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Interview :: H2 Design + Build

Seeking a one stop shop for architectural drafting and planning, engineering, permitting, construction, landscape design and interior design? Paul and Katie Hackworth the husband and wife team behind H2 Design + Build can deliver! The boutique style design and build company tackles projects ranging from designing interior spaces, to remodels, additions, and new homes. H2’s projects have caught the attention of numerous publications including House Beautiful, Luxe Magazine and Rue Magazine. I’m thrilled to be interviewing them today!

Simplified Bee: I love that you are a husband + wife team! When did you realize that you wanted to work together?

H2 Design + Build: H2 Design + Build wasn’t something we had set out to do. It was basically happening in front of us during our “off” time and we finally made it official in 2010. I had a background in graphic design, and to this day utilize the programs affiliated with the industry. Simply speaking, mastering the architectural ruler was the beginning of it all for me. Paul had many years of project management under his belt, and had learned all the tricks of the construction trade during his time managing a handful of blue collar commercial buildings in need of vaiouus tenant improvements and upgrades. Our first project as a team was in 2006 when we renovated a charming cottage style home for our own family.

modern farm house // H2 Design + Build

SB: Your firm seems to do it all – including architecture, interior design, and landscape design – which aspects do you enjoy the most?
What are your personal styles? How are they similar? Different?

H2: Lucky for me, Paul stays out of the architecture and design realm. He has almost mastered the art of listening to me (no one is perfect, right?) and he definitely knows what I expect quality wise. There really is a solid line between each of our skill sets and job descriptions. I create and/or oversee all the architecture, design, and promo of our company and it’s projects. Paul oversees the scheduling, budgets, and timelines of each. This is probably one of the reasons why we have made the husband and wife thing work. Most importantly, we both admire and respect what the other brings to the table. 

I can’t say I like one area of my job description more than the other. It’s nice to get to move back an forth between them and so rewarding to see it all come together in the end.

timeless kitchen // H2 Design + Build

SB: Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?

H2: There really is no “one” person. The best collaborations are the ones where both sides respect the others talent and vision. When it works, it works. And it’s usually apparent right of the start.

gray kitchen cabinets // H2 Design + Build

SB: Do you have “go to” paint colors? If so, which ones?

H2: The Full Spectrum Color Collection by Benjamin Moore is my go-to collection these days. The colors feel very European to me and seem to fall into my work seamlessly. Colors like Crisp Linen, Chimichurri, Plantation, Sea Glass, Pinky Swear, Porch Swing, and City Shadow are all, literally, on my desk right now.

simple mudroom entry // H2 Design + Build

SB: Which of today’s interior design trends are here to stay and which ones will we see fade away?

H2: In all honesty, I don’t pay attention to trends because they are just that. I find myself drawn to timeless materials and designs and pair them with modern lines and amenities. Longevity is so important. No one wants to put money into something that will be out of style next year!

breakfast nook // H2 Design + Build

SB: Where do you recommend clients splurge versus save?

H2: Where someone decides to splurge is so personal. Items that you can see handing down to the next generation are a good rule of thumb. Artwork, lighting, an iconic piece like my favorite Saarinen table, for example, all could get put into the splurge category.

Architecturally speaking, you need to splurge on the bones of the house first. You don’t want to put money into something that you aren’t in love with initially.

outdoor living area // H2 Design + Build

SB: What excites you most about landscape design today?

H2: What excites me most about landscaping is how it can set apart a home from it’s neighboring houses. The same principles apply: keep it clean and simple, and don’t overwhelm the landscape with numerous species and focal points. I would guess that all of our favorite homes have a yard to pair with it that is just as lovely. 

One other small piece of advice; natural evergreen hedges are by far more welcoming that a fence.

artwork above bed // bedroom // H2 Design + Build

SB: Fill in the blank. No room is complete without…

H2:  … a personal touch. I love adding quirky, out of place items that reflect my clients’ personality.

marble bathroom // H2 Design + Build

SB: Do you have words of wisdom for those thinking about building or renovating a home?

H2: Start with the bones of the house. Perfect it, and then add on… whether that be spatially speaking or interior furnishing wise.

modern elements dining area // nuvolette wallpaper by cole & sons

SB: What’s next for H2 Design + Build?

