ALL POSTS IN Designers & Talent

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There is a four-letter word that takes all of the fun out of being a professional decorator: prep. It can literally take two days to find the right drawer pull for a teensy-weensy kitchen. But, then again, that’s why the pros are paid; they get it done, and they get it done right.

Lately, I have been mesmerized by the idea of what it was like to work as a designer or decorator decades ago, mostly because those poor people never got to shop online, which significantly reduces prep time. Particularly, they never got to experience Wisteria. Wisteria is a dream shopping destination for lovers of everything from European antiques to furnishings with industrial flair.


Many of their headboards, for example, rival those in high-end showrooms yet come in at a medium price point. Picking up the Louis XVI upholstered style here allows a homeowner to splurge on other key bedroom elements, such as linens or nightstands.

High Back Chair

Although many of the pieces available on the site fall more into the traditional style of European furnishings, there are constantly surprising new finds with updated takes on traditional classics, such as these extra tall Windsor chairs. I may or may not like these even more because of my 6’5″ stature.

Industrial Chair

This industrial steel chair jumped out at me months ago, mostly for its lines and aged finish; however, one look at the price tag had me ordering it for a boy’s room I designed in Florida. NOTE TO PARENTS: Industrial chairs like this can really take a beating from your little guys. Plus, when he outgrows it and wants to change to something else, it can be used successfully anywhere else in the home. Investment piece!

Console Table

Wisteria often uses unexpected materials in unique ways. This console table has an iron base and a top covered in black-and-white bone tiles. It packs graphic punch but with traditional materials, which also warm up a space.

Anyone else have any great Wisteria finds?

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I haven’t even started thinking about doing my holiday gift shopping yet, but I’m not worried because along with our own excellent gift guide on, I’ve got an ace up my sleeve. That ace is called Svpply. If you’re not already familiar with it, think of Svpply like Pinterest, but for products. It’s tempting to call it a “social shopping site,” although I think the better way to describe it is a “retail bookmarking and recommendations” site with a clean, minimalistic design. You create an account, and drag the “Buy Later” bookmarklet into your browser’s toolbar. Now when you search the shopping sites you love and spot something you want to remember, you can click the “Buy Later” button, briefly describe the item, and it gets clipped and saved to your Svpply.


This is handy enough, but there’s also a social element. You can follow friends, stores, or even strangers with great taste, to see which products they’ve added to their accounts. Not to mention that there are features that allow you to see the trending products across the site and Svpply’s own Editor’s Pick. Best of all for this time of year are the gift guides, broken down by price point and type of product, and the new ability to make a set of items (like a Pinboard) — say, “In-Law Gift Ideas” — and either keep the set private (good if the people you’re shopping for are also on Svpply) or mark it public to share with other users (like I plan to do with my own wish list, hint hint). Svpply’s always been handy for my Daily Delight design spotting, but I think it might just make me the best Secret Santa of all time.

Are you on Svpply, or are you planning to join? If so, leave your user name in the comments! Happy gift hunting, all.

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While, for many, traveling is the most amazing thing in the universe, it makes me want to clock myself over the head with a steel suitcase to avoid what I consider the Dark Side of Travel: canceled flights, cranky airport employees fed up with hearing complaints from travelers all day, people reclining their seats back on airplanes thus giving my 6’5″ self only 2.5 inches of breathing room, and of course, babies who save three weeks worth of crying for their airplane-seated audience.

But after 4 straight weeks producing, art directing and writing editorial for HGTVRemodels, I have learned to appreciate a great hotel like nobody’s business. When it comes to hotels, two words come to mind: Dorothy Draper.

Who is that? Well, she is one of the most influential professional decorators of all time. In fact, hotels were her thing.

Dorothy’s Style: Hollywood Regency. Here’s How to Get the Look

After shooting a gorgeous home in San Francisco this past week, I mentioned the similarity of Draper’s aesthetic to said homeowner’s bathroom. This led me to Google the bananas out of Ms. Draper and look up all of her lobbies, most in New York City. What I noticed about her work is its timeless appeal; pretty much any of her hotel interiors could pass as having been completed in 2011. For those of you unfamiliar with the iconic work of Ms. Draper, take a gander below and become a friend of Dorothy.

Dorothy Draper

The stripes? Large scale and high contrast. Very Hollywood. I bet you can name three of four super decorators off the top of your head who’ve done this themselves. And if not, oh well, I can.

