Latest Obsession: Hip To Be Square

Do you ever go back and look at your Pinterest boards?  I rarely do and I am always shocked to find how similar they all are–my kitchens: mostly white cabinets, my bathrooms: mostly marble.  This subconscious pinning will help with the decision-making process when it comes to building my dream home….

Via ELLE DECOR: Haynes Roberts Bridgehampton Home
Via ELLE DECOR: Haynes Roberts Bridgehampton Home

Lately, I’m pinning square coffee tables.  I never thought about them much because I’ve only lived in tiny apartments with little rectangular coffee tables, including my current ottoman/foot rest/sleeping surface for small guests.  (True story–I pushed the ottoman up to an arm-chair to make a ‘chaise’ and made a guest sleep on it.  I didn’t get any complaints, but I also didn’t get any, “That was wonderful!”)

The square coffee table intrigues me because they seem so large.  I stack some junk on one end, there’s a messy pile of remotes in another corner, folded laundry that just won’t go away, and still plenty of room for my feet and a Diet Coke (I refuse to own a coffee table that I wouldn’t be okay putting my feet on–I’m my own child proofing, i.e. Marie-proofing).




Thursday (Friday) Thoughts: Funnyman

(It’s been a good run Thursday Thoughts, but you finally got me!)

I love standup comedy.  I don’t often go to live shows, but I watch it on TV and listen to comedy podcasts.  One comedy podcast that I can’t listen to at work is Pete Holmes‘ “You Made It Weird.”*


I’ve tried to listen at work, but I end up with my head on my desk trying to stifle my laughter.  Or I made lots of weird faces trying to stopping from laughing too audibly.  I can’t help it.  So now it’s my go to workout podcast–I listen to it when I go for a walk, you know, where it’s not weird to see someone laughing audibly to themself…

What are you talking about Marie–tell me how this relates to design?

I’m with you–let me connect some dots.  In general, I like to laugh, I like to have fun, I don’t take myself too seriously.  The same goes for my interior design philosophy.  I want to be in a space that makes me smile.  I want to design something that will bring joy to people and put them at ease.

Some examples of that–I’m working on a hospital project where we have 5 bright accent colors, why?  Because it’s fun.  It has energy.  It’s cheerful.  And it’s not expected in a hospital.  It’s needed.  There’s still a lot of debate on the shade of green I chose though…

I really admire Jonathan Adler‘s work because it has so much whimsy and happiness while remaining sophisticated and elegant.  That’s where my next home decor shopping spree needs to take place.  (Wait…have I ever had a home decor shopping spree?)

Jonathan Adler Interior Design


So comedy/interior design (stay with me)–comedy is a release, it’s great to laugh and smile and feel good.  Your interiors should do the same.

*Pete Holmes new hour is “Nice Try, The Devil,” and he’s doing a show in Dallas on July 13th!

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.

Thursday Thoughts: Challengers

In Defense of Snobs

I’ve been accused of being snob more often than I’d like to admit. Is it high standards? Is it only wanting to do your best and be your best self? Am I telling myself these things to build up my self-confidence? (which clearly, I don’t need to do because I’m a snob…)

I buy quality over quantity pretty consistently. I wouldn’t dare call myself a “foodie,” but man, fancy cheeses are awesome. Ina Garten is my homegirl (find me a shirt that says this, please!) and hers are the only cookbooks I trust. I don’t like shoes under $100; I am convinced they will be uncomfortable (my sister gets very upset at me for this one). If I don’t know a brand, I don’t buy it. Simple as that.

I guess there is “pride in your work” and “putting your best foot forward (in $100+ shoes).” I take pride in the designs I send out and I do my best to make sure they’re perfect. I figuratively beat myself up when I see “adn” or “hte” in the notes. (Let’s not forget the time I called out for super dark brown paint to go on the walls of a teeny tiny bathroom, instead of the door frame.) It upsets me to see halfhearted attempts. My expectations are almost as high as my nose is in the air.

