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Interview :: Interior Designer Michelle Workman

Interview with Interior Designer Michelle Workman - Simplified Bee

Michelle Workman is one of Hollywood’s most sought after interior designers and has transformed homes of  Jennifer Lopez, John Travolta and Kirstie Alley. Workman and her sophisticated interiors have been featured in such publications as Veranda, Traditional Home and InStyle, as well as on HGTV, Martha Stewart and Oprah. After years of designing for the Hollywood elite, she is packing up her family and heading south to Chattanooga, Tennessee. (sounds crazy right?) I’m super curious as to how this fast paced LA designer will transition to a slower paced southern city. I can’t imagine she will miss the massive traffic jams in SoCal!  We can find out too because Workman’s new web show, Glamour Goes South, documents the move and airs exclusively on The Design Network, serving as the cornerstone of the burgeoning network.

Jennifer Lopez's Kitchen // Veranda // designer Michelle Workman
Simplified Bee: When did you know you wanted to be an interior designer?
Michelle Workman: I really knew it much later in life than one would expect. I was in my late(ish) twenties. I had already done design in my early twenties, but had quit in frustration, and then one day I sort of realized it was my true talent. I enjoyed it so much that I began to wonder why I was trying to do anything else.
purple living room - Michelle Workman Interiors
SB: How would you describe your personal style and did it change once you had kids?
MW: I would describe my personal style as eclectic-quirky-elegance, and no, it has not changed since having kids. I really believe that if you bring kids up in a beautiful environment they will respect that environment. There are accidents on occasion, but nothing of meaning or great expense has ever been ruined.
stylish built-in bookshelf - Michelle Workmans Interiors
SB: Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
MW: That’s pretty easy – Anthony Barratta.

formal dining room - Michelle Workman Interiors

SB: Do you have “go to” paint colors? If so, which ones?
MW: No, I am open to whatever palette most defines the client’s outlook on life. I equate colors with emotion, and personality, so the colors in each of my designs are chosen in direct correlation with what I think most expresses the client.

yellow chinoiserie entry - Michelle Workman Interiors

SB: Which of today’s interior design trends are here to stay and which ones will we see fade away?
MW: That’s tough, because any trend if done well, and in appropriate reserve, can last and last. It’s when a trend is over used, and done in a low quality or shoddy fashion, that it starts to become passé.  
yellow chinoiserie wallpaper - Entry by Michelle Workman Interiors
SB: Where do you recommend clients splurge versus save?
MW: Always splurge on bigger furniture items – sofas, case goods, etc. Occasional pieces, accessories, and lighting can be less expensive and therefore easier to change out, and create a whole new look easily. I do believe that you should re-upholster and update all soft goods every ten years.
banana leaf wallpaper bedroom - Michelle Workman Design
SB: You have embraced social media and write a blog in addition to being on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Do you prefer one over the other? What is your advice to other interior designers who are timid about trying social media marketing outlets?
MW: I most prefer Pinterest and Instagram (@InteriorIcon). Both are visual, and I am a visual person. I do a fair amount on twitter (@InteriorIcon), but that’s because I’ve been doing it for so long now, but I do really try to engage with the people I follow, and also always try to answer questions from anyone that @mentions me, whether I follow them or not. I just feel that is common courtesy. My advice to other designers is this: whatever you put out there, for everyone to see, make it real, make it from you, and make it heartfelt. I don’t always follow that rule, but I really try to for the most part. There are those days when I just can’t be bothered and those are the tweets or posts that get absolutely no response. 
green+white lacquer sectretary desk - Michelle Workman Interiors
SB: Fill in the blank. No room is complete without…
MW: personality!
Jennifer Lopez's bedroom // Veranda // Michelle Workman Interiors
SB: What’s next for Michelle Workman Interiors?
MW: Good golly! Lots going on right now. A series of eBooks (12 total) on color, the first of which is about Pink which will be released April 25th. A new web series – Glamour Goes South – the first and second episodes went live recently. I am moving my family to Tennessee this summer, along with much travel for publicity. And, oh yeah, a huge project in Oregon! It’s been a crazy (but good) start to the year.