Dorothy Draper

How about the super dark colors? Insanely glamorous and packed with high contrast and some elements of masculinity although kinda-sorta overall a femme room, yes?
Dorothy Draper

Super gigantic scaled- moldings! Yes, yes yes! While this may be something many decorators do these days, back then it was totally “OMG, did she really just blow the scale up that large? So edgy, that Draper!”

Got a thing for Dorothy, like I do? Share, friends!

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There are certain pieces of furniture that have paved the way for the interior design world and will always stand the test of time: the Egg Chair, the Barcelona chair and the Arco Floor Lamp, just to name a few. And lucky for us, one of these modern favorites has found its way into our office. University of Cincinnati student Alison Donner spent the last quarter in the HGTV Home Studio co-op program working with top HGTV design experts to create an interactive exhibit that focuses on an iconic, 20th-century interior design trend: George Nelson Bubble Lamps. Find out what Alison has to say about these iconic lamps and bringing them into your home.

Wall Covering Design Trend: 3D Sculptural Surfaces

hgtv home studio george nelson bubble lamps hgtv design happens

In 1947, George Nelson designed the Bubble Lamps as a substitute to more expensive silk lamps. The plastic was less expensive than the silk material and safer than using paper, so he covered a steel frame with the plastic material and the Bubble Lamp was born.

“I was really drawn to the Bubble Lamps because they are so versatile, and timeless. They work in so many room types and styles. Bubble Lamps are a fun way to add design to a room,” Alison says.

The Bubble Lamp may represent a mid-century modern style, but it’s certainly not limited to that particular design style. “The variety of shapes and sizes make the lamps appropriate for many sizes and styles of rooms. More simple shapes, such as the ball, work perfectly in a traditional space, while more funky shapes, such as the propeller, work great in a modern space,” Alison says.

HGTV home studio george nelson bubble lamps hgtv design happens

Alison wanted to ensure that people were not only learning all about George Nelson’s lamps, but that they were learning how to properly light their homes, too.

“One of the best general lighting tips I can give is to use multiple light sources for a variety of light in one space. Instead of just using a pendant over a table, wash an adjacent wall with light as well, and possibly some floor lamps or sconces nearby,” she says. “Having different light sources will create a variety of light, as well as create light contrast that is pleasing and interesting to the eye.”

“Lighting should be a fun additive to a space, not an afterthought. Many times, lighting can be the last thing you think of when putting together a space. Using a lamp as a statement can really help build the space from the beginning,” she says.

hgtv home studio george nelson bubble lamps hgtv design happens

To Alison, a small design detail — like the Bubble Lamp — should be incorporated from the beginning of the design process to really make the space come to life. “Sure, a room can be well-designed without a lamp, but when you add the perfect lamp, the space really comes to life. Whether it is the perfect hanging lamp, or the design on a plate you want to use, starting to think of these things from the beginning of the design will result in a truly cohesive and warm space.”

What do you think about George Nelson’s iconic Bubble Lamps? Would you add them in your living room or above your dining table?

Tell us in the comments below.

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I know I talk a lot about mid-century modern design and decor, but it wasn’t my first love. That’d be art deco. Maybe it’s cliche at this point — see Woody Allen’s recent film, Midnight in Paris — but I’m obsessed with Roaring ’20s literature (Dorothy Parker, Hemingway and Fitzgerald, swoon), film (Louise Brooks and Clara Bow in anything), art (Man Ray and Tamara De Lempicka, especially) and style. When I saw that fashion designer Sue Wong was collaborating with English Home for a collection of bedding, curtains, cushions and fabrics that all have a Hollywood deco bent, it reignited my passion for the glamour of that period.

shanghai mood curtains and cushions

It’s tough to pick just one part of the collection that I like the best, but the Shanghai curtains and pillows are understated, yet swanky. They’re a brilliant translation of Wong’s elegant deco Asian red-carpet gowns, and would be a perfect in the classic buildings I’ve seen in New York (like the newly-restored lobby of the Ardsley). All of the sudden, I have the overwhelming urge to bob and finger wave my hair. They say you never forget your first crush, and in this case, I don’t want to.

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Designer Kelly Wearstler spends time each day searching for exceptionally beautiful and one-of-a-kind objects that she can integrate into her residential and commercial designs, from hunky human forms and spherical structures to unique decorative embellishments and geometric beauties. Whether she’s sharing her finds straight from auction houses, warehouses or around town, Kelly uses her creative photo-based blog My Vibe My Life to share some of her favorite finds. In each post you can expect a unique grouping:  heads, busts, floral designs, cats, copper, chunky chain links. I, personally, can’t get enough. Every post leaves me wondering why I don’t have that funky spiked ball hanging from my ceiling or handcrafted brass legs relaxing on my living room side table.

kelly wearstler my vibe my life design blog interior design hgtv design happens

Find out why we’re gaga for Kelly.


