Welcome to Charlotte - La Belle Helene

Hi !

Thrilled about this restaurant hitting Charlotte.  La Belle Helene.  The decor is perfect and the food is exceptional.  The minute I walked in I felt like I was back in NY or Paris but a cleaner version !

La Belle Helene
300 South Tryon
Charlotte NC

Image from QC Magazines great coverage by San Barmlett (here).

The editor of Home Design & Decor, Ashley Cox, Mr. Brown and Julian Chichester treated myself and about 20 Charlotte designers to a beautiful lunch just before Christmas in our own little private room.  (images from my Instagram stories)

It was a fabulous pre-Christmas, shut it down, catch up kind of day.  While they had a beautiful menu for us, take a look at a few images from their instagram site to wet you appetite!

Now, not only did I want to clue you into this amazing new spot downtown, I wanted to write a bit about something I am loving for 2019.  The mural.  I have been obsessing over this idea for about 6 months now and want to bring it back.  Walking into La Belle and spotting exactly what I have been thinking solidified my thoughts... the hand painted mural needs to make a come back.

I am meeting an amazing artist this morning to discuss just this.  Adding a mural to our office to not only make me happy but to show off her talents and give a little inspiration to clients for their projects !

Stay tuned in 2019 for my mural comeback !

Modern New Build

Hi !

The second of the new projects I am working on is a new build in Foxcroft.  My new client, whose office is next door to mine walked in one day in a bit of a panic needing quick help just a few weeks ago.  I had a window of time that afternoon and did a drive by to see just what was going on.  Gorgeous new house, very modern and well underway.  They just needed it pulled together.  That was a Friday.  I had a relatively low key weekend so decided to play with these boards !  Being New Yorkers, there were quick on the draw and we put it all into motion shortly after.

The new large black metal front door opens to a wide white foyer screaming for something to catch your eye.  We are pulling in an antique floor mirror, white hide and metal chair and this killer console.  That sets the tone.

The dining room has just been painted black, trim and all.  I felt a dramatic chandelier was in order. But something unexpected to contrast the sleek table and chairs in a totally different style.

Art is a big part of their lives and they have many, many pieces they have collected over the years.  Once all the pieces come in will find homes for all these pieces !  I added images to the board to steer in the color direction what I would choose, but art is very personal and subjective.   We'll see what comes into play in that space.

I would also add a vintage rug and something totally unique in the way of a tall storage piece. 

The details on this piece are amazing and again would add more interest to an all modern space.... 

Across the hall is a smaller lounge on the front of the house.  We are doing this amazing new sofa in a rich plum velvet, two leather chairs and hide ottoman.  I really want a mural (yep I said mural and stay tuned for that !!) or paper on the back wall but we are phasing that once we see how the space unfolds.   With all white walls I really think we need to depth of color and pattern to make this room not only unique but cozy.

Their kitchen is done and I used it's style to work on the large family room that overlooks the back porch, pool and pool house.  It's really a killer space.

A long breakfast space is pretty much under control with the addition of possibly two contrasting end chairs.

An art wall will add so much interest to the this long white room.

With the family room under control as well art wise, we are adding a large new rug, sofa, two swivel chairs and two modern leather chairs.

The powder room is screaming for paper.  I love this... maybe they'll cave !

And then there's the master bedroom.  New lamps, chandelier and hide dressers.  The paper may be hard hard sell as well, but we'll see !

This whole design and project happened in two weeks, some are just quick trigger pullers, and when you have a home so beautiful pulling in some great pieces isn't hard !

Current Obsession - Coral & Tusk Studio


Good things always come out of Brooklyn and this is one of them. Meet Coral & Tusk.  I first became aware when I received these gorgeous fabric samples at our studio.  The textures and detail caught my eye as well as the color palettes. 

I have always loved embroidery.  Anything with texture basically.  Back in the day I was a needle pointer and made my fair share of pillows.  I remember spending hours and hours working on them.  I am always drawn to textiles with embroidered details.   It was a John Derian's Instagram post that I discovered Coral & Tusk's embroidered cards and thought how special would those be as thank-you notes.  I love them.

So I took a little time this morning to read a bit more about founder Stephanie Housley and her amazing art.

Pillows, linens, dolls, cards, napkins all intricately detailed with whimsical designs. I can relate to the endless hours hand-embroidering and feeling like it would take forever to finish so back in 2007 and after a ton of research she found a machine to do it for her and founded her company.

Her unique process translates her hand-drawn illustrations into tactile embroidered textiles with heirloom quality.

Her extensive line of pillows, fabric, table and gift items began with a single embroidery machine in her Brooklyn apartment.  Turning a passion into a global business recognized by the best, Architectural Digest, Elle Decor, Martha Stewart, Vogue and The World of Interiors.

After nearly two decades in New York,  she now lives and works in Bondurant, Wyoming.  Surrounded by nature as inspiration.  With creative offices still in NY, they have opened Coral & Tusk West where their goods are housed and shipped.

