When my uncle called me in April and told me that he was closing on a house within the next few weeks and it needed my design assistance ASAP, I couldn’t help but panic a little at the quick lead-time.  I was balancing a full schedule of projects already and I knew that the house needed a lot of stuff, and a lot of stuff fast! The main room that I was supposed to be focusing on was his daughter’s bedroom, and as a single man, my uncle had no clue what an eight year old girl’s room should look like and what it needed (but who could blame him)?  I knew this was nothing short of a design emergency, so I scheduled a consultation with his daughter Annie right away to get to the bottom of her design style.

I always find it helpful when a client can give me photos of rooms they like as inspiration.

Annie presented me with this photo from Rooms To Go as something that she really liked…

While I liked the idea of purple, black and white, I thought it needed to be toned down just a tad.  I felt like we should take these same colors but give the room a more sophisticated spin- something she could grow into.

When we met, I gathered all my initial info (photos and measurements) and got to planning.

Here it is as the BEFORE:

Two weeks later, here’s the AFTER:

The project was as quick as Khloe and Lamar’s engagement! I couldn’t believe we pulled it off that fast.  I always tell clients that the time-frame on the project a lot of the time depends on how quickly we can make decisions.  I must say that my uncle was very good about letting me take the design and run with it (and didn’t feel like he had to approve any of the design/purchases in advance) which helped the project move a lot quicker.

The process actually ended up being a lot of fun. I felt like I was on a design competition show, and was just waiting for India Hicks to walk in during the install and tell me that my time was up and the challenge was over. Luckily for my intern Brennan and I, the mad chaos that went on the day of the install, wasn’t filmed and the ultimate judge, Annie, gave it a thumbs up.

We never could have done this bedroom in time if we had gone with custom bedding and custom drapes.  I knew we had to play it safe (time-wise) with PB Teen bedding and drapes.  The bold floral printed duvet was the start of our scheme.  From the bedding, the wall color fell into place, Sherwin William’s Wisteria.  Luckily, the room had wainscoting on the bottom half of the walls, otherwise the purple might have been screaming bright if it went floor to ceiling.



I’m not kidding when I say that Annie barely had anything to start with.  Her old room had taken her from her toddler years until now, so most of her old stuff was too babyish and not fit for a tween!  I literally had to purchase everything new (down to the box spring and pillow inserts) and/or had the existing pieces refinished.  I gave her my own pewter iron headboard from Weir’s (good excuse for me to finally get that upholstered headboard) and we had the painter paint it white.  I must say that I loved it SO much more this way! We then purchased two mirrored nightstands from Pier 1 and accessories/art/mirror/lamps from Home Goods.

I spray painted her old cream colored wicker dresser and bed bench out in their backyard one day (what a difference a $5 can of bright white spray paint can make!).  I then had my workroom make a black/white houndstooth cushion and some colorful neckroll pillows for her bench  We then had her chaise lounge recovered in an inexpensive cotton tone on tone diamond mini print. By the time we were done, even her electric piano matched!



I still think she could use a few more accessories (especially in the bookcase) and a fun piece of wall decor above her bed (which I’m sure my uncle would just love to hear right now… 🙂  but the perfectionist in me has got to stop somewhere…until next time!

What to design for a creative and energetic eight year old who wants her bedroom a little bit more funky and mod?

{Accent pillow inspiration}

{Chandelier- incorporate new white shades}

{Desk Lamp}

{Roman Shades}

{Table Lamp}

{Desk Chair with new seat cushion fabric- blue and white geometric}

{Existing rug}

Here’s how-

Duvet cover and shams- Multi colored Duralee printed fabric

Custom bed pillow- 20″ square; turquoise monogram centered on Pindler and Pindler white solid fabric with Schumacher black and white greek key tape trim on face of pillow (surrounded by small Pindler and Pindler black cording and small white solid flange)

Bedskirt- Pindler and Pindler pink mini stripe with solid black banding at bottom edge

Walls- Sherwin Williams 6710 Melange Green (50% lighter)

Rug- existing

Window Treatments- flat roman shade; Overall: white Pindler and Pindler solid fabric with 2″ black Pindler and Pindler solid fabric as tape trim accent

Desk chair- White “tulip” chair;  Seat cushion- blue and white Pindler and Pindler geometric print

Chandelier- PB Teen Delite Chandelier with new white shades

Desk Lamp- Worlds Away- Venus Pink Lamp

Nightstand Lamp- Arteriors- Elise Beaded Polished Nickel Lamp

Jenny McCarthy has come a long way from her days as a co-host on MTV’s Singled Out (remember that one?)

