Finding My Style


Photo via digsdigs

Style, whether it is fashion or interiors, grows and changes. Sometimes it is something I’m interested in and sometimes I’ll just grab whatever is in the closet and put it on. What’s in style changes from day to day it seems! So, overall I recommend trying to get in touch with what you really like and following that style regardless of the trends.

Over the last few years I’ve been experimenting with my style. My core furniture remains the same, but I add different pillows, paint, wallpaper and art to change things up. Initially I was really drawn to the Scandinavian style of white and grey with natural wood tones to add texture and interest. Yet, on the flip side I really love dark moody interiors.

I’ve slowly been adding layers to my home. Not necessarily a ton of stuff, but putting grey sheepskin on my Bertoia chairs (which FYI you kind of need so you don’t get waffle butt!), adding a wool pillow to the couch, putting new art up on the walls as I find it and putting candlesticks on the dining room table along with a table runner.

I realized I was moving away from the bright white interiors and embracing the dark side. It takes time to figure out your style. I don’t look at any of the things I have done in my home as mistakes, but rather, as opportunities to experiment and grow. Since the big pieces have stayed the same I haven’t had a big outlay of money that I’m going to lose. Just 50 bucks for a can of paint, divided over four years of enjoyment and you see that the cost isn’t significant. Also, anything I change up, I can sell or donate.

Don’t feel like you have to be married to one particular style. I think because of the time, effort and money that I had put into my home I was supposed to just let it be, but your home is never finished. You grow and change as a person and your home can do the same.

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When to Hire an Interior Designer

DIY Photo Wall  via

DIY Photo Wall via

Interior Design is about so much more than making a house pretty, although that's the fun part! It's about creating a space that tells your story, helps you live your passion and transforms your life. That seems like a lot to expect from an interior designer, but it is what I firmly believe interior design can do for my clients. 

  • All of us have a story to tell. In my home I have furniture and serving platters from my grandparents, I have pictures of places I've visited (often with friends) and I surround myself with vintage furniture that tells its own story. Some people love to have pictures of their family, while some people collect items that make them happy. Whatever it is we all have a story to tell. Those pictures, mementos and collections are what bring heart into a home. 
  • Your home should give you the space to live your passion. That can come through in many different ways. Maybe you decide to downsize because your passion is being able to travel and you'd rather save rent and spend money on experiences. You may want to start your own business and need to create a space that is just your own away from the daily chaos of family life. Or, you may be like me and you love to entertain. You need space for a big table that everyone can sit around telling stories and room for your dishes and serving pieces. Think about what you want out of life and how you can make your home serve those needs, wants and desires. 
  • You may be in transition and need some help. Some people go through loss, illness or bouts of depression and their home becomes a dumping ground of old things which hold all those old emotions. I've worked with people to help them let go of the things that are holding them back and to create a beautiful and well-functioning space that lets them live their best life. I've experienced this myself many times, especially since I struggle with depression. Investing in making my home feel like a safe haven is one of the ways I invest in my emotional health and well-being. I've also been clearing away clutter such as old letters, cards and postcards and I have found myself reaching out to the people in my life more and spending time with them. I don't feel as weighed down by the past and I want to fully engage and live in the present. Plus I have had some incredible and amazing new people come into my life. 

If you feel like your home does not reflect who you and your family are, does not provide you with the space to live out your dreams, or is holding you back then hire an interior designer to help you transform your domain. 

I've helped many people create a home that is functional and beautiful. I'd love to help you do the same.

Fill out this form today for an initial complementary fifteen minute consultation to discuss your design needs. 


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Why I don't buy knockoffs

Years ago I saw a print or a postcard of a Rothko painting. Just two squares of color and I scoffed and thought what's the big deal- any one can do this. 

I was so wrong. I was in DC on business and while exploring the city I saw a Rothko up close and personal and the feeling it evoked were immense. I was completely overwhelmed. It was an amazing experience and I never said I could do that again, well, in reference to art that is! 

While everything in my house is dear to me it isn't precious. My furniture is functional and meant to be used, but I also love good design. 

There are certain things that I adore, like my Eames plywood molded chair, because I appreciate the story. These chairs came about because Eames had been given a government grant to create splints in WWII. Before Eames created the plywood molded splints that cradled the leg and provided support the splints were made out of metal. I can't even imagine the pain. After the war he used the same process to create a new type of chair. 

Having an original means a lot to me because it represents the spirit and the history of the designer. I'll admit that I did get a wicked good deal on my vintage chair though! 

I needed new headshots and brought my Bertoia chair to the beach! 

I needed new headshots and brought my Bertoia chair to the beach! 