 

And I’m excited to see Michelle’s next projects (sure to be amazing) and learn how her move to Tennessee goes!
Thank you Michelle for your time and support of Simplified Bee over the years!
xo,
Cristin

 

 

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Read full story By on May 22, 2013 in dining rooms, Features, furniture, interior design, Interiors, interview, Interviews, living rooms

Interview :: Interior Designer Traci Zeller

Listed as one of Charlotte’s 25 Most Stylish People in 2010 by Charlotte Style Magazine, Traci Zeller of Traci Zeller Designs is known for her clean,  sophisticated, and approachable interiors. Through travels over the years,  Traci’s  exposure to the fine art, architecture and interiors around the world has helped refine her aesthetic. In addition, motherhood has also allowed her to approach design from a more practical viewpoint. As a busy wife and mother to  twin boys, I can relate to Traci’s appreciation for the need for spaces to be beautiful and functional. I’m thrilled to be interviewing her today!
living room by Traci Zeller Designs
Simplified Bee:  When did you know you wanted to be an interior designer?
Traci Zeller:  I’ve often said that interior design found me (rather than the reverse), but I know I wouldn’t be a designer today if my husband and I wouldn’t have built a custom home.  It was my first time living (as an adult) anywhere other than an apartment or dorm room!
black and white designer kitchen
SB:  How would you describe your personal style and did it change once you had the twins?
TZ:   My personal style is clean and classic.  I love simple yet sophisticated interiors that combine traditional and modern elements.  Before my twin boys were born, I wasn’t overly concerned with the amount of maintenance something took or how fragile anything was.  Gosh, especially when I was single, I probably could have been happy living in a museum!   Of course, that philosophy doesn’t exactly work with children, and especially not twin boys.  When I would be shopping with my boys as toddlers and get the inevitable question “Are they twins,” I’d always respond “yes” and then jokingly ask the boys “are your twin tornadoes or double trouble?”  To the delight of the other shoppers, they would emphatically respond, “BOTH.”  Obviously my environment is important to me, however, and I wasn’t willing to let our house become the twins’ romper room.  Instead, I created a new approach to interior design that incorporated my practical perspective as a parent of twins.  
bedroom by Traci Zeller Designs
SB: Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project?
TZ:  Oh my, that is a hard one.  If you mean another interior designer, I’d have to pick Mary McDonald, Barbara Barry or Suzanne Kasler.    They are all amazing, and I would love the opportunity to watch them work.  
colorful living space by Traci Zeller Designs
SB:  Do you have “go to” paint colors? If so, which ones?
TZ:  Of course, the right paint choice depends on the fixed elements in a room, but I do have certain colors that I use time and time again.  A few of my favorites are Benjamin Moore’s Classic Gray, Bleeker Beige and Kendall Charcoal and Sherwin-Williams’ Wool Skein and Urbane Bronze.  My favorite gender-neutral children’s color is Benjamin Moore’s Dill Pickle.  
spindle chairs
SB:  Which of today’s interior design trends are here to stay and which ones will we see fade away?
TZ:   The one “trend” that I really see sticking around is the increased ability for consumers to customize products, even if they are not working with a designer. Years ago, it used to be that you bought a product one way and that was it.  Custom products were either not available or cost-prohibitive for most people.  Today, major manufacturers and retailers are offering dozens of different finishes and fabrics, not to mention mix-and-match styles, at a variety of price points.  Over time, I expect more and more options to be available — and expected — and far fewer things to be strictly “off the rack.
Trends I see fading away?   I love bold colors (usually in moderation), but I dearly hope that neon’s days are numbered.  
red white blue boys bedroom
SB:  Where do you recommend clients splurge versus save?
TZ:  With nurseries, I always recommend that my clients splurge on pieces the children can grow with — like a quality dresser — and save on pieces that will be quickly outgrown — like the crib or a glider.  In other rooms, it
 really depends on our priorities and how I can get the most “bang for the buck.”  But, I’ll never recommend cheap upholstery!   
laundry room with red appliances
SB:  You have embraced social media and write a blog in addition to being on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. Do you prefer one over the other? What is your advice to other interior designers who are timid about trying social media marketing outlets?
TZ:  I love writing a blog.  Not only does it give me the opportunity to share my thoughts and my work with thousands of people, but it really helps to focus my thinking and hone my own opinions.  I heard Bobby McAlpine once say that much of what he does is intuitive for him, but when he taught as a professor of architecture, he had to learn how to verbalize that intuition.  Writing a blog works the same way.  The true test of whether you understand something is whether you can teach it to someone else.   I would tell other designers to just “go for it.”  Social media is fun; that’s why they call it social!   Remember, too, that you don’t have to do everything.  Pick what you like to do, what is fun for you, and do that.  
boys bedroom green dresser vignette
SB:  Fill in the blank. No room is complete without…
TZ:  No room is complete without art.  I love, love, love art, and most spaces don’t come alive without it.
Bubbly // Traci Zeller fabric collection
SB:  Tell us about your exciting new fabric line!
TZ:   I am so excited about my new fabrics!  I teamed up with Trellis Studio, a custom design studio in South Carolina, to develop Traci Zeller Textiles, and I have three patterns in four colorways debuting in April.  Paintings created by my twin boys with my mom were the inspiration for the Bubbly pattern (shown above), which consists of four pieces of artwork pieced together and turned into a repeat.  Sparkler was inspired by (no surprise here) fireworks (which my boys love) and truly captures the joy and exuberance with which children approach life.  Prep is a simple ticking stripe updated with modern colors.  It is striking on its own, but a perfect “calm” coordinate for either Bubbly or Sparkler.   I am especially proud that Traci Zeller Textiles are entirely created in the Carolinas, from inspiration to design to printing.
mudroom design by Traci Zeller
SB:  What’s next for Traci Zeller Designs?
TZ:  Trellis Studio and I are already hard at work on new several fabric introductions, hopefully to debut in 3Q 2013.  The new patterns are more sophisticated and probably more reflective of my overall aesthetic.   We actually started with these patterns, but — likely because I am constantly inspired by my children — Bubbly, Sparkler and Prep took on a life of their own.  Even before that, however, I’ll be debuting a new candle with a Traci Zeller Home signature scent.  Of course, all of that is sandwiched in between working with my fabulous clients, for whom I am incredibly thankful, and running after my little buddies!   
Thank you so much Traci for you time and sharing some of your beautiful portfolio with us!
Crsitin
*all image via Traci Zeller Designs
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Read full story By on April 22, 2013 in Features, interior design, Interiors, Interviews

