Christy and I often find that clients are somewhat ashamed of feeling like it’s necessary to hire a decorator or organizer. There’s this strong sense that you ought to be able to figure out how to handle your home on your own. But we have a pretty strong rebuttal to that feeling—Christy and I always “hire” one another to help in our own homes, as well. It is incredibly difficult to break out of your own mindset in an environment you live in each day, and the power of fresh eyes cannot be overstated. To that end, one of my favorite Haven projects of all time is Christy’s breakfast nook. Here's what it looked like before:
Christy lives in a beautiful townhome with a huge kitchen area, expanding back into an eat-in breakfast area with the patio just off the space. She had a small table and chairs, a coffee bar, a shelf for some cook books, etc. The space was laid out efficiently and looked cute, but it was never used. And why would it be? The dining room is a few steps away, with more comfortable chairs and more space to spread out. No matter how attractive the breakfast nook was, it just wasn’t going to be utilized. She asked me what could be done differently.
Just like we do with our clients (and she does with me when I need it), I talked her through how she uses the room, what works well, and what doesn’t. Christy is an excellent host, and loves having people in her home. In talking things through, she realized that having the kitchen as a separate space always makes a dinner party tricky—guests either hang out in the main living spaces, leaving the chef lonely in the kitchen and missing out on the fun, or else guests join in the kitchen and spend much of the evening awkwardly perched in an uncomfortable chair. We realized that what she really needed was another lounge space adjacent to the kitchen. And voila!
The newly designed space mixes some pieces that she already had (the leather chair, the book shelves) with some new ones (the daybed and rug) into a truly functional space. We brought in loads of comfy places to sit, giving guests several places to recline and put their feet up. Baskets of blankets and books, along with an oversize rug, make the space cozy.
With the deck just outside and all those amazing windows, the new nook is the perfect little greenhouse. We brought in a ton of plants to keep her new sunroom fresh and alive. Finally, we left the coffee bar in place, ensuring the space is still part of the kitchen.
Christy says that this is now one of the most used rooms in the entire house. She spends her mornings drinking coffee and studying and reading there, visits with friends, and snuggles with Buster on the sofa.