Hutchins Project - Living Room Reveal

It’s been a long while since I’ve written a project reveal post, so I apologize if I’m a little rusty.

Today, I’m breaking down a family room we installed in December for our Hutchins Project. First order of business: is there a difference between a family room and a living room? Not really, but kind of. They’re mostly synonyms. Both terms conjure ideas of a sofa, a coffee table and a media center with a television. A family room is just a bit less formal than a living room. In fact, a family room is sometimes referred to as an “informal living room” in architectural plans. In designing a family room, we focus on creating a space that can be enjoyed by all family members and we take special considerations for the wee ones.

With the (little) kid-friendly factor in mind, we designed this family room with lots of soft corners and lots of storage, but still incorporated all the elevated touches and beautiful details that make it feel polished. It’s sort of like the dress that goes seamlessly from day to night.

Gray Oak Studio - Hutchins Project Family Room Reveal

For this project, we were asked to incorporate the existing sofa, armchair, rug and media center - all the large furniture. In this regard, this room was not a typical project for us. But, we love a good challenge.

Before we even considered the elements we would need to bring into the room, we changed the layout. The sofa and armchair were originally next to each other, both facing the media console. We shifted the armchair to the opposite side of the room to create seating more conducive to conversation (without detracting from TV viewing angles!).

{Design Tip}: Perpendicular seating, versus caddy-cornered seating, is best for conversation because no one is craning their neck, and, the right angles created by the furniture arms are modern and clean.

Unfortunately, we forgot to take a true “before” photo because during our initial meeting with these sweet clients we moved the armchair immediately after shaking their hands and introducing ourselves. “Hi, I’m Sonia.” “Hi, I’m Leah.” Awkwardly long pause as we make eye contact, know exactly what needs to be done, quickly consider if it’s too soon to start moving their furniture, then ask even though it definitely is too soon, “Would you mind if we moved your armchair? It’ll just take a sec…”

In the “before” photo below, we had already shifted the armchair. So just imagine the armchair next to the sofa, also facing the television, on the side closer to the camera (not the window side).

Gray Oak Studio - Hutchins Project BEFORE photos

After (immediately) tackling the layout, we dove into the design. With this being a family room we had a few goals in mind: storage, comfort and beauty. We added storage with two floor baskets and four baskets in the media console. We envisioned the floor baskets as catch-alls for random toys that sneak out of the playroom. Pop a snuggly blanket over said random toys and the clutter is hidden for guests or for your own sanity.

Gray Oak Studio - Hutchins Project Family Room Reveal

In addition to creating storage, the baskets in the media console were also great for creating a more simple, clean visual that doesn’t compete with the television. Because when you’re watching Trolls for the 157th time, you need to be able to focus. I kid. But truly, styling open shelves around a television is a different ball game than styling a bookcase.

A media console is already filled with the TV, cable box, stereo equipment and some other necessary uglies. Keeping the surrounding decor simple will create visual comfort in this naturally busy element of the room. Using a simple color palette and larger decor is key. Here, we switched out the silver knobs for matte black, and kept the palette to brown (woven baskets and wood vases), blue and white. The greenery is our only true color. For decor, we repeated just a few items: baskets, books and vases/planters.

Gray Oak Studio - Hutchins Project
Gray Oak Studio - Hutchins Project Family

The cozy factor was met and exceeded with two overstuffed, wool ottomans. They have fabulous texture that is great for kicking up your feet or launching off onto the sofa superman style. Throw pillows and blankets also added to the cozy vibe while remaining functional for all that impending fort building. And the long, linen curtains added to a comfortable, inviting feel of the room.

Gray Oak Studio - Hutchins Project Reveal - Family Room

At last - how did we make it pretty? We started with a fresh coat of paint on the walls - Nimbus by Benjamin Moore. We also added a beautiful (and textural…cozy vibe) light fixture and two lamps. The addition of any type lighting is an opportunity for beauty and function. Finally, we created “movable” vignettes. These were pretty little nooks and crannies that made the room feel polished, but could be removed and easily hidden away when fort building is underway. For example - All the smaller decor (vases and books) on the tray on the ottoman can be relocated to another surface or hidden in a media console basket without much work.

Gray Oak Studio - Hutchins Project Family Room Reveal

Here is a side-by-side of before (left) and after (right). LOVE seeing the full impact of each design element brought together is one awesome transformation.

Gray Oak Studio - Hutchins Project Family Room Reveal - BEFORE
Gray Oak Studio - Hutchins Project family room reveal

If you’re interested in reading other client project reveals - click here. And, otherwise, until next week!

- Leah

Pilgrim Project - Mudroom Reveal

It's been a while since I've managed to pull together a reveal post for you. Summertime. Ya know.

This reveal is from our Pilgrim Project. And the mudroom, the 3rd room we've revealed from this project, was where the relationship with this amazing client began. She called us after having hired a contractor, but before demo began. Smart lady. We highly suggest to anyone interested in using or even just consulting an interior designer to bring said designer into the fold before plans go too far down the road. So much of what we do is design the physical space itself - not just fill it with furnishings...though we do that too...and we love to do that. It's always easier to consider a space before walls come down and, especially, before new walls go up! 

Be sure to check out the blog reveals of the Pilgrim Project homework station/office and the dining room (part 1 and part 2). You can also always head to our Portfolio for photos of all our projects.

