For the past two years I’ve been living in a 1,000 square foot house in East Dallas with no disposal, a dishwasher that you have to hook up manually to the faucet, one bathroom and a vintage O’Keefe and Merit oven (which is adorable until you want to make cookies and have to buy a special tiny cookie sheet for the oven and THEN have to light a match to even start the baking process). ¬†At times, I forget that I’m living in the 21st century ūüôā

Don’t get me wrong, we love our quirky little 1930’s house. ¬†It has lots of charm (original doorknobs, warm wood floors, scalloped built-ins, and french doors.) It’s also fun living near White Rock lake, Mockingbird Station, Greenville and Lakewood.

This house has been a great first house for my husband and I..but let’s be honest…one bathroom, closets that only fit half a season’s worth of clothes, and a living room that doesn’t fit anything larger than an apartment sized sofa, are things that are wearing on us just a tad.

{an example of our oven}

With our lease expiration in May fast approaching, the clock has started to tick on finding a larger place. ¬†We’re toying with the idea of buying something and I have to admit that I’ve been doing what must be typical of every interior designer (right???)- something I like to call obsessing. ¬†I check the MLS for new listings every single day trying to find the “perfect” house in our price range. My realtor has dubbed me the “picky” client as I always seem to point out what is wrong with every single house (“oh I need a separate formal living and separate formal dining”, “is that carpet in the kitchen?”, “does this backsplash give you the heebie jeebies?”, “does the orange undertone in these wood floors bother anyone else here?”, “Zoey can’t live in a house with a detached backyard”)

Okay, okay she’s right- maybe I am picky…but I think the main problem is that I improve spaces for a living and so I am out there every single day seeing the latest and greatest so when I see the not so great, I immediately have to comment on it. Of course no house will be perfect and really, what fun would it be if it was? My husband has been dying for us to get a fixer-upper so we can work on it together these next few years.

Until then, there’s nothing wrong with dreaming of the perfect house, is there?

There are so many images on MLS that make up “my dream house” but since that 12 million dollar house on Strait Lane is a little bit of a reach for me ;), I thought I’d compile my favorite images of realistic houses that we’ve actually been looking at into a virtual “dream home” for ya’ll to see- enjoy!

Hollywood Heights, Santa Monica, M Streets or Lakewood? I’d be overjoyed to live in any of these East Dallas neighborhoods. You don’t get a lot of space for your money, but because I die over those Tudor exteriors, I’d gladly give up square footage for curbside appeal with one of these cottage cuties-

An updated kitchen can be hard to come by for the right price in this neighborhood, but I managed to find a few white kitchens that I’d be happy to bake my cookies in (and I look forward to joining the rest of the world with a modern oven and dishwasher- woo hoo!)

I love a formal living room. ¬†I know it’s not really practical this day and age, but I think I’ll always want to have one. ¬†It’s the one room where you don’t have to feel guilty about purchasing unique vintage chairs that are on the smaller side, delicate mirrored coffee tables and clean lined, dainty tight back skirted sofas. This room can be all about PRETTY. ¬†If your husband is anything like mine, he doesn’t care what goes in this room, as long as he has a “man cave” or a comfortable den, so this room truly becomes whatever you want it to be- bliss!

Of course, a family room is important too, but unfortunately most of these smaller houses in East Dallas only have one living area, so in this case, I’m loving how these homeowners mixed the formal with the informal to satisfy both parties in the family.

Arched doorways, painted wood fireplaces, and crown moulding give these houses architectural interest and extra detail.

My husband came across this listing the other day and said that he wants this exact room as his “man cave”- I can deal with that!

In general, I love me some dark wood floors, white trim and gray (or off white) walls!

I’m a nut for a clean and updated looking bathroom. ¬†You can see that this homeowner was on top of the ball when he chose to use white marble in this guest bath. ¬†I always say that every space needs a touch of black- he must have thought so too!

White subway tile is a very affordable way to give a bathroom an instant makeover.  Normally you see white cabinets with white subway, but I like how this homeowner went against the norm and stained his cabinets a deep brown. It warms up the small space nicely-

This room was done by the homeowner, who is an interior designer (can’t you tell)? ¬†Most bedrooms I stumble across on the MLS in our price range aren’t this put together. ¬†Notice the custom cut sisal around the perimeter of the room, custom window treatments and upholstered headboard. You can tell that this homeowner is with it. ¬†Perhaps if we buy this one, he’d consider throwing in the sunburst mirror for free?

