Kayla Kitts

"In a world full of beige, I'm not afraid to be neon."

Kayla Kitts is an editor for HGTV.com and co-editor-in-chief of Design Happens. Kayla is an overbearing cat mom with a love for vintage-modern furniture, decor with a past, artisan cocktails, organizing all the things, magazine subscriptions and eating outdoors all year round. Every piece of furniture she owns is proudly secondhand (and likely older than she is).

Kayla Kitts ON PINTEREST

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POSTS BY Kayla Kitts

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Entrepreneurs Jennifer Blumin and James Ramsey have a classic New York story to tell: they met in 2001 at a party at Studio 54. Jennifer is the CEO and founder of Skylight, a collection of luxury event spaces, and James is the principal of design firm RAAD and creator of The Lowline. Years later, the entrepreneur pair have used their skill sets — James’ architectural and creative eye and Jennifer’s ability to spot diamonds in the rough — to together create an impressive and one-of-a-kind home.

Jennifer and James, along with their two children, Phineas and Theodore, recently moved into a landmarked building on White Street in TriBeCa and soon began a full renovation of the space. Using a warm, netural palette and a modern-eclectic design scheme, the two created a space that feels both comfortable and luxurious.

Two Living Rooms in One:

Modern Tribeca Living Room

Photo courtesy of James Ramsey

The first living room is situated just off the dining room and kitchen. This luxe living space is designed with an eye toward evening use with a functional, industrial feel.

Modern Tribeca Living Room Bookshelf Decor

Photo courtesy of James Ramsey

The main living space features a high-tech stereo credenza created by RAAD and industrial bookshelves showcasing objects collected from the couples’ world travels.

Modern Tribeca Living Room

Photo courtesy of James Ramsey

The second living room is a low-slung lounge area connected to the first living space. It has the juxtaposition of Old World Hollywood (think: palm trees, teak daybeds). Both the pendant light from Workstead and the historic sign that Jennifer salvaged from a pre-reno Brooklyn bank offer an ode to the loft’s industrial heritage.

Tour the Dining Room, Kitchen + More

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After being iced indoors most of last week, all I can think about is being somewhere warm. No, HOT. I want sand between my toes and condensation on the glass of a tropical drink. Speaking of which, today is National Margarita Day! It may be frigid out, but I’m not passing up a frozen concoction (that helps me hang on).

Raspberry Margarita Recipe

Photo + Recipe Courtesy of Casa Noble Tequila

Raspberry Margarita
Serves 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces Casa Noble Crystal Tequila
  • 3/4 ounce raspberry simple syrup*
  • 1/2 ounce ginger liqueur
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon agave nectar
  • rosemary sprig, for garnish
  • black pepper

Combine tequila, lime juice, ginger liqueur, agave and simple syrup into a cocktail shaker, and shake well. Pour over ice into a Collins glass, and sprinkle fresh ground pepper on top. Garnish with a rosemary sprig.

*For the Raspberry Simple Syrup: Combine 1/4 pound of raspberries with 1/4 cup of sugar and bring to a boil. Strain and push through a fine sieve. Reserve.

More recipes to try:

How are you celebrating National Margarita Day? With an ice-cold margarita … indoors … sheltered from the snow? Or maybe you’ll be hanging from a hammock somewhere warm with a bevvy in hand? Tell us below!

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One year I’m dressed up, sipping cocktails and crying during acceptance speeches, and the next year I’m eating popcorn in my PJs like, “Who is that? What are these movies?” In 2014 I was an avid moviegoer, so I can’t wait to see who goes home with that golden statuette in hand. If you ever needed an excuse for throwing a party (and dressing up!), the Oscars is it. Here are our essentials for ending award show season in style.

Oscar Night Party Ideas1. ModCloth 2. Amazon 3. Cocktail, HGTV 4. Decor, HGTV 5. Recipe, HGTV 6. DIY, HGTV

1. Wear This: Dancer’s Delight Dress. This LBD is perfect for holding champagne flutes and twirling for no reason. Plus, it’s the ideal outfit for judging all the designer ensembles strutting down the red carpet. Hey, if you can’t be there in Vera Wang, you might as well be the Fashion Police, amiright?

2. Listen to This: Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack. Star-Lord has incredible taste in music. If I were defending the universe, I’d probably keep some nice background tunes going, too. If you haven’t popped this mix in, it’s filled with the unique 1970s tracks that are featured throughout the film as part of the plot line. Good luck not dancing.

3. Sip This: Fizzy Lizzy Cocktail. Champagne is essential on Oscar night. The celebs will be drinking it, so you should, too. Transform your basic bottle of Champagne by mixing in homemade margarita mix. Rim the glass with raspberry sugar and drop in some raspberries. Pop! Fizz! Clink!

