Last week, I had the pleasure of working in the charming city of Baton Rouge.  I was in town to accessorize the laundry room belonging to the winner of the Wisk Laundry Room Makeover contest and also to watch the filming of the makeover (which will be featured on Designing Spaces in August).

Kristen and Matt Maurel entered the contest back in March by submitting this video.  If you haven’t already seen it, you must watch it!  Their video was so creative and so entertaining, I found myself laughing out loud at parts.  Kristen and Matt found out that they won the Wisk contest mid April, and then I had about two weeks to select the finishes and accessories for their laundry room while coordinating the makeover process with Whirlpool and Star Exhibits.

When I first went out to Baton Rouge for a site visit in April, I made sure to take tons of photos and measurements while I was there, to document their existing laundry space (and I knew I’d want to hold onto the original photos for some interesting Before and After comparisons!)

Their laundry room seemed even smaller in person than it appeared on their video (if you can believe it!)


Outdated vinyl flooring, an old washer/dryer, lack of good storage, and a poor room layout were just a few of the things that stood out to me on the site visit.  I knew that the room had a lot of potential and that it could look SO much better with more color, a little bit of pattern, and updated finishes.

Probably the most awkward part of the room was the window between the office and the laundry room.  This room was originally a sun porch, which explained A LOT.

The Maurels needed a new laundry room and needed it fast.  EJ Interiors to the rescue!

My intern Katie and I arrived in Baton Rouge on Tuesday and coincidentally enough, had our first meal two doors down from the Maurel’s house (I promise, we weren’t stalking!) Bistro Byronz came highly recommended and it did not disappoint.  Their blue cheese chips were a great start to the trip.

Wednesday morning we arrived at the Maurel’s home bright and early to start the decorating process.  The renovation had already been completed based on the finished we had specified a few weeks before, so all that was left was the decor.

The electrician finished installing the light fixture that morning, just in time!

And Katie (my awesome intern) measured the walls and cabinets in order to plan for the accessories.

The Maurel’s dog, Marty, was just a little overwhelmed by all the chaos and visitors, but was a great sport about it all.

After spending almost twelve hours putting the finishing touches on the room, we retired for the day and got ready for the big shoot that was to happen the next morning. Designing Spaces showed up bright and early Thursday morning along with Kristen, a scientist from Wisk.

{The Maurels, Katie, and Kristen}

At this point, Kristen and Matt had not seen their new laundry room yet and the big reveal was going to soon be on camera.

{Kristen and Matt two seconds away from seeing their new laundry room}

{Kristen from Wisk, showing them their new Whirlpool stackable washer/dryer and explaining to them that they must only use HE detergent in their HE washer/dryer}

All in all, it was a success and Kristen and Matt were overjoyed with their new room.

The color palette in their laundry room was taken from the rest of the house and its existing colors so it would all flow.   If you noticed in the previous photo, their kitchen is painted a grayed out blue/green color so this was the jumping off point for our design.  I chose a fabric from Duralee for the flat roman shade that incorporated this color and also a creamy white.  The creamy white color was then used on both the beadboard and built-ins (Benjamin Moore’s OC-13 Soft Chamois).

The flush mount light is Alexa Hampton for Visual Comfort (this fixture was love at first sight for me) and the ceiling is painted Benjamin Moore’s Gray Wisp (1570) to match the shade color.

Since Kristen and Matt told us their laundry personality was “Type A All-The-Way”, I made sure to include organizational pieces such as the numbered jars and woven baskets from Pottery Barn.  I decided to go with a lucite stool to add a bit of excitement and also since it takes up less visual space.  Towels are from West Elm and just happened to match perfectly to the window treatment and laundry basket.  The jute leather rug is also from West Elm and has flecks of blue/green in it which coordinated nicely with everything else.

I decided that yellow would be the accent color in there to add that extra bit of pop among all of the subdued colors.

Kristen and Matt- hope you enjoy your new laundry room half as much as I enjoyed working on it!

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The five finalists for the Wisk Laundry Room Makeover Contest are in and there’s only a week left to vote!

Click HERE to view the videos of the finalists and vote for your favorite!

Winner receives a laundry room makeover designed by Material Girls and a new HE washer/dryer set from Whirlpool!

Will the winner be Constance…




or Kristen?

Just by voting, you are automatically entered into a drawing to receive a year’s supply of Wisk laundry detergent!

Voting ends Monday, April 19th at 12:00 pm EST.  (only one vote per person/email address please!)

