A Q & A with Meredith Ellis // Tribeza Interiors Tour 2015

 

I can’t believe that it’s been a year since the first Tribeza Interiors Tour! Last year, I’ve had the pleasure of interviewing the amazingly talented Tracey Overbeck Stead. It was great to peek inside the homes of the most celebrated interior designers in Austin and look closely as to what inspires them and fuels their creativity. One big thing about Austin, the designers are laid back, approachable, friendly and their homes? The same way as their talented owners … that is what sets Austin interior design apart — design that’s creative yet never out of reach, beautiful yet never stuffy.

This year, I am so lucky to do a Q & A with one of the designers for this year’s Tribeza Interiors Tour, Meredith Ellis. I was instantly drawn to her aesthetic because of it’s warmth, life and design that’s utterly personal. It’s curated over time with mementos that speaks of a hundred memories.

NML_Tribeza_Designers_Meredith Ellis

1. What is the best lesson you learned when you got a gig working with the amazing Bunny Williams?

The most valuable lesson I learned from working with Bunny Williams was to be patient in advancing my career.  When I landed my entry job with her at 23 I wanted to be doing the “decorating” and advance up to a designer right away.

I was naive, and didn’t realize at the time how valuable progressing slowly, smartly and really spending several years “working”in the field was important before becoming a true “designer”. It’s not always about being creative, it’s mostly about  problem solving, and always being three steps ahead.

Working for someone REALLY good, established, and with major large scale projects taught me so many facets of the business that I never could have known without years of due diligence.

Amy Bartlam-Travis Heights Home - 02

2. I absolutely adore the character & the “life” your home evokes, which vignette/s is your favorite & most definitely reflects your personality?

Hard to say, because I change things all the time!  I buy something and then I totally reorganize everything.  That’s my favorite part of design… reinvention!

But if I have to answer I would say our Living Room.  I love our Living Room because it’s such a combination of Hunter (my husband) and I… I love textiles, and accessories,  and I especially love color.

I want people to walk into our home and know something about us… our books, our photos, the artifacts and important things that are framed and displayed all over the room, they tell a story … that is OUR History.

Amy Bartlam-Travis Heights Home - 14

3. Tell me more how you chose the vibrant hue of your kitchen cabinetry. Any advice for people that’s afraid of color?

I wish I could take credit for that color, but it was here when we moved in.   It’s one of  two colors in our house that has remained.  I actually loved it, and worked the rest of the house around it.  

We did make it a little bit better though by installing a new backsplash which I thought was more appropriate for the house.

Amy Bartlam-Travis Heights Home - 13

 4. What is with English interiors that you are drawn to it?

I think particularly I am drawn to the old English Country houses… they are comfortable, and exude a sense of history without feeling too stuffy.  They are elegant and sophisticated.  I think of pretty  hard wood floors, rush matting or old oriental rugs , ornate bookcases, piles of antique books, perfectly soft and aged linen prints, beautiful dutch paintings  and collections of blue and white porcelain.  It’s just romantic and relaxing.  I think I just described Downtown Abbey.

Amy Bartlam-Travis Heights Home - 48

5. Travel is such a big inspiration for creatives; which of your travels has been the most inspiring for you & why?

I really love San Miguel De Allende. Several years ago my husband and I were married there.  But in the planning stages we had the opportunity to go into several private homes & hotels as we did research for places for our guests to stay… you walk down these small cobblestone streets, and the walls are all painted bright colors of aqua and yellow and orange.  You have no idea what sits behind the unassuming carved doors.  It’s magical… everyone we went into had a garden or courtyard overflowing with bougainvillea, jacaranda trees and greenery.  I also love the colonial Architecture, the European influence , and the all around artistic vibe.  Not to mention the shopping is pretty great.  

Profile Image by Nicole Mlakar, interior images by Amy Bartlam.

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Thank you so much Meredith! You are spot on that interior design, apart from creativity is all about problem-solving.

I am so excited to come to the kickoff party and mingle with my design friends as well as meet new ones, shake hands with the best of the best. I also have my walking shoes and tour-goer gang ready to be inspired. Austin, I hope you have your winter outfit for the upcoming tour. Read more about the homes & the designers. Get your tickets here & mark your calendars! See you there!

TRIBEZA INTERIORS TOUR

JANUARY 24TH, 2015

10:30 am –  4:30 pm

The Red Chair Workroom

I’m not sure if this research has been done yet but I’m pretty sure Austin is high up there as far as population density of people working from home or coffee shops or co-working spaces, etc. It’s also the most collaborative, creatives seeking co-creatives. It’s the same in the interior design world here in our small, big town. That’s why when I heard that Anita Erickson, founder of Red Chair Market is building a place that will nourish this camaraderie, I had to know more about it. I asked Anita a few questions about this new project, it’s goals and dreams for the Austin interior design community.

red chair workroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As a design enthusiast and having met a lot of design professionals in Austin, how do you think the city’s interior design environment is evolving?

