I just got back from seeing Avatar (I’m a little behind on my movies as you can tell!) and was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked it.  It’s nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars this year and it should be really interesting to see if James Cameron takes home the statue for this one!

{Neytiri- whom my boyfriend had a crush on throughout the entire movie- probably because she was only wearing a few necklaces and a small piece of cloth}

The Oscars is like my Superbowl.  I prepare a big thing of queso, drink a cold Bud Light and get ready to scream my head off when my favorite picture wins.  I try not to miss a second of it- from the initial red carpet segment to the closing credits.

How does this relate to interior design you might ask?  Well, there is a little private room at the Kodak Theater, where the Academy Awards are held, that goes by the name of the Greenroom.  Each year, this legendary room is designed by an interior designer chosen by magazine great, Architectural Digest.  This year, it was created by Roger Thomas and has a 1930’s Old Hollywood feel to it.  It was designed around shades of black and white, with touches of platinum, blonde, and silver added in for a glitzy effect.  Roche Bobois, Amadi Carpets, Sunbrella, and Restoration Hardware are just a few of the vendors whose pieces are shown in the room.

At 1,029 square feet, this hidden gem is where the Oscar hosts and nominees reside during the awards ceremony.  Unfortunately, only people like Meryl Streep and George Clooney will be allowed back  here, but we do have an all-access pass for you…to see the rendering!

Isn’t it lovely?  These are always so much fun to get a peek at!  I love the layering of flooring, crisp white furniture, mirrored walls, and colorful screens.

Only a week left until we find out the official winners of the 2010 Oscars! I cannot wait.  Who is your vote for Best Picture this year?

Anyone? Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Feb 22, 2010 | 9 Comments | Category: Color, Kids, Paint, Walls

I’m currently designing a playroom for one of my clients (who has three young girls) and we want a stylish and fun paint color that can take the girls from elementary school to highschool.  We fell in love with the color scheme in Jill Zarin’s daughter’s room and I’m dying over the fact that I don’t know what paint color it is!

{Traditional Home}

I’m sure that if I ever did find out what color this was, I’d end up being completely surprised at its true hue.  Maybe it “really is a periwinkle” or “really is a navy”- some color that I completely didn’t expect.  That has happened to me before with an awesome Cole and Son wallpaper that I found in a magazine.  Woah, was it dark in person! Definitely wasn’t expecting that.  It’s so difficult to tell a true color just from a photographed image!

Anyone out there BFF’s with Jill and seen this color in person?

Would LOVE to know what is the true blue of this room!

Check out this Furnish & Feed event at Nest, Dallas going on now through February 27th benefiting the North Texas Food Bank.

I’m so thrilled to post the second installment of “Readers’ Design Dilemmas- Solved!”

Elaine Griffin continues to answer our readers’ most pressing design questions from our Design Rules book giveaway.

Enjoy all her fantastic advice!

Wondering how to know where to hang mirrors in living spaces?

– Beth

What are your thoughts on hanging a mirror over a mantle, where is it too high for someone to actually see any reflection in it? Should it be treated as art and just admired for its innate beauty, or is the whole point of a mirror to see a reflection?


Mirrors are in the Top 5 – no, make that the Hall of Fame! – of decorators’ sleight-of-hand tricks.  They reflect the light (so locating one strategically near/opposite/catty-corner to a window[s] is always a do) and seem to visually increase the room size, too.  And they’re also just plain cute, to boot.  What’s not to like!!!

Think of framed mirrors by size and also shape.  The statement-sized mirror (2 – 3 feet wide and up) is perfect above a significantly-sized item (sofa, dining room sideboard, etc.) or prime piece of interior real estate (above a mantle (no matter how high – you don’t need to actually see the reflection), at the end of a hall, in the foyer).

Round mirrors and sunburst mirrors can have either convex or flat surfaces; larger ones are great alone, and smaller ones in multiples of three or more (odd numbers always look best in multiples, dahling – an old merchandiser’s trick!).

