Cohabitation With Design

November 15, 2011

Holiday Decor Ideas…the Holidays are a coming…

With the holidays quickly approaching, I have begun to think a lot about holiday decor. I actually took part in a holiday decor seminar a couple of days ago, where four interior designers competed for the best holiday decor idea. We were all given a particular holiday to focus on, and had to design either a table or mantel around the holiday given. I am including pictures of the results.

What are your favorite holiday decor ideas? How crafty do you become with your holiday decorations? Are you a DIY person or do you like to purchase most of your decor? Feel free to post pictures of your holiday decor as they become available.


October 13, 2011

Ways to Soften a Space

What comes to mind when you think about your home and how the interior feels to you? Does it feel relaxed, casual, formal, hard, or sterile? I would have to say that with all home interiors, one common goal is to have the feeling of comfortability that this is home. A place where you are out of the public eye for a moment and can just be. One way to make this easier for the home owner is to soften the space. By using the term “soften,” I am referring to the use of soft goods. This would include window treatments, rugs & carpeting, bedding, pillows, and throws. It is actually amazing what these simple items can either add, or if missing, detract from a space.

Here are a couple examples of how this works…

It can be as simple as what size of rug to purchase for a space that may allow an individual to keep from softening their spaces. It is the fear of the unknown and of making a mistake. My clients constantly tell me these exact reasonings behind why they have lived for x amount of years uncomfortable and dreaming of how their homes could look; just not knowing how to get to the desired look. When in doubt, check with an interior designer. This will help you avoid mistakes, wasted money, and time.

August 29, 2011

Color As A Design Influencer

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , , , — Concept Interior Design @ 3:31 pm


When I think of design, a myriad of colors come to mind automatically. We are all influenced by the colors we see daily. Do you believe that the trends viewed in magazines, stores, clothings, etc affect what colors we are drawn to at any given time? Some believe highly in color forecasting. This can also be known as color brainwashing in a sense. Not in a negative way, by any means, but we are all so bombarded with the new trends and forecasts that at times we forget to notice that our interests have possibly changed to what is “in” at the momment. I know I have done this myself.

Not all colors are for everyone. There is a school of thought that colors actually create emotional reactions from people. For example, if someone loves green, then they are feeling more calm when they are around this particular color group. I do believe that colors provoke emotions, but I also believe that design can break some of these emotional barriors depending on how the colors are used together. For example, I am not a fan or red. I have not been for as long as I can remember. But, I design for my clients using red as the primary color constantly. I have found many pleasing palattes and cohesive designs based along a red color scheme. None of which have made me feel the negative feelings I usually have for the color.

My advice would be to try and enjoy colors for what they are, inspiration. It is amazing how every color we have seen in the numerous fan decks we have acquired, actually have their roots in nature. So, walk around and take in what you see.  No matter what city, state, or country you may be residing. Colors are all around us, influencing us, and creating new ways to work harmoniously together one design idea at a time.

July 26, 2011

Mixing colors, patterns, and textures in design

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , — Concept Interior Design @ 6:55 pm

How many of you are afraid to mix colors, patterns, and textures for fear of either your room just looking like you had no idea what you were doing or due to the fact that you really do not know what you are doing when it comes to design? I can understand this concern. I am actually asked on a weekly basis what the rules are for using colors, patterns, and textures in interior design. Many people want to know if they can mix say a paisley with a stripe, along with a small geometric. I say, as long as there is a good design plan and these items are representing your own personal style, then there are no other “rules” which need to be followed. This is not to say that everyone should mix and match anything under the sun. If you are in doubt, it never hurts to enlist the help of a trained professional to make everything make sense and flow seamlessly. As an interior designer, I have to say that I love these challenges.

Below are some inspiring examples of mixing colors, patterns, and textures. Enjoy and feel free to share some pictures of your own!

June 21, 2011

Challenges and Rewards of Historical Interior Design

Historical interior design is an interesting facet of the design world. Interior design by nature is using one’s creative skill set and style to produce beautiful interiors. Interiors that are set apart from all others through the work of the interior designers’ interpretation of their clients’ personal style. This all becomes more of a challenge when working specifically on historical interiors. I have had the privilege to work on Frank Lloyd Wright homes, along with other known historical home styles. These projects were inspiring to a point, but also limiting to a point. After all, I am the interior designer of a project whose job is to design a specific space historically accurate of what another designer/architect would have done. This seems that it would lend itself to some stifling of creativity, and in part, it does, but it also lends itself to reaching further than I had ever before reached into my creative fault and bring out something that makes the client, myself, and the original designer/architect proud.

