Thursday, February 14, 2013

E-Design and Why It's Awesome

About a year ago I was really struggling to get my dining and living rooms together.  I had been reading design blogs for a couple of years and thought I had absorbed some design skills.  Haha!  Doesn't work like that.  I was so frustrated because those talented gals (and guys) make it look so easy that I was sure I could achieve the look I wanted.  Wrong!  You non-designer types know exactly what I'm talking about, right?
I realized I needed help and e-design was the perfect solution.  I highly recommend it!  It's totally afordable and can really save you from making costly mistakes, not to mention help you get the rooms you really want.

My dining room below...
not possible without e-design.

Before this great invention, ordinary people like myself could never have afforded to hire a professional designer.  Along with their higher fees, they sometimes add 20%-40% to the price of everything they buy for your rooms.  No offense to are totally worth it, but that can add a lot to the price of a design.  So if you're on a budget, like most of us, connecting with a talented designer through the internet is a fantastic alternative.
How does e-design work?
1. Start checking out design blogs and find a designer whose style you like.  I looked for one whose home I also liked, not just their client projects.  Somewhere on their blog it will say if they do online or e-design consulting.  You will contact them via that link on their blog.  
2.  The designer will contact you with the details of what their services and fees are.  Typically you will pay a set fee for a room design that will include a couple of phone conversations with the designer, a design plan and sources for everything you need to purchase to implement the plan. 
3.  You will then email the designer pictures of your room along with dimensions, your budget, what colors and styles you like, how you intend to use the room...stuff like that.
4.  This is where you usually have the first phone conversation with the designer to further discuss your likes and dislikes, and what you want to accomplish in the room.
5.  Once the designer has completed your room plan, you will be sent an invoice to pay for the service either through Paypal or via check through the mail.
6.  Once the designer has received your payment, they will email you the plan and sources.
7.  At this point there is usually a second phone conversation wherein you discuss the plan, the sources and your general giddiness at how much you love your designer for giving you this fabulous plan for your room.
Happiness ensues.
 For my living & dining rooms, I worked with Lauren of The Cottage Mix.  Lauren's style is light, neutral, a bit coastal & traditional with texture and great woodwork.  I was instantly drawn to Lauren's style when I first laid eyes on her foyer (below) which I think is absolute perfection.  It was love at first sight for me.

So I contacted Lauren, sent her my awful before photos (see below...yikes) and she got to work.  


I cannot stress this enough (hence to bold type)...from the moment I contacted Lauren, I felt a tremendous relief of pressure just knowing that help was on the way and I was no longer going to drown in that design black hole of confusion and indecision. 
(Cue the angels singing here.)

Above is part of the design plan that Lauren created for my dining room showing lighting, host chairs and fabric choices. I was keeping my table and had already purchased four wicker chairs.  We also talked about adding four pieces of art around my existing mirror.  Lauren suggested these frames from Pottery Barn which I purchased and used to frame four sea fans that I bought at Wertz Bros in Santa Monica.  That's how my dining room below came to exist...
thanks to e-design.
In my living room I wanted to keep my white sofa and white chairs.  Lauren used a  painting I already had to pull the other and blue.  Here was part of the plan:

I purchased the green striped rug from William Sonoma Home and a new tv cabinet from PB according to Lauren's plan.  We added some new accessories and some custom pillows & some John Robshaw pillows.  I had a 4" navy linen border added to my PB cotton panels (Lauren had done this in her living room and I liked it). all came together thanks to working with a pro.

I cannot even begin to count all the money I've wasted buying pieces of furniture that didn't kids received a lot of free stuff from my mistakes.  The cost of an e-design is more than worth it, not to mention the fact that I was not capable of getting the look I wanted by myself.  Had to just suck it up and admit that.
My sister Linee and I both love the style of Mary Ann at Classic Casual Home.  What's not to love about her gorgeous rooms?