I’m a design enthusiast but not a professional designer, so I had a chance to ask a lot of “dumb” questions as I’ve been researching this project and have learned a lot!  Austin is definitely coming in to its own as a respectable design city, but I love that it’s maintaining its character. There is a desire to work with local retailers, craftspeople and artisans and to make sure projects have a unique flair. There has also been a lot of talk about the business model of the design profession, some are going the straight fee route, some are doing the traditional product markup. The internet has changed a lot of things, with clients being much more able to access products and ideas on their own.  I think there is an opportunity to really educate consumers on the value of a professional beyond the product-acquisition role; from making sure that all the creative ideas fit in to a real home to managing the headaches of installation.

Some formally trained designers have embraced other designers who are not formally trained, others haven’t, what is your take on this debate?

This is a dangerous one for me to dive in to! I respect people who are passionate, professional and dedicated to what they do.  People like this come from many paths, and for some projects it’s most important to find someone who you connect with personally and aesthetically.  For others you really need someone with formal training or lots of specific experience.  Fifteen years of experience can substitute for four years of schooling, but I think the frustration comes in in that it’s hard for the average consumer to know how to evaluate. If everyone can call themselves an Interior Designer, there’s a concern that an experience with someone who isn’t professional will taint the whole industry.

red chair workroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tell me more about the Red Chair Workroom & how it sees itself in the next 5 years.

In a nutshell, we want to create a hub for the design community.  I’ve met with over 70 design trade pros in the last few months: architects, registered designers, decorators, retailers, vendors, even color consultants!  Many of them are independent practitioners, and what I hear most frequently is “collaboration”, followed by access to products and help with managing the business details. All this input guided the vision for the Workroom; summed up by our mission statement: Together, we are more productive, more profitable and have more fun. 

We’re building the space right now, and I often daydream about a day in the life of a Workroom Member to keep me focused.

You walk in to the Workroom and are greeted by name by the receptionist who asks if you’ve found the perfect side table for the Smith project. In the nearby lounge there is a member you’ve been meaning to connect with, so you grab a cup of (fantastic) coffee and sit down with your colleague to get some suggestions for a tile installer.  A clients is coming that afternoon, so you head back to the quiet area to plug in your laptop and finish up the presentation, then to the print room to make some handouts.  Lunchtime comes and you join some of the other members for a lunch-and-learn in the conference room; it may be a vendor presentation on the latest wallcoverings or a “business basics” discussion on employment tax.

At this point your clients will arrive soon, so you start to set up the reserved meeting room.  The presentation will be shown on the flat-screen monitor, but samples are also tacked to the wall. You head back to the break room and put together a tray with coffee cups, a fresh pot of coffee and real cream.  When your clients arrive they are shown to the meeting room and a lively discussion begins.  Halfway through, someone wonders if hand-scraped oak or Brazilian cherry floors would be better, so you pop out to the resource room and grab a sample of each. Decision made, without leaving the Workroom. 

It’s been a productive day but you decide to stick around; realtors from a local agency have been invited to happy hour to meet and network with the members.  You’re busy, but it’s always good to make new connections!  At the end of the evening you scoop up your project materials and stow them in your locker for the next visit.  Tomorrow’s a work-from-home day, but you’ll be back again on Friday to see what’s new.

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Thank you so much Anita! Thanks to visionaries like you, the Austin interior design environment will continue to flourish. To help this project, please click here.

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 >>>

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!

 

An Interview with Tracey Overbeck Stead

I firmly believe that interior designers live by a common ethos…and that is to make a home that truly reflects who they are and surrounded by things they love. This weekend, whether you are a design enthusiast or not, you should check out the Tribeza Interiors Tour. It showcases the interiors of big names in Austin in the world of design {and beyond of course!}. I still don’t know what to expect but I do know I will be thoroughly inspired. Today, I couldn’t be more honored to do this interview with an amazing interior designer, Tracey Overbeck Stead. Her work is fearless and at times offers a pleasant shock-value that others may find uncomfortable but secretly aspires to be as bold as her in her choices. Here it goes…

tracey overbeck stead

1. With so many design styles you are exposed to, how would you describe the style you chose for your own home?

I love so many styles and I design using a number of styles because I tailor to each of my client’s personal aesthetics. For my own home, I would call my style modern eclectic. It’s schizophrenic truly. I have mixed my family’s antiques, with client leftovers, along side pieces I’ve found while traveling.

tracey overbeck stead home 2. With a slew of residential and commercial projects under your belt, what has been most helpful for you that continuously inspires your creativity?

