ALL POSTS IN Design Inspiration

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I’ve been on a hunt for “ugly things that aren’t ugly,” since last week’s post about modern filing cabinets. I received some really great requests to be on the look out for and I’ve added them all to my list. (If you’ve got a request, let me know in the comments!) This week, Liz wants a good looking ceiling fan. Challenge accepted. Since I wasn’t quite sure what style she might have in mind, I found a variety that could fit well into almost any setting. Here’s what I came up with:

attractive ceiling fans

Top Row, L to R: 1. Stella Ceiling Fan by Dave Ellis; 2. Flyte by G Squared; 3. Haiku Fan; Bottom Row, L to R: 4. Lit Modern Ceiling Fan #4; 5. Avian Ceiling Fan; 6. Plum by Modern Fan Co

RELATED: How to Install a Ceiling Fan

The key to finding a really beautiful ceiling fan, unfortunately, is looking beyond some of the big box home improvement stores. They’re so convenient, but their selection can leave the design enthusiast unsatisfied. And sadly, a lot of the better looking fans come with an equally “impressive” price tag. If you think of them as an investment — one you’ll be staring at every day — perhaps it’ll help get you over the sticker shock.

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Confession time: I’m not in love with Pantone’s 2014 color of the year, Radiant Orchid. As with most purple-pink shades, it’s one of those beautiful colors I just prefer to see in someone else’s home. (I’m still lobbying for one of my fellow editors to paint their cabinets like this.)

Radiant Orchid Spring Color Palette on HGTV's Design Happens Blog

So, I’m surprised to say that when I saw this modern dining room with mint and orchid accents from Elle Decor, I kind of fell for it. In a “maybe this is my new guest room color palette” kind of way. Paired with blush pink, white, black and antiqued gold, it feels so spring-fresh, doesn’t it? I also love the combination on a smaller scale in this floral pillow and this metallic necklace.

Are you a fan of the 2014 Color of the Year? Would you add it to your home? Tell me in the comments below.

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Mardi Gras is next Tuesday, March 4, so now’s the time to make your way to the Big Easy to catch the most popular parades before Fat Tuesday. And if you can’t make it down to New Orleans this year, then I can almost guarantee your city will have a sampling of Bourbon Street in celebration. Joyeux Mardi Gras!

Mood Board Monday: Mardi Gras 2014From left: Costume | Masks | Beads in Tree | King Cake | Entrance | Print | Balcony | Float | Shots | Dog

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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When I get my home to myself for an extended period of time — no kids, no husband — I tend to go on the sort of cleaning and organizing binge that a normal working mom would think was…well, excessive. Instead of lazily reading books, or going out to brunch with girlfriends, I revel in the chance to fix my apartment knowing that no one but me will mess it up.

I was telling Briana that I could see the surface of my desk for the first time in ages and that led us to searching for a filing cabinet for her that would inspire her to file her piles of papers. She’s been looking for just the right at-home desk storage for a while and she indulged my current organizing mania by letting me window shop for her.

Here’s what I found in the way of cute, modern filing cabinets to fit her bill. The only downside? Now I want new office organizers, too:

Browsing for these filing cabinets got me thinking there are loads of high-function everyday objects with less-than-high style. What everyday item or household necessities do you wish you could find prettier versions of?

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As one of the HGTV Home Studio interns I get to work on some of the coolest projects at HGTV Headquarters in Knoxville, Tenn., travel all over the country and work behind the scenes on production shoots for network shows. I can honestly say I have the best job. Fellow intern Sam and I recently got back from a trip to New York City where we got to meet with both the licensing and branding agencies for the HGTV HOME product line, Nancy Fire (the design director for HGTV HOME) and, one of my favorites, HGTV Magazine.

