Category Archives: Interior Design

I Wish I Was Told This in Design School

image via a note on design

On Tuesday, I had the opportunity to talk to a group of students about careers in interior design and share personal stories of my professional experience. I still consider myself an interior designer, even though what I do is much more specialized. However not a day goes by, when I feel like I do not use my design training. When I was a student, I didn’t realize that there were other jobs in the design community, until I saw a job posting for a Material Librarian. Based on the description ( I would be floating to different commercial architecture firms), it seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn about materials and also learn about different firms in and around DC.

When I was in school I had a very different  vision for my career and thought there was only one path for me, Interior Designer. Over time, with my experience working in different firms, I realized that commercial design wasn’t for me. Healthcare wasn’t where I belonged either. High-end Residential was an amazing experience and to actually work on projects, from concept to installation was invaluable. I’m a people person and to really get a feel of how people lived was amazing. I began to understand that trusting relationships with contractors and vendors was a necessity as they were more like team members. While a designer’s style may be the reason for the initial contact, I learned design is really client-driven. Also, I loved the mix and level of materials that I got to work with on a day to day basis. In contrast to my commercial job, this experience taught me about the high-end materials that I would reference everyday in my current work life.

image via lonnymag

Seven years later after my first job in design, I didn’t think materials would be my niche, but  I am always thankful for the experience. It helped me survive the recession when many designers were being laid off and an already competitive market became VERY competitive. It helped me get a very unique job in a specialized sector of design. And you know what? , Even on the most stressful days, I feel like I belong in retail design.

I say all of this to you because, in design it is really important to try it all. See where you fit; see where you don’t.  If you are a career changer (I was), you can bring your strengths and previous workplace experience to a design job. It’s invaluable, because you may already how to work in a team environment or address the unique things that come up in a work environment. However, by far the best thing I did was find a niche. I found something that made me unique in the architecture and design world. Of course specializing in materials, may not be for everyone, but it worked for me. For instance, I’m not cataloguing materials everyday. I have to know who to call when I need something beautiful produced. And, while  my knowledge of materials continues to grow, I know way more about glass, natural stone and textiles than I could have ever imagined in design school.

Mostly what I believe, that you, as a future designer, have unique talents. Over time, a combination of those talents and experience will direct your career path, which as I know well, isn’t always a straight line. Just be open to trying new things and your design life will be better than you imagine.


Digital Voyeurism: A Must See

I’m not sure how I missed social media week but this video, Digital Voyeurism: How Sharing Real Homes in Real Time is Changing the Way We Decorate, is really thought provoking.  I find the reciprocal relationship between interior design and blogging and other social media outlets intriguing.

I find the reciprocal relationship between interior design and blogging and other social media outlets intriguing. The video is about an hour but I highly recommend a viewing.

Upholstery Diaries: I’m Global Modern Luxe

Happy Monday! I feel like the weekend goes way too fast don’t you? Hopefully you had a fun and restful mini-break before the start of a new week.

For a lot of different reasons, last week was a little stressful so I made it a point to do very little that required high energy this weekend and spend time outside. However, one of the highlights was an appointment with the upholsterer to make over my chair.

Prior to the appointment I had told them a few specifics about what I was looking. Global prints and and accent in a rich color for the back. That formula led me right to Dwell Studio’s Global Modern Luxe and a accent in one of Robert Allen’s Showtime Cotton Velvets.

Here’s a hint: I chose one of these Dwell Studio patterns. Any guesses?

Freja Fabric, color: amethyst; Dwell Studio for Robert Allen- Global Modern Luxe #fabric

Freja in amethyst

Aravali Fabric, color: amethyst; Dwell Studio for Robert Allen- Global Modern Luxe #fabric

Aravali in Amethyst

Casablanca Geo Fabric, color: citrine; Dwell Studio for Robert Allen- Global Modern Luxe #fabric

Casablanca Geo in Citrine

Batavia Ikat Fabric, color: amethyst; Dwell Studio for Robert Allen- Global Modern Luxe #fabric

Batavia Ikat in Amethyst

Asha Fabric, color: mineral; Dwell Studio for Robert Allen- Global Modern Luxe #fabric

Asha in mineral (all images via pinterest)

The best part is that in 3-4 weeks I get to reveal the chair to you! Stay tuned…


Mario Testino at Home

Isn’t amazing to see how image makers use their discerning eye to put together their own homes? The inspiration for Mario Testino’s LA Apartment comes from his own Peruvian heritage, making for one of the most amazing spaces I have seen in a long time.

