Ellen Pompeo’s Home : Before and After

So how was your weekend everyone? My weekdays & weekends are all the same to me since the little one came. Anyway, Sundays are usually “magazine reading days” for me. I have my favorite home mags by the couch … Elle Decor, House Beautiful & I must admit, I have a newfound love for Architectural Digest. Even their new website is amazing! {I thought it was really sterile before}. I think since Margaret Russel took over the mag, it found a new lease on life. A much younger voice but still full of class and sophistication. Well, their November issue is all about before & afters and it’s a must read.

I was especially mesmerized by the work of Martyn Lawrence Bullard at the enchanting home of gorgeous actress, Ellen Pompeo. I dissected the transformation & learned/affirmed a few things about design and decorating from the creative genius that is MLB. Oh, Million Dollar Decorators, how I miss you! Here’s a few things I wanna share. Please pardon the drawing & scan copy. I was drawing/scanning with one hand {holding the baby} & why oh why do scan copies have that blue smudge sometimes?

ellen pompeo living room before

In the living room, a cohesive palette and clever furniture/space planning transformed the space into an amazingly inviting space.

ellen pompeo dining room before

ellen pompeo dining room

The dining room transformation is swoon-worthy! Wood on wood treatments {floors & walls}, who would’ve thought this would work seamlessly without looking like a rustic lodge? That chandelier is to die for.

! ellen pompeo bedroom before

Hmmm, so wall paneling is alive & well. And yes, in this room, it works so well and makes for a cozy & warm retreat.

ellen pompeo bedroom

It really just goes to show you how many elements, layers and textures it takes to make a space well done.

Have an amazing week everyone!

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 >>>

Provence Dreaming

Hola & happy Friday everyone! Tomorrow marks the one month birthday of my new little bundle, Simon Sebastian. Oh, how time flies! He is getting bigger each day, which is a good thing after having a bout of jaundice that first week when he lost almost a pound {super scary for a newborn & parents of course!}. I’m trying my darndest to have a regular schedule and do things according to my task list but alas, newborns have a schedule of their own. My days are filled with diaper duties and breastfeeding/pumping around the clock or researching about cradle cap and stalking Mother forums where they discuss, “Is my baby crying too much?” “Am I spoiling my baby?” “Is my baby too clingy?” It goes on & on — by the way, the answer is No, No and No.

Anyway, for the weekend, I leave you with these gorgeous pictures from Kathryn Ireland’s vacation home in Provence. Well, because it’s just dreamy. The amazing designer marries a gorgeous, colorful palette with rustic surroundings that makes for a cozy getaway. I just adore her and the stories she makes through her designs — one that’s collected, full of life and spaces that will make nostalgic memories.

Can you imagine having dining al fresco in this vignette? I am in love!

I leave you with a few images of the little one. I’m slowly getting back to work {just hired a part-time sitter…wahoo!} and finishing up some designs & starting new ones. Life & work will be different, but I can tell it will be amazingly better! Happy weekend everyone.

bebe Stevens











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 >>>See more of the gorgeous images via Domaine

Project Feminine Rustic Design

I am living vicariously from single ladies who I’m currently helping to design their gorgeous abodes. It reminds me of the time when I bought my first home, a quaint cottage with a yard; where I lived all by myself, did things when I want to do them, decorated the way I want to and when I was most disciplined {when it comes to exercising & eating right — why does marriage make you gain weight?}.

Today, I want to share what we’re doing for a young, successful lady in her cute loft-like home. The home is split level with the living room, dining room & kitchen, library/office all in one open space with 20 ft. ceilings and a massive fireplace. She wanted a sophisticated, inviting environment that’s not one note … she wanted a mix of several styles without looking hodge podge of course!

feminine rustic living room

In the living room, the fireplace is the focal point. She is in love with a leather cognac sofa which is perfect for the rustic space. A wing chair with nice curves, marble accent table & a white tufted bench exudes feminine sophistication. She has a few stairs going up to the bedroom & restroom & ornate, European-style candle lanterns will be so romantic, don’t you think? And the venetian mirror…nothing beats a classic!

foyer and bookcase

In the foyer or entryway, a console + chair + hooks is both beautiful & functional. We’ll add a collage of art, a mirror {because it just helps to look at yourself just one last time before you head out the door}. She has a bookcase right behind the sofa which we’ll paint the inside with a charcoal hue & of course, nothing is really done until they’re accessorized & styled.

french modern dining room

And here’s the dining room design board. We’ll pair a sleek, white, minimalist table with a dramatic crystal chandelier & rattan french bistro chairs. She loves European getaways so why not bring the al fresco French cafe experience to her?

We’re slowly getting things together…there maybe a few changes here and there. I’m hoping {and thinking} she loves it.

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 >>>

Roundup: Favorite Online Decor Shops

In the design world, we call it sourcing, purposeful shopping, research, inquest. As a designer, furniture are not just rectangular pieces {or whatever shape} to us & swoon-worthy objet trouves makes us gasp with excitement every time. We consider these items a piece of a story that seamlessly narrates what our design client is all about. Don’t get me wrong, going to brick and mortar shops is a must as well as developing relationships with trade partners and vendors is crucial {especially with local artisans}. But when we’re explaining a piece to a client, nothing is easier than capturing an image or a link online and saying…”something like this.” And helps in finishing up design boards too {check mine at Houzz!}. Well, my purposeful shopping and research always bring me to these online shops that seem to absolutely get me & my client’s needs:

For accessories….

