Dear Decorator With Christen Joy Homes: How To Organize Your Projects

Christen Joy Homes - Dear Decorator February 2019

Meet Christen Anderson of Christen Joy Homes. Each month, she will answer a home design question posed by one of our readers. This month, learn about how to organize your projects.

Photo by Hillary Ehlen

Meet Christen Anderson of Christen Joy Homes. Each month, she will answer a home design question posed by one of our readers. Anderson is a Minnesota native with an eye for decor and design. Christen Joy Homes is known for exceptional remodels, expert staging and accessorizing high-end living spaces. Anderson is also a passionate art collector, world traveler and home cook who frequently entertains for friends.

Question: “I have so many ideas for my next project. How do I organize them all and make sure that everything looks good together?

Answer: Great question! In a world with Pinterest, Instagram and glossy magazines, it can be overwhelming when you start collecting ideas and aren’t quite sure how to pull them all together. Let me take you through the steps I use at Christen Joy Homes to create a theme, select product and visualize a space. I’ll show you examples of different spaces from the U32 Apartments‘ second building to show you how to work through this process.

– Let’s jump right in.

1. Create A Theme

Create a theme for the space. This can be a combination of words that describe how you want to feel when you are in the room. See my examples below.

Don’t panic, you aren’t locked into this theme. The next step may change the theme slightly, and that’s okay.

For U32’s Phase II, I was involved with a handful of spaces, including the units, the common-area lounge, common-area bathroom, the fitness center and a hot yoga studio to name a few.

When creating the themes for these spaces, I needed to think about what residents would enjoy. I spoke with the Roers Property Management team to get more insight into the target audience and their lifestyle. I also needed to ensure it would look and feel cohesive with U32‘s first building. Things had to flow. Here are the words I locked on to when thinking about the theme:

  • U32 Apartment Phase II: Relevant, young, thriving, Pinterestworthy, inviting, energizing—U32’s first building’s cool older sister
  • Units: Warm, inviting, light, bright, thoughtful
  • Lounge: Vintage-cigar-room-meets-college-bar—progressive, yet traditional
  • Common Area Bathroom: Dark, moody, interesting—a nod to the cigar room feel
  • Fitness Room: Simple, but with a little grit
  • Yoga Studio: Calming, serene, peaceful—a warm blanket of beauty

2. Ideate, Brainstorm, Dream…Mood Boards

You may be thinking, “I’m not creative…” If so, put yourself in the mindset of “I love this, and not that!” Don’t hold back your opinions. In fact, I encourage you to do the opposite! Now, you can start pulling together the things that remind you of your theme. This may include photographs, magazine clippings, a candle or fabric you love. You can do this on a virtual board (Pinterest, PowerPoint, etc.) or on a physical board. As mentioned, if you take a step back and look at what you have so far, you may feel the need to tweak your theme a bit. Have at it—now is the time to do it!

For U32 Phase II, I did a virtual mood board via PowerPoint. I pulled photos from my previous projects that were relevant, neon signs, paint colors that spoke to me, furniture options and vintage games. I even pulled specific chairs and tables from a restaurant in Santa Monica that I fell in love with while on a trip to California.

Christen Joy Homes - Dear Decorator

Warm & Inviting Units

  • Pure White walls
  • Linen laminate countertops in a grayblue (kitchen) and warm neutral color (bathrooms) that are interesting, yet timeless
  • Gray subway tile, complemented by two industrial pendants over a large island
  • Warm-toned Luxury Vinyl Tile for the kitchen coupled with stone-colored carpet for living spaces and bedrooms
    • This palette can flex to warmer or cooler tones, giving the flexibility of furnishings to renters
  • White, two-panel, shaker-style doors throughout keeps the space light and bright

Christen Joy Homes - Dear Decorator

Cigar Room Lounge

  • Moody, dark navy paint from walls to ceiling create wow-factor and define the space
  • Quartz countertops with gray veining complement a full, tiled wall behind
  • Seven light fixtures in brass tones, including a vintage candelabra chandelier create a special ambiance.
  • Multiple games in wood tones are inviting, as are the Chesterfield couches and seating that will be placed around the room

Dark & Moody Common Area Bathroom

  • Patterned floor tile pulls in the navy and wood tones from the lounge
  • High gloss, navy wall tile with Sherwin Williams Grizzle Gray paint above will pull this room together
  • Brass accents in both the mirror and faucet complete the room

Christen Joy Homes - Dear Decorator

Fitness Room

  • A dark teal welcomes you into the room and flows seamlessly from the lounge.
  • Brick walls for that grit are graced with neon signs – motivate and point you to the hot yoga studio, a new location for MoJo Fit Studios.
  • Dark flooring selected to conceal any wear and tear from those hitting up the gym.

Calm & Serene Yoga Studio

  • It’s hot in here! Yes, it’s a true hot studio so selections had to support the high heat
  • Soft flooring in woodgrain tones are the perfect blend of soft and supportive for workouts
  • Mirrors will reflect the wall installations that include a quote and an artificial live wall that will frame the transom windows, covering the entire wall

3. Product Selection & Design Boards

Now that you have your theme locked and have taken time to find the things that inspire you, you’re ready to pull together your selections. Beforehand, you will want to take measurements of the space and have a tentative list of the pieces you’re searching for and a general idea of where you might want them to go. Keep in mind how this space will be used. Next, shop ’til you drop! You can browse for products online, in-person, or both! If you shop in-person, take a photo of your mood board or print a copy to carry with you. As you find things that work well with your theme, record the details: measurements, price, estimated time of arrival—any info that is crucial to making your dream become reality. If it’s a larger project, you may be collecting samples of flooring, paint swatches, countertop samples and more.

As you gather your images and samples, create a physical collage using a wood base. Then record the details in a virtual or physical document. This board will help you see what works and what may feel out of place. As you add to your collage, selections that don’t go with your theme or work well with each other will start to pop out to you. Edit them out and look for new options. Note, this step may be where you decide to hire an expert to help with the nitty-gritty (spatial planning, furniture recommendations, selections, etc.), bringing your vision to life with ease!

4. The Extra Mile – Professional Drawings

Christen Joy Homes - Dear Decorator

If you’re someone that has a hard time visualizing, professional drawings could be a great option for you. By working with a designer, you can hand off your selections and receive drawings of what your space will look like. This will help you nail down scale of the items you are planning to purchase, placement of larger items and will ensure product will fit perfectly in the space.

Christen Joy Homes drafted the plans and renderings for the U32 Phase II to help with decision making. They’ve also been great to use to give potential residents a sneak peek of the space!

Email your design questions to [email protected] for the opportunity to have them answered next month. Until then – have a great February and a Happy Valentine’s Day!

Christen Joy Homes

[email protected]


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