Food & Home

Room In A Box

A beautifully designed home is something we all aspire to, but hiring a world class interior designer can be cost prohibitive and eat up most of your budget.

When I came across Room in a Box, I was blown away by its ingenuity. Here is how it works: You want to re/decorate a room(s). You go on the site, upload photos, dimensions, the pieces you want to keep, inspirational photos of your dream space, price point, etc. A few weeks later, your box arrives with an illustration of your new room, fabric samples, furniture and suggestions for everything from paint to art, all from the design studio of Windsor Smith. I decided to try it for myself on a room that had always given me trouble.

Below find the process and results!

Love, gp

Meet Windsor Smith

Beloved by shelter magazines, design bloggers, and, of course, goop, Windsor Smith is the first person we call when we have a big interior design project. She channels a timelessly elegant sensibility that never feels fussy or uptight—and her understanding for how a living, breathing and modern family (with rambunctious kids) will actually use a space supersedes that of any mere mortal. The gorgeous rooms she dreams up aren’t idle showrooms for vacant side chairs: They quickly become the heart of the home.

There is only one Windsor—but she’s dreamed up a brilliant invention to overcome the limitations of geography. It’s called Room In A Box and here’s how it works…

The Room In A Box Formula

  1. Sign up online.

  2. Services

  3. Select the room you’d like designed. Prices range from $1,250 to $7,500, depending on the size and scope of the space.

  4. Room in a Box

  5. Answer a quick questionnaire. You’ll supply details on your lifestyle and the room’s function. You’ll also pick your ballpark furnishing budget. Options include: “Savvy” (up to $9,999), “Fabulous” (up to $18,500) and “Luxe” ($18,500 +).

  6. Upload room measurements, photos of the space, inspiration images, and snapshots of the furniture you want to keep.


Within a few weeks, your customized “Room In A Box” arrives with:
* A storyboard and room rendering so you can visualize the final result.
* An easy-to-follow floor plan.
* A shopping list of furnishings from vendors within your budget (you can ask for up to three substitutions).
* Textile swatches for cushions, curtains, and re-upholstery—and ordering information.

The shopping, re-upholstery, and installation is then completely in your hands.

Gwyneth’s Troubled Room


Despite two attempts on her own to completely redesign the space, Gwyneth’s living room in Amagansett continually stumped her—while it’s spacious and filled with light, it had always been a dead zone in the home, where nobody seemed to spend time. It emerged as the perfect testing ground for trying Room In A Box.

The Pieces She Wanted to Keep:

Shelf, Painting, Stools & Side Table

Her Inspiration Shots:


A Snippet of Gwyneth’s Questionnaire

Q:What is the overall general feeling you would like this room to have?

A:Cozy, elegant, and together – a proper room to entertain in.

Q:Is there currently a consistent thread of color or theme that runs through your house?

A:Yes – greys, lavenders and whites.

Q:How many people would you like to seat at one time?


Q:Do you entertain frequently?


Q:Do you like for things to all feel that they are the same style or would you like to create interest by combining styles to make the room look more eclectic?

A:Combining styles a bit.

Q:What colors would you most like to see?

A:Cool Tones (Blues, Purples, Greens).

Q:Is there a focal point we need to be made aware of, such as a fireplace?

A:Yes, the fireplace and piano.

Q:What elements are you most drawn to?

A:Finer details – nailheads and trims.

A fews weeks later, Room In A Box arrives…

Box Opening


The rendering is a modern-day take on the traditional “salon” where music, games and several conversations can take place, all in the same space. As Windsor explains, “We pushed the seating to the exterior walls because our families today multitask…we can be in the same room, but we’re not necessarily doing the same thing.”

Floor Plan

Because of its bulk, Gwyneth had always relegated the piano to a corner of the room where it seemed to fit perfectly. “We wanted to draw energy into the space, so we took the piano to the center of the room,” Windsor explains.


After weeks of waiting, everything arrived—including Windsor, who made a special cameo to oversee Room In A Box’s big reveal.

Windsor Visits


In order to smooth out all the ridges and bumps, Windsor directs the volunteers to walk across the carpet in every direction.


Within minutes of placing the piano in the middle, the room ignites.

The Process

Over the course of a weekend, the rest of the space comes together.

The Music Room Comes To Life

After 1st View


The chandelier in the original rendering seemed too overwrought so Gwyneth requested a more modern fixture. Room In A Box came through with this Mid Century Italian pendant that has a more contemporary feel.


Thanks to a tempered palette of soft neutrals, the design juxtaposes modern and classic styles without a jarring effect. Here, traditional And George chairs pair perfectly with a sleek Karl Springer console table.

After View 2

The muted tones are a low-key backdrop for Donald Kaufman’s “Color Field” painting.


This stool (and its pair) survived from the room’s previous incarnation—reupholstered in a silvery velvet, they add a nice shot of texture.

After View 3

Room In A Box called for a Roche Bobois sectional sofa to be used in two parts of the design, adding continuity throughout the space. Beyond being wonderfully comfortable, you can reconfigure your set-up and add pieces as your needs change over time.

Coffee Table

The Carol Egan coffee table adds a contemporary twist and a subtle sense of weightlessness. Much of the furniture chosen has a lightness to it that reinforces the room’s airiness.



See where the leftover furniture ended up…

The Family Room

Many of the pieces from the original living room took refuge in the family room. With a mix of mismatched furniture (including some pieces for much-younger kids) and a carpet that had seen better days, the space was in dire need of a refresh and rejiggering.


Family Room - Before


Family Room - After

So much better, right? The room had always felt disjointed and overly jumbled, but thanks to the two distinct seating areas, and a graphic rug that spans the space, the room’s purpose is now absolutely clear. Besides the rug, nothing needed to be purchased for this redesign.

Photography by Justin Coit
Special thanks to Room In A Box for donating their design services.