Projects

Project Spotlight: Lovecraftian Dining Room

DiningBanner.png

Alright, this one’s personal - this is my dining room! For those who don’t know, my house is tiny - a whopping 950 square feet, including a third floor. So as you can imagine, rooms are small and entertainment space is limited. My husband is a big tabletop gamer, and I wanted to give him a space to entertain his friends, store his games, but also operate as an actual dining room. We have a small front room that fit the bill perfectly.

He’s a big fan of Lovecraftian lore, so I used that as inspiration. I pulled artwork from our existing collection, and used that as a kicking off point. We picked up a bookcase that could showcase our collection of books and collectibles, while hiding our game collection below. We also brought our record player in and put it on a cube storage unit that could house our records and double as a buffet.

IMG_3660.JPG

Next we brought in a table that was as big as we could fit! Normally, I would not recommend this, but we knew this was a space that people would be sitting for long periods of time, and wanted to give them a comfortable amount of space. We found some mid-century dining chairs with a low profile that were a perfect fit. Then, we grounded it all with a rug, and some nerdy collectibles and a multi-layered centerpiece - and voila! Our dining/gameroom was born.

IMG_3670 copy.JPG
IMG_3659.JPG

Projects

Project Spotlight: Botanical Living Room

Botanical Living Room.png

This project is one that’s near and dear to my heart - it’s one of the first big projects that we completed, and we were given a lot of creative freedom. The client was a big fan of greenery and plants, but wanted a formal space that wasn’t just covered in plantlife.

The living room was covered in a dark red wallpaper put up by the previous owners - and holy moly, was it a pain to get off!

A before shot from the client - we really need to get better at photographing spaces beforehand!

A before shot from the client - we really need to get better at photographing spaces beforehand!

After the wallpaper was painstakingly removed.

After the wallpaper was painstakingly removed.

Once the wallpaper was down, we dove into color selection - we came down to 4 colors, and with the client’s blessing, we turned to instagram and let people vote on their favorite choice!

Screen Shot 2019-08-28 at 2.20.23 PM.png

Luckily, our followers have great taste, and a gorgeous shade of green won out. From there, we began curating pieces, both second-hand and from our favorite local vendors. The client was looking for almost entirely all new furniture, but had once antique chair she hoped to find a way to integrate.

Before

Before

After

After

We took it to our incredibly talented upholsterer, and picked a gorgeous embroidered fabric. After some reshaping and love, we had a stunning new statement chair!

Next, we brought in a stunning chandelier from Arhaus (which yours truly hung every single crystal individually in 98 degree heat, yikes!) and a graphic floral rug. We were also able to find some beautiful art pieces in the client’s collection that tied the space together.

Botanical Living Room: View from the entry.

Botanical Living Room: View from the entry.

IMG_2980.JPG
Large barcart, perfect for entertaining

Large barcart, perfect for entertaining

1C24F83A-0C13-4225-A5BB-D9F4547A9C97.JPG
IMG_5240.JPG

This project has been complete for about a year and a half now, and it’s still in the same condition as the day we left it. It has a special place in my heart, and will always be a part of my portfolio!

Designs for the Signs

Designs for the Signs: Sagittarius

SagBanner.png

Sagittarius is known for their flexibility and their movement - they are free-spirited and demand constant growth. They’re radiant, excitable, and eternally optimistic. In order to be content in their surroundings, they require a lot of flexibility. So, this week is all about design flexibility and mobile spaces!

A flexible, yet open and airy  tiny home.

A flexible, yet open and airy tiny home.

Did you talk about mobile living if you don’t include a renovated  airstream ??

Did you talk about mobile living if you don’t include a renovated airstream??

Do you dream of flexible, no-strings-attached, sky-is-the-limit living?

This incredible  tiny home  is packed with multi-functional pieces.

This incredible tiny home is packed with multi-functional pieces.

A tiny, yet airy kitchen in a small  mobile home .

A tiny, yet airy kitchen in a small mobile home.

This  entertainment  area works hard as a social space, storage, and media center.

This entertainment area works hard as a social space, storage, and media center.

Designs for the Signs

Designs for the Signs: Scorpio

Scorpio Banner.png

Next up on our little adventure through the designs for the signs is SCORPIOS. Scorpios are known for their passion, self-control and secretive nature. Scorpios tend to be introverts who turn their energy inward and prefer their private spaces, so we’ll be exploring some dark, personal spaces.

Dark, abstract photography create a sense of comfortable disconnect in this dark living room.

Dark, abstract photography create a sense of comfortable disconnect in this dark living room.

Ornate, artful doors hide this gorgeous bedroom from the rest of the house, and the entertainment area, creating clear boundaries.

Ornate, artful doors hide this gorgeous bedroom from the rest of the house, and the entertainment area, creating clear boundaries.

