Podcast, Ep. 59: designer Libby Langdon

Designer and TV host Libby Langdon joins the Ballard Designs podcast to talk makeover television, designing projects, and how important lighting is

Chances are you have seen our guest Libby Langdon’s work on HGTV and The Today Show and in all of your favorite magazines — House Beautiful, Traditional Homes, and Better Homes and Gardens. We talk with Libby about her trifecta of combining product design, client work, and media and injecting them all into everything she does. She also spills behind the scenes secrets of makeover TV shows, how she learned to install a house in one day, and why she believes that the way you feel about your home reflects every aspect of your life.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Libby’s background of growing up in High Point, North Carolina, the furniture mecca of the world. Her parents were both in the furniture and textile industry, so Libby learned design from all angles at a young age
  • Libby’s journey from modeling and fashion to hosting FOX Makeover TV show, Design Invasion
  • The common threads Libby noticed in many homes as a universal struggle including awkward furniture layout and bad lighting
  • The value of learning to install a house in one day, and how to design for the look that the homeowner desires.
  • Libby’s hilarious behind the scenes moments of Design Invasion where she surprised unsuspecting people early in the morning to completely transform their house in one day
  • Libby’s passion for skills cooking and event planning, and how she balances that with her busy acting and interior design careers
  • The common concern of clients that they will grow tire of a certain color, and how Libby walks them through picking colors that will stand the test of time
  • How a painting of a goldfish inspired an entire one-day home makeover
  • Her Rumson, NJ project that was featured in House Beautiful
  • Some of Libby’s favorite moments from her work on makeover television shows
  • The blending of exterior and interior design, and how we can mix and match indoor and outdoor products in design
  • Libby’s love of a Trellis print
  • Her hands-on approach to design and creation, rather than white labeling and putting her name on products already created
  • What Libby is designing now in her partnership with Kas Rugs, and when we can expect it to be ready on the market
  • The ways that Libby introduces her clients to the world of lighting and lamps, and some practical tips to get our lighting on point using dimmers, appropriate wattage and remote controls
  • Decorating for small spaces, and why leaving space white may not be the best answer
  • The benefits of living with less, and why smaller spaces have many luxurious benefits. We can also learn more with her new book, Small Space Solutions

Decorating Dilemmas

Hi ladies!

I recently discovered your podcast and have really enjoyed listening. : )

I have a decorating dilemma I would love your help with. We recently moved to a new house and we’re slowly working to make it feel like home. My dilemma is that I have two tall windows in my living room and then a 3rd on a different wall that is much smaller and further down the wall. Because of the soffit (is that the right word?) near the 3rd window I am unable to hang another curtain at the full ceiling height and therefore can’t figure out what to do with the window as far as a treatment. Do I hang the same curtain that is on the larger/taller windows, but lower, to accommodate the soffit? Part of me thinks that would look odd. Do I not hang a curtain there at all?

Thanks for your help, and again, I’ve really enjoyed the podcasts! Keep up the good work. : )

Jacy

Libby recommends hanging a soft fabric Roman shade all the way up on the window that is highest. When the shade is pulled up, it will be living on the wall space and visually make the window seem as though it goes all the way up. If you can put a chair and small table there, it will take the sting out of the fact that the windows start so high up off the floor. You could use the same fabric as other window treatments, but don’t have to. It is okay to put drapes on the outsides of the windows, as this will assure all the natural lighting makes its way into your room.

…………………..

Hi Ladies,

My husband and I plan to purchase the house pictured below so none of this furniture is mine or staying (except the grey built-ins). This is the great room and it has (beautiful) built-ins on one side and a fireplace on the perpendicular wall. How do you suggest I layout furniture? We will do most of our TV watching in here so I would like at least a sofa or comfy chairs to face the tv but I also don’t want to block off the fireplace. I anticipate buying new furniture for this space and recovering the lovely (read sarcastic) duck upholstered chairs. (They were left in a cabin we purchased furnished and I always hated them but they are comfy so I think I can make them into something wonderful.) The room is big – 19 ft wide from the bookshelf wall to the table and 22 ft from the stair wall to the fireplace.

If I were to do two sofas – should they be the same? And a solid, perhaps neutral color and then pattern on the chairs or vice-versa? I hate boring. And I have four kids so the fabric needs to be a bit on the indestructible side.  And a rug? What size??

Also – ideas on colors? I love color but this house is totally neutral (and beautiful but not ‘me’). I fear it will become a slippery slope if I start painting or changing too much because then the trim will look really creamy compared to my cleaner colors and desire for a white kitchen. Do white and cream play nice?

I know, there is a lot here I am asking about and really, I just need to hire a professional but I don’t even know where to start to find the ‘right’ one or how the price their services.

Thank you.

Lost but trying,

Laura

Libby recommends facing the sofa towards the television, and adding two great swivel chairs in front of the fireplace, and two other chairs on either side of the sofas. You want to think in terms of a comfortable, yet well proportioned sofa.

For color, tan with pops of orange and navy, and a neutral sofa is a great way to go while the kids are young. We like the console you have going on, and maybe think about adding an ottoman, closed storage and making sure the front legs of the furniture at least is on the rug. If you can’t find an area rug for that size, you can get it cut and bound.

Show Notes

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.

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  1. Reply

    Nancy

    September 18, 2018

    Hi How to Decorate Ladies!
    Was listening to your podcast with Libby this morning you were talking about the best way to store paint for inevitable future touch-ups. The best product I have found is called “Paint Saint”. It’s a little canister with an attached paintbrush on the lid. Genius! They sell for about $15 on Amazon.

    • Reply

      Heather Daly

      October 2, 2018

      Hi Nancy!
      Thanks for the great tip!

      ~Heather

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