I love lamp…Swank lamps!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Sep 30, 2008 | 2 Comments | Category: Contests, Lighting

Only four weeks left to turn in your design boards for the Swank Lighting/Material Girls contest! We’ve gotten some great entries so far and know that there are more out there yet to come!!

Just think, if you win the contest, you can finally retire some of your old lamps to the attic…


and you can replace with some of these beauties…

Ahhhhhh….much better

In the words of Brick Tamland…

Who doesn’t?!

Good luck everyone! We will be posting all the awesome entries sometime between November 1st and November 15th when we announce the winner!

Often in Us Weekly or People, there will be that article that shows “day” Katie Cruise and “night” Katie Cruise. “Day” Katie will appear with less makeup, large sunglasses, wearing skinny or “boyfriend” jeans, strolling around looking more casual. “Night” Katie has smokey eye makeup, a tight fitting dress or ball gown on, and looking positively stunning- ready for a more formal occasion.

Day Katie

Night Katie

Your tableware should follow this same transformation. It’s always good to have two sets- one that’s more casual for the daytime and another that is more fancy for when dinner guests come over.

I don’t believe in never using your good china either. Something so expensive and special shouldn’t just be collecting dust in your cabinets! Break them out when good friends are over- there is never a better time than today!

I love Cielo Home and its tableware collections that are categorized under Formal Table (night) and Everyday Table (day)

Everyday table:

This dessert plate was designed by renowned Italian designer Missoni (known for their colorful and creative patterns) Retails at $58

Missoni dress (looks similar to the plate above)

Katie also in casual floral for day wear

Another “Everyday” table item- this Checks Round plate was designed by Thomas Kellar

Katie in a similar pattern

Formal Table:

This plate, designed by John Derian, was an Elle Decor award winner! At $158 each, this plate is worth every penny- gorgeous! Every piece is hand signed by John himself. The colors he used look perfect together as does the mini “brooch” looking piece in the center of the design.

Katie with a similar brooch looking design on her dress

This coral “Cristobal” dessert plate, was designed by Alberto Pinto (he is hired by royals and also celebs to design their homes and palaces!) What a fun job. I love the vibrant, deep hue in this plate- I can see this table setting being really dramatic at night- especially if it was paired with black, white and gold!

Katie also breaking out her fiery red for night!

As you can see, there is a time and a place for different sets of china (informal and more formal)…take it from Katie, she won’t be wearing her boyfriend jeans on the red carpet anytime soon!

Hot for dots

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Sep 29, 2008 | 3 Comments | Category: Decor Accessories

I love finding similar high/low pieces….sometimes it’s a given which is the more expensive one and other times, it’s not so easy (which makes it great for those of us who find look alike pieces for half the price- especially in today’s economy!)

Can you tell which one of these mirrors below is the more high end and which is the less?

Most expensive one is $2,270, the least is $129 and the mid ranged mirror is $199.

We love the circle motif- we see it everywhere these days! These mirrors provide lots of visual interest at every price point.

Can you tell which one is which?

Let them eat cake!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Sep 24, 2008 | 11 Comments | Category: Design Inspiration, Events


Material Girls is growing up way too fast (tear) ;(

I remember when she was only a twinkle in my eye….or (more specifically) a thought in my head

Did I say my head? Ok, ok…I admit- it was my boyfriend Ben’s bright idea to start this design blog one year ago today…I was convinced no one would ever read it (except maybe my mother) but after him trying to coax me into it for a whole eight minutes, I became convinced that with my love for writing and design, this blog had to happen…even if no one read it, it would be a way to document my design finds, express my creativity and sit at the computer more than I already did (which I didn’t think was humanly possible).

Weeks went by with just moi as the sole author of “Dear Designer” (our previous name that we’ve since changed due to its use on other blogs and publications) and I began to think that “Dear Designer” needed another voice- one whom I knew quite well.

Enter: Lauren

Lauren was my friend from design school back in the day (and by back in the day, I mean a little more than three years ago). We had kept up since school and she thought the blog was a great idea- so we decided that it would be a lot of fun for her to contribute to it. So as Lauren started “contributing” more and more, she became a regular and we decided to move forward with a new name. About three months later, the MG name and new blog header finally took effect.

Why Material Girls? We both decided that we love fabrics and materials (that was a given)

{Image via Robert Allen}

and we needed a name that was soo original and one that no one had ever ever heard of before….

ok, maybe not- Enter: Madonna

{Madonna, the original Material Girl, performing as Marie at one of her concerts}

I envisioned our mascot, “Material Girl” to be a Marie Antoinette type figure from 18th century France- a time when decor was luxurious, ornate, full of fabrics, pattern and materials to the nines (at least in the palace it was!)

