Miami Style, the new 80’s trend!

Over the year I have noticed a trend that is on the rise; if not in full swing. It ‘s that the 80’s are back!  Get your leg warmer’s, Ray Bans and member’s only jacket and let’s get physical people. Recently, I was working on design concept board for my uncle’s 40th birthday bash with an 80’s theme. Then, I began to notice the trend of 80’s re-makes such as Dallas and Footloose. In the fashion magazine I have seen an increase in use of neon colors, accentuated shoulders’, Cuban fedora hat’s and cropped pleated trousers that screams Sixteen Candles to me.

Which has sparked a question for this week’s post, how I can bring a little bit of South Beach into my home? Nothing says more 80’s glam than South Beach Miami, Florida. I have to say that I have never been to Miami personally, but I am a huge FAN ever since I saw one of my all time favorite movies The Bird Cage  with Robin Williams and Nathan Lane.  UHHH I can‘t stand it; “Come on Gloria” FYI that’s one of the quotes from the movie said by Hank Azaria’s character Agador Spartacus.

Okay enough goofing around and let me get to my point!

The Miami architecture and interior style is a topical modern 80’s funk vibe that keeps me coming back to it again and again or inspiration.

Most of the buildings are done the Art Deco Streamline Modern style that takes after the industrial machine inspired forms.  It was buttressed by the belief that times would get better and was infused with the optimistic futurism extolled at America’s Worlds Fairs of the 1930s. Stripped Classic or Depression Modern was a sub-style often used for governmental buildings, the U.S. Post Office being the best example in Miami Beach. Miami Beach architects used local imagery to create what we now call Tropical Deco. These buildings feature relief ornamentation featuring whimsical flora, fauna and ocean-liner motifs to reinforce the image of Miami Beach as a seaside resort. ( , June 28, 2012)

The most commonly used architectural styles found in the Art Deco District are:

 Art Deco

Mediterranean Revival

Miami Modern aka (MiMo)

I won’t bore you with a full history lesson however; you can check out the Miami Design Preservation League and learn more about it, or see about taking a tour the next time you are in town.

For me the 4 main design elements that gives this style its punch is color, geometric shapes and bring the outdoors in that makes Miami’s  coastal, modern, deco funk so eye-catching.

Color:  Coral, turquoise, yellow, electric blues, hot pinks, and shades of lime green with black and white backdrops.

Geometry: Cabana stripes, hexagons, circles, amebas, kidney, star bursts, and shell-like shapes.


Bring the Outdoors in

Pieces to bring home

Items selected by the designers from the Elle Decor Miami Showhouse

One more thing that is so 80’s deco funk the comeback of the Splatter Paint!




Designer’s Tip and Tricks for Rent Dweller’s

For the last 13.5 years and counting to my beloved husband who is in the U.S. Navy I have lived in a house or two or three, or maybe four heck, I have lost count! Through the years I have come up with different ways in my making my temporary houses feel more like home in doing some of the following things that always seem to work no matter where we go.

1.   Paint: If you’re allowed to paint this is the easiest  most cost-effective way to get big impact for your money. If the palette is neutral enough this could be considered a tenant improvement and you may ask about how to get a credit toward your next rent. I would avoid using really saturated colors because they take a lot of work to cover up that you will have to take care of in the end.

2.     Upholstered Walls: This is nothing new. They have been doing this since the Greek and Roman ages with tapestries then it became popular in the Baroque – French Neo Classic period where the walls, windows and bedding where all done in the same fabric. However, I got this idea from my Aunt Rosie circa 1987 when she rented her little house in Deer Park Texas. Thanks Tia!

Designer note: I would use upholstery tacks rather than liquid starch. That just seems like way too much work and a lot of mess. If you’re feeling frisky you could even do a design with the tacks. They leave tiny holes and are easy to fill when you go. Also, on a budget tip. I have used patterned flat sheets for a hallway in my last house. I shopped at a discount department store and I was able to cover the entire hall for $75.

3.     Large Scale Re-stick-able Murals:  Now, I have not used this technique myself YET! I am planning to do this for my guest bathroom, but this is a really good way to get big impact without any damage to the walls. Also, this particular vendor allows you to upload your own image. (high-resolution is best) I have seen a lot of really good photography lately that would be great for this application. Check out the vendor at for more information

Designer Note: Back in the late 90’s when I was newly married and had little money to decorate the house with. When I worked at Abercrombie and Fitch we were allowed to take home the large-scale black and white photo displays. I hung these up in my home when paint was not an option. It really made the space fell like a NY loft even though I was renting a town home in Norfolk, VA with 3 other roommates!!!! That’s a story for another time way to much drama MTV really missed out. Okay, back to the topic at hand…

4.     Carpet Tiles: Should you inherit unattractive floors this could an ideal solution.  Best if used on stone, tile, linoleum and low pile carpets. These are great because they come in a variety of patterns, and sizes to create custom rugs, or wall-to-wall carpeting. Plus it’s ideal for households with kids and pets because they make for easy replacement if they get stained.