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By now, most parts of the country have traded the sun-filled days of summer for a crisper fall clime but the warming presence of the sun is still evident in our selection of this month’s color. From the runway to the changing leaves outside your window, this happy hue is popping up everywhere. It’s such a natural choice that it won by a (nearly) unanimous vote. Wanna know what it is?


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Short and sweet: I am absolutely buried lately between planning a temporary move cross-country to begin pre-production on an HGTV series and wrapping up my own clients in Atlanta. Amidst the short-on-time-ness of it all, I’ve become an avid user of It may sound silly, but I had no idea that you can actually buy pretty much everything in the world on this site.

As I’ve been sourcing pieces for my own private clients and for makeovers, I’ve found that many of the styles I’m looking for in trade-only showrooms are actually available on at a fraction of the price. Um, yes please. Anyhow, I took note of some of the items I’m using and/or have recently used and am filling y’all in on some great stuff to consider if you’re putting together rooms on super tight budgets or if you wanna splurge on that one statement piece without going custom. Now, if I could only find an Audi A4 Wagon repairman on, I may be one step closer to trekking across the country.
Cradle Chair

If you can’t afford the Eames rocker, go for the next best thing, Vinnie Cradle Chair in blue. At just under $140, you can’t go wrong with this piece. Think of it as an investment, similar to those Beverly Hills ladies with new, puffy lips but without the plastic surgery or recovery period afterwards.


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Matthew Mead is an incredibly talented stylist, photographer and writer. I discovered his work while browsing an issue of Summer with Matthew Mead. I was thrilled to have the opportunity to interview him and get to know more about him and his team.

All photos by Matthew Mead

1. As I was browsing your fall issue of your online magazine, I noticed that you not only style nearly every story, but also photographed the entire publication. Obviously, you have a natural eye for design, style and photography. What is your background and training?I’ve been styling and producing editorial stories for more than 15 years. I was an English major at the University of New Hampshire but always knew that design was my true love.  My mother introduced me to the work of  Mary Emmerling (the queen of country design) back in the ’80s and I was hooked. Once out of college I began developed a portfolio of images with a local photographer and writing letters to Mary and other style luminaries.

Matthew’s Favorite Potluck Dinner Party Tips

Long story short, I became friends with Mary as she began producing her own magazine and became a contributor. Mary soon moved on to be Creative Director at Country Home and I joined her there as style editor and produced many, many beautiful stories for 12 years. I’ve met hundreds of talented and creative leaders over the years and have been fortunate to work at a level where my work advertises what I can do.

I am totally self-taught in my career … I see my ideas and work in images in my head so I am really able to formulate my final image prior to production or photography. It has been such a wonderful and exciting field of work and I enjoy every chaotic challenge of creating seasonal ideas for my readers.

The photography began about 4 years ago when the bottom dropped out of publishing and Country Home closed its doors. I decided in order to save my business and work in the new “low/no” budget industry that I needed to be a one-stop shop for my clients.

Celebrating Hanukkah: Easy and Stylish Jewish Holiday Ideas With Recipes by Matthew Mead

I learned the photography end and began producing my own work. Aside from what my readers see, I have many commercial clients, including an arm of Dove Chocolate and Lowe’s Home Centers.

2. Of all of the hundreds of features you have styled, what has been your all-time favorite? And which feature has gotten the most attention?

There was a pumpkin story that I did for Country Home back in 2004 that was a very artful look at heirloom pumpkins and the paint colors they inspired. It was a beautiful and painterly story and so many readers loved it. I still get it as tear sheets from many clients.

Matthew Mead: 12 Chic, Easy Holiday Table Ideas

Since I started my own magazine, it is such a joy to be part of every step of the work. I especially like features on artisans and designers and visiting them at their studios and homes. A recent visit was one with designer Tricia Foley. She has always inspired me and now with my own magazine I get to work with her … it is a dream job.

3. You play many roles while while producing the magazine. What is your favorite part of the process? What do you least like doing?

I am part of every aspect of the process. By far, I love picking all of the props and then photographing and styling. Editing and choosing the final images is a dream and having creative control is such a true joy. Not fond of the warehousing process and the distribution of the magazine or picking up and returning props after, but it is a treat to hold the final product in your hands and find that you have really relayed something new to readers.