Or the Bertoia chairs that I have in my dining room. Bertoia worked with metal and wanted to create a chair that  "[is} mainly made of air, like sculpture. Space passes right through them."

I appreciate a slight yield, lightness of weight, some motion if possible, because in moving about, the human body determines… the comfort and the measurements of its environment… the human measure is still the strongest factor. But coming back to the chair, there are certain motions we go through - we like to lean back, like to toss things - and if the chair’s adaptable it responds and it’s almost like wearing a comfortable coat; you really don’t know you have it on- Bertoia

At the same time I have a workbench that was made by my grandfather out of scrap pieces of wood. That workbench, like my  Eames and Bertoia chairs, is built to last. 

So next time you see something with a high price tag, especially if it is handmade, think about the design and the craft and the care that goes into making it. If a piece is out of your reach then keep an eye on ebay or craigslist. Every piece of furniture in my house, except for my sofa and coffee table, are used or vintage.

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An Argument Against Masculine or Feminine Interiors

Image on left via  Hunted Interio r and Image on right via  Life.Style.etc

Image on left via Hunted Interior and Image on right via Life.Style.etc

I've been  frustrated for years by the use of the words 'masculine' or 'feminine' to describe interior design. First off gender is a binary oppositional construct. You are either masculine or feminine. Except, in this day and age gender is fluid. We all fall somewhere on the continuum. There are some people who identify strongly as masculine or feminine, even though that may not be their biological sex, some who choose not to identify either way and some people who flow back and forth across the boundary. It is no longer black and white-in fact it never was, but society chose to ignore people who were more fluid then others.  

Yet, when we keep using an outdated way of viewing the world to define interiors then we are limiting ourselves. 

When a room or a list of things to buy is described as masculine then the inherent belief is that women, or people who prefer overt femininity, are not a part of that group. If I post the picture on the left and describe it as a masculine room (which someone did because I used the term masculine to search for it on Pinterest), then that room is not for me, even though I love that room. I'd wrap myself in its masculine darkness and fur throw all day long. 

On the flip side the same is true when we describe a room as feminine. There is no rule book that says men can't wear pink or have a pink sofa in their home. I actually don't care for the color pink but society seems to keep throwing it at me in hopes that it will stick. Color is a social construct. We have assigned gender to something completely benign like color. 

There are so many words in the English language and it is time to use them. Stop the limiting beliefs and let gender flow. 

I'd describe the room on the left as dark, moody and rustic. And except for the rustic part I just described myself! I'd describe the room on the right as modern, bright and artistic. Look at that! I didn't even need to resort to masculine or feminine. 

I could happily exist in either of those spaces and it doesn't matter what my sex or gender is. 

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Living room redesigned

Kandy was my first experience working with a designer, and it was such a positive one! She is fun, friendly, open, responsive, and very talented and creative! She worked with me to assess my style, my priorities, and really helped get creative to stay within my budget. Not only do I love the spaces she helped me create, but I also feel like she introduced me to valuable resources and design skills that I have used on my own since. I highly recommend her!
— Amy

Amy had a lovely sunny living room, art and accessories from her family and her travels, but she was suffering from long narrow living room syndrome, which is a common Chicago apartment problem. 

She willingly wanted to get rid of her furniture and love seat, which were a little bit too big for the space. They were pieces she had bought used years ago and they never were quite what she wanted. Normally, I try to work with the pieces that owners already have but in this case replacing the oversized sofa was a good call. 

One of her concerns was to make sure that she had enough seating since she was getting rid of the love seat. The love seat was replaced with a chair and she had an additional chair she could pull in from the desk next to the sofa when needed. 

My design plan was to create two zones. One would be centered around the fireplace and be for conversation and people watching, while the other would be for her desk and a reading nook. 

Sometimes you have to play with layouts. The first one I sketched up used the couch to really delineate the space. Unfortunately it just wasn't a very good flow for the apartment. When I did this initial sketch the cable was on the side of the wall by the window, which is why the tv is located there. Ultimately we ran the cable around the room to the other side. 

This is the option that we ended up going with. The couch under the windows and the chair at an angle. It provided enough space to move through the room and get to the door which lead to her bedroom. In this instance it is the rug that helps define the space. 

RoomSketcher Snapshot.jpg

This was definitely a collaborative effort. Amy needed help with layout and ideas for furniture but we worked together to pick items for her space. She was the one who found this fabulous rug which really added color and life to the space. Amy was kind enough to snap a photo on her iphone and send it my way. I'm not always able to get the fancy pictures, but this really gives an idea of how much the flow was improved and a bit of life breathed back into the room. Plus kitty agrees! 

If your space could use a little design help then fill out this form today for an initial complementary fifteen minute consultation to discuss your design needs. 

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