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D-Happ readers, please welcome our newest contributor — Erica Reitman. You may remember Erica from a recent profile we did on her. She is an interior designer with a definite point of view (she’s no nonsense, fun and full of real-world design advice and tips). Check out Erica’s column every Thursday right here. Erica, the team is thrilled to have you. — Grant Dudley

In the hierarchy of go to apps on my phone that I lean on to distract myself from:

  • boring phone calls
  • boring meetings
  • boring commutes
  • boring dates (ok, kidding about that one..mostly)

Instagram has lately been at the top of my list.

This photography based social network is all eye candy all the time, and if you haven’t yet discovered it, it’s time to dive in with ten inspiring, inventive, out-of-the-box, creative interior designers you can follow to get your home feed buzzing with designer-y goodness.

1. @BenjaminVandiver

This Nashville based designer creates spaces that are so chic, they’ll burn your eyes out. He manages to combine classic style, with vintage vibes, and a completely modern, fresh take. His design style is like ice cream — it’s hard to pick a favorite flavor, because they all taste so damn good. See more of Benjamin’s work here.

2. @HouseofBrinson

Husband and wife photographer/stylist team Susan and William Brinson document the renovation of their historical home Stonyford Estate, as well as all of the wonderful guests, delicious meals and creative projects they take on. Their two adorable pups, Nero and Sugar, also often make cameos in the drool-worthy photos of their daily life in upstate New York. Read more about their adventures on their blog House of Brinson.

3.@AmberInteriors

Los Angeles based designer Amber Lewis is a pattern-mixing ninja, with her own chic online “shoppe” where you can purchase gorgeous pillows, rugs and accessories. Her style leans toward the eclectic, Moroccan flea market, road trip cool tip, with bright colors, textures and inspiring posts on how to kick life in the ass sprinkled in. Amber shares tips on the daily over on her blog.

4. @KellyWearstler

Kelly Wearstler, or “K Dubs” as I like to call her, is the reigning queen of in your face, grab you by the lapels and kiss you open mouthed, bold interior design. She is the master of making 70s era design (and other eras) look totally new and chic, mixes graphic patterns like a boss, and her vintage furniture finds are the stuff that dreams are made of. Get even more inspiration from Kelly on her blog My Vibe, My Life.

5. @JustinaBlakeney

If you’re not sure what a “jungalow” is, it’s time to study up on Justina Blakeney’s Instagram feed. Justina has pioneered this relaxed, boho, totally unique interior design approach that incorporates bold, contrasting textures and patterns, lots of lush plants and natural materials, and a comfortable, casual vibe. She also features daily #FaceTheFoliage works of art, which are portraits she creates with flowers and leaves. Check out Justina’s own Jungalow on her blog.

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Interior designer Erica Reitman has a definite design point of view — how can you tell? The tagline of her website (VintageDesign.Me) says it all: “I Will Kick Your House’s Ass.” And that, she does very well. Erica strives to help homeowners make their homes look “bangin’” and when she’s not working her magic in homes across the country, she’s offering up helpful design tips and advice online. As we’ve done in the past, Design Happens dares to go beyond the interior design photos we’re accustomed to seeing and talks to the designers who actually created some of these stunning rooms. This week, we’re chatting with Erica Reitman.

Erica Reitman

Erica Reitman of VintageDesign.Me

D-Happ: Tell us about your website.
ER: I created VintageDesign.Me to be a spot online where people can go to get great advice, learn an easy tip, or read about my favorite resources. I really try to stay focused on tangible, real-world value and results, so I don’t do inspiration posts or random mood boards that don’t relate to anything (though I love looking at those things on other people’s sites!). I get how valuable everyone’s time is, so I always want people to come away feeling like: “I’m SO ready to go do this random decorating thing that I’ve never thought about before” after reading one of my posts. I also try to stress that while, of course I’d love for you to hire me to come decorate your home, you really don’t have to because e-v-e-r-y-o-n-e has it in them to put together a great space that makes them smile when they walk through their front door. And yep, I do mean everyone.

Erica Reitman

Design by Erica, Photo by William Brinson

D-Happ: How would you describe your aesthetic?
ER: My overall aesthetic is kind of like a mosh pit at a Pearl Jam concert in 1992. I love, love, love the graphic, colorful design of the 60′s and 70′s, and really dig mixing pieces from that era with newer modern pieces. Big, bold pieces of art make me smile, and vintage anything always gets me revved up — especially if it comes from a flea market or a thrift store. I do tend to lean more toward more masculine interiors, and so I especially love working with guys on “dude designing” their spaces. So I guess my aesthetic is eclectic/vintage/arty/masculine/70′s/chic?

