**** UPDATE: The poll has now closed, and we have a winner of REFINED SCANDINAVIAN CHALET, with 55% choosing Refined Scandinavian Chalet and 45% choosing Rustic Scandinavian Cabin. Thank you to everyone who voted, entered, and shared your opinion. We love having you participate in this exciting project and we can’t wait for you to weigh in on the next design decision. In the meantime be sure to head here to see all the polls and progress of the fixer-upper project.
TODAY IS THE DAY. I’ve been waiting for this day since September when I came up with this big series idea, and bought this house. My thought was this: in many ways YOU helped us buy this house, so how can we make you part of this process? How do we give some of the decision making to YOU and furthermore let some of you even stay here when it’s done? I haven’t been able to design the house really until today because your involvement effects how I design this sucker.
After pinning and debating for months on the overall art direction of our mountain/lake house, we have narrowed it down to two different styles and YOU ARE DECIDING TODAY (the polls are open for a week, technically).
The ‘I Design, You Decide’ series will not be an ‘Ask the Audience’ situation. While I do love those posts, there is an element that feels like I don’t really know what I’m doing and while often I don’t (because every design job is unique, and your input is invaluable) I want this to be different. Instead, I’ll treat you like a client – I’m your designer. I’ll show you two different overall style directions (today’s post) then once that is chosen I’ll design each room TWICE, digitally of course. I’ll show you mood boards and renderings and you will choose what gets executed. Is this twice the work? YES. Will it be so fun?? YES.
All the rooms will be under that overall style direction (so it doesn’t look like a crazy house) and it’s my job to create design plans that are different enough, but I have to love them both. The polling technology that we implemented won’t be rigged. You will vote and after a week the polls will close and the design plan will get executed. Of course, there are a lot of moving pieces and many partners involved. I’ll be totally transparent about those partnerships and you’ll know what pieces can’t change or can only slightly change due to those (for instance I’ve already chosen all the plumbing with Kohler, but all the tile, flooring, lighting and surrounds will be different).
It’s an experiment in design, marketing, and digital strategy. It’s the wild west over here and every day our goal is to up the traffic and engagement all while creating interesting, beautiful and educational posts for you.
There is one more component to this – after you vote you have the option to share your vote on your channels and every time you do you will get entered into a contest. You can share on all your platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, email, Pinterest and yes, comments will count, too). The more times you share your vote, the better chance you have of winning. How will we track? Well, you’ll put in your email when the box pops up and my IT guy at the end will tally and track (I was very curious how this would work as well, and he said that he’ll outsource to a company that does this). That’s all to say, this is LEGIT. Every time you share, you have that much more of a chance to win (so if I were you I would have all your friends do it as well so that even if you don’t win, they can and you can go).
For Instagram use the hashtag #EHDmountainfixer so we can track that (the rest can be tracked through email).
What will you win?
A five night stay at the cabin this summer (with some black out dates, of course because our family uses it) with $1,000 towards travel expenses (if you live driving distance then it’s just fun money, or if you live internationally then we will cover up to $1,000 of your expenses. So, all the international readers please feel free to participate and enter as well). The house sleeps up to 8, so yes, bring your well-behaved friends. I’ll meet you, show you around and end with a happy hour on the boat. I’ll give you the keys to the golf cart (vintage, from the 80’s with fringe on top and the previous owner painted it red and put Ferrari stickers all over it – it’s LITERALLY BRIAN’S MOST LOVED POSSESSION). In that golf cart you can drive 5 minutes down to the beach club or do what I do all the time – run through the forest down to the lake. At the lake there is a beach with lounge chairs and beach toys, a cafe (that serves fairly disgusting but wonderful nachos) and total serenity. It’s magical for kids because it is shallow for 20 feet.
