Behind the Scenes: Guests Are Welcome

This is my last behind-the-scenes blog post about my time on Brother vs. Brother episode on HGTV! It was a whirlwind 6-week process - yes we really had only 6 weeks to put all of this together - and I loved every minute.

Guest rooms are so key to creating a welcoming home, and that was the focus of the very last episode. With this being a vacation home at the beach, Drew Scott definitely wanted to have some inviting and gorgeous secondary bedrooms.

As you can see above, we really had our work cut out for us – these were some dark and dreary rooms

But with that coastal-water color scheme from the rest of the home, these rooms were transformed into oases that you almost wouldn’t want to leave. And I really loved the extra function in this room, where you can fold the bed up into the wall and have an open home office!

These cute bunk beds also add a lot of extra sleeping places without taking up too much room. I also used this idea in my Telluride project so even more guests could sleep over as needed.

The cool grays in the guest bath are brightened with touches of gold tones for a great color combination, and the shiplap walls are a nice coastal touch.

What do you think of the guest bedrooms? I’m ready to sleep over for sure! I hope you enjoyed this behind-the-scenes tour of my time on HGTV's Brother vs. Brother and on Team Drew Scott! Keep your eye out for replays of the season, and let me know what you thought of our house!



Behind the Scenes: The Great Outdoors

After four weeks filming on HGTV's Brother vs. Brother show, I was finally getting more comfortable with the cameras and sometimes didn’t even notice them! This was also the point where we moved to the outdoor areas, which was great because this house was made for outdoor living with all the decks and amazing water views.

In the original design of the house, though, there wasn’t anything at all that was inviting about the outdoor spaces.

Drew Scott had to replace all the pilings, too, on the canal side of the house, which was an unexpected expense. But it gave him a chance to redo the boat dock. There was also a lower deck here, so Drew and I included a daybed area in his plan for the space.

It’s a great relaxing lounge area, now, and how cool is that ladder that works as a towel rack?

On the other side of the lower deck area, we brought in traditional Adirondack chairs and a rolling cart that serves as a refreshment center.

It was the upper deck, though, really needed the most love!

So much time at a beach house is spent outside, so we really needed an inviting space on that deck. Now there’s a new dining area that can fit a lot of friends and family for al fresco meals!

Drew also loved the furniture we chose for a conversation area on the deck, and he jumped right in to help arrange it. 

The coastal colors are so soothing and inviting in the new deck area – they make you want to spend all your time here, enjoying the beautiful views!

The photographer caught Drew and I enjoying the finished seating area! This entire project was such a blast, and Drew really went out of his way to make me feel comfortable and welcome on his team!

Keep reading my blog throughout July and I'll give you more insights on what it was like to work with Drew and the HGTV team.



Behind the Scenes: Master Suite


I had so much fun working on HGTV’s Brother vs. Brother and helping Drew Scott with his transformation of this Galveston beach house! One room that really had a major makeover during our TV shoot was the master bedroom.

The original room was really in bad shape – look at that carpet! And it need some serious sprucing up.

It was such a large room, but the space didn’t have a good flow. It just wasn't a functional area at all.

When we redesigned the master suite, we added a fireplace and enlarged the master bath. The fireplace in the sitting area is a perfect retreat for an early morning cup of coffee before the day begins or unwinding from a day at the beach.

The original master bathroom had a large hot tub, and faux wood panelling - not exactly the retreat we were wanting.

We created a serene retreat that’s much more like an in-home spa! And I love the 3D tiles on the wall behind the sink.

Now you can see why this room is my favorite transformation in the whole home! Be sure to check in with my blog all month as I bring you even more inside looks at how we transformed this Galveston beach house!



Behind the Scenes: Kitchen Reveal


Working on HGTV’s Brother vs. Brother was a lot fun, and one of my favorite episodes was the kitchen makeover. The coastal color palette was so smart, and the reworked footprint really opened up the space. As you can see above, I loved being “Team Drew” with Drew Scott.

Above is another reminder of what we were dealing with when Drew bought this home in Galveston. It was so dated with the paneling and shag carpeting.

As you can see, we flipped the kitchen and dining areas, which allowed much more natural light into the room. Everything is so much brighter with the white cabinets and the Walker Zanger Calcata Gold porcelain counters.

Such a huge difference from the beige and brown look above, right?!

The backsplash is so pretty, too – you can see it here in the right corner of the photo. It’s Walker Zanger Robert Stern Shingle, and it reminds me of waves – perfect for a beach house!

What did you think about the kitchen? Let me know – and be sure to tune in to my blog throughout this month as I give you more inside info on working with Drew Scott and HGTV!



