Story Time:: Suing my first client

I know I know... I've been M.I.A after saying I was going to blog consistently but I've been doing a lot of brainstorming about my next move. Reading the Branding + Interior Design book helped me narrow down what I need to focus on. I've come to realize that I am more interested in hospitality design and my content catered more to a budget friendly residential market. My ultimate goal is to design hotels, restaurants, and nightclubs so with that being said, I have a lot of exciting ideas I am putting together so stay tuned...

In the meantime I wanted to share a little story about my very first in-person client, exciting right?

About a year ago I was put in touch with a guy who was looking for an interior designer through a mutual friend. He recently purchased a nice two bedroom apartment in Downtown LA. Even though his budget was very small (red flag #1), I agreed because...why not. I knew this wasn't going to be a project I was able to photograph but experience is priceless.

After getting the approval on everything and receiving a check for purchasing, the check didn't clear right away (red flag #2). Once that situation was settled I quickly realized the biggest downside to a small budget is having to be responsible for all of the grunt work. Looking back on it I should've made it clear that I am not responsible for the assembly of any furniture pieces but there I was, putting things together until 3 am some nights after working long hours at my full-time job. 

Fast forward towards the end of the project, I sent over my final invoice before the project was complete but he preferred to pay after he saw the final result (red flag #3!) but I agreed. My client went out of town for a few days so I made arrangements to wrap everything up and stage the house as a nice surprise. After he saw how everything came together, he was very pleased and as expected my final invoice soon followed. Needless to say, the final invoice was unpaid and he miraculously disappeared. 

After getting some legal advice, I filed a case with small claims court which was a headache! Currently, I am waiting for the sheriff's department to go after to his account because one thing I do not play about is my money, honey! 

A lot of lessons to be learned here but that's life and one of the many reasons I am no longer interested in strictly focusing on residential design. 

Book Review:: Branding + Interior Design by Kim Kuhteubl

Let me start off by saying this, it took me an embarrassingly long time to finish this book!

On a positive note, I tried a new technique of reading with a highlighter. Typically I only read fictional books for pleasure but since I was expecting to walk away with some useful tips, I wanted to retain the information and be able to reference back to key points. 

Overall, this book was helpful and I would recommend it to any Interior Designer who hasn't reached a certain level of success yet. In other words, if you're on Kelly Wearstler's status don't waste your time because you've already built a solid team to do the grunt work for you. 

This book is very interactive; equipped with Style Sheets (both digital and directly in the book). However, trying to read with electronics nearby does not quite work for me because the next thing I know I'm googling flights to Japan or searching for a recipe for the chicken I pulled out for tonight's dinner, so I kept it simple and wrote directly in the book.

The most useful chapters were towards the end: Chapter 6- The Power of Press, Chapter 7-Audience Building 101 and Chapter 8- Licensing, Publishing & Legalese. These chapters definitely had my mind and highlighter racing. I also love the fact that there is a resource section at the end that includes a link for all of the sites referenced throughout the book.

The celebrity designer interviews was my least favorite part, I can't relate to designers who were born into wealth, did not go to school for design, and their well connected circle allowed them to design for the hottest stars.

I need someone who can really break down the process, they worked from the muscle and built from the ground up. I want to hear about the sacrifices and sleepless nights.

(And that interview with Rose Tarlow....my god! It was super awkward.)

I plan on doing some research on more books dedicated to designers/ the creative field so stay tuned for more book reviews.

 

 

 

Welcoming The Second Quarter

If you aren't already planning out your goals using the quarterly system.. you need to! For those of you who don't know, the quarterly system breaks down the year by a three-month period and is commonly used by business savvy folks for reporting earnings and paying dividends. 

If you take a look at the calendar you will see that the second quarter is upon us, I mean really it's already April!?

What goals have you set for yourself this year and what have you accomplished thus far? I don't know about you but ummm.....

With a new year or new month approaching many of us get really amped and put together a list of how we are going to do this and that only to fall back into the same bad habits.

