10 The Doors of Spring

I’m a total sucker for anything quaint and I can’t deny that I personally lean towards classic details with a cottage feel. When I run around the neighborhood {oh the few times that I try}, flowers are starting to take over and they couldn’t be any more beautiful. There’s nothing that screams Spring than a door adorned by these gorgeous creatures of nature. Here are 10 Doors of Spring to love!

1. Blue door and window with purple and blue hydrangeas close by.

2. Creeping vines and pink flowers surrounds a rustic wooden door.

3. Mint green door and a few pots of flowers is just gorgeous don’t you think?

4. Bubblegum pink door wrapped in pink flowers is just scrumptious.

bubblegum pink door

5. Deep turquoise with magenta is a match made in heaven.

6. How about a crown of flowers over your door?

7. Or better yet, soft pink roses as a gorgeous border.

8. A classic white door juxtaposed with flower boxes.

9.  A swag of flowers over the door doesn’t disappoint either.

10. So, these may be fall leaves but against a refreshing mint green door? Looks like Spring to me!

Images : 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>

Styling a Glamorous Dresser

We are finishing up a bedroom design. It’s a small but adorable space. For furnishings, we just had to get the bed, a dresser, a night stand, a lounge chair + stool. So considering that we only have to get 5 pieces, I’m sure my client was baffled that the shopping list to get together, style and accessorize her dresser has 10 items in it if not more. Styling is the best part of my job! It’s really all about layering, mixing and matching and making the tabletop vignette curated yet functional.

how to style a glamorous dresser

1. French Marble Top Chest | Jean Marc Fray

2. A Trio of Gold-Leafed Convex Mirrors | Layla Grace

3. Gold and Black Lamp | Currey & Company

4. Decorative books

5. Quartz Votive Holder | Jayson Home and Garden

6. Bone Oval Boxes | Jayson Home and Garden

7. Double Chain Link Sculpture | Kelly Wearstler

8. Bone Frame | Dwell Studio

9. Gold Ceramic Rope Vase | Studio A by Global Views

10. Art prints | Made by Girl

11. Gilded Jewelry Box | Anthropologie

The client went with a heirloom piece is a dresser but this French Marble top chest is all about the feel we’re going for. For a glamorous dresser space, go for luxurious and sophisticated pieces. It also means to go for texture and materials that screams elegance —- gilded and gold-leafed items are definitely in, quartz and bone elements speak opulence as well as those that’s shiny and gleaming. And of course, gorgeous flowers and chic books go a long way!

Happy Thursday everybody!

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>

Kohler Co + Benjamin Moore Color Collab

So, what happens when two inspiring and trusted brands come together? An environment that’s creative and thoroughly inspiring of course! Sometimes coordinating kitchen and bath fixtures with the color of your cabinets and cupboards is just hard with hundreds {if not thousands} of options out there. But Kohler Co. and Benjamin Moore makes it so easy. These are the first 3 looks they got together so far:

1. Southern Charm: I can’t help but love this palette! It’s perfect for a Parisian loo, rich with architectural details. The soft pinks of course is unmistakably feminine but the soft blues and grays is something both genders can agree with. White sinks and polished chrome fixtures are a great complement with the hues.

kohler benjamin moore southern charm Color | Fruit Shake

kohler benjamin moore southern charm Color | Province Blue

2. Eastern Mist: Relaxed and refreshing in misty greens and tranquil blues are amazing with light woods reminiscent of coastal and cottage styles.

benjamin moore kohler eastern mist Color | Wickham Gray

3. Northern Roots: Deep, complex neutrals perfect with a farmhouse style or contemporary abodes.

northern roots benjamin moore kohler Color | City Shadow

Which one is your favorite? I’m kinda partial to the Southern Charm one right now. With Spring in the air, it just reminds me of pastel-hued french macaroons!

