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Tuesday, November 16

The Unveiling

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.


Brittany Stiles said...

I'm so glad you didn't take the easy way out! It's beautiful and super creative and really shows your range of design. As much as I wish sometimes that my clients will just want what I want, in the end I'm always glad that they pushed me out of my comfort zone to give them something that I wouldn't have come up with without them and their opinions, and I love that you followed that same concept with the design house even when you didn't have to. Can't wait to see it on Saturday!

Acanthus and Acorn said...

I think it's fantastic! My teenage daughter would be thrilled to have this space as her own! I loved that you shared all your behind the scenes thoughts too. This business of's hard work alright!


Camille said...

These walls will take this teenager into a sophisticated adulthood. The room is magnificent and charming at the same time. You haved proved yourself as a first rate designer.
You researched the inner mind of a teenager as an actor studies his character and you deserve an Oscar for your part. It is really the BEST!!!
Love and always big and bestest wishes for you.
Love and Kudos,
Camille xxoo
Camille Charles Interior Design

ennistbp said...

Congratulations! and thanks for sharing how the process went.

My Notting Hill said...

Your room is a stand out. I think you definitely captured the vibe of a teen age girl. (Loved your comment about listening to the pop songs) I think you have a whole new comfort zone now. Congratulations!

On another blog I saw a pic of the bathroom w/Team Edward on the mirror in lipstick. Love that touch!

mary said...

This room is the perfect place for a teenage girl--whimsical, fun, sophiscated, great life-giving colors, a bit sexy: it has it all.

Jill Moran said...

Hi Grant-
As a former teenage girl, I can say that you hit the nail right on head! In fact, my inner teen is still pretty vocal, and I loved the room even now. I also really enjoyed reading your blogs about it, and really enjoyed seeing the space in person this weekend. Reading about your creative process was a blast, thanks for sharing! Keep calm and carry on!


Grant, such an inspiring story and totally true that we need to constantly strive to challenge our ways of thinking and seeing, its the only way to learn. BRAVO! wishing you all the best!- BP

Anonymous said...

WOW! What a fun journey and was spectacular results!!

Holly B.

Anonymous said...

Bravo....for your courage and a well done room!

Judi Wallner

Cristin // Simplified Bee said...

Grant... the room is spectacular! Congrats again. Hope to see you soon too.


La Maison Fou said...

Really, really pulled together!
Now take a well deserved rest!

All The Trappings said...

So glad that you pushed your limits! It IS what this business is all about!

The room feels like you handed your friend a stick of Juicyfruit gum that you pulled out of your Chanel purse :) --Juicyfruit is fun, but when coupled with Chanel it's all the sweeter---and when the gum tastes like rubber, you toss it and still have that fabulous Chanel purse that you can wear 10 years down the line :)

Great job merging the refined and distinguished with the fun and irreverent. Bravo, Grant!

shiree segerstrom said...

Really fine work Grant. Congratulations, you deserve it. If I may say so, yours and Suzanne Tuckers were my two favorite rooms. Good on you mate. Shiree'

Laura Casey Interiors said...

HUGE kudos and congrats Grant to a wonderful project! I have loved reading your posts through your process and seeing a part of what went into it.

Jacqueline Corea said...

This room is a teenage girl's heaven! You did a fabulous job and created something girly but sophisticated. I am especially inspired by your courageous use of color and pattern. Well done!

katiedid said...

OK....I had to ask my own 15 yr. old and you got an A+. She LOVED the wallpaper (my favorite thing too!) and the art wall and the blue lamp, and the chair and the nightstand ....(you get the idea). Grant, it was such a treat to see the room in person! But I think what makes it complete are your two furry friends in the first photo. CONGRATS!!!!!

Brillante Interiors said...

I loved the pictures with your puppies, they look so comfortable there and proud of you!
It was fun to follow step by step (I did not miss one...)and finally the reveal, quite unusual design with the right amount of colours, some whimsical details, elegant, fun, feminine, young!
Well done Grant, worth the effort of figuring the whole plan and following every detail.

Topaz said...

What's interesting about this to me is that if you changed your color scheme to a predominately blue one, you would have a picture of my teen daughter's bedroom.

Well done. I think a reader's analogy of juicy fruit and Chanel an apt one.

Emily Amy Gallery said...


The room is FABULOUS! I have to say, the hand painted wallpaper was worth every last minute of waiting...what a fun/terrifying process to go through! BRAVO!


Anonymous said...

Amazing! Great job, loved reading about your processes too.

Anonymous said...

My 13 year old would die for this room! Thank you, thank you, thank you for some much needed inspiration!

Unknown said...


Thanks for sharing what a teenager is aware of in today's design environment stunning!

What more can I say that hasn't been said.


home before dark said...

Stunning. Charming. Lovely. Brash and bold. In short, a teenage girl! I hope Target sees what you did with their sheets. I see a Grant K. Gibson Target line in your future.

Splendid Sass said...

You did a beautiful job! I love the pink and the zebra prints! Such creative and beautiful work! Congratulations on a job well done.

Unknown said...

Grant, you did such a fabulous job! Beautiful photos of the room and I really love the wall of art. Did you really put a nail in the wallpaper? Thanks for the look!

Alison Duffy said...

Oh my gosh Grant, its BEYOND gorgeous!!! I'm so glad the world has recognized your amzzing talent!

Unknown said...

lookin' good, mr. gibson! my inner teenage girl and i will move right in!

pve design said...

Well, you know how it inspired me! I think I just heard several girls squealing in that room....eeeeeeek!

Kay said...

The wallpaper no doubt is your riskiest creation. The result: WOW!!! What a winner! Congratulations!

designchic said...

Oh my gosh...this is absolutely adorable - the perfect "hangout" for a teenage girl!!

Suzy said...

Congrats Grant, it looks fantastic!

Lisa Porter said...

It's fun to be a kid!
You get a gold star for a great job!
xo Lisa

Iman said...

Is it just me or I am the only one that can't stop staring at this room!

Just found your blog, I looove it!!


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