A Bench Auction by Kelly La Plante and Spruce Upholstery | DIFFA Austin


Hola everyone! How was your fourth-of-July-sweltering-hot-long-weekend? Mine was low-key {meaning it was spent working} which is what I needed after a week and a half long stint in Vegas where my non-gambling and non-drinking self was spent just supporting my husband exercising his passion for poker.

Also, behind-the-scenes, I’m so lucky to be in the committee that is bringing DIFFA {Design Industries Foundation Fighting Aids} to Austin — where 20 designers will showcase picnic table set ups in an Urban Picnic by Design on September 11 {more details to come}. The event is spearheaded by the talented Kelly La Plante. La Plante partnered with the upholstery mavens at Spruce to create this one-of-a-kind, retro-groovy Bench with Alexander McQueen inspired fabric and hairpin legs from Treehouse Austin. I mean, what’s not to love about this piece? It is aptly named the Frank Bench, named after one of Kelly’s dear friends who after battling AIDS for 34 years, passed away this year.


Bid for the bench here! The auction expires at midnight, July 8. That’s tomorrow! Go, go, go! It’s an amazing custom piece made by the who’s who of the design world here in Austin and all proceeds goes to the Aids Services of Austin.

Don’t forget to bid here everyone!

Bathroom Tiles: The Top 6 Trends in 2014

I am such a sucker for beautiful baths! A gorgeous one is definitely an oasis, check out these covetable loos. Don’t look at that dated tile in your bathroom and despair. Look upon it like a blank canvas. There are countless varieties of tile out there available for you to replace it with. What look are you going for? Bold and modern? Or warm and traditional? You can achieve either look with the hottest tile trends in 2014.
1.Metal Tile. Highly reflective, sleek -looking metal tile works great as a backsplash or when used as accent tiles. Stainless steel tile provides a bold modern style while brightening the room. Or choose bronze or copper for a more muted, traditional look. But metal tiles don’t have to be shiny and reflective. Earth tones from Dal-Tile’s Metal Fusion line offer natural colors in a unique material.


2. Subway Tile. Beveled subway tile is such a classic look, it still remains a popular and stylish choice today. The white tile works great to soften neighboring bold colors or tile mosaics, and provides a clean look when used for an entire surface. For easier installation, look for larger tiles designed to appear as several smaller tiles.  Map out your budget and then decide what kind of subway tile to spring for, as cost runs the gamut from budget-friendly to high-end professional grade.

white subway tile bathroom brass

3. Glass Tile. Using glass tiles for accent tiles or walls and counters adds a certain dimension that more traditional ceramic or natural stone tiles just can’t compete with. The translucence of the glass adds depth to any room immediately, whether they are used in small patterns in conjunction with other types of tile, or when used for an entire wall. Most glass tiles are made from recycled glass and are available in a wide range of colors.

glass tile bathroom

4. Pattern Tile. Achieving a vintage look with pattern tile is another great look for 2014, especially pattern tiles that imitate encaustic tiles – Check out ABL Bath & Tile for new patterns very soon. Faded ceramic tiles the mimic the soft look of encaustic tiles used in Europe can help you recreate this style. Nature-inspired pattern tiles are also a great way to add single accent tiles or a larger panel of tiles to break up a monotone wall color.

5. Mosaic Tile. A cousin to the pattern tile, mosaic tiles can create a classic style for your bathroom. The trick is to use the mosaic tiles sparingly when going for an overall simple design with a bit of flair here and there. Or, if bold colors and patterns are more to your taste, go all out with some of the more vibrant mosaics designed to cover larger surfaces.

6. Wood tile. Ceramic and porcelain tile designed with a wood grain texture have been on the market for several years now, and seems to be only gaining momentum. Wood tile is available in a near limitless variety of colors and installation options, such as long planks or parquet. Wood tile is actually more cost-effective than some hardwood floor options, and it’s much easier to take care of.

