Mike and I rented this cute little house um….four years ago now? Sheesh. The original plan was to rent it it for a year or so, then, when he’d mastered this job that he had desperately wanted to try, we’d head back to Denver. Easy-peasy.
But this is Life, right? So instead of progressing according to plan (HA!), Mike’s job grew into something exciting, I got cancer, he changed both company and career and VOILA. Here we are. Still in our “temporary” rental.
At some point (like, a year ago) the writing was on the wall and I took one look around – with clear eyes – and realized that we needed help. I had never taken the time to make this place a home and now I was lost. I didn’t have the first clue how to begin. Each new item I bought (random pieces of furniture, throw pillow, whatever) just seemed to add to the clutter. Nothing was cohesive, there was no plan – even worse, there was no vision. I wanted a Pinterest reality; I had a mess.
So we turned to our dear friend Alison over at Curio Design Studio. Her business model is so smart: she emails you instructions and graph paper, you measure everything (room size, furniture, whatever), take pictures of your space, create a Pinterest board of rooms that you like (here’s ours), set a budget…and wait for the result.
I was totally BLOWN AWAY by what Allison came up with. Want to see?
Our Living Space – Before
Make no mistake: our house rarely looked THIS clean. And why so many chairs in the living room? I mean seriously. Also please note the crayon on the walls (the whole house was painted with MATTE paint GAH) and the entryway disaster. (Not pictured? The millions of boots/hats/crap that is all shoved into the closet or chest.)
The Curio Design Studio Package
In roughly a week or so, Allison sent us a back a PDF containing 3-D renderings, shopping lists (with pictures) and diagrams explaining where to put everything. It. Was. Amazing. Here are just a few pages from our packet:
What We Actually Did
Here’s the thing I really love about this type of design service: it’s completely NO pressure. You don’t feel like calling an electrician and installing a chandelier? Skip that step. Your husband has an aversion to wicker so you want to go with another chair? Great. Found an old side table in the basement that works good enough? Perfect! The vision is there, the path to implementation is totally up to you.
And in the case of the couch….UGH. Allison found a completely suitable blue couch well within our given budget. However, Mike and I got…picky. We didn’t want a cheap, stop-gap couch (no matter how affordable) so we searched for another. And searched. And searched. In the end the couch we both fell in love with cost $3500, and by the time we saved up for it I was all “eff the couch let’s go to Puerto Rico” and off we went.
I’ve also learned (through this process) that our actual house will never, in any way, look as good as Allison’s designs simply because WE ACTUALLY LIVE IN IT. Screw you, Pinterest.
In any case, I couldn’t be more thrilled with how our place turned out – terribly dirty couch and miss-matched belongings and all. Here are some pics (and I’ve linked to a few of our favorite pieces below).
UPDATE: I had originally put in the wrong butterfly chair! Ours is the butterfly chair from PBTeen, $199!
Mirrored Coffee Table (perfect for Reggio-Emelia type play with magna tiles)
West Elm Wood Storage Crates (bottom row in the Ikea bookshelves)
Rugs are both Ikea
Paint color (cause it’s so hard to find a good white): Benjamin Moore OC-117
The crappy table (above) is going to stay as long as we have messy, art-making boys.
Ugh. Please ignore Mike’s projector. It’s our ongoing argument about where the thing goes. (I mean seriously the cord alone….)
A few final thoughts:
1. Don’t judge Allison for our throw pillow situation. I started buying the pillows she recommended (well…I bought ONE) and then the Great Blue Couch never happened and my husband is constantly trying to donate all of our throw pillows to Goodwill….SO. I suspect Allison probably would’ve recommended something different if I had simply told her we’re keeping the dirty couch. (Although….the one pillow I bought doesn’t look that bad, right?***)
2. We did the Classic Design Package and gave Allison a budget of….$3000? $3500? Something like that. We ended up using a less because of the couch, chandelier and side table, but went with more expensive baskets (which were totally worth it for durability). If I did this all over again….I’d think about upping the budget and just letting Allison know we wanted to slow-roll the updates. IDK. It all worked out pretty well in the end.
Anyway, check out Curio Design Studio, you guys. Allison ROCKS (and, as I write this, is about to have her first baby shower – yay!!).
ps. this post is in no way sponsored. HA – if it was, it wouldn’t have taken me over a year to write. 🙂
***UPDATE – I just received the sweetest note from Allison. She read this article, took one look at our dirty couch and sent back this pic:
Allison said: Check out this etsy pillow shop, Willa Skye Home — Some good options to add to your existing couch. Try using blue velvet pillows in place of the couch pillows.