Shore Life 2018

December 27, 2018

What to Expect When Working With an Interior Designer
by Jennifer Carmichael

While most people are just getting up in the morning, Chantal Lawrence is already at her retail shop and design studio, Total Design Source, on Main Street in Old Saybrook.

“I enjoy getting up early – it gives me a healthy dose of peace and tranquility,” says the licensed interior designer, whose 35 years of experience includes working for top 100 architectural firms and in the future industry. Her early routine transcends to her work with clients, offering a sense of calm and taking away any anxieties about starting a project.

“Designing one room can feel overwhelming, needless to say an entire house,” says Lawrence. “Hiring an interior designer can save you unneeded stress, time, and money.” She notes that the working relationship should employ three key elements: chemistry, clear communication, and creativity!

It’s important that you and your designer are on the same page. Each designer has his or her own unique tastes, personality quirks, and business practices. Interviewing candidates is important in finding such a good match.

“Select someone who makes you feel comfortable and whom you can trust. Trust your instincts – chemistry truly matters,” she says.

Decide if you want to be an integral part of the process or if you want your interior designer to take care of everything for you.

“Be sure to establish firm and clear communication,” says Lawrence. “Determine your role, the designer’s responsibilities, and set a budget and timeline.”

“I want to understand the clients likes and dislikes, whether from a photo, a space or objects in their home,” she notes. “Often clients can’t figure out why something is not working. Being in their home allows me to see problem areas, define why it’s not working, and what we can do to remedy it.”

“There’s a psychology to design,” says Lawrence. “Your space needs to be beautiful, but function for you, too.”

Expect your designer to ask lots of lifestyle questions: Who uses the space and how? Do you have children? Pets? Do you entertain?

Your designer will create a floor plan along with visuals offering a full color palette, finishes, fabrics, area rugs, and lighting.

“I know where to look to find a particular fabric or element. My expertise allows me to create a unique look that represents your style,” says Lawrence.

Ironically, people try to “fix” a space by constantly changing the decorative objects – accessories, art, and greenery.

“New pillows might make you happy for a little while,” she continues. “But, if you ultimately don’t fix what’s wrong, you’re just throwing good money after bad. Hiring a professional can truly save you money.”

“Finishing touches should be in the minds’ eye during the design process and pulled together once the space is assembled,” she continues. “Adding softness and texture is like icing on a cake.”

Remember: gather and combine all of the key ingredients before you frost and add sprinkles! By following these steps, you’re “Love Where You Live,” adds Lawrence.

The E-List

April 17, 2018

Batiks, woodblock printing and painting create dimension and texture on an otherwise flat surface. In this article, Erica from The E-List mentions how she spotted Tribal Textiles fabrics here at Total Design Source. Tribal Textiles produce unique hand-painted fabrics in the heart of the African bush. Their textiles mix traditional African art with contemporary designs, drawing inspiration from the stunning Zambian wildlife and surroundings.

Each piece is drawn and painted by local Zambian men and women in a rich palette of hand-mixed colors, providing jobs in an area where employment is scarce.

Pillows retail at just $48 each and now through April 28th, Total Design Source is offering 30% Off Pillows!

Lighting & Decor Magazine

March 2018

Chantal Lawrence, owner and designer of Total Design Source, has been featured in the Lighting and Décor March 2018 Magazine. Lighting & Décor Magazine is a one-stop information source covering the lighting and home décor market.

“The Shops Around The Corner” article features hybrid businesses that combine retail storefronts and design studios. Written by Kimberly Wray, the article highlights Total Design Source and the experience one receives when visiting our shop.








Read the entire article here.

Shoreline Times

December 20, 2016

A real antique: A 200 year old gem in North Cove, Saybrook gets more than a facelift

At 203 years of age, this 3,240-square foot classic Federal style home with nine fireplaces has been undergoing a restoration, both inside and the grounds outside, by a host of local designers and craftsmen who came together to preserve its historic integrity white embracing the 21st century. It didn’t take long for architect Denise Von Dassel of KV Designs, Tony Brodeur and Dave Martel of North Cove Construction, Chantal Lawrence of Total Design Source and Karl Kaufmann Jr. of Kaufmann Masonry to bring all of the possibilities to life in this riverside gem.

Read the entire article here.


The E-List

November 12, 2014

“First things first, get organized and get rid of clutter.” Total Design Sources client’s biggest decorating problems revolve around storage. Chantal will come to your house and brainstorm all manner of solutions, from custom designed built-ins to a swift rearrange of furniture. Chantal Lawrence, owner and designer of Total Design Source, believes strongly in “green design”; reuse, rehang or reupholster things you already own vs. buying new stuff.

BEFORE                                                      AFTER





Read the entire article here.

The E-List

January 12, 2011

At Total Design Source, we have a vast array of resources where we can help find exactly what you are looking for. Bring in a picture from a magazine and we will find it along with suggesting complementary accessories or furniture. In this article from Erica, creator of The E-List, she talks about how Chantal was able to find the coffee table that she was searching for.

The E List is your top guide to the best shopping in CT, best CT restaurants, CT events, cultural events in CT, CT museums, best restaurants on the CT Shoreline.

Read the entire article here.