Curate My Life Posts

Design Challenge: The Exciting Conclusion!

By: Danielle Clockel

This has been such a fun experience! I loved bits and pieces from each design, so I took special care and time to immerse myself in each one and really envision the items in my space. It was like a puzzle, and I went through several drafts before arriving at a conclusion that felt quirky and comfortable, visually stimulating and functional.

I really embraced Elisabeth’s lounge idea, a concept I hadn’t even thought of. Her low coffee table mixed with Melody’s black footed side table gives me space to spread out my notes and papers as well as a perch for my laptop or tea. Elisabeth’s tufted chair has a big enough seat to allow for some lazy time lounging while still being small enough to allow me to keep my cherished rocking chair in place. I loved Shelby’s choice of Studio Green for painting the walls, but decided I’d like to paint my rocking chair this deep, dark neutral instead. Her jagged metal chandelier provides a little edge and danger. And of course, a rug is a must. I was struck by the bold contrast of Stephanie’s black and white wallpaper, and I’d like to find a rug with similar characteristics. Maybe something like this?

Photo courtesy of Loloi.

There are hearts in my eyes just looking at this room! My advice to anyone considering working with a designer is this: DO IT! Trust their choices, give feedback, and sit with your options for a minute. In the end, you’ll have a space that you love and a deeper understanding of your own wants and needs.

Design Challenge: Breakfast Nook Solutions

By: The Balance Design Team

Before the Thanksgiving holiday, Danielle set forth the challenge to the design team of creating a multifunctional dining/working space in her apartment’s cozy breakfast nook. A comfy retreat for tea time as well as a quirky workspace? No problem.

Stephanie’s Solution

For Danielle’s niche, I chose a loveseat that we happen to have in the studio (at a great price!) for her seating needs. It’s light, airy, and perfect for her and her pets to lounge and look out the window. The dining space doubles in function with this dramatic black tulip table that provides a surface for Danielle to read and work, and two modern white chairs add sharp contrast. To wrap up this strong black and white palette, I suggest wallpaper inside the built-in shelving unit. But the best part is the perfect jewelry hanging from the ceiling — a black and chain pendant light!

Elisabeth’s Solution

Photos courtesy of Etsy, Flor, CB2, and Restoration Hardware.

Rather than a typical dining table/desk, I chose to create a cozy-chic lounge space that could also celebrate Danielle’s adored rocking chair. A camouflage meets black floral rug (tiles for any size room!) paired with a luscious berry tufted masterpiece provides a comfortable seat that is anything but expected. I added plenty of table space for working at two different heights for laptops and tea. Finally, a gothic-inspired candelabra floor lamp in front of her historical window is sure to unearth anything to her heart’s desire.

Shelby’s Solution

Photos courtesy of Made Goods, Ballard Designs, and The Mine.

Danielle is our studio rock and roll lady; she has great taste that’s a mix of feminine and edge and I loved the challenge of capturing the essence that is “Danielle.” First, I chose a really cool paint effect. She loves black, so I wanted to give her a dark neutral that had depth to it. I propose painting the back three walls of the alcove to act as an accent. These would be painted Studio Green, and feature a white drip effect at the top creating an “unstructured” look. A skirted banquette (because she is a lady, of course!) offers comfortable seating in a deep green vinyl to help the piece blend into the wall. The classic wooden pedestal table is beautiful as is, but for Danielle I see it painted in a high lacquer oxblood. Overhead would hang a fierce gold feather pendant to add the required edginess. Finally, rich brown hair-on-hide stools allot for extra seating and texture. These can easily be tucked under the table or stored off to the side and pulled up as needed. This space may be small, but with these selections it is a powerful mixture of richness, texture, and edge that I feel embodies Danielle’s personality.

Melody’s Solution

Photos courtesy of Wayfair, RH Teen, PB Teen, and Anthropologie.

I chose a comfy but compact velvet chair for this petite breakfast nook, and a small carved side table for Danielle to enjoy morning tea. This setup can double as workspace for those productive days at home without looking like an office. The dark ornate rug and staggered antiqued glass pendants evoke a modern gothic feeling. The epitome of a Danielle-approved space!

Stay tuned to see which pieces from each solution Danielle combines to create her dream multifunctional alcove!

Design Challenge: Danielle’s Breakfast Nook

By: Danielle Clockel

I moved into my very own studio apartment a couple of months ago, and I’m in love. It’s in my favorite part of midtown — walking distance to Piedmont Park, close proximity to all the goodness on Ponce, and in a neighborhood chock full of tree-lined sidewalks — plus it’s in a building built in the 1920’s. It’s full of character and the perfect size for me, my cat, and my tiny pup. I’ve been here long enough that I’ve settled in with everything and can see what my needs for the space are. The number one priority? My breakfast nook.