A “Drew Re-Do” of the Living Room

On HGTV’s Brother vs. Brother, you saw Drew Scott and I transform the living room of his beach project in Galveston. As part of Team Drew, I thought I’d give you a little more behind-the-scenes on this major renovation. It was one of the fastest projects I’ve ever worked on, with only 6 weeks to transform the entire house!

As you can see above, the interior was a total gut job with terrible paneling and shag carpet in every room.

The new fireplace is one of my favorite spots in the whole house, with the Walker Zanger Calacata Gold bookmatched porcelain slabs – it created a stunning look!

Looking back toward the dining area in the former design, you can see how dated and dark the room was.

Our Coastal Cool vibe lightened up the room and gave it a more modern look. Drew wanted the colors to be the classic sea glass blues, greens, white, and a touch of coral. 

If you missed this season, don't worry! HGTV is sure to repeat it soon. And stay tuned here throughout July as I give you more behind-the-scenes info!



Behind the Scenes of Brother vs. Brother

I was so thrilled to be chosen to work on Drew Scott’s team for the 5th season of Brother vs. Brother on HGTV! Last night was the last episode for this season, so now I can give you a little behind-the-scenes info!

When I began the interview process to work on Drew’s team and try to help him win the competition, I decided at that point it would be something that I had never done before, and that it would be fun to at least try it. I was so thrilled when I received the call from the producer! With the timeline, it was fast and furious until the end, and it was great fun working with the entire crew. 

First, the home was a gorgeous 1,750-square-foot house in Galveston, TX, located on the west end of the island. All of the homes have canals for easy access to the bay and the beach is a golf cart ride away.

Drew purchased a two-story home and we re-worked the floor plan to add bedrooms, but it also had a few major issues he was not anticipating. The pilings had to be replaced along with the all of the siding, and the interior was a total gut job because it had paneling, shag carpet in every room, and a tiki bar off the kitchen. I really think the living and dining areas were stunning when they were finished!

Stay tuned here because I'll give you more sneak peeks and inside information throughout the month of July!



Color My World

There are certain color palettes that just automatically set the tone for a room, like the coastal cool vibe in the home I’m working on with Drew Scott on HGTV’s Brother vs. Brother. Those water colors of turquoise and sky blue aren’t the only classic beach colors, though. I also love a patriotic red, white, and blue for homes on the coast, especially for those July 4th getaways! Let’s take a look:

Barclay Butera is known for his California coast look, and he doesn’t disappoint in this living room. He goes slightly lighter than navy for a slight twist on the traditional flag colors.

Brian Patrick Flynn uses several shades of blue and a washed-out-red to create a winning bedroom design above!

In a home designed by Robert Couturier and featured in Elle Decor, a Jean Dubuffet painting brings the patriotic palette without overtly waving the flag.

Fab You Bliss sets a patriotic table with not one stripe in sight. To recreate this for your Fourth festivities, consider vintage patterns to mix and match with newer tableware.

To see more red, white, and blue interiors, go to my pinboard here. I hope you and your family have fabulous plans for the Fourth next week!



Beach House Chic

It’s officially summer and time to head to my favorite beach locations! I love coastal decor, and the beachier, the better. Let me show you a few chic seashore details that make beach homes that reference the location without being kitsch!

Celerie Kemble added waves of molding to the doorways of this lovely Florida beach house. They added a sophisticated touch without being a traditional seashore look!

The door knocker on this New England home gives a fun welcome to beach house visitors.

The beams and bunks in this guest room are a subtle nod to seagoing vessels, rather than a traditional seashell-and-anchor look.

Shiplap and weathered wood give a cool sophistication to this pared-down powder room.

I love seashore homes, and these chic versions have me ready to get away this weekend! Happy summer!



Summer Views

One thing that I love to update according to the seasons would be window treatments. In the winter months, heavy draperies keep out the cold. But in summer months, light and flowing looks let the sun shine in! Let’s take a look at some of my favorite warm-weather window dressing:

White is always right in the summer months, especially when it also has a few bright stripes, like in this shade by Megan Winter Designs.

Pale pink linen draperies get a classic update with Greek key trim. Linen is a perfect fabric for summer looks!

Tiebacks are a great way to open up the draperies and allow those summer breezes inside, and I love these little bees from Anthropologie.

Just like your own wardrobe, summer is a great time for lighter materials and softer colors!

What do you think of these lightened-up looks? I’m ready for those long summer days!



Top 3 Kitchen Solutions

The kitchen is the one room in the house that has to be organized in order to function at peak performance. But there are 3 issues the drive every cook crazy, all of which can be solved with great organization. Let’s take a look!