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6

Whatever look you’re going for…there’s a tile for that! Nowadays, it’s all about options right?

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Happy Memorial Weekend!

via Etsy

What are you doing this Memorial weekend? Whatever it is, relax, have fun and enjoy!

For some “day of” inspiration, check out our Pinterest Board.

I got introduced to this new site & I kinda love it!

I had a blast dining with wonderful local designers at Mettle Austin.

I’m a Spurs fanatic and this vid made me teary-eyed.

I adore these chairs!

These tiles are sick! I just adore intricate tiling.

Finally, I can’t thank Wayfair enough for this wonderful gift for #ProjectNursery #BebeStevens.

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

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Valspar’s Answer to the Battle of the Paint Lines

Color in design is one of those things we, decorators and design lovers can’t stop talking about. If you want to know more tips and tricks on infusing color into your space, read our  Color Design Rules. If you’re ready to have a specific color palette, check out these Perfect Room Color Combos. Of course, you have to know the basics, I made a presentation at Treehouse Austin about Color Theory.

Color is in everything we see and sets the tone for every room. And nothing infuses more color than paint of course! With a wide array of brand names, which one should you choose? It’s no secret that I’m quite partial to Sherwin Williams and I’ve used Benjamin-Moore and the Jeff-Lewis paint line before. But I’m very intrigued about the new line by Valspar called Reserve.  Reserve features HydroChroma Technology, a new colorant system developed by Valspar with super-strength pigments allowing for a broad range of deeper, more vibrant colors and more accurate color matching. I must admit, their commercial was very clever too. It’s that one where the Mom is doing a video chat with Dad & kids. The wall behind them is vibrant yet after zooming out, there’s clutter everywhere and mess on the walls. So, it looks like cleaning will be a breeze and taking out stains off the wall is super easy.

Chroma in Color Theory is the saturation of a color, how intense it is. Think of it as “pure, bright color”, compared to a color diluted with white, darkened by black or grey, or thinned by glaze. Reserve is Valspar’s top of the line paint that is low-odor and zero VOC, it’s fade resistant and with the saturation being so intense, one-coat coverage is greatly improved {a must for paint DIY’ers out there}.

blue room valspar reserve

purple red room vaslpar reserve

pink mudroom Images by Valspar

With their newest line 40%  more durable & 40% better stain blocking, Valspar’s new paint line and technology is something to check out.

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

2014 Ten Kitchen Trends to Try

When kitchen and cooking prowess were sprinkled to us humans, I was probably in seclusion under a rock. It’s really a tragedy that I can’t cook; but I know just like everything else…all I have to do is try and practice, practice, practice. One thing I love doing though is looking for innovations on how to make a kitchen be both design-savvy and extremely functional.

While perusing the May issue of Better Homes and Gardens, I came across lots of ideas and kitchen trends to check out. While I won’t wait to have all of these in order to have an ounce of culinary skills; I think for all of you where the kitchen and dining room is the family hub, these kitchen trends are a must to check out!

1. Touchless faucet. Isn’t it just a hassle to move from one food prep to another and smear your faucet with bits of chicken meat then some parsley after? Yuck! So, with touchless faucets, you can just improve your cooking flow and get things done with less mess.

touchless faucet

Kohler Sensate Kitchen Faucet

2. Sliding Barn Door to the Pantry. Sleek and functional and sort of unexpected. It’s like the parting of the Red Sea when you open these doors to reveal canisters of flour and sugar and a wide array of seasonings.

3. Peek-Through Pantry. Isn’t it obvious yet? I get a thrill from looking at pantry items. A little peek just adds more to the excitement!
via BHG
4. Quartz Countertops. Move over granite, you are just so yesterday. The new thing in kitchen countertops is quartz. It looks like marble but not as expensive as marble. It’s also arguably the most durable option for kitchens.  Their primary ingredient is ground quartz combined with polyester resins to bind it and pigments to give it color. They are counters stain and scratch resistant and nonporous, so they never need to be sealed. Hoe’s that for convenience and style?


