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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

Organizing Tips for Kids

disclosure: This post contains some affiliate links, which means Simplified Bee receives commission if you make a purchase using these links.

ikea bookcase // kids' playroom // via @simplifiedbee

With the fresh new year, it’s a great time to establish fresh new organizing habits. Getting your kiddos organized is high on most parents’ list too. Getting kids to be organized can be a challenge and an ever changing process as they grow up. Recently I shared some of my favorite tips on organizing for kids with Pottery Barn Kids. One of my favorite is having storage options available throughout the house – including the entry, hallway/staircase and  kitchen. I’ve pulled some really super adorable and stylish options (some that can be personalized) available through Pottery Barn Kids. Most of these items are currently on sale too! Gotta love that!

organizing the kids // bins and baskets // via @simplifiedbee

product links: 1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

* first image :: design & styling by Cristin Priest and photography by Jenn Jacobson

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Read full story By on January 27, 2016 in baby and children, family rooms, Features, home accessories, household cleaning, Interiors, Interviews, Organization, organization tips, Organizational tips, playrooms, storage, Tips/Tricks

Artist Spotlight :: Ian Ruhter Interview

A photographer, inventor and alchemist, Ian Ruhter is doing what no other fine artist is doing and taking the art scene by storm. Ian, a Lake Tahoe native, became a successful professional photographer in the 90s after a stint as a pro snow boarder. His subjects were mostly boarders like himself. As film evolved to digital, Ian became disenchanted with the process and that lead on a life changing journey. A journey that eventually set him apart from all other photographers and artists. In a realm of fine art so unique it’s hard to categorize. Today I’m thrilled to be interviewing Ian about this journey and the incredible fine art he creates.

Ian Ruhter Interview via @simplifiedbeeConvivt Lake // Ian Ruhter // fine artist

Simplified Bee: When did you fall in love with photography?

Ian Ruhter: I fell in love with photography when I realized it was more than just the act of documenting things. I learned that I could communicate through photographs. This change the way I saw the world.

Ian Ruhter // fine artistIan Ruhter Artist // Interview via @simplifiedbee Ian Ruhter // fine artist

(images above – Ian, his truck and at work)

SB: You have stated that over the years you became disillusioned by the advances in photography and it lead you on a journey to the amazing images you create today. Please elaborate.

IR: To me the advancements in photography symbolize the society we are living in today. We are encouraged to purchase these mass-produced items that only last for a few years and then end up in a landfill. These items allow us to communicate through the Internet in place of real human interaction. This revelation left me feeling disconnected from the people and things I love. Once I found the wet plate collodion process I realized I could make handmade one-of-a-kind images that would last for hundreds of years. This process is incredibly time-consuming you can take an entire day just to make one image, but  because it is so slow it allows you to really get to know the person or landscape you’re photographing. With digital photography I feel like you take the photo instantly and then you move on. I wasn’t interested in just taking things anymore.

Oak Tree // Ian Ruhter // fine artist

(above image: Ian holding one of his works of art)

SB: Tell us about your process of creating these unique works of art?

IR: The process I use to create these images is quite complex and yet simple at the same time. In order to make these images I created the world’s largest wet plate collodion camera out of a delivery truck, but the idea did not happen overnight. During the designing and building of the giant camera I reached a point where I thought it wouldn’t be possible.  A year of failures and disappointments had passed and one day it came to me. My thought was that the camera was so large that I could actually work inside of it.  I realized that I would become the mechanics that operated this device and my brain would act as the computer that would allow it to operate in unison. After this all the pieces started coming together and it eventually worked out. Looking back on it the answer was so simple and my biggest hurdle was not being able to see the potential in myself. Today, the camera truck enables us to make images of this kind in a size that was deemed impossible for the past 150 years and with it I have successfully created a 48 x 60” image.

Mammoth Lake // Artist Ian Ruhter

SB: Do you have a favorite you’ve created?

IR: I don’t  have a favorite image.

The plates are physical reminders of the people and places I’ve encountered in the process of making them. The thought of finding the next image is my favorite.

snow covered trees // Artist Ian Ruhter

SB: What’s the most indispensable item in your studio?

IR: I can’t think of one item that is indispensable. Everything that’s in my studio is used or has been a part of this incredible journey.

LA // Artist Ian Ruhter

SB: If you could work alongside with any artist (living or passed), who would it be and why?

IR: I would love to work alongside Leonardo da Vinci. He was a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. The combination of all these things allowed him to create works of art that were far beyond the physical objects. They were many years ahead of its time maybe and our time.

monument valley // artist ian ruhter

SB: What’s next for Ian Ruhter?

IR: I would like to continue working with this process and traveling throughout the United States. I want to tell the stories of the people and places that I call home.

Ian Ruhter // Lake Tahoe Fine Artist

(above image: Ian and team holding a wet plate collodion of old growth pine trees on Lake Tahoe’s Nevada Beach)

Keep in mind that these images of Ian’s work don’t even start to translate the incredible beauty, emotion and uniqueness that each one processes. Recently I had the pleasure of visiting Ian’s studio in Tahoe. I was thrilled, memorized and simply in awe to see first hand some of the incredible masterpieces he has created. The scale of the original wet plate collodions are mind blowing. The depth and intricacy of each work is truly amazing. His landscapes instantly reminded me of some of Ansel Adams work. And I believe Ian’s work will one day hang in fine art museums around the world. They are that special.

follow your dreams // Ian Ruhter quote

Ian, I’m so glad you took a leap off the cliff to this new world of photography. You’re an inspiration!

Follow Ian and his dream on Instagram, Facebook and Vimeo. He’s one to watch!

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Read full story By on October 29, 2015 in Features, Interviews, lake tahoe, original artwork

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