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Inviting people into your home is terrifying if you're not a domestic wizardess who can MacGuyver up a Kinfolk-worthy dinner party. Welcoming a tiny new human into a space, on the other hand, is one of those Ultimate Adult Tests—one that I recently checked off my personal Life To-Do List.
This milestone sparked a serious home decor life crisis (they call this "nesting"), and I was in a transition period between my old Natural History museum-meets-midcentury modern aesthetic (true story, I once had a taxidermied raccoon on display) and the clean, California bohemian home that I wanted to create. However, enlisting the help of an outsider would a) require some serious Swiffering and b) deny my DIY interior design aficionado the chance to fall into the Pinterest black hole. Then I realized, aren't these the precise reasons to hire a pro?
Since prepping for a little one and working full-time left my life plate quite full, I jumped at the chance to try Laurel & Wolf, an LA-based online interior design service that helps clients upgrade their pads according to their budget and style. It's essentially an interior designer and personal shopping service rolled into one. I dig the idea of giving my home a makeover without having to leaving the house, because even fashion editors aren't always up for marathon shopping trips.
The process begins with L&W's Style Quiz, which determines whether your style is contemporary eclectic, traditional, modern, and traditional. Then I'm asked what I want redone (the living room), why I'm due for an upgrade, who else lives here (husband, cat, and dog), and more key details.
All of this leads into the Design Brief phase, where I upload photos of my existing space (ugh, cleaning time), submit my room's measurements and floor plan (down to the widths of the front doors and windows), and share links to Pinterest boards with my personal decor inspiration, which is pretty much all of the greenery-filled goodness from Jungalow blogger Justina Blakeney's latest tome, The New Bohemians.
The fun doesn't stop there: next, all of my design deets get uploaded to a sort of virtual vault, where the L&W's network of freelance interior designers bid on my project. I then received several collaged style boards (called First Look boards) from about six interior designers that are similar variations of my boho-modern theme. A few are fairly cookie-cutter—I hated the chevron rug in one, another had waaay too many tribal prints—but one that really stood out was by Chicago-based designer Maria DeLucia, who masterfully Photoshopped my couch and dining table into her digital design vision. Fancy!
I formally selected DeLucia and off we went into the one-on-one process. Since I'm on a budget (mo' money, mo' diapers), I note that I prefer to keep most of my major furniture pieces but that I'm open to new ideas, particularly anything that will help hide my unsightly wall-attached heater.
After a few rounds of chatting about what I love and hate about my space, DeLucia whipped up a final style board, an entire shopping list, and a complete floor plan with setup instructions. As a flea market scavenger who lives for the thrill of the deal (most of my furniture's from the PCC Flea, Craigslist, and various antique shops), the whole process was incredibly efficient, streamlined, and almost a little too easy.
Although there's an option to buy everything on the shopping list, I opted for just a few pieces, which were conveniently shipped right to my doorstep. All in all, I spent just under $500 for the entire upgrade. (Full disclosure: L&W covered the price of their premium package; I purchased my own products.)
Need a room refresh? Pricing for home design services are $299 for the classic package or $499 for the premium package (which offers L&W's "most expert designers").