There will be a lot of words in this post, so if you're just in it for the pretty pictures here are crowd pleasing samples from two recently completed projects:

I hope that helped your peepers. If you'd like to talk, read on. If you need more pictures, please mosey over to my portfolio.

As always I struggle with how to begin a post following such a lapse in communication. After eight years of blogging I'd say we are estranged old friends who aren't quite sure if things will be the same when we meet again. Gone are the days when I posted 700 pictures of my house in progress alongside a histrionic running commentary. I don't really have time for personal projects anymore, and I don't think my clients would appreciate me posting pictures of their homes, pleading "HELP!!!! Do I like Farrow and Ball Pointing or New White for the living room wall color?!?!" And besides, I already know the answer is Pointing (it almost always is) because by now I kind of actually know what I'm doing. Where is the fun in that?

To be honest, and I'd like to think I have operated honestly in this space over the years -- that I have come as close to being the real me as possible, that if you were to meet me you'd see that I really do talk like this (insert east Texas accent)  -- I'm not sure how to write about my life in design anymore. But let me back up a little.

2015 was pretty badass. I can't lie, it felt good to win the Wayfair tastemaker award, to get published in Architectural Digest and Elle Decor and Domino (thanks, Loloi!), to feather my cap with Houzz accolades. I can say that I have worked really hard for years, that I have paid my dues, that I have studied and tried my darndest to deserve any opportunity that came my way. But let's face it, sometimes it's luck. Being in the right place at the right time is important.

All of this brings me to a weird transitional place where I feel mildly successful, yet wholly unpolished. I feel... vaguely fraudulent. When I hang around my truly successful friends and acquaintances I am maybe putting on a bit of a show, a masquerade designed to hide the tap dancing spazz inside. Because my guts are still screaming OMG!!! with jazz hands while outside I am pretending that I always move in these circles elegantly and without hesitation. It would be funny if it weren't so terrifying.

Meanwhile I have done probably six reels for TV shows that want me to be everything from an expert home flipper to a sassy bitch who may or may not have a heart of gold. Where is the show with real people doing real design projects? Don't producers know this job is plenty dramatic enough? Doesn't America want to see a tap dancing spazz who can decorate? Also can this show please be located in Austin?

So now I don't know what to make of the blog. Do I create a shiny veneer, designed to market my perfect career and life, brimming with affiliate links and how to posts, staged with beautifully lit photos of the products I am using and things you can buy? You wouldn't believe how much traffic I could generate that way. And the free stuff! There is so much out there for bloggers.

I know it works for other people, and good for them! But for whatever reason I don't think it's good for me.

Unless I could get a new refrigerator or range out of the deal... I would like to remodel my kitchen. I will totally sell my soul, my kidneys, and maybe even my children for free high end appliances. I guess everyone has their price.

Anyway, what should we talk about? The piles of tile stacked up on my washer and dryer, stranded samples that may or may not find their way into the 17 bathrooms and 8 kitchens I am currently designing? Almost everything I am working on right now is under construction, and that makes for some sad sack visuals. Plus all of my clothes are covered in dust, and it's just terribly unglamorous up in here.

Other problems that need solving include: finding a way to get more projects published, finding an office, finding a location for the next Holy Grail pop up shop in April, finding time to shoot multiple completed projects, finding any time at all, and getting my kids to eat better food.

All I'm asking for is total world domination without losing myself.

Can you help? 

I'm listening.

Euro Trash Girl

One of my favorite craigslist search terms is "Italy" or "Italian," because I know a sleek sculptural piece that wields an uber designy flavor will sharpen up any room. The right Stilnovo fixture will take any 18th century palazzo straight into the 21st century, just as the perfect pair of Gio Ponti chairs will offset the stuffiness of a roll arm sofa or super traditional fabrics.

And in the interest of international relations, let me add that I'm not anti France, Germany, Denmark, Eastern Europe, or any of those other furniture making countries. It's just that craigslisters can't seem to find many labels except those that broadcast the pedigree of anything 90s Scandinavian orange teak veneer, but somehow the Made in Italy label has the aura of cash flow about it, so that usually merits a mention in ads.

Beware of Copenhagen Imports unless you know who Ettore Sottsass is and enjoy an ironic nod to his sensational but perhaps not so versatile aesthetic... I'm pretty much talking about cheap 80s black lacquer and red leather mushroom sofas. Can these things be awesome? Yes, but you better have a plan for all that swag or things will get ugly fast.

You know what's not ugly? These rooms. You're welcome.


Invisible Cities

Long ago, in a far away time, I bought my acid washed, peg legged pants from Esprit. Now I buy them at Urban Outfitters. In case you haven't noticed, the crazy 80s are back in a big way. Of course the wide world of interior design isn't immune to the vagaries of trends, which seem to progress through the art-fashion-pillow life cycle until they die a gasping, lonely death on the clearance shelves of TJ Maxx. Short lived though they may be, I like following trends -- although I have to say I felt a little green at the gills when I first saw the new slew of statement making brights and strong shapes. The 80s were not kind to me, with its broccoli bangs and crop topped warfare, and those linebacker sized shoulder pads that required nothing less than an absolutely unwavering sense of self confidence. Should I admit that confidence was not a quality I was born with? I still have to work for it. Every day.

Studio Toogood

Maybe my hard work is paying off, because I'm starting to move beyond my own crippled sense of nostalgia as I approach this second wave of 80s inspired wares. I'm even setting my jaw and looking deep into the neon heart of the past, to primary sources like Italian designer Ettore Sottsass, who is looking more and more like a straight up genius when viewed through my new confidence goggles.

Ettore Sottsass

One part Beetlejuice, one part Bauhaus, and one part boozy good time, Sottsass set the tone to angular and primary as founding member of the Memphis design movement. Though his work should never be confused with the current, flimsy iterations of post modern furnishings typically found at Eurway, they do take up some majormajor visual space. As even Sottsass acknowledged, a little goes a long way.

Though I can finally look at his high Memphis work without enduring painful flashbacks, I was still jazzed -- and relieved -- to see this house he designed near the end of his long life:


Working into his 80s, Sottssass' mellowed out architectural effort looks to the past while also giving me something to look forward to. Within it, I see the seeds of a more mature Memphis inspired design aesthetic. And I like it. A lot.

Spare but warm, angular but not wildly so, this house is eminently livable. And of course the acres of glass, stunning reflecting pools, and luxe finishes don't hurt. It's obviously the refinement of a life's work.

Sottsass died at the tail end of 2007. I suspect that the scope of his influence is only beginning to surface, but don't think that other designers haven't already begun mining. Kelly Wearstler's beach house and Avalon Hotel have obvious smart references to Sottsass' late work. Expect to see a lot more of the Memphis master, but not the kind that demands confidence.

The kind that inspires it.