H2: We are just going to keep going! We have a small restaurant remodel opening very soon, which is a first for our company. Additionally, we are working on a handful of new homes, plus various remodels and renovations. And of course, interior furnishings for all of the above.

Far too much of the  architecture and design of today has lost the attention to detail that existed in the past. I hope and aspire to bring some of this back, but from a modern perspective.
*all images provided by H2 Design + Build
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Read full story By on March 22, 2016 in Bathroom, Features, gallery wall, Garden, home exterior / curb appeal, interior design, Interiors, interview, Interviews, Kitchen, kitchens, Living Room, mid-century modern, mudrooms

10 Questions :: Sisterhood of the World of Bloggers Award

You may have seen the Sisterhood of the World of Bloggers Award going around from blog to blog. I’m not sure when it all started, but recently I had the good fortune of being tagged by Lisa, a sweet friend and the incredibly talented interior designer behind Lisa Mende Design. This means that I’ve been asked to answer her 10 questions, then select 10 new bloggers and ask them to answer my 10 questions. Thank you Lisa for nominating me! And here we go…

lotus wallpaper // galbraith & paul

Q :: If you could have any job besides the one you have right now, what would it be?

A :: Wow, that’s tough. I’m living my dream job right now but, if I had to pick something I think I would be a textile designer. As you may know, I’m a little obsessed with fabrics and wallpaper!

*image lotus wallpaper via Galbraith & Paul

day at the beach

Q :: If you had one day completely alone how would you fill your time?

A :: I’d spend the day at the beach under an umbrella with the latest shelter magazine.

pineapple artwork // joni tyrrell //

Q :: What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?

A :: A trip to Kauai with my husband and while I was pregnant with my first. It’s my favorite of the Hawaiian island and truly a slice of heaven.

*pineapple art above by Joni Tyrrell for

tennis // vogue UK

Q :: What is one vacation spot on your bucket list?

A :: I took up tennis last year and am hooked. Although I’ve visited the UK, I’d really like to attend Wimbledon.

*image via Vogue UK

spa bathroom // amory brown

Q :: What is your favorite little luxury?

A :: A day at the spa.

*bathroom by Amory Brown via Houzz

cucumber-basil limeade // summertime drink

Q :: What is your favorite summertime drink?

A :: I don’t drink much alcohol, so sparkling water with lime does it for me. However, I’d really like to try this sparkling cucumber-basil limeade this summer!

girl's bedroom // celerie kemble design girl's bedroom // celerie kemble design

Q :: If you could pick any designer, living or dead, to decorate your house, who would it be?

A :: Celerie Kemble. I adore her neo-traditional style, use of color & pattern and overall aesthetic. How beautiful is this girls’ bedroom I spotted in her portfolio!

balance it // etsy

Q :: If you could rewind twenty years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

A :: Focus on what’s important and don’t sweat the small stuff.

*print via Four Green Acres

twinkle light Christmas tree - Simplified Bee

Q :: What is your favorite family tradition?

A :: Celebrating Christmas with family in Tahoe. There is something magical about being the mountains with the snow.

green kitchen nook // cristin priest designs // simplified bee

Q :: What is your most prized possession besides your family? (think materially here ladies)

A :: My grandmother’s artwork. The sunflower oil painting is just one of several I treasure.

*design by Cristin Priest // photo by Julia Robbs // for Rue Magazine


(hopefully they haven’t already been nominated and no pressure to participate!)

1. Cassie of Coco+Kelley

2. Linda of Calling it Home

3. Erin of House of Turquoise

4. Reichel of Copy Cat Chic

5. Courtney of A Thoughtful Place

6. Lauren of Pure Style Home

7. Stacey of Quintessence

8. Michaela of Michaela Noelle Designs

9.  Jen of I Heart Organizing

10. Kate of Centsational Girl


1. Winter or Summer?

2. What’s your favorite wallpaper pattern?

3. What’s the best vacation you’ve taken?

4. If you could have lunch with anyone in the world, who would it be?

5. Name one thing on your bucket list.

6. What’s your favorite room in your house?

7. If you could pick any designer, living or dead, to decorate your house, who would it be?

8. What’s on your nightstand?

9. Backyard BBQ or formal dinner?

10. If you could rewind twenty years and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

So there you have it! Thanks again Lisa and I look forward to seeing the answers to the bloggers I’ve tagged!