D-Happ: Where do you source inspiration?
ER: My favorite source of inspiration is vintage interior design magazines and books. I recently moved to Los Angeles, and the flea markets here are pretty amazing. So I often find great old issues of Architectural Digest, Town & Country and House and Garden magazines that I buy for a buck apiece and then pore over at home.

More of Our Talk

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Following the success of his fall 2013 upholstery line launch with Apt2B, interior designer Kyle Schuneman has teamed back up with the e-shop to add more styles to his upholstery line for summer 2014.

Kyle Schuneman for Apt2B

Interior designer Kyle Schuneman of Kyle Schuneman for Apt2B

Inspired by colors and trends straight from the runways, Kyle added four new sofas to his upholstery line, Kyle Schuneman for Apt2B. The sofas feature details from tufting and rolled backs to stainless-steel bases, plus they come in a variety of pastel hues and neutral tones. Kyle’s summer styles come with the same philosophy as before: having a small space doesn’t mean you can’t have big design. “I wanted these new frames to feel more grown-up and penthouse-worthy,” says Kyle.

These modern styles — the Coronado, the Jackson, the Pacific and the Fillmore — all come in sofa and apartment-size sofa options to meet the needs of the micro-living trend and those desiring smaller-scale furniture. And the best part? They’re totally affordable and made right in L.A.

Kyle Schuneman for Apt2B Coronado

The Coronado Collection

Kyle Schuneman for Apt2B Pacific

The Pacific Collection

To see the entire summer 2014 line, head over to Apt2B.

Get more on Kyle from HGTV.com:

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Former Design Star winner and Secrets From a Stylist host Emily Henderson partnered with Sunrise Senior Living for the second year in a row to make over the room of deserving residents of the Sunrise community. If you know (and love) Emily like we do here, you’ll know that her room designs are full of life, color and style – just what a blank space needs to truly feel like home. Helen and Dominic — this year’s winners — were treated to a makeover of their home which just didn’t suit the personalities of this upbeat couple who’ve been together 67 years.

emily henderson sunrise living

Emily shared with us a bit about this stunning room refresh. She says, “The whole redesign was just so satisfying. Sunrise is a really awesome community – it kinda feels like college dorms but for seniors. Helen and Dominic were so happy and I think re-invigorated [by the makeover]. I truly believe that your happiness can be strongly effected by how much you like your home, so I’m hoping that this makeover makes every day a little bit happier for them.”

Here’s more of what Emily had to say about this project that is close to her heart:

LILI: Can you tell our readers about this heartwarming makeover? 

EMILY: I have a serious soft spot for seniors. I think they can get easily dismissed in our culture which is just insane because, A. they’ve lived a long and often challenging life and that should be respected and B. if we are lucky we’ll all be there someday. So I was very excited when Sunrise approached me to do this makeover again. It took place at a Sunrise community outside of Columbus Ohio, where Helen and Dominic live. Their son nominated them for the makeover and they were picked because they are just incredible people. Dominic was a prisoner of war for 19 months in WWII and he and Helen have been together for 67 years and have such an incredible marriage with 4 lovely children.

LZ: What was the first step in redesigning Dominic and Helen’s space?

EH: The first step is finding out what their wants and needs are. They both love gardening, the colors blue and green, Frank Sinatra, and their style was more traditional with some modern updates. So we created a mood board with elements from these and started playing around with what looks good together.

sunrise living moodboard

LZ: What was the inspiration for the color palette and design scheme?

EH: Helen really loves blues and greens (me too, obviously) so we started there. And since they both love gardening we wanted to bring a garden inspired pattern for the wallpaper so we found this floral that we loved because it wasn’t too busy and felt really fresh. So that was our ‘jumping off point’ as we say in the biz. Once we had the wallpaper then we tried to make it more masculine by bringing in some darker tones (charcoal grays and dark blues). We brought in wood tones to warm it up and to help it feel a bit more traditional.

LZ: How hard was it to incorporate the easy chairs? Was that your biggest challenge?

EH: Yeah, the “easy” chairs weren’t so easy. They are big and bulky, its true. BUT they also are extremely comfortable and practical for them so it seemed insane to replace them with anything less comfortable. We shopped around (trust me) but ultimately there was just nothing that could compare to the comfort of those chairs and that really was key in this redesign.

LZ: What was Dominic and Helen’s favorite aspect of the re-design?

