New Digs!

About 18 months ago, we decided it was time to sell our home of ten years and look for a home we liked, in a neighborhood we loved.  November was a busy month for us, as offers to purchase were flying left and right... we finally settled on numbers and simultaneously sold and bought our old and new homes.  Since November, I have been busy erasing a lot of 1994 from the new house.  Still so much work to do, but happy to be settling back into a more "normal" schedule of work, school, and play.  Thank you to EMC Premier Painters and FLOOR for all your beautiful work!

Summer Makeover

I love the beach and I love a renovation.  Put the two together, mixed with awesome clients, and you have summer project on your hands!  This house is in my Galveston neighborhood and was purchased by a couple from Katy looking to create their dream retirement home.  At just under 2,000 sf, this beach retreat was drenched in sunshine yellow paint, but had an open floor plan that was bursting with potential.  The project started with the homeowners requesting new wood flooring on the main level.  Then we started looking at the dated kitchen, scratched Corian counter tops, hardware, and confusing bedroom & bath layout...  Before long, we had a game plan for a whole-house reno that lasted all summer, but the results were worth it.

The mud stops here.

Mud and laundry rooms are one of the utilized spaces in a home, yet are often neglected during the design phase.  If you are building a new house or renovating a home, don't forget to pay attention to this space!  

Things to think about:

  • LIGHTING.  Who wants to fold clothes in a small, dark space? Add a skylight if there isn't a window or, at least, install plenty of overhead LED lighting to make the space bright. I use Aspect recessed LED in my projects.
  • ROUTINES.  Who uses this space?  Are you hanging school bags and sports equipment?  What about mom's tennis gear?  Don't forget pets - dog food storage and a feeding area could help keep Fido organized too!
  • STORAGE, STORAGE, STORAGE.  Install cabinets of various depths to keep vacuum hoses from tangling, towels stacked, and shoes tidy in cubbies.   
  • WATER.  If you can, put a sink!  Having a space to wash & rinse away dirt just may save your life.  This Blanco undermount is one of my favorites.
  • FLOORING.  Make sure you put a durable product on the floor.  Tile is the No. 1 choice, but be creative and use an interesting pattern or texture.  Tile comes in finishes that look like natural stone, wood and even brick!  What I wouldn't give for a herringbone brick floor in my mud room!

The light, for less.

Recently I've been on the hunt for new lighting to update our breakfast room.  I have had the same matching light fixtures hanging over the table and sink since we reno'd the house in 2006.  In my search, I've found some great "get the look for less" items .  Check out the lighting below that is currently offered at World Market and Anthropologie... you may be surprised to find which is the better deal!

It's Rodeo Time!

With #hlsr on the horizon, aren't you tempted to give a room some western flare?  Check out these great art pieces for under $100!  Message me and I'll start hunting treasures for your space.  See y'all at the Cookoff! xo, Kim

Oh, and this rug makes me swoon.  Looks like denim feathers and adds a hint Native American style to your room.  Shhhh... it's yours for under $200.  

Where didya get that?!

I have a problem with just saying "thank you" instead of shouting out the discounted price of a seemingly pricey item.  

Girlfriend: OMG.  That rug is amazing!  Is it new? Where didya get that?
Me: YES!! Isnt' it great!?  You won't believe - I got it at XYZ for less than $300!! 

Who doesn't love the look of a highly styled room!?  It's the designer price tag that gets us all choked up.  My friends and clients are amazed at the great interior accessories, art, carpets, lighting and furniture I find.

My husband loves the rock-bottom prices.  

I've decided to offer Personal Buying to my services.  Let me do the digging for you! I will scour antique stores, thrift shops, local HomeGoods (Oh, how I love HomeGoods!), and Round Top Antique Fair so you don't have to!  Give me a call, send me your Pinterest board, and let me start hunting for some treasures to get your home on-trend and in style! 

These are faux beautiful!

