Podcast, Ep. 88: designer Lisa Mende returns

Charlotte, North Carolina designer Lisa Mende on Ballard Designs' How to Decorate podcast

Designer Lisa Mende returns to the show to talk with us about designing our rooms to the fullest of their potential, and truly creating the home of your dreams. She also shares more about the ins and outs of renovation, her blog The Design Connector, and why design dilemmas are really just opportunities for us to be creative.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • An update on her famous pink sofa, and who else in her household may love it even more than her
  • Why functionality is just as important as design, and how Lisa helps her clients use every room to the fullest of their function
  • The crazy story of her studio roof leaking, and how it ended up being a blessing in renovation
  • Yes, you can both make your home feel like a hotel and have a billiard table in the middle of your living room
  • More about her blog, The Design Connector, and how it connects us with the people, products, and places we need to know about in the home design world
  • What she loves about her work with Ballard, and how it inspires us to have a reimagined and fresh new look
  • The brilliant solution to outdoor couch cushions, and a few of Lisa’s favorites in the outdoor Ballard products including Miles Redd’s collection
  • Lisa’s answer to Caroline’s painting question for the ceiling in her soon to be new home
  • How to still use neutral colors in a rich way when you may be not ready to commit to a color
  • Why design dilemmas are not anything to freak out over but instead are actually great ways for us to be creative problem solvers
  • Where one can buy leather or fake leather by the yard
  • Lisa’s rules for using either satin or eggshell finish

Decorating Dilemmas:

Hi Ladies!

I just discovered your podcast and love it! My timing is perfect since my family just moved into a 1920s Tudor-style home with several design dilemmas. I thought I’d pitch this one for your podcast. So here it goes…

One of the four bedrooms was formerly used as a library and is an odd l-shape (Pictures below). To make arranging furniture even more difficult, built-ins were added to the entire room at some point in the 1960s. This particular room is my 4-year-old son’s room.

My husband loves every single built in and just wants to paint and carpet. I, on the other hand, would like to remove some of the built-ins to minimize the display of schlock, and make finding a place for my son’s full-size bed easier. I would like to paint the entire room gray or navy and carpet (the room is over the garage so we need some warmth underfoot).

Please help! Which built-ins would you remove, if any? Remove them all? What color to paint? Eggshell or satin finish? Where do I put the bed? I get a headache just thinking about it all.

Thank you!
Carrie from Buffalo

We think the built-ins are beautiful but agree it’s hard to make it work for a young child. Lisa would toy with leaving some of the bookshelves the same and painting others. The wall on the left would look great with a fun upholstered headboard and bedside library lights. You can break the room up and create two distinct areas by painting the ones behind the bed, and leave the other L-shaped stained as is. Two colors you may want to try out are Chelsea Gray and Revere Pewter. Keep the objects on the bookshelves minimal and thought out. Wallpaper the ceiling, and a custom area rug would help it feel cute and comfortable. Invite your 4-year-old to make some art, and hang them on the bookshelves on either side of the bed. We are excited, to be sure to send us photos! As far as paint finish goes, a satin finish will be your best bet.

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 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.