Surprised that I have extra space in a studio apartment? Me too! But I’ve spent the last three moves pairing down more and more, so I’m left with only the things I treasure and use constantly. This little nook is separated from the kitchen by a built-in glass door cabinet, and has enough room for a small desk or cafe table and a petite chair or two. Small space living means everything needs to pull double duty, and for this space I’m envisioning a place to sit and have my morning tea as well as occasionally set up shop to work from home.

So, I’m putting forth the challenge to the design team here: help me create a multifunctional area in this limited space that reflects my quirky, eclectic style. I can’t wait for them to put on their “Danielle hat” and think outside the box!

Local, Custom, and Ready to Work!

By: Loren H. Pratt

In our digital age, we often think of “desktop” as ubiquitous with computers, but a physical, wooden desk is still my first love. As a teacher, I need a designated space for class preparation and grading papers, so back-to-school meant an opportunity to invest in a new desk as command central for the school year. Check out my new custom desk from Atlanta’s own Jack Ellis Company.

This desk is functional, spacious, and absolutely gorgeous in person. I love its live-edge and unstained finish and the fact that it floats in the room. It’s the perfect combination of classic cool and modern chic, plus it was made from reclaimed wood, so no trees were intentionally felled to make it. I can’t wait to nerd out with my husband and work a puzzle or play a board game on it after the semester ends. Thanks to Balance Design for helping me select this special piece of furniture for my home office!


Loren Pratt is a lawyer and legal writing professor who loves interior design. Her legal writing background influences her affinity for juxtaposing order and symmetry with personality and flair in decorating. Loren loves working with the Balance Design team when she’s stumped with a design challenge or when she needs a second opinion. Follow Loren to see what inspires her as she decorates her new Atlanta home.

Fall 2017: Runway-Inspired Interior Style

By: The Balance Design Team

We’re heading into seasonal closet-cleaning time where we take stock of what we have and note what’s needed to freshen up existing pieces. And if we’re doing this for our clothes, why not our homes as well? Here are some trends we’re loving from New York Fashion Week that can inspire both areas of your life.

Stephanie’s Pick: Pink and Silver Statement

Photo courtesy of Vogue.

Photo courtesy of Elle Decor.

At this season’s fashion week, pink knits paired with metallic silver accents were comfortable yet dynamic. In this sitting room, the splashes of pink in the pillows and armchairs keep you on your toes, while the shimmering rug and soft greys make you want to slip into a nap on that cozy long sofa. This combination is strong and vivid, layered and colorful, and even—dare I say—timeless? We shall see.

Elisabeth’s Pick: Lingerie All Day

Photo courtesy of Vogue.

Photo courtesy of Designer Rugs.

This season presents a multitude of sensual black garments: fur, leather, and lace layered in sophisticated swaths of ooh-la-la. Lorenzo Serafini’s collection makes wearing undergarments all day totally possible…right?! Let’s just put that gorgeous model right in this gothic veranda with costume designer Catherine Martin’s new black lace rug, shall we?

Shelby’s Pick: Red Red Red

Photo courtesy of Now Fashion.

Photo courtesy of Maison Valentina.

Red alert! Unsurprisingly, red is a favorite color for statement pieces, real show stoppers. Whether it’s a head-to-toe monochromatic outfit or a floor-to-ceiling built-in, red is an instant focal point. With the right hue, it’s a timeless classic (red lipstick, anyone?) that adds a splash of brightness to any look or space.

Danielle’s Pick: Oversized Natural Accessories

Photo courtesy of Vogue.

Photo courtesy of Remodelista.

There’s so much to love about Delpozo’s fashion week collection: the modern silhouettes, the airy sherbet tones, and of course the BIG OL’ BOWS. Contrasting the crisp colors and sleek shapes of their clothing, Delpozo topped off each look with a big ol’ honkin’ rattan headpiece. And what’s the home equivalent of this natural woven cherry-on-top? African wall baskets! Accenting a modern, neutral room with these warm tones creates a current but cozy look and adds character to an otherwise sterile environment.

Melody’s Pick: Patchwork Party

Photo courtesy of Vogue.

Photo courtesy of Rose Lawn.

Bold and intriguing. As we see in fashion week and in the rug world, patchwork is back! Curating pattern and heritage from a variety of sources, patchwork rugs comprised of antique kilim remnants give life to otherwise forgotten works of art.

Any of these trends, whether applied to your wardrobe or your furnishings, are sure to amp up your style factor. You and your home deserve to strut your stuff!