Monday, September 30, 2013

The Meaning of Home

One of my favorite designers, Jeffrey Alan Marks of Bravo's Million Dollar Decorators explores his breezy, tailored designs in his new book, The Meaning of Home.

Inspired by his Southern California lifestyle, Mark's trademark is informality and playful charm combined with the sophistication of English and European accents. The book captures his beautiful homes and his ability to reflect each client's personality, from a movie star's London townhouse to a charming Nantucket cottage.  He explains his creative process throughout the book finishing up with his favorite go-to places for furniture, fabrics, and vintage pieces.  Always bonus to get the inside scoop.

I especially love his ability to design an entire home that pushes the limits while being completely balanced for a totally lived-in feel. Each home reflects the role of the client: a family home, a showroom, a playroom, etc...  He believes each room in a home should be used daily, and I couldn't agree more!

You can get your copy of the book here and check out more pictures of his work here

 images via

Friday, September 27, 2013

2013 Top Home Trends

Just like fashion, we have trends for the home. Everyone has their own decorating style, but experimenting is fun too. Here are a few of my favorite trends this season.


Clearly, I'm a huge fan of florals. Especially on the walls. You can see that from my recent Chinoiserie blog post here. This season it's all about combining florals with dark colors for a bit more edge. Think: navy, plum, black.


Plaid, also known as tartan to the rest of the world, is an easy way to bring color and pattern to a room. It doesn't always have to feel country! 


Foxes first appeared in home decor a few years ago and never really disappeared. Seen in everything from bedding, rugs, and accessories. How cute are these fox printed sheets from Serena & Lily?!


Marble is no longer exclusively used in kitchen counters and bathtubs. I've seen everything from tabletops to desk accessories adorned in the beautiful "stone". The secret behind this gorgeous wallpaper? It's actually craft paper found at the art store!


Navy is the color of the season. I like to think of it as a dark neutral. Don't be afraid to get creative with color!

What are your favorite trends for fall?

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Napa Valley Showhouse - Hallway Inspiration

Another Napa Valley showhouse update! Along with the sitting room I revealed last week, I'm also in charge of the hallway. Hallways may not be the most loved room of the house but they mustn't be forgotten! For this project I selected a beautiful vine green by Benjamin Moore for the ceiling. Color is a great tool to experiment with because it isn't permanent yet still makes a big impact. Painting the ceiling is a more muted alternative than painting all the walls a bright color.  I'm keeping the walls neutral with white dove and painting all of the trim kendall charcoal. The door will also be painted kendall charcoal but the trim will be gold as seen in the picture above. A cool Kelly Wearslter runner from The Rug Company adds a little texture and pattern and an odette lantern tops it all off. I think it's coming together nicely! Stop by on October 10th - November 17th for the final result!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Statement Makers

starburst mirror, mosaic mirror, living room, fireplace, blue, stained glass mirror, em design interiors
starburst mirror, mosaic mirror, living room, fireplace, blue, stained glass mirror, em design interiors, etsy

Something so glam about a fabulous mirror above a fireplace or a dresser in an entryway. When I'm designing a client's home, I almost always incorporate a sunburst mirror. They come in so many shapes, colors, and sizes so there are tons of great options out there. I have my go-to's that I use over and over, but I always keep my eyes peeled for a great conversation starter piece. Recently I came across this beautiful aqua blue mirror seen in the image designed by Kelly Hohla. Instantly the room feels brighter. 

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Friday, September 20, 2013

London's Got Style

Our Pinterest feeds are flooded with Fashion Week photos these past couple weeks. First NYC then this past week it was London. I don't mind, if I can't be there I might as well get all the updates right?! It's kind of funny how fashion works. We're in the midst of fall yet Fashion Week shows the newest designs for spring and summer. How's a girl supposed to dress? I scoured Pinterest and found a few of my favorite street style looks from London. I think they did just fine :) There seems to be a recurrence of feminine knee-length skirts, leather, and pops of red. Which one is your favorite look?