Consistency ain't easy but it's key.

Planning out everything you want to accomplish can be overwhelming so breaking it down day to day and month by month helps me put things into a more realistic perspective.

Some of the major goals I want to focus on this year are as follows:

  •  Read a book a month (so far...fail!)
  •  Launch a meetup group for women living in Los Angeles because your network is your networth (work in progress, missed all of my deadlines)
  • Expand my brand, work on a custom furniture line, do tons of research, create a sales pitch package (barely touched any of this)
  • Get a new client under KT Interiors (no new leads underway)
  • Travel (I still have no stamps of my passport)

So it looks like I have my work cut out for me. It's time to refocus and start checking some things off my list. 

Dreams dont work unless you do!

House Tours:: Kardashian Style

Love or hate them, there is no denying that the Kardashian's are a stylish bunch so I was very anxious to get an inside look into their homes. I caught an episode from KUWTK about Kourtney and Khloe's California homes being covered in Architectural Digest and come to find out, Kourtney know's a thing or two about interiors. With the help of celebrity designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard, the Kardashian's are definitely #housegoals.


Kourtney Kardashian

Khloe Kardashian

Women's History Month:: Honoring Elsie de Wolfe

The OG of Interior Design: Elsie de Wolfe, who remains an icon to this day as America’s first decorator. 


Elsie de Wolfe was a New Yorker who started a career in acting but ironically gained attention for her extravagant outfits (never trust a designer who is not fashionable btw), allowing her to connect with an influential crowd.

In 1905 de Wolfe decided to become a professional decorator after decorating her first home. She would issue business cards embellished with her trademark: a wolf-with-nosegay crest.

That same year a group of powerful New York women organized the city’s first club exclusively for women, The Colony Club. Elise was commissioned to decorate.

The Colony opened in 1907 where de Wolfe introduced a casual, feminine style with an abundance of glazed chintz (hence the nickname “Chintz Lady”), tiled floors, light drapery, wicker chairs, vanity tables, and the first of her many trellised rooms. The reaction from the members established her reputation.

Today we celebrate a woman who was confident and wise enough to create a lane of her own!


A painting of the Trellis Room at The Colony Club


5 Shortcuts To Spruce Up Your Home

Spring is right around the corner which is the perfect time to declutter and freshen up your home. Here are 5 easy and inexpensive ways to liven up your space:

1. Restyle your shelves

HomeGoods and TJ Maxx are filled with endless accessories and you can also wrap some of your existing books with special wrapping paper from your local craft stores or online. If you're in need of new coffee table books- choose a color scheme and browse eBay and Amazon for used books.

2. Swap out lamp shades

Measure your current lamp shade and base first! Fabric-covered shades will bring in plenty of color and pattern or just keep it simple with a solid color.

 

3. Refresh your bed linen

Every bed deserves fresh white linen...

 

4. Swap out towels

We are all guilty of collecting a random hodgepodge of towels. Pick a color scheme and create a coordinating set.

5. Jazz up your hardware

Hardware is the jewelry for your home, choose wisely! First stop, Anthropologie... 

 

 

Bucket List Edition:: The Site of Reversible Destiny

The Site of Reversible Destiny is located in Japan's Yoro Park, built in 1995 and designed by Shusaka Arakawa and Madeline Gins. Yoro Park offers visitors a helmet before entering which tells you that this is not your typical green-lush meadow. Visitors are to expect the unexpected.  A carefully considered construction of wavy planes, shifting colors, and perplexed architecture creates a place of purposeful experimentation. This theme park intentionally avoids the use of horizontal and vertical lines as much as possible to disturb our innate sense of balance and perspective.

Definitely going on my ever-growing bucket list...

Art School Taught Me That My Greatest Tool is Myself

If you're anything like me then your ambitious, a bit impatient and completely scatterbrained. So many goals, so little time! But let's be honest, you suck at time management...