5.     Size Matters: If your like me and have to move every 2-3 years you never know where you’re going land, or what size home you will be able to get into. That’s why it’s best to keep your furnishing to a clean, small, mid range scale. Meaning stick with a queen size bed, “for-go” the large over stuffed rolled arm sofa they take up a lot of real estate. Dining tables: the best shapes are round and a small-scale rectangle. When working with a round table you can squeeze in more people for dinner parties and when it’s not in use you could stash it away in corner or use it as a side table.  However, for the small-scaled rectangle table you can use it as dual workspace in a small apartment.

6.     Light Fixtures: Changing out dated fixtures to a fabulous vintage chandelier or a cool mod orbit style pendent can really make a difference. Yes, it may call for an electrician or mechanically inclined friend to make the “switch” lol…get it? Switch? I know I get a little corny sometimes I can’t help myself. My point is, it can really make a space feel special and the best thing is that you can take it with you when you go. Just be sure to safely store the other light in a cool dry place.

7.     Drapes: I can tell you right now that I have a least 4 pairs of store-bought drapes in the hall closet. Why, because every house it different and the ceiling heights vary. My suggestion… Buy the longest lengths you can.  The most common length in the store is 108”.  I believe Ikea has some that are longer. The average ceiling heights are 8’, 10’ and 12’. As a designer it’s best to hang your drapes at the highest point of the ceiling to make the window look taller. To adjust the drapes you can take them to your local dry cleaner and ask them to do a light baste stitch hem, or you can do this yourself with a sewing machine.  A baste stitch is a long length stitch that can me easily removed with a seam ripper. Just be careful not to snag the fabric.

Also, trick number two is if you stick with a solid or neutral fabrics you can easily make you store-bought drapes into custom lengths by adding a contrasting band of fabric to the bottom. Not to mention that this trick makes your store-bought drapes now look custom.  Drapes are like the eyebrows to your face.  That’s how important they are so “don’t not do it”, because they frame and soften the room.

Images Sources:

Happy home making!

Why Design Matters

A few months ago while reading my girlfriends design blog Behind the Design by Ashley. She had posted this article about the importance of design. It came to me at a time when I really needed to hear it, while getting rejected from one employer after another in this tough economy. She managed to keep very upbeat and supportive for the both of us even though she was going through a much harder time then me and I want to “thank” her for the love and support over the last year. Since then we have both found employment and are making our way as emerging designers. I am re-posting it in hopes that it will help someone else who my need to hear it. So read it and take it in for all it’s worth.

1. You are a combination of engineer and artist. Not only do you take into account safety and economy when designing a space, but you also create an aesthetic that can comfort and inspire.

2. Your work improves the lives of others. You design for the homebody and the worker bee, in addition to the aged, handicapped, and infirm. Whether you add light to a dark interior or design a beautiful and healthy working space, you make a difference in the lives of others.

3. You are continually learning and seeking answers. You take CEUs, discuss problems with your peers and research materials. You know that the profession is evolving, and you’re evolving with it.

4. You don’t settle for the tried and true. You push boundaries and discover new and better ways of doing things.

5. You provide a service. You work with clients who typically have little to no experience in design, and you find a way to turn their ideas into a tangible reality.

6. You pay attention to details. Whether you’re picking which carpet to use in a hotel hallway or what color to paint a hospital wall, you make each seemingly small decision count for the client’s health and happiness.

7. You explore what sustainable design can mean in the home and workplace. You’re debunking myths and testing new products, and you’re saving clients money along the way.

8. You’re a problem solver. Each project you work on is a new puzzle with a new set of challenges. As the designer, you’re in charge of making it work.

9. You’re collaborators. You’ve learned the value and benefits of teamwork, and how to process and connect disparate ideas into a working whole. Even if you work alone, you’re never really working alone. You have a network of peers that you turn to for advice and support along the way.

10. You work to change the public perception of Interior Designer vs. Interior Decorator. You refrain from sighing when your colleague’s friend learns you are an Interior Designer and asks you to suggest paint colors for her son’s room, and instead patiently explain qualifications, certifications and scope of experience. You are more than just a reality TV design star.

Now it’s your turn. Why do you, the designer, matter?

I believe that design matters because it’s a need vs. a want. It’s a tool in which we work, eat, recover, relax, educate and live, etc. Good design is a renaissance attitude that combines technology, cognitive science, human need, and beauty to produce something that the world didn’t know it was missing.

Posted by :

Images from: Interior Design Magazine, Candice Olson, and Sarha Richardson,