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Read full story By on June 30, 2015 in Features, girl's bedroom, interview, Interviews

Interview :: J.K. Kling Interior Design

I was instantly drawn to the fresh, elegant and traditional minimalism of the interiors showcased in the portfolio of J.K. Kling Associates. With over 25 years of experience, Judy Kling and daughter Wendy Wolcott are transforming interiors from Manhattan to Palm Beach. Rich in pattern, color and comfort, the design duo creates the kind of spaces that make you not want to leave your home. So I’m thrilled to be interviewing Wendy Wolcott of J.K. Kling Associates today!

blue & white wallpaper // entry // JK Kling Associates

Simplified Bee:  I love that you are a mother – daughter team! When did you realize that you wanted to design together?

Wendy Wolcott: Ever since my mother started J.K. Kling Associates when I was fourteen, I would intern for her during the summers and was always involved in the business in one way or another. It was not until working with David Easton in New York City that I realized what a great opportunity it would be working for my mother. Although working for an amazing firm like David’s was invaluable, nothing could compare to the hands on experience you get with having your mother as your boss. 
marble backsplash // designer kitchen // JK Kling
SB: What are your personal styles? How are they similar? Different?
WW: Our personal styles are very much alike. We gravitate towards a more neutral palette that is well edited yet comfortable. Wendy tends to designs with a more modern look and practical, kid friendly approach due to having two boys and a dog. Judy, on the other hand, has a more classic and sophisticate style in which she combines antiques and modern accents beautifully. 
Billy Baldwin // living room
SB: Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
WW: There are so many fabulous architects and designers that we would love to work with but if we could only pick one, Billy Baldwin would be an honor to work with. One of our favorite quotes from Billy was “I have always believed that architecture is more important than decoration. Scale and proportion give everlasting satisfaction that cannot be achieved by only icing the cake.”  Billy was very much ahead of his time. The image above could easily be from the 1960’s or today. 
diamond jute stair-runner rug
SB: Do you have “go to” paint colors? If so, which ones?
WW: We are very loyal to our Benjamin Moore colors. BM White Dove and Super White can be found in almost all of our homes; however right now we are coveting Farrow & Ball’s High Lacquer Hague Blue. 
yellow wallpaper // bedroom // JK Kling
SB: Which of today’s interior design trends are here to stay and which ones will we see fade away?
WW: While ikats and over-scaled patterns have been in and out of the spotlight for decades there may be a trend towards smaller more minimalistic patterns and design in the future. 
traditional living room // JK Kling
SB: Where do you recommend clients splurge versus save?
WW: We always clients to encourage invest in at least one good piece of art. You can fill your home with great looking pieces, in any price range, but great art that speaks to you is priceless. 
traditional garden gate // gardern
SB: What excites you most about interior design today?
WW: Since Judy entered the business, in 1984, her absolute passion is what the internet has brought to interior design. There was once a time where you had to research, travel and scout. Nowadays, so much is accessible right from your design studio.
green ikat chair // bedroom // JK Kling
SB: Fill in the blank. No room is complete without…
WW: No room is complete without great lighting and something personal. A room can change completely with the right light bulb and personal photographs of friends and family. We also feel no bedroom is complete with out the most luxurious bedding, nothing can make is better than the softest ironed sheets and a downy bed.
powder room with chic wallpaper // JK Kling
SB: Do you have a favorite design tip or words of wisdom when decorating?
WW: Every eight to ten years a room needs a face lift. No matter how well a room is kept fresh and modern touches always make a difference. 
powder blue bedroom // JK Kling
SB: What’s next for J.K. Kling Associates?
WW: Since the opening of our new Palm Beach office, our past year has been filled with travel, wonderful clients and exciting new projects. We can only hope to continue on this fantastic path. 


Thank you Wendy for your time. We look forward to seeing your next project!


