A Closer Look At My Favorite Room I’ve Ever Designed

First of all, thank you so much to each of you who read yesterday’s post and left such supportive comments. I was angry, as you could tell. I was shocked beyond belief that someone would have the nerve to do that.

But now I’m over it. I’m moving on.

And in a way, I’m a little thankful that it brought my absolute favorite room that I’ve ever designed back into the spotlight. So I thought I’d share a little bit about it with you.

First, did any of you hear the interview over at The Skirted Roundtable that the ladies did with designer Grant K. Gibson? He’s a young designer, named by Domino magazine as one of the “10 Designers to Watch.” I remember listening to him as he told about his very first designer showhouse experience, where his budget was almost nonexistent, and he got in there and refinished the floors himself. It’s a great interview, and I could totally relate.

This room was my first…and only…designer showhouse that I’ve ever done.  I was invited back to the next one, but I was too busy at the time to take time out of my schedule for it.

It was such a rewarding experience for me, but it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. You see, some of the other designers involved in the house were very experienced, licensed, card-carrying members of ASID, who spend their days creating beautiful rooms on huge budgets for people with very discriminating taste.

And then there’s me.

I was still new in the business…and still FELT very new and very insecure. I’m not formally trained in design. I’m not licensed. In fact, at the time, according to Texas law, the most I could call myself was an “interior decorator”. I had a tiny budget to work with, and knew that I would have to put my d.i.y. skills to the test to save money.  And I would also have to recruit some free help–my mom!!

Thrift store chair that I painted and reupholstered.

While the other designers were having the items in their rooms made for them, I took a vastly different approach.  Almost everything in my room was hand-made by either me or my mom–the bedding, the diamond-tufted headboard and seat backs, cushions, pillows, side tables (which were made from pieces of wood attached to gumball machine stands)…virtually EVERYTHING.  While the other designers had decorative painters come in and paint and do their decorative finishes on the walls, my mom and I did my room.

Art caddy made from wood plates and wood candlesticks from
Hobby Lobby, and a plastic lazy susan from Target.

It was nerve-racking.  It was such hard work.  But boy, was it worth it!!!

Chloe’s mom used this dresser when she was growing up  I had a
decorative painter give it some special details.

This experience did so much for my self-confidence.  I went into it feeling insecure and unsure of myself, but came out of it knowing that even though I was a mere “interior decorator”, I could run with the big dogs.

You wouldn’t believe how many visitors to the house came up to me and said, “Oh, your room is definitely my favorite!”  In fact, at the end, even the owners of the house came to me and said, “Kristi, you know your room was the favorite, right?”  Wow.  Talk about a confidence booster!!!  After being told by one of the licensed interior designers that I’d need to go back to school and become licensed in order to make it in the business, I showed them what hogwash that was!!!  I felt vindicated.

Gumball machine that I turned into a fish bowl.
The little stools are just MDF boxes covered with foam, batting, and fabric.

Bulletin boards featured Chloe’s artwork.
I absolutely loved the fabrics in this room.  They were feminine without being too childish.
I left the bathroom very simple, with just a few special touches.
The painted touches on the walls were done by the same decorative
painter that did the dresser.
The shower curtain brought the fabrics and colors of the room
into the bathroom.  It was tall..almost to the ceiling.

By the way, the law in Texas is now different.  I can now call myself an interior designer.  But you know what?

No matter what happens with the law…

No matter what the despicable ASID does with their deep pockets and their lies and deceit to limit competition in the industry…

No matter how petty some licensed interior designers can get, like when I was voted by the people of my city as the #2 interior designer in Waco, and one of them complained that I’m not a “real” interior designer, so they took away my honor and gave it to someone else…

No matter what pettiness and nonsense comes my way, I know what I am.  I’m a darn good INTERIOR DESIGNER who can give any licensed designer a run for their money.

Thank you for letting me relive this amazing experience!  Maybe one day I’ll have the energy to do another showhouse.  Chances are, I’ll need tons of energy, because I certainly won’t have a huge budget!!  And really, buying ready-made stuff and having other people doing the work just isn’t my style anyway, even if I had the money for it.  I’ve learned a lot about myself over the last couple of years, and I’ve learned that it really is all of the thrifted secondhand items given new life, and the d.i.y. projects that truly make a room a Kristi Linauer room.  I wouldn’t be happy with anything else!

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Comments

  1. g.m.smith says

    Thanks for sharing that background info! While I was reading it, the song "I am woman, hear me roar!" kept running through my brain. You go girl! I totally agree – the things you repurpose, redo, and modernize are TONS more beautiful and interesting than anything you can walk in a store and buy. And guess what – all that effort and creativity on your part has made YOU more beautiful and interesting, inside and out. That's character, baby! Love your blog, follow it every day. We've never met, but I feel like I know you. Love your writings, projects and DIY instructions for those of us who are not gifted with your talents. Have a blessed day!