4. Decorate With This: Oscar Party Elements. Gold, glitter, tinsel, confetti and sparkle say “Hollywood Glamour.” We say, go glitter crazy.

5. Eat This: Feta, Mint & Watermelon Bites. Keep it simple. Fresh watermelon and feta appetizers flavored with red wine vinegar and mint pair well with your champagne cocktail. Plus, they look gorgeous, too.

6. Make This: DIY Glitter Nails. Who has time to hit the salon these days? (Maybe my priorities are all wrong. Lookin’ at you, Netflix.) Give your nails a chic, salon look without the cost by using materials you likely have in your craft drawer. Paint your nails with clear polish, and while they’re still wet, cover liberally with fine glitter. Once dry, shake off to remove any excess glitter, then apply a top coat of clear polish to seal in the glitter. Lastly, show off throughout the night.

More Oscar Inspo:

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Happy Fat Tuesday, everyone! Today marks the last day of the Carnival season, but the party is just getting started. Parades have been flowing through the streets of New Orleans since early this month, and floats are still making their way through with trinkets and treats in tow. Today’s final night of celebrations will surely be filled with lots of beads, booze and King Cake. (Jealous!)

If you’re stuck, well, not in the Big Easy, then we have eight delicious ways to bring the taste of N’awlins to wherever you may be. Just grab some beads, mix up a hurricane and (mentally) head down South.

Cajun-Style Gumbalaya

Take a trip to New Orleans with this Cajun-inspired dish. It’s a cross between gumbo and spicy jambalaya that’s perfect for those who just can’t decide which Louisiana entree they want. Get the recipe >> 

Shrimp Gumbo

Shrimp Gumbo Recipe

This spicy Cajun gumbo gets most of its flavor from the dark roux and its thickness from the herb file. Onions, celery and green peppers, major ingredients in both Creole and Cajun cooking, add flavor and substance to the shrimp and sausage stew. Get the recipe from FoodNetwork.com >>

More Big Easy Bites

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I may be gaga over my guy but I’ll be quick to mention that I need QT with my ladies. Whether you’re single, married or otherwise taken, we can all agree that there’s nothing like a best friend or lots of best friends. So, set aside some time before February 14 to celebrate those special gals in your life who have been there through it all — break ups, make ups, moves, graduations and job promotions. Then, take a cue from our favorite TV bestie, Leslie Knope, with these Galentine’s Day party ideas and our own ways to cook up a yummy breakfast for your favorites.

Valentine's Day Gift Guide for Friends

1. ban.do 2. Kate Spade 3. ModCloth 4. Moorea Seal 5. Shopbop

1. Sweet Talk Pens. Your BFF has a high-stress job with stacked meetings every day. These pens offer an instant ego boost, all over good vibes and a rock-star mentality. (My fave: You’re better than unicorns.)

2. “Happy Hour” Flask. Is your friend the gal who likes to be ready to mix her favorite drink at a moment’s notice? This flask is perfect for her. Plus, it’s small enough to fit in a wristlet.

3. Cat Mugs. Keep one for yourself and gift the other to a friend. When side by side, they make the perfect set. (This is ideal for cat lovers, tea drinkers and coffee addicts.)

4. Floral iPhone Case. This isn’t your typical iPhone case, people. This is a gorgeous metallic cover with an arrangement of real, dried roses and daises, symbolizing innocent beauty and love. (Only your BFF would appreciate this!)

5. Best Friend Bracelet. Who didn’t have best friend jewelry? I thought so. If it wasn’t a broken heart necklace, it was handmade beaded bracelets. As adults, we can proudly showcase our friendship with these bangle bracelets. Love.

Feeling crafty? Test your DIY skills with these handmade Valentine’s Day gifts.

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With Valentine’s Day right around the corner, I had to spotlight one of my favorite celebrity couples of the moment — model Chrissy Teigen and singer-songwriter John Legend. They’re so adorably cute and in love that it’s disgusting. (I LOVE THEM.)

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen

Chrissy Teigen and John Legend being cute, as usual.

In case you missed it, the February cover story for Architectural Digest is a swoon-worthy tour through Chrissy and John’s beautifully renovated New York City home. Every room features strong vintage elements (those dark leather armchairs!), eye-catching artwork and natural textures and colors that balance each other as you move from room to room. Designer Don Stewart of Desiderata Design combined sophisticated jewel tones with mixed metallics for a contemporary yet classic look that completely seals the deal.

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen NYC Home

Living Room

John Legend and Chrissy Teigen NYC Home

Kitchen

Check out the full tour (and steal their look!) over at ArchitecturalDigest.com.