If there's one thing I learned after moving across the country and pursuing my dream of becoming an Interior Designer for the Hollywood elite, it's that my greatest tool is MYSELF.

Self-discipline and self-care has become the center of my focus while understanding that life is all about BALANCE. Yes, it's great to smash your goals but at the same time you must always take care of your physical and mental health. No matter how overwhelmed I may be by my To-Do list; I make time for the gym, I'll have a glass of wine, I'll take a mental break and put on a movie, or go on a hike for a few hours. My point is... find what works for you and balance it out.

I was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) my second year in college and everyday is a struggle to stay focused. Although I have come a long way, it's a daily battle that I must stay on top of and I'm sure most creatives can relate, with or without ADD.

The most important technique that has been helpful for me is to write it down. I keep a personal journal on me at all times and I also have a few different work related journals. Everyday I make a list, prioritize and give every task a time limit. I also translate this list into my Calendar app on the iPhone so it's laid out with alerts reminding me to stay on track. Although technology and social media has its perks, it is my worst distraction. Here are a few apps to get things under control:

  • Freedom App- blocks your social media platforms at certain times of the day. (you can also delete apps or simply turn your phone off)

  •  Moment App- keeps track of how many hours you spend on your phone in general.

  • Later App- a calendar to map out social media post. Get into the habit of organizing your post for the week once per week if you use it for business purposes.

I read somewhere that it takes 21 days to break a bad habit. So my question to you is, what do you need to do differently to reach a higher level of yourself? Set a 21 day challenge for yourself, write it down and plan it out. Rome wasn't built in a day!

House Tours:: Boho Retreat

 This boho retreat is located in Bay Head, New Jersey, a small town about an hour outside of New York City. 

The clients are Scott Belair, who is the cofounder of Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie, and his wife, Bayne. The design was done by Colleen Bashaw.

Some of my favorite rooms from this project include the Living Room, Powder Room, their daughters bedroom, and the Guest Bathroom. But really that Powder Room is what caught my attention. I love a bold room that expands my creativity.

Powder Room's have become my favorite space in a home to design. This is where many clients get a little more adventurous with wallpaper and darker features.

Here are the details:

The wallpaper is by Brett Designs. The mirror was a piece found at Anthropologie (although the designer was very conscious not to use many pieces from their company- how could you resist this piece!), the fixtures are from Waterstone, and the countertop and backsplash are a black granite from Stone Surfaces.

Definitely taking notes and adding this to my book of inspirational rooms....


Design on a Dime:: Art Edition

It doesn't take an Interior Designer to know that bare walls are boring and art helps pull a space together. If you have no clue what you're doing when it comes to decorating, the least you can do is hang some interesting pieces but art is so expensive! Have no fear, I gathered up a few links to some of my go-to companies that carry affordable art. 

A statement piece or gallery wall does not necessarily need large sizes. Play with smaller prints and if buying pieces with the frame is too expensive or simply not an option- Aaron Brothers often has a sale for buy 1 frame, get an equal size or smaller for only a penny! Not to mention all of the sites below almost always have a sale going on too.

In addition to online shopping, I frequent the local flea markets, TJ Maxx and Homegoods.  

Feel free to share your ideas with me :)

 

https://www.minted.com/

http://www.allposters.com/

https://www.olivergal.com/

http://www.art.com/

http://www.kiscoprintshop.com

http://mammoth.co/

http://maxwangerprintshop.com/

https://www.tappancollective.com/

(Can't forget to mention good ol' eBay or Amazon but I usually browse on there if I am looking for something specific.)


A little gallery wall inspiration by Kelly Wearstler

Choosing The Right Paint Color

Painting a room should be exciting and it is certainly one of the least expensive ways to update a space, but the obnoxious amount of options to choose from can be overwhelming.

With a simple paint refresh, colors can inspire, relax, or help you focus. The perfect shade of whatever color you choose can never truly be determined until it is actually on the walls and you're able to see how the light reflects off the paint but I found this cool little chart to help you get started...