With snobbery, there’s also being a jerk and being above everyone else. I think we’ve all had the chance to work or interact with someone like that. Sometimes they push you to do your best work and raise your level quality—that’s when it’s great! Sometimes it’s awful and you can’t get past how terrible they’re acting and then the rest of the team bands together in solidarity against that person and goes to happy hour without inviting them—not the best working situation.

I hope I’m the first kind—challenging others and expecting the best. There are times when I’m tired and weak and I’m just the jerk. I try to avoid that by not criticizing without a solution. “I love your idea to use green on the walls! Maybe we could find one that’s more green…” I always try to acknowledge the other person’s hard work and thought process. That’s just plain respect! (Find out what it means to me! i.e. Thursday Thoughts). That’s the best part about collaborating! Challenging and learning from each other—isn’t that the whole point of this season of Project Runway?

I’m going to stay a snob. I’m going to expect the best (with the exception of this blog), and I hope to get the same from you!

Thursday Thoughts: The Perfect Space

My Uncle Mike was an academic.  It seemed like he was always in school—master’s degree, doctorate, writing research things.  He was a smarty pants, and also extremely encouraging in whatever field of study I chose.  When I started college, I was in the RTVF program on my way to be the next “Orson Wells,” (then I was going to be the next “[insert famous film editor]” then I started watching too many episodes of “Trading Spaces”) and I had lots of books from Uncle Mike to support my dream.

After one semester of college, I decided it was time to shake things up and change my major to Interior Design.  Almost instantly, I received a gift subscription to Architectural Digest from Uncle Mike.  It’s such a big, beautiful magazine with amazing images of the best of the best.  Something all designers should aspire to—how do you make it on the AD100!?!

I was intimidated, “This is what I signed up to do?”  “How do you even start to come up with a thing…”  When I subscribed to AD (for many years thanks to Uncle Mike), I remembered many of the pages looking like this:

Image via DocStoc

It is beautiful.  This room made someone super happy.  But I can’t create it.  I can’t make that space happen.  This is not a space I want to live in and that’s okay.  (I’ve learned to say that to myself in the mirror.)  How could I create that for someone when I don’t like it for myself?

Architectural Digest is now more accessible, more livable.  With the explosion of blogs, we’re seeing more “real world” content (not the MTV show and I hate that I used “real” incorrectly, the fancy stuff is “real” too).  We see more homes featured from people like us.  We’ve got hand-me-downs, we shop at IKEA, we see the cords to our computers, and that’s a relief!  We’re all insecure about our own home décor (or lack thereof).  When, I go to someone’s house for the first time, they know I’m an interior designer and say, “Oh, don’t look around too much!  It’s not done…”  And I say, “Too late!  It’s been assessed!”  The worst is visiting other interior designer’s homes—we list off all the things that need to change before you have a chance to see what’s there!  This is probably why we never invite each other over…

To me, the role of a residential interior designer is to get your home to a place where YOU love it.  I don’t love my space right now and it’s not half bad, I’ll admit, but I’m always looking to improve it AND THAT’S OKAY.  It will always be a work in progress.  It doesn’t matter what your home looks like as long as you enjoy it.

The Well and The Lighthouse

Tonight is an epic night for the Fort Worth shopping community…we got a Madewell.


It’s right next to our precious J. Crew at University Park Village–think of the convenience! I can’t tell for sure, but I think it’s a little larger than Northpark store.


You could still smell the fresh paint (which is oddly, a smell I love, along with sawdust). The staff is delightful and sweet and fashionable without being intimidating. As in, they would probably help me pull of that effortless, layered look, but could they help me wear red lipstick and make it last all day?!


As a designer that does mostly large scale commercial projects, I’m always amazed at boutique, high-level detail design–how do you spec this clothes rack? Bobrick doesn’t make this? They’ve done a lot with very basic, classic stuff.


I don’t even know what these are, but they were neat and artfully displayed atop a neat display case.


Great job, Madewell! I look forward to visiting you regularly!

