New Series: “Breathing Room” With Kelly…..

Space planning is essential when it comes to creating an inviting space.  However, I think many people are thwarted when it comes to furniture placement.  Awkward layouts thanks to lack of walls, window placement or the odd angle can make creating the perfect space challenging if not frustrating.  It’s one of the top things I know clients ask of most designers, so I thought it would be fun to bring in my friend and fellow designer, Kelly,  on a monthly basis to answer questions and give her take on the perfect layout of rooms to giving you the breathing space you desire…….

I’m Kelly Finley, an interior design/owner of Joy Street Design and the author of Joy of Design blog.  I’m very excited that Courtney has invited me over to discuss how to properly plan a space. One of my favorite parts of any interior design project is designing the furniture layout and planning the space.  I believe that space planning is the most important part of any project and should always be done before purchasing any furniture or making any final decisions on the layout of the space. 



So what exactly do I mean when I say space planning.  In a formal sense, space planning is the act of creating a layout of furnishings and items in response to and coordinated with the physical space of a structure while performing an analysis of design and spatial requirements for the occupants.  In normal words, space planning is the exercise of ensuring that the required furniture and other elements in a room are properly scaled and positioned to ensure a proper flow for the occupants.  This process is critical at the beginning of a project to ensure that future purchases will work in the space. A well-designed space provides comfort and harmony to a room.

Before studying interior design, I don’t think I ever specifically thought about space planning in the traditional sense.  When setting up the rooms in my house, like most homeowners, I didn’t think about the proper amount of space between the chair and the table or the proper height of a side table.  I saw furniture that I liked and “eyeballed” it to determine if I thought it would look good in the space. We’ve all been there – we order a piece of furniture and then we get it into the house and it’s entirely too big or too small.  It looked perfect in the store but now it’s completely useless or overbearing in the space that we need.  (The idea that the item won’t fit into the space through the entry door is an entirely different post about planning for the space but, unfortunately, I’ve been in that situation too. )

Joy Street Room

However, the more I think about this, the more I realize that this attitude that I didn’t previously think about space planning may be simplifying it too much.  When buying any furniture, we all clearly think about the distance between the furniture and whether the table is entirely too small for the sofa chair.  Indeed, I believe that every time you walk into a room, you are judging whether the space was planned correctly even if it’s not by official space planning terms. 

Floorplan 2

The difference between a professional and an amateur is taking the time to officially put the space plan down on paper ensuring that you make more informed decisions and hopefully fewer mistakes when shopping in the store.   This process of creating a space plan also provides you with new options that you hadn’t previously considered or solidifying that your initial plan is the proper one.  Through future posts, I’ll provide different methods of planning a space along with examples and actual projects to show the process in action.  Hopefully this series will provide you with a few tricks and tips to make your space planning much more effective and useful when you don’t have a professional to help. 

Thanks Courtney for inviting me over!

I am excited to have Kelly on board the team and am looking forward to fielding questions you all on the topic.  If you  have a question that you think Kelly can answer about space planning, send your question and pictures to lifeoutloud[at]!

[photo credit: Joy Street Design]

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Well Furnished …

Necessity is the mother of invention….

Or at least they say.  Frankly, I am too lazy to invent alot of stuff.  However, I did win my 6th grade science fair for inventing a way to control fungus in closed environments using slugs and snails.  (yes I was a huge dork and spent alot of time in the library…)  Recently  I was introduced by a mutual friend to  Tapan Bhat, the Founder  of Well Furnished.  When Tapan was remodeling his own Northern California home,  he was overwhelmed at the sheer amount of furniture choices out there — in particular the sheer amount of BAD choices there were out there.  So Tapan created Well Furnished …..

Think of it as distillery of all the best features of your favorite social media sites but exclusively for home furnishings.  You can search across over 50 of the top retail sites and build out collections and inspiration boards for your reference.  In addition, Tapan and his crew have been hard at work connecting with a multitude of designers, like myself, to build our own collections so you can browse top picks from designers and see what is new and emerging in the market place.

Lastly, Well Furnished has a fun blog which I recently contributed to about the power of pillows.  If you know anything about me and my designs, you know that I love a good pillow – from Target to Kravet …. a pillow can pull a room together.  Aside from french fries with garlic aioli, pillows rank pretty high on my love list.

So in any case, I digressed.  I love browsing Well Furnished as it allows me a one-stop place to see what my fellow designers are doing as well as take a quick pulse on items that are trending.  I love it and think you will too….

But you know what else I love…..Mondays!  I ADORE them….seriously, there is nothing better…….

(I am totally lying.)

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Loving Out Loud: Organic Modernism Texas Dining Table …

Happy Columbus Day!

I know some of you are enjoying a day off, but some of us (me) are prepping for a long day of work.  This week has me thinking about knots – in particular all the ones in my neck and back but also about tables.  I am currently beguiled by sculptural furniture  – those pieces that not only serve a purpose but also can stand on their own as graceful works for art.  I think it is like getting a “twofer” (insert 30 Rock joke…).  I think I may have found the perfect option for my needs in the Texas Dining Table from Organic Modernism….

Hand forged in brass, the Texas table is dynamic but still organic.  I can see my young client hosting plenty of dinners around this table and it moving effortlessly through the multiple stages of their lives.  My stomach is in a knot waiting for them to reply whether it is a go to purchase or not….

So as I sit and wait, tell me what you did for your weekend or if you are enjoying your one additional day of freedom.

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