MM | Make Them Happy

Vacation has come to a screeching end, and the grind slapped me in the face almost as soon as we de-planed. The cool thing is I am finally really in love with what I am doing. Even when it is challenging and frustrating — with long hours, stressful deadlines and you name it — the underlying emotion is still elation that I have my dream job.


In addition to having my dream job, I am a huge people-pleaser. There is nothing I love more than keeping everyone around me as happy as possible. It was recently pointed out to me that this is also one of my biggest faults, but it is also one of the things that makes me successful in what I do.

I found this quote, and it couldn’t be more perfect for me coming back from vacation and getting my hustle on. Design really is about making people happy by creating a better aesthetic, creating more functionality of their space and giving them an emotional connection to their home. That is why I love what I do so much! I have often joked that I’m not saving the world but making it a prettier world to live in. There is some saving going on in there, but it is more closely linked to each client and their world. There is nothing better than coming home to a space that really makes you feel at ease.

What makes you feel happy within your home? My favorite part about coming home from vacation? Sleeping in my own bed… so peaceful! Now to survive this hectic week of catch-up, big project install deadlines and menu planning.

Happy Monday!

Monday Wishes

I am blogging today from my family’s home north of Seattle, and actually by the time this posts, we will be on our way to Montana to visit with my Grammy.

IMG_2967With that said, I thought this quote was the perfect reflection on vacationing and all the other things we dream about. We often spend time dreaming about the things we want to do with our lives; dreaming of far away places that we might seem too far out of reach; dreaming of projects that would make our house our dream home; dreaming about the perfect job.

Gloria Steinam is pointing out to us that really the dream is the first part of the plan. If we don’t start with the dream, we can’t create our reality. We need to dream about things that we want, things that seem so far out of reach that we long for them and then we need to make it our mission to find a way to achieve them.

What are you currently dreaming of?

Set Design | Friends

Last week I mentioned designing boats and how there are so many other areas where design can be applied. I have been re-watching Friends from the beginning (thanks, Netflix), and there are some incredibly detailed and beautiful sets.

Friends Set Opening Scene

I think what is so interesting to me about set design is it combines residential design with commercial design because these characters are interacting in a whole built-up world. Here are a few of my favorite sets from Friends:

  • Monica’s apartment, specifically her kitchen and living space: Her kitchen showcases cabinetry painted in a bold color with open shelving on top. Open shelving is something that is so big right now, and I love that it has been used and showcased in television sets like this one. In the living room, her walls are purple, and so are all of the doors and trims. After watching this again, I am contemplating where I can apply this monotone painted look to make it work, and I’m thinking my living room might just be the perfect place!

Friends Set_Monica's Kitchen Friends Set_Monica's Living Room

  • Central Perk: That classic orange sofa? Such a cozy hang out space, and did you know that the art on the walls in the coffee shop changed in every episode? Take a closer look next time and see if you notice anything else quirky that the set designers and the rest of the team played around with on the set.

Friends Set_Central Perk

  • Chandler & Joey’s place: Again, the kitchen: what a quirky yet functional space! The fusball table is the perfect accent in there instead of a dining table for a bachelor pad. I just love it. I also really love the episode when Joey builds the entertainment center that is just a bit too large for the wall between their bedroom doors… I would hate to be the person responsible for a mistake like that in real life!!

Friends set_Chandler & Joey's

What shows do you love the design of? Do you ever find yourself noticing the space the characters are interacting in on sitcoms? I think being a set designer would be so fun, but I can’t imagine how complex it would be to have to create a space that really is perceived well through filming.

Image Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Wishbones + Backbones

This quote is so good, and by an author I really admire, Elizabeth Gilbert, I just had to share.

Attachment-1 (1)

You have to stiffen your spine, stand tall and go for it. Whatever your “it” may be, nobody else is going to make your dreams come true; you are the one who is fighting for you. Even if praying and breaking wishbones are part of your ritual, there is always more you can do to help yourself flourish.

Trust yourself, your gut, His plan, whatever and make it happen!