  Linee recently worked with Mary Ann on her living room and she is thrilled with the plan Mary Ann has come up with.  Linee had her basic furniture pieces and fabrics in place but was frustrated at not being able to pull it all together.  Mary Ann came in and took it to the finish line with this gorgeous plan that included lighting, drapes, flooring, rugs and accessories:

I can't wait to see Linee implement this plan and I'm especially excited because this is where our family spends Christmas.  Awesome!  It's gonna be fantastic.
Another of my favorite designers is Rene of the blog Cottage & Vine.  Rene is such a sweet person and I love her design style.  Here is a fun design board Rene created for an e-design client:
I love the way Rene created a room plan that is modern, yet warm...colorful yet calm.  It's called talent's not accidental, it's talent.
Another fun design team is the mother-daughter duo of Powell Brower Home...Nancy & Bethany.  Here is one of their cool design boards for an e-design client:
Nancy & Bethany also offer a service they call "Design in a Box". 
After a telephone consultation, they put together a box containing a plan with paint colors, flooring materials, fabrics, and furniture & lighting sources.  Bethany says this service is great way to save money and complete your room on your own timeframe.
There are so many choices out there for
e-design...literally thousands.  The beauty of this internet thing is that we can connect globally and you can find a designer that you love and is in your budget...regardless of where you live. 
Find one you like and just go for it! 


  1. Hi Karen, thanks for the mention. Your sister is talented and fun to work with. This is a great article. I should have people check this out when they inquire about an e-design. I will link to it in my next post. LOVE your dining and living areas...Lauren did such a lovely job and bravo to you for carrying it out!

    1. Thanks so much Mary Ann...appreciate your nice words. And I love what you created for Linee.

      Yes, Lauren did a great job for me!

  2. Love this! I definitely see the value in hiring a designer - especially since decorating my house for the last few years. Having a solid understanding of scale, lighting, contrast etc is so important when it comes to putting a room together. More than just putting pretty fabrics together :) They also have so many different resources (to the trade) that we just don't have easy access too. I love your dining and family rooms! Hopefully you'll get a chance to recreate in your new home soon!

    Also - I love Classic Casual Home! How fun that your sister used Mary Ann! Hope to see the completed space soon!

    1. It's hard right? But your home is so pretty...really every room. You've done a beautiful job...I would have thought you were a professional designer when I first saw your blog. But having help is such a relief at times.

      Thank you...yes I hope I get to see my stuff in my new home soon too...still looking every day!

      We love Mary Ann too...I think everyone does! She's great and my sister is enjoying it so much!

  3. Karen,
    I had no idea what the story was behind that painting...what a fun story. I can't say I have watched Cougar Town for the set, but I've certainly watched other shows/movies for the sets...It's Complicated comes to mind and well basically all of Nancy Meyers' films for that matter. Your home looks gorgeous! You and Lauren are a great team. Excellent article about e-design. And I love Mary Ann! She's as warm and wonderful in person as she is on her blog.

    1. I haven't seen It's Complicated...going to check it out now though. I love a good set design almost more than a good film.

      My sister says the same about Mary her :)

      Thanks Annie!

    2. oh man..I love YOU guys :)
      Featuring this post on my blog today. Thanks, Karen.

  4. Thanks so much for the shout out! Lucky you to have Lauren's help! One of my faves!

  5. Karen, thank you so much for including our services among the other great designers you included! I love how your home turned out, and this is a great article for people who might be on the fence about choosing a designer. Thanks again, and have a great weekend!
    xo Nancy

  6. You are talking about some of my most favorite blogger/friends, too. I have thought about selecting an e-designer, and this was great to read.

  7. Your house .amazing. Wonderful post about using e-designers (and some of my most fav bloggers!). I'm so impressed with your framing abilities in the dining room. I loved seeing how the process works.

  8. Your home looks gorgeous, Karen! You and Lauren did a wonderful job together!

  9. Great post and so glad Mary Ann shared this in her post. So nice to find new blogs.

  10. WHat a great post and kudos to a talented bunch of designers. Love how your place came together!
    Cathy@ Room Rx

  11. I applaud all those designers who are so good at E-Design! Lauren gave you such a great look!

  12. Wonderful post, Karen. Your living room and dining room look fabulous! The designers you mentioned above are some of the sweetest bloggers I known.

    Thanks for leaving lovely comments on my blog, Karen. You are a gem! I really appreciate you stopping by.

    Have a good day!


  13. I'm going to link to this post tomorrow on my blog - after lots of requests I am offering e-design. I still have alot to learn, but it has been fun and I love working with clients and solving their design dilemma's like the ones you described!


  14. Your dining room looks fabulous! Enjoyed this post, selfishly, as I'd like to get into e-design. Thanks for giving insight from the client's perspective :)

  15. This is awesome design. You are a great designer. Everything in right place. Thank you for sharing such beautiful post.