Dark walls combined with lots of light and greenery give the feel of privacy without shutting out the world completely.

Dark walls combined with lots of light and greenery give the feel of privacy without shutting out the world completely.

A dark  interior , with a comfortable chaise for reading.

A dark interior, with a comfortable chaise for reading.

What’s more secretive than a bookcase secret door??

What’s more secretive than a bookcase secret door??

A dark bedroom, with lots of sunlight, allows for a comfortable, reclusive space.

A dark bedroom, with lots of sunlight, allows for a comfortable, reclusive space.

Do you enjoy a quiet space to hide away from the rest of the world? Do you have any secret spots that you secure your personal belongings, far from prying eyes?

Designs for the Signs

Designs for the Signs: Libra

LibraBanner.png

Next up on Designs for the Signs is LIBRA. Libras make some of the best design clients, because they love to be surrounded by beautiful things - they love stuff. They have a specific brand of maximalism that is curated, and eclectic. When I think Libra - I think art collector, curator, lover of beauty. Libras also value harmony and balance, and enriched relationships with others, so their spaces often reflect their passion for entertaining.

A faux-gallery wall using  wallpaper  gives a cleaner maximalist vibe.

A faux-gallery wall using wallpaper gives a cleaner maximalist vibe.

A carefully  decorated built-in  that prioritizes aesthetic over function - how Libra.

A carefully decorated built-in that prioritizes aesthetic over function - how Libra.

Is it a libra space if it doesn’t have a symmetrical, well  balanced  view?

Is it a libra space if it doesn’t have a symmetrical, well balanced view?

A comfortable, but  beautiful space  that puts all the focus on a well curated art collection.

A comfortable, but beautiful space that puts all the focus on a well curated art collection.

A maximalist space that is very carefully laid out, presents a casual vibe but highlights a very well thought out  collection .

A maximalist space that is very carefully laid out, presents a casual vibe but highlights a very well thought out collection.

A well balanced  space , with a variety of large scaled pieces.

A well balanced space, with a variety of large scaled pieces.

Interior Design Industry

What to know before hiring an interior designer.

Untitled-2.png

I hear it all the time - “Hiring a designer is terrifying - I have no clue what to expect!” In a day and age of DIY and HGTV, not many people have experience working with designers, and what they’ve seen is edited down for TV. If you’re looking to outsource your home design, starting the process can be intimidating. So, in my normal, brutally honest fashion, I’m going to lay out everything you need to know before you hire a designer.

  1. Not all designers are the same.

    The interior design field is the same as any other creative field: it’s full of varying styles, cost, capabilities, experience and talent. Before you head off to email every designer in your area, take a look at their website and social media - make sure their style is in line with yours! Be sure to keep an eye out for credentials - when it comes to taking down walls, moving plumbing, and selecting quality finishes, you’ll want someone experienced and knowledgeable.

  2. Interior Designer =/= Interior Decorator

    Interior designers are educated and equipped to handle anything within the shell of a building, such as renovations and finishes. They see the project through construction, renovation, and decoration. Interior decorators do not require the same level of education and focus on the existing surfaces, such as soft furnishings and decor. It’s important to know the difference. Many areas have laws that require education and licensing to call yourself an interior designer, however some don’t - so be sure you know your designer’s background before diving into a project.

  3. Interior Design can be Affordable

    One of the most common things I hear is “I wish I could hire an interior designer!” Don’t be sure you can’t - many designers offer a wide range of budget friendly services! Don’t be afraid to ask for a quote.

  4. Know what you want.

    Now, I know this seems basic, but this is an important one. It’s important to have some basics in mind before you begin looking for a designer. Do you know the scope of your project? Do you have a basic budget in mind? A designer can walk you through options, but it’s good to have a solid kicking off point.

  5. The Design process takes time

    Be aware that the design process is very different in real life than it is on TV - it’s a lengthy process with a lot of moving parts. Designers put a lot of thought and energy into every piece they select - for every step you see, there’s many hours of work behind it. If you want a truly custom, curated space that reflects you, expect it to take time.

  6. We’re not mind readers.

    It’s SO important to articulate what is important to you. What you deem hideous, someone else may deem beautiful, so be honest. A brutally honest client always ends up happier than a silent one. We want you to be happy in your space. Don’t be afraid to use your voice - if you’re having concerns, or you’re not loving a direction, talk to your designer.

  7. Understand Pricing Structures

    There are a wide range of pricing structures that designers use. It’s important to understand them and what they mean, so you understand exactly what you’re buying. These are the three most common structures.

    1. Cost Plus - this means the designer is making money off of the sale of the furniture. They are buying furniture at a discount (known as trade pricing) and selling it to you at retail cost.