Everyone loves the look of marble, but not the price tag.   It is a great option for applications where you don't want high maintenance products or when you don't want to throw down a ton of cash.  Think laundry, craft or mud rooms, second homes, rentals or flips.  Still not SWOONING over the idea of laminate? Keep reading to see some great faux options that will get you around that $60-$100/sf invoice.  

 Calcutta - The Real Deal.

Calcutta - The Real Deal.

Formica's FX180 line offers some great looking sheets in popular marble, travertine and granite finishes.

Wilsonart HD raises the bar with it's line of realistic options at a killer price of under $15/sf!  They offer hundreds of designs including contemporary graphics.

The best part is you can purchase these products locally at Lowe's or Home Depot!

What's Thanksgiving Without Wine?

I could still enjoy Thanksgiving or any other holiday without wine, but honestly, I don't want to.  I enjoy a beautiful glass of wine with dinner.  I like one with dessert, too, and while preparing the meal, and... - well, you get my point!

Most of my friends would agree their current go-to wines for Thanksgiving dinner are Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Pinot is a choice is solid (my personal fav) and possibly brilliant: A high-acid, low-tannin Pinot, can do right by almost all the side dishes a big bird requires. Chardonnay, for me, is a puzzler, at least if it's a buttery and oaky (at the bottom of my choices, for sure).  I'd suggest trying a Rose', which has become one of my favorites over the past few years. Rose's are dry, crisp and bursting with flavor.  I think they will be among the most versatile wines on your table.

The trouble with applying the "I'll drink whatever" principle to Thanksgiving is that there's just so much going on ― herby gravy, tangy cranberry sauce, savory dressing.... And sweet potatoes are, well, sweet, even without marshmallows. 

It seems natural that wine for Thanksgiving should come from American makers.  Above all, for your family at Thanksgiving, the wines shouldn't be intimidating. This isn't the time to show off or get overly complex.  Bring out something familiar and yummy.

Dale Robertson at The Houston Chronicle suggests these wines that can be found locally:

2012 Golden Eye Gowan Creek Pinot Noir

Overall score: 17 (9 for quality, 8 for value)

Our tasters: Gave it a unanimous recommendation with four scores of 9 or higher. "A big, round and concentrated wine but one that's well-balanced."

Critical acclaim: Earned a score of 92 from Wine Spectator: "Generous, offering ripe plum, black cherry and wild berry flavors, with touches of anise and black licorice. Ends with hints of dusty dried herb and cedar that fold into the finish."

Buy it: $73.99

2012 Frei Brothers Reserve Pinot Noir

Overall score: 18.9 (8.9 for quality, 10 for value)

Our tasters: Gave it a unanimous recommendation with a high score of 9.2 and two scores of 9. "Cherry and tobacco notes. Well-structured but also yummy."

Critical acclaim: Earned a 90 from Wine Enthusiast: "Beguiling streaks of red cherry surround a light, spicy, food-friendly core that's well balanced and integrated, the oak and tannin elegantly respectful of the red fruit. It offers medium weight amid the smoothness."

Buy it: $21.84

2013 J Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Overall score: 17.9 (8.9 for quality, 9 for value)

Our tasters: It didn't work for one, but another awarded a 9.3, and two others scored it 9 or higher. "Pronounced dried red fruit. Finishes long."

Critical acclaim: Earned a score of 90 from the Wine Enthusiast: "Made in a full-bodied style, this estate wine is generous in blackberry, black licorice and dark cherry, with classic cola spice dancing around its edges. Smooth and memorable, it is made from a handful of vineyards, including Nicole's, Bow Tie and Robert Thomas, all vineyard-designates of their own for the producer."

Buy it: $32.89


Black Friday

I'm getting in the holiday spirit and offering my own Black Friday special!!  I'm giving two hours of design consulting with every local in-home design consultation (a $200 value) OR I will refund 100% of your in-home consultation fee when you purchase cabinetry (a $300 value).  You pick.  Message me before Nov 28!!


The Right White.