We’ll have a cocktail cruise on our used 1984 party barge (pontoon) and if you have boating experience and a license you can have the keys for your stay (if not then we’ll have kayaks by then that you can use). We’ll take some pictures together and I can help answer any questions you might have about your weeks stay. Obviously, I’ll be vetting the winner to make sure that you don’t have say, robberies or arson on your record. 🙂
I’m working with sponsors to give 10 runner-up prizes for additional winners. I never enter contests online mostly because I’m like ‘does anyone actually win?’, so I’m trying to put myself in your shoes. What would I need to want to enter and share this contest? I would want my chances of winning higher than just one entry and I would want the possibility of more prizes in case I don’t win the main prize. I would want my enthusiasm and sheer desire for the prize to be counted towards my chance to win. But you can’t profile winners and choose based on that – it does need to be random, for legal reasons. So hopefully allowing multiple entries will help those of you who really want to win it, to win. I don’t want some random person who voted once and gave no cares about this project to stay at my house. I want a true reader, follower and someone that feels engaged in this process. I want someone who participated in the design the whole way through to be able to come and see it, live in it, and sit on the sofa you helped me choose. I want to be able to celebrate with these readers and say THANK YOU for helping me buy and renovate this house for my family. This house is ours, but it’s because of you so THANK YOU.
ON TO THE BIGGEST DECISION OF YOUR DAY!!!
THE OVERALL STYLE DIRECTION WILL BE CHOSEN NOW.
I know what you are thinking – you are letting strangers choose the design of your house?? Yes. But the reason it has taken so long is that we needed to find two styles that we both loved enough to let you choose between. Neither Brian nor I could be bummed with the results and that was a real challenge. It’s a poll, it can’t be rigged (well it probably can, pretty sure anything can be rigged these days but I wouldn’t). Obviously, it would be more fun to let you choose between 4 totally different styles (which was my original idea) but ultimately we (Brian and I) really wanted it to be a certain style and I don’t think my heart would have been in it if my favorite hadn’t been chosen.
The two styles we are down to aren’t wildly different, but they are still different enough that a vote is in order. I’m happy with either but yes I’m leaning towards one and so is Brian (not the same, and it’s pretty easy to predict).
Here goes …
Style #1: REFINED SCANDINAVIAN CHALET
Oh yes. This fantasy house would be so gorgeous. It’s different than anything I’ve done and while it will have a midcentury bent because innately it’s minimal and modern, it’s going to be fresh and forward.
Both versions that you will choose between have Scandinavian in them and here’s why:
Our house was built in 1964, therefore it’s midcentury and the midcentury that I love most was birthed in Northern Europe – Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Norway.
The light in this house is so beautiful. It wants simplicity and for the nature that surrounds it to be more of the focus (as is Scandinavian). For our lives as well we also want simplicity and less ‘stuff”. But we also don’t want it to feel cold or too minimal, so this style brings in more color and textures than the more minimal/contemporary options I wrote about on Friday.
Scandinavian design lends itself so well to a house that has two extreme seasons – it feels cozy in the winter, and really airy and bright in the summer. And by incorporating a lot of woods we’ll make sure that it feels warm, year-round.
But this version wouldn’t be rustic woods, it would be more refined. Not SLEEK necessarily, but newer woods, more modern tile, with no age necessarily but I can’t stress this enough – STILL A LOT OF WARMTH (if you can’t tell Brian is still really paranoid about me making a stark, cold house).
Simplicity in every way, except in the architectural finishes (no concrete for us, though).
We will repeat design elements over and over instead of mixing up a lot of different finishes. Do I think I’m going to put the same wood on the floor as the walls? Maybe – but likely you’d help decide.
There will be a LOT of wood at this house, but whether it’s painted, raw or stained is still in question. And in this version the furniture low, deep and refined (no worn leathers, but lots of fresh linens).
There will be a big focus on the windows and views like in the photo above. The house is surrounded by trees, and yet the light is still really great. We will invest in making the light better in more rooms by making windows bigger or adding more (and yes, we still need a window sponsor – I’m terrified about the cost).
That photo, above, is the REAL inspiration to me for this house. I love how fresh and yet warm it feels. It feels happy and inviting, and yet still so clean and simple. We will use a lot of symmetry in this version and matching furniture – nothing too eclectic and no big patterns.