    2. Hourly - The designer has a set rate per hour for the work completed on the project - this includes shopping, drawing, meetings, etc. This is usually billed in cycles, such as monthly.

    3. Fixed Fee - The cost of the services rendered is settled upon up front. The scope of the project is established before the project is started. This may require full payment or a hefty deposit prior to beginning the design process.

    Many designers do a variation or combination of these billing processes, and all of them are valid. Just because a designer is charging a fixed fee + hourly doesn’t mean you’re being ripped off - they’ve just broken up their costs differently. Transparency is becoming increasingly important in the design industry, so it’s good to know what you’re paying for and how you’re paying it.

Hiring a designer is a super personal process - this is someone you’re going to be letting into your home, and into your life for a substantial amount of time. It’s important to make sure you hire someone who is a good fit, who you’re comfortable with, and who’s style aligns with yours. Hiring a designer that’s right for you from the beginning can make a world of difference, and can make the experience a joyful one.

Designs for the Signs

Designs for the Signs: Virgo

VirgoBanner.png

Next up on the Design for the Signs series is VIRGO!

Virgos are traditionally organized, tidy and enjoy precision, so we’re going to be seeing a lot of clean aesthetics, light, open color palettes and lots of organization. Sooo satisfying. Virgos are also precise and selective, so expect to see curated and well thought out spaces.

Soft blush pink walls with a faint texture create interest without cluttering. And I'm a sucker for a single,  minimal pendant  in lieu of a lamp!

Soft blush pink walls with a faint texture create interest without cluttering. And I'm a sucker for a single, minimal pendant in lieu of a lamp!

Okay, I’m just a sucker for  open shelving  because it requires the user to maintain a curated, clean collection of dishes.

Okay, I’m just a sucker for open shelving because it requires the user to maintain a curated, clean collection of dishes.

Texture combined with clean lines  can make a bigger impact than wall decor.

Texture combined with clean lines can make a bigger impact than wall decor.

A beautiful, light,  minimal floral arrangement  creates a pleasing pop of greenery while maintaining a clean aesthetic.

A beautiful, light, minimal floral arrangement creates a pleasing pop of greenery while maintaining a clean aesthetic.

Is there anything more satisfying than a well  organized closet ?

Is there anything more satisfying than a well organized closet?

The world’s  cleanest kitchen?

The world’s cleanest kitchen?

A clean bathroom, with everything open, airy and accessible.

A clean bathroom, with everything open, airy and accessible.

So there you have it! Our second installment of “Designs for the Signs”! Are you a virgo? Do you find joy in soft, open spaces, that are beautifully curated and well organized? Is a pop of texture enough for you?

Interior Design Industry

Let's Talk About E-Design Platforms

blog-edesign.jpg

So, I am going to start by being honest: I’ve fallen into the trap of working with E-Design platforms. It was a quick way to make money, before I got my business off the ground. But that also means I’ve had a peek behind the curtains, and I can say for a fact - they’re a scam. Now, I’m not talking about E-Design across the board - a lot of great designers (including yours truly) offer e-design services. I’m talking the big platforms that offer to “match you up with the perfect designer!” Scam. They’re a scam for clients, and they’re a scam for designers. So here’s all the things those big E-Design platforms don’t want you to know.

  1. Not all “Designers” are Designers

    Imagine if you went to meet with your accountant, and after paying them for their services, you find out they’re actually a “finance-hobbyist” and their background and training is actually in sales. When you say “uuhhh, hold on - so you’re not an accountant?” they reply with “well, it’s finance related?” This is the experience of MANY e-design platform clients. Now, you many be thinking - “do you really need a degree in interior design to do it?” And that’s a debate for another post. There are self-taught designers out there who are smart, qualified, and capable of creating a functional and beautiful space. That’s not what we’re talking about here. E-design platforms advertise to “design enthusiasts and traditional designers”, some go as far as to say “no experience needed - just a good eye!” without offering any training. So this means you could be getting a designer with master’s degree in interior architecture and 5 years experience, or you could get Kathy, who like.. read Elle Decor once and has a pinterest account. But you don’t get to decide, and it’s the same price either way.

  2. They Restrict Designer Sourcing

    Every platform I have worked for has restricted designers to sourcing from companies that they have contracts with. This means that even though there’s a gorgeous hand-painted end table from a private artist that would look DIVINE with your sofa, we’ll have to pick something different from a big box furniture store - and the best part is, the client never knows there was a better piece out there for them, because they don’t know the designers are restricted! Designers are encouraged to dissuade clients who find pieces they love from vendors outside of the approved vendor lists. So even if a designer loves that one of a kind painting you found on Etsy, they have to encourage you to get a mass produced print from Crate + Barrel instead.