For those of you who don't know me, I am very fascinated with psychology (especially psychological thriller movies!) and if I wasn't designing I would definitely pursue a career related to that field. Learning about the effects colors have on our cognitive mood is very intriguing. Even though I am currently apartment living and painting the walls is not an option, in a perfect world I would love to create a dark and moody bedroom. I love rich colors so something along the lines of deep blue or deep purple speak to me. 

Take a look at the chart below, think about what you will be doing in this space, the type of mood you want to achieve and remember to never take the process of choosing the perfect shade too serious. Once you narrow down a color, put a few samples on the wall and let it sit for a couple days before committing to it. 

(to enlarge- right click, open image in new tab, click to zoom)

 

 

To Blog or Not To Blog!?

So blogging is definitely not my thing (I have what some may call "commitment issues") but since I was not born into a super rich and fabulous lifestyle, I'm always thinking of ways to get my name out there as a designer. And I'm always asking myself how does a young, broke but super ambitious designer like myself break into the industry? Well....I still haven't quite figured that out yet but I suppose writing about my thoughts and feelings will be a good way to connect with others.

On social media I follow some of the most creative bloggers/designers who inspire me daily, but then I remind myself I don't have an adorable little family, a wealthy husband that gives me the freedom to vacation, or a team behind me to help me create new content. Hell, I don't even read the cool bloggers blogs so what makes me so relatable? Besides, isn't everyone trying to start a blog or YouTube channel nowadays?

I'd like to think of myself as anti-trendy but I'm not going to lie- I bought a camera a few months ago in hopes of starting my own channel and let's just say I sold that bad boy on eBay as soon as I realized how much time I don't have for it, but hats off to anyone out there who is putting in the work.

I personally did a lot of soul searching these past few years and I don't want to get too caught up in the social media frenzy of making sure my hair, makeup, and clothes are always camera ready. HOWEVER- if anyone out there would like to put me on the big screen, that's a different story!

So yes, I am going to give this blogging thing a shot (every Wednesday because that's what the internet told me). Maybe I'll stick with it. Maybe I won't. But cheers to trying new things in a new year! 

Stoner Avenue

I acted as the Design Assistant for Westhoven Design briefly on this project before taking on new opportunities. I was also called on to assist with the photoshoot, however, I did not contribute enough to take any credit but I wanted to share the details with you all.

Westhoven Design partnered with architect Sean Gale to reimagine a cramped 1050 square foot single story bungalow, and transformed it into a bright and open two-story dream home and guest house.   

Dubbed "the treehouse", the home was designed around the existing trees which blurs the line between indoor and outdoor. The house includes skylights, vaulted ceilings, large sliders and windows, a bi-folding patio door and a light color palette.  


NYC Condo:: Before & After Reveal

As I grow and learn as a designer, it is important for me to develop an original sense of style. Although any project I get to work on is a blessing, it's such a bummer when you work hard on something and you can't use it for your portfolio because the client's ran out of money, the reveal didn't turn out how you wanted, or you simply had to cater to a design style that your not fond of. So many things can go wrong in the business of providing a luxury service but I wanted to share the details of this particular project with you all on my little blog spot.

This small high-rise condo is located in Manhattan and overlooks Central Park in New York which is a gold mine because finding the right housing in the Big Apple is no easy task. The style is what we call Contemporary which can be interesting if done right, however the client's are an older couple who were EXTREMELY uncomfortable with change. We weren't able to set up a photoshoot during our time on the east coast since installation day did not quite go as planned so enjoy the before and after photos from my iPhone :)


Staging 101

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with how staging companies operate, let me explain...

Developers often bring in a staging company to furnish a house when it is on the market. This allows potential buyers to have a better visual of the layout.

On this particular project located in Mar Vista, I partnered with Design To Sell to bring this empty home to life. 

