Thursday, October 29, 2015

From Home Office to Homey Office Off-Site

When a local attorney recently needed to move from his home office to another space off-site, the interior design couldn't be anything less than, well, homey. The attorney and his wife, two friends of mine, called me about this challenge earlier this summer. Their new baby was due (and arrived!) in September but Dad's home-based attorney's office downtown had to move off-site to be up and running by mid-August. Luckily, my client had an office space near Wrightsville Beach already but he needed all of the furnishings to make the room not only functional but also feel more like it did at home. The room itself had loads of potential with built-in shelving and nice wood paneling but the stain on the wood had yellowed over time. We also wanted less of a hunting lodge look and more of a cool, clean vibe. Usually when you're visiting an attorney, it's not for the best of reasons so, overall, we wanted to be especially certain that all of the clients felt welcomed and at ease in this commercial office space.

A gorgeous desk and painting of the gardens nearby served as the perfect starting point for the office design. But the wood paneling gave the space a rustic feel and had to be refreshed. And, of course, we had to fill those shelves with some coastal-inspired accessories. The bare window needed a little interest and softening with custom treatments. We decided to match the existing paint color and keep our color palette inspired by the nearby beach with sandy beiges and soft blues and greens. A few wooden touches would tie in the existing wood finishes and keep the office from feeling too cutesy.

 We painted the paneling Benjamin Moore's Yarmouth Blue to match the wall that had already been painted. My client had tons of great artwork already so we didn't have to worry about finding any- just hanging it in its proper place. A comfortable desk chair was at the top of the list and we found the perfect combination of comfortable and corporate with this Staples desk chair. We also wanted a nicely curved settee with tufting and linen upholstery and this one was the perfect size, shape and color. But the fun part was bringing in the beach vibes- we mixed an antique distressed demilune table and brass sand fiddler figure with new seaglass colored bottles, a rustic wooden oar and hand painted sign to give the room all its personality. And since we wanted this attorney's office to feel particularly welcoming, we added ivory London shades with tonal taping, which softened the room and added extra interest. 



Both my client and I were so pleased with the end result! Even though this is a corporate space, nothing about this office feels too stuffy or serious. It's a clean, comfortable room that my client can be productive in and his family members and clients can enjoy spending time in as well. Sometimes we all feel like we live at work- and there are times when we really might- so, when that's the case, I want to be sure the offices I have a hand in live up to that need, whether it's because a family is growing or a case must be argued. 

Congratulations to this sweet family on their new bundle of joy as well!! I can't wait to meet their precious baby girl tomorrow!!

Thanks for stopping by today and stay tuned for more updates and inspiration next week!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Artist Intro: EML Art

Today, I have the distinct pleasure and delightful thrill of introducing you to artist Emily Lackey of EML Art! 

 Based in Raleigh, Emily invokes a joyful spirit into everything she creates. While she works in a variety of mediums, including acrylic paint, watercolors, pastels and pencil, the pure happiness she feels when she's working can't help but translate onto the canvas and then into your home. Undoubtedly others agree with this sentiment as her abstract pieces recently hung in posh children's store Progeny Shoppe and sold within three hours...TWICE. They literally cannot keep her work on the shelves! Emily has now shared her artistic talents with some of the Carolinas' chicest and most stylish women (and children!).

Emily has always dabbled in art but she accidentally got more serious about it after having her three children. With one child in kindergarten, one in preschool and now just one at home, Emily found that she needed a creative outlet during those very small windows of downtime. Emily began posting her doodles and drawings on Instagram and immediately received rave reviews. As her pieces quickly got snatched up, more requests began pouring in and the rest is social media history. Now instead of dabbling with paint and pencils for fun, Emily juggles commission requests from people around the Southeast, becoming a fixture in the Raleigh art community.

As someone who works with interiors for a living, I also appreciate how she happens to fearlessly and fantastically tackle drywall...

If you're like me, you can't wait to hang one of her pieces in your home!! Contact Emily to get your one-of-a-kind piece today at and be sure to follow her on Instagram @emlart.

Photos by Emily Lackey and Emily Ballard. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Cheers to One Year!

