Client Feature: A Manhattan Masterpiece

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY The Havenly Team

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on September 17, 2015

Today we are excited to have a special guest contribute to The Haven. Our client, Eileen O’Brien, came to Havenly to redecorate her living room that was in need of some professional help from our personal decorators! Havenly’s very own Director of Design, Shelby Girard, came to the rescue and transformed Eileen’s Manhattan pad into a chic work of art. Here is Eileen’s personal story:

It was clear I needed professional help. I had issues—with my new apartment—and I needed a decorator.

I had just moved to Manhattan from Philadelphia. My condo in Philadelphia had a living room and a separate dining room. My new Manhattan apartment has one large combined space. The styles of my furniture from my living room and dining room were different and I somehow needed it all pulled into one cohesive look. I’d also donated quite a few pieces that would need to be replaced.

I knew that I wanted to spend my money on new furniture. I also knew that I didn’t want to use the design service from a store because I wanted to source items from a variety of different places.

Google to the rescue

I searched online, did some research, and found a few online design offerings. I chose Havenly because it made the most sense for me: affordable price, opportunity to apply $50 towards a purchase online via the e-commerce platform, and it seemed like a simple process. I also liked that I had the ability to actually speak to my designer.

After reading the first-person accounts of Ms. Career Girl and The College Prepster, which described the process in detail, I signed up! I had so much fun using Havenly that I volunteered to write this blog post to share my experience.

My Design Needs

I had a couch, coffee table, bar, chair, mirror, and ottoman. I needed a rug, window treatments, a loveseat, media center, two bar stools, pillows, a floor lamp, and a throw. 

I completed the online information and had the opportunity to email my designer, Shelby Girard. In addition to sharing photos of the furniture and the space, I suggest being very clear on their dimensions as well as that of the room. To showcase my preference for clean, modern styles, I created a Pinterest board of different rooms and designs. I did have a technical glitch with the website, but the tech team responded quickly to my email and solved it. I had my phone call with Shelby and then eagerly awaited the receipt of my two concept boards.

Decisions, Decisions



I had told Shelby that I liked white and a minimal look but with a pop of color. As you can see, she listened, but I actually responded more to Concept 1. I provided her feedback that I liked the rug in Concept 2 and most of Concept 1. Ironically, the roman shades in Concept 1 are exactly like the ones I left behind in Philadelphia, so I asked for something different next round. While I loved the loveseat, I also asked for a few more affordable options. The pieces came from stores I like: Room and Board, West Elm, and Crate & Barrel—to name a few. Shelby also asked if there were additional sites that I liked and I shared one and she included items from it.

Living in New York, I was able to see the items in person. Being able to actually see the color of the rug and feel the fabric confirmed it was the right one. The end table I liked was just too short next to the couch in the store (same height as mine) and I realized it wouldn’t look right. Neither of the floor lamps thrilled me, so I asked for new choices. I also decided to be proactive in choosing the art so I went on the site Shelby had utilized, Minted, and pinned several prints.

I gave all this feedback to Shelby and anxiously waited a few days for the initial design.

Getting close



I loved my initial design. I pulled out my tape measure to ensure that everything would fit, and realized that the 8 x 10 rug that Shelby had suggested wasn’t going to fit all my furniture on it and the space really required the 9 x 12. With that additional expense and the fact that one of the media centers was now on sale, I changed my mind about that option too. The white fabric on the loveseat had me a little worried about red wine spills, so I asked for a few darker color choices. I indicated that I preferred one large piece of art over the couch rather than three.

What I liked best


eileen obrien 3


Other than the great recommendations, what I liked best was the back-and-forth collaboration. As I indicated, I asked for options, edits, and changed my mind along the way. Shelby listened and responded accordingly. I’m very happy with my final room as you’ll see from the photos below. I’ve already recommended Havenly to several friends and colleagues and one who is moving to Atlanta has already signed on. I’m looking forward to seeing how her new Havenly space comes together!