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I’ve totally had laundry rooms on the mind ever since we announced the launch of the Wisk Laundry Detergent “Pimp my Laundry Room” makeover contest last Monday. If you missed the announcement, Material Girls is teaming up with Wisk and Whirlpool to give one lucky winner a laundry room makeover.

The laundry room is often the most neglected room in the house unfortunately.  I’ts not usually a room that we make a priority to decorate (especially when we have tons upon tons of other projects going on in the house).  That’s the bad news.  The good news?  A small space like this could easily be turned from drab to fab in no time.

The great thing about tiny spaces is that since you don’t need large quantities of materials for them, you can use more desirable materials (but in smaller doses) for these types of rooms.  For instance, you wouldn’t have to install nearly as much glass tile, wood flooring, marble countertops, and fabulous wallpaper in a laundry room as you would in let’s say, a kitchen.  So why not treat your laundry room with the DLC (the Designing Love and Care) that it so deserves?  Think of your laundry room as just another powder bath- a small, unexpected gem, that can give you that fabulous jewel box effect upon entering.

In the spirit of the video contest, I’ve gathered some of my all-time favorite laundry room images.  These are not your run of the mill rooms- they certainly put my laundry room (excuse me, laundry room/pantry/storage room) to shame!

Since you don’t usually use upholstered furniture in a laundry room, where else are you supposed to bring in pattern?  This is where amazing wallpaper comes in handy!

You are one lucky gal/guy if your laundry room has this much natural light (and a nice view while you are folding clothes doesn’t hurt either!)

Here’s another great example of wallpaper.  This one brings the outdoors in- no need for a window!  (they have even gone so far as to paint the ceiling light blue for a “sky effect’) Can I just say how much I love the lantern in here and the chicken wire on the cabinet doors?

Storage is key in a laundry room.  Using things like galvanized tubs, glass apothecary jars, tin cans, hooks, floating shelves, and labeled laundry hampers can really help one get (and hopefully stay) organized.

Don’t be afraid to go crazy with your backsplash!  Break out that subway tile, colorful glass blend mosaics, marble slab, natural stone (or whatever suits your fancy really!) The backsplash is the one place that you can really make a statement and you will need so little of the material for it, that you can go for that more desirable option without breaking the bank.

This clean-lined laundry room is literally a dream come true.  How do these people stay so organized and tidy in one of the most used rooms in the house?  I want to know their secret!  One guess- it could be those incredibly large green built-ins storing all of their stuff!

Getting new hardware for cabinets (along with painting your cabinets) is a great way to update the look of your laundry room.   I love how the owner of the laundry room below added adorable green knobs to their white cabinets- very unexpected!  Anthropologie perhaps?

Smoky grays and silvery metallics paired with bright whites is such a pretty look (just about anywhere); however, to keep the laundry room from looking too stark, the homeowner added wood accents through hangers and hampers to warm up the space.

In this room, the homeowner decided to make the focal point, the tile flooring.

What I would do to fit a whole desk area in my laundry room!  (and a chair!) Can you imagine?   I forget that I am looking into a laundry room when I see this photo!  The stained cabinets and wood flooring help this room feel so much cozier and breaks away from the typical utilitarian look that so many laundry rooms have.

And how could I not show you Jenny from Uptown Country Home’s laundry room nook?  I love the white fabric skirt she made to hide her washer/dryer and I have to say that her pink/turquoise color scheme isn’t too shabby either.  This laundry room would be perfect for our Marie Antoinette!

A great way to add texture (and privacy) to a laundry room is with a woven shade.  If you are not crazy about a natural shade, get a roman shade made out of your favorite printed fabric.

If your laundry room is feeling a bit dreary and drab, a bright color will definitely help to liven up your situation!

If you are like me (or live in NY), and need to take advantage of every nook and cranny in your home, why not make a laundry area multi-purpose?  This countertop poses as both a wet bar and a laundry room.  I’d come over and fold clothes for this person anytime, in exchange for a cocktail (or two)!

This laundry room could easily be mistaken for a kitchen.  Just look at all that counter space!  The one thing I would have done differently in here is added a few more accessories and/or pops of color.  I just finished reading Inspired Interiors last night and Suzanne did say that “when you do something very simple, like an all-white room, you have to have enough detail so it looks finished.”I couldn’t agree more.  For some reason this laundry room still looks a bit unfinished.

Don’t even get me started on my love for black and white checkerboard flooring.  It would look dynamite in a laundry room!  Also, consider adding a ceiling (or wall hung) light fixture for added sparkle in the room.  We just re-did my mom’s laundry room and we finally got rid of her awful fluorescent lighting in there and added a pretty bell jar lantern…looks SO much better!