Interior Designer, Angie Hranowsky’s Home + Weekend Reads

I’ve long been a fan of Charleston, South Carolina-based  interior designer, Angie Hranowky. The former graphic designer mixes pattern and color effortlessly. I especially like Angie’s style because it feels so personal, inviting and organic. When I heard that her new pad (a charming historic 1850′s home) was being featured in the latest Lonny Magazine, I just knew I’d love it. And indeed I did. Angie’s renting the home which has it’s challenges for anyone (including designers), yet she pulls it off amazingly. As you will see the window treatment, wall paint and lighting fixtures she selected make a huge impact in the space. In the article, Angie gives great tips on making a rental your own.

chic pink living room designroman shade in pinkchic chrome poster bedblue child's bedroom designorganized kid's play areapurple breakfast dining area

*images via Lonny Magazine

It’s Friday… one of my favorite days of the week. Over the weekend I’ll be diving into more shelter magazines and blogs. I thought I’d share a few links to blog articles I enjoyed this past week.

Mr Bazaar's organized pantry

Mr. Bazaar Styles his Pantry

inspiring organized kitchens

I Heart Organizing’s Kitchen Link Party Faves

sea inspired living room design

Pure Style Home’s Client’s Family Room Reveal

 

 And a big thank you for supporting and voting for the bee at Circle of Moms (there is still time to vote!). Enjoy your weekend!

xoxo

Cristin

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Read full story By on April 12, 2013 in Bedroom, bedrooms, beds, curated look, Design Tips, home organization, interior design, Interiors, Living Room, Organization, Organizational tips, Playroom, Tips/Tricks, window treatments

Interview :: Interior Designer Graciela Rutkowski

In 2003, Seattle based and self-taught decorator, Graciela Rutkowski was named one of House Beautiful’s America’s Top Young Designers. I first saw her work published on blogs and pinned on Pinterest and became an instant fan of her classic style with a fresh twist. Graciela combines old and new effortlessly and makes you believe that the process evolved over time. Each space is inviting, unique and beautiful.

I’m thrilled to be interviewing Graciela today!

airy designer dining room

Simplified Bee: When did you know you wanted to be an interior designer?

Graciela Rutkowski: I  didn’t really until I decorated my own house, let’s just say, I’m a late bloomer, but when I think back on the things I would do as play as a child.  I was always either building the houses my dolls were going to live in, or playing store.    I never actually played with the dolls, it was all about finding creative ways to decorate and build their homes.  – funny how I now do that in grown up houses :)

traditinal living room with large artwork

SB:  How would you describe your personal style?