We’ve seen her try nursing school, pose for Playboy, date Jim Carey, raise an adorable little boy, Evan, transform into a best-selling author from her parenting books and also become an activist for autism.

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all from Jenny, she has come out with an ecofriendly crib bedding line, called “Too Good” sold at Bed Bath and Beyond, Buy Buy BabyTarget, Baby Depot, and Baby Supermall.

What are your thoughts on Jenny’s new line?

Nest, the home decor boutique in Snider Plaza is now carrying Mid-Century furniture for tots created by the company, Little Nest.  These adorable pieces of mini furniture would work well in any modern home or small kid-related commercial space.

Can you imagine how cute these would be in a pediatric dentist office?  I have started doing more and more pedo offices and I think a few of these modern unexpected pieces would look amazing in them.  Now to convince the clients how chic these would be!

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!

Kids are just growing up way too fast these days…<sigh>

Many have cell phones practically before they learn how to talk, kids who are thirteen look about twenty-three, and some are even more computer savvy than their parents!  (what happened to the days of Mall Madness, bad perms, and dial-up?)

As for these kids’ own rooms? They are looking equally as mature!


How about a room that will take your child from seven to seventeen? Here are some of my favorite rooms that prove that a sophisticated color palette plus classic furnishings will grow WITH your child- and you never know, he or she just might take that fabulous chandelier that was in their nursery, with them to college!

This room featured in House Beautiful is by far my favorite on the list.  I would transport this vignette to my own bedroom in a heartbeat!


{House Beautiful}

I specified the nightstands below for one of my own client’s bedrooms.  The only differences were that we purchased them in white and the fact that she was a grown woman!


Jill Zarin of The Real Housewives of New York City decorated her daughter Ally’s bedroom in icy blue, black, and white creating nice contrast.


{Traditional Home}

Buh bye wicker beds of the 90’s ! Hello upholstered twin headboards of today! And we must not forget the crystal chandelier and fabulous wallpaper for some added panache.


{Traditional Home}

RIP Domino- you always had the best compilations of kids rooms…at least they are still searchable through Google and we haven’t lost you forever!

domino june-july 2008


Houston designer, Sally Wheat, designed this incredibly unique room for her daughter (featured in House and Home).  The pillows say it all- LOVES!


{House and Home}

The color scheme in this imaginative child’s room is certainly dreamy!


Wallpapering your child’s bedroom doors- what a concept!  Brown and white striped Rose Cummings wallpaper is paired with Granny Smith green trim for added punch.



Here we have a kids room with an understated sailboat theme executed beautifully (and notice I emphasized understated!) You don’t want to be selling that Dora the Explorer bed-in-a-bag set next year when your child suddenly decides to move onto Miley Cyrus or the Jonas Brothers! Sometimes themes are better left more subtle.



This preppy pink and green nursery (featured in where else?…..Domino) makes me swoon!


Mr. Jonathon Adler is the brains behind this bold and multi-hued child’s room.  I love how they painted the antique piece in the corner bright yellow! Nothing is off limits here.


A more traditional child’s room, but still incredibly lovely.


{Traditional Home}

This soothing lavender space could almost double as a guest room.


{Elle Decor}

And another favorite….would you expect anything less from Nanette Lepore’s daughter’s room? Especially one designed by Jonathon Adler!


{Elle Decor}

And trendy chocolate brown and pink lives on!


Woven shades look amazing in a child’s room- especially rooms that are painted a bright color.


Simple but chic- seems to be the motto in this light and airy beach house.


Now how did these homeowners already know that maps would become such a trend?

Traditional Home 7

{Traditional Home}

A soft, feminine room at its best.


{Traditional Home}

This room is so versatile.  In a few years, if the child grows out of florals and checks, all they’d have to do is make the switch!  Changing out the duvet, accent pillows, and roman shades would instantly turn this room into one even a grown up would enjoy.


{Traditional Home}

I know I have posted this one before, but I couldn’t resist!

parisienne girls room

And this one too…a girl’s got to have her portrait collection!



And although these rooms are labeled as “kids rooms”, there are certainly elements in each that you could incorporate into your own bedroom.  My head is already spinning with ideas on how to change up my own!