My creativity is inspired continually through travel, design blogs, and very progressive local showrooms like Scott + Cooner and Wildflower.

tracey overbeck stead eclectic room

3. What do you think is the biggest hurdle homeowners have in defining their own design style?

I think the biggest hurdle my homeowners have in defining their own design style is being afraid of change and taking risk. I find they also get trapped in trends instead of truly listening to their hearts on how they like to live stylistically.

4. Beauty before function or function before beauty? What is the sequence of importance in your design process?

I don’t think you have to sacrifice either of those. They both are so incredibly important that I never do one without the other. In other words, many of my clients have animals and/or children. I can always find durable fabrics, finishes that are incredibly beautiful as well to satisfy both needs.

cottage tracey overbeck stead

5. Your bio states that you are inspired by the “minimalism of High Modernism”; the play of words is quite intriguing in itself; can you expound more on this?

Inspirationally, minimalism of high modernism is basically “less is more”. Maximum impact with minimum clutter. In other words, I am inspired by spaces that have less pieces with a large design “punch” rather than seeing many pieces in a space with less high design.

tracey overbeck stead home

6. How would you describe the state of interior design savvy that Austin have or doesn’t have?

Being an Austinite, I have seen this city go through major changes over the years. I think Austin has an incredible passion for interior design. I think this city is design savvy and the growing population will demand more showrooms and increased resources for designers. Right now design-wise, we are in a city in flux. We have the interest, the desire, and the right minds but we are still a small city struggling to become a larger city with resources that you would find in a large metropolis.

7. What advice, ideas and tips would you give to new interior designers and decorators?

I love to speak to UT students during the year as a guest lecturer. I always tell them they are entering the most creative and one of the most satisfying professions.

Tip 1- Check your feelings at the door!

Tip 2- Listen to your clients!

Tip 3- No inflated egos allowed!

tracey overbeck stead bathroom design

I am giddy with excitement about this tour. Here are the details:

Saturday, January 25, 2014, 10am-4pm Get tickets here.

I do hope to see you there. All of us can learn so much on how “they” do it… that is how to create a home that’s inspiring, full of character and impeccably curated.

Thanksgiving Leftovers in Style

TAKEOUT

A few weeks ago, I did a post on a rustic fall elements which transitions easily from a Halloween dinner party to a Thanksgiving feast! But if you really want to outdo yourself this year, why not have a stylish “Thanksgiving leftover station” to match your dinner setting aesthetic? Yes, of course we have enough on our plates when hosting a Thanksgiving dinner, but a stylish leftover station is actually much easier than it seems, and fun for the guests too! Some colorful twine and washi tape can turn a regular to-go box into a fun “gift-like” presentation. So go ahead you, hostess with the mostest. Set up a small station of boxes, washi tape and twine. Who knew gobbling up left-overs can look so good?!

Interior Design in Austin | E-Design everywhere. Contact me.

Image sources: Cutlery//Pie boxes//Twine//Washi

Project Update | Modern Rustic in Tarrytown

I can’t believe it’s Thursday already! I’ve been a little under the weather and have been just having Skype meetings and web conferences; the beauty of technology! I have a few projects ongoing right now. Beautiful and well-edited spaces take time but progress, big or small makes me so happy. Here’s what’s going on in one of them; a gorgeous home owned by a young, adorable couple in Tarrytown, Austin.

It all started with the consult of course, lots of inspiration then a design board. This is what I came up with for the foyer, living and dining area:

modern rustic design board

And here’s what has happened so far:

living dining room design

Clockwise from Top Left: X-based Dining Table via Restoration Hardware, The Clarissa Dining chairs from Anthropologie came with gorgeous leg & hue; identical Penelope settees from Jayson Home & Garden, we covered a wall with Rosey Posey Trellis in Vintage linen by Anna Spiro and after much hunting for the perfect Antelope carpet, we went with Helios.

We’re still waiting for other furniture pieces but slowly accessorizing the areas {honestly my favorite part}. The console styling in the foyer area has begun!

accessorizing console

The console is by Horchow. The Moroccan pouf is the couple’s, a gift to them and came straight from the souks!

More stuff to do! Hope to have final photos soon.

Interior Design in Austin | E-Design everywhere. Contact me.

Designer Tag Sale at Red Chair Market

How about a marble top table with turquoise legs.

I am such a sucker for sales and put the word “Designer” in front of it? Ahhh, a match made in word heaven! If you haven’t heard about Red Chair Market yet then you’re in for an amazing discovery. Red Chair Market is a portal that connects buyers and sellers of design and decor items in Austin. This is not your average Craigslist everybody. We’re talking about quality items and fabulous pieces you’ll cherish for years to come. I caught up with the owner, Anita and chatted about the company and their first Designer Tag Sale.