After measuring the space and creating a furniture plan in AutoCad, we took a trip to the warehouse to review what pieces we have in storage that pair well with this project. Being that the architectural style of this house is contemporary, it is important that the design aesthetic complements. Once we finalize the furniture and accessories from the warehouse inventory, we resource everything else that is needed to fill out any empty space. 

Installation day is always crazy and consist of a lot of heavy lifting and sweating, but nothing beats the feeling of seeing an empty room completely transform. And if your really good at what you do, the buyers will be interested in purchasing some of the items used for staging. 

Ilona Drive


So I have finally graduated from renderings to real life projects and I am so excited to share with you my first completed project!

(well technically this isn't the first, but rather the first brag worthy project...)

This 4,500 sq. ft., 2 story home, located in West Los Angeles was designed for a family of four by myself- the Assistant Designer and the lovely Meagan Westhoven- the Principle Designer at Westhoven Design.

Being fresh out of school and not really knowing what to expect in the real world, it was a great learning experience to be apart of the transformation as we chose finishes, furniture, and accessories. 

Thankfully the clients were very easy going and trusted The Westhoven Design team to fulfill their vision. However, it is very rare to work with clients that do not interrupt the creative process.

Head over to the Projects section to view more photos.


Bootsy Bellows

I'm not much for clubbing nowadays but this 60’s art deco inspired nightclub left me in awe. With a variety of live entertainment including costumed burlesque dancers, DJ’s, live musical acts, and puppets- John Sofio from Built Inc. really outdid himself. However, Sofia is no stranger to the nightlife as he is responsible for the design of various hotspots throughout Los Angeles. The venue is located on the infamous Sunset Strip in West Hollywood and the name is coined after owner and actor David Arquette’s mother, a burlesque dancer and pinup model in her time.


Tom Dixon's Sandwich Cafe

Today's inspiration comes from British designer Tom Dixon, who has given his name and furniture to a new London sandwich spot. Dixon and his design team were inspired by London nightclubs and drew in dark shades of blue, green, and purple to create a stunning interior. The space is divided into three sections by strategically placing different lighting, colors, and styles. The cafe is open from breakfast to dinner and the menu has mainly classic British foods with its own little twist...but let's be honest- who's really coming here for the food???


Street Art:: Skid Robot

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Los Angeles culture, not everything about this city is sunny and beautiful. A lot of people who describe LA never seem to mention the overload of homeless people that flood the streets. We house the largest homeless population known as Skid Row, which is also not far from where I currently live. I'm sure you can only imagine how exhausting and painful it is to see thousands of drug addicts and mentally challenged people wandering around the city day in and day out with no real purpose. While some may find this to be an eye soar, one anonymous artist was inspired by the same people we try so hard to avoid eye contact with. The unknown artist goes by the name of Skid Robot and uses graffiti to paint a scene or depict the dreams of these lost souls. Although this form of art is illegal, Skid Robot's mission is to gain the attention of the public and make us question what kind of country have we become. How is it possible that we have neglected our social responsibilities and accepted the idea that some people will sleep on the street? I was inspired by Skid Robot's message and wanted to share his work with you guys. If you are interested in keeping up with his journey follow him on Instagram at @skidrobot.



Life after school....

Wow! So its been about three months since my last post. Things got a little crazy as I was finishing up my final quarter at FIDM and boy was it intense!!!! I've never pushed myself so hard and I still don't think I put in 100% because I also had to balance a job, but I got it done and I learned so much about myself along the way. If I could do it all over again I would pace myself and take less classes. I was one of the few girls that had to work throughout school but overall I'm so glad I was able to attend FIDM to pursue my degree in Interior Design. So now that school is over.... what now? I was hired as a Design Assistant, excited and proud to know I was all setup for full-time employment after school ended but it turns out I didn't have enough experience so here I am in the big city trying to figure it out. I am currently working as a freelancer, assisting a Creative Director with her first Interior Design project...I can't wait to show you guys, it's pretty exciting! But in the meantime, I am going to try to become a consistent blogger (hopefully someone's reading other than my mum).