4. Every page in your magazine is perfect. We all know it takes a lot of work to get it that way and things don’t always go as planned. Can you tell us about a behind-the-scenes disaster and how you recovered the situation?

First, I have an incredible team that has been with me for my career, that includes my wife and two assistants, both named Lisa. Much of the pressure of work comes from others expectations but I have been fortunate to have much of my work be independent of clients on the set. We’ve had a few situations where one-of-a-kind items have fallen off the wall and gotten broken, but one of the most memorable shoots was a feature that included children, ice cream, a dog parade and a visiting editor in chief, all on a hot summer day.

Check Out Matthew’s Summer Clambake

We planned well and placed all the ice cream in a chest freezer in the back of a pick-up and plugged in to an outlet whenever we could.  We wrangled children in one area with games until their time on the set, and kept the dogs separate but occupied until needed. The ice cream was perfect, no one got bit or riled and the day went off with out a hitch. Except the bunny someone brought instead of a dog was too terrified to march in the parade.  But as far as working with both children and animals, it was a success.

5. What is next for the Matthew Mead brand?

We are expanding. The magazine will likely become a nationally distributed quarterly. We now have a beautiful product line, which will be growing over the next year.

We are delving into video with our own YouTube channel so readers will be able to really be part of all the action at the studio as we live, work and create new and simple lifestyle ideas. I am the food photographer for the Associated Press which keeps me busy and I will continue to find more ways to help clients bring their products to life.

“Holiday With Matthew Mead” is available at newsstands, as well as online.

Matthew, In His Own Words

I am 43 years old and have been married to my wife Jenny for 15 years.  I have two grown step-daughters and was born and raised and still reside here in Concord, NH.  I have always felt fortunate to be here in New England as I can really capture all four seasons and make use of all the beautiful, natural surroundings. I have a daylight studio in a nearby town, which is equipped with a kitchen and a large area for pulling together sets. I am a ravenous collector of all things and am lucky to house my collection close by so that I can easily pull projects together for photo shoots. One day I hope to have a destination location where people interested in the process can see a magazine photo shoot unfold, shop a store of interesting props and artisan items and enjoy organic farm to table food at a restaurant.  Its a dream with  miles to go … but you have to have dreams.

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You know those types of people who refuse to eat at chain restaurants and/or look down on others for eating carbs or foods that are processed like Pop Tarts or cheese cubes? Well, I kinda realized I was the home shopping equivalent in reference to buying furniture from retail stores. Where the hell else would someone buy furniture if not at a retail store? Thanks for asking; the answer is flea markets, thrift stores, vintage stores, antique markets, Craigslist, high design showrooms and custom workrooms. But since I was introduced to the magical world that is Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams through my superstylist friend Annette, I can’t get enough of the national chain, and neither can my clients.

As a designer who often has insanely short timelines for projects meant for TV-based content, I kinda-sorta always need my furniture yesterday. Sure, there are plenty of retailers which stock most of their pieces locally; however, I’m OCD about not using sofas or armchairs people have seen fifty times in the past month. ENTER Mitch and Bob. Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams is packed with custom-looking pieces at medium-to-high price-points, many which are available in three weeks. This is way better than the average 12-16 week lead time it takes to have custom pieces done. For those of you unfamiliar with this genius brand, allow me to introduce you to some of the magic that is MG + BW. Well, after I scarf down some Pop Tarts, then share processed cheese cubes with my friends, that is.

Rennie Collection

Since a good amount of my clients live in the city, they’re usually tight on space. Well, unless they are filthy rich. In that case, their dogs and cats have more square footage than I do. But I digress, armless sofas are a godsend when trying to take up less visual space. The Rennie collection saves space stylishly with its classic pulled tufts and stocked color way of steel blue. PS: As of five weeks ago, I’ve been on a steel blue kick. I have no idea where the hell it came from, but I do know that violet and plum, my previous colors of choice, must really despise steel blue right now.

Dr Pitt Sectional

Right now I am very lucky to have two of the best clients ever. So much that I will give them shout outs: Alex, you are very, very good and fun and smart and nice. And J.D. (who has no idea who Alex is or vice versa), I especially enjoy your allowing me to cover your walls in crocodile and build a modern fireplace clad with faux horn. What the hell does this have to do with MG + BW’s Dr. Pitt slipcovered sectional? Well, I’m currently using it in J.D.’s place. Originally, we’d looked into custom sectionals in a very similar style which came to $9,000. Depending on the configuration, the Dr. Pitt can seat 8 to 10 people for roughly $5,000. As it’s shown in the picture, it’s more like $6,000, but not everyone needs the center section; I chose to leave that off. That ain’t bad for something that looks 100% custom, that’s also washable and doesn’t sacrifice comfort for style and vice versa.