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>

Be Original America : A Talk at the Austin Jones Center

american design furniture

Hello friends! I came across this website that is all about celebrating original design called Be Original America. Truly, in a world of copycats, it is refreshing to see that a company is championing original design. Their members are all about the value of authenticity , their campaign goal is to establish a set of industry standards that encourages consumers, the architecture/design community, producers, dealers and media partners to fully support genuine creativity.

Because get this:

According to the International Chamber of Commerce, 2.5 million jobs have been lost due to fake products.

Estimated value of counterfeit goods in 2008:  $650 billion Projected annual value of counterfeit goods by 2015:  Over $1.7 trillion1

Supporting fake goods  and knock-offs may help your pocket book for a smidgen of a second but the cons far outweigh it’s pros. Next week, they are holding a lecture at the Austin Jones Center to support their manifesto and cause. Here are the details:

Why Original Design is Important February 25, 2014 | 6:00 – 7:00pm Presented by Jerry Helling, President of Bernhardt Design Imagine a world with no original design.  Everything would be a copy and nothing would be new.  Join us for a talk at The Contemporary Austin Jones Center about why original design is important.

The Contemporary Austin Jones Center 700 Congress Avenue Austin, TX 78701

Let us support this cause and help a new generation of designers with the same ingenuity as the Eames, the Meeks and Evans of past eras.

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>

Kim West: Fearless and Confident Design

When it comes to spaces that deserves an enthusiastic ooohhh and aaaahhh, the description bold, daring and gutsy comes to mind. Going past the simple and safe is something that some of us have a hard time doing. But Kim West, a New York transplant will tell us how to do just that. Her home was featured at the Tribeza Interiors Tour and rightfully so. Her vision and design is exemplary and confident just like the bubbling personality that she is. Here’s an insight about her leap to the design world and her fascinating aesthetic.

eclectic colorful living room

1. From the fashion industry to interior design, what made you take the leap?

The move into interiors was organic for me, I think style is style and I have always looked for it whether it was a pair of earrings or a lamp. The exposure to a high level of design, loads of international travel and being a NYC citizen trained my eye. During that decade I spent in the fashion industry I was also obsessed with real estate, renovating and decoration. My developer husband and I loved buying apartments and turning them into little gems. When we sold them in one day with bidding wars I thought perhaps there is something there. When I left my position at Marc Jacobs and the city I wasn’t really sure what was next. A year later several people asked for my design work in their homes and Well Dressed Space was born.

kim west well dressed space

2. Some designers will say that they themselves were their hardest clients; were you an easy or hard client when you were designing and decorating your home? Why?

I find the hardest part of working with clients is comforting them into taking the leap away from safe choices. So I actually think I was an easy client. I’m more afraid of a boring space than a lively one. It’s sort of like one of Diana Vreeland’s philosophy’s… either be the best or the worst, just don’t be stuck in the middle.

eclectic colorful living room

  3. Designers continually evolve and are multifaceted, for your home, what main “style” did you lean towards and your initial source of inspiration?

This house is cheeky and charming, I wanted my family to live in a home that is playful and fun. My goal was to preserve and highlight the original details while taking it up a notch with strong hues and prints.


striped nursery nursery design kim west

4. For some, wall coverings or wallpaper is passé {which we totally disagree of course!}, why do you think it’s otherwise?

Hallelujah that it is back and back big time! Wallpaper is full scale art, mixing patterns with paper is one of my favorite design opportunities. On ceilings, on furniture, in an air stream trailer, I’m game for it anywhere. We are mixing two stunning papers in a client’s kitchen right now; I’m dying to see it once we finish!

5. You showed us that in your style and home, you’re not afraid of color and pattern; what advise would you give clients who are afraid to give it a shot but longing to do something more bold & daring in their space?

Paint!! It is inexpensive and can be changed easily. You also have to let the eye adjust and live with it for a bit. Give yourself a few weeks with your new shade and see how it feels. Also take a risk in a small space perhaps a closet, utility area or powder room. The world of inspiration is never ending, join pinterest, spend some time perusing design publications and commit to a look.

6. Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein and a slew of others have done it; which fashion designer would you love to see foray into the interior design world to make some home decor furnishings and accessories?

Good question! I can’t narrow it down to just one. I would love to see Irene Neuwirth designing light fixtures, textiles from Marni, accessories from Lanvin and any and every category from the queen Miuccia Prada.

Thank you so much Kim! Your style is adorable and Austin is lucky to have such an incredible interior design talent. And remember everyone, a daring and adventurous transformation to your space this 2014 just might be the first step to unleash your endless creativity and spunk!


10 Ideas for a Stunning Wine Cellar

I’m having a serious case of the winter blues and I can’t even complain as it’s been in the 70’s here in Austin this weekend {and it’s most definitely not what Atlanta, NYC or Washington is experiencing}. But looong weeks of dreary days in the 30’s a couple of weeks back is what I think did it. I love my sunlight & need to get my melatonin levels down and be bright, cheery and driven all over again!

Anyway, on a good note; last week, I went with a group of friends to the California wine country for a gals special birthday. It was rainy & dreary but the company was fun. We checked out great sights in San Fran, had amazing food and went to several wineries in Napa, Sonoma & St. Helena. I am no wine connoisseur {and don’t pretend to be} but here’s what I adore in wineries; the tasting rooms & cellars themselves. So cozy and so intimate. Here are 10 ideas for a stunning wine cellar:

1. In the center of the room, encased in glass.

2. In the basement in rustic crates for a vintage feel.

Country Living

3. X-boxes in the kitchen cabinetry for built-in wine storage.

4. Or in a linear fashion that goes from horizontal to vertical or vice versa.
5. The dungeon, stone carvings {holes} look for an old-world feel.
6. Turn the kitchen hallway into a curved wine case storage.
7. Have an almost floor-to-ceiling X-configuration built-in wine storage.
8. Or a whole library of floor-to-ceiling wine storage just across from your dining table.
9. The wine bar nook look, of course!
10. My favorite because it’s unexpected! The spiral staircase wine storage.

How about you? Any favorites? In other parts of the world and the country, the wine cellar is as important as the guest bedroom … for now, I’m sticking to my bar cart although I’m seriously considering having a wine cellar on my *want* list.

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>

Black Walls White Floor

black living room

via Domino

I think this room is so wonderful. I have a new obsession with dark walls, whether it’s black or deep blue, maybe even an eggplant hue. So regal, so rich, so warm and in this space it totally works — the floors and ceilings are white, there’s floods of lights coming in the room and the space is further toned down by white, cream and taupe accessories {the rug, stool, throw, art, lamp}.

Happy Friday everyone, try to stay warm and enjoy and if you’re an Austin, check out the Austin Modern Homes Tour this weekend!

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>

An Interview with Cornerstone Architects

modern foyer austin

What are you up to this weekend? Well, for more home inspiration and ideas, the 2014 Austin Modern Homes Tour is this Saturday. Learn about new building materials, how to make the transition between outdoor and living spaces seamless and ideas on design as well. I caught up with Chris Davenport, one of the architects at Cornerstone to talk about their featured home at Ridgewood as well as the new trends in building in 2014.

1. It’s 2014! What new trends are you seeing as far as energy efficiency in building and designing a home?  

With more and more homes pushing toward the modern vocabulary, we have seen a great increase in the number of clients who long for informal, functional living.  Extra Dining and Living areas are becoming much less frequent in favor of putting the effort and resources into spaces the family actually enjoys on a daily basis.  This drive towards practical and flexible spaces inherently improves the efficiency in building and couples nicely with the new technologies and building systems that are becoming increasingly more effective.