HGTV Magazine

HGTV Home Studio intern Catherine Blubaugh in the HGTV Magazine offices

Not only are the HGTV Magazine images and layouts always so bright and fun, but there is always amazing content so I’m constantly picking up new ideas on ways to style my little college apartment. I was so excited for the chance to go “behind the cover” and meet the people that help make the magic happen. Although this was my second time visiting the magazine*, this time I got to learn about what’s currently happening at the magazine, as well as get a sneak peek of what’s coming up.

The editors truly embrace and embody the spirit of HGTV and make sure that all of the makeovers they showcase in each issue are totally doable for readers. In fact, a lot of the projects featured in the magazine are actually done by the creative editors that work on the content, including one of my favorite features — the front cover. One of the awesome editors we met with was Rae McConville, associate home editor, who helps stage the scenes featured on the cover in collaboration with editor-in-chief Sara Peterson.

Other than the amazing visuals they put together, I love how much of a collaborative effort it is between the magazine’s art and editorial teams, the advertising and marketing teams and the editor-in-chief. The team was so enthusiastic and really made us feel welcome and a part of the action. Now, I can really enjoy flipping through the pages after catching a glimpse of all of the hard work (and fun!) that goes into making each vibrant issue.

*PS – As an intern during the summer of 2013, I helped contribute to the conference room redesign that was featured in the January/February issue of HGTV Magazine. Check out the makeover here >>

Go inside the pages of HGTV Magazine each month with our sneak peeks, contests, polls and more!

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Let me come clean. When I walked into designer and HGTV.com guest editor Nancy Fire’s studio, Design Works International, last week I was shaking. The knocking in my knees was more likely caused by a mixture of excitement and dorky nervousness, because — let’s be honest — I’m a 22-year-old intern and meeting the design director of HGTV HOME is kind of a big deal.

Design Works International

From left: Nancy Fire, HGTV HOME intern Ashley Chase, HGTV Home Studio intern Sam Clyde, HGTV Home Studio intern Catherine Blubaugh

After spending more than three hours in her workspace and asking what had to be a draining round of rapid-fire questions about her life, art and work with HGTV HOME, I discovered that — spoiler alert — Nancy is the bomb. She exudes creativity, passion and wisdom; just by shaking her hand, you can feel in her grasp that she gets it. She gets the HGTV brand, she gets the audience and most importantly, she wants to make sure that everyone else gets it too. Not only did I get a sneak peek at what’s to come for HGTV HOME, I also walked away with several quotes, catch-phrases and pieces of amazing life advice that are totally worth sharing with you all.

Sensibility is key.

The word has a lot of different meanings in the Design Works studio. For example, Nancy might say, “I wanted this particular partner to understand the sensibility (feeling) that we were trying to create with the new lines for 2014.” Breaths later she might follow with, “The blue sensibility (collection) is my favorite of the color-ways.” She may even point out, “It’s so nice to work with people with such sensibility (logical understanding).” The bottom line is, Nancy has plenty of sense in all of its contexts. Her sensibility comes through in both a business-minded, reasonable way, as well as in the emotional connection she has with every single vision she creates for HGTV HOME.

Design Works International

Typical doesn’t exist.

Moving through the studio “ooo-ing” and “ahh-ing” over all of her projects and ideas, I wondered what exactly a regular day at the office looks like for Nancy Fire. She explained that sometimes she’s in Paris at shows like Maison & Objet, and sometimes she’s showing wide-eyed interns around her textile printing machines. Kind of confused, I asked how she defines her job if she doesn’t have a daily set of tasks or a routine. With a laugh, she said her mom still asks the same question. The answer? Nancy is the idea person. Sometimes those ideas pull her in different directions and land her in different locations, but the constant is that she is always generating new ones. She describes her value to the HGTV HOME brand by saying, “I’m not the best at one particular thing. I’m the best at putting the pieces together and seeing the big picture.”

Design Works International

Do what makes you happy.

