Tuesday, November 16
If you have been following along with the process of the room that I designed for the Elle Decor showcase, you have seen a lot of the behind the scenes details - the hand painted wallpaper, the color selections and zebra fabric headboard details. You were probably wondering how it was all going to fit together.
It is with great pleasure that I share with you the final unveiling.
When first presented with this project, to be really honest with you, I thought to myself, “A children's bedroom? Really?” I wanted a more serious room. A grownup room. How about a guest room? No, I was asked to design the children's bedroom by Elle Decor. You would have to be out of your mind to say no, especially when Margaret Russell calls you on the phone personally to ask you.
After really thinking about it, I actually started to realize that maybe I had been given one of the best opportunities (and challenges) in the house. In a way, I thought that designing a children's room
opened up the possibilities and I could have a little bit of fun. I could add some humor and not have to take things too seriously.
After much consideration, I started to push the limits of my creativity. I got very involved with the process; I would even venture to say that I was a tad obsessive about it. From the start, I knew that I wanted to design a space that was completely different from my usual look.
For those of you who are not familiar with how showhouses work:
Showhouses are a place and time in which you can work on a project that has a fictional client. This can be a good thing or a bad thing – or both, all rolled into one. You have extreme amounts of creative freedom, but at the same time, you are not collaborating with a client on the project (which is the way I normally work on projects). That aspect alone can be a tad overwhelming. But when you factor in that the showhouse has the potential to attract thousands of people and that your work will be featured in the pages of Elle Decor (Elle Decor!), the intimidation level skyrockets. For me, it was really important to separate myself from these feelings, and to just put my heart into the design, taking risks and experimenting along the way.
Getting back to the idea that I had been presented with a "children's bedroom": You would think that my first instinct would be to go with a classical/tailored boy’s bedroom or perhaps a really sweet little girl’s bedroom, filled with stuffed animals. And you would have been right; those were my first inclinations. But I realized that would be taking the easy way out. Going that route would have been old hat. Did I want to be known as a designer who only has one look or style? Did I want people to walk in the space or open Elle Decor and instantly know that I designed the space? No, I wanted a challenge where my mind traveled with ideas and concepts. What was this girl like? How old was she? What did she like? What would she want? Then I came up with the idea that this would a "dream room" for a teenage girl. I knew at that I point that I was in for trouble. A teenage girl? Really? I didn't know any – did I want to know any? – and what in the world would they want in a room?
Days of research. Hours on the internet late at night. Trying not to change the radio station in the car when a trendy pop hit came on. Standing in lines at bookstores with handfuls of Teen Vogue, Seventeen and anything else that I thought that teenagers would read (and let me tell you, I got some really strange looks paying for my "these are for research" magazines). I watched hours of Glee and Gossip Girl, music videos with Lady Gaga and Katie Perry.
Then I started asking friends (and even posting on Facebook) about what teenage girls liked. Text messaging (just call it texting if you want to sound cooler), ipods, ipads, Twilight, nail polish, bright colors, posters, Converse and jeggings (a hybrid of a jean and a legging- who knew!). After all that I thought I knew, I felt like I didn't know anything at all and I thought I still didn't have a clue what teenage girls liked or wanted. What a mess I had created for myself. I considered going back to designing that simple bedroom in my head that I knew I could do (and had done for clients children already many times before). But, no, I wasn't ready to give it. I was up for the challenge. I wanted to show the world that I was a designer that could do something completely unexpected.
So this pretty much brings you up to speed on how I came to design a teenage girl’s room. I was pushed to the limits of my comfort zone and I had the best time with a lot of laughs and smiles, exploring and learning the whole way.
Perhaps what I learned the most was this: I am so glad that my teenage years are far behind me.