Fall Decor

There’s a slight chill in the air and the days are getting shorter in San Diego. Summer has officially ended and Fall is here on the West Coast! We’re all about the little touches of decor in our home for the holidays. Below we’re sharing some fun ideas for the whole family that will hopefully get you inspired for the entire season!

 
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FALL DIY PROJECTS

Fall Hanging Installation

Our girl Amber Thrane created a beautiful Fall hanging installation and we were so inspired we had to share! Such a cute idea and perfect for any home!

 

Fall Wreath

This is a really cute do-it-yourself wreath if you’d prefer to make your own verse purchase one! This could be fun for the whole family!

 

Succulent Pumpkins

We love a good planted succulent and these are too cute for words, especially for this time of year!

OTHER CUTE DECOR ITEMS

We hope these ideas inspire you all season long! Let us know below if you try any of these fun DIY projects!

Love, The Sisters

Susanna WardComment
Meet The Maker - Diane Serra, Website Designer and Content Writer

If you don’t know who Diane Serra is, you will by the end of this blog. Let’s just say she’s the woman behind our beautiful new website and a content creating genius! We first met Diane a few years ago and have stayed in touch ever since. She is a multi-disciplined creative professional with a passion for Web Design and Content Writing. She was able to help us create a beautiful new website that showcased our story perfectly. If you’re looking for a new website design or perhaps just need some help with content for your blog or social media platforms – Diane is your gal!

 
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Are you local to San Diego? Tell us a little more about you…

I was born and raised in the Napa Valley. The majority of my family is still there (I have a huge Guamanian family), yet my parents and most of my siblings are here in San Diego. 

My parents moved to San Diego when their jobs were transferred to MiraMar. I was a senior in high school at that time and I refused to move. So I convinced my mom to emancipate me at 17 so that I could stay in Napa and finish high school with my friends. So during my senior year, I was working full time, paying rent on a house and trying to graduate high school. What the hell was I thinking? I eventually moved down to San Diego when I was 19 (ages ago!).

How did you begin your career as an entrepreneur?

I had been working at prAna for many years and wanted a more creative job. I had a desk job so there was a lot of downtime to lose myself reading blogs about creative professionals. I wanted to be one of them.  I really liked working at prAna and so I tried to just find a position on any creative team there. But I had no idea where to begin. Yet since I was working in eCommerce, I figured I would open up my own eCommerce store to start a portfolio to hopefully get a better position once I showed them that I could create, launch and grow a brand. So that’s when I started my leather bag line Diane Serra Handmade. This brand eventually led me to interior design and many other disciplines. I learned it all. 

Long story short, I never did get a better job at prAna but I did learn that I love designing, namely digitally. Over time, I eventually settled on web design and eCommerce design because I just love it so much and it allows me to be remote. The journey has been long but it was worth every avenue of exploration.

Did you go to school for Website Design and Content Writing?

Yes, I am a certified Full Stack Front End Developer. Which basically means I know how to code websites and such. Content writing I never studied. I have been blogging since 2009 and have always found clients that like my work and hire me for my style of writing. I still aim to blog each day but lately, it’s been damn near impossible, lol!

It seems like you offer a lot of different services. What do people come to you for the most?

My clients are small businesses that generally need a variety of digital services for example, web design and content writing. This is because I started to find clients that maybe had a website but had no idea how to get people to their website. So it felt absolutely necessary that I offer both. As of late, I have also taken on clients that need a project manager to manage and complete larger designer projects than I usually take on myself. So I also offer Project Management as a service.

Your website design services are pretty self-explanatory (and AMAZING), do you mind touching on what type of content writing you create?

Thank you!

I am still a big fan of blogging and I read a recent study that said the businesses that are still cultivating a blog have higher conversion rates. Blogs are still a wonderful place to tell stories that will engage an audience or educate, inspire, etc. They are also very powerful for SEO because all those words on a company’s website will draw more readers. So in general, I still advocate for blogging as a content writer. For my social media clients, I aim to work with storytelling as a way to create an authentic, engaged online community. 

 
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What strategies can you offer for those struggling with their business or engagement to their website and social media platforms?