  3. Designers Make Less Than Minimum Wage

    Designers are required to check in every single day with updates and revisions, weekends included. When I was working on E-Design platforms, on average I’d spend about 20 hours on a single room project. And when the payout it 75-200 dollars after the platform takes it’s cut.. well, you do the math. Designers are also docked pay if a client doesn’t love it. Reminder - designers are limited to a handful of vendors, without the client knowing, which can make for some pretty restricted designs. I once had a client who wanted “as many handmade items as possible” and when I delivered a design that was as required by the platform, and they were displeased because it lacked original items (which.. same) the platform withheld my pay.

  4. You Don’t Pick Your Designer

    A designer should be a very personal decision - matching personalities, budgets, and style should all come into play. When you sign up for an e-design platform and they have you complete a “Find Your Style” survey to “find the right designer for you!” You know what that is? You guessed it! A scam. On the back end, designers check off their style, but are encouraged to “check all the boxes to access as many clients as possible.” That means that minimalist design you’re looking for may be assigned to a designer who’s signature look is rustic vintage. Yikes.

  5. Designers are Required to Aim for the Top of Your Budget

    Just in case you thought it couldn’t get any less ethical.. here we are. Designers are encouraged to aim for the higher end of your budget. If your budget was 2k-5k, you better believe you’re getting a 5k design.. even it could have been a 3k. As a designer, I get an absolute thrill when I find a great deal for a client. No such thing on these platforms. Laurel and Wolf (RIP) would actually block designers from submitting projects that came in under budget. That meant we had to find more expensive alternatives to items we selected before ever even showing the client the design! Ick.

  6. Designers: You’ll be Robbed of your Identity

    This one is for the designers who are considering offering services through a platform. Read those contracts very carefully - nearly every platform keeps the rights to your designs. Which means they can advertise with them, removing your name completely. This also means - they aren’t your designs. So even though you did every ounce of work and were the sole point of contact with the client - you have no rights to the images you created.

So, what does this all mean for you? Are you destined to either drop tens of thousands on a full design service or settle for the low quality offerings of e-design? Nope - there are tons of e-designers who offer services at a comparable rate! Take some time to research and find a designer that’s right for you!

Some things to look for:

  • Qualifications - are they accredited or have a degree? How long have they been practicing?

  • Portfolio - do they at least have SOME pictures of work they’ve done? Do they match your style?

  • Cost - this varies by project and scope for most designers, so you’ll probably have to reach out for pricing!

There are tons of talented, affordable designers out there - don’t go through a platform because it seems easier in the moment. It’ll cost you your budget, good design and your sanity.

Designs for the Signs

Designs for the Signs: LEO!

LeoBanner.png

It’s Leo season, ya’ll! And in case you couldn’t tell, I’m a loud and proud LEO!

So this naturally felt like the best time to kick off my new and improved weekly blog with an all new series: DESIGNS FOR THE SIGNS! We’ll be talking about design tips and ideas inspired by each design.

First up, my very own LEO!

Leo is all about ego and opulence so gear up for a lot of gilding and over the top piece.

A SUBTLE  gold mirror  is a great touch for that ego.

A SUBTLE gold mirror is a great touch for that ego.

Are you even truly a leo if you don’t have a  gold leo statue?

Are you even truly a leo if you don’t have a gold leo statue?

A small kitchenette in a  tiny house  with a lot of style - when a leo has a chance to make a pop, we take it, right?

A small kitchenette in a tiny house with a lot of style - when a leo has a chance to make a pop, we take it, right?

A minimalist leo? (do those exist??) Step up your game with  highly textured gold cabinetry.

A minimalist leo? (do those exist??) Step up your game with highly textured gold cabinetry.

Where my fellow lazy leos at? This is totally a “lay in bed, eat chocolate, and watch netflix” kind of  bed .

Where my fellow lazy leos at? This is totally a “lay in bed, eat chocolate, and watch netflix” kind of bed.

Okay, I may just be a sucker for gold mirrors, but there’s something about lounging in an  opulent tub , in a sun-soaked room, with a massive gilded mirror that feels like the ultimate leo essence to me.

Okay, I may just be a sucker for gold mirrors, but there’s something about lounging in an opulent tub, in a sun-soaked room, with a massive gilded mirror that feels like the ultimate leo essence to me.

So, what do you think? How does your inner-lion roar? Do you prefer playing with finishes for a minimal take on opulence or do you subscribe to the idea of “go hard or go home”?

Projects

Bringing a little magick home - A Space Inspired by Margot Meanie.

Margot Meanie banner.png

Margot Meanie is synonymous with all things witchy and fabulous - her taste is a perfect balance of spooky and trendy, old school and glam. She inspired me to make a space as eclectic as her wardrobe, with many splashes of witchcraft and magick. 

Margot Meanie.png