December 5, 2023

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Design Milk Family Room Redesign

Design Milk Family Room Redesign

When the founder of Design Milk, Jaime Derringer,  reaches out to have you design her living and dining room you say, “Sure … but are you sure you don’t want to do it?” But, believe me, I know that having the ability and having the time/energy/desire are two different things. I’d say 1/2 of our clients are people who have good taste and style but are somehow paralyzed by what to do next or how to get to the end goal. I get it. Now that we are doing the new house, it’s so daunting and every day I’m so grateful that I have a built-in design team. I say this all the time, but I have no idea how other people get big design projects done in their own home – it’s so much work, so many decisions let alone time and money. Kudos to any of you who have renovated your own home.

So we took on the project and Melanie, one of our lovely and talented in-house designers, led the project under my direction.

Jaime lives in San Diego, so we approached this as a really involved E-design, with more revisions than usual. Then, when all the products have arrived, we will go and style it.

Here are the before photos she sent through… she wasn’t aware when she took them that they were going to be blown up and published on the blog (but that is what we do), so, sorry Jamie, but your coffee cup and extra toys don’t scare anyone away:


We asked for a few more photos last week to give you a little preview of some of the new items that have already been ordered so far: side table, credenza, and that beautiful art of hers and to give you some more blown up perspectives of the space as it is. You will notice some color differences in a few of the photos but the walls are in fact grey, the picture just has a yellow tone to it as she was shooting into the light at a different time of day.





The space is a shared family and dining room and it needs to be comfortable, cohesive, and stylish; and yet, we wanted to create zones and help the dining room feel like its own space. She wanted to keep the sofa, dining table, and chandelier, but we could replace anything else.

Jaime sent a pinboard filled with her inspiration and we ran with it. Her style is fun and bright even though she wants this space to be a bit more relaxed, casual, and family oriented. Based on her pins we pulled together this living room inspiration board to send along to her with some of our suggestions and directions for the space.


Then Melanie started pulling together a plan based on what she said she liked from from our board.


This direction had elements of quirk and fun while still being a comfortable family living room. Most importantly we felt we could easily design a complimentary dining room to go with these colors and patterns. As we mentioned, Jaime requested we add a seating area to separate the living and dining spaces, so they could feel like separate rooms.

Option two had a bit more color and pop. We thought this spoke to a lot of Jaime’s pins and it felt more alive.


After some back and forth, Jaime loved our ideas, but she wanted more rug options. She wasn’t feeling the blue and wanted something a little softer, she was also a bit nervous to commit to the graphic Aelfie rug. It goes to show that your pins might not necessarily be what you can handle in your actual home, so you might have to go in a slightly different direction than what you had planned. She pinned visual excitement and crazy-face stuff, but she got a little nervous when it came to implementing it. She also lives in a new-build transitional style house which is sometimes hard to pull off with this style. 

We put together new rug options and then sent them over. Melanie was doing a great job trying to interpret Jaime’s style, and I was into it. Some of these options terrified us, but when you are designing you experiment A LOT until you find out what works and what doesn’t:


Tons of rugs later, we decided on a rug not too different from the one they already had, but this one added more depth and light variations. It’s this one, but bigger and just way better (they are using this rug in a bedroom). Once the rug was chosen Jaime requested we present more coffee table options. She needed something kid friendly and as the sofa was so large we knew we needed something equally as grandiose. In the end we’ve opted to go with a custom coffee table that we are designing (P.S. it’s round).  Stay tuned for more on that ?

Moving on to the dining room, here is the inspiration for the dining space.


Again, we sent Jaime two options. One with our graphic rug we’d fallen in love with. And the other a bit calmer. Jaime wanted to keep her chandelier and said we could change the paper to any color. We thought it would look best in white  – but who knows, when we go to shoot it we might do all different colors or black and white, etc. She also wanted us to keep her dining table, and incorporate some of her amazing art. We thought these DWR chairs (which everyone at EHD desperately wants in their own home – including me, so bad) are a great way to make the dark and chunky dining table feel lighter. We sifted through Jaime’s portfolio and found a great black and white print that spoke to her new Anthropologie chairs. She then sent it over to minted and had it framed and printed at a large size. They are now carrying it on their website.


Option two has a slightly calmer rug with a fun colored stripe. Have we mentioned that Jaime loves stripes? (don’t worry those curtains aren’t going to be that short).


Again, Jaime wanted more rug options. HA. We started by sending over just a few. No decision was made and we were asked for even more options. So we tried a ton of different directions to see what Jaime and her husband would like. I secretly really liked her original rug but it has been seen one million times all over the internet and she was ready for something new.


We finally decided on an amazing rug from Armadillo in Australia. They’ve just moved to the USA and you’re able to customize the size and colors. Which is perfect for this dining area as we couldn’t find the right rug. We’ve received samples and decided on color. You can see our final choice in the last mockup. 

We’d finally decided on a rug, when we got some bad news. One of our quickest decisions was the DWR chairs and turns out we weren’t the only ones obsessed with them, so they were very backordered. Jaime wanted new options – as she’s rather eager to have the space finished. In the next gif you’ll see some new chair options that we presented to her. 


We liked all of these options but decided the DWR options we’re worth the wait! (Although the target windsor chairs were truly a close second).

Options. So many options. WAY more than most E-design clients typically get but Jaime is, well, she runs a HUGE site and constantly has her eyes on the newest and best products everyday so we really wanted her to be happy and for the space to reflect their family. Also as someone who loves options, I get it. It’s paralyzing to love so many different styles and colors at the same time, right?

Here you’ll see a gif of every option we thought about for the dining space- not all were presented as we don’t like to overwhelm clients, but as Melanie was showing me the options I said “don’t you trash one of these .. this is going to be the most fun gif ever.”


Most of the big decisions have been made now and we’re awaiting deliveries and back orders, so if we don’t run into too many delays or issues then the final reveal should be before the New Year. Here’s one last look at the updated furniture plan with all of the revised option and decisions:


And over in the dining room we have this happening:


I’m excited about this project. We have so many projects going on right now and they are super diverse in style: our new house, two Los Feliz classic homes, a 1950’s Hollywood Glamour home and a 2004 contemporary that we are trying to make less contemporary, plus 3 east side bungalows and 2 home offices. The only commonality is that they all like a relatively eclectic lived in home, full of comfortable furniture and special details.

But no project is as NUTTY as this one, in a good way. So excited to reveal it but unfortunately we won’t be done with it ’til the new year because of lead times and back orders. Stay tuned folks. Meanwhile let us know your thoughts on the current plan in the comments. xx

Craving some more of our design plans? Here ya go: A Textured Traditional Mid Century Living Room, Sylvia’s Surprise Makeover: The Living Room, A Modern Eclectic Family Room, Orcondo: Living & Dining Room.

Fin Mark

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