The kitchen could be simple flat panels with no hardware and very little detailing so that the wood really shines (p.s. where do I buy STUNNING wood?).
The walls will likely be clad in wood, and any opportunity for coziness will be taken (like that window seat). I think that actually goes for both versions.
For this version, I would probably have to invest more in the finishes but it will be faster to design and source than the second version… This version will have elements of minimal and contemporary but it will have a midcentury bent and so many soft textiles everywhere.
I want to design that house so badly.
BUT WE HAVE ANOTHER STYLE THAT I LOVE SO MUCH AS WELL. Which brings us to its competitor.
#2: RUSTIC SCANDINAVIAN CABIN
This version is still fresh, airy and neutral without a lot of pattern or accessories BUT the finishes might be more worn or at least more organic. The furniture might have some more age to it and the tile might be more handmade. It won’t necessarily mean reclaimed wood everywhere (or anywhere) but just more rustic and raw.
That kitchen, for instance, has that beautiful painted white brick, the raw wood on the ceiling, a bead board detailing on the cabinetry and of course a rustic dining room table. It’s still modern and fresh but it’s so warm.
This one goes even more country than I was thinking but you can see how we might bring in some more rustic-y elements in the decor.
That room above is obviously stunning. I love that the raw finish of the wood, that vintage style fireplace, and very lived-in furniture. I don’t think we’d go super aged on many of the finishes, but who knows – if I found some AMAZING reclaimed wood that could work on all the ceilings we’d probably go for it (during the winter it would be really nice to have those ceilings be a real stained wood, I just don’t love the finish of it as-is).
It’s strange how some of these photos look less warm than the refined version but I think that they would be equally as warm. We’d likely use unpainted wood somewhere, we wouldn’t do all white like the one above. But I LOVE that vibe. The stark black chairs, the big blue piece of art (See? Simple, but still high impact).
This kitchen also feels slightly more ‘country cabin’ than the ones in the refined version. While I don’t want to repeat my kitchen in our current house, if the rustic version is chosen we’d do something more towards this.
It was actually super hard to find imagery that felt ‘rustic’ but airy and minimal. So while I don’t know what I would do from that shot above, I love that it has that combo.
Same with that – I’m unsure if I’d ever use aged brick, but that wall is so pretty and warm especially with the white wood panels and the aged floor ….
And that bedroom that I love so much from the Anvil Hotel would feel more at home in the more rustic version. That house is a bit more traditional than we’d go, but I also love that big shock of blue and white – feels fresh, happy and yet not too busy.
So there you have it.
You vote. I’ll vote. Hell, I’ve already voted.
If you don’t care about the contest you can still vote in the poll. No biggie. If you want to be entered in the contest then you have to follow the prompt and give your email but if you don’t, you don’t. No spam, I promise. It just enables us to track for the winner. We have created a landing page for all of the posts and polls related to this series as well which you can navigate to here.
I hope you like this series. My overall hope in life is that you, my very trusted and loyal audience, will want to be involved in this design process. My favorite thing to do is design houses, but I’m a collaborator and I don’t like to do it alone. This way, we do it together.
I can’t wait to meet the winner of this contest. I just hope we all love the house as much as I do in my imagination. Because in my brain – THIS HOUSE IS AMAZING.
Let the voting begin. 🙂 And let us know in the comments if you have any issues with voting or the process as we are still tweaking and trying to get out all the digital kinks.
I Design, You Decide
The Overall Style
Thank you for voting!
Your vote has my vote 🙂
Now enter to win
A five-night stay at the cabin this summer (with some blackout dates, of course, because our family uses it) with $1,000 towards travel expenses (if you live driving distance then it’s just fun money, or if you live internationally then we will cover up to $1,000 of your expenses. So, all the international readers please feel free to participate and enter as well). We’ll make it a dream trip! Including cocktails out on the lake with me.
All you have to do for a chance to win is enter your name & email below...