*all photos provided by J.K. Kling Associates

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Read full story By on April 13, 2015 in Bathroom, Bedroom, Features, foyers, interior design, Interiors, interview, Interviews, Kitchen, Living Room, living rooms, pattern, wallpaper

Interview :: Claud Gurney of de Gournay

I’ve always admired the work of de Gournay. Renowned for exquisite hand-painted wallpapers, furnishings and porcelain, each de Gournay creation is simply a work of art. So I was thrilled to meet Rachel Cecil-Gurney, daughter of founder Claude Cecil Gurney recently in San Francisco. Rachel showed me first hand samples from their gorgeous collections. Not only are the designs inspiring, but the attention to detail and quality is outstanding.

Taken from my iphone, this St. Laurent wallpaper (below) was inspired by Yves Saint Laurent’s apartment and is one of my personal favorites.

St. Laurent wallpaper detail // de Gournay // simplified bee #wallpaper

I asked Rachel about de Gournay’s history and was surprised at the answer. Claud Gurney founded the London-based high-end luxury brand nearly 30 years ago, but didn’t start in design, but had an amazing mentor. I had to find out more and am thrilled to be interviewing him today.

chinoiserie wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

Simplified Bee: Tell us a little about your career and what led you to designing hand-painted wallcoverings and founding de Gournay?

Claud Gurney:  My career spans farming, accounting, consulting, economics, banking, property development and design ..  as you can imagine the joy of doing something creative won out over the drudge of finance and banking and I have never looked back.  I am a great believer that if you do what you love you have a good chance of being successful at it eventually and if you do what you don’t love you may as well be 6 feet under ..  There are lots of other narratives as to why I specifically ended up founding de Gournay around needing some wallpaper for my home and being quoted an outrageously high sum for the supply of that paper and quickly working out that it would be cheaper to set up my own firm than to buy from a company in New York ..  the rest is history ..

weeping willow wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB:  Who has been a mentor to you?

CG: My mother – taking me round to auction sales when I was very young – from 8 years onwards .. understanding how to buy and sell and how to appreciate value and to create value where others saw none.

chinoiserie wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee #chinoiserie #wallpaper (source)

SB: How would you describe your personal style and how has it evolved over the years?

CG: I hope that I don’t have a style – at least I don’t try to project a style ..  so I shall leave that for others to judge.  I have a belief that one should only buy the best and thereby one is rarely disappointed – whether it is food or clothes or houses or racehorses.

green chinoiserie wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: What type of architecture are you drawn to?

CG: It is hard not to be drawn to the maximum amount of light and simple lines with a combination of mainly rectangles and some curves.  I think that combining straight lines and curves well and creating light and space is key to goo architecture.  That means classical, some 18th century and some contemporary architecture.  Of course it all has to be adapted to the climate one is inhabiting ..

 hand-painted wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: Which other designers, artists or creative people are you loving at the moment?

CG: I have always loved Manuel Canovas and Alezandra Gioia (who coloured Colony’s fabrics for many years) and John Stefanides for their ability with colour. There are not that many designers capable of mixing different colours and patterns well – but many who can work in black & white!

 workspace // silver fish wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?

CG: Alain Garcia seems to be the man of the moment and although I hate trends and fashions I love the way he can make so much from so little – he has a real decorator’s touch and it all seems so effortless for him.  I ma hoping he will design some wallpaper for us one day.

dining room with de Gournay wallpaper // simplified bee (source)

SB: What is the process behind a de Gournay work?

CG: Art, art & art.

boy's room with deco monkeys wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: I’ve loved seeing de Gournay in social media circles. What is your advice to other décor companies or interior designers or who are timid about trying social media marketing outlets?

CG: Like mathematics it is a dark art until one knows how to do it ..  once one has started to do it one finds it easy and it starts to become addictive ..  but like all addictions it should be tightly controlled.

bathroom with koi fish wallpaper // de gournay // simplified bee(source)

SB: What are you looking forward to?

CG: Complete freedom for a little while followed soon thereafter by more projects and plans and new houses to build and decorate for myself ..  stopping, savoring,enjoying and moving on .. and starting all over again …



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Read full story By on October 28, 2014 in baby and children, baby nursery room, bathrooms, bedrooms, boy's bedroom, chinoiserie, dining rooms, Features, interior design, Interiors, interview, Interviews, wallpaper