And I almost forgot about storage! ¬†Since our house is bursting at the seams currently because of no storage space, I’d add some extra built-ins to our make believe house like the below-

Since this is a dream, I suppose I’ll add on this indoor side porch too. ¬†It makes such a cute sitting area-

Of course, the backyard is very important too. ¬†Even though our house is tiny, we have a great backyard with a deck (it’s probably larger than our house) so I know that is one of the things that we will miss. Here are some other views from the back porch of my pretend East Dallas home, that I wouldn’t mind waking up to every day-

And while we are at it, let’s throw in a guest-house for EJ Interiors to office out of-

Well I suppose it’s time for me to wake up from my house dream and get back to reality. Until next time!

The inspired designers at  Made Goods, known for using natural elements to create unique products, have officially launched their latest collection online today.

The beautiful, handmade pieces in their new collection reflect the company’s passion for quality design, and we couldn’t be more impressed!¬†Boasting 60 brand-new styles, the collection continues to focus on fanciful mirrors yet also includes their first headboard and nightstand designs. Whether you’re looking to re-vamp an entire room or find that one unusual piece to complete a space, the looks at Made Goods are sure to stand out and make a statement!

Some of our favorites: (it was hard to choose!)

Celeste Mirror

Catherine Drum Chandelier

Benjamin Table

Florence Mirrors

Gavin Headboard

For those of you in NYC, stop by Made Good’s new collection launch from January 28- February 1 at Pier 94 Booth 45020-23.

Congratulations to MG reader Aliza from Lakewood, New Jersey! Aliza has won both the “Dr. Mary Side Sleeper” and “Jetsetter” pillows from the wonderful folks at The Pillow Bar!

Developed by noted sports chiropractor Dr. Mary Collings, the luxurious “Dr. Mary Side Sleeper” is designed to relieve shoulder and neck tension, and the “Jetsetter” pillow is perfect for comfort on the go.

Aliza told MG that she’ll catch some zzz’s with her new pillows in her favorite room of her new home- the master bedroom! The sleek pillows- recently featured in the Wall Street Journal- will fit perfectly in her white and grey bedroom, which mixes traditional elegance with hotel contemporary.¬†Enjoy, Aliza!

Dr. Mary Side Sleeper Pillow

Jetsetter Pillow

It has been absolutely nuts ever since we got back from holiday break. We have started a bunch of new projects and have been going full steam ahead ever since Jan 3rd so the fact that this month is almost over just blows my mind!  It feels like just yesterday that I was in California with my family for Christmas. It was my first visit to the golden state, and I must say that I loved it!  The laid back attitude of Californians, the amazing weather and gorgeous views, made it very tempting to move EJ Interiors across country and set up shop there.

We covered Newport, Laguna, LA and San Diego in a short amount of time. ¬†It was an adventure to say the least! ¬†Of course, it couldn’t all be about sand, waves and water. ¬†I had to incorporate some aspect of design on my trip to keep it interesting and to slowly but surely educate my husband (which he loves of course!)

We stayed at Pelican Hill in Newport for a few days and the views around this place were breathtaking- Paloma wasn’t kidding!

It was a little bit more traditional than the hotels Ben and I normally stay at, but it was really beautiful and super cozy nonetheless!

During the days, we ventured out to Balboa Island (where I met Jill!) and Laguna Beach. There was the most adorable home shop in Laguna called Tuvalu.  It had lots of items with familiar names such as Currey, Arteriors and Palecek.

We then took a day trip to LA with my entire family (we should have known nine people in a limo bus on an all day tour was a recipe for disaster) but hey, that’s how the Johnstons roll. It’s not a family vacation if at least three people don’t get Hangry (angry because they’re hungry) or in trouble with my dad for running late.

Luckily, a beautiful drive up the coast and an amazing church made it all better. ¬†Who wouldn’t want to get married here in California’s perfect weather?

I then had one (and only one) request of the bus driver…and that was to take me to see the infamous and mysterious Chateau. ¬†I’ve read too many issues of Us Weekly, not to go there. ¬†This castle on a hill is legendary in my mind and although I only saw it from the bus (because I’m not a B or C list celeb), you get this amazing slanted I phone photo…

OK, I did have one more request on the trip to LA….to see the iconic Martinique wallpaper that was made famous by the Beverly Hills Hotel and then later used by Paris Hilton and Brian Atwood/Nate Berkus. ¬†We’ve blogged about this leafy paper before HERE. I had to beg the guy at the hotel to let me take a photo of it and luckily he obliged! ¬†What I didn’t get a photo of were the tiny Olson twins eating next to us at the Polo Lounge five minutes prior. I don’t know what got me more excited- seeing Martinique or Michelle Tanner!

The next stop got a big roll of the eyes from the husband (well, a few stops did) but this one was the most memorable- The Beverly Wilshire hotel. ¬†We just had to see the Pretty Woman elevator! I told Ben it’s on the list of things I have to see before I die, so that helped convince him. ¬†As we walked up to the hotel, I heard my twenty two year old brother mutter- “What’s Pretty Woman?”

