A Coastal Affair

by Liz Dowling

My friend Laura is celebrating her 20 year work anniversary this summer.  It is hard to believe she started LMB Communications 20 years ago because she LOOKS about 25!  Laura opened the doors to her own business when Nestle, where she worked in Communications & Public Relations, relocated to the west coast.  She decided to stay in New York and began consulting with major corporations on communications, media, PR, philanthropy and special events.  Voila, 20 years later!

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As a gift to herself for hitting the 20 year mark, Laura wanted to spruce up her home office where she works 2-3 days a week.  Her keywords to me were coastal, creative and comfortable.  A space where her clients, family and friends would love to hang out.

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Laura gravitates to the colors blue and orange, so we started there.  She found two ottomans from Ballard Designs in a blue/white fabric she liked.  This solidified the blue tone we would use in the room.  The ottomans also had storage for her files inside.  Great dual purpose.


We found a fabulous Dash and Albert indoor/outdoor rug (easy to clean since it would get a lot of foot traffic)  in a blue stripe and a bright orange fabric from Duralee for pillows.

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A couch was needed in the office for meetings and some lounging (this one is from Pottery Barn), replacing an old storage unit under the window.

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An old brown hutch in the room had a ton of storage space inside to hide office supplies, so instead of getting rid of it, we painted it white and Laura found these great knobs at Anthropologie to go with her coastal theme.  We hid the printer and many other things in the hutch to keep them out of sight!





There was some general cleaning up to do, so we did a little “purging” and gave the room a nice, fresh coat of paint in a soft periwinkle blue.

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Fun accents in the room make it personal to Laura.


Laura travels overseas quite a bit for business, so I found French (on left) and Italian (on right) vintage posters to hang on either side of her new couch to give the office a little European touch. We also converted two recessed ceiling lights to round hanging lights (above) to personalize the space and make the sitting area cozy.  The two tables on either side of the couch are from Target.

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Laura LOVES Cape May, so there are reminders all around her office, including a series of beautiful black/white beach prints of Cape May that she took herself.

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Leftover fabric from the couch pillows was used for a 6″ wide band on the bottom of a white cotton duck roman shade, hanging over the couch.


I love how the orange fabric in the roman shade matches the stripes on the shirt in the Italian poster!


I hope Laura is happy with all the changes we made.  She did say everyone, including Sophia the dog, seems to be hanging out in there now…  We might actually have to SHUT the doors that lead into her office from the living room!

Cheers to 20 years of success.

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the wry home

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Jean McCormick June 19, 2014 - 5:54 pm

I love the blue/orange combination. The French and Italian posters add so much character as well!

Elizabeth Dowling June 20, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Thanks JM! Hope you are well.

lizanne Shaver June 19, 2014 - 8:37 pm

Looking awesome lady.. favorite combo orange and blue… keep up the great work. Ox, Lizanne

Elizabeth Dowling June 20, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Thank you Lizzie!

Karen Bradley McElroy June 20, 2014 - 12:59 am

What paint color and brand did you use, I love the color!

Elizabeth Dowling June 20, 2014 - 8:18 am

Benjamin Moore “Lake Placid” #827.
Thank you!

Kathleen Perkal June 20, 2014 - 2:17 pm

Wow…Total transformation. Nice work. I am sure Laura will love her new digs.

Elizabeth Dowling June 20, 2014 - 3:17 pm

Laura was fabulous to work with, she has a great eye.

Missie f June 20, 2014 - 6:03 pm

Great collaboration! I always encourage clients to consider painting what appears to be an out of date piece! That and updated hardware is an easy fix for breathing new life into something functional!
Great use of pendant lighting over the snappy side tables. Super job!

Elizabeth Dowling June 20, 2014 - 8:50 pm

Thanks Miss. You are the expert on this, way more than me 🙂

Amy harden June 20, 2014 - 8:44 pm

Another job well done! So many thoughtful touches which I think is your talent! I have that blue and white fabric as panels and pillows in our Newport guest room but have been struggling w wall color. Thank you Karen McElroy for asking – it was kismet! I am a Ben Moore gal always and ever and grew up summers in Lake Placid so will have no problem remembering name! Print arrived and need to get to framer and it will go in this room as well!

Elizabeth Dowling June 20, 2014 - 8:50 pm

Please send me a picture when you get it framed, it is so cute!

Laura Breitenbach June 29, 2014 - 7:25 am

Liz made it all happen. Her attention to detail and the fact that she asked so many questions to find out about the way I work was what made the difference in my selection of ‘The Wry Home’. To say you’re HAPPY to be in your office is an achievement. To want to spend time in my office beyond work hours is a gift. Thanks again Liz!

Elizabeth Dowling June 29, 2014 - 9:13 am

My pleasure!

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