What a year it's been! L. Suggs Interior Decorating officially became a business one year ago. Thank you so much to everyone for all of your wonderful support! This big change was a major leap of faith with a future that was by no means certain. I'm so grateful for the wonderful opportunities that have come my way since making this decision. I certainly could not have gotten to this point without your help so 


It's been a great, interesting, challenging, fun and scary transition into the interior design realm from the film industry. So far, there have been enough similarities to give me confidence but also enough challenges to keep me humble. It's really easy to want to get too big too fast. Being grounded, honest and realistic isn't always the most fun or glamorous but it is essential in long-term planning. Anna Wintour recently spoke about success and her words of wisdom are sound advice...

If this philosophy got Anna Wintour to the head of Vogue, then I think it can get me through another year! So what's next? While I'm sure that the future is never certain, I can say I know a few things. Coming up next week, I'll be revealing another space while several other projects are either underway or just getting started. There's also my new website, which I'll continue to update and strive to improve, and some outside opportunities to learn about the best products and services for each of you. The other thing we can all be sure of is we're going to have a good time along the way! 

Cheers to the first year and cheers to all of you who helped me get this far! Stay tuned for more projects, excitement and hopefully inspiration. Looking forward to the next anniversary...

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Summer Wrap Up

It's hard to believe that summer 2015 has met its unofficial end. But I couldn't let the season close without one more adventure! The past few weeks have taken me from NYC to Texas, Louisiana and back home again. And it very nearly got me a short 25-hour road trip with a family of nine strangers and a school teacher! More about that later...

Adventure-cation began three weeks ago when I hopped a 5 a.m. flight to New York. While this first part of adventure-cation was actually work, it's the best kind of work. I had a ball visiting showrooms across New York City. The Javits Center, D & D Building, de Gournay and the garment district were just a few of my stops. Shopping online is a great way to acquire items you can't purchase locally (and thank goodness for samples!) but there's nothing like getting your hands on something in person and meeting with the most well-versed sales reps in the country to find the best products available. The hustle of the city may have ruffled my feathers a bit at first- it's always unsettling when your cab driver tries to convince you that you're not in Times Square when the bright, blinking sign he's driven you past three times clearly says "Times Square"- but after 24 hours, I started to feel the love and gain a ton of inspiration. 

Classic gilded pineapples at William Yeoward 

Gothic glam at Bacarrat

New sheers obsession at Osborne & Little

The best periwinkles at Quadrille

Hot pink Katie Ridder fabric

I was even lucky enough to meet up with one of my dearest friends. Kelly and I had a great walk along the High Line to dinner at The Standard Hotel. Y'all, everyone needs as good a friend as Kelly. It's always such a treat to spend time with her. She has lived in New York for 10 years but is a Southern belle at heart. Her knowledge and hospitality became especially helpful when my flight to Houston got straight up cancelled with no hope of flying out for three days. With no hotel reservation, car, travel companions or real knowledge of New York, knowing Kelly was not only there but graciously willing to host me for an undetermined amount of time was all that kept me calm. As I waited in line for more than an hour to rebook my flight, a family of nine Texans, one school teacher and I made friends. The outlook to get a flight within 72 hours looked bleak at best so the nine relatives decided they would rent a 14 passenger van and drive 25 hours to Houston. Now, that might sound like the worst idea ever but standing alone in LaGuardia with no answers after six hours of waiting for a flight and little hope made that terrible plan seem very attractive! By the grace of God, a seat opened up on a flight the next day so to Kelly and her husband's apartment I happily fled. Hope my Texan stranger-friends got home okay! 

Love you, Kel!!!

World Trade Center memorial

Once I got back to the South, it was all about family, Friday night lights and a little shopping. My beau's nephews play football for their high school team. If you've never been to a Texas football game, then you should put it on your bucket list. It's all blitz and glitz with a big side of hometown pride. 

Go Lions!

 After the Lions' win!

In Louisiana, I stumbled upon several more delightful finds. The first was Nader's Gallery, a glamorous little slice of modern, chic furnishings, home decor and artwork gleaming on the side of King's Highway. My beau, his mom and I had so much fun at Nader's, each of us finding more than a few things we would love to take home, that we went back a second time and were just as impressed. We also made several stops at King's Ransom, perusing antiques and reclaimed goods. A few of their goodies made the road trip back with us. Lastly, we met a local lighting designer whose unorthodox custom lamp designs were a fun new addition to my resource list. It's amazing what you can find when you go looking for nothing in particular!