The mudroom in this older home was originally a foyer with a closet. Here's the before:

Gray Oak Studio - Pilgrim Project mudroom BEFORE

We wanted to nix the closet, which was not an original feature to the home but had clearly been added at some point over the last 100 years, as we discovered an exterior window hidden on the inside!  Relocating the closet to the adjoining office space allowed us to bring in so much more natural light to the space, which is always a plus, and to transform this once dark and uninviting foyer into a light, practical and kid-friendly landing zone for our clients' busy young family. Here's the after:

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Mudroom

We live in New England, so clearly we love mudroom benches with double drawers - one deep drawer for shoes and such, and a more shallow drawer to store away hats, mitten, scarfs, your random Barbie...the other stuff. The double hooks are, of course, for coats and backpacks. And, the top baskets are for for all the extra hats, mittens and scarfs that are off season or simply not in high rotation that week.

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Mudroom and Office

The color palette in this design had a couple considerations. First, we always recommend a neutral palette in a mudroom. Whether that's on the light side with whites and beiges and grays or dark with black and charcoal and navy, the key is neutral. Here's why - all those coats and hats and backpacks and sneakers are going to bring COLOR to the equation. Of course they'll always be put away in their proper spot...of course...but even when everything is neatly hung, the family's outerwear is a rainbow. So keep the backdrop a relatively blank canvas.

Second, this mudroom is completely open to the homework desk/office. We wanted the two rooms to flow into one another seamlessly. These rooms are decent sized, but certainly not huge. When your eye doesn't have to stop and reassess a new color scheme it makes a space feel bigger. 

As with all entryway spaces, we incorporated a mirror, storage and texture. The texture in this space is found in the rustic wood trim and bench seat, the woven baskets, knotted color block pillows, and the jute rug.

Gray Oak Studio - Pilgrim project mudroom

Entryways and mudrooms will always be one of our favorite rooms to design - they are the ultimate marriage of form and function. Being able to create beautiful spaces that work for the people who live in them is our FAVORITE. Gorgeous is the goal, but it won't matter how pretty any space in your home is if it's unusable. 

And now, the details.

Gray Oak Studio - Pilgrim Project mudroom baskets
Gray Oak Studio - Pilgrim Project Mudroom
Gray Oak Studio - Pilgrim Project Mudroom Hooks

Thanks for waiting so long for this reveal. We hope your summer is wrapping up with lots of sunshine and ice cream sundaes.

- Leah and Sonia


Pilgrim Project Reveal - Office

Today's reveal is really special to us. This project began last August!!! Yes, 2017. Yes, 9 months ago. Like a baby, this beautiful space needed lots of love and patience to come to completion.

Here's the story: we began working with our client last August to design a mudroom and office/homework space. The plan required the removal of walls, the construction of built-ins and lots of details in between. We finalized the design shortly thereafter is sometimes the case with contractors...the project got bumped. This is not to say the contractor (Capano Construction) was anything short of fantastic, the timing just didn't line up. The original plan was for completion before Thanksgiving. The revised plan was for start after Christmas. Our amazing client made lemonade out of lemons and we designed her dining room while we waited (click here for part 1 and and here for part 2 of the dining room reveal). When the new year hit we were off to the races! 

Today we're revealing the office/homework space and we'll be back with the mudroom in a separate post. 

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office buit-in desk

Where to start?! Okay - this amazing, custom, two person desk is the centerpiece of this room and it's truly a stunner. The combination of drawers and cabinets creates a ton of diverse storage. We love some fun containers and trays on top of a desk to coral frequently used stuff, but a truly functional office has hidden storage. And this office has it in abundance.

We had so much fun imagining our client's kiddos sitting side-by-side practicing their multiplication tables...or doodling super heroes.

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office built-in desk.jpg

We always consider the home itself in our designs. As we mentioned in the dining room reveal, this home was built in the 1920s and retains much of its traditional New England character. With the bones of the home in mind, we chose traditional Windsor chairs in an updated, modern blue for the desk chairs. 

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office - Blue modern windsor desk chair

The pop of blue against the otherwise neutral color palette - black, white and wood tones - is the perfect amount of fun. It brings whimsy to the space that will make homework a less of a downer.  

Gray Oak Studio Pilgraim Project Reveal

Like the desk chairs, the hardware for the drawers and cabinets are also a mix of traditional and modern. 

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office - hardware

On the wall opposite of the desk is a large closet with custom, bypassing, barn doors made of reclaimed wood (built by Capano Construction). 

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office custom barn doors

The hardware is recessed to allow the bypassing feature and, bonus, it's beautiful. The imperfection of the reclaimed wood - the mixed stains, the cracks, the knots and the marks - add so much character.

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office barn door hardware

A series of large windows flood the narrow room with natural light at the center of the desk. On the right side of the windows we added some floating wood shelves to showcase some colorful, special art from our client's children. Even stealing that awesome framed black and white monster from a different room and relocating it here. The mat is a perfect match for pencil yellow.

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office - decor and details

To the right side of the windows we wall mounted a dry erase calendar for function and letter board for humor. Hints of brass (in the lamp and letter board) played well with the schoolhouse yellow.

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office Letterboard and calendar

As with any space that will be used by kids, we had so much fun with the details. There's nothing better than a crayons and crayons and more crayons. And puffy, green flowers that look like they've come out of a Dr. Seuss book are always welcome.

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office Homework room
Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office Homework Room
Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office Homework Room

This was an incredibly fun project and we couldn't be more thrilled with the end result. 

Gray Oak Studio Pilgrim Project Office and Homework Room

Have a fantastic week! We'll be back next Monday (Memorial Day!) with another post.

- Leah, Sonia & Michele