The authentic palace at Versailles

Months went by and a few more posts later, we had made a ton of great blogging friends on here and realized that the Interior Design blogging world is really small and such a nice, close group of people that we learn a ton from each and every day…it’s amazing to “meet” other people halfway across the world who share the same kind of passion as we do for Interiors. Blogging has been such a great experience and has since become an addiction that I hope to never give up!

This month we have added a few other blog-ees to Material Girls and that would be Jill from LA, Susan from NY, and Crystal from Chicago…we are looking forward to some other great posts from these ladies and finding out their “go-to” places for design all over the country!

And now that the sappy part is over, it’s party time and you are all invited to MG’s virtual birthday celebration!

First, we’d pick a swanky venue to host the party at. We wouldn’t want the party to be too Marie Antoinette “themey” so we would go in the opposite, more mod direction (but still using Marie’s colors as accents-pinks, golds, turquoise, blues, yellows, greens) to complement the black and white decor

We would need the location big enough to accomodate our closest friends/family/MG readers/fellow bloggers/clients but small enough to keep the party intimate and laid back. The venue would have to be at a home (since that is what Material Girls are all about)

We’d probably see if we could rent out Scott Joyce’s home in the Hollywood Hills- it’s in a great location and the modern, glamorous decor is a Material Girls favorite.

His entry foyer had us at hello- the metallic cowboy boot on the console table reminds us of Material Girl’s birthplace (Texas) and we quickly decide that this has got to be the party’s location (after Scott consents to it). Chandeliers, metallic accents, mirrors, graphic prints, and floor to ceiling windows draw us to the space.

But wait! We need decorations before the guests arrive! Again, we don’t want to go too French themed on you here, so we will stay stylish and current- to coordinate with the black and white scheme in the house, we will add some accent colors that Marie would like- such as yellow! A really trendy combo right now in fashion and decor, but who cares- there’s always next year’s party to decorate too and I’m sure we will be so over yellow and black by then anyways.

Of course we will need Sarah of Toast and Tables help- we would want her expert advice on where to go for table settings, invitations, party decor, florals, etc.

Ok we are set- time for guests to arrive- the front courtyard with floor to ceiling windows give guests full view of the party as they get there making it easy to locate

The home has a great open floor plan and various seating groups that would work well with lots of party mingling

Gorgeous furniture wrapped in luxe fabrics throughout the space does not go unnoticed…guests take in and appreciate all of the stunning surroundings (especially our fellow design blogger guests- we know they appreciate a beautiful home just as much as we do!)

Guests can also feel free to go explore the house during the party- some of the more private areas in the home are must sees!

Such as this up-to-date charming bedroom that I think a modern day Marie would have appreciated

A gorgeous view and comfortable lounge seating on the patio cause the guests to start to meander outside.

{Images via Point Click Home}

After the meal (which will not be planned by me, as I am the worst cook/hostess ever- I’m surprised this virtual party has even gotten off the ground!) guests will feast on Sprinkles Cupcakes for dessert (this blog post is really making me hungry!)

As it gets darker outside and the number of guests start to dwindle, we wrap up the party and hope to do it again next year.

Can’t believe a year has gone by and close to 300 blog posts later, we are still as interested in design as ever! Here’s to another year of blogging, new friendships, design gabbing, and much much more in store for Material Girls! Stay tuned and thanks for always feeling up to chatting design with us!

Time for shoe design!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Sep 22, 2008 | 1 Comment | Category: Contests, Fashion

A pair of pink Louboutins to get your creative juices flowing…!

Last year I did a post on the Baylor Hospital/Saks Fifth Avenue Pink Passion Shoe Design and Decorating contest. It was so much fun for me to participate in that I had to let you all know about it again this year!

Runs from September 26th until October 27th….all entries must be submitted by 10/27…All you have to do is submit a shoe that you creatively decorated in PINK to show your passion for fashion and battling breast cancer.

Submit right shoe only in a shoe box to Saks at the Galleria or Baylor. See more details about the contest here. Win a Saks shoe shopping spree valued at $750!

Here is a photo of the shoe I made last year as “booties” were just coming in style, houndstooth was a big thing, as were pink and green, and then I found the perfect fabric that mimicked the Breast Cancer awareness pink ribbons.

“Before and After” shots (can’t say I’ve ever taken those of a shoe before!)

Believe it or not, this shoe took me FOREVER to make- I probably wouldn’t advise anyone to make a bootie and I probably wouldn’t ever make a bootie again either! (glue= everywhere)

I hope you get a chance to participate or even just go up to Saks to see the other entrants- some of them are pretty creative and wild!

