Sized Just Right: The Small Luxury Home

As a seasoned designer with diverse clients, I am often either helping a family decide how much to add to a home they are outgrowing or I am figuring out how to put unused rooms to work in a house that is a little too big for its owner.

Generally my opinion is that less house is better than too much house, but my skills and vision afford me the opportunity to create impactful designs no matter the scale of the project. For the homeowner who is trying to decide the size of their next home investment, there are a number of ways to evaluate what will be the perfect fit.

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A Designer Guide to Buying Upholstery

Upholstery is the most hard working furniture in the home, providing enduring comfort and establishing the personality of the room through its stylings and fabric. No one wants to regret this choice either on delivery day because the fabric doesn't compliment the room or a couple of years down the line because the sofa hasn't held up to wear and tear. 

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Why Brick and Mortar Matters

Visit our studio to have a conversation with our sales experts, choose from our fabric and wood samples, and feel the superior construction of pieces made by artisans across the United States. Find your heirloom here - buy local, support artisans, go green.

Our passion for quality and sustainable living really comes to life in our studio as we listen to the wants and needs of our patrons and guide them to the products that best suit them. We take a hands on and empathetic approach to sales - something that can't be executed online. 

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While competitors both online and regionally want to sell you something right now, here we want to help you select the right thing for a life time. That means we do the research and legwork to present only the best. Direct relationships with makers ensure quality. American artisans guarantee a small carbon footprint and sustainable resourcing. MakeNest staff promises an exceptional fit for the functionality and aesthetic of your home. 

What is gained in this model is an element of longevity for the consumer that is more valuable than the 'fast fashion' options available en masse through cold online retailers. Here in the sanctuary behind the bricks, construction and style are upheld in products that last a lifetime.  

The Crawford collection is offered in chair, loveseat, and sofa frames.  See more of this collection>

The Crawford collection is offered in chair, loveseat, and sofa frames. See more of this collection>

The Axis collection dining table.  See more of this collection>

The Axis collection dining table. See more of this collection>

A Look Back on 2016

"The use of a rich plum on the walls serves up a warm and cool helping of wow factor" - PM 

"The use of a rich plum on the walls serves up a warm and cool helping of wow factor" - PM 

A client's gathering room in their historic home in Winchester VA. We furnished this space with a combination of American made and vintage goods. Built-ins provide a clean space to showcase our client's collection of art and artifacts. We visually merchandised the collection so that each vignette is a punctuation of beauty making up the canvas of the entire wall display.

Moody and sultry, Benjamin Moore's Vintage Claret comes to life in the lamp-lit corners of the room. We chose the palette to compliment our client's collection of Asian art.

We sourced the furnishings from our favorite North Carolina makers. Just out of the frame, the client's own lamp and artifact perch on a vintage Brandt octagon table we picked up in western Maryland - not far from its original manufacture location. 

"This cheerful floral felt well suited to all seasons in this sunny oasis." - PM

"This cheerful floral felt well suited to all seasons in this sunny oasis." - PM

In this happy gathering room on a creek side property, one can experience the joys of each season through large wood framed windows. A pair of American made swivel rockers from our maker out of High Point, North Carolina wear a vibrant, meandering (and sun-safe!) print.

On the American made sectional and ottoman, we selected our fabrics for a posh pairing of hardworking velvet and a colorful woven. We made our overall choices light, bright, and colorful for this room, bringing out stunning contrast in the architecture of the space.

As a whole, the room has the play of masculine and feminine, light and dark, textured and smooth, effectively balancing the design.

"A massive custom shadow box was key to transforming the dense collection of small treasures into a single graphic monolith. " -PM

Welcome to Ed's Heads Hair Salon on historic Main Street in Stephens City. The dapper collector's look was largely inspired by the owner of the salon. Perfection is found when the large comercial-friendly Spicher Co. vinyl rug, American made sofa, and a pair of fabulous vintage redux chairs make friends.

We played boldly with pattern at Ed's Heads. The vinyl rug is custom made to order in Pennsylvania and we paired it with a Californian sofa frame upholstered in a soft plaid flannel to make the lively combination.

We got our hands dirty making this custom shadow box for the waiting area. A classic green off sets the glazed walnut stain for a been-there-forever look that is perfect for the salon's quirky collections. Just out of view, are spectacular felted light fixtures dotting the high ceilings over the workstations. 

Hospitality accents like flowers and mementos add personal flair to this locally owned salon.

We chose joyful and expressive fabrics to keep this classic design upbeat.

A traditional project in Lake Frederic called for fresh fabric choices, highlighting the rich wooden pieces in the space. Crisp contrast welting in a dark teal outlines these custom made cushions. A perfect pair for cozy reading in the sunniest room of our client's home.