5. Mechanized Kitchen Drawers. Because everything should be automatic and opens and closes with just a simple nudge.
6. Eat-in Kitchens. So, this idea may not be new and most families have been doing this since time immemorial. If you’re like me, I don’t need a formal dining room. I want one that’s casual and can be a dining room, nook for paying bills and homework central for the kids. Whether you have banquette seating or a long table within the kitchen, eat-in kitchens are a must for every home.
7. USB cable receptacles. The word innovate and technology just goes hand in hand. From USB cable receptacles, to wireless printers and paperless tracking of the household’s financial planning should be within reach and available in the kitchen.
8. Apron-Front Sink. Ok, I must admit, I’m a bit partial to the farmhouse feel. But farmhouse and apron-front sinks are not just for farmhouse designs, it can also be for the modern, eclectic and traditional styles. The apron front look just gives the space a different look and since this area gets a lot of water; it just makes sense that it should be made of a material that can withstand this element.
9. Vinyl Tiling. While marble or wooden floors is my absolute dream; vinyl tiling makes a grand entrance in the world of kitchen floors. Why? Because it’s tacky look is gone. Vinyl tiling can now both look sophisticated and luxurious. And nobody can even tell what’s the real deal and what’s not.
10. Fireplace in the Kitchen. This is one of those things where what’s old is new again. A long time ago; before the birth of the oven, there was only fire housed by a canopy of bricks or stones. You can have the real deal or one of those flameless fireplaces and both are made with extensive safety features. How about make some smores or a real brick oven pizza from just across your kitchen sink?
So many great ideas…thank you Better Homes and Gardens!
Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

A Quick Trip to San Antonio

One thing that me and my husband always try to do is going somewhere new and fun. Well, with an upcoming addition to our family we’ve been slowing down with traveling. But really, we are so lucky to live in Austin where there are tons of things to do and places to go to. I must admit, we have been bad in appreciating this, thinking that unless we go somewhere far then it’s no big deal. Aside from in-town attractions, the adorable towns of Fredericksburg, Gruene and New Braunfels is just a little more than an hour away. And so is San Antonio, where The Alamo stands. And yes, it’s also where the Spurs are playing in the playoffs {and yes killed the Dallas Mavericks & now the OKC Thunder}. My husband is a fanatic and graciously gets us front row tickets. Now, I’m not one to splurge on game tickets, my task is booking our hotel.

the menger lobby

We stayed at The Menger this time which was gorgeous and brought us back in time circa 1859. And thank you to Expedia, we got VIP treatment with an upgrade to The Sidney Lanier suite and a welcome fruit basket. I mean everybody needs grapes and strawberries after a long drive.

maureen and jason

My husband’s honorary grandpa took this picture of us before the game and captioned it, “Wolfman and Lady.” Yes! It’s spot on. And of course I have to have a pic at the riverwalk, which is gorgeous day or night.

San Antonio the Menger A few snaps of the hotel; the garden, gorgeous tiling and hallways and I am also loving the wall moldings at the stairs.

maureen stevens pregnant

And finally, a quick snap of how the baby bump is coming along. I’m almost 5 months and feeling so much better than the first 3 months. Happy Friday everyone and have the best of the weekend!

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

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Interior Define | Luxury Sofas at Affordable Price

I love shopping for furnishings and decor! Shocker, right? It’s one of my favorite things to do and “sourcing” or finding things both for me, family, friends and of course, clients is one of my daily tasks both for fun and work. As a designer, I get to see “what’s new” in the market from newsletters, press releases, trade mags & events that I pass on to my clients, of course! If you’re like me, I go for the luxurious but with a great price; I am the champagne on a beer budget gal {although don’t get me wrong — there are pieces that I would totally say, go for the real deal and top of the line}.