With relation to design and home, I love this as well, but it is a little bit more abstract. You can hope and dream for the perfect home and the perfect lifestyle, but you are ultimately responsible for achieving whatever your version of the perfect home is. Make a plan to actualize your dreams, whether it’s planning to move to a town you’ve always loved, finally taking steps to open up your kitchen or committing to invest in art you love, there are so many little things you can do to find your dream house around the world or even make your current house feel a little bit more like your dream home.

Happy Monday, planners and dreamers!

Glamping | The Perfect Girls Getaway!

Glamping 3

When life is hectic and you are running around nonstop, sometimes all you need is a little getaway with your girls, and I’m telling you, let your men go camping, while you all go glamping.

Glamping is camping in a typically picturesque setting with real beds, mattresses and linens, charming decor, full standard bathrooms and then some of the charm of camping: campfires, s’mores, reclining in campfire chairs, etc., It’s basically all the beauty Mother Nature has to offer without interfering with your personal beauty routine.

I set up this little glamping photo shoot in the most scenic setting I know: on the same lake where P & I got married. I also included all the key ingredients to guarantee a fun girls getaway.

A cozy place to kick back, the tent provides a great shade structure to beat the heat during the day and a good place to gab and gossip while doing manis and pedis. After all, what’s a girls weekend without nail polish?

It’s important to have delicious treats, like these s’mores cupcakes, in case you and your friends aren’t the fire-starting types. They pair well with boozy camping concoctions. I like to pair the liquor of choice with something bubbly and all inclusive that adds some fizzy refreshment to the drink without having to measure and pour a laundry list of ingredients… after all, your bar cart is not included in the getaway, so keeping it simple is best. The easy margs I shared yesterday would be perfect!

Make sure you pack protein-filled snacks to keep your energy up through the days, and drink plenty of water! Adding citrus slices to your water makes it taste so much better — you might actually be able to choke the recommended eight glasses down. Prep is key to a successful camping menu. Plan out what you will be eating, stock your cooler with plenty of ice and pre-cut and mix everything before hand. I have pinned some good camping foods here for reference.

The last key ingredient to a successful glamping getaway is entertainment. You want to make sure you have things to do that are not related to your wireless devices, just in case you don’t have the best service out in the woods. Our favorite game to bring along is Cards Against Humanity, it makes for long hilarious nights. Corn hole, or just a good old-fashioned Frisbee are fun for the daylight hours, and there are plenty more ideas on my Pinterest board here.

Sources: Tent by Canvas Camp (which we will re-use as a shelter or awning when we go camping next), Quilt (gifted by my Mama), Pillows from Target (Blue Square, Blue Oblong, Coral Square similar, Coral Oblong), Weighted Table Cloths from Target (similar), Flower from Trader Joes — styled by yours truly, Mani/Pedi supplies from Target (Babe Blue, Mint Sorbet, Coral Reef) , S’mores cupcakes recipe made on the fly and will be blogged soon, travel tumblers & water pitcher from Bed Bath & Beyond.

Photography is all my own, please cite sources if you re-use any of these images! This post is not sponsored.

Easy & Refreshing Margaritas

Easy Refreshing Margs_Main

These margaritas are the most delicious and easy margaritas you can make at home. I swear, if you are a fan of margs, then you need to get yourself to a store and buy these four ingredients. That’s it! Four things, three if you’re a pinch and can’t get a lime.

Recipe: Add three ounces of chilled Hornitos or other good quality agave tequila and one ounce of chilled Cointreau to your glass, next add ice and fill to top with sparkling Limeade. This Trader Joes Limeade makes mixing drinks at home the easiest thing ever, so you really need to keep a bottle in the fridge at all times. Slice a lime, and squeeze the juice of one slice into your glass, garnish with another, and enjoy.

Easy Refreshing Margs_Main 2

Try to savor it, this delicious beverage packs a punch!

I’m On A Boat

Boat Design-1

When P turned 30, one of his good friends from college gifted us a boating brunch experience. I love these kinds of gifts where you are building memories with people instead of giving things. This past weekend we cashed in the brunch gift and set sail out of Perth Amboy, N.J. to take a little trip around Staten Island, and we got some really great views of the city. I didn’t take my camera so there are only weird selfies that were taken and won’t be shared, but it was a really nice way to spend the day.