Dear Science

So, the third time’s the charm, right?  Last Monday was my third attempt at Simple Elegance and my theme was “Science Lab!”

I can’t take full credit for the table, the concept came from Philip–when he first suggested it, I thought, “An elegant Science lab?  Hmm…”  Then he showed up with a water pump for the centerpiece, so we were well on our way!
I found the flasks on Amazon, as well as the test tubes (part of Martha Stewart’s line).  I went to Central Market that morning in hopes for some crazy flowers and they did not disappoint!
The idea for the dessert was for everyone to decorate their own sugar cookies and my chemistry teacher friend lent me her science themed cookie cutters!  Who knew such things existed?  We all had fun letting out our inner decorating mad scientists.
The glowsticks were by far the most popular feature.  I found them on Amazon as well (I went with a bulk order of 100).  I had some left over, so I thought that I would offer some bracelets to my table guests who were thrilled to receive them and proceeded to make necklaces and headbands too!  Again, inner child gone wild!  I’m definitely getting them again for my next party!
Mostly, people asked if I was a science teacher…nope, just a weirdo.

My Heart is an Apple

My second time around at Simple Elegance I had a few “Lessons Learned.”  For instance, that table is small!  Once you get 8 plates, 8 water glasses, 8 coffee mugs, and napkins on there, it’s pretty tight!  Less can be more–SIMPLE Elegance…right, right.
I decided to do more color this year and I decided to use my grandmother’s floral print china as a starting point.  It has pink, blue, green, and gold in the patterning.  I wasn’t sure about the pink (too soft?), so I made the executive decision to go red!
Same burlap cloth as last year with two new teal felt runners, and I used fabric napkins given to me by a friend that had the same colors in the embroidery.  (PS Fabric napkins require some ironing!)
The only mess up I had for this table was the original concept for the centerpiece was to have horse apples in the vase.  My friend notified me that there were horse apple trees along University outside the BRIT.  So like a maniac, I got my plastic bag and filled it with the least gross horse apples I could find on the ground (most had rotted or were sticky).  Well a week later, the horse apples were no good, so green apples it is!  Then I made a cobbler the next day.
I meant to post this sooner, but the planning for this year’s Simple Elegance got in the way!  It was last night and so much fun–will post pics soon!

White Winter Hymnal

Busy, busy, busy!  In the past month, I’ve gone on vacation, and 4 work trips!  C’mon!  And now it’s nearly Thanksgiving, which means…  103.7FM needs to start playing Christmas music!

Among the busyness and the impending holidays, I’ve got the urge to purge, simplify, and clean stuff up.  I’ve been gradually cleaning out my closet, recycling magazines, but there are some pieces in my apartment that I’d like to add as I’ve made room.  Everything I look for and am drawn to is white and clean!  I have my eye on some Billy bookcases from Ikea.

via Ikea

I haven’t been much of an Ikea shopper in the past, but I’m afraid if I save up for some nicer ones, they’ll be gone by the time I have the cash!  Plus, what I’m really interested in is doors!  I love cabinetry and I love glass doors–I want them in my kitchen and I want them on my bookcases.  Not only do I love the look, but it also means a lot less dusting!  Just more fingerprints…wait a minute…

The fun thing about these too, is that it would be very easy to add a wallcovering to the back panel (since it’s a separate piece when you assemble it)!  Not sure how crazy to go with that yet since the books will add lots of color and texture.

The other thing I’ve had my eye on is from Nate Berkus’ new line for Target.  I saw it in the store and my eyes grew wide with excitement.

via Target

In the store they had a deep green and a very pretty yellow and I thought, is this too nuts?  Will these colors go?  At $40, it was too big of a risk for an impulse purchase.  Then I went online and saw it in white–perfection!

It’s still a little nutty, but in a good way.  It’s a conversation starter.  Now I just need to paint a wall navy or purple or something really dark…

I just realized that I could have grouped this all into a “I’m dreaming of a White Christmas…” kind of thing…  Hmm…

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.