Mirrors should be proportionately sized to the piece of furniture that sits below them – filling at least two-thirds of the space, as a rule (unless you’re combining a smaller mirror with other framed art, in which case it becomes just another piece of art in the vignette).

Horizontally-oriented mirrors rarely look great above mantles, BTW, because those spaces typically are vertically-shaped rectangles (although circles work well there, too).

Pier mirrors were traditionally stationed between windows in Georgian homes to increase the light.  Another decorator trick, which works with any style interior, is to mirror the upper three sides of the recess of deeply-recessed windows – it triples your light.

I’m wild about the modern, oversized floor mirrors that Room & Board and Crate & Barrel have perfected!  They’re great across from dining tables, in particular, and also across from windows.

What are the rules for mixing patterns?  I always have trouble with this!


Julie, if you think of mixing patterns in a room the same way you’d mix them in an outfit, it all becomes easier!  The loudest pattern dominates (let’s say a big floral print, for example – and we’ll put it on the curtains).  Adding a stripe is next somewhere (sofa? rug? chair?), but you should add only one – if you put it on the sofa, have a tone-on-tone texture (that means a solid color but with a texture woven into the fabric, or a two-tone motif  woven into the fabric, like a damask) on a couple of armchairs adjacent to the sofa.  You can add a fabric with a subtle motif as a contrast somewhere (like on little chairs or dining chairs) in there too – a check would be darlin’ (as we say in Dixie!), or something similar and subtle.

The rule for mixing patterns:  one stripe, one floral, one plaid, one check in one room . . . but only ONE of these can dominate.  After that, you can have ONE that’s second-in-command (visually speaking! LOL) after the Power Pattern.  Everything else is discreetly complimentary to the first two.

How do you manage the eyesore that is the through-the-wall A/C?


You would think that they would have come up with cuter solutions to A/C’s by now, but no! Their ugliness persists!!!!

The truth is, through-the-wall A/C’s look best when they’re covered with little “houses”, like we do with radiators.  The covers are similar (and custom ones are always best, natch), with A/C covers having grilles over wherever the vents are (top or front).  If you have a big unit that vents to the front, consider transforming it into a window seat with a grille front.

Cheaper alternatives for my recessionistas:  stand a short folding screen the height of the unit in front of it (if the A/C vents to the front, then the screen should be covered in sheer fabric or a woven mesh that will let the air through easily); or my personal favorite (and cheapest!): simply paint the unit to match the color of the wall, which helps it to “disappear” (plastic units can take multiple coats (4-5); use your hair dryer to help speed the process along).

Soft pillows: welt, flange, or none?  Do you “karate chop” the pillows or just fluff them?

Ahhhhhh, the Tale of the Throw Pillow!  Here’s the scoop:  Professionally-sewn throw pillows almost always are welted (aka “piping”) at the seam.  Like supermodels, the thinner the welting is in diameter, the more “couture” the effect.  (This is achieved by using string as a filler, and not thicker materials.)  Very thick fabrics like velvet work better with a contrast welt, since they are too thick to make the “thinnest baby welt” (which is what the pros specify verbatim!) – this can be the same color in a thinner material (like silk, linen or cotton, or even polyester), or one of those fabrics in a contrasting color (très chic, cherie!).

Flanges (that’s a flat trim that’s either created by stitching the pillow’s edges, or they can be contrast in a different fabric) are also charming.

The welt-less edge can also work for highly-patterned, very thick fabrics (like those leopard print pillows no living room is complete without!).  Weltless edges look great in modern spaces (or if you’re just feeling lazy, which I’ll confess I was when I whipped up a set of throw pillows for my own living room recently).

And don’t forget all that gorgeous ready-to-go trim that looks fantabulous in pillow seams, too (shorter fringes, scalloping, and all that good stuff).

One last thing:  SUGAR, DON’T YOU EVEN THINK ABOUT the karate chop!  (That’s what you see those Old-Fashioned Park Avenue Decorators doing to the overstuffed throw pillows in bad Architectural Digest photos – it looks like their Kung Fu Assistants came in and gave the pillows a big Karate Chop just before the picture was taken.)  Fluffing your pillows is just fine.  No chopping required!