1.From an advertising & marketing gal to a lover of design, what prompted you to open Red Chair Market?
I had always wanted to be an interior designer, but somehow ended up spending 20 years in marketing.  I have also always wanted to own my own company and have been the first employee at three local startups.  One day I was looking on Craigslist for a bench for the front hallway, and I kept coming up with trucks with bench seats! I knew there had to be a way to improve on it.  With this idea, my design, marketing and entrepreneurial stars finally aligned and with the help of a very fortunate marriage (to a software engineer) I was able to start Red Chair Market.  I think the best businesses are the ones started from a personal passion; I’m in heaven working on Red Chair every day – finding gorgeous, unique things right here in Austin! Now I just need a bigger house.

2.     As a designer, I’m always curious about new products and items and especially local vendors {support local, right?}; what would visitors and guests expect at Red Chair’s first Designer Tag Sale?

Red Chair Market is all about finding something unique and local, and we’re really excited to introduce Austin to some of our designers and craftspeople; many of whom have never showcased their products before.  We’ve got custom-made pillows from Room Fu Designs, discontinued samples of gorgeous furniture from the Treasury, unique vintage items from Retrospectives and handmade iron-and-glass furniture pieces from Happy Twigs designs, among many others.  They’ll also find a few of our own pieces at the Red Chair Market booth!  Those who want the first shot at some of these items can attend the VIP Preview and Brunch; sipping champagne while they shop.

Retrospectives Mid Century Modern Vintage Nightstands photo by Eclectic Images Photography

Or how about some Midcentury Modern Nightstands

3. You do not have to convince me of course but since you have an inside look in the wold of design, why do you think it’s important to hire an interior designer when getting a home or room/space together? 

With decorating, just like owning a business, it is really easy to get too close to the project to really see the potential.  I have a pretty good sense of style (I think!) and access to a lot of specialty items, but I still bring in a designer to help me pull it all together, especially since I have pretty eclectic taste.  There is a very fine line between “eclectic” and “messy”.  Even if someone has a more specific style in mind, the fine line also exists between a set of things that complement each other, and “matchy-matchy” (shudder).   In many cases a designer can also save money, knowing where to source less-expensive items and what elements can be economized without sacrificing style.  Finally, they do all the coordinating! As much as I love doing some things myself, having someone who can schedule the painter, tile installer and furniture delivery – AND know the quality, reliable resources – is worth its weight in gold.

Retrospectives Gold Gilt Hollywood Regency Side Table photo by Eclectic Images Photography

Or go for a table with gilted legs.

Here’s the details on the event:

A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit Preservation Austin and Habitat for Humanity’s Woman Build Project.

WHAT:            Red Chair Market’s Designer Tag Sale

WHEN:            Sunday, October 27, 2013
10:30am – 12:00pm VIP Brunch and Preview Sale
12:00pm – 5:00pm General Admission Shopping

WHERE:         Shoal Crossing Event Center
8611 N Mopac Expy
Austin, TX 78759

TICKETS:       Early Bird $25 (Available until October 5, 2013)
General Admission $30
Day of $35
VIP Preview and Brunch $75
https://rcmtagsale.eventbrite.com/    

PARKING:       Free parking available at event space

WEBSITE:       https://www.redchairmarket.com/info/tag-sale

I hope to see you there everybody! All of us needs help finding the finds, there’s going to be lots in this event!

Items by Retrospectives. Images by Eclectic Images.

Interior Design in Austin | E-Design everywhere. Contact me.

Home Office Update in Bee Cave

Does anybody know what day it is? It’s Wednesday hump day everybody! Ahhh, time has been flying fast these days. The weekend got away from me with a rehearsal dinner, a wedding and a christening…all in one weekend. And the past two days was spent working.

Today, I want to share a few images from a home office design I did for a financial executive turned consultant turned friend, we’ll just call her Darling D. She lives in gorgeous Bee Cave overlooking hills in an equally gorgeous home. She approached me a few months back to help her with her unused home office. She started working from home and need the space to be functional & beautiful. She needed the walls to stay the same, it’s in army green in a sort of Ernest Hemingway feel with deep walnut chair rail moldings. She wanted to reuse furnishings she already had and buy only a few new items plus accessories.

eames chair

Every office needs a reading nook to unwind at. She just gotta have this gorgeous Eames chair + ottoman & we paired it with an etagere & a floor lamp. We’re still on the look out for the perfect art piece for the bare wall to the left.

orange accessories

She adores orange in her everyday outfit so it’s just befitting to have a few orange accessories.

orb lighting

A space always calls for gorgeous lighting!

green home office

The images are by my good friend James Leasure who just captured how gorgeous this herringbone wooden floors are!

Interior Design in Austin | E-Design everywhere. Contact me.