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 lsuggsinteriors@gmail.com.  

Thursday, August 6, 2015

The Flamingo's Retreat

Earlier this summer, a friend called me in need of some serious design help. She and her husband have two girls, ages 7 and 3, AND a baby on the way. With little brother due in October, the girls' rooms needed to be shuffled around by August so that her daughters could adjust to their new surroundings before school started. 

Her younger daughter's room was to be the main focus, as the Little Sis was inheriting her older sister's old room as well as its furniture. (Big Sis moved to the FROG.) My sweet friend and her husband wanted their little one to feel like she was in an entirely new space that was all her own. And the only other request that came directly from my littlest client was that the room had to feel like the beach! Enter the Flamingo's Retreat...

Older sister's furniture was a combination of new pieces and hand-me-downs. Luckily, the pieces' styles matched but Big Sis had made her mark with a few special stickers on the bedside table and nightstand. My clients and I decided that the furniture was going to need a fresh coat of paint...and while we're at it, let's just make it turquoise! The room also showcased a few wall decals and special murals. They were sweet but the walls were going to require a fresh coat of paint to transport us to the Flamingo's beach. I also was tasked with finding new bedding, which needed to be completely machine washable; a new rug and updated blackout curtains. We also discussed a new furniture arrangement...

I gave the Little Flamingo's retreat some beachy vibes without getting too literal. The walls were painted Dolphin's Cove and furniture lacquered in Mexicali Turquoise. I chose several different patterns from Serena & Lily to create the bedding and tied all of these candy colors together with the most perfect and durable Dash & Albert rug. The icing on the cake was the vintage map of Wilmington I found on Etsy and the adorable pom pom curtains! We also created a little reading nook so that the Flamingo can check out her favorite books and do her best learning in the comfort of her own room. 

The Little Flamingo absolutely loves her new room and her parents are thrilled to see her so excited! I had no idea how much a three-year-old could understand design but this little one sure does! She and her stuffed animals love their cozy new bedding and she has made great use of the reading nook. I'm so thrilled I got to be involved with such a fun and special project. It's a room that invokes cheer and fun while speaking to the vivacious personality of the sweet Little Flamingo.


And as for Big Sis, she got a few new bits and pieces too. She had picked out lots of pillows and her bedding before I met with them but we were able to zhush up her room with a pair of new lamps, a gorgeous Matouk bed skirt and a great built in bench. I had the bench cushion sewn and piped with indoor/outdoor fabric to make sure it could withstand the sunlight through the windows. It will look new for years to come and be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear that comes with pre-teens. Then I created a pair of bolster pillows to tie in the various colors Big Sis had already settled on. Mom had the cool surfboard and it looks perfect in its new space. Now Big Sis has a comfortable and functional little space to create her artful masterpieces or do homework once school starts...


Thanks so much for stopping by today! As always, please feel free to email me with any questions at lsuggsinteriors@gmail.com. See you next time!