Domino online shop

Domino, the beloved mag which launched a slew of design-loving and decorating-savvy community may have initially collapsed but it’s thriving again with it’s e-magazine, quarterly printed issues & yes, a wonderful e-shop. It sells various home items but I’m especially in love with their accessories.

furbish studio

For vibrant, colorful and even whimsical little finds, you won’t get disappointed shopping at Furbish Studio.

For amazing vintage finds ….

chairish vintage

Of course there’s always Craigslist but Chairish is amazingly curated and well-edited, I couldn’t help but “heart” almost every piece. Additional perk, you can actually negotiate on the item pricing, now that is awesome!

One Kings Lane shop

Of course One King’s Lane is one of my faves. Flash sales of impeccable pieces is an adventure in itself. You should really check out their vintage items!

For deals …

wayfair shop

Contrary to what most people think, Wayfair does not carry only low to medium-end products. It also carries high design brands like Jonathan Adler and Herman Miller. Their discounts are not to be beat. Here’s a tip, if you are a designer or working with a designer, join their Trade Services which gives you more discounts on already discounted prices. You’ll get personalized assistance from a dedicated rep & the Wayfair brand includes other amazing shops; All Modern, Dwell Studio & Birch Lane.

For the modern lover….

all modern shop

All Modern is amazing! Sometimes these items can be downright super pricey but this shop has alternatives for the same look!

For the eclectic ….

dwell studio shop

Dwell Studio… Eclectic with the occasional glam, whimsical & bohemian vibe, this is a brand neo-traditionalists can relate to.

For masculine finds ….

jayson home and garden shop

I’ve been in love with Jayson Home & Garden ever since I stepped into their shop in Chicago about 6 years ago. The feel is masculine, global and rustic and all around just sophisticated.

For the traditional …

horchow shop

Then there’s Horchow, Neiman Marcus’s sister brand for all things home related. It’s all about beautiful, more ornate and Euro-traditional items & pieces.

Where are you online shopping right now?

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 >>>

7 Amazing Circus Painted Ceilings

Hola friends! I’m still here…it’s been two months since my last post. June,July and early August has been extremely hectic. On a good note, I am two weeks away from having my baby and to all Momma’s out there, you know what I’m going through. Oh, but this post is not about venting my grievances, gripes and beef with the last few weeks of pregnancy. Le sigh!

I am nesting, having a boost of wanting to get everything done and organized. Everything is set to go; car seat in the car…check, all classes & hospital tours… done, going-to-the-hospital bag packed…yup, nursery completed…no. Well, I don’t think it will be complete for a while. It will evolve as he/she {yes, we don’t know what the sex is, it’ll be a surprise} grows, of course. But right now, I’ve made some compromises already….like I originally wanted this crib but seriously I can’t justify the price {plus I’m getting a better one with both looks & functionality courtesy of my MIL}; I was going to get this wallcovering to dress my cutout headboard but I am now opting for a simpler look, how about some unassuming but cute elephants {plus yes! the wallpaper was pretty pricey}? But this one, I am not willing to compromise just yet… I want a circus painted ceiling. The hubs is busy and has not committed yet on when he can do it. At this time, even saying that it’s for the baby doesn’t help. Let’s have some inspiration, shall we?

1. A red circus ceiling is just bold, isn’t it?

















2. Pale blue is so sophisticated.

3. Yet sometimes, going neutral is best.

4. I’ve been biased with mint green hues for a while now.

5. A different take on the circus ceiling in gray; and wowzers…in a workout room.

6. If it’s for a little princess, you can’t go wrong with pink.

7. Or black and white.

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 >>>

Images: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

3 Easy Updates for an Old Bathroom

updated old bathroom

The first place we visit in the morning is the loo, right? Well, to start the day right, I say we should see something that’s vibrant and cheerful. Anna from My Bathrooms blog is sharing ideas with us on 3 easy updates for an old bathroom.

If your home is an older one, it probably has a number of charming quirks and interesting features that add depth and texture to your living room or bedroom decor. The one place that you probably do not like to see these old features at is the bathroom. After all, everybody wants a gleaming modern bathroom, not a gloomy one with a stained, oversized tub and dated fixtures and fittings, right? Here are 3 easy updates for you.
1. Color Me Bright!
If your fixtures are sturdy and solid, you are unlikely to want the expense of redoing the entire bathroom. Give your dated bathroom furniture an instant lift by investing in some bath tub paint. This task is a painstaking one, involving thoroughly cleaning the existing bath surface before prepping it for the base coat, which should then be followed by a minimum of two coats of your preferred color.The whole process can take at least one and usually two whole days, so you will need to warn the family that the bath will be out of bounds before your begin. You will be pleased at how something as simple as a couple of coats of paint can brighten and cheer up your old bathroom! You can opt for classic white or you can add a splash of funky color by picking out the tub, basin and even toilet in bright primary colors.
2. Accessorize!
Even the oldest bathroom will look vastly improved with the right accessories from My Bathrooms. Shop around, rather than simply going into the nearest shop and picking up the first set that you see. Look online for ideas and trawl through several websites for inspiration before deciding on the right look for your vibrant bathroom.

3.Light up your Life!

Even if you cannot afford a full bathroom refit, you should invest some money in modernizing the bathroom lighting. Not only is this safer as older electrical wiring can be temperamental and sometimes even dangerous, but the bathroom will look much better with clear bright light banishing the gloom. Modern light fittings can diffuse harsh light, scatter and refract over-bright light and even highlight certain parts of the room rather than others.
Employing just one of the above tips can make a huge difference to your old bathroom, brightening and enlivening the decor and enhancing the proportions of the room. In short, making the best of your beautiful home while creating an attractive and stylish bathroom for family and guests to enjoy.


Images: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4

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 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 >>>

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 >>>