I get this question a lot, but today it was coming from a good girlfriend of mine.  She's buying a new house in my neighborhood (yay!), selling the old one, and still managing a household and busy schedules of four children.  

So the question is: Which white is right?

I could begin searching the fan decks, but off the top of my head, I can think of a few top choices.  With a little research, I can recommend the most popular white paint colors – the ones that decorators and homeowners rave about time and time again.

Out of this sea of whites, I’ve narrowed it down to these proven winners: 

1. Benjamin Moore’s White Dove (OC-17) – I used this color in our old house and loved it. Not only is it a great color for walls, but it’s also a favorite for moldings:

 Houzz - James Thomas Interiors

Houzz - James Thomas Interiors

2.Benjamin Moore’s China White (PM-20):

 Tracery Interiors

Tracery Interiors

3. Benjamin Moore’s Decorators White (CC-20):

 Architectural Digest

Architectural Digest

4. Sherwin Williams’ Shoji White (SW7042)- I used this on my Houston home's interior trim work:

 Tobi Fairley Design (TRIM: SW Shoji White;  WALLS: SW Wool Skein )

Tobi Fairley Design (TRIM: SW Shoji White;  WALLS: SW Wool Skein)

5. Benjamin Moore’s Linen White (912):

 Houzz - Tom Stringer Design Partners

Houzz - Tom Stringer Design Partners

6. Sherwin Williams’ Alabaster (SW7008), which is very similar to BM’s White Dove:

 Iris Danker Design

Iris Danker Design

7. Sherwin Williams’ Snowbound (SW7004), which I used on walls at the beach house:

 House of Jade Interiors

House of Jade Interiors

The white paint color that’s best for your room will depend on factors such as lighting and other colors in the space, such as flooring. But instead of going to Benjamin Moore or Sherwin Williams and blankly staring at the mind-boggling number of white paint swatches, skip straight to these suggestions and I can guarantee that you’ll find one that will look fantastic in your space.

I’m a believer in narrowing it down to at least four choices then applying samples of them on your wall. You can even paint each sample on a large piece of foam board and see how it looks at different times of the day with different amounts of light. Also, move your board to various spots around your room – you may be surprised at how different a paint color can look depending upon where it is in the room.  

Selecting Great Hardware

Selecting hardware is like deciding which jewelry to wear to compliment your little black dress. Hardware isn't cheap, so making the burden of making the best choice can be stressful as you become overloaded with images of pulls, knobs, and finish options.  You may be dizzy because the choices seem endless... and they are!  A designer will help narrow the selection.

First, start with the cabinetry finish and style.  Do you want the hardware to blend or make a statement?  Do you need a contemporary or traditional style?  What other metal finishes are being used in the room (appliances, lighting fixtures, doorknobs, windows)?  Now consider size and scale.  If you have 54" high wall cabinets, don't use a tiny knob in the bottom corner of the door.  Large drawers need either one wide pull centered or two smaller ones.  Don't be afraid to mix styles and finishes - this makes the cabinetry look more custom and interesting.

Here are some great vendors to check out:

      Liberty Hardware  |  Hardware Resources  |  Top Knobs  |  House of Antique Hardware                                                        Amercok  |  Richelieu  |  Eclectic Ware

Round Top Antiques Festival

If you know me, you know I love beautiful things, the thrill of the negotiation, and the hunt for treasure.  All these come together in a perfect trifecta twice a year in Round Top, Texas.  My sweet husband graciously takes over packing lunches and reading good-night stories to our children so I can drive 90 miles to the best antiques festival in the state!  This year I joined some girls from Dallas and stayed at the sweet Ant Street Inn.  This adorable Inn is located in downtown Brenham and sounds like a sorority house once all the ladies return to kick up their feet, sip wine, chatter about their purchases and strategize about the next day's itinerary.  Relishing cheese, wine and a dinner of twice-baked potatoes from Lisa's Aunt Nancy was my favorite time of the day.  I loved catching up and laughing with these ladies!