Admittedly, hanging around such a successful and put-together woman was a little panic-inducing for a college junior with graduation and need for an adult job looming over her head like a black cloud of despair. When I asked for career advice, Nancy simply said, “Love what you do. It’s a long day and a long week … It’s hard to find people who love what they do.” In the event that you do chase your dreams but still come up short, she said, “It’s always good in life to have a great Plan B. Plan B keeps you going. My husband and I always said that if this didn’t work out, we’d move to Hawaii and I would lifeguard and he would bartend. Plan B doesn’t sound so bad, right?” No ma’am, it certainly does not.

Design Works International

There’s no room for vanity.

The biggest lesson I learned from Nancy came in the form of a beverage. “Does anyone want a drink? Tea? Coffee?” she asked when we arrived. Limbs still thawing from the frigid outdoors, we happily accepted. Just as happily, she got up to boil water and brew a pot of coffee. Everyone exchanged a surprised look. “There is no ego here,” she said. Nancy is as down-to-earth, friendly and fun as she is talented, powerful and successful. She is a doer, from generating the big ideas to accomplishing minute office tasks. At the end of our visit, she even genuinely asked us to help her select fabric from the new collections to use in an upcoming promotion for HGTV HOME Fabrics. After stabilizing those cursed knocking knees, I happily obliged.

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It’s Palm Springs Modernism Week, so that means my Instagram feed is full of amazing midcentury modern houses perched atop desert landscapes. One of my favorites is the low-slung Edris House, designed in 1954 by architect E. Stewart Williams.

Palm Springs-Inspired Neutral Bedroom Color Palette on HGTV Design Happens

The rainbow-hued Saguaro Hotel aside, I love the classic midcentury Palm Springs look: stark, minimalist exteriors that blend seamlessly into the desert landscape. Even if you don’t live in a historic 1950s masterpiece,  you can bring the desert minimalism inside. I love how designer Lori Dennis created this hotel-inspired master suite that features bright white walls, dark wood furniture and trim and blue and green accents. There’s even a bedside cactus!

We’ll, I’ve admitted my midcentury modern design obsession. Do you go for the minimalist look, too?

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We celebrate the third Monday of February each year, known as President’s Day, to honor George Washington, the first president of the United States. (February 22 is George’s actual birthday, though.) Across the country we use this day to celebrate and remember all of our nation’s presidents, including Abraham Lincoln, whose birthday also falls in the month of February. Happy birthday, Abe and George!

(I’ll happily take all of the below to add to my vintage presidential collection.)

Mood Board Monday: President's DayGeorge Sculpture | Print | Terrarium | Office | Bookends | Figurines | Blocks | Pillow

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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Hey, guys. I’ve been busy with Dream Home (today is your last chance to enter!), but I couldn’t resist the chance to restart my Tuesday Huesday series with a Valentine-inspired color palette. You see, my very first Tuesday Huesday post was inspired by the holiday of love, too! (Catch up on all the past posts here.)

So, in honor of Valentine’s Day, I’ve got a sweet color palette for you all. I kind of fell for these adorable, printable doughnut boxes over on Sugar and Charm, and that made me think, “What would that look like in room form?” Well, this:

Blue and Pink Kitchen Color Palette on HGTV's Design Happens Blog
Turquoise-y blue and soft pink often create a vintage vibe that I’m very fond of, but I love how the color combo gets a modern spin in Jutta Rikola’s kitchen featured on Design Sponge.  And the adorable raincloud motif would be a fun update for the coming spring, too.

What’s your take on this color palette? And, what combos do you think I should feature in the future? Ready…go!

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As of today, the U.S. has received five medals (two gold and three bronze) at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. We rocked it at alpine skiing, figure skating, freestyle skiing and snowboarding. We have 13 more days to keep bringing those medals home!

Mood Board Monday: 2014 Winter OlympicsGold: Model | Bars | Trim — Silver: Balloons | Jaime King | Architecture — Bronze: Flowers | Car | Model

Come back every Monday for an inspirational mood board. Miss a day? See all the posts here.

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