Boat Design-2

It made me think though… there are all types of spaces to design in the world. I practice residential designs with a focus on kitchens and bathrooms, but there are also people who design commercial spaces such as offices, retail shops or restaurants. There are people who design movie theaters, and set designers for theatrical stages as well as for sitcoms and other movies and TV shows. And then there are boat designers, people who design boats from house boats, to yachts to cruise ships.

Boat Design-3

How much fun would it be to design a boat?! Maybe I should see if I can get any clientele back home in Seattle where there are a lot of house boats, and cross over to watercraft through residential interiors on house boats…or maybe I will just stick with what I know and continue working with houses on solid ground.

Boat Design-4

The world of design is so vast and incredible, I just love looking at and exploring all the wonderful outlets that interior design creeps into. It sets off the dreamer in me! What are you dreaming of in your career path?

Boat Design-5

Images: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5. Click over to see more images from each of these incredible boat designs!

Make A Move

Dreaming and setting goals are all fine and good, but what really sets things in motion is taking action. Make your move to get yourself where you want to be.

What you do today

All the things you do today, no matter how big or small, will add up to a better tomorrow. In a design sense, I like to think of this about the things you are doing for your home and in your space. If there is something you don’t love about your home, make the decision to do something to make it better. Maybe you can only afford to switch the furniture around, but even that can have a great effect.

Maybe it is the addition of a favorite piece of art to the space you spend most of your time. Maybe it is treating yourself to luxurious new linens to feel better about your bedroom and get a better night’s sleep, or maybe it is taking the step to renovate or redesign your space, be it one room, or a few main things around the house.

The key take away here is that any day is a good day to make a move, because any move you make today will get you closer to what you are trying to achieve and set you up for a better tomorrow.

Happy Monday!

Current Obsession | Banquettes + Breakfast Nooks

Banquettes are a great way to fit a dining space into a small kitchen, nestle in a designated breakfast nook, or even just a way to add a cozy element to a spacious kitchen.

Banquette 1

If only I could pinch this banquette out of this picture and plop it into our home… {sigh}.

Islands are all the rage, and they will be a constant staple in the world of kitchen design. But if you don’t have the space for an island, or you prefer a cozier seating option, consider a banquette on one wall or corner of the kitchen, it can give you just what you’ve been looking for.

Great use of the storage left & right, centering the nook on the window. Bravo. Jump to The House Diaries to see the full transformation of this kitchen (link below).

Great use of the storage left & right, centering the nook on the window. Bravo. Jump to The House Diaries to see the full transformation of this kitchen (link below).

Banquette 2

I love the colorful details and hidden storage showcased in this bold banquette! (Seen on Pufik.)

This jaw-dropping nook was featured not only on the Nest Studio Home blog but also in Women's Day magazine and it is easy to see why.

This jaw-dropping nook was featured not only on the Nest Studio Home blog but also in Women’s Day magazine and it is easy to see why.

I have been scribbling up very rough renovation plans non-stop for our condo. And although we may never renovate at all, it is fun to play around with the concept. The element, I can’t help but try to include is the banquette! In our small galley kitchen it would be such a great bonus niche! You can add storage into the benches and seasonally change out cushions and accessories to play with different colors. Really, what’s not to love?!

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4.

Finding | Creating

I read this quote the other day online somewhere, and the words have not left my head.

finding v. creating

I have had a whirlwind couple of weeks just running nonstop from meetings to job sites, tile shops and more, and that is all in addition to my 9-5 at the bath showroom. The thing that is keeping it all together for me is that all this running around is what I’m passionate about. Doing whatever I need to do to make my clients happy at the end of the day: that is what I love doing. I love putting these spaces together for my clients in their homes. This is me, creating myself, through creating a space for them.

I’m so fortunate to have a good balance at home with P offering so much support and love for these weeks that don’t seem to ever quit. I don’t know if P really truly gets it when I’m out of the house for 14+ hour days, but I know he is doing what he can to hold down the fort around his own crazy schedule so I don’t come home and feel like I have to keep going with housework and dinner prep.

From the looks of my calendar over the next month and with a vacation towards the end of August, I know that this busy energy isn’t going to come to an end anytime soon, so the balance we are creating is so key.

How do you find balance?

I’m very excited for everything that is coming with DBK and our projects lately. I cannot wait to share more. Thank you so much for tagging along for the ride!