I’ll split up my advice into two sections:
Social Media - 

For every social media client I’ve had, they’ve always been so worried and so concerned about the number of followers. It’s really hard to help people release the need for a large following. I always suggest to post regularly and authentically. Share your story, share your feelings, and most importantly- respond to comments. Social media is a long-ass game. It takes forever and not every business needs to be on every platform. 

Getting people to your website - 

I highly suggest a web-audit especially if you designed your website yourself. There may be usability issues that prevent your readers from getting the information they need to convert to a purchase or engage with your brand in general. It’s important to have a critical eye review the site and the analytics to understand where people are getting stuck and dropping off your site. It takes a bit of digging but the numbers don’t lie. I love doing website-audits!

Oh- one more bit of advice...

Blogging -

If you hate blogging, then don’t write. Don’t make yourself suffer. Hire a content writer. Just save yourself the turmoil of trying to think up blog posts and waste hours trying to craft one line of words. I’ve had clients come to me because they really want a blog but hate to write. So that’s where I come in. 

What is SEO? Can you explain a little more about why this is so important to have for your business?

SEO is super cool. It requires patience and constant nurturing but it’s really worth it. In a nutshell, SEO is the strategy behind the words that bring people to your website. There is actually a lot that goes into in terms of finding keywords, using linkbacks, metatags, etc but it’s worth the investment if you want people to find your website on search engines. Having a website is just the start, getting people there is where SEO and other types of marketing are essential.

What platform do you like to work on the most?

I love this question! The platform I like to work on the most is the platform my clients need. I really advocate for my clients and small businesses in-general meaning, if your business doesn’t need a custom coded website, then we will use a template website (Squarespace, Wordpress, etc). I always meet my clients where they are and where they hope to be within the next few years. 

I am comfortable designing websites on many platforms because it is my job to be flexible and knowledgeable so that I can design on whatever platform is best for each client.  

For example, I’ve had many clients that have had their websites made on a platform that they cannot manage, update nor grow on. So they come to me frustrated and likely mad because they also often paid too much for a site they can’t even manage. My job is to get to know each client, how much they want to manage their site after the fact (or if they want me to do it) and then educate them on the platform we are going to use and why. 

I also give personal tutorials for each client to show them how to manage their site once I’ve built it. The platform used can significantly improve how my clients feel about how their business is presented online. This is the goal. 

How do you stay motivated and inspired in your business? 

I really love serving people and so my clients mean a lot to me. Each project teaches me a list of new things I want to improve on to become a better designer. I am also very inspired by watching the creative folks around me keep pounding the pavement to grow their businesses.

How can people get in touch with you?

My website: www.dianeserra.com

Email at the moment is best: hello@dianeserra.com

And actually - private message on Instagram is pretty easy way to contact me: @dianeserra

 
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LIGHTING ROUND

Coffee or Tea: COFFEE (all day long).

And I don’t discriminate. I was raised on Folgers coffee so sometimes when I get nostalgic, you’ll find me at my parent's house happily drinking Folgers. 

 

Mac or PC: MAC

 

Texting or Talking: BOTH

Text at first because I don’t like talking on the phone while I’m with my daughter. I prefer to let the texts pile up and respond to them when she’s not around.

 

Minimalist or Maximist: MINIMALIST (trying to be a maximist).

I lived on a sailboat for a while (another story for another day) and so I’ve been conditioned to have a very small collection of clothes. But sometimes I would really like to feel comfortable growing a large wardrobe. 

 

Solid or Pattern: SOLID (with clothes).

But pattern with interior textiles

Form or Function: Grrrr…..this is a hard one! It really depends on how I’m feeling. I would say FUNCTION

Love, The Sisters (and Diane)

Susanna WardComment
A Chair With Personality

We walk into the local antique shop, a staple sourcing spot for us sisters, and immediately we’re surrounded by treasures and history. As we walk through the aisles our eyes carefully skim every shelf for the perfect piece. Suddenly something catches the corner of our eyes. It’s a sweet mid-century style chair towards the back of the shop. We’re immediately drawn to its mustard colored fabric. It speaks to us as though to say “Hello, how do you do?” We’re captivated by its energy and we take a moment to guess its history and how it got there before running to the register to purchase. Who sat in this chair, where did it live, what’s it’s story? This chair undoubtably has a personality - It’s sweet in nature and approachable. We think maybe it traveled from a mid-century home in Palm Springs where it sat in a beautiful living room for most of its life. Perhaps it shared late-night dinner parties and game nights with its guests. There’s a small stain on the seat, but you can hardly see it. You can tell it was well cared for and likes red wine as much as we do. It seems regal, sophisticated and inviting.