Modern home austin cornerstone architects

2. When designing the home at Ridgewood, what was the major challenge you were dealt with and how did you solve it?  

Most of the homes in this established Austin neighborhood are conventional in their layout with a front yard, rear yard, and a house that spans across the width of the somewhat narrow but deep lot.  In our case, we wanted to be sensitive to the heat gain of a Western rear exposure and also take advantage of a potential corridor lake view to the North or Right side of the lot.  A neighbor to the West was also a concern as their residence would be clearly visible from the rear of our house and yard. A “Fishbowl” effect with neighbors viewing in from all sides was in direct opposition with our goal to establish an enjoyable outdoor / indoor entertaining space with a pool.

In response to this challenge we implemented a “Y”-Shaped floor plan that turned the view from the Major living areas to the North.   A large stone Fireplace wall was incorporated on the West side to keep windows away from the neighbor and the hot Texas sun.  The Living Room wing pushes far enough past the North side neighbor’s home that the view to the lake was captured upstairs, and a sense of a somewhat private entertaining space was created.  We also left all of the existing trees and kept the pool snug to the house to increase the sense of one’s own space.

modern kitchen austin

3.Designing on a cost-conscious budget, what are a few examples of how you are able to achieve this for the Ridgewood home?

A common strategy that we employed on the Ridgewood residence was the “bang for your buck” philosophy.  We encourage the Owner to prioritize the spaces and features that are most important to them and spend their money there.  For most clients this means choosing high end materials and fixtures in the public spaces while pulling back a little bit in the secondary bedrooms and private spaces that only close friends and family see.

The reality is that simple paint grade finishes and monotone color schemes can actually be quite sufficient in a lot of modern expressions. They take emphasis off of the walls and put it on the Owner’s furnishings and artwork.  To further reduce cost, left over granite pieces were used as counters, and cost effective porcelain or ceramic floor tile was selected rather than traditional stone.

modern bedroom austin

4. What does it mean to be a 5-star green home?  

In the case of the Ridgewood residence this meant appropriate site placement, large overhangs, thoughtful location of windows, efficient heating and cooling, good insulation, and sustainable materials and plants.  A myriad of selections and systems had to be carefully coordinated between the Architect, Owner, Interior Designer, and Builder.  We are pleased to be a part of one of the most organized and recognized green building programs in the country, and the entire team worked together to achieve the highest rating.

5.Cornerstone has a wide range of portfolio from traditional to modern projects, aside from aesthetics, feel and look; how is a modern design project different from a traditional one?  

While the traditional concerns of Function, Aesthetics, and Budget are still important, I find that my Modern clientele tend to come to the table with additional expectations that challenge the norms of the “Traditional Home”.  Whether it be incorporating the latest green technology, using space in an unconventional manner, or simply driving towards a unique artistic expression, Modern homes tend to be less based in traditional archetypes and are more a result of an explorative process to express the unique needs, character, and desires of the client and site.

modern foyer austin

This home feels so spacious and refreshing. See this home and more at this weekend’s tour!

Images by Andrew Pogue

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>


One Table Four Ways

When you buy a piece of furniture, do you instantly visualize how you are going to style it? Meaning what kind of accessories you are going to put on it to create the feel and look you’re going for? Because, really a night stand without a lamp is seriously blah, a bar cart without bar accessories and a bottle of wine just wouldn’t be right {and will be just downright ridiculous!} and a coffee table not styled? Well, you get the picture. I got to style a simple Ikea Lack table four ways for the premiere issue of Make it Over Magazine from the makers of Cottages & Bungalows and Romantic Homes. Here’s how I did it:

1. Modern Organic :

 What you’ll need: a tree branch, a clear globe or terrarium with succulents and/or air plants, geometric candle holders, hard bound books in muted earthy colors

modern organic table modern organic table

2. Romantic Elegance: A departure from the vignette above, this style is a bit glamorous, thoroughly charming and decidedly feminine.

