Published on July 2, 2020
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The first time I referred to one of my designs as a love letter was during our shared office makeover. As I thoughtfully made each selection based on Jeff’s life experience and the man he has become, I realized I was writing him a love letter instead of just giving him a well appointed home office.
Since then, I can’t help but notice that every space I’ve designed in this home has been a love letter to my family. It’s not something I consciously set out to do; it really is just who I am and how I approach design.
My greatest desire is for others to know they are loved and feel that in my home. So, I write love letters with design, and I thought I’d share my process with you, along with some examples from around the house.
Love Letter to My Husband
When I set out to design our fourth bedroom as a his and hers home office, I wanted it to tell Jeff’s story, but it also had to flow with the rest of our house. In order to achieve that balance, I installed this dramatic storm cloud wallpaper that I would have chosen for our home even without any meaning behind it.
Jeff has had to walk through a lot of storms in his life, and his favorite quote is “A smooth sea never made a skillful sailor.” This wallpaper speaks perfectly to his life experience, yet is timeless, interesting, and so beautiful.
In contrast to the storm clouds on the wallpaper, this antique original oil painting of ships in a harbor is a picture of what our home is to Jeff…a safe harbor.
Love Letter to My Family
If I’m being honest, this reading nook was a love letter primarily to Noelle, but also to my whole family. When I reinvented the unused and outdated dry bar that was here when we moved in, I considered a bookcase or built-in desk area. Ultimately though, I decided on a cozy reading nook because Noelle loves to curl up in tiny places and crochet, watch TV, read a book, or sleep. She has done all of those things in this nook, and that makes my heart so happy.
As always, the aesthetic needed to flow with our home, especially because it’s in our family room. I hemmed and hawed over the paint color because I wanted it to really be us and feel like home every time we looked at it. Once it was painted, we all loved it. It truly does feel like it belongs in our home.
I knew using the dalmatian print would be special for all of us since we’re obsessed with our dogs, and the addition of a cozy cushion, tall side table, and rattan reading sconce were all design decisions I made with our whole family in mind.
This little nook has become a reminder to all of us that one day, every outdated space in our home will be lovingly designed and updated. It has also turned into a love letter to pretty much everyone who comes over because it has a certain element of magic to it that draws in all the little ones. I couldn’t be happier to see it being loved and snuggled in.
Love Letter to My Daughter
This is my most recent design love letter and one that chokes me up every time I talk about it. I just finished Hannah’s teen bedroom makeover, which included fourteen DIY projects completed by yours truly. Hannah felt the love simply because I put so much time, effort, and money into her room, but I was very intentional about communicating my love to her through the details of this design as well.
Hannah is my child who can wow a crowd with her acting skills and blow you away with her intricate drawings, but interior design isn’t her thing. She notices the aesthetic of spaces and how that affects her mood, but throughout this process, I had to teach her the concept of interpreting an idea in a non-literal way through design elements.
She dreams of working with Pixar Animation one day, so of course, she asked about having a Luxo lamp. It’s very mechanical looking though, and I knew it wasn’t right for her room. As soon as I saw this beautiful task lamp by Studio McGee x Target, I knew it was perfect. I was able to explain to her that this lamp is a nod to Luxo without killing the vibe of the room.
Hannah is also an artist, so I knew she needed some pretty special pieces in her room. I commissioned some small abstract works in the color palette of her room, painted the floral canvas pieces myself, and included a custom watercolor dot piece that has titles I made up based on who Hannah is.
Throughout the process of selecting artwork, I was teaching Hannah the importance of not just sticking a bunch of posters up on the wall (as most teens do), but thoughtfully curating art that can grow with her, yet speaks to who she is. Turns out, she doesn’t miss having posters on her wall at all, and in fact, she has thanked me for giving her such a calm, restrained space to retreat to.
She also thanked me repeatedly for her favorite element of the room…the custom wire word art above her bed. This was my interpretation of her love of Broadway and what it has meant to both of us (you can read more about that here).
These are just three spaces in my home that are love letters through design, but I have so many more planned, including Noelle’s room. I have loved being able to express my love and commitment to my family through the designs I create and execute in my home. It certainly makes the long process more enjoyable and pushes me to cross the finish line strong.
It’s also been fun to teach my girls about telling a person’s story through a room design and show Jeff that I don’t design and work on rooms just so they’re pretty…I do it out of love. They get it now and are excited to see the love letter I write to the baby of our family…Noelle.
I hope you enjoyed seeing a little bit of my process and learning how to write a love letter with design.