At this point you probably think we’re crazy, but we believe chairs have personalities just like us. If you think about it, every single chair is different. Different shapes, styles, colors and stories. Are you still with us? HA! Read on to see which chair speaks to each of us in our office and what we believe their personality is.

Perhaps you can relate…


Elaina’s Chair

“She sits tall and stately in my living room, capturing your attention as soon as you walk in. She’s large and in charge and knows how to make a statement. She has slender bones, but has the ability to hold anyone who sits in her comfortably. She reclines with an ottoman that pops up from under her feet. She is tailored and sophisticated, but non-intimidating. She speaks confidence yet at the same time puts everyone in the room at ease. Milo Baughman is tattooed on her arm and she wears a mustard tweed coat. Leo is in her chart!

 
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Susanna’s Chair

They speak to me. They’re smile-like shapes evoke happiness and pure joy. They aim to please. They are whimsical, yet elevated. They were born during the Art Deco period (circa 1930) a style that always makes my heart skip a beat. They are content and serve a basic purpose. Two halves of a circle that together equal one. Circles and round shapes symbolize visiting places and people multiple times. They are well traveled and enjoy spending quality time with family and friends. They were cast from restored wood and soft velvet fabric. Two materials that are completely different, but together create character. Wood, a hard-headed material, not easily broken. Velvet, silky to the touch and soft in nature, but tightly woven and unbelievably strong. They’re colors, burnt orange and brown, like a fall afternoon - colors that emanate feelings of happiness, family and celebration.

 
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SHOP THIS LOOK

Art Deco Stools


Jessica’s Chair

She was born on the white sandy beaches of Australia. Handcrafted by a local artist; her bones are made from natural rattan and her body crafted from light washed linen fabric. She sits tall with a beautiful crown on her head. She lives on the beach and loves a good cocktail. Her design is simple and laid back, welcoming and comforting. She’s extremely social and is always making new friends. She works at a boutique hotel on the beach as a receptionist in the lobby. She prefers flip flops over heels any day and never leaves the house without her surfboard for a quick session after work. 

 
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SHOP THIS LOOK

Lobby Lounge Chair


Jennifer’s Chair

She’s is a party girl. The perfect blend of Miss Piggy and the Olsen Twins, not afraid to showcase her style and flair. She’s the life of the party. She’s generous and outgoing. Her body carefully crafted from glass and steel. For those who take a seat, she politely allows their outfit to shine through. Her pink fur seat allows it to be more comfortable and inviting. 

 
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SHOP THIS LOOK

Fredrik Paulsen Chair

 

For those who are still with us, which chair do you relate to the most? Can you see personality in these chairs as we see it? Is there a chair in your life that breathes personality and character? We’d love to hear!

Love, The Design 4 Corners Team

Susanna WardComment
Meet The Maker - Maggie Boyd of Landmark Plant Co.

We first discovered this sweet, little plant oasis as we were sourcing for one of our home installs. Its location is perfectly placed on a corner right as you enter Leucadia from the highway. The fence surrounding the property is painted white with a beautiful black and white mural of cacti and succulents. Outside is a large sidewalk sign that reads “COME ON IN, WE DON’T SUCC.” – Yup that’s definitely our kind of place! As soon as you walk into the shop you’re transported to a beautiful plant paradise. It’s well decorated and perfectly curated (WARNING: you’ll want to stay all day and buy everything)! We sat down with the owner, Maggie Boyd, to chat a little about being a boss lady and share our mutual love for plants and home décor!

Can you tell us a little about your business Landmark Plant Co. and how you got started?

My fiancé and I own Landmark Plant Co., which is a full-service design and build company. We live locally in Leucadia and were looking for an office space! We drove past the property a million times, falling in love with the location every time, and when it went on the market we immediately jumped on it! We saw incredible potential in the space and decided to merge the office with a plant boutique; from there Landmark Plant Co. was born! 

