I love small businesses. I mean, I know I am one, so that makes sense, but when a professional photographer and a letterpress owner /graphic designer said they needed a bossy basic for a new meeting space, I jumped at it.
They each have their own offices, but they decided to go in on a nice room in a central location where they could meet with clients. This is the room before. Not huge.
You can see from the view what an adorable neighborhood lies outside. It’s really a brilliant spot for a meeting room. In the upper left picture, you can see a little anteroom. We had to deal with that, too.
The look we wanted: sophisticated but not stuffy. Expensive (professional photographers and personalized stationery aren’t cheap; the room had to convey that). Modern but not scary. Stylish. Minimal. The last one was no problem, since space and budget were limited.
We set the priorities as:
4. Meeting table & chairs
5. Sideboard (for anteroom)
I suggested replacing the icky carpeting with a super dark brown hardwood floor. We lucked out: there was a lovely, weathered old floor underneath that revolting wall-to-wall, which we (the royal “we;” the clients did the work themselves) stained.
Paint colors were the next order of business. You know I’ve been gray-obsessed as of late, but even so, I thought a rich gray was the right move for this space. Fresh but sophisticated, soothing, not overwhelming. Allows clients to focus. Benjamin Moore’s AC-26 Ozark Shadows was the big winner, with OC-17 White Dove trim.
All I did was make recommendations, and they implemented them. That’s the beauty of a bossy basic; it’s a lot of bang for the buck if you’re willing to buy things on your own.
Here are the afters. The anteroom:
The client thought to use Ikea cable hanging systems on the wall That makes it easy for the designer to display sample invitations and stationery. There will be some kind of coffee thing on that white piece, which is Italian.
And the meeting room:
I love it! After we hit on dark brown for the floors, gray walls and an apple green rug popped into my head. A key with gray is to balance it with warm tones so it doesn’t get too cold. Thus the Natural Woven Roman Shades from Smith + Noble.
You’ll recognize the table and chairs, of course: the Saarinen Tulip table and Eames aluminum management chairs. (Knockoffs, I believe, but I have mixed feelings about those, so I didn’t pry.)
The George Kovacs aluminum pendant light and was extremely well priced – around $200.
The final touch – which the clients thought of themselves – was to have the door etched in a pattern similar to the Madeline Weinrib Brooke rug. The light through this door makes such a beautiful pattern on the floor of the anteroom that I suggested replacing the animal print rug with something solid (or with an overall texture but not a large pattern). The shadow will become the pattern.
Best wishes, guys! I don’t know how anyone could NOT hire you once they’ve seen your gorgeous meeting space. Oh yes, and your work, too :)
Annie Elliott – aka bossy color – is an interior decorator and design blogger in Washington, D.C. She’s also the creator of the “bossy basic,” a one-time service that jump-starts the interior design process in your home.