EH: I think they just love how happy and fresh it feels now – and customized just for them. Oh wait, and the mini-bar. Dominic LOVES to entertain and have people over for drinks so we got him this mini-bar stocked full of fun drinks and on top of it is a music box that can play records, cd’s and hook up to iPhones.

sunrise makeover bed

If you want to check out the full makeover, before pictures, product sources, and tips on designing for seniors head over to Emily’s detailed blog post. She links to a video interview with the couple that had me tearing up and made me realize just how deserving this pair is.

sunrise makeover reveal

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This week, HGTV HOME Design Director (and former HGTV.com Guest Editor) Nancy Fire is readying herself for SURTEX, the leading design and digital fabric printing trade show that connects designers, buyers and manufacturers from around the world. Nancy, who is also creative director and founder of Design Works International and First2Print — is playing a big part in this year’s event.

Nancy’s companies and SURTEX have come together to create Design A Seat, a campaign that showcases surface design, digital fabric printing and industry connectivity. As so many industries come together May 18th, 19th and 20th, each seat in the campaign will represent one or more of them. The seats are sourced, revamped, DIYed and upholstered with both digitally printed fabric or wovens, each with their corresponding industry in mind. Each seat tells a story. Take a peek at what’s coming.

3 More Looks

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5 Fabulous Faceted Fox from HGTV's Design HappensClockwise from top left: Depst | Megan Lee Designs | Gingiber | SketchInc.

It’s Friday and I’m feeling fox-y! But not in the Cleopatra kind of way.

I love the minimalistic look of facets. Their clean lines can instantly modernize a room and make it feel more organized. The geometric trend has been around for years, but designers keep finding fresh new ways to incorporate it into their work. You can get your facet fix with big furniture pieces or in small doses with lamps and appliances. One of the latest facet fads is foxes, and they’re so darn cute, you’ll forget all about that terrible “What Does the Fox Say” song.

What do you think of these faceted foxes? Are they fabulous or faux paus?

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DC Design House Exterior Patio AreaGarden design by Botanical Decorators

Attention design lovers and do-gooders! You gotta see this house.

The Washington, D.C. Design House is on a mission to showcase designer talent and help bring healthcare to children in need. The Design House got its start in 2008 as a one-time exhibition for designers to raise money for a local charity by showing off their work. The showcase was such a success, it was made into an annual event, and they raised more than $1 million for Children’s National Health System in just six years! Pretty amazing, huh?

Now they’re back for their 7th year with a spectacular house filled with bold blues and cool greys. Every nook and cranny (inside and out!) of the 2014 house has been personally crafted by top area designers, so each space has a unique look but still flows seamlessly into the next.

Exterior and Front Door of the DC Design House 2014Entry Garden by D&A Dunlevy Landscapers, Inc. | Facade by Rill Architects

See inside the Design House!

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Designer Jonathan Adler has teamed up with TOMS Shoes to create a limited-edition collection of spring-inspired shoes and sunglasses. The collaboration features TOMS’ classic shoe and sandal with Jonathan’s iconic designs. Plus, plain eyewear is transformed with splashes of colorful stripes and patterns. “I’ve been a long-time fan, wearer and devotee of TOMS, so when the collaboration came about I was ecstatic because it felt right and organic,” Jonathan says. “I wanted the collaboration with TOMS to reflect the spirit of my work, which is what I call style, craft and joy.”

Jonathan Adler for TOMS

Jonathan Adler for TOMS

Jonathan’s collection will be included in the “one for one” plan. So, with every pair of shoes purchased, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. And with every pair of eyewear purchased, TOMS will help restore the sight of someone in need.

Jonathan visited The Action Center in the Rockaway Community of NYC to fit kids with TOMS shoes. Hear what Jonathan has to say about his collaboration with TOMS and his recent giving trip >>

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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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As design director of HGTV HOME (HGTV’s product line), Nancy Fire is leading a team to produce stunning home decor that encompasses the looks and styles seen on HGTV and HGTV.com. If you’ve ever shopped HGTV HOME, then you’re familiar with Nancy’s remarkable attention to detail and her keen eye for what’s beautiful. It’s Nancy’s style and expertise that made the decision to choose her as our first ever HGTV.com guest editor a no-brainer. What exactly is the “HGTV.com guest editor?” Glad you asked!

This year, our team will be bringing in a few extra movers, shakers and visionaries who possess interesting perspectives on the world of design. We want these industry insiders to jump into the mix of everything we do here at HGTV.com. So, we asked Nancy if she’d be our first guest editor, and she happily agreed. Welcome, Nancy!

HGTV.com Guest Editor Nancy Fire

HGTV.com Guest Editor Nancy Fire

In the coming months, you’ll find Nancy offering her expert commentary here on Design Happens, adding insight on 2014 trends throughout HGTV.com, and even taking over HGTV’s Instagram here and there as she travels the globe. (Catch her this weekend on Instagram while she’s at Heimtextil, Germany’s international trade fair for home textiles.)

For you to get to know a little more about our guest editor, we recently interviewed Nancy.

Our Chat

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