Living Room

One Thousand Saves!

When a perfect stranger comes across an image of a room, and sees fit to add it to an Idea Book they keep online with a title like “Dream House” or even simply “Our New Home”, it gives a girl a thrill to be the designer involved. So it was a happy day last week when Houzz.com let me know that images from my portfolio on their site have been saved over 1,000 times by their users.

NJDhouzz1klogoI’ve been on Houzz for 3 years, and it has proven to be a great way to connect with people who are interested in working with me – around the corner in person, and across the country online. It also illuminates what a more general audience responds to in my portfolio by showing me which images are inspiring them when they think about their own homes.

Last month, Houzz interviewed me about a recent project that they featured as their  “Room of the Day”. Thanks, Houzz!

Houzz Screenshot

Photo credits: All images by Tessa Neustadt, except for the bottom right image in collage by Judson Morgan.

Fast Work // A Fresh, Eclectic Entry Hall and Living Room

1This is a living room and adjacent entry hall that I turned around fast for some clients on a small budget (less than $5K) last year. Their rented 1940’s bungalow had some cool vintage character, including a working fireplace and original windows. Unfortunately, all the walls had been newly painted beige…and my clients were not beige kind of people! They agreed that changing the character of these front rooms with paint was going to be a worthy investment, even for just a year or two.

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With some projects, the art is a part of the finishing touches. With this one, we looked to it as a starting point for color. These clients had become engaged on a ski trip to the Swiss Alps, which I considered a sexy jumping-off point for the design! I showed them reproduction vintage travel posters that could reflect their history – and also be framed and shipped fast. The one that really resonated with them featured black and white with deep blues, which gave us an interesting palette to mix with grays and wood tones.

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Sampling blue paints for this project was my happy place!
The one we picked very inexpensively defines the entry, and gives the tiny space a presence in the living room by drawing your eye there. These clients love sailing, so this was a bold color that didn’t feel too crazy for them. I tried out this black dresser from their bedroom to ground the blue a bit further, and it turned out to be a perfect fit as an entry piece with storage.

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The contrast of the deep blue in the entry with white walls in the living room made the space feel instantly fresh.
My clients wanted to keep some of the Traditional furniture that they had been given by their parents, but were ready to jettison an overstuffed gingham sofa and a few ornate tables for some pieces with cleaner lines and a more low-slung Mid-century style.

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Everyone’s favorite new piece is the vintage dresser, found at a flea market and used here as a credenza. While its wood had an ugly grain and looked terribly beat-up, I was sold on the distinctive brass hardware, which was miraculously all intact. It was also a well-made piece, with the scale and storage we were seeking. We patched up the wood in places, and painted the dresser a sophisticated blue in a durable glossy finish to make the hardware shine.

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The sofa was custom-made, but most of the other pieces in this space were either sourced online and delivered fast, or picked up on a World Market / Ikea / Target styling haul. Many are still available.

All photos by Tessa Neustadt

Resources
Ralph Lauren Paint – Harbor Blue in Entry, Picket Fence in Living Room, Rue Royale on credenza in Living Room
World Market – Riveted table lamp bases, Tribal Drum shades, Deer Departed canvas, Leila sunburst mirror, glass vase, pillows, candle holders, frames
Ikea – Llapljung Ruta rug, Hektar floor lamp, Fejka potted plan
Crate and Barrel – Pastis walnut and white lacquer nesting tables
West Elm – Nook coffee table, Martini table in brass, throw blanket
Urban Outfitters – Moda leather chairs, hand sculpture
Target – Small floor lamp, trio of brass wall decorations, tall wood vase
Allposters.com – Zermatt by Pierre Kroenig print, framed
Huset Shop – Hay tray table
Melrose Trading Post – vintage credenza (restored and custom painted by Natasha Jansz Design)
(Clients’ own – Leaning mirror; black dresser; Edison glass cloche table lamp – similar at World Market)

Past Work // Apartment Interior Design – Living Rooms

The Virg is a building in Hollywood that I have been working on for the last few months with 3SC developers. You can read about what we did with the building’s exterior here Read on for interior details!5

Inside the building, there are 12 units, and they have come with a variety of worn-out finishes and dated fixtures. Here are examples of how we have improved upon a typical one-bedroom and two-bedroom apartment in the Living Room areas.