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Years back when I lived in a downtown loft, I painted my bathroom kelly green. It was about six months later that I realized people hated using my bathroom simply because it made them look ugly. How so? The green walls bounced a green glare onto people’s skin as they looked in the mirror. Throw in some bad lighting, and you’ve got a recipe for major image issues. Many times I tell people that this was when I learned not only how color affects moods, but also that lighting is sometimes the most important element in any space.

A few months ago, I discovered a (new to me) lighting company. Fast forward three months, I now find myself calling in orders about once a week. The company? Crystorama. From transitional style pendants to formal chandeliers, welded rose bouquet globes to iron style fixtures that look like helices, I’ve been using their well-made, phenomenally-priced pieces on projects from Brooklyn to Biscayne Bay. If you’re stumped on a source for lighting online that won’t kill your budget, take a look-see at some of the wonderful styles available from Cystorama. Thanks to them, I can possibly paint a room green. This time, light sage instead of kelly green.
Astro Collection

The first style I fell madly in love is the Astro. It’s made of English iron and works beautifully in mid-century modern settings. Its graphic lines and fun ball-shaped finials really allow it to pop from the rest of a room’s design elements. Kinda like showing up to a black and white party wearing a hot pink dress with canary yellow shoes…in a good way. For an extra ounce of the unexpected, consider having a professional refinisher spray this hot momma in a bold-colored automotive, fixture-friendly finish.
Palla Collection

Palla is made from silver leaf wrought iron. Its globe-like shape and range of sizes make it ideal for spaces both traditional and modern. Sure, the Palla is on the feminine side, but it’s an excellent way to add a gal’s touch to an otherwise masculine or gender-neutral room.
Mercer Collection

Hand polished crystal and wrought iron, anyone? If you said yes, then the Mercer is right up your well-illuminated alley. This show stopper, while not for everybody, is a much cleaner alternative to grand entryway chandeliers often too stuffy. Its sleek, clean appearance makes it ideal for just about any style of architecture.

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Lately, I’ve been spending a good amount of time in Los Angeles for “work purposes”. And when I say “work purposes”, of course I mean to have lunch with big-shot designer and producer friends, then drive around aimlessly looking at Hollywood Hills mansions. Well, aside from these grueling tasks, I’ve become familiar with a designer who has kinda-sorta taken the Hollywood design scene by storm, Michelle Workman.

When I first discovered Michelle’s work, it was in the pages of Veranda for a full spread on her design of Jennifer Lopez’s home. My jaw hit the floor. Not from over-the-topness or mind-blowing high energy color. More for her understated, elegant take on Hollywood glamour. If you’ve ever thought about going Hollywood in your own home but were apprehensive of it being too, well, much, I suggest you check out Michelle’s work. Also, if you like Jennifer Lopez, I suggest you check out Michelle’s work. Now, take a look-see.

Michelle Workman

Michelle Workman is a California-based interior designer known for successfully blending glamorous Hollywood style with understated traditional elegance. She is also good at walking fast. Earlier this year, we traversed a seven-city-block power walk from Starbucks to the Design Star offices. She got coffee, I got hot apple cider. And when I say hot apple cider, I mean a donut.

Workman Lopez Living Room

In this project for Jennifer Lopez, Michelle masterfully layered different shades of gray to create a soft, serene environment that borders on being colorless. This layering idea is an excellent alternative to more expected neutrals such as cream or taupe. So the next time your significant other shoots down using hot pink or turquoise in the living room, pull out your power back up: charcoal and dove gray.

Workman Lopez Dining Room

Elegant materials and finishes are often seen in Michelle’s spaces. In this dining room also done for Jennifer Lopez, Workman incorporated many touches of light and airy feminine elegance: the modern(ish) crystal chandelier, a metallic relief damask wallpaper, pure white draperies and upholstery in ballet slipper pink tones. For anyone considering going pink in their home, keep in mind that pinks with lots of gray undertones are a great way to sneak in color without a space becoming a bubble gum factory or a nail salon. An excellent pink paint color for understated elegance is Primrose Petals from Benjamin Moore.