 
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 What services do you offer?

We are a full landscape design and build company. We offer landscape design, interior plant scaping, maintenance services etc … We are constantly working with interior designers and architects to create cohesive designs from the inside out. In addition, we are a boutique, selling plants, pots and curated home decor items! We also offer planting at Landmark Plant Co. You can bring your own pot or of course purchase everything you need in our shop. We have materials available for you to plant at our boutique or we’ll plant it for you! We’re a one-stop-shop! 

In addition, for those of you who find it overwhelming to maintain your plants, Landmark Plant Co. offers a maintenance service for your business and residential homes throughout San Diego.

 
Image via  Landmark Plant Co.
Image via  Landmark Plant Co.
 

 What are some of the best plants to put in your home and why?

The ride or die plants that we like to suggest for any space are the Fiddle Leaf Fig Plant and the Mother-In-Law (Snake) Plant. First, both of these plants are really good air purifiers, meaning they help clean the air in your space. They are also very structured plants so they don’t take up a lot of space and they both grow fairly high, which is very nice for larger spaces. Neither require that much sunlight, which is also nice for interior spaces that have low light.

 
Images via  The Sill

Images via The Sill

 

 What kind of plants do you have in your own home?

I love plants (obviously) and have always had plants in my home. I have all types of plants in my home including, Fiddle Leaf Figs, Monsteras (which are some of my favorite) and I have a huge Alocasia Plant sitting in my living room that is my pride and joy! I would definitely consider myself a maximist when it comes to plants - the more the merrier!

 Do you always need a drain hole in your pot?

This is a very common question that I get asked all the time. It’s really a personal preference and it depends on the environment your plant is living in! Many, if not all, exterior pots have drainage holes, specifically for rainwater. Indoors it’s not necessary to have a drainage hole, you just need to be mindful of overwatering.

Helpful Hint: Keep your plants in their nursery pots as long as possible. The nursery pots come with drainage holes and I have found, from experience, that if I keep my plants in their nursery pots they tend to last longer. If you’re bringing your new plant indoors make sure to get a liner to place under the nursery pot to avoid water from spilling everywhere. Feel free to place the nursery pot and liner in a prettier pot to make it more athletically pleasing in your space. And if you need help with that - that’s where we come in!

 
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 Is there anything new at Landmark Plant Co. that we should be looking out for? 

YES!!! We are opening a new shop in Oceanside, CA - 1500 sq. ft. of planting goodness - NOVEMBER 2019!

We carry a lot of really great local art pieces at our Leucadia shop, including wall art and ceramics, however in the new Oceanside location, we’ll be carrying furniture and home décor as well!

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Lightning Round:

Cactus or Palm - CACTUS

Solid or Pattern - PATTERN

Minimalist or Maximist - MAXIMIST

Moody or Light & Airy  - MOODY

Form or Function - FORM 

Gold (Brass) or Silver - BOTH


If youre looking for more information on plant care visit their website here. They share some great tips and tricks to keeping your plants happy and healthy!

Landmark Plant Co. is located at 495 Leucadia Blvd, Encinitas, CA 92024

and is open everyday 10am – 6pm

Love, The Sisters (and Maggie)

Susanna WardComment
The Kitchen Is The New Living Room: Three Ways To Style Open Shelving

We’re constantly designing open floor plans for our clients, the kitchen being the center point. We love it - no walls, no problem! For our clients who like to entertain they may never leave the kitchen at all. It’s the heart of the home and let’s face it the kitchen has become the new living room. While you’re cooking behind the stove, your guests can socialize with you behind the island. It’s a space where everyone wants to hang out. In kitchen designs today the open shelving has replaced cabinetry, which is both a blessing and a curse. It’s easy for them to get cluttered, however they also allow you to create personality in your home. Start with a blank slate and tell your story. Now that the kitchen is the new living room, try incorporating family photos, old books or treasures from your travels. Yes, we understand they need to be functional too, so throw the everyday plates and cups in the mix. 

To help you get creative and inspired in your home we’ve styled our own kitchen shelves with three different personalities. We’d love hear which you are more drawn to!