Avalisa’s Lively Wall Art

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Oct 25, 2009 | 2 Comments | Category: Art, Kids, Walls

One of my clients emailed me about the website, Avalisa– and I’ve been obsessed every since!  I have spent hours just combing through all of their fun, kid oriented, stretched wall art and fine art prints.  (not to say that some of their multi-colored, patterned prints, couldn’t go in an adult’s room too!) Their simplified, lively and unique designs are what draws me to their pieces.

They have so many to choose from too.  Here is a small sampling of what they have on their website- but there is much much more where these came from.
















They even have wall murals as large as 96″ x 96″!  You can also get custom colors and sizes made of their wall hangings.  We are about to order a few ourself. I wish I had known about this when I did the pediatric dental office.  They are such a great resource!

Dwelling on Duvets!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Oct 05, 2009 | 5 Comments | Category: Bed and Bath, Kids

I’m currently working on a child’s bedroom and have been searching for a bright, fun duvet cover which has been surprisingly hard to find!  The catch?  I need one that doesn’t go too themey.  So you can imagine my happiness when I stumbled upon these lively but stylish Dwell Studio duvet covers.  They are exactly what I have been looking for!

These duvets are perfect for the mod child of today.


Owls Sky Duvet


Paper Dolls Petal Duvet


Sparrow Lilac Duvet


Transportation Multi Duvet


Garden Duvet


Gio Aqua Duvet

Where were these when I was growing up?  The only bedding words spoken in our house were Laura and Ashley.  Times have certainly changed!

I had the pleasure of visiting the D. Porthault showroom in Dallas last week and meeting its store manager, Angela, and her associate, Kelly.

They were incredibly sweet and gave me the run down on their linens. Unbeknownst to me, their linens have an extensive, very interesting history. They have been around since 1920 and was started by Daniel Porthault and his wife, Madeleine, in Paris during the Roaring Twenties.

What was different about their linens during this time was that they weren’t the traditional white and ivory linens- instead, they were printed sheets inspired by Madeleine’s love for Impressionist art and the gardens at Giverny.

The rest is history as they say…

D. Porthault has created and printed custom linens for almost ninety years. The White House and Buckingham Palace were just a few noteable places in which the Porthault linens resided. Some of their clients have included Audrey Hepburn, Sir Winston Churchill, President and Mrs. Kennedy, Coco Chanel, and Brigitte Bardot.

{Tori Burch’s bedding}

In 1976, the brand expanded to porcelain, beachware, accessories, and children’s clothing.

The four leaf clover that was often seen in Louise de Vilmorin’s signature (she was a friend of the Porthaults’) inspired Les Trefles, another well known D. Porthault print. (below)

Another classic pattern of theirs is Les Coeurs (above). It was designed with the Duchess of Windsor and is now the infamous heart pattern that their clients love and know so well!

The Dallas location opened back in 2004 (in Highland Park Village) and has been a very successful boutique ever since! They have tons of loyal clients who keep coming back for more of their legendary prints.

It seems you can’t flip through a magazine these days without finding an advertisement or article about D. Porthault. Last month they graced the cover of House Beautiful, next month- who knows where they will pop up? All I know is that with the continued production of such beautiful patterns, D. Porthault will no doubt be around for another ninety years!

The Fabric Fairies!

Posted By Emily-Dallas | Jan 07, 2009 | 2 Comments | Category: Fabric, Kids

Pixie Dust Decor, a children’s decor design studio, wins our vote for cutest children’s fabric by the yard and not to mention, has the most adorable company name!

Ever so stylish, their patterns are fun and colorful- fabrics that both kids AND moms can appreciate.

Decorating the nursery and wishing for a modern chinoiserie fabric for your baby’s room? No problem! They’ve got you covered. Can choose between aqua or lime Pagoda print….

Next step, pair it with their coordinating Aqua Lattice fabric

And voila!

Need something a bit more girly? A sophisticated brown and pink color palette is something your tot can definitely grow into.

Pair this vintage looking pattern above with this classic stripe….and you’ve got one chic nursery

They even have a fabric called Chateau Charlotte- a charming scene of a French country house.

Coupled with this striped fabric below…tres magnifique!

An added bonus- all of their fabrics are only $19/yard and they also have a Custom Shop where you can create until your heart’s content!