GR:  I’d like to say casually elegant. Classics with a bit of modern thrown in.

pink daybed girls bedroom

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

GR:  I should probably throw out a really pretentious sounding artist that I came across, but I love collaborating with contractors and tradesmen, I know this doesn’t sound very glamorous,  but they are the people actually building the things we imagine, they work with the materials all day long and have so much experience.   I’m always amazed at the skill level, dedication  and the patience that they have to complete a job beautifully, true artisans always make me look good!

black cabinets home office

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

GR:  Yes!  My favorite paint – especially for the northwest is Benjamin Moore, Revere Pewter,  It’s a warm grey color and looks great against white trim.  It’s one of those magic colors, that take on the characteristics of what is around it.  So if you’re not sure if your palate will be grey or beige, it will work with either.  Hale Navy is a great navy  - also by Benjamin Moore. Racoon Fur is a great dark grey/black, it looks especially nice on metal. Pratt and Lambert Seed Pearl is a beautiful white for trims.

I also love BLACK.  I joke with my painter that my house is slowly getting painted black, my dining room has black walls, as well as my sun room, and all the doors are slowly getting painted black also.  Maybe I’ll get to the end, then start all over again, lightening it all up again.

styled designer bookcase

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

GR:  I think the classic tried and true will always be around, leopard prints are always fun and add a bit of glamour.   Lucite, fur, I love painted furniture, in a single solid shiny color.   I hope color stays around, I can’t stand a room without it.  Even if it’s just a pop here and there.

Oversized airplane part furniture – hmmmmm? Too much of the industrial look.

Mustaches?  I’m sorry, I don’t get it , maybe I’m too old.

foo dog lamp in contemporary living roominterior design tip

SB:  Where do you recommend clients splurge versus save?

GR:  Splurge on your family room sofa!  It will be the most used piece of furniture you own.  Splurge on pillow fabric.  Not everyone can afford Fortuny drapery, but give yourself a little luxury and buy a few yards for pillows, they are like fantastic earrings on the little black dress.

elegant designer bedroom

Splurge on fine linens for your bed.  You will never spend as much time as you do in your bed, and they touch your skin, splurge on the best sheeting and have some pretty embroidery or monogram put on them, it’s not as expensive as you think.  Don’t be fooled by thread-count, it doesn’t mean anything.  Go for what feels the best.

pearlized lamp shades

Splurge on beautiful shades for lamps.  They can transform a simple lamp, into something fantastic.  Our new obsession is pearlized fabric. We are making shades out of it, and it,s like a thousand sparkly lights coming out of the shade. (see above image)

Save on the custom tiles, there are so many fantastic designs and creative ways of using existing designs, unless it’s a very personalized design I’m not sure when I would use it.

Save on the furniture in your bedroom.  I know, we all want to think we will use that beautiful Chaise, but it’s probably going to just hold clothing.

traditional living room with lantern

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

GR:  a bit of leopard!! GRRRRRR

traditional family room in blue and yellow

SB:  What’s next for Graciela Rutkowski Interiors?

GR: We recently opened our first retail store near my home in the University District of Seattle,  I’m hoping it becomes a fun place for people to stop in for inspiration whether it’s furniture, accessories or a fun gift.

purple and orange flower arrangement

Flowers are in our future – we are expanding to offer special events and seasonal floral in our store.  We had a lot of fun this last Christmas with greenery for the home.  Customers could pre-order their wreaths and Catherine our fabulous floral designer was there during pick up and she embellished the wreaths with ornaments, ribbon, birds, and other fun accessories.  It was so much fun and we loved the fun holiday feel.  We’re hoping to offer more seasonal quick pick ups for mothers day, birthdays etc.

We are also working on offering our store online, that’s a giant project, but hoping to have it up and running later this year.

We also have expanded our studio offices and should be opening in Mid March, we’ve moved around from my tiny basement to the store to now, our new offices.  – yes we have leopard carpeting!

 

Thank you Graciela for sharing your time, expertise and inspiration!

Cristin

*images via Graciela Rutoski Interiors

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Read full story By on March 6, 2013 in bedrooms, color, Design Tips, dining rooms, Features, girl's bedroom, interior design, Interiors, interview, Interviews, living rooms, Tips/Tricks