THE CALIFORNIA DREAMER

When we styled these shelves we were channeling all the California mid century vibes. We threw in some local art that we’ve collected over the years, some vintage books and baskets from the flea markets. We mixed in some blush pink teak bowls from our travels to Bali. We added some vintage jars to add a pop of color and of course a small palm tree to complete the look!

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THE OLD SOUL

This one is for all of our old souled mamas out there who love to shop at antique stores and thrift shops. You thrive on culture and history. You have some old black and white family photos and grandma’s china, mixed in with your existing plates and mugs. Mixing old with new is always okay in our book! Throw in that souvenir or vintage art from your trip to Europe. Finish this look off with gold or brass accents to catch the eye and warm up your space! This look is undoubtedly a conversation starter.

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THE BELIEVER

If you like things clean and simple with just a subtle pop of color this look is for you! We love the white on white look, but “believe” us, mixing it up with different textures of white and a pop of color makes this look unique. We’ve added our white plates and bowls, but we’ve also thrown in some white mugs (with black accents), as well as some clear glassware to add texture. In this look, you’ll notice subtle pops of color, such as the vintage books and baskets. These pieces accent the centerpiece of your display - a piece that scream color, but also has a place in your heart. For us, we chose to display a blue dragon from our travels to Argentina. He symbolizes protection and is the perfect accent in this space!

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If you have open shelves in your kitchen or somewhere in your home, play around with these personalities or create your own! We’d love to see and hear what you came up with!

Love, The Sisters

Susanna WardComment
Innovative Ways To Use The Same Ol' Tile

You’re ready for a bathroom renovation and want a sexy, unique tile design on your floors and backsplash. You’re craving something different than all the trendy tile we see plastered all over Pinterest and Instagram. It’s easy to follow the trend, but if you’re looking for something a little bolder and unique keep reading. We’re notorious for breaking the rules and getting creative with design. We love stepping out of the box and exploring new ways to use the same materials we all know and love.

Let’s start with the infamous subway tile. How many times have you seen white subway tile in a bathroom or kitchen design? It’s definitely a classic design, but can be used in many ways. Try switching up the pattern, maybe create a herringbone design, try mixing different colors or even mixing it with other tiles. If you just love the look of subway tile, but want something a little different here’s some inspiration and alternative tiles you can use in your design!

 
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Next, let’s play with penny tile. Penny tile is super versatile. We’ve seen it done so many ways, specifically with black and white tile. Try playing with a section of your floor or wall and use one color or pattern. Try mixing penny tile with other tiles, create words or outline a space. Penny tile is a fun way to get the pattern or design you want but can’t seem to find. Here’s some inspiration as well as some other tiles that play off the classic penny tile design.

 
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We’re suckers for a good 3D tile. A beautiful 3D tile can completely transform a space! If you like the classic hexagon or scallop shaped tiles, try something with a little more depth! You’ll be surprised what it can do to your space!

 
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Application is everything! Sure, we are used to seeing tile on bathroom walls to protect the dry wall from collecting mold and in the kitchen as a backsplash for easy clean up, but there are so many other ways where you can use tile in your home! Get creative! Be bold! We love using tile as decorative stair risers or even in the pool! And don’t forget a table top or headboard, replace it with tile! No one else will have it and it’s unique to your home!

 
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We hope these ideas inspire you to have fun with tile in your designs!

Be bold. Be different. Set the trend, don’t follow it!

Love, The Sisters

Susanna WardComment
Get The Look- 4th of July

The warmth in the air, the smell of barbecue on the grill, the sound of kids playing in the background; maybe you have a cold glass of rose in hand, sitting around a fire pit waiting for the fireworks to lighten the night sky. 

It literally feels like just yesterday it was New Years Eve yet this week we're all celebrating the Fourth of July, a day that marks the beginning of summer, aka the season for parties and outdoor activities! If you're hosting the party this year and need some help with some cute decor and outdoor furniture, we've got you covered. We've selected some of our favorite pieces that are perfect for the holiday and the rest of the summer season!

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Wood Chargers

Star Plate

Napkins

Red Plate

We hope this guide helps all you amazing hosts out there! Happy Summer, happy shopping and Happy Fourth of July from our family to yours! 

