Drive To Dallas

I had the most “I am an Interior Designer” day of my life the other day in Dallas.  It was a big trip for me now as a Fort Worth designer.  I used to work and live in Dallas, but now when I go over there, I must combine with it with 5 other errands to get my gas money’s worth!

I’ve never used real stone flooring on a project before.  When I found out my current project is under budget (when does that ever happen??) and we were given permission to “fancy it up” (my words, not the client’s), I headed straight to Daltile in Dallas.  I perused their stone website  to do my homework, but when I got there, I wanted everything!  I was powerless to all the beautiful marble, travertine, and limestone!  My favorites were two that are vein cut and come in “plank sizes” like wood flooring, i.e. 4” x 36”, 6” x 36”, and 8” x 36”.

This is why I need a house so that I can cover every surface in this Silver Screen marble (think of the echoes!).  I had many people stop by my desk, once I got back to the office, asking about it.  Why can’t we (design folk) help but pick things up and touch them?  Everyone picked up the sample and ran their hand over it.

The other favorite was a Torreon travertine, just beautiful!  I hope my client can choose one because I can’t!  I’ve got an idea for a herringbone floor pattern…

I was also in Dallas to meet one of my good design buddies for dinner, but I had some time to kill, so I went to my favorite furniture store to discover some new goodies—Crate & Barrel!  I know it’s not some cool insider, trade only place, but most of my apartment is from here, many from end-of-the-year floor sample sales.  I noticed all the new fabrics they’ve introduced—including Dwell Studio for Robert Allen, I just had to see (and sit on) it in person—fantastic!

As I was exiting the grand staircase (dramatically, I might add), I saw a familiar Fort Worth face—Caroline Jones!  Caroline and I were drafting buddies at TCU and she is ridiculously talented.  She’s responsible for the elegant interiors of GRACE in downtown Fort Worth (actually, she is “GRACE” [it’s her middle name], she and her husband, Adam opened the restaurant back in 2008).  Here’s a picture of me inside their gorgeous bathroom, I was insane with monochromatic madness:

Caroline was shopping for her latest awesome project, Dee Lincoln’s Tasting Room and Bubble Bar in Dallas (the first one is at Cowboy’s Stadium designed by HKS).  She even made my jaw drop when she said, “Hey, why don’t you take this gift card and try it out tonight?!”  Whaaaa?  How can I ever repay her!?  “Here Caroline, I received this notebook and pen from a CEU on grout I attended…it’s yours.”

So my design buddy, Lauren and I checked out the Tasting Room after a delicious vegan dinner at Spiral Diner and we were terribly impressed!  The space was to die for—my iPhone cannot do it justice.

Beautiful tiled bathrooms with terrazzo floors and crazy glass “bubble” fixtures—these were actually throughout the bar as pendants.

And here are the crazy wine dispensing machines—you insert your preloaded gift card and pick from the wine selections and press a button for 2 oz, 4 oz, or 6oz.  This location actually has the first sparkling wine dispenser too.

What an amazing staff too!  Great customer service!  Let me tell you, we were overwhelmed with choices and our waitress kindly guided us to make excellent selections.  It’s a great place to catch up with a friend and discuss design!

All The Things That Go To Make Heaven And Earth

Last Saturday, Philip and I attended the grand opening of the Botanical Research Institute of Texas in Fort Worth.  They opened the building to the public and let us peak inside all those new cabinets!  There were local food vendors and live music, even the TCU Cheerleaders stopped by with Super Frog!

The BRIT is a beautiful LEED Platinum building (kind of a big deal) and was designed by H3 Hardy Collaboration Architecture.  I originally came to gawk and judge, but then Philip and I remembered that our phones have cameras!

As soon as we walked in, I zoomed straight to (in a haze, bumping into many people) this gorgeous wall.  It’s made of reclaimed wood from Krantz Recovered Woods, specifically 1×4, 1×6, and 2×4 sinker cypress (sunken logs that were at the bottom of lakes and rivers) planks in a patter by turning them flat and on their side.

There’s also linear, orange lighting that must look amazing at night (I’ll tell you now, this place is available for events).

How great would a cocktail party be on the “Oak Terrace?”  It over looks some of the prairie area behind the building and towards Will Rogers and the museums.

The BRIT has great natural light throughout with skylights, sidelights, and windows into all the conference and work rooms.  My favorite part of any LEED building is when they choose to add signage to explain all the “green stuff” in the building–wool carpet, FSC certified wood, geothermal walls!  The signage, overall, was amazing and informative.

And like any great museum, the gift shop was great.  Tiny…but great.  You can register there–I was dying for this silver hibiscus platter (around $130).

Philip and I greatly enjoyed the horn-handled magnifying glass for identifying all those plant species.

You can still go on tours–public, private, docent led, etc.  The BRIT is a fantastic addition to Fort Worth!

Helplessness Blues

On a day like today, I can think of so many other things I’d rather do instead of drafting tile elevations.  As I look out my huge work window, on the 23rd floor, overlooking downtown Fort Worth, the sky is a beautiful gray, which makes me think it’s so nice and cool outside.  I should be walking to get a real lunch (not my PB&J) in a chunky sweater and jeans-tucked-into-boots look.

