Tess & Ted = Totally Awesome

Ever since making my career leap 8 years ago, I've talked with many people who have felt a desire to leap but haven't been able to step off the ledge. I totally get it; many complicating factors get in the way of dreams. Subsequently, when I see a long-desired dream come to life, it pretty much makes my heart explode with happiness. Such is the case with my longtime friend (and Boston Mamas contributor), Paige, who just launched Tess & Ted.

Today I wanted to share about my experience with Paige's interior design services. Because her work has changed our lives. No joke.

To back up, I consider myself a person with a strong sense of style; getting dressed every day is easy and in general, I know what I like (and don't like) when I see it. However, when it comes to interiors, I become paralyzed; it just seems like a large, overwhelming process and in the past I’ve been afraid to make one-off choices without having a big picture plan (and I haven’t know where to start with the big picture plan!). Subsequently, I’ve always felt unsettled in my living spaces; everything has felt temporary and handed down and mismatched (though hey, we were super grateful for all those hand me downs during our grad student days), but I haven’t known how to start making changes. Jon and my styles also differ somewhat, and I’ve had no idea how to bridge those differences -- so, the topic of interiors has always stressed me out.

After the holidays, Jon and I started working with Paige. We decided that we were going to stay put in our home and wanted to finally make it feel like it was ours. During our consultation, Paige asked questions, listened intently, and returned with a series of inspiration boards (entryway, living room, dining room) that miraculously merged Jon and my styles, opened our eyes to different options, and just looked plain beautiful. She has since guided us through the process of transformation -- from bringing in contractors, to responding to my frantic “lifeline” shopping texts, to even picking up items on the fly when she thought they might work for us (with an option to say no of course).

I’m not overstating things when I say that Paige has changed our lives. With every step of our interior transformation -- from larger changes like paint and built-ins to smaller changes like lamps -- I’ve realized how incredibly important it is to make your home yours...to create a space where you feel comfort and joy and permanence. Every time I walk down the stairs and take in our new space, I smile. I have racked up a ton more smiles in the last 6 months!

We're still a work in progress -- we've been chipping away at our redesign both to keep an eye on budget and also since it just takes us a while to get around to things what with everything else in life. I'll be shooting photos of the house more formally once it's all done, but I wanted to share a sneak peek of 4 fantastic changes. Let's just say that we started with plain white walls, neutral textiles, and a shocking collection of mismatched wood furniture.

1. LIVING ROOM. We love our gray herringbone couch but used to have a clunky dark leather ottoman + boring solid tan rug. Everything just felt so flat. Now our living area feels light and fluid yet cozy thanks to sheepskin pillows, a shag rug, and the open slats on this round ottoman.

2. ENTRYWAY. This area is still a work in progress (custom cushions are on on their way!), but one of the major transformations is our entryway. It's a large space (we have an open concept first floor) but we could never find a way to situate the space so that it actually got used. Now we have a built in L-shaped window seat that has created a fabulous new sitting area, including a cozy reading corner.

3. DINING ROOM. We were initially unsure of the dramatic contrast wall + coral lamps but of course it looks totally awesome.

4. DINING ROOM. Our dining room used to be really, really sad with a hand me down butcher block table covered with scribbles + horrendously ugly chairs I bought on sale from a department store during grad school. I love entertaining and I always felt embarrassed hosting people in this setting. Now it is a joy to entertain, thanks to a lovely oval dining table, white Eames-style chairs (including viking fur on a couple of them...awesome), and these gorgeous chairs I DIY'd after Paige found the original pair on Craigslist for $40.

I really can't say enough good things about Paige -- both as a person and a professional. But if you want to read more about her gifts (she can even help you via Skype if you aren't in the Boston area), check out what some of her other clients have to say about her. If you fit any of these 7 descriptions, I highly recommend you drop her a line.

Image credits: Christine Koh