Book Worm!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Feb 14, 2010 | 7 Comments | Category: Books, Design Inspiration, Designers

The past few nights, after shutting down my computer and retiring for the night, I’ve been rewarding myself by curling up in bed, relaxing, and reading Suzanne Kasler’s Inspired Interiors.  I received this book as a Christmas present a few months ago, and it’s been sitting on the bench at the end of my bed since then, looking so crisp and unused.  I am just now finding the time to open it and completely delve in!  I never like to read these design books hastily.  I need ample time to study the images, read, and re-read the text.

I am now about halfway done with her book and do not want it to ever come to an end!  (however, if it does end, it’s not the end of the world, since I have Kelly W’s Hue as next up on my reading list!)

The only downside to her book is the fact that I can’t rip out all of these gorgeous images and put them in my “inspiration” binders.  Well, technically I could…hmmm tempting!

Suzanne is a design genius!  I’m sure you will agree after viewing these images below.

It has been such a treat to read this book.  I’m like a kid in an “eye candy” store!  So many wonderful images and such great design advice from Suzanne.  I guess I will just have to wait patiently for her next book to come out!

Unexpected Color Combos

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Feb 11, 2010 | 8 Comments | Category: Color, Paint

When I say blue, you say brown.

When I say green, you say pink.

When I say gray, you say yellow.

When I say lavendar, you say…..orange?  Come again?

Who would have thought that pairing these two colors together would produce such fabulous results! (as seen in Elle Decor)

Or even red and turquoise?  Bunny Williams is one daring decorator!

How about red and pink?  Right in time for V Day…

A little brown and yellow perhaps?

What’s your most unique color pairing in your home?

Back in November, we hosted a giveaway for Elaine Griffin’s book, Design Rules.  In order to enter, participants were asked to pose a design question in the comments portion of the post- a question that they had always wanted to know the answer to.  We ended up receiving sixty one awesome questions and Elaine, herself, will be answering each and every one of them!

Elaine sent me the first batch of her answers tonight and I’m so excited to post them!  I loved reading her responses.  You can tell through her answers how enthusiastic she is about design.  This woman surely loves her job and why shouldn’t she?  She’s great at it!

We hope you enjoy her responses as much as we did.

How big is too big for wallpaper patterns in a small powder bathroom?


Powder rooms are perfect spaces for sheer drama, and the more, the better.  In fact, if people aren’t still talking about how nifty/quirky/cool one of my powder rooms is when they walk out of it, my feelings are HURT!!!  They’re the perfect spaces for your wildest design fantasies, and also the most luxurious materials and finishes (wallpaper, marble, stone, etc) you wanted for your home – the room’s diminutive size means you’ll only need small amounts of the pricey stuff (as opposed to oodles for your master bath).

To answer your question:  You should be able to see the full width of your pattern horizontally, and several lengths (at least three, on at least one wall [important if the room is under the stairs]) of the repeat vertically.

{California Home + Design via Girl Meets Glamour}

This is more about kitchens. I’m tired of granite counter tops (except honed black). I love marble, concrete, slate (like you see in laboratories). I have seen some quartz counter tops that look great…even honed quartz. What do you think will have staying power and/or desirability if you should put your home on the market?


I always say “trust your instincts” when it comes to design, and Marcie, girlfriend, you are SO on the money!!!!  Engineered quartz countertops actually make SOOOO much more sense than pure marble or stone tops, in lots of ways.  Know that they’re not counterfeit goods – quartz countertops are made mostly of crushed quartz stone with a bit of resin to hold the material together and give it “oomph”.  They’re ecologically friendlier than pure stone (less diminishing of natural resources, dahling).  They come in a gazillion colors that brilliantly match your design scheme but may not even exist in stone (like crimson red, although that probably isn’t your best bet for re-sell, sugar).  And best of all, they’re virtually STAIN-PROOF and can take the heat, wear and tear that pure marble or stone countertops simply can’t.

