A Modern Traditionalist way to a Glamorous Dining Room

Okay, so late week I had mention that my formal dining room was published in the September issue of San Antonio Magazine. Well, it’s now out on the news stands, airports and books stores etc. I thought I would give you my personal thoughts on how I came up my overall design concept for my modern traditional glamorous dining room. I designed it in my head over several months and pulled from multiple inspirations.

P.S. I made the cover! This is my entry way buffet I re-vamped. It was a consignment find at $150.00

Sampson, my dog he loves to take pictures!

First I started with trip to an antique market where I stumbled upon a pair of paint by numbers art pieces in these sad little frames. They had a beautiful color story and I loved the chinoiserie scene with cherry blossom trees and swans. Very Oriental in its content which is what chinoiserie is all about. It was commonly used during the French Baroque and Early French Neo Classic: 1600-1789 time periods. This is a traditional design theme that I have always loved and will never go out of style.

Next I made trip to a very large store in my home town of Houston, Texas baby! At the High Fashion Home where I found the perfect fabric for my stationary drapery that I had made there at the store. I know it’s awesome; especially if you’re a regular Joe and don’t have access to trade stores like I do. (At the time I was not working at a design firm and new to the area)

I had already started with the staple pieces like my dining table that  is very clean lined and made out of reclaimed teak wood. It’s wonderful to have something that has a history but is very modern in its shape. This is what I call modern traditionalism mixing old and new. I purchased the Drexel Heritage style formal dining chairs from an antique dealer out in San Diego before we moved. They where in desperate need of a make over with a tired palm tree fabric seat covers and where in their natural wood state that made them look dated.

The Staples:

Create and Barrel : Terravida 87″ $999.00

My walls were builder beige and since are a military family I  know our time here in this house is limited. I contemplated a lot on what to paint, what not to paint ect… I happen to watch one of my favorite designers show by Sara Richardson who did this dining with this gorgeous wallpaper in this blue and gold color scheme. Again, temporary living situation wallpaper is not so temporary! What is a designer to do…?


I let it go for a few months. Sometimes you just need to let the design come to you and not push it. I know that it will hit me like a tun of bricks and keep me up at night with my creative thoughts once I’m in the design phase.

Tick, tick, tick….

Fist while having wine and the best brie cheese ever Saint Andre you gotta try it with Carrs crackers. We where in the middle of our Mad Men Marathon and I could not stop looking at the set behind the handsome Jon Hamm in the California, San Pedro house. The walls were this light blue with this lattice tan drapes it just looked great to me. The wheels started turning in my head and I began to look over at my builder beige walls. My husband saw my face and he knew.


Uhh, he’s so cute!…okay back on topic.

A few weeks later while on Lonny Magazine during my lunch break.  I was reading about Kelly Wearstler’s  new store our LA. Somehow I stumbled upon her plates that she had designed for one the high-end department stores that really inspired me for my walls and I was on a roll and ready for my weekend paint project!


With my design in my head I knew that I was making the right choice for my walls.  It was the best way to get big impact without a huge investment of doing wallpaper. My walls are not ready for wallpaper they have a texture on them like most homes in the area around here do. This treatment took me a weekend to do and I was able to do it alone. However, my dad did stop by to lend a hand it was nice to just have him around for the company.

I used 3 colors: Gold metallic, darker blue, then a lighter blue all over the dining room walls. 3 different widths of tape starting with widest one first, medium second, and the tiniest last. This makes it easy for when you go back to pull the tape off. I will post later on how I did this. Better yet, I was asked to do a demo on Day Time at Nine September 4th on local Fox here San Antonio, Texas. If I’m able to get a video feed I’ll post it!

What I came up with to inspire myself and others:

Lastly, when the magazine called their where a few things that I wanted to change like the builder grade light fixture. A designer’s work is never done we are extremely detailed oriented! The one I originally wanted was way to expensive and had mother of pearl inlay with crystals at $1600.00. But, I found this one that seamed to fit the bill with its European rustic glamor for only $450.00  It all seemed  to come together in the end and we totally happy it now. I hope that this inspires your next space and remember you don’t have to try so hard and it takes time.

Photography by: Phillip Esparza “thank you” for such awesome photos!

Thanks to Rebecca, Veronica, Laura and everyone at San Antonio Magazine for such a great experience for my first publication and for honoring me with the cover I am truly blessed and I “thank you”!

Special thanks to : Brandon Gambrell and Dawn Swisher two other creative artist who are always supportive and have amazing talents all their own. “Thanks” 😉


5 interior design styles inspired by the Cinema

A lot of clients ask me: what are the most common design styles? Or, they wonder how they can come up with their own personal style.

Start by asking your self this question: If you could design a room; what movie or TV show would you use to stylistically inspire your space?

For as long as I can remember I have always looked at the background settings of movie and television shows for ideas and inspiration. Especially movies filmed in a specific time period. I often take notice of the styling, color combinations, and materials. I always look to see what they have displayed on tables and other surfaces to give more insight into the character’s personality.

Listed below are some of the common answers I got when asking my own clients in order to find their personal design style.

Modern | Mid-Century 50’s thru 70’s

Madmen, 2007

 (I so want the Saarinen tulip table in far left corner!)


Twilight, 2008

(My husband’s pick the house not so much the movie)

Design Elements:

    • Form follows function
    • Rectilinear lines long and low to the ground
    • Organic and asymmetrical shapes
    • Little or no ornamentation
    • Color and texture plays a very important role
    • Details of craftsmanship
    • High-gloss lacquer finishes, exotic wood veneers, and stainless steel accents

Coastal Transitional

Something’s Gotta Give, 2003

It’s Complicated, 2009

(One of my picks)

Design Elements:

  • Relaxed sophistication with an eclectic blend of Old World European furnishings with dark finishes
  • Comfortable fabrics
  • Weather or painted finishes
  • Light added mix of blues, greens, and whites or vibrant tropical with reds, oranges, and yellows
  • Natural fibers such as cotton, jute and sisal
  • Seashell encrusted mirrors and tables and coral-form accessories and prints

Traditional / Period

Marie Antoinette, 2006

Breakfast At Tiffany’s, 1961

Design Elements:

  • Symmetrical and formal
  • Traditional wood finishes are typically dark, cherry and mahogany
  • Fabrics that work well on traditional furnishings include chintz, jacquard, damask and brocade.
  • Leather in rich brown tones
  • Crown moldings
  • Raised panel doors in kitchens
  • Columns with ornaments
  • Hardwood flooring
  • Rich materials such as tumbled marble

Futuristic and Sleek

Tron: Legacy, 2010


Ugly Betty, 2006-2010

Design Elements:

  • Ambient neon lighting
  • Whites, black, blues, grays, with pops of bright colors
  • Smooth-lined furniture
  • Steel and glass-like surfaces
  • Atypical shapes and forms


The Royal Tenenbaums, 2001

(On of my best gal pal’s picks)

500 Days of Summer, 2009

(I totally loved the chalk board wall thing)

Design Elements:

  • Neutral background color palettes
  • Antiques used in moderation
  • Collections and sets of similar pieces
  • One of a kind item’s
  • Global pieces from around the world
  • Contrast in color or finish
  • Traditional and modern elements together
  • Rough fabrics mixed with elegant textiles
  • Worn surfaces combined with refined surfaces
What movie or television show would you choose? Let me know I love to hear it!

Links and Sources:

Modern | Mid Century




Coastal Transitional


Traditional | Period


Futuristic and Sleek








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 : http://iidahq.wordpress.com

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