Oh geez- the adventure continues!

“Well color me happy, there’s a sofa in here for two!”

So now that Ben is almost convinced this is a complete girls’s trip…I reassure him of this by heading over to the Viceroy Santa Monica to stay the night and gawk over KW’s design.

The colorful California Viceroy was a complete departure from Wearstler’s more neutral design in Anguilla. ¬†With bold kelly green and graphic black and white accents, this hotel was definitely more bold and vivacious. ¬†It’s no surprise that Saturday night here by the pool is “bumpin” (per Trip Advisor).

We then headed to our next hotel stay in San Diego at the historic US Grant Hotel. ¬† I ended up really liking this hotel. ¬†It had the most comfortable bed (which counts a lot in my book!) I also liked how they mixed the elegance from the 1910’s with an updated more modern feel.

I had to take a photo of the TV cabinet in our hotel room too.  What an inspiring and attractive design for a custom casegood!

The day after we arrived in San Diego, we went to one of the largest and most progressive zoos in the world. I can’t help but notice design and pattern no matter where I am- even on the fur of this leopard! ¬†Such a gorgeous gorgeous animal…

After many recommendations from friends, we took a visit to”the Del”, a 120 year old hotel in Coronado. ¬†The Hotel del Coronado is known for its Victorian design, reported ghost sightings, movie set background and celebrity visits.

The last stop on the journey (and the whole purpose of our San Diego trip) was the UT bowl game.  As a Sooner, I felt like a traitor wearing burnt orange, but it got me a new sweater from Banana!

All in all, such a fun trip and I can’t wait to start planning my next California trip- to San Francisco!

(Sorry for the strange spaces between the photos- blog issues!)

I don’t know about you, but I find accessorizing one of the most challenging parts of the design process. ¬†It’s partly because you have to get the right “mix” of accessories. There has to be a balance between textural and smooth, shiny and matte, colorful and neutral, etc. ¬†It can also be difficult because you might find the perfect accessory, but the scale is totally off…or maybe it’s the fact that it’s the last step in the process and if you are anything like me, you are a perfectionist and won’t quit until you find those amazing last touches for the space.

But above all, I truly believe that accessories can be so frustrating because of the lack thereof. ¬†Of course there are a lot of accessory showrooms in Dallas, but ¬†not very many that will let you take things on approval to test out and that is KEY with accessories (buying more than you need, playing around with the arrangement at the residence to get the perfect balance and then being able to return anything that just didn’t work out). ¬†This past year I re-discovered IBB Design Group, a 40,000 square foot showroom who lets you take on approval, has up-to-date/ stylish accessories and has a warehouse FULL of them!

And if that’s not enough to convince you, here is proof-

Shay Geyer and her mother, Beth Rafferty are the brains (and beauties) behind the thirty year old showroom. ¬†The duo’s knack for creating inspiring commercial and residential interiors, as well as stocking their showroom full of goodies from markets around the world, has kept their clients coming back for more.

{Shay in front of one of her favorite pieces}

Not only do they have accessories galore, but they also stock furniture from tons of different manufacturers such as Baker, Henredon, Lee Industries and Vanguard.  The best part? Everything is available for purchase off the floor!

As you can see, they have tons of mirrored pieces. I recently bought two John Richards mirrored etageres from them that are to die for!

Their colorful, patterned vignettes are constantly changing as things move off the floor very quickly (and I have to say this keeps my visits really interesting!)  You never know what they will be up to next

They also have great abstract giclees at amazing prices for the size!  Most of them are really large and already come framed.  You get a lot of bang for your buck with these.

They use really fun patterned fabrics on their pillows and accent pieces….

They sell tons of lighting too…lanterns, drum shade chandeliers, crystal lamps- you name it.

See what I mean about the art?

Did I mention the bedding yet? So luxurious! All you need is a matching silk sleeping eye mask to complete this relaxing scenario.

I’m normally not a huge fan of leather chairs, but I could totally do a pair of these-

Their chairs never lack detail. ¬†Whether it’s a back with a contrasting fabric, a shiny set of nailheads or patterned tape trim, you can count on them to give you designer quality furnishings.

This one here is from their own line…isn’t it great? I love the gray fabric mixed with the gold nailheads. Very unexpected yet so chic.

On my last visit, I snuck back to the warehouse to look at even more inventory and came across this turquoise chest with fabulous oversized hardware-

I love these chairs because they are traditional but with a modern funky flare. ¬†You’d expect the chairs to be all neutral right, but a patterned ikat back? ¬†Only at IBB!

Come visit them! Monday through Saturday- 10-5pm

5798 Genesis Court, Frisco, TX