See how much potential a laundry room can have?  Have I convinced you to want to re-vamp this tiny space?  We know that sometimes small spaces can be the most intimidating to get started on…so let us do the work for you!  Enter the Wisk contest by submitting a video stating why you deserve a laundry room makeover (and also which laundry personality fits you best).  We just may be at your doorstep ready to put the above tips and tricks to life and give your laundry room the makeover it deserves!

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Today is the first official day of the Wisk Laundry Detergent “Pimp My Laundry Room” video contest!  We are SO excited to announce that Material Girls is teaming up with Whirlpool’s DreamLaundry Solutions team and Wisk Laundry Detergent to help bring one lucky winner a laundry room makeover.

All you have to do is submit a video of your makeover plea between March 1 and March 29, 2010 and you could be the recipient of a laundry room makeover as well as a new Whirlpool High Efficiency (HE) washer and dryer set, a year’s supply of Wisk HE laundry detergent, and (drumroll please)…you’ll also be featured in a makeover segment on Designing Spaces, which will air this summer!

So how are we going to take your laundry room from drab to fab?  Well, let’s start here.

I’ve spent some time designing three distinct laundry room schemes that reflect three different laundry room personalities.  Which one are you?

1) Type A All The Way-

2) Constantly Connected-

3) Livin’ Large Lounge-

Decisions decisions!

Here’s a lil explanation to help you figure out what laundry personality you are-

  • Type A All The Way- When you think High Efficiency, it’s not just HE washers and detergents that come to mind. High Efficiency for you means uber (but still stylish) organization.  From drying racks to cabinets galore, this concept will ensure your laundry room keeps everything, including your sanity, in check.
  • Constantly Connected- Admit it – you love to update your Facebook status. And Tweet. And catch your favorite shows on-the-go.  Technology is a part of your life and you don’t have to check it at the laundry room door.  This concept is all about keeping you connected – from the flat screen TV to the charger station.
  • Livin’ Large Lounge- You like to have a good time while you get things done and doing your laundry is no exception.  So, go ahead and have fun – blast some tunes while you load and sit back as you fold.  This laundry room is sure to set your pulse – and your spin cycle — racing.

So once your laundry personality is in check, all you have to do is enter!

To enter, submit a creative video of your makeover plea between March 1 and March 29, 2010 at Wisk’s website.  In your video, please tell us which of my chosen laundry room looks (above) fit your laundry personality and why you deserve a laundry room makeover.  (videos should be under three minutes and not exceed 100MB- see official rules here).

A panel of judges (Wisk scientists, myself, members of the Whirlpool DreamLaundry Solutions team, and the Designing Spaces cast) will choose the finalists between April 12 and April 19.  Then the grand prize winner will be chosen by popular vote!  (all voters will be entered into a drawing to win a year’s supply of Wisk HE laundry detergent.)

The contest is all about inspiring laundry room owners to re-think their laundry room routine and also educating consumers about High Efficiency washing machines and how you must only use HE Detergent for your HE machine.  (You can visit Wisk’s Laundry Line blog for more tips from me on how to update your laundry room.)

I’m eagerly awaiting your videos! Good luck!

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I just got back from seeing Avatar (I’m a little behind on my movies as you can tell!) and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.  It’s nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this year and it should be really interesting to see if James Cameron takes home the statue for this one!

{Neytiri- whom my boyfriend had a crush on throughout the entire movie- probably because she was only wearing a few necklaces and a small piece of cloth}

The Oscars is like my Superbowl.  I prepare a big thing of queso, drink a cold Bud Light and get ready to scream my head off when my favorite picture wins.  I try not to miss a second of it- from the initial red carpet segment to the closing credits.

How does this relate to interior design you might ask?  Well, there is a little private room at the Kodak Theater, where the Academy Awards are held, that goes by the name of the Greenroom.  Each year, this legendary room is designed by an interior designer chosen by magazine great, Architectural Digest.  This year, it was created by Roger Thomas and has a 1930′s Old Hollywood feel to it.  It was designed around shades of black and white, with touches of platinum, blonde, and silver added in for a glitzy effect.  Roche Bobois, Amadi Carpets, Sunbrella, and Restoration Hardware are just a few of the vendors whose pieces are shown in the room.

At 1,029 square feet, this hidden gem is where the Oscar hosts and nominees reside during the awards ceremony.  Unfortunately, only people like Meryl Streep and George Clooney will be allowed back  here, but we do have an all-access pass for you…to see the rendering!