6-overallThis project has been about elevating this building to re-position it in the rental market. Things that had to go were: popcorn ceilings, gross carpet, and ugly tile.

I had tile like this in the last apartment I lived in – it looks dirty and feels gritty, even when it’s clean!

L I V I N G  R O O M // B E F O R E

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In addition to scraping the ceiling and painting everything, we laid hard-wearing laminate flooring that has the look of cerused hardwood. We replaced windows and doors, maximized built-in storage, and replaced dated vertical blinds with roller shades and curtain rods.

L I V I N G  R O O M // A F T E R

12-livingroomdetailThe result is a fresh, neutral space that maximizes natural light, and has attractive, durable finishes that are easy to keep clean. Regardless of architectural style and budget, this is what I aim to bring to any rental unit. A built-in view of palm trees doesn’t hurt my design!
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A fter shots by Caroline Froeberg

Past Work // 6th Street Living Room

For the last couple of years, I have been working with select clients across the U.S. on living spaces that I will never actually set foot in. Here is an example of one of my customized Decorating Guideline Packages. I work on them with my talented assistants, Anna and Caroline, and deliver them to my clients by email.

This one is a recent Living Room design for a young family in Washington, D.C. Their new townhouse is their first home, and all they had for this room when we started was a credenza to go under their TV. The clients and I determined together that they wanted a casual, “Coastal Modern” vibe for this room. “Ikea to West Elm” was the price point they gave me for sourcing.

6thstdesign

To get started, my clients sent us pictures, and all the relevant measurements for the room. Next, we had a phone meeting to chat about the way they wish to use the rooms in their home, and what their style was like. The way I communicate ideas with my clients varies. In this case, a shared secret Pinterest board was key. My client, a Pinterest virgin when I first mentioned it to her, went so far as to snap pictures of their art and existing furniture pieces and upload it to the board, so we could see them laid out with the possible new pieces. It was so helpful for putting together a design that we knew would work cohesively with what they already owned and liked.

On this project, we needed a furniture plan before we did any sourcing. My team and I explored rug sizes and furniture arrangement possibilities in drawings. The one we selected was best for its reasonably baby-friendly round coffee table, and the inclusion of swivel chairs, for which my clients had expressed a fondness. It also filled out a niche in the room that would have been perfect for some custom built-in storage (which was not in the budget) with a good Ikea solution that happened to fit beautifully. I love it when that happens!

6thOf course we elevated the design by changing the hardware on the Ikea pieces to something more special (even if it is from another bargain resource!). I ALWAYS do this with Ikea furniture when I can. My clients went one better and painted the back pieces of the shelves an ocean blue before assembling them. (This kind of hack is actually one of my signature design moves, but I must give them props for coming up with the idea themselves here!)
These are the specifications for this design, which my D.C. clients have kindly agreed to let me share here on the blog. As you can see, I lay out the details in my specs so that my clients can go down the list and have all the info needed to place the orders for the things they choose to buy. I don’t get involved in any purchasing for a project like this, so it’s all very low-pressure, and clients can watch for the store sales or make substitutions according to their preferences.
Holman LR

We wrapped up this Decorating Guideline Package by inviting the clients to another secret Pinterest board with some options for art and accessories. They have placed a lot of orders in the last couple of weeks, and it is good to hear that the furniture is already rolling in.

My team and I can fit in only a couple of these Decorating Guideline Packages per month with my larger local projects, but they are so fun and satisfying to complete! If you have a room that might use some design help from afar, email me the details.

Show Me 3 // Nesting Coffee Tables

I’ve been considering this type of cocktail table for a lot of projects recently. Its minimalist lines offer a nice contrast in a room with heavy pieces like a Chesterfield sofa, or any type of ornate furniture. And its length is just the thing to visually balance a long sofa.