Designing for historical residences has a couple of inherent challenges: 1) The homeowner has chosen to live in a historic home for a reason. They love the design of the home and want to keep the original concept alive. This includes the designer doing much research into the time period, designer/architect, and clients’ sense of style. How do they want their personality to show, along with the historic intent? 2) How does the designer create a historically accurate, yet fresh concept for the homeowner? How will others be able to see the designers style shine through while meeting all other criteria? 3) Are there restrictions placed by the city or village where the property is located in terms of the design of the home? Will the designer have to propose and have approved their design intentions to a committee in order to begin work?

Along with the challenges, come the rewards, of course. The designer becomes an investigator into the past. Into another time period and the intentions of past designers and architects. The designer is able to discover past inspirations that are able to be spotted throughout the home. Mouldings, casings, paint color, built-ins, radiator covers, door styles, location of rooms, etc…all have intentional designs and locations. Finding out these intentions is fun and becomes such an interesting challenge to incorporate the new designers interpretations.

I must say that I have had many intense and amazing historical design projects throughout my career that give me joy to think back on. One of the best compliments a client has given me was to say that many of their guests asked if the additions I had incorporated into the home were original. I told the client to start saying, yes, in fact they are. Why not, keep the mystery alive!

Before: fireplace addition and historic bungalow remodel

After: fireplace addition and historic bungalow remodel

May 9, 2011


Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , — Concept Interior Design @ 5:25 pm

Have any of you ever found yourself to be one of those people who collect “things?” Not just any “thing,” but a particular item that you have found some sort of attachment and attraction to. For me, one of those “things” is teapots. Have you ever wondered why you collect and why you have chosen your particular “thing” to collect?

For me, I have a pull towards teapots for many reasons. I have an herbalist/tea background and wanted to acquire the numerous variations of teapots tea can be made in and served from. I have in my collection a bone china teapot, a yixing teapot, a glazed traditional japanese teapot, and many more. I am also very attracted to numerous colors and styles, which I feel are abundant in teapot design. It is a great way to add color to my home that I know I will not tire of and will always be a point of conversation due to the diversity in my collection.

What about all of you reading this blog? What types of “things” do you collect and do you know why you collect them? I would love for you to share pictures and thoughts regarding collectibles. I am sure we all have a unique story or two to tell.

April 29, 2011

Michele Lynch Art Dolls

Filed under: Design & Art, Featured Artists & Designers — Tags: , , — Concept Interior Design @ 7:55 pm

As many of you will remember, I featured artist Michele Lynch in October of 2010 for her beautiful handmade jewelry. Well, she is back and is ready to surprise you even further with her talents as an artist. Her new line of art dolls are absolutely amazing and I just had to share them with you.

Michele started this line of dolls due to taking a  job with a corporation that she nicknamed the Soul Sucker. She pictured an army of little steampunk souls that could defeat the Soul Sucker and decided to bring them to life. The background of the story is that there is a princess who rules her kingdom with kindness and creativity. The evil Soul Sucker invades the kingdom, taking the princess prisoner and filling the land with his shoulds and regretts, feeding off the creativity of the steampunk souls. 

Michele builds each piece over an armature and hand sculpts them out of paper clay, adding vintage watches, jewelry or found pieces. Sometimes she  knows the direction she is going with a sketch already of the character. There are many other times that the characters just comes alive as she works. She hand paints, antiques and seals each piece as well.

Michele’s art dolls are on, look for her avatar at the bottom,, and she can be found on ebay: seller id michelelynchdesigns . 

Her artwork will also be at the National Halloween Convention May 6, 7 & 8 in PA!

Her  blog is and her website is

Check out her dolls below!!

April 25, 2011

Inspiration…where does it come from?

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , — Concept Interior Design @ 7:34 pm

What inspires creative professionals tends to expose itself in our work. We gather images in our memory, which emerge when we are creating. This collection of inspiring moments happens over our entire lifetimes. We constantly add to our bank of images while traveling, shopping, walking through our cities and parks, and while commuting to work.