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There are three things I love in this world: impeccable designs, bright colors and British accents. Will Taylor, a.k.a. Mr. Bazaar, the editor of the design blog Bright.Bazaar and an interior props stylist based out of London embodies my three favorites. First of all, pop over to his homepage and just look at all that lovely turquoise and orange. Will doesn’t just love well-designed interiors and bright hues; he loves well-designed interiors because of their bright accents, accessories and features. “You only have to show me a yellow vase and I’ll go weak at the knees,” he says. Will thinks beige is boring, color is everything and that nothing can’t be fixed with a little mood board “cocktail”. (My favorite color cocktail: the Golden Shimmer.)

bright bazaar blog will taylor design blog hgtv blogger of the month design happensImages clockwise left to right: Home Tour: Colourful London Houseboat :: First Look: Adore Magazine’s Forthcoming Issue ::  Three Inspirations: Bold Sofa / Trinkets Box / Graphic Walls :: 10 Things I Learned & Loved This Weekend [September 26, 2011]

If you don’t already ‘like’ Bright.Bazaar on Facebook, follow Will on Twitter or subscribe to receive daily blog updates, then you, my friend, are missing out. With winter just a few months away, you’re going to need a daily color shock treatment and Bright.Bazaar is the place to go. Here are three reasons why Bright.Bazaar is part of my daily routine and why it should be a part of yours, too.

1. Color, Color, COLOUR

Let’s just state the obvious here. Color. He loves it; I love it. It’s a fact that certain hues affect our mood and can make us happy, confident and energetic. So why not start off the day with a bold dose of color, something you know will uplift your spirits? Daily, Will shares his favorite colorful finds, from interiors and his strolls through London shops and markets. His finds are always right on trend and dapple in plenty of design styles to satisfy everyone’s cravings. From vibrant primaries and bold neons to candy-coated pastels and deep, saturated beauties, Will celebrates color in all forms, even if it’s simply the base of a light fixture or the seat cushion of a chair.

bright bazaar blog will taylor bright bazaar design blog hgtv design happens

2. Will’s Weekends

My weekends are either embarrassingly bland or pretty cool. Will’s weekends seem to always be perfect. His weekly feature 10 Things I Learned & Loved This Weekend is filled with picturesque strolls through London, stops at quaint design boutiques around the city and at least two or three killer product finds for those of us in the States who need a Monday morning fix. It’s literally the ideal way to start any work week. While I absolutely love his unique and flavorful finds, I really enjoy his own personal weekend photography. It truly captures the essence of a weekend. Relax and unwind. Make time for rejuvenation through inspiration. That’s a perfect weekend, right?

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Today is the first day that HGTV Magazine is on newsstands! Did you get yours yet? I’ve gotten mine and I have to say, it’s one of the prettiest and most useful design magazines I’ve ever seen (even if I am a little biased).

vern yip and hgtv magazine

Left: Photo by Sarah Dorio from Leader of the Pack p. 35, Right: Our magazine cover!

In its inaugural issue Vern Yip, judge for HGTV Design Star lets readers into his family’s home in Atlanta, Georgia to get a look at his unbelievable dog room (page 35 in case you’re following along with your magazines). With four dogs and two young kids in the house, it’s hard to believe that anything is organized, but this chocolate-colored room is perfection. I recently talked to Vern about his home and his article for our brand new magazine. Here’s what he had to say:

LZ: Have you seen the magazine yet?

VY: No, not yet! But I’m very excited to see it.

LZ: So we know you’re an old pro at being in other people’s homes with the cameras rolling, but what was it like to be interviewed for the magazine having the photographers at your house?

VY: It’s always good. Your home should be a physical manifestation of you. It’s a way for people to experience who you are. It was fun to share my personal style with readers.

LZ: In your article for the magazine, you show us your fantastic pet room just off your kitchen. What do you suggest people do who don’t have enough space to make a separate room for their pets?

VY: I’ve always been a dog person, but I haven’t always had a dedicated room for the dogs. Before having this room, I didn’t compromise between practicality and not having a dog at all, though. A couple of tips for keeping a clean and neat house:

Number one: get a great vacuum cleaner, and number two, look at the materials that your dog comes in contact with – the floor, the upholstery – and make sure you select those correctly to be soil and stain resistant.

To corral the clutter, use the same the same ideas you would in dealing with clutter in general. Instead of having a coffee table, use a storage ottoman. The lid flips open and you can quickly put away dog toys and leashes.