How often have you scrabbled around in a drawer looking for the whisk? Or do you have one of those giant tubs with all of your gadgets stuffed inside? Instead of a tangled mess, consider drawer dividers on a diagonal! They give you better organization, and there’s room for the longer tools, like rolling pins!

Cutting boards, cookie sheets, and cake pans can make you crazy. Stacked up, they are impossible to get to. And if you have them in that drawer under the stove, you know how frustrating it can be to pull out the right one. So consider cabinet dividers like these – they can be purchased and added to any existing cabinet to help you sort through all of your pans!

We all love our kitchen gadgets and small appliances – but they take up valuable real estate on the counter. Pull-out shelves like these can be purchased at any home/hardware store. They give you a lot of organization while also hiding tools that you only use every now and then!

What do you think of these kitchen solutions? You can find more of my organizing ideas on my pinboard here!



Sending a Chain Letter

There is one pattern that does not get enough love in home decor, but it really sends me, and that’s a chain-and-link design. I love interlocking patterns and this one has an elegance all its own.

The wallpaper from Bisazza above takes it old school with a navy-and-gold palette.

Sticking with the gold theme, but in a grander way, is this Parisian door designed by Pierre Yovanovitch.

And then actual chain can become a work of art, like in this interior from Demakersvan.

What do you think of the chain pattern? Do you have a favorite pattern for interiors? Let me know!



Keeping It Positive


It seems like a no-brainer, but sometimes staying positive is easier said than done. Like most jobs, designing homes and working with clients can be stressful and, although I am doing exactly what I love, negativity can slip in every now and then. But then I remember, “No negative thoughts allowed.”

Thinking negatively doesn’t benefit anyone: not the interior designer, not the client, not the design.

A design that starts in a place of positivity, appreciation, and joy for the craft will always be more successful. Instead of letting those negative thoughts creep in, say instead that you can, and you will.



Runway Inspiration

If I ever have “designer’s block,” there is always one place that will light my creative fire again – Fashion! Fashion is the springboard for so many colors and styles in home decor. As soon as I see a gorgeous look walking down the runway, I begin to imagine how I would use the colors and fabrics in a room.           

This “millennial pink” dress from Chanel would be the perfect inspiration for a softly neutral room like this one from Pastel Interior Design.

Or a peacock color on a dress from Carolina Herrera might encourage you to try a moody blue in your home like this one from Share Design.

Or maybe a whimsical look from Elie Saab will make you rethink a fun pattern in a kids’ room like this superstar from Sissy and Marley!

See why I go for fashion to kickstart new idea? So what inspires you?



Porch Living

Did you catch my debut on Team Drew in last night’s Brother vs. Brother season opener on HGTV? I’m so excited to work on a gorgeous beach house in Galveston with Drew Scott – it showcases the very best in outdoor living for the summer!

In the South, porches and decks are so important for visiting with family and friends, and taking advantage of gorgeous weather. Let’s take a look at some of my favorites:

On another HGTV show, Joanna Gaines designed this porch to serve as an outdoor dining room. I love the mix of materials with wood and metal making a statement.

Designer Leah Bailey sets up this porch for serious snoozing, using a daybed as the porch swing.

Two traditions – wicker and rocking chairs – are combined in this gorgeous outdoor area from Better Homes & Gardens.

What are your favorite outdoor areas? Let me know – and enjoy the next episode of Brother vs. Brother on Wednesday at 9/8c on HGTV!



Passport to Inspiration

I’m continuing a theme I started earlier this week, of telling you where I get my design inspirations. Travel is always inspiring to me! Whether it’s new colors, scents, or sights, I always come home full of new ideas and techniques I want to try. Here are some of my favorite destinations for inspiration!

Paris is, of course, the ultimate destination for people who love design. And although I love the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower as much as anyone, I also find inspiration along the side streets of the city!

Greece inspires the trifecta of design: color, pattern, shape!

The beach is always a source of respite and inspiration for me, like this gorgeous Cinque Terre destination in Italy.

The Summer Palace in Beijing is a riot of color and fantastic patterns!

And a quintessential English garden, like this one in Norfolk, refreshes the spirit and offers a stunning display of color and form.

So where do you find inspiration? Let me know!



Reservation for Inspiration

I’m often asked where I get my inspiration for the interiors I design. Everything can inspire me, from art to fashion to fabrics. But I love getting inspiration from commercial design too, like restaurants and hotels. There are amazing designs that range from over-the-top to super-glam all around the world! Here are some of my favorites:

This scenic restaurant La Foret Noire was designed by Claude Cartier to remind the viewer of a dark forest. I love the wallpaper, the deep banquette, and the shape of the chair backs. Magnifique!

