When I received an announcement about a new design service called RoomJuice, I couldn’t resist the chance to take their service for a test drive. Fortunately, they graciously agreed to show off their design prowess, gratis, using the same room as another online service used in a previous review. RoomJuice is owned by designers Susie Case and Kristen Alagna. They offer four design packages, starting with an accessory makeover for $49 and ending with an entire room design for $199. You take measurements and photos, they put together a design using your things plus items available online.
As I mentioned, a competitor, Designer At Home, offered to create a design for my living room. OMG, totally ridiculous FAIL (read my review here). I asked the girls to take on the same room, so we could see an apples to apples comparison. The challenge? Create a design in my narrow living room with 2 seating groups. Do they have the chops?
Susie, has a long list of design experience behind her. Her first career was working as a Wall Street analyst. But her mind was often on design. Through the years, she tackled some large projects. After her son left for college, she returned to school for a degree at the Fashion Institute of Technology. Kristin earned a BFA in interior design from FIT, where she won the top award for her rendering skills. Woot! She is now working on interior design of a 1950′s home.
As you can see in the revealing photos, above, my living room is coughing up blood. Ugh. When we moved in I thought I’d have plenty of time to redecorate. It seems designers and shoemakers have something in common, we’re too busy attending to our clients. Blah, blah, blah. It’s a mess. I know. Moving on…
I sent off my photos, measurements and filled out their survey Working with a $20,000 budget, I received their design in a week. Here’s what they came up with.
What do you think? Here are my thoughts.
Overall, I liked what I saw. The design from RoomJuice is complete – even down to the lighting. There are two grouping which aren’t centered around the fireplace. That’s fresh. They groupings divide the room in two, making it difficult to have one conversation, but when I entertain everyone typically divides into smaller groups. Maybe cozier spaces are better – something I hadn’t thought of. Hmmm…
Their color choices are lively and play off the other rooms. I like the furnishings they chose. The scale is right, they played with height, and paid attention to the lighting – super important. One of their suggested splurges was downlighting. Absolutely. Finally, I’d say they got my style down pretty well.
There are several things I would change – a small settee in the bay window might be nice. Then I could use existing chairs instead of the slipper chairs. I might play with the chair in the corner, too. That aside, I think this a wonderful design. And for $199 (a hundred dollars less than their inferior competitor) how can you go wrong?
The package included an explanation of the design, alternate floor plan, splurges and money savers, ideas for the adjacent family room, and a shopping guide. Susie and Kristin offered two chances to change some things I didn’t like. Everything is available online, making shopping easy.
RoomJuice Design Tips
- Susie and Kristen like the clean lines of contemporary design, but their inner craft girls requires something handmade as accents in the mix. It doesn’t matter what’s in magazines, stores or what the salesperson thinks. If you don’t like something, buying it is bad design.
- Splurges? A small mirror, end table, or piece of art you love will always find a place in your living space.
- Our favorite lighting tip: make sure the areas and objects that matter most are lit. Love your bookcase? Make sure it has a lamp next to it, or a recessed light focused on it.
- Biggest design mistake? Clutter. The longer we live in a space, the more the surfaces become drop spaces. Clearing out the clutter, grouping similar items together, and saving just one memento, restores calm and gives us a sense of control that extends past our home into the rest of our lives.
I’m interested to know what you think of Susie and Kristen’s deign solution? Do you think the two groupings divide the room too much, or is that a non-issue? Do you perceive a difference in this design over something you’d expect from an “in-your-home designer”? What’s your favorite design idea or furnishing (besides my antique desk, of course ;-) ).