The style is basic, but the range of finish combinations on the market keeps it interesting.  Three price-points makes it even more so.

ot803_b_s_1HIGH // Brass & Faux Shagreen Nesting Cocktail Table // Kravet // $5160

MID // Hans Anderson Svendborg Coffee Tables // Overstock // $1,450

LOW // Brayden Studio Aguilar Nesting Tables // Wayfair // $440

You can’t beat the flexibility of being able to double your coffee table surface area at a moment’s notice, or have side tables appear and disappear in a smaller space. I also appreciate the way its stripped-down form allows a beautiful rug to shine through.

 

Past Work // From Goth to Traditional

No matter what your style is, you have to work with the given architecture of your space. Here are Before and After pictures of 4 rooms of a large home I did this year. The architectural style of the house my clients had just bought is what I would call Contemporary Mediterranean. The previous owners had applied a very specific aesthetic to it, one that involved deep, dark paint colors, medieval-looking light fixtures and heavy drapery.

L I B R A R Y // B E F O R E

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While this Baronial style actually worked well with the architecture, it didn’t suit my clients’ tastes (or the furniture they were bringing with them) at all. So we decided to lighten everything up and give the house a warm but pared-down Traditional style instead. Let’s call it California Traditional! It’s more modern than an East-coast Traditional style, and it has understated exotic flourishes.

L I B R A R Y // A F T E R

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No remodeling was required on this project, but we seriously needed to strip back the Goth elements! Paint, window coverings and lighting were the key to the transformations here. We kept the new design cohesive with the Contemporary Mediterranean architecture by sticking to clean lines (those simple, tailored shades) and aged bronze finishes.

L I V I N G  R O O M // B E F O R E

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One of the challenges of the architecture of this house was that the Living & Dining Room windows lacked privacy from the street. This meant that window coverings would need to be closed most of the time, and would be an especially important element of the design. We used this as an opportunity to set the overall tone for the rooms through the introduction of texture and pattern. We chose a few exotic prints in organic motifs, which in turn lent themselves to some other Global touches in the furnishing and styling. An eclectic yet tailored mix was the result.

L I V I N G  R O O M // A F T E R

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D I N I N G  R O O M // B E F O R E

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Well-made custom window coverings can be shockingly expensive (and there were something like 40 naked windows and French doors in this house that needed something) but for these “showier” rooms of the house, they were well worth it.

D I N I N G  R O O M // A F T E R

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This is not a sponsored post, but I’m a big believer in outsourcing for window coverings. We enlisted 3-Day Blinds to do the Roman shades on this project. They have a huge selection of fabrics and materials to choose from (you can also send your own material to their workroom), so once we nailed down design specifics, we were able to turn every step from measuring to installation over to our rep. Everything was then covered by a comprehensive warranty that put my clients with a cat, a large puppy and a baby at ease about the durability of the shades.

B R E A K F A S T  N O O K // B E F O R E

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B R E A K F A S T  N O O K // A F T E R

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Photography: Ilse Helgen

This project was a lot of fun, and I’ll be posting about a couple of other rooms I completed in the house when we talk styling!

Show Me 3 // Woven Lounge Chairs

I am in love with this kind of occasional chair. It is light-weight and a bit organic, with woven details and a Mid-Century Scandinavian vibe. Here is the chair at 3 price points.

HIGH // Easy Chair // DWR // $3500Screen Shot 2014-12-11 at 10.05.34 AM

MID // Knoll Risom Lounge Chair // AllModern // $1015

 

LOW // Moda Chair // Urban Outfitters // $559

The graceful lines and eye-catching texture of these pieces make them perfect on their own, but I’d definitely want to try a lumbar pillow with each, to lend it more comfort and warmth. I would use one chair to fill out a corner of a Bedroom or Office, or a pair to balance a tailored but comfy sofa in a Living Room seating arrangement.

Catch Natasha Jansz on HGTV's "HOUSE HUNTER'S RENOVATION" October 28th 10pm/9c