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse

I'm so excited to share with you my plan for the second-annual Traditional Home Napa Valley Showhouse! Located on the Charles Krug Winery, the showhouse will be open to the public from October 10 through November 17, 2013 with daily tours Tuesdays - Sundays, 10:30am-5:00pm.  I was one of ten designers selected, each given a separate room to completely design.  I've been working this past month on an "elegant escape" guest sitting room.  Below is the sketch of my design approach and a little explanation behind my design concept.  For more details and ticket information visit  Traditional Home. All proceeds  go towards the Napa Valley Film Festival.  Hope to see you there!

She's on the go - mom, entrepreneur, you-name-it!  She is used to getting it done and then some!  When she needs to rejuvenate her bustling energy, she has just the place, her elegant escape.  The whimsical chinoiserie sets the mood and stokes her inner passions for creating wonder in her life.  Painted by a dear friend, the images soon bring her attention to the grand picture books that take her away, all while never having to leave the comfort of her fine linen chaise.  Soon recharged, she can glide over to the floating table and allow her imagination to flow in her journal, pictures and words dancing among the intimate light of the brilliant chandelier.  Back where she started - she's ready to go.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Chinoiserie Inspiration

I'm using chinoiserie wallpaper in one of my upcoming projects and have completely fallen in love. According to Merriam-Webster, chinoiserie is a French term "reflecting Chinese qualities." In the 17th and 18th century, traders and tourists were fascinated by the beautiful eastern designs found in porcelain, sketchbooks, and lacquerware. As a result, Europeans started layering decor with Chinese inspirations and the practice was coined the term chinoiserie. European's take on chinoiserie is characterized as asymmetrical in format with fancy, detailed images and whimsical in scale, compared to the more traditional Chinese which is seen as less whimsy and fun.




Aren't they gorgeous!? Such a romantic and fun vibe.  Stay tuned for what Caroline Lizarraga creates for me!

Friday, September 13, 2013

Porter Telco newbies

|  1 Outside the Box   |   2  sculpture   |   3  lamp    |   4   console   |
Remember when I was raving about these Porter Teleo wallpapers last year? Well, they've got new patterns this year and I've been dreaming about how I'd use them. Each one is hand printed and painted using the finest materials. My first thought was an entryway using the paper behind a console and funky lamp. I mean, who wouldn't want to walk into a home like this?

Wallpaper often scares people away but I like the impact it has on a room. There's something about a bold wall that pushes the limits in the color and pattern department. When designing an entryway with such dominant colors and patterns, I wanted to keep accessories neutral yet fun. Add a sleek console with a funky lamp, some mod sculptures and voila.

|  1 Floral Graffiti  |   2  sculpture   |   3  lamp    |   4   console   |
What's your favorite paper design out of the group?  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quick Tips for a Kid-Friendly Home

There is a lot to prepare if you've got a baby on the way, the last thing you want to worry about is child-proofing your home and losing all your style in the process.  Fortunately, there are several stylish and affordable ways to kid-proof your living spaces.

  If you have already invested in a sofa you love and it happens to be white, don't feel like you should purchase a new one. A tailored slipcover can be made with fabric that will look as just as nice. 
  Big coffee tables look great but aren't exactly practical with little ones running around. Swap out a hard-edge coffee table with leather poufs. They are durable and can be wiped clean. 
  Toys are bound to make their way into the living room. Providing baskets for storage make it easy for clean up. 
  Layering accessories are what typically make a room feel personal and finished. You don't have to sacrifice style and function.
  Look for items that are made of plastic, paper, wood, and wire. Think outside the box and embrace these quirky items that represent you and your new family.

Tips to remember:
1. Get creative with slipcovers. Custom made covers go a long way.
2. Swap bulky coffee tables for leather poufs.
3. Look for accessories made of plastic, wood, wire, even paper.
4. Keep things out of reach with tall tables.
5. Use baskets to keep toys organized. 

You don't have to completely renovate your home before the bundle of joy arrives. A few small, affordable changes can turn your living room into a safe play zone.

I have two little ones, so one of the first things I did was get rid of our large coffee table, we now have (4) smaller ottomans that we use as coffee tables.  I had them made the same height as the seats so it really  becomes a comfortable place to lounge out as a family.  

I also have a variety of fun baskets in every room that store toys.  Let's face it they never stay in one place, so at the end of the day, I can at least pick up each room and put them 'away'.  Having options in every room makes it much easier on mom & dad!

What is your favorite way to keep a stylish home while making it practical?