TRADE SECRET:  My worst days at work are when I’m at a client’s having coffee in the kitchen and have to obsess over my coffee cup leaving a stain on the stone countertop.  And a drip of salad dressing is tantamount to disaster.  Confine the high maintenance items in your household to your shoe closet, girlfriend, and install quartz countertops toute de suite! Choose something that LOOKS like a marble or stone you love, and you’ll be fine for resale.  You ALSO won’t have to have your stone countertops resurfaced and worked on to death to have them looking fantabulous when that moment comes – quartz countertops are A BREEZE to keep up!


Is it a bad rule to have a mix of modern furniture and a few antique pieces for contrast in a room such as living room or bedroom?


Eilla, you are genius!  That’s a PERFECT rule!  Homogeneity in both life AND ESPECIALLY décor is a recipe for boredom!  Every room full of blondes needs a couple of brunettes for spice, just like every modern space is enhanced by the texture, contrast and depth of a couple of antiques (and vice-versa).  Try varying the finishes on your contrast pieces – in a room full of brown antique furniture, metallic (gold or silver), painted or ceramic finishes add diversity and zing, and vice-versa.

{The Boston Design Center Dream Home}

Any tips on determining if a new design is just a fad or something with real staying power? I want to invest in timeless decor, but it’s hard to not get caught up in the trend of the moment.


Great question!  Fashion and design are first cousins, and I like to compare the two for questions just like this one.  You know how you can have a navy blazer or a great coat that you can wear for 20,000 years and it still looks fresh?  You might change everything else about the outfit BUT the jacket (and even then, you might change the shoulder pads in the blazer every so often, even), but the blazer is one of the timeless eternals in every girl’s wardrobe.  The same thing is true of classic sofa and chair styles, for example.  When you look at rooms of design industry icons like Billy Baldwin, John Fowler, Geoffrey Bennison and Renzo Mongardino, they could have been done centuries ago, but they still look great today.  (Only the art and the plants date them, and sometimes – but not always – the window treatments, too.)

Your most expensive pieces – sofas, big casegoods like tables and chests, rugs if you spend lots on them – should be classic and timeless (you’ll know this because they will mostly have acquired names over the years, like the Bridgewater sofa [that’s the standard George Smith unit], the Tuxedo sofa [straight arms, Jean-Michel Frank], or a Parson’s [a pair of L’s upside down] or waterfall [upside-down “U”] table).

Indulge your trendiest (and cheaper :)) fantasies in throw pillows, budget art, smaller side tables, accessories and other items that you’ll be fine with replacing in 5 years or so (like the chartreuse industrial desk from CB2.com that I’m typing this on, which only set me back $149).

{Hampton home via Habitually Chic}

Is there a cheap source for simple curtain rods?


Tons!  Lowe’s has just introduced a private label line called Allen + Roth, and they look great!  The ones at Bed Bath & Beyond are also super-stylish (hit the larger stores for better selection).  If you are in the trade, I love Vesta out of Atlanta.

{Elle Decor}


Posted By Emily-Dallas | Feb 07, 2010 | 3 Comments | Category: Designers, Lighting, Shops and Showrooms

Congrats to the New Orleans Saints!

In honor of their win, I’ve dedicated a post to the amazing work of New Orleans lighting designer- Julie Neill.  The lighting she designs is nothing short of gorgeous!

It is also no coincidence that most of the names of her lighting pieces match the names of her clients.  These are pieces that she specifically custom-created for them and then added to her lighting line.

{Arrow Sconce}

{Sheldon Sconce}

{Fleur de lis Sconce}

{Mollie Chandelier}

{Allyne Chandelier}

{Champagne Side Tables}

{Burst Coffee Table}

Yesterday Julie posted a chandelier on her blog, Bayou Contessa, that she designed in the spirit of her team going to the Superbowl.  So much fun- take a peek at it!

Julie really did light their way to winning the Superbowl!

I can’t wait until the next time I go to New Orleans so I can visit her shop for the first time!  I’m sure her lighting is even prettier in person.