We kicked off the day at Blue Hills where I met Michael Lawlis and purchased a great looking side table for the beach house.  I can always use more surface area to rest a wine glass or two!

My favorite stop is Arbor Antiques where I always find gorgeous goodies.  I was sad to learn that the Mexican Shirt lady is going out of business.  She had all her inventory 20% off!   I fell in love with a sold item from Susan Horne Antiques, but am crossing fingers that she can source another.   My friend bought a stunning pair of French needlepoint arm chairs from Maison Pernoud that will look amazing in her new home's foyer.  

On my final morning, we hit one more road-side tent and Nancy found a lovely pair of vintage sconces from Galveston!!  My heart sank as I did not see them first...  That sweet woman let me purchase them for Bowen (thank you, Nancy!)!!  I also found two wooden tennis racquets for less than half the price where I saw them at Arbors, so I picked those up as well!  I plan to send them on to House of Lamps so Nancy can work her magic! 

Tapestry Beige

"Tapestry Beige?  Yes or No?!  Should it take three days to respond to this question?" ranted a friend, completely frustrated with the responsiveness of the designer she hired to help with her soon-to-be-stunning Tanglewood renovation.    

I have two girlfriends suffering from designer issues.  Julia's large Memorial renovation began over a year ago and I'm not certain it's actually completed to her satisfaction.  [Sigh.] Elizabeth has a more manageable scope of work, but a tight deadline to get moved in.

Both girls hired professional interior designers and both girls called me with the same flustered conversation and asking for confirmation that terminating services was the right move.  My heart sinks as I empathize with their frustration and disappointment over color choices, material pricing, and general lack of professionalism.  After listening, I have to agree it's time to move on.

I have a very short soap box to shout from because I am not a full-service designer.  I specialize in floor plans, cabinetry and kitchens because those are what I'm really good at!   I do not accept jobs that I do not have time for or that I do not have the capability to execute with excellence. Ladies and Gents, please be mindful and realistic when you hire any professional to assist with your home projects.  Ask for references.  Ask for pictures of their work.  Ask what you get as a client.  Make sure your expectations clear so everyone is on the same page!  

I hope these tips help you in deciding on which designer to hire!  In the end, listen to your instincts, they're usually right.

Back-To-School Blues?

If you're like me, you're anxious about getting the kids (and yourself) back into the school swing.  Every mom is chattering about demanding homework schedules, after-school activities, and school expenses.  What can you do to make this year better?  Think about some organization and space planning for your kids rooms, play areas, and homework / craft centers.  Send me a photo of the space you want to transform and I will give you some design suggestions.  I may even feature the before/after here!!

Here are some great examples of kid-friendly spaces to inspire learning and productivity!  Setting aside a special place for studies or reading.  This lets your child know that schoolwork is a priority!  Clearing  a corner of the cluttered breakfast bar probably isn't going to encourage concentration.  Give your child his own table with colorful containers full of pencils and bins for materials needed to get his work done.  

Being organized and ready to tackle the task at hand will alleviate everyone's stress and get you closer to baths, bedtime, and that well-deserved glass of wine.


11" of Rain in Houston

Houston is under water and the rain continues to fall, locking our soaked city in fear of more damage.  My heart breaks as friends post images of their homes, wrecked from water damage.


I would like to extend my help to friends and clients in need of quick quotes for insurance claims. Please do not hesitate to contact me with questions or requests for advice. | 832.528.3909

Ciao, Italia!

Put down your coffee... I just returned from a gorgeous nine days in Tuscany.  Doesn't that sound glamorous?  My best friend from childhood and her little sis arranged a vacation for twelve friends in an outstanding villa outside Cortona, Italy.  

I was most intrigued by the villa we stayed in - the owners are from Houston and purchased the 1760 era property in 1999.  It had not been lived in since 1970 and the renovation took seven years to complete!  I'm pretty industrious, but a seven year endeavor seemed exhausting to even think about.  Here are a few highlights...

If you are interested, I would say the pricing is rather reasonable.  Check it out here.