Love, The Sisters

Susanna's Favorite Item In Her Home

At the front door of Susanna’s Carlsbad home you’re greeted by a welcome mat and a sweet outdoor seating area that screams “Welcome, come on in”. As you walk further in her sweet dog, Luna, is the first to say hello followed by her husband, Tyler. In the background you can hear "I'm Coming Out" by Diana Ross playing on an old record player. Their living room is the first room you enter. With its beautiful high vaulted ceilings and natural light pouring in, it’s easy to feel right at home! Her comfortable L-shaped sectional, eclectic pillow collection and stunning vintage area rug make you want to curl up with a blanket, grab a glass of wine and stay awhile. One of Susanna’s favorite pieces in her home lives in this room. It’s a family heirloom with a lot of history. It sits front and center in her living room and is a piece you probably wouldn’t expect.

Susanna's story:

 
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Growing up as a child I was surround by eclectic pieces that my mother and father had collected over the years in our well curated home. Our mother was and still is an avid antique collector. Some of value and some not, but that didn't mean much to her. The piece had to speak to her. In fact, I'm sure many of the pieces chose her, knowing they would have a well suited home and someone to care for them. She taught me all about antiquing and I remember as a small child she would pull over suddenly in the middle of our errands to hit up an antique shop that she had spotted. 

So often, I was surround by the smell of old things, the dust of a shop that's never been dusted and the voice of my mother chatting softly and intently with the shop owner.  Asking questions of it's origins, or discussing the possible age group of the piece. Going back and forth between the 40's or maybe the 50's. Turning the item upside down and looking for markings or clues of it's history. 

"Made in Germany" it would say. Then quickly wondering how it got from there to a tiny shop in Carlsbad.  Every piece we owned had a story. The story of it's maker, the story of it's journey, the story of the original owner, and the story of the chip on it's side. My mom was able to see the beauty even in a chipped piece and to me that meant she chose with her heart.

 
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So now, as I sit here and ponder over the idea of my favorite piece in my own home, filled with randoms collected over the years, I have started to think about the stories on why they live with me, and wonder about their lives before me. I started looking at artwork that I've collected from family members, dealers or flea markets, as well as my expensive area rug that I shouldn't have bought. Along with a solid teak dining table from Bali, and the first piece of furniture my husband and I bought together, and after much thought on the many pieces I love, it dawned on me that my favorite piece is a piece I grew up with. A piece my mother and father collected from a garage sale just before they married. A piece that sits in the center of my home where the majority of our meals are shared at, game nights played at, a foot rest during movie night and has a long history of being the stage for countless nights of dancing. My coffee table.

 
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When I moved back to San Diego after my college days, I of course as one kid would, hit up their parents for some hand me down furniture. The coffee table was one of them. I've since moved this coffee table to a handful of different apartments, and homes. First as a single lady, and now my poor husband is stuck with it. A true piece of family history, or quite possibly another family member.

 
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This table, as I mentioned was picked up at a garage sale just before my parents married in 1976. We think the table was designed/made in the late 50's early 60's and made of solid pine. It's been refinished a few times over the years, and due for another refinish soon. But the video footage of my parents and aunties dancing on it at late night parties, to the gum my brother stuck underneath it, down to the nail polish remover stain from my teenage years of self manicures, these memories will never be able to be refinished. For this table has lived with our family before us kids were born, it was a staple of our childhood, and as an adult now, I write about this pieces as though it's been a life long family member. Or possibly more like a live-in nanny that offered a seat for me while I watched countless hours of Sesame Street, and held my homework as I pondered over mathematics, and assisted in my teenage manicures. To now, a place to rest my feet as my husband and I watch movies. And maybe someday, this table will be apart of my own child's history.

 
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Thank you coffee table. For always being there.

To watch an epic old school video of my family dancing on our coffee table click here.

Love, Susanna

Latest Creation - Swirl Boutique

Let’s face it. Shopping can be stressful at times. Typically, you’re searching for a particular item, a dress for a wedding, a suit for work, a gift for a friend or family member. When you walk into a retail store it’s important to feel welcome and comfortable. Otherwise you may not stay that long. What makes you feel comfortable in a space? Is it the flooring, are there comfortable rugs in the space? Is it the warm colors and tones of the wall paint. Is it the lighting? Is it the smell? Are candles burning or is incense freshening the air? Is it the type of product in the store? Are you surrounded by nature, flowers or plants? Is there a lot of natural sunlight? All of these things need to be considered to help make a space feel welcoming for your customers. At least these are the things we notice when we visit a space and we wanted the new Swirl Boutique to have all of these elements!