“I’m constantly having to readapt my eye to new locations. When you’re doing a house, your mind is on it all the time. You might need door handles but you’re not in L.A., so you find them in Venice!” -Mario Testino

{via vogue}

With a neutral canvas, layered with a mix of pattern and texture and pops of earth tones such as red clay and ink, Testino’s spills over with  a warm, bohemian vibe. This mix plays  beautifully off of  the architecture of his hacienda’s arched hallways, high ceilings and exposed beams. Who wouldn’t want to call this home?


The Private World of Dorothy Dandridge

Thank goodness for those vintage issues of Ebony Magazine on Google Books.  They provide a lot of classic eye candy.  Today, I thought it would fun to share this peek at the home of  legendary screen siren Dorothy Dandridge. I saw this cover on Fly and it totally piqued my interest on how classic black movie stars in Hollywood really lived.

“Next to her career, interior decorating rates as her principal interest.” -Ebony Magazine, June 1962

There’s nothing like starting off the week with a bit of glamour and a touch of movie star history from 1962.

Reflections of a Future Cat Lady

Lately, I’ve been talking to DWJ a lot about leopard prints. It’s her thing this season, but I think those convos have me thinking I need to incorporate more chic spots into my life.


{images via pinterest}

Over the years I’ve had a fair share of leopard in my life, but I think  it’s time for new spots.  Maybe this is my way of  unleashing my inner Leo (or, perhaps, Grace Jones) but this is really the only kind of cat lady I want to be. I just hope all of the zebras I love won’t be offended.

The Aspirational Interiors of Muriel Brandolini

I have found myself completely drawn to the the work of  Muriel Brandolini. I just cant take my eyes of it. Her work fuses together a beautiful eclectic mix of design elements with lots of imagination. As a designer, she reminds me that design should be about reflecting a well-lived life but that is a wonderful thing to be able to inject a sense of spirit and play into interior design.

I’m really  excited about her  new book,The World of Muriel Brandolini and I can’t wait to flip through it’s pages and soaking up a lot of inspiration (and, yes, there is a deluxe edition). And coinciding with the release of the book there is a panel discussion on and a viewing and auction of  the high design pieces used in Brandolini’s work at the famed Phillips de Pury. This October, I can’t wait to take a journey  to the magical world of Muriel Brandolini.

Kelly Wearstler Resort 2012 & Monday Questions

The gap between fashion  and interiors continues to grow smaller each season. Especially with each collection Kelly Wearstler presents.  It is terribly exciting to see how her fashion label has evolved from the first season.

{images via}

So here are  my question: Should designers abandon the idea of doing one type of design? Instead should we forge ahead with the idea of presenting a complete lifestyle brand with fashion, product and interiors to clients?

Wednesday’s Perfect Room

I’ve been having a recurring dream about running my own studio one day. Lately, I’ve been compiling images of workspaces me and I think they may be fueling these dreams.

{image via lonnymag}

One of the spaces, that continues to inspire me is  the resource library and workspace from Bunny Williams’ office. Can’t you just imagine how much of the design magic happens in this place? I’m looking forward to having one of my own, one day.

Summer School: In My Home

I’ve got some news I’m excited  to share!

Are you ready to make some changes to your home? Well I’m here to help! This summer, if you are in DC, Maryland or Northern Virginia, I’ll be teaching a continuing education course called “In My Home” at the Corcoran College of Art and Design!

{image via pinterest}

There’s two sessions,  one in June on Sundays from 10am to 1pm and another, starting in July on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In this class,  I’ll walk you through the process to create a fantastic room for yourself. Along the way, you’ll learn some design basics  and together we’ll come up with creative solutions to the problems that ail your rooms. It will be lots of creative, interior decorating fun that you won’t want to miss! Perfect for Summer!

Want to sign up? Click here for more information.

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