Desire to BE Inspired!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Sep 22, 2008 | 2 Comments | Category: Designers, Furniture

I keep seeing Suzanne Kasler’s Alexandra chair for Hickory everywhere and am currently obsessed. I just can’t get this chair out of my head…maybe because of the quatrefoil motif and the fact that I am Irish…looks like a four leaf clover- my ancestors would want me to have this chair and not to mention, don’t quatrefoils bring good luck? My dressing table needs all the luck it can get- my current iron vanity bench is looking pretty shabby right about now.

However, the price tag for a young girl like me is what’s holding me back of course…maybe we can count on Target to recreate it in about ten years…

On another note, I have a terrible case of the Mondays…and thought these beautiful photos of Suzanne Kasler designed rooms would bring inspiration and motivation to start a productive work week for everyone..Enjoy!

A favorite room of the Material Girls…..a Suzanne Kasler dining room

Suzanne is quickly becoming one of my favorite designers who I admire very much- she creates beautiful and timeless interiors that I can gawk over for hours and has been featured in countless design publications for her outstanding work

This Atlanta based designer surely has a lot ahead of her!

Don’t miss Cote de Texas’ wonderful post on Suzanne Kasler in her “Top Ten Interior Designers” list- featuring Suzanne as #8!

Ok I feel a bit more inspired now….have a great week everyone!

Images from Suzanne Kasler website and Cote de Texas

After Jill’s post of all things white and light from Oly Studio, I had to go to the “dark side”. It’s a company I’ve been meaning to share- one that has recently been featured in O at Home and whose furnishings are sinuous, sultry, and positively stylish. Dubbed the place for “affordable modern design”, Modern Dose, has everything sleek and chic on its online “showroom”- including free shipping on all items!

Estela Lugo, an Interior Designer started this company in hopes of becoming the go to place for affordable and stylish modern decor. Products include ones from private designers as well as a handful from Estela herself.

This is my favorite piece in her collection- The Aphrodite shelf- designed by Estela!

This octagon shaped Diana mirror is sure to stir up some conversation in your home

The Maison bench– with its tufted seat and graceful legs, it’s definitely a showstopper

How could you forget the Mies Brno chair from design school? Its lustrous stainless steel and black Italian leather seat is much hard to forget

I love this light fixture. Just its name “Bora” makes it more exotic- hidden crystals beneath a black shade provide a high level of glamour and that touch of sparkle that each room needs

The traditional antique chair does a 180! Looks like a piece that Helena Bonham Carter might paint black and re-upholster for a more daring unexpected look!

These lace coasters help add some panache to a girly cocktail party

Cue Beyonce’s song, “I’m feeeeling sexy……” in the background…

These pieces will stop someone dead in their tracks….must get this console table! But is it a console table? Nope- it’s a shelf! Stack these shelves on top of eachother on the wall while the bottom “console’s” legs rest on the ground. Large and small shadow table shelves. Great for narrow corridors

This fireplace shelf made of acrylic comes in black or white

Shopping for Inspiration

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Sep 18, 2008 | 4 Comments | Category: Design Inspiration

Guess where this cute little room is? None other than a dressing room at Nordstroms juniors! So adorable. I love the mishmash of white frames on the wall, little tulip tables, pink hues, and girly floral fabric. Pretty cute for a department store dressing room I must say!

Fun lucite console and pod seating.

Geometric patterned pendants add a lively punch

I am such a visual person- I get my inspiration from anywhere and everywhere…

and that even includes Nordstroms restroom! Yes, even the lady’s lounge has style. I probably would have added a few more art pieces on the wall because this does not look balanced to me (and I am all about balance)- but I love the look they were trying to achieve!

Just goes to show you that you can find inspiration in all sorts of places- even out shopping!

DWR opening new store!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Sep 17, 2008 | No Comments | Category: Shops and Showrooms

Design Within Reach is opening up a new store called “Tools for Living”. There will be two locations- one in Soho and the other in Santa Monica.

At these stores, you will find- what else? Tools for living! The secret to these items is “smart design”. They are not just objects but more like tools because they help out with every day life situations.


142 Wooster Street

New York, NY 10012

Phone: 212.471.0280

*Opens 9/19*

332 Santa Monica Boulevard

Santa Monica, CA 90401

Phone: 310.458.0543

*Opens 10/2*

Mint table globe

Classic French paintbrush

Visual Vamp!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Sep 17, 2008 | 2 Comments | Category: Design Bloggers

Through blogging, we come across a lot of creative, inspiring people and one whom we just adore is Valorie of Visual Vamp. She loves all things beautiful (which is definitely something we have in common with her!) Her blog covers decor, fashion, travel, trends, art, music, television, movies, and just life in general. She is as sweet as can be- so hop on over to Visual Vamp to get your design fix for the day.

Yesterday she created an outstanding design board for our Material Girls/Swank Lighting contest of Ugly Betty’s new Manhattan apartment- view it here!