On the other end of the light spectrum is the light and bright Chez Gaston with stunning marbleized walls and pale wood.

Yellow and black are definitely trending as a color pair right now, so I love the Le Flandrin Restaurant redesigned by Joseph Dirand.

And another restaurant with an amazing floor is the Hispania Restaurant in London designed by Lorenzo Castillo. Love the pops of turquoise!

Speaking of floors, how could you not be inspired by the brass lines that start at the bar and continue across the marble floor? This stunning design is by Build for the Herzog bar in Munich.

Aren’t these spaces incredible? For more inspirational looks at commercial spaces, see my pinboard by clicking here.



Animal Attraction

I love a touch of leopard – whether it’s in a room, or an accessory for a fabulous outfit! It’s a perfect touch of the wild side that can amp up your personal style. Let’s take a look!

Kelly Wearstler brings the glam with a leopard carpet on the sweeping staircase, featured in Elle Decor.

A little leopard goes a long way, as in this street style scene from Vogue.

Side chairs are the perfect vehicle for leopard print, like this pair designed by From The Right Bank.

Love this little touch of leopard on a chest from Moissonnier Frères.

This tabletop design by Ralph Lauren Home really brings the “cattitude!”

So what do you think of leopard? See more of my favorite catty designs on the pinboard here.



Designing the Perfect Garden Party

It’s the perfect time of year for dining al fresco or hosting backyard BBQs. But there is a method to designing a great outdoor event, so here are my top tips for making the most of summer weather!

Ballard Design

Ballard Design

1. Be sure you have plenty of comfy seats. Guests want to mix and mingle, but they also will want to sit down and enjoy themselves, so be sure there are enough seats for all.

El Mueble

El Mueble

2. There should be enough tables for plates and drinks, too. Although most outdoor events are casual, you still want to entertain as you would indoors.

PK Colorado

PK Colorado

3. For an extra-special event, consider bringing the indoors out, with lamps, rugs, upholstery and more! It’s a bit more work, but creates an amazing venue.

Foo Dog

Foo Dog

4. Remember the color – you can go bright and bold outside! So be sure to add in a great hue that makes people feel festive!

Al Fresco

Al Fresco

5. Mix high and low! Use mismatched chairs and an old piece of wood for a table, but then bring out your china, crystal, and flatware. It’s a great celebratory look!

See how a little thought and some interior design ideas can give you an outdoor party to remember? Let me know what your favorite al fresco gatherings are!



Rooms Mom Will Love

This weekend we’re celebrating moms with flowers, dinners out, and candy. But do you know what moms really want? An oasis! A place that’s all her own where she can get away and unwind. I love peaceful rooms that allow you to recharge, so here are some rooms that I know mom will love!

1. A spa-like retreat. What mom wouldn’t love to soak away her cares in a deep and luxurious tub? Add a few spa details like warm towels and stress-free design, and you’ve got the perfect present, like this room from Sabon.

2. Inviting linens, a soothing palette, fresh flowers, and a scented candle – now that’s the recipe for the perfect mom-retreat, like this bedroom by Judy Elliott & Jess Bandiera

3. How about an outdoor getaway right in the backyard? There’s a new trend for “she sheds” to give mom a home away from home, and this one from Country Living is calling my name.

4. Or if a full shed is too much, maybe consider a place all her own on the porch. A daybed is would make the great outdoors even greater!

5. Finally, for the moms who are readers, what about a library all her own? All that’s required is a comfy seat, lots of books, and plenty of time alone.

To all the moms out there, I wish you a very happy Mother’s Day this weekend!



A Chair Affair

I have a not-so-slight obsession with chairs. It’s one piece that can perfectly capture form and function in one gorgeous design! So why chairs, you ask? Well since a picture tells a thousand words, let’s look at some of my faves:

These Horn chairs from Karpen of California may have been created in 1964, but they still look ultra-modern (and comfortable!).

he wing chair is a classic design, but it’s taken to another level with 3D cut-out leather work by Helen Amy Murray.

I love the gate motif on the metal back of this barrel chair called The Bee’s Knees, from Caracole.

Morelato takes utilitarian wood and elevates it to a work of art in the Genny chair.

And for all-out glam, you can’t beat the Masters chair by Philippe Stark, created in gold-coated plastic for Kartell.

So now you see why my chair obsession really is an affair of the heart! To see more gorgeous designs, check out my pinboard here!