There’s a new “seating” option out there, an online source for sectionals, sofas and chairs. Interior Define offers well-crafted pieces at a fraction of the price of mainstream luxury brands. They do this by bypassing unnecessary middlemen and markups. Here are my faves:

interior define sofas 1/ Asher sofa 2/ Wesley Chair 3/ Pritchard Sectional 4/ Taylor Chair

modern sofa modern traditional sofas You will be floored when you see their pricing! Here’s a little bit more about them and with a 365 day return policy plus a concierge service, you can’t go wrong. They also have really great advisory board, with Andy Dunn of Bonobos and Joel Peterson, chairman of Jetblue. I just got my fabric, felt and leather swatches & they are sweet! Getting a sectional for a client soon!

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Grand Entrance | In Color or Neutrals

As you can tell I’m having a front door fetish lately. Well, a lot of friends and clients have been looking to spruce up their grand entrance. And I say, nothing says “grand” than glossy lacquer for the front door. I’m swooning over the new paint by Benjamin Moore, Grand Entrance. It’s lush, it’s so European and frankly, you can’t go wrong with any color you choose.

COLORFUL FRONT DOORSLoving the front door in color? How about scarlet red? Cheery Orange or yellow, luxurious greens and electric blues, exciting indigo or royal violet? Yup, the colors of the rainbow shouts boldness and sass.

neutral front doorsOr maybe, you’re more into the classic ….simple, understated yet boldly beautiful all at the same time? Fall in love with glamorous blacks, grays and whites. I say go on, change the color of that door and create a grand entrance!

Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Birch Lane

When people ask what my design style is, I do try to veer away from the word “eclectic,” because really this word can take on a myriad of meanings. I say mine is more an updated classic or new traditional, neotrad. More on the “trad” side than the “new” side. That’s why I’m so happy when one of my favorite decor shopping sites, Wayfair, launched a new website that’s dedicated to all things traditional, quality furnishings and inspired decor. It’s called Birch Lane.

I have been perusing their website in the past hour and already thought of different schemes that can be done with their selections. One that is British Colonial — English classic with dark woods and neutral fabrics, and French Country — white on white and distressed woods. Both traditional yet comfortable and cozy at the same time. Check it out:
birch lane Selections for British Colonial: 1. Landry Sofa 2. Barton Wing Chair 3. Harwich Storage Trunk 4. Brooklyn Chandelier 5. Shaw Floor Mirror

Selections for French Country: 1. Montgomery Loveseat 2. Montgomery Armchair 3. Grafton Console Table 4. Brighton Chandelier 5. Frances Floor Mirror

What do you think? Wee, more wonderful shopping sites for me! Of course, I always check out their partner sites regularly as well; AllModern and Dwell Studio. Their customer service is impeccable!

Happy amazing Wednesday friends!

Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

Ramblings and a Garden Shed

So, it seems I’ve been hibernating lately…even from the blog world! Tsk! Tsk! I haven’t made a post in almost two weeks. Bad Maureen! Bad Maureen….ha!ha! I have been somewhat busy behind the virtual world though. Collaborations and more design work are on the horizon and I’ll share them with you as they unfold.

Anywho, so if you don’t know it yet; I’m pregnant. And I’m really finding out I’m a grumpy preggo lady. My energy is slowly coming back since I’m about 4 1/2 mos now though. I’m doing some run/walk activity and light aerobics a few days a week and finally admitted that my pants cannot fit me anymore. I also realized that most maternity clothes are hideous! Really, all I want to wear are outfits from Hatch but why is a shirt $250 or so?

I hope all of you have a happy weekend and today I leave you with this image of a gorgeous garden shed. Seriously, I’ll serve brunch and dinner here and have a reading nook in the corner!


Do you have a Design question or dilemma? Drop me a line and I’ll answer them for free {and absolutely no strings attached!}. Click here >>>

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