The transitional frames of the artisan made sofas in this room wear a practical upholstery that will be loved for years to come. Bright custom pillows and warm brass and wood tones provide an ambiance of coziness to the space. Mirrored tray tables work double duty to reflect light in the space, and to hold our client's treasures. 

"The serene turquoise grasscloth brought out the warm tones in the mid-century dining set. Suddenly everything clicked." -PM

"The serene turquoise grasscloth brought out the warm tones in the mid-century dining set. Suddenly everything clicked." -PM

For this project, we took design inspiration from our client's heirloom mid-century dining set. From color palette to accessories and material choices, we love how this space came together around a treasured piece. We used a combination of our client's keepsakes and accessories from our sources to round out the design.

In the same home, the breakfast room carries on the mid-century thread with a vintage hutch. We painted the find in a Benjamin Moore color to freshen the look. 

A sunshine colored Company C wool rug anchors the room and provides a point of dramatic lightness on the dark floors.

Here's to many more delightful projects in 2017!

Behind the Scenes

For our autumn home furnishings collection we drew inspiration from some of our favorite design projects.  The coastal oases of Martha's Vineyard and Rehoboth Beach offered us soft colors and buoyant graphics.  The smart simplicity of our urban homes guided us toward mid-century modern forms and artisan details.  And the elegance of the old homes we've designed in our native Virginia reminded us that antique wood and romantic silhouettes never lose their allure.  Creating a collection of American-made and sustainable furnishings was an ambitious undertaking; here are the mood boards we used to define our vision.

The Oasis.  Here not everything has to be 'just so' - this is a home that makes the hours after work and school feel like vacation.  Sturdy iron tables plant themselves where they're needed and the soft linen slipcover on the sofa looks its best when a little rumpled.  Shoes come off the moment you walk through the door and the piece of modern art everyone compliments is the doodle your daughter brought home in third grade.  Here you don't cry over spilled milk; you wanted a cocktail anyway. 

The Modern. This house isn't frilly or lacy or precious.  It is a thoughtfully composed design that favors simplicity.  The chill of minimalism is chased off by rugged textures and natural elements.  Each piece of furniture serves a purpose and everywhere you look there are testaments to artisan craft.  The sap cherry dining table is as smart as a suspension bridge and the custom sofa as handsome as it is comfortable.  This is the home of someone who doesn't believe in filler. Here thoughtful intention reigns.

The Estate.  You may or may not have grown up in this house, but you love that guests feel transported to an earlier era the moment they broach the porch steps.  This home isn't shy about embellishments; the moldings are elaborate and the walls are papered in garden scenes.  This is where emerald velvet doesn't feel too fancy and brass never went out of style because this is the good stuff. And while there may be the occasional new acquisition to add a spark of funk, the table at Thanksgiving is always set with antique china and Irish crystal.

Our design style is to mix more than match.  We use color, texture, and scale to make spaces pleasing, but a close inspection reveals that we don't play by the book when we're pairing objects.  When it comes to composing stylish design, we've thrown most of the rules to the wayside.  While we crafted our collection of American-made and sustainable furnishings with some specific inspirations in mind, we're sure each piece will shine when it finds new interpretations in rooms waiting to unfold.  Visit our boutique to explore the collection.

Responsible Style

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Of all the words to paint the picture of the inspiration behind our fall launch, one word is at the forefront of our efforts.  Sustainability steers us towards not only responsibly sourced materials, but to artisans who have fostered their craft here in America.  

We've turned to our neighbors, makers of fine case goods, traditionally crafted upholstery, and artisan accessories; from their honest wares we've been inspired to create our autumn line.  Our makers hail from all over the country but most are based on the east coast, where we have set the story of our collection. 

Experience our launch of sustainably sourced and made in America products this fall.

Sustainability

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Some companies have practiced responsible forestry for years, harvesting and replanting in turn to provide resources for future production, but now there are more offerings made of salvaged wood.  This practice not only cuts down on waste that burdens landfills but it also lessens deforestation.  Old wood has characteristics difficult to reproduce in virgin wood, such as raised grain and general weathering, so for those who love a lot of texture and a sense of age in their pieces, the benefits are obvious.  Knowing you tread a little lighter on the planet feels nice, too.

One furniture designer I met with at market some years past opts to produce her line of rubberwood, a trend out of Asia. Rubber trees too mature for latex production used to be thrown on burn piles.  To my understanding, an English furniture manufacturer a few decades ago began to experiment with this 'waste wood' and discovered that it was not only useful in furniture making, but took both painted and stained finishes beautifully.  This extremely heavy species has a dense, attractive grain, and, once properly kiln-dried, is very consistent, meaning that splitting and warping are not an issue.  The furnishings my new acquaintance designs and manufactures are not only stylish and durable, they follow this direction of taking some responsibility for our planetary health by reducing the rate of deforestation.

-PM