LZ: What’s your number one rule about the dogs in your house? No people food? No jumping on the couch?

VY: I wish I was that kind of disciplinarian with them! Before we had kids they had the run of the place. The one thing I don’t do, we don’t allow our dogs in our beds. It’s one area that I like to keep super clean and tidy.

LZ: Given that you’ve got pets and kids in your house now, are there any design decisions you’ve made wish you could do over? Do you make different choices now?

VY: No. My choices aren’t primarily driven by dogs or kids. Our decisions are reflections of us and who we are. Successful design is a confluence of function and aesthetics. It needs to function on a high level. I need to be able to sit on the sofa and not worry about getting a stain on it. That’s who I am. You can have great looking things that are also practical.

LZ: OK, Vern, lightning round. I’m going to ask you a question, and you give me your gut reaction:

Dogs playing poker – kitsch and cute, or tacky and awful?

VY: Kitsch and cute.

LZ: Painted animal portraits – yea or nay?

VY: Yea!

LZ: Dogs in the bed – snuggle up or get out!

VY: Get out!

LZ: Leather furniture and pets – for sure or forget it?

VY: For sure!

LZ: And last but not least: I know I’m not supposed to ask this – because dogs are like kids – but do you have a favorite dog?

VY: [Laughs] Yes, I do! I’m so embarrassed to admit that. But I can’t tell you which one it is!

  • Tell Your Friends editor Camille Smith summed it up beautifully: Our October Color of the Month is “saturated, intense and a real show-stopper.” A child of the ’80s, Camille is psyched to see the return of this bold hue. I think you’ll agree, its comeback feels nothing like that maligned decade. Today’s interpretations make fabulous design statements, like this 1940s McCoy vase or this ’60s Samsonite train case. Classic looks that are totally now. (And a color you probably never thought you’d love paired with regatta blue or grass green.)

Meet turquoise’s subdued but equally stunning big sister…a Pantone top fall color


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Let’s face it. David Bromstad is booked SOLID. He’s not coming over to redesign my living room, like … ever. And for all you Design Star fanatics, I know you’re going through some David withdrawals. You miss seeing him behind that table, huh? Well, I have a solution to this dilemma. You can have a piece of David’s creativity in your home all year round, between seasons of Color Splash: Miami and Design Star. David is now offering high-quality prints of his one-of-a-kind artwork that includes those gorgeous, original pieces created for his Color Splash clients, plus new paintings from his private collection. And you know what’s even better? You can buy his artwork right here at! Here are my top five fave pieces. Go through and pick your favorites and must-haves, too. (Number four on my list is definitely an eye-catching piece, yeah?)

David Bromstaid Color Splash Miami Artwork Design Blog HGTVStamped #1, Stamped #2

David Bromstad Artwork Color Splash Miami Design Blog HGTVCattails

David Bromstad Artwork Color Splash Miami HGTV Design Happens BlogAccident #1


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If you’re a Design Happens regular, then for more than a year you’ve been following Erin Loechner, her hunky husband Ken and their daunting, gorgeous (and sometimes comical) total gut renovation. We’re talking the complete transformation of a Midwest auction house into a stunning Scandinavian cabin. (If you haven’t been following along, here’s a link to Erin’s posts documenting their remodeling journey.) For those of you, like me, who are utterly charmed by Erin’s sense of style and gusto, you’ll want to subscribe to Erin’s eye-candy of a blog Design For Mankind.

Design for mankind erin loechner design blog hgtv blogger of the month
Design For Mankind is the perfect compilation of topics I love to casually browse while drinking my morning coffee or when I unwind before bed. Let’s face it. We’re all busy. So, who has time to scroll through pages and pages of endless copy. Erin’s blog is filled to the brim with captivating pictures, images and art. And that’s just how we like it. I seriously can’t get enough. So much so that I absolutely must share my take on DFM with you lovely people. So here it is ladies and gents, the top four reasons why DFM makes my heart skip a beat as soon as it pops up in my inbox and rolls through my Twitter timeline.


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I’ve wanted to spruce up my backyard for a while and finally had the perfect reason to – throwing a little dinner party.

novogratz dinner party

I decided that since the backyard gets so sunny, adding an awning would be perfect. I went bold with a bright yellow and white striped fabric and even ordered extra fabric to make into matching pillows. Now we can grill in the shade. Heaven!

novogratz yellow awning
People often forget that you can use the exterior of your house as a canvas to hang a mirror or a piece of art. We hung a large mirror on the exterior wall, as well as a lucite longhorn.