Isn’t it lovely?  These are always so much fun to get a peek at!  I love the layering of flooring, crisp white furniture, mirrored walls, and colorful screens.

Only a week left until we find out the official winners of the 2010 Oscars! I cannot wait.  Who is your vote for Best Picture this year?

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I just saw I Love You Man and it was one of the funniest movies I’ve seen in a while! I have loved Rashida Jones ever since she was on The Office.

But how could you not love her? She is so freakin adorable! And we think just the same about her NYC studio apartment that was featured in Domino, in Feb ’08.

Her apartment is only 400 sq ft but this little lady managed to transform it to fit all of her needs! One large room holds a dining area, living area, and bedroom! The article gives great tips on how to save space and organize effectively.

Her studio makeover included these things:

1) Efficient floor plan 2) Hidden Storage 3) Focused color scheme

Her color scheme included soothing light blue, black and white, with splashes of bold magenta!

Her symmetrical arrangement is perfect- two bookshelves flank a dainty white sofa.

I love her black Panton chairs- incredibly chic!

She managed to combine a bunch of different styles in her apartment and make it all look so seamlessly put together.

Fast forward a year later and her home is featured in Glamour. No, not that home…the other home! This one is on the west coast, in Los Angeles, and let me just tell you this home is just as fabulous as the last one we showed you!

Her LA home was designed by the talented Katie Fine and her celeb stylist friend, Estee Stanley. It looks simply stunning, I must say! This bright and colorful home seems to fit Rashida’s charming personality to a tee.

A lot of the furnishings came from Mecox and LA’s Dan Marty Design.

This living space looks so comfortable and provides a great place for guests to go and mingle (Rashida likes to entertain a lot). Walls are Elephant’s Breath by Farrow and Ball.

So now that we’ve seen her initial two houses, all that’s left to do is wait for her to move again! We need our next installment of Rashida home eye candy. She has the east coast down, and now the west, but how about Texas, Rashida? It’s a nice and central locale!

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Star-Studded Closets

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Mar 25, 2009 | 7 Comments | Category: Celebs, Small Spaces

We constantly see celebs looking flawless and dressed to the nines on the red carpet. But do you ever wonder where all that magic first began? Well, it starts in a “little” place I like to call, a celeb’s closet.

Whose is secretly a pig sty? (think Jessica Simpson on Newlyweds) Which celeb has their jeans carefully categorized according to light, medium, and dark blues?

Well, we wish we could show you the secretly messy celeb closets….but that aint gonna happen in this lifetime! As long as there are magazines and staged photo shoots, we’ll only get to see those perfectly organized closets (the ones that we yearn for)

Most of these closet photo shoots consist of stars prancing around their closet, wearing their Sunday best, carefully posing, wait, I mean pondering, which outfit they will be sporting on their next trip to the tanning bed.

Kim, you are all dressed up for us- you shouldn’t have!

Singer Jewel’s closet is nice and simple. Her closet looks like maybe something she maintains without an assistant’s help. But you never know, this picture probably cut off half the closet!

A boa? Rollerskates? What’s going on here in pop sensation Miley’s dressing room? Didn’t her mom teach her not to skate in the house/closet?

How could you expect anything less from miss Paris Hilton? I don’t think an inch of closet space is left!

The closet everyone covets- Rachel Zoe’s!

Decisions, decisions…Jamie Lynn Sigler wonders what to wear on her date with Entourage’s “Turtle”!

I don’t think she will have a problem finding the right shoes!

I bet baby Harlow’s closet is just as big as her fashionista mom’s!

Jessica trying on shoes in her closet (featured in In Style). I don’t think she has enough hats?!

Kimora’s closet is crammed with things! At least her closet gives off a homey vibe with a leopard print carpet, Louis side “table”, and antique chaise.

I like how Nikki’s closet within a closet has glass doors so you can just shove everything in and close it on up! The dark wood floors are a nice touch also.

Mariah Carey’s home was on MTV Cribs a while back and she has her own room- just for shoes! She owns more than 1,000 pairs- just a leetle excessive I think! You’d have to wear about three different pairs each day to wear all of them in a year! Who has the time!

And America’s cutie patootie, Eva Longoria. We’ll let her have as many shoes as she wants, she’s just so adorable.

I’m not sure why Paula keeps buying more clothes because she ends up on the worst dressed list in Us Weekly at least once a week. She needs Tim Gunn to come over and do some spring cleaning in that closet!

Hope you enjoyed the celeb closet tour! It definitely made me want to re-organize my whole closet now- maybe I’ll add a “shoe room”…or better yet, a shoe corner!! Mariah would be so proud!

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