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We wrote about the growing micro-house movement back in 2011, and it has only gained momentum since our conversation. I thought when I moved into my 620-square-foot studio loft that turning a single room into a house’s worth of rooms would be a challenge. A kitchen, dining room, living room, bedroom, bathroom and office all in one square? Now, imagine a fully-functional home in 400, 200 and even less than 100 square feet! If you think you don’t have room for an office (me!), then take a cue from these teeny-tiny homeowners who have squeezed in a workspace and made the most of every. single. inch.

Tiny House Kitchen and Home Officevia Dwell

Tiny House Bedroom, Home Office and Deckvia HGTV’s FrontDoor

Narrow Tiny House Bedroom With Home Officevia Dezeen Magazine

Tiny House With Workspacevia DIY House Building

Tiny House on Wheels With Home Officevia Bob Vila

Tiny House With Loftvia OregonLive.com

Let’s ask the question again almost four years later — could you live in a tiny house? Let us know in the comments below.

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Brrrr! We woke up to a dusting of snow here at HGTV Headquarters, but it’s certainly nothing compared to our team in the Northeast. (Stay safe and warm, you guys!) If you’re spending the day hunkered down indoors, we’ve got some resourceful ways to overcome cabin fever. First, stay in your PJs all day. Take advantage of this, people.

Snow Day IdeasPhotos: PJs / Cocoa / Blanket / Fort / S’mores / Jewelry

1. Again, wear pajamas all. day. long. We suggest flannel or fleece-lined sets to keep you nice and cozy during single-digit temps.

2. If the kiddos are out of school (or even if they’re not), now’s the perfect time to get creative with the guest linens by building an indoor fort. Bring in the laptop or iPad for a special movie screening, and don’t forget the twinkle lights.

3. Warm up in seconds with sweet, spicy and boozy hot chocolate recipes.

4. Break open one of this month’s must-reads. (Download it on your e-reader or iPad to start right away.)

5. Break for a warm, indoor campfire treat: oven-baked s’mores.

6. Feeling productive? Tackle some household to-dos while stuck indoors, like accessory organizing or getting those shoes in order. HGTV’s Genevieve Gorder spent part of her snow day getting her kitchen knife drawer arranged. (Those Laguiole knives — swoon!)

 

Feeling crafty? Try these winter-inspired crafts.

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After a spirited battle between Merlot and Blue Paisley for January’s Color of the Month, 67 percent of you all chose Blue Paisley over its competitor. While I voted for Merlot, I have to agree that the Caribbean blue is especially refreshing during the winter. I typically let furnishings do the talking when it comes to color, but I could actually see myself painting an accent wall this beautiful shade of blue. Nice pick, D-Happers.

Mood Board Monday: Blue PaisleyPhotos: Stairs, Fashion, Headboard, Accent Wall, Sign, Wallpaper, Blender, Cocktail

Did you miss a mood board? Catch up here.

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We all said “sayonara” to beige as a neutral a long time ago and welcomed sleek shades of gray as a subtle backdrop in any room. The hue pairs well with every color, from soft pastels to neons. At the moment, though, I love the way gray looks next to my favorite shades of white: ivory, eggshell and pearl. It’s the perfect icy palette fit for winter hibernation.

Mood Board Monday: Glacier GrayPhotos: Bedroom, Bathroom, Model, Bedroom, Wallpaper, Lamp, Model, Textiles

Did you miss a mood board? Catch up here.

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If you follow Pantone‘s color forecasts like we do, then you probably recognize this French-inspired hue. Cognac (Pantone 18-1421) appeared on Pantone’s Fall 2014 Fashion Color Report along with Radiant Orchid (Pantone 18-3224). While most of the editorial team pitched brighter palettes for our December Color of the Month (lavender won, as you know), Briana was on the Cognac train, favoring a softer, calmer color to end the year. Her description of the hue: “Smooth. Intoxicating. Refined. Notes of nuts, caramel, honey and spices.” Bartender, make it a double.

Mood Board Monday: CognacPhotos: Living Room, Shoes, Necklace, Coat, Throws, Dessert, Dress, Living Room

Did you miss a mood board? Catch up here.

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As of today, January 9, I can proudly say there is no more holiday candy in my home. Yes, that means I ate it all. BUT, it’s all gone which means I can move forward and plan for a healthy year. I even redecorated my kitchen a bit so I’ll actually want to be in there cooking yummy, nutritional meals. Doesn’t this kitchen make you want to crank up Pandora while chopping veggies?

Transitional Kitchen

Design by Alyssa Darnell

Whether you call them resolutions, goals or challenges, there are several things we can do throughout the year to better ourselves or our community. I always try to make a list of at least five goals, but I never set myself up to fail with something unattainable. I’ll share one of my brand-new goals for 2015 with you.