What you’ll need: a girl bust, brass candlesticks, french-style decorative books, vintage glass vase with etching, vintage opera glasses

romantic table romantic styling

 3. Vintage Rustic: The character of vintage mixed with the depth and layers of rustic elements.

What you’ll need: a vintage camera, cobbler shoe forms, weathered books, a vintage hardware, glass cloche and fill with twigs, moss, pebbles and faux wildlife, black and white photos, nest

rustic vintage table rustic vintage table

 4. Coastal Shabby Chic: Light and bright, breezy and refreshing

What you’ll need: Corals, Vintage bottles {dipped in off-white paint}, doilies

coastal shabby chic shabby chic styling

 All accessories are mine — I must say, I’m a bit of a hoarder, an edited hoarder that is…if there’s such a thing! Photos are by this amazing guy Waytao Shing. The magazine should still be in newsstands or grab one here.

One last thing, designers are amazing at accessorizing and styling. Their great “eye” allows them to look at all the stuff you think are tired and should either be chunked or forgotten and give them new life in your space. They can also tell you when something works and doesn’t work. I may be biased but a well-edited and beautiful space is truly invaluable in your home.

Have a question on how to get everything together — design and interiors styling wise? I do love answering them, contact me here.

An Interview with Element 5 Architecture

modern home austin

I must say that Austin is truly multifaceted when it comes to design. Fresh from high doses of interiors inspiration this weekend with the Tribeza Interiors Tour, another great design event is coming up this weekend. Although decorating is my passion, one cannot deny that without building and architecture; well, a home will have no bones. I’ve been to the Austin Modern Homes Tour and they never disappoint. From each home, you’ll always take with you new ideas and learn from the best architects in town. I caught up with Nick Mehl of Elements 5 Architecture about their work at one of the homes that will be featured in the 2014 Austin Modern Homes Tour.

1. It’s 2014! What new trends are you seeing as far as energy efficiency in building and designing a home?

LEDs all the way! We’re seeing a growing interest in using LED lighting throughout and a growing interest in incorporating Smart Home technology – integrating lighting, wifi, computer networks, electrical outlets and HVAC controls into the design of the home.

living room modern home austin

2.”Modern, environmental designs on a strict budget,” I like that! What are a few examples of how you are able to achieve this {cutting costs, etc}?

Keeping to a strict budget is even harder than it sounds. It means we, as architects, have to possess the knowledge of how much each and every aspect of the design costs. Architects often rely on builders for that information, but our office has built many of our own projects. We work very closely with builders during the bid process and have learned (the hard way) the factors that drive the cost.

kitchen modern home austin

3. When designing the home at Daugherty, what was the major challenge you were dealt with and how did you solve it?

The Daugherty Residence was a challenge because, as with most modern designs, integrating the mechanical system is difficult with flat roofs, hidden structural beams and lack of attic space to run ducts. It sounds somewhat boring, but designing the mechanical system to work smoothly is something important for architects to consider.

4. Tell me more of how you designed the back patio.

The back patio is not completely finished, but I’m glad you like it so far. Our concept was for the living room to feel like a part of the back patio. Towards that end, we have a large wall of floor to ceiling glass and a ceiling that visually transfers from inside to outside. The patio itself features some really beautiful pavers that the owners found.

backyard modern home austin

5. Your firm is also keen on highlighting the natural elements unique to Austin, can you expound on that?

There are two aspects to designing with the natural elements of Austin. The most obvious is using materials that are found in our region – limestone, certain species of wood, concrete, steel and glass. Secondly, there are the skilled craftsmen unique to our region. We have a great source of skilled masons and stucco contractors. Integrating nature into our designs also helps tie it into the region, and there are some award winning landscape architects in Austin who work with a unique palette of materials.

dining modern home austin

Get your tickets here. The event is Feb 1st and starts at 11 am. See you there folks!

Do you have a Design question? Feel free to drop me a line here >>>

Images by Atelier Wong