Inspiration is endless. All we have to do is be open and attune to our surroundings. Taking time to “take in” where we are, what we are doing, and what is all around us. In our busy lives, this can prove to be harder to do than one may think.

This brings me to ask the question…what inspires you? What types of shapes, patterns, colors, textures, smells, appeal to you? I would like to propose a challenge. For one week, carry a journal of some sort with you and document your inspirations. This can be from the smallest spark of intrigue to an overwhelming attraction. This will truly become a journal of insight and self-realization upon review at the end of the week. It may even become a part of daily practice, not to mention, a worthwhile activity for igniting new ideas and creativity in our daily lives & careers as creative professionals.

I encourage anyone who takes part in this challenge to post comments and thoughts regarding their experiences. It will be fun to see what types of images are inspiring to others. In fact, it may even be a way to find new inspiration for ourselves.

April 8, 2011

Vastu Design

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , — Concept Interior Design @ 9:54 pm

Vastu design has gained popularity over the past years and has gained the attention of many who are wanting to incorporate this practice while working with a designer. Vastu is an ancient Indian scientific and spiritually based system for arranging the home  to achieve optimum harmony. This system strongly believes that the way we align our physical spaces in relation to nature and how we align our interior spaces have a great impact on us as a whole. This impact can have both negative and positive affects.

Vastu is of the belief that we must take a close look at ourselves and what we surround ourselves with inside our homes. If we have arranged our physical spaces in accordance with the believe that there is both an interconnectivity and interdependence between everything in our lives, then we are on our way to living the vastu way of life. In other words, if we have taken an honest look at both ourselves and our surroundings and made the necessary adjustments, positive vibrations and energy will be able to enter our spaces. This positive energy will equal external and internal peace, at the same time as, blocking negative energies from entering our spaces.

Vastu offers suggestions, never rules. These suggestions usually lead to room swapping and re-organization within one’s home. For example, kitchens should be located in the southeast quadrant of the home and dining rooms should be located in the western or eastern quadrants of the home, close to the kitchen. In addition, these rooms both have suggestions for furniture placement and ambience in order to create the sought after positivity throughout the home.

This belief may seem a bit far-fetched for some, but it is a very real practice in many parts of the world, India in specific. While researching this topic, I ran across many websites for vastu design companies and read about hospitals that have implemented this practice for health and well-being of their patients.

Inner peace, decrease of stress and tension, increase in health, and increase in financial success are all benefits of vastu. The practice firmly believes that considering the needs of the soul of your home will lead to inner peace. Who could not use a bit more of all of the above? For anyone whom is interested in learning more about vastu, I highly recommend the book, Vastu Living (creating a home for the soul) by Katleen Cox.

March 7, 2011

Local Floral Designer…Maggie Noelke-Hale of Peacock Blooms

Maggie Noelke-Hale, local floral designer and entrepreneur is not your
cookie cutter florist.  Her recently established business, Peacock Blooms,
is a dream turned into reality. Specializing in unique fresh floral design,
Maggie likes to work outside of the box…or vase.

Working for a few local St. Louis florists, starting at the age of 16,
Maggie learned the floral design basics and knew she had found her niche.
She continued designing for throughout her high school, college and
professional career as a side job/hobby always dreaming that someday she
could design full-time.


In December 2010 Maggie was able to make her dream come to fruition. With
over ten years of floral design experience she established Peacock Blooms.
Maggie caters to everyday flowers (but not your everyday kind of
arrangements), weddings, events and any special occasion. She designs every
floral arrangement with passion and as a true work of art. There are no
catalogues to pick your arrangement from; every arrangement is designed
specifically for the occasion and person in mind.  Personal and
professional, she likes to spend time getting to know her clients to
appreciate their personality and perceptions, which is conveyed in their
arrangements.  Maggie is always seeking out unique flowers, creative
combinations and interesting containers/vases.

”People have asked me to
define my design style,” said Maggie, “I appreciate all styles of floral
design but personally I prefer Shabby Chic. I love upcycling vintage
containers and using a variety of textures, as opposed to using a
standard glass vase. Using objects from the past to beautify the present is
very fulfilling to me”.


Maggie offers complimentary consultations to determine if she is the florist
for you. To contact Maggie, please go to her website…

Be sure to check out Maggie’s work March 20th at the Off-White Indie Wedding Show. For more information, check out the show’s website at…

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