Read one book a month that educates me and challenges my mind. (No young adult novels or thrillers allowed.) This one will be difficult because I’m currently in the middle of binge-watching the entire series of Friends on Netflix.

One goal that will stay on my list until the end of time is: “EAT HEALTHY. GET GRILLED INSTEAD OF FRIED!” I bet some version of this is on your list, too. I pulled some recipes that not only look a-ma-zing but are good for you, as well.

Breakfast

Banana Bread Quinoa Cereal

Banana Bread Quinoa Cereal: Get the recipe >>

Plus, discover 20 ways to make breakfast fun!

Smoothies

Smoothie Recipes

Breakfast Smoothies from HGTV Magazine: Get all three recipes >>

Get Ideas for Snacks, Dinner + More

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As you prep for New Year’s Eve festivities, don’t forget a fizzy signature cocktail for midnight toasting. Here are a few of our favorites that are more exciting than just wine or champagne but can still be made in minutes.

Pomegranate Sparkler

Pom Sparkler Cocktail

Photo + recipe courtesy of VOGA Italia Wine

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon fresh pomegranate seeds
  • 3 ounces VOGA Prosecco
  • 1/2 ounce pomegranate juice

Scoop 1 teaspoon of fresh pomegranate seeds into a champagne glass. Pour in pomegranate juice, then top with VOGA Prosecco.

Grapefruit Mimosa

Sparking Grapefruit Cocktail

Get the recipe for this sparkling grapefruit cocktail >>

More Bubbly Recipes for New Year’s Eve

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I admit — I haven’t even started holiday shopping yet. I’m so bad, I know. But that’s what overnight shipping is for, right? With less than a week until the big day, you probably need some quick yet thoughtful gifts to pack up for your Christmas road trips. Crafty or not, we’ve got you covered.

For Anyone: Personalized Gift Baskets

Holiday Gift Baskets

Gourmet gift basket ideas >>

For Her: Vintage Hair Comb

Vintage Hair Clip

Get this plus even more handmade gift ideas >>

For the Chef: Rustic Bread Board

Rustic Bread Board

Make a bread board in six steps >>

Gifts for Him, the Pet + More

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Hanukkah starts tomorrow, and we have some pretty festive ideas to keep your celebrations rocking until the 24th.

Mood Board Monday: Hanukkah HuesPhotos: Dining Room, Place Card, Tree, Favor, Doughnuts, Cupcake, Centerpiece, Garland

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

More last-minute Hanukkah ideas:

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My sweet tooth is unstoppable, and there’s nothing I love more than creamy, chocolate-based holiday cocktails. Calories might as well be unicorns from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve. I let myself indulge in foods I won’t see for another 12 months, like most of these lovely bevvies. So, get out all the garnishes and warm up with a decadent dessert cocktail this season.

Peppermint Mocha Toddy

Peppermocha Toddy Recipe

Photo + recipe courtesy of Old Forge Distillery

Ingredients

  • 3/4 ounce Old Forge Coffee Moonshine
  • 3/4 ounce Old Forge Chocolate Moonshine
  • 1/2 ounce white creme de menthe
  • hot coffee
  • whipped cream, for garnish
  • peppermint candy, crumbled, for garnish

 

Pour coffee moonshine, chocolate moonshine and creme de menthe into an Irish coffee mug. Top with hot coffee. Garnish with whipped cream and crumbled peppermint candy.

Uncle Billy’s Holiday Treat

Holiday Cocktail Recipe

Get the recipe for this creamy cocktail >>

3 More Recipes to Whip Up

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Hollies are my favorite traditional holiday plants. Nothing feels like Christmas more than bright red holly berries and green leaves contrasted against a blanket of snow. And if you love the look of classic holiday decor, then holly branches are the perfect touch to a mantel or tablescape. (You can even embellish dining chairs with fresh holly sprigs.)

Mood Board Monday: Holly Jolly ChristmasTop: Bride With Holly, Boots, Place Settings | Middle: Dessert Table, Vintage Card | Bottom: Wreath, Gift Wrap

Check back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss one? See all the posts here.

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In lieu of today’s Mood Board Monday, I’m sharing some ideas to warm up those cold hands — DIY advent calendars. I’ll be honest, the only Advent calendar I’ve ever made has been a construction paper chain-link garland. I’m just too impatient to hold out for a treat each day. (Must. Have. All. Treats. Now.)

I know it’s December 1, but it’s not too late to craft a beautiful countdown to showcase in your home. Not sure where to start? Here are some easy-to-create ideas we love. Plus, they’re kid-friendly, too.

Takeout Boxes

Takeout Box Advent Calendar

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Upcycled Shirts

Upcycled Advent Calendar

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

Cardboard Tubes

Cardboard Tube Advent Calendar

Get the step-by-step instructions >>

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