Thursday Thoughts: Happy Hearts

For me, this week began in a bit of a work panic–just more emails and phone calls than I’m used to.  Nothing that couldn’t be solved, but I got overwhelmed.  I got frustrated.  I needed to focus.  Then someone stopped by my desk to say, “Hey, you’re too quiet!  You need to talk more!”  Not. Helping. Me. Worky. Now.

The week evened out.  I got to ride in the car a bunch yesterday and listening to the new David Sedaris book, “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” on audiobook (I HIGHLY recommend any David Sedaris audiobook), so I was the fool laughing to myself alone in my car.


I also went through some of my recent site visit images and this one made me so happy.  It’s just some crazy 3Form panels hanging from the ceiling.  Just floating bits of color.  That has to make you smile, right?  Thanks 3Form, I needed that.

Awake My Soul


I spent last weekend visiting my boyfriend’s family in Shreveport, LA.  It’s always a fun time spent eating good food, catching up, and often hearing great music.  This time it was my boyfriend, Philip, on cello and his sister on violin performing at their parents church Sunday morning.  They rehearsed on Saturday and rather than sit quietly and mind my own business, I decided to be a distraction and wander around the sanctuary taking pictures!  Behaving like a child with a new fancy toy camera.

I couldn’t find much information on the church history online.  They recently renovated parts of the campus and freshened up some of the santuary.  It’s a beautiful intimate space with some neat details.

All My Mistakes


When I go on a site visit, I get some anxiety about what I’m going to see.  No matter what you do, it seems there’s always something we fail to communicate.  However, I always learn something new in these trips.
Know your corners.  Know what happens when different finishes intersect.  I think in our minds we though, “Where there’s tile floor, there’s tile wall base.  Where’s there’s carpet floor, there’s vinyl base.”  Sigh.  This was painful to see and it was done.  It was past the point of return.  See if we can put a chair in front of it…
Details, details, details!  In my interior design mind, all the wood grain should go in the same direction on these panels.  In the contractor’s mind, switching it up on the smaller panel is a more efficient use of materials.  I get that, but had I been consulted, the results would be different.  Again, it’s done, it’s too late…
This image shows me that we could have done a better job of communicating with the architect. We had lots of horizontal lines happening inside, they had a bunch of horizontal lines happening outside, and not many of those lines…line up.
Overall, the project looks great and the client is happy.  I can’t help but tear myself apart for those details that we didn’t give enough attention to!  Next time, next time…

I Can Learn

Two weeks ago, I went with the boyfriend and my friend, Elizabeth to see our favorite podcasters and comedians–Nerdist (Chris HardwickJonah Ray, and Matt Mira)!  (Behind them are Elizabeth, myself, and Philip/the boyfriend).  They did their live show at the South Side Music Hall and it was great!  I’m lucky enough that I can listen to their podcast while I work, but I usually have to stifle my laughter to stop weirding out my coworkers.

I think of myself as mildly nerdy.  I love Harry Potter, I’m catching up on Doctor Who, I like reading business books, I’ve got the glasses, and I’m good at Trivial Pursuit.  Chris Hardwick wrote a book, “The Nerdist Way” and in it he argues that “nerdiness” does not necessarily mean an affinity for science and Star Wars, but rather an obsessive approach to a subject. Which leads me to think–am I a design nerd?  I could learn more about the Eames, I understand fabric properties, I can draft like nobody’s business (but hey, I’m here to design, not draft!)

But here’s how I’m design nerdy: details!  I love the details!  I love figuring out how to build the crazy things we design and how every piece intersects.  Show me some wood joinery, I die (a la Rachel Zoe)!  Last Sunday, Philip and I had lunch at Schlotsky’s (not a place I associate with great details) and they had plastic laminate tables with PVC edgebanding.  But not just any edgebanding, the exact kind I had been looking for on a project.  I couldn’t find any image online and I couldn’t describe it properly to anyone (many failed attempts).  I took a picture with my phone and blabbed on and on to Philip about the pros and cons of plastic laminate countertops and the different ways to to finish the edges.  He’s a really great guy to listen to my crazy.
The moral of the story is be kind to nerds.  They have a wealth of information they would love to share with you.  And find your nerdiness–you know you have one!


I spent Labor Day weekend in Washington DC! I went with Philip and his family, who were scheduled to perform in a choral concert at the National Cathedral, but it was canceled due to damage to the cathedral from the earthquake. We had our plane tickets and we weren’t going to put them to waste!

I had not been to DC before, so I gawked and pointed shamelessly at all the neat stuff. We were there for six days and exhausted ourselves filling everyday with sights and tours and walking! So much walking!


Me, in front of the Capitol.

Being an interior designer, I spent much of my time inspecting and taking pictures of floors and ceilings. DC did not disappoint!


Wood parquet flooring at the National Gallery of Art.


Wall/ceiling/soffit at the National Museum of the American Indians.


I’m standing in the basement, also known as The Crypt, of the Capitol, on the center that divides Washington into four quadrants.


I have no idea what kind of stone this is, but I was beautiful in person.


The Capitol rotunda ceiling featuring, “The Apotheosis of Washington.” My ignorance of art history really showed on this trip. This depicts Washington ascending and becoming a god.



Mosaic floors at the Library of Congress. There was a very prominent European influence on many of these buildings. Our tour guides said it was because we wanted to show Europe that we were just as good as they were.


Amazing ceiling at the Library of Congress–again, all mosaic!

I hope I get to go to DC again soon–there is so much to see!!! Besides interior finishes…

Re: Stacks

My desk is currently in a state of piles and stacks–stacks of fun things though!  I thought I would share:

So many carpet tiles!  Lately, the joke at my desk whenever I get a package is, “Is it more carpet tiles?”  I’m frantically reselecting stuff and in essence, hoarding carpet tiles until the client makes their final decision.  The two tiles that actually made it ON TOP of the desk are the front runners.

I got a package of vinyl fabric samples in today from Maharam–who knew they could be so beautiful!?  I’m in love with the pixelated plaid print.

This is the glass tile from Daltile that everyone seems to love.  We’re using stripes of these colors with a neutral field at wet walls for all the toilets.  Sometimes I think the colors are a bit too boy-ish, especially when their done in stripes, but then I look around my apartment and that’s the palette so…  Hmm…

More fabric!  But a little more artfully displayed.  Would it freak you out to have all these fabrics in the same room?  What if it was a 5,000+ square foot lobby?  Yeah, that’ll probably look all right.

3 Form panels and some decorative glass by Suzanne Tick–they will mostly used as room dividers.

And finally, the not so pretty stack of to-do lists and post-it notes!  I’m dying to clear off some surfaces–wish me luck!

My Doorbell

I spent a good half hour looking at The Rug Company’s collection online after seeing Studio Ten 25’s latest blog post. I decided I NEED this rug, but it probably costs as much as the balance on my student loan.

“But wait Marie, you DID just buy a rug!” Oh yes! On an impromptu trip to Target, I impulse-purchased a welcome mat from Dwell Studio for Target! (Guess I’m not much for planning.)

For $20 I finally fit in with the rest of my hallway at my apartment building and have a place to wipe my feet. I instantly felt more hospitable to my neighbors and guest. It’s the little things, isn’t it?

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!