A little more about Stephanie from her site . . . 

"Drawing is my passion. Embroidering these drawings makes them come to life."
Born and raised in the Ohio Valley, Stephanie comes from a long line of Appalachian women who could make something from nothing. Her great-grandmother made lace while her grandmother made dolls, each instilling Stephanie with a deep appreciation for self-expression through craft.
Stephanie’s natural creative aptitude paired with her intense drive and focus, led her to study textile design at RISD as the first in her family to attend college. After graduating, Stephanie relocated to New York City, pursuing a career as a wovens textile designer. She worked for mills both domestically and abroad, designing for top interior fabric manufacturers. With fifteen years of industry experience under her belt, Stephanie began Coral & Tusk. Her creative process is a special alchemy of storytelling, illustration, and machine embroidery.
At the outset of designing a new Coral & Tusk collection, Stephanie looks to the natural world for inspiration. Growing up, she spent most of her time exploring outdoors, in creeks and forests near her childhood home, and on family trips to the Eastern seaboard. Wyoming became a favorite destination of Stephanie’s, visiting first as a child, and then in recent years with her husband Chris Lacinak. The two felt a strong connection to the landscape and way of life found out West. In 2016 they moved from Brooklyn to Bondurant, WY with their dog Paco.
Stephanie’s genuine love for animals is apparent to anyone who spends time with her.  At her home in Wyoming, you may find her on the porch, stopping to appreciate the sight of a passing deer or on a rarer occasion, quietly observing a perched owl. On her daily hikes, she rattles off the names of wildflowers or points to the exact spot she saw a sandhill crane or small fox just days before, casually mentioning an unknown fact about the animal’s habitat and range.

I pulled a few of my favorites from her site, take a look at the detail !

all picture from their site and a great interview with One Kings Lane . . . here 


Bring on 2019 !

Hi There !

I really love Christmas break, essentially quite for a week or so.. no work drama.  It's a time where, early in the morning, I can get a lot of "designing" done actually.  There's no distractions at 5 am.  Yep.. I am one of those types that get up at the crack of dawn.  It's the best time for me to be creative.

2018 was a good one.  My most fond memory was finishing and installing the little cabin in the woods.  Tuan Lee,   Lauren Kunijo and I now have a little bit of heaven in the mountains to relax.  I was there with my family for Thanksgiving.  Tuan and Lauren snagged Christmas.  Check out the amazing article QC Magazine ran on our little place (here).

I am really looking forward to 2019.  We are installing a big one in January in D.C.  A new home for a long time client and excited to be able to put my hand in each and every room.  Being able to create an overall look cohesive from the front door back is pretty great and I cannot wait to head up there and meet the truck, stay tuned !  It's going to be a big one and full of client requested color.... I'll write a little post over the holiday and show you all the design boards.

With two brand new projects in the works as well as a 3 home / 1 client multi project, it's bound to be a busy and exciting year.

But this particular project is right up my alley.  Very much my style so designing it was such fun.  It's my dream space.  I'm working with the founders of Clean Juice on their new home on the lake, a pretty big overhaul.  As of this moment the kitchen has been gutted and they are in major demo mode.  Such a fun couple with 5 yes I said 5 kids (and a new puppy).  High energy (it's the juice) and great style.

We are modernizing and cleaning up, color wise, this early 90's lake place with it's vaulted ceilings and dated kitchen to create a brighter, whiter, mid-century meet industrial meet California casual look!  New lighter floors with a herring bone pattern on the foyer floors and big black metal doors coming in and out of the back onto the deck.  Cannot wait for this to kick in !

My inspiration started here with this image of the exact floors we want, yet lighter with a new metal  banister.  We are keeping it simple with a sleek round table and chandelier at the stair base.  Pondering adding a cement tile to the stair risers.

The dining room, just to the right will house nothing but a huge custom dining table and wood treated accent wall.  We are making the table to incorporate two or possible three end chairs, upholstered with simple wood side chairs.

I also found the perfect image to show their contractor the style of the accent wall we want to create.  We are keeping this room minimal in pieces and all about just gathering friends and family. 

Opposite the dining room and across the foyer a two-story space with spiral metal stairs to a library landing.  Perfect piano space and such a pretty visual from the entry.

A large tube chandelier, vintage inspired shag rug and a pair of interesting mid-century style chairs in this space with a great collection of art, books and family pics.

I love this architectural art piece I came across for the space.  It's large in scale and quite dramatic.

Not adding a lot in the way of window treatments in this home.  A pretty black and white embroidery in the dining room is about it.  

There is an office down the hall where we are planning to add a fireplace and a great accent wall with a little hidden storage.   A vertical wood panel with hidden storage doors is what I am aiming for.

This style perhaps !