Another thing that I love to do for outdoor parties is hang candelabra chandeliers from the trees. The effect of the burning candles seeming to float through space is really amazing, and very pretty.

novogratz tree chandeliers

When I’m up in the Berkshires I love to hit all the local tag sales. Luckily, I found just the table and benches that I needed at one right down the street. I wasn’t loving the dark wood, so we painted the whole set high gloss white. Luckily it dried just in time for the party!

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One freezing cold January, Vicky and Marinique Dabissiere visited an uninhabited house in Queens, New York, after receiving a call from a former client. Her parents had bought an older house, and the client wanted the sisters of LaVie Design to bring it into the 21st century for them. When Vicky and Marinique crossed the threshold, they discovered a house stuck in the 1970s. Mirrored walls loomed all around. Layers of dust covered the wood floors, parts of which needed serious repairs. The old cracked plaster walls were painted a shade of white that had obviously lost its umph over the decades. As you’ll see, this talented design duo turned the neglected 1,438 square-foot New York house into a traditional, but unexpected refuge that exceeded their clients’ wants and needs.

LaVie Designs

Vicky says: After touring the first floor, we asked the clients about their design style and tastes. The wife, who was at first hesitant, eventually voiced that she liked prints and that while she liked color, she tended to gravitate towards earth tones. She described her style as traditional, but not too traditional. The husband’s main wish was that the family room be “comfortable”. We had four weeks to work with their contractor before the family would need to move in. That is no time in the design world! As we sketched, photographed and measured the space, we could see that the rooms had great bones and underneath the layers of dust and years of neglect, there was indeed a hidden treasure.

LaVie Designs

The clients were originally from the Caribbean, so we chose to interpret the island feel through color, fabrics and accessories. We painted the living room walls in Benjamin Moore’s Leisure Green. The only moldings in the room were those that accented the walls, and they were caked with decades old paint. We all liked the visual interest they provided to the walls, so we had the contractor replace them and paint them in Benjamin Moore’s White Dove. The moldings certainly help the mother of pearl mirror and black/amber accent chest pop against the possibly overwhelming green walls. Since the clients decided to forego installing central heating and opted to keep the radiators original to the house, we painted those the same color as the walls so they would seamlessly disappear into the background. (On the right in the top photo.)

When it came to the lighting in the living room, in addition to the wall sconces, the space needed more central lighting. Rather than adding wiring to the ceiling for a chandelier, we had the electrician install an electrical socket in the floor in the center of the room for side table lighting. This gave the clients the option of turning on only the table lamps for a more intimate mood.

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Tiffany ReplicaThe name Louis Comfort Tiffany may not be part of your everyday conversation, but there’s definitely a chance you’re familiar with his family’s store. Hint: They’re famous for little robin’s egg blue boxes. Well, Louis Comfort Tiffany (1848 – 1933), the heir of the Tiffany & Co. fortune, is famous for much more than engagement rings. Does this lamp look familiar? “Oh! Of course!” someone might say. “Those used to hang above the tables at Ruby Tuesday!” Well, sort of. Tiffany lamps are often imitated, like this dragonfly pendant lamp which is a replica, but they’re never truly duplicated. We’ve all seen some sort of knock off at a home decor store. But they cannot compare to the absolute pleasure of viewing 45 original Tiffany stained glass lamps up close at the Tiffany at Biltmore exhibit housed in the legendary Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. Trust me. I did, and it’s design-geek heaven. Tiffany is celebrated as one of the preeminent designers of decorative glass. The exhibit at Biltmore showcases his designs in a dimly lit room allowing their translucent glass to light the way through the halls. It’s truly magnificent to view all of the colors and motifs up close and personal.

Tiffany Lamps

Biltmore Estate is the perfect venue for this exhibit. The Vanderbilt family built Biltmore House at the height of the Art Nouveau movement, of which Louis C. Tiffany was a highly revered central figure. Art Nouveau celebrated the natural world and captured it in art, architecture and design. Lamps featuring Tiffany’s favorite natural muses — dragonflies and lilies — reflect his appreciation for the natural world. It is those designs that are most popular.

Tiffany Lamps

However, Tiffany also found inspiration in some creatures of the organic world that you wouldn’t expect. My visit to the Biltmore exhibit marked the first time I had ever seen (or heard of) a Tiffany lamp with a design influenced by the form a spider and spider web. (Be sure to keep an eye out for it when you take the tour.)


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