Actually, I’m dying to go home and try out some recipes from Gwyneth Paltrow’s new cookbook, My Father’s Daughter, I just purchased.  I have used up all my hot pink Post It notes marking with recipes I’d like to try first.  Friday night, Philip (the bf) and I will make the Cheesy Stuffed Burgers and No Fry French Fries (the epitome of health); then on Saturday, Amy and I are going to make them again while we watch “Country Strong”—GOOP Girls Night!  (Then we’ll have to do the Tracy Anderson Method the next day!)

Last night, Philip and I went to see the beautiful and mellow Fleet Foxes at the Palladium.  On our way back home from Dallas, sleepy and tired, Philip made a joke about how either we were or weren’t “night owls” (we’re not, for the record), and I immediately started talking about Sherwin Williams “Night Owl,” which is a shade of gray (what a way to bring down the conversation, Marie)!  So now I’m thinking of the perfect shade of gray to paint my future kitchen, to make my healthy Gwyneth Paltrow food with Sherwin Williams Color Visualizer website.  Such a fun site!

I chose SW7645 Thunder Gray for this rendering.  I would ideally have white-painted cabinets, quartz counters and backsplash, and more windows (not to mention a better work triangle).  Now I gotta go sketch stuff…  I wonder if I could still get my deposit back for my apartment if I redecorated the kitchen…  It would be an improvement— c’mon!

To Wild Homes

For as long as I’ve remembered, there was a “project” going on in the Sainton household.  I wish I had a “before” picture of the house I grew up in, in Grand Prairie and then an “after” right before my parents moved out in 2008.  No surface was left untouched.  Recently, a friend posted an old picture on Facebook and I could not figure out where the picture was taken.  Turns out we were in front of the wet bar that later became the tv/media built-in cabinet.

My parents have been in their new house for 2 and a half years now and have only renovated the half bath and they’re almost done with the kitchen (only my sister and I are shocked that this is ALL they’ve done).

Now that I have a degree and am I licensed interior designer in the state of Texas, I can’t help but spout my ability to my dad–who is a contractor that builds custom homes throughout the Metroplex.  He often is inspired by a recent project (“Hand scraped wood flooring is the only way to go,”) or has extra materials that make their way into our house (our foyer had the marble tile left over from Robert Tilton’s house).  We compare our industry resources (“Who’s your Daltile rep?  I don’t know her…”).

When it came time to pick the tile for the kitchen backsplash, Mom finally put in the two cents I’m sure she’s been holding on to for 35+ years.  She wanted something different, she was tired of tumbled marble 3” x 3” tiles at a 45 degree angle with an accent tile every 4 tiles.  She wanted little glass tiles, but we couldn’t afford to do 100% glass.  Dad still wanted exactly what Mom didn’t–Dad loves a tile on an angle.  Here is the beautiful half bath flooring that Dad designed:

One Saturday, the three of us made a trip out to Daltile in North Dallas.  After a few unsuccessful laps around the showroom, I suggested a mosaic blend I’m considering for a project at work: Stone Radiance, a blend of natural stone and glass linear tile.  Mom loved it, Mom wanted to do the whole backsplash with it (as did I), then Dad brought our “tile high” down when he crunched the numbers.  We decided to mix it with a larger tumbled marble tile (the same light beige used in the mosaic blend) and spent far too long sketching and doing math (5/8” plus ⅝” and then a row of 3”…) we figured out 3 rows of 4” H tile with 2 accent strips of the mosaic blend at 3 rows high.  We all started to hate the idea of 4” x 4” tile (but we JUST figured out the math!) then Mom laid the mosaic strip on top of a 12” x 12” tile–Eureka!  We got the 12” x 12” cut into 4” x 12” tiles and then had a much larger scale, more modern pattern.

I got to see it complete a few weeks later when I showed up before Mom was home from work.  I asked Dad what he thought of the results (because I loved it and I knew Mom was happy), he said, “ [pause] it’s okay.”  We pushed poor Dad out of his comfort zone!  He really does like it all right AND he gets to choose everything else for the kitchen.

We Used To Wait

When you meet someone for the first time, one of the polite questions to ask to stimulate conversation is, “And what do you do?” I cringe a little when I have to fess up that I’m an interior designer. People, well generally women, get very excited and usually say, “Oh how fun! I always wanted to do that. You should come do my house!” Then we talk about HGTV. My dentist asks me about HGTV every six months. Sometimes I downplay my response and mumble, “Well, I primarily work in Healthcare and I’ve done some Federal work…” or after a glass of wine, I shout, “Yeah! You want your house to look like a hospital!? I can do that!”

Basically, I need to have more self-confidence. That’s not so unusual, right? Right? Please confirm that we have this in common so I won’t feel different. I’m actually pretty good at what I do, and while I haven’t won any awards, I’m compelled to share my love for design and style.

I spend a lot of my “I should probably be more productive now” time devouring blogs of all sorts–design, fashion, food, lifestyle, personal, and plain-ol’ trashy ones. I have found that’s where most of my information comes from–people giving their personal account of their thoughts and thought process. I’m a nosy person and I get a kick out of peeking into other people’s lives, so I may as well return the favor.

I will apologize ahead of time for being mundane, telling you about things you don’t care about, and being very self-indulgent–but hey, then it wouldn’t be a blog.