  2. SG says

    I toured this home with one of the builders wives. We LOVED this room. I had no idea who you were, but I loved Chloe's room it's elements stuck with me when I was thinking about my own daughters rooms. I can't say that about any other rooms in that house..quite frankly I don't even remember much else about the house except the back patio, and the crazy chicken coop room,,,which I don't remember in a great way. Yes Ms Kristi you can for sure run with, and maybe even OVER the big dogs! :)

  3. Laurie says

    I love your room, and you do crazy amazing stuff….And you can do it yourself. You go!

    Personally I am more impressed if you can manage it all (from the ground up) than having to rely on outside help. Thanks for re-sharing this room. I know I have seen it around, but did not realize it was yours (shame on me).

    Keep a smile on today!

  4. Janeal @ decorative deals says

    I love the room (it's absolutely gorgeous) and I love your attitude! You've got some fabulous talent and that's what makes you an interior designer, not some little piece of paper. Thanks for sharing your lovely inspirations with us.

  5. Sally@DivineDistractions says

    No guts…no glory, girlfriend! You did an amazing job on CHloe's room (and others as well!). It really is all about the confidence with which you approach a project. What you THINK you can do, you CAN DO!
    We need to meet in Hillsboro for lunch one day!!

  6. Polly @ Make Mine Beautiful says

    I've had this room in my inspiration files for a long time. If I remember correctly, I found it on HGTV's Rate My Space page. I HAD NO IDEA IT WAS YOURS!!

    I LOVE this room, and even used it for inspiration for a room I did for a family member.

    I am one of 'those' designers…….you know, the ones that are licensed that so many people detest. Having said that, I'll tell you that the best designer I've ever personally worked with (who has become my dearest friend over the years) was an unlicensed, self trained, wife of a contractor. Hands down, I learned more from her over the years than I ever learned in school.
    In fact, if I had known her during school, I would've quit and just interned under her.

    I don't begrudge anyone with natural talent. If it weren't for my own natural talent, I never would've pursued it in school at all. I say if you can talk the talk and walk the walk, and pull it off just like the rest of us, then you go for it – and don't worry about what anyone else says. One thing I've learned in years of doing this is that people tend to put others down in an effort to make themselves look better. I don't play that game.

    The only thing that does irk me are those who think because they made over their bedroom by theirself, they are all of a sudden a designer. There's plenty of those out there too. I say it's just a lack of understanding the concept of being an actual designer, or even a decorator.

    To wrap this up, I love your work and I would stand in support of you any day of the week.

  7. Christine Kohut says

    I am in the same boat as you. I have a business license to do what I do as a decorator, but I'm not a degree holding, interior design licensed person. I have always wanted to be an interior designer ever since high school, but ended up a college drop out and a wife and mother instead, so I have had an extra insecurity about my skills, not only as a designer, but just a person without a college degree at all! But as time went on and people kept saying good things, and business kept coming solely from word of mouth, I am just starting to feel like it's time to get out of my own way. And the blog/twitter/FB world has exposed me to others who are like me, do a good job, work really hard and have VERY happy customers. We didn't learn in a class room, but we work much harder to teach ourselves what we don't know and it's only because we WANT to know it, right?
    Now I wish I had gone to school for accounting because THAT part of this job stinks big time.
    I am proud of you. You represent me.

  8. Sheri says

    Hi..Could you please give directions on how to make that art caddy with the lazy susan and candlesticks and wooden plates. I know it is pretty self explanatory..just give me a few tips if you dont mind such as what type glue did you use? Thanks! Where did you get those glass containers? Love the project..want to do today!!

  9. Deb @ RoomscapesDecor.com says

    I'm with you insofar as enjoying the entire process – from painting to sewing to building – rather than just shopping for someone. I get a huge sense of accomplishment from doing it all myself, and generally save my clients a bundle in the process. I recently read an article in which several interior designers and decorators expounded on the difference between the two titles and was quite pleasantly surprised to find that many of them who are actually licensed "designers" prefer to call themselves "decorators." I wish I could recall now where I read it, but alas I have the old-timers syndrome. ;)

  10. marie grabo says

    Hi Kristi,
    Just found your blog! I think we are kindred spirits. I too share your passion, have a "decorating" business and blog and can appreciate how you feel about insecurity over not having that official design degree.Talent is talent and no degree can buy provide that or the creativity. I absolutely love your work, the girls room is just fabulous,…(I love the gumball fish bowl)… my favorite style to decorate. Good luck to your design future. Here's to us!

  11. Green Gracie Home says

    Kristi, it doesn't matter what your title or training. You are hands down one of the most inspirational designers/decorators/bloggers out there. Florida requires me to be a decorator and it is so true of the crazy snobbery out there. I was at a baby shower where a "designer" was lamenting how bad the economy, her business, etc. was. My naive friend said, "oh, talk to Bev, she is so busy". It was vindicating. Go get 'em.

  12. Gilda says

    Kristi, they say it's a compliment when someone copies your design, BUT not in this way. Your post is GREAT!!!!

    Tambra a few years ago had this same problem on RMS, someone posted her dining room, she was also shocked. You wonder why some people think they can get away with this? Way to GO!!

    This room is awesome!!!!

  13. Hugh & Hollie Carson says

    I would love to know how you hung the fabric from the ceiling and how much fabric you used (I'm assuming they were 9 ft ceilings). Thanks!