One element we both love is a modern fireplace with either a concrete finish or Venetian plaster technique and reclaimed wood beam mantel.  A pair of leather chairs an iron coffee table finish this space to "hide" when need be for a little down time.

When working on the fireplace wall for the office and the family room, I found this for inspiration.  I love the look of this clean fireplace visual.

With TV's usually a must I am hoping to use the Samsung "Art" TV.  Very cool they are.  Would you even know this is a TV ?

The family room currently has that two-story vault ceiling that most late 80's-90's homes have on the lake, we are getting rid of that.  Adding two bedrooms overhead and below, in the family room will be reclaimed wood beams, a new more modern fireplace and one very large, comfortable leather "U" shaped sofa.

Under the fireplace ledge I have order a few tile samples to add a little detail.  All of these are some of my favorites from Cle Tile.  As we get a little further into the bathrooms, we'll be using some of these !

A long photo gallery will come down the hallway with oversized pieces and a new rustic meet industrial chandelier.  It will be a huge transformation.

Now the kitchen will be a gut job, saying goodbye to all the cherry cabinets.  We are mixing a matte black and off white flat front cabinet with a mix of two quartz counter tops in black and white.  

Clustering wood, caged pendants over the new T shaped island and wood counter stools.

The bay window will have a built in banquette, new table and rope and brass chandelier.

The first floor will no doubt be something special, cohesive and fun for this large family.  Clean, bright and minimal to cut down on the visual chaos !

The master bedroom is large and often a - kids filling the bed - hang out space.  We laughed about just putting two king beds in the space but no.  Next to this pretty 4 post bed and drop pendants we are adding a custom window day bed which will probably be the size of a king when it's all said and done!  Loaded with pillows and a pretty view to the pool the kids will have a space of their own when they hang in the master !

Drop pendants, wood mixed with a little brass and an iron canopy bed.  A pair of swivel boucle chairs and this amazing new Porter Teleo wallpaper.

One of my favorite pillow vendors, Kevin O'Brien will accent the room.  Love the hand stitched velvet.

Bathroom . . . we love this wall idea.  It's t in the plan !

So what once was a vault in the family room will now be a bedroom, two actually, a guest and a room for their youngest daughters.  This guest room will have a little black and gold check paper on the accent wall and this rattan bed that I have been dying to do !  Mixing up the side tables and an inlay bone dresser in black and white.

Excited to work on all these kid's spaces.  This room is also part of the former family room vaulted ceiling.  It will now house platform beds with drawer storage underneath.  I had one of these made for my Kate's room and she loves being up high.  My kid is tall so we made this platform with a queen size mattress on top !  With a mattress that size you don't want drawers that long so.. we created normal size drawers and with the extra space behind them we created a "crawl" space  / hide out.  There's a little hidden door on the side with a long space inside.  Really fun for little kids.  My kid now stashes some of her junk in there.

With two little girls almost the same age, they are doubling up - how fun.  Their heads will meet on the ends with pendant light dropping down, no pesky lamp to knock over.  But the best part of all this is the open floor space and tons of drawer storage.

Of course a fun paper will finish of this fun room.

Daughter no. 2.  The girl with the grown up style.  She loves all white simplicity, bravo !!!

Great lucite and brass Anthropology bed and a mis-matched little side table and lighting situation.

She has a great bay window as well.  Who wouldn't want a swing and swivel chair with sheepskin throws.  Clean and textured.  Very cool.

The boys are together on the other side of the upstairs with a jack and jack bathroom.  One of these spaces was, I am sure, an upstairs bonus room.  Their eldest son wins that space, big enough for a bed area on the far end and a "lounge" on the other for all sorts of friends to hang out.  Working the industrial vibe with a metal and wood bed and drop metal pendant.

I love plaid and this grey and black is killer.  Will help with a little noise control.

The other side or the room has a small bay window perfect for the big black lava swing

A leather sectional will face the opposite TV "game" wall.  Perfect for hanging out.

Little baby brother will soon be in a bed and these wood and metal beds with continue the boy's vibe.  Drop pendants and one of my favorite wall papers.  Love this room !

The basement, which is really the first floor with doors outside to the pool is a large, large room with floating fireplace.  Plan on tiling the floor with a white washed wood looking tile in large planks and a more stucco style tile on the fireplace with horizontal schluter in black for a graphic pattern.

Having a custom sofa made extra, extra deep in a charcoal indoor / outdoor soft fabric.  Perfect for lounging around !  A nubby off white rug and a live edge console.  

Once the basement wet bar and all the  bathroom plans are finalized we want them all to have their own distinctive feel with different materials, tiles and lighting.  We are pulling our thoughts together on all of those using cement tiles and some distress woods.

I was at Bree's baby shower and noticed she had used this tile in her master bathroom redo... LOVE IT... low and behold.. it's from Home Depot.  Not bad !

So working on this project has been so fun.  Everything is ordered and in motion, install couldn't come soon enough ... come late May !  Stay tuned.