The green doors of Nader's Gallery
"Secret" back entrance of King's Ransom

A few snaps of some of my Louisiana loot...

 Lacquered turtle shell

Antique telephone from Denmark

Cane ladder, a.k.a. my new fabric workhorse

After 14 days of whirlwind travel, my beau and I finally road tripped it home from adventure-cation. We had an easy 14 hour drive home and, as you can imagine, crashed when we walked in the front door. There's no rest for the weary though- several of my design projects are midway through, just getting started and in line to begin! Plus fashion Christmas is upon us- New York Fashion Week starts the 10th! Thank you, summer. You were good to us. But fall is my favorite time of year. Can't wait for those crisp fall days, High Point Market, my business's one-year anniversary (eek!) and hopefully a few football games! 

Lots more to come!

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Classic, Coastal and Cost-Effective: A Labor of Love for a Local Non-Profit

I am so, so, sooooooo excited to share this latest project with all of you!! As the title suggests, this design project was one that commanded style that had to transcend trends and look just as good in 10 years as it does today...if not better. But more than that, it was a labor of love undertaken not only by me but by a group of women (and occasionally the men in their lives!) who are very dear to me for a cause we have all worked hard for in the last few years.

If you know me, then you know I've worked closely with the Junior League of Wilmington for seven years. Our League office is a humble space, as it should be, but it wasn't entirely functional. The president came to me this summer, while our membership was on summer break, and asked me if I would make the office a more functional meeting space and do so before our League year officially started at the end of August. She wanted a long table that could seat up to 20 people so that the board and League committees could actually meet at the office. Our office administrator also deserved more safety and security in the office as we had faced a few scary moments with wanderers in the last few months. And while we were in the process of making these updates, we decided we should go ahead and tone down the yellow walls. 

The League's meeting room housed a table that was less than ideal for meetings. The butcher block table was high quality and in great shape but it was too wide and short- only eight people could sit at it at once so our gatherings resembled huddles more than proper board meetings. Our common room became an unused seating area. The settee and chairs were cute but they didn't coordinate with anything else in the space and, obviously, we had begun using the area for storage more than for seating. We also showcased lots of artwork generously donated by another local organization but it didn't really tell the story of our precious League, which was originally founded in the 1920s! 

My main focus and the League's main concern was the meeting room...and the budget. We had very little to spend considering we needed enough furniture for two dining rooms, among other things. I wanted the entire office to feel familiar- like one of Wrightsville Beach's old family beach cottages. It needed to be inviting, light and classic while conveying to members and visitors alike the history of the Junior League. I chose Benjamin Moore's First Snowfall (ironic for a coastal inspired design scheme, right?) for the wall color, chairs and tables from Pier One and blackout drapes from Pottery Barn Kids to add height to this tiny room(on sale!). We also decided to repurpose the butcher block table and move it out to the common area, which meant donating all of the seating room furniture to another local non-profit. We did not budget any money for art and thank goodness we didn't! As the president and I cleaned out one of the League's storage rooms, we hit the JACKPOT!! The original sketch of the League's first cookbook cover, photos of the carriage house that used to serve as the League's office and countless plaques recognizing members and the organization for service were just a few of the treasures we found! 

The office feels clean and bright and better than that- it's so functional now!!! Everything has its place and everyone can quickly see where that is. In fact, we held our first board meeting two weeks ago and were able to sit in the room with seating to spare! Our office administrator has been able to safely enter and exit the office without worry and she also has a space that is all her own. We even found Serena & Lily bistro chairs at a local consignment store for an amazing price. Talk about meant to be! We also have established proper storage for all of the boxes that used to sit in the common area. Now, we look forward to our visits to the office and I hope other visitors do too! 




Personally, my favorite part of the whole office is seeing all of the photos and newspaper articles about events and members who came long before me. We learned about traditions we weren't aware of, saw photos of our friends' grandparents and felt so much more of a connection to this community. This office was entirely put together with sweat equity and I can't thank the volunteers who stepped up to the plate enough! Our small budget and big dreams brought us challenges at times- especially when the HVAC went out midway through!- but it also caused us to make thoughtful and smart decisions. Thank you so much to the League leaders for trusting me with this special project and I can't wait to see how this organization continues to evolve in the next few years!

As always, if you have any questions about this project (OR the Junior League!), please email me at