  14. Hugh & Hollie Carson says

    I would love to know how you hung the fabric from the ceiling and how much fabric you used (I'm assuming they were 9 ft ceilings). Thanks!

  15. Kristi @ Addicted 2 Decorating says

    The ceiling actually had a little dome, and I attached the panels inside the dome at the very bottom with velcro–half sewn to the top of the panels, the other half glued AND stapled to the bottom edge of the dome.

    I've had several people ask me how to replicate this since most people don't have a nifty little dome to work with in their room.

    I think the easiest way to do it would be to cut out the round shape out of 3/4" MDF and attach it to the ceiling with wall mollies or screwed into the ceiling joists (it needs to be VERY secure). Then paint it the ceiling color so it disappears. Then around the EDGE of the MDF piece, attach the velcro with glue and staples. Then the panels can attach to the edge of the MDF, basically wrapping around it.

    I'm not sure how much fabric I used, but I'm pretty sure I used one-and-a-half or two widths of fabric per panel, and then sewed pleats in them at the top so they would have a gathered and full look, while still laying flat so that the velcro could be sewn across the top edge.

    For nine-foot ceilings, I think it would take a minimum of ten yards of each fabric for one-and-a-half widths of fabric per panel. Thirteen yards per fabric for two width panels.

  16. Stephanie says

    Well, you know what they say? "actions speak louder than words" and your actions in this room spoke volumes that stupid ASID word people think make them a designer don't mean squat! Love the room.

  17. Hugh & Hollie Carson says

    I would love to know how you hung the fabric from the ceiling and how much fabric you used (I'm assuming they were 9 ft ceilings). Thanks!

  18. Hugh & Hollie Carson says

    I would love to know how you hung the fabric from the ceiling and how much fabric you used (I'm assuming they were 9 ft ceilings). Thanks!

  19. marie grabo says

    Hi Kristi,
    Just found your blog! I think we are kindred spirits. I too share your passion, have a "decorating" business and blog and can appreciate how you feel about insecurity over not having that official design degree.Talent is talent and no degree can buy provide that or the creativity. I absolutely love your work, the girls room is just fabulous,…(I love the gumball fish bowl)… my favorite style to decorate. Good luck to your design future. Here's to us!

  20. Janeal @ decorative deals says

    I love the room (it's absolutely gorgeous) and I love your attitude! You've got some fabulous talent and that's what makes you an interior designer, not some little piece of paper. Thanks for sharing your lovely inspirations with us.

  21. JaNae Lee says

    So, You are absolutely darling!!  Here's an idea…to keep under your hat… I am re-decorating my 5 year old's room in "Sweet Shoppe".  I have had so much fun making faux cakes, brownies, bowls of ice cream, milk shakes, lemonade pitcher and cup (with ice and floating lemons, OF Course!).  We even made popcorn buckets and cotton candy.  I have NEVER had so much fun with color and imagination.  Glass jars filled with candy, swags of candy necklaces (restrung) and Chinese lanterns that look like floating bubble gums.  Someday, you'll find the PERFECT room and I hope you think of this and are able to use it.  Have fun, and good luck!  Keep up the good work!
    -JaNae Lee
    [email protected]

  22. Maria says

    Kristi, I actually went to school for ID because our our state does not recognize decorators. I have meet quite a few very talented people that are much better than some of the ID that I do know. I work in the commercial world and linger in the Fire world also. I long to work and do homes, but the pay to work with a designer is just not enough to live. I have expirimented on my own and have quite mastered airbrishing, painting, refinishing, amoung other things. I do NOT beleive that school makes you a designer, it just teaches you the fundementals and what you do afterwards is you.

    I think you are a DESIGNER and anyone who says otherwise can kiss it!LOL Live for what makes you happy!!!

    Maria

  23. MaryLou says

    Awesome room! What are the dimensions of the room? (and bathroom) I would love to convert a guest bedroom into something similar. I am thinking my room is much to small. The length and height of the wall with the built ins with the desk in the middle is what I’m curious to know. I have never held a paint brush or had an eye for decorating, so I hope you don’t mind if I use your expertise in my home. I think you are awesome. Wish I could just get you to come do it for me.
    MaryLou

  24. says

    This bedroom/bathroom is stunning! Some people are born with talent and a destiny while some try to force it by going to school and learning what other people did and emulating it. Not saying every licensed interior designer is like this but I’d bet my last dollar the ones complaining are. Otherwise, why would they be so threatened? Other than you’re major competition for them and it rattles their core knowing they can’t measure up.

    Creative people have been the most petty, insecure, nasty people I’ve known which is sad because I am creative. I am not the beginning and end opinion on anyone’s style or vision nor could I ever accept that anyone is. But there’s a lot of snort and slobber behind ideas like this from insecure people.

    One of my favorite quotations is “what other people think of me is none of my business”. You are gifted and motivated and that scares some of your colleagues. Let them be scared. Smile and plug along.

  25. Lalaine Campos says

    I have a great admiration on your DIY designs. I may not be in the field of interior designing but my heart is always burning with the desire to create something unusual. Nothing beats the happiness of doing something you really love. Keep it up!!!

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