mpettipoole

I'm obsessed with that wallpaper. Laurel specifically mentioned the possibility of using wallpaper to help delineate the space; but, considering the $300+ cost per roll was a bit cost-prohibitive, it seemed like the perfect chance to try recreating it. All of the other items in the inspiration board were purely stand-ins with the expectation that similar items could be sourced via thrift stores and estate sales.

So this was my vision. It should have been a breeze, but hasn't gone as smoothly as planned. Hopefully I'll have some lovely photos to share soon (and some process photos to keep me honest).