Our client Lisa, with Swirl Boutique, approached us earlier this year to help her design a new boutique location in Carlsbad! She wanted an elevated look. Something completely different than what her two current locations looked like. Her hope was to re-brand and create a more feminine look, than the signature blue that is Swirl Boutique. She presented us with inspirational images that were filled with beautiful terrazzo floors, pink lush fabrics, arched doorways and gold details. As we do with all of our clients, we gathered all of her wants and needs first and then develop a concept. A concept that would blend her vision as a boutique owner and our vision as the customer.

LISA'S CONCEPT INSPIRATION

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THE SISTERS CONCEPT INSPIRATION


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Lisa’s vision was completely on-point with our aesthetic. She was willing to take risks and step outside of her comfort zone to create a beautiful elegant space. Swirl Boutique became a space where Palm Springs meets Art Deco. Of course, we were immediately drawn to the all the terrazzo inspiration she presented and claimed that as the floor material. The tile we used was actually a porcelain tile mimicking a terrazzo design. A more affordable and durable option for commercial spaces. These beautiful floors drove the rest of the design. Next, this space needed depth and color. We used paint to color block the space to create interest and we pulled colors from the flooring and Lisa's mood boards. A beautiful pallet of pinks, maroons and violets was born. In addition, we included a burnt orange accent color to add contrast to the space. And because we are the sisters, no project is complete without a little touch of brass and black accents! Right?

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We custom designed the brass clothing racks and mirrors to mimic the color blocking design on the walls. We wanted to keep the space simple and clutter free. In addition, we wanted this space to feel clean, vibrant and youthful. You’ll notice if you are in the space that there are very few sharp corners. The curves in the doorways and color blocking on the walls, the rounded edges of the clothing racks, furniture and accessories. The rounded edges and soft details help add to the calming experience of the shop.

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As you enter the space you are greeted by a custom designed vinyl on the floor that reads “BEAUTY LIES WITHIN”. This was an important element in the space because although small and almost unnoticeable it’s an inviting gesture to all who enter. Simple words of encouragement that help the customer feel comfortable in the space. As you walk further in, past the beautiful clothing racks, you’re greeted by the custom designed point of sale area with the most beautiful white onyx countertop. The famous neon Swirl signage lives inside an arched niche that’s mirrored by an arch doorway into the style lounge and dressing rooms. Arches are in right now and so architecturally pleasing, again… we couldn’t help ourselves.

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As you step into the style lounge you’re greeted by two very comfortable violet velvet chairs that sit atop a burnt orange shag rug. This part of the shop screams “take a seat and stay a while”. All you need is a glass of wine and someone fanning you with a palm and you’re staying until closing. The dressing room space holds 3 large dressing rooms, each one covered with royal blue velvet curtains. Inside the dressing rooms we installed a fun wallpaper and color blocking design with a rattan mirror (duh) and a modern style brass sconce (… also duh). Selfies are highly encouraged in these dressing rooms!

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Introducing the new Swirl Boutique in Carlsbad! A space to be yourself, be young, feel beautiful and discover that BEAUTY LIES WITHIN…

Love, The Sisters

Elaina's Favorite Item In Her Home

As you step into Elaina’s home the smell of incense rushes over you! An inviting energy carries you in. You’re greeted by two sweet kittens and two young boys eager to say hello! Her husband Nathan in the background is serenading you with his guitar! The interior of her home is colorful and eclectic, emanating happiness! A few items stand out right away. The vintage Turkish rug in the entry and a beautiful velvet turquoise sofa that sits in her living room. Every item in her home seems to have a purpose and a story. But there’s one item that she claims is her favorite piece in the home and it’s hard to miss. It’s a beautiful Balinese tapestry that lives above the sofa in her living room! It screams life and most definitely has a story…

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While I was living in Bali, managing our Bali projects, I would constantly be sourcing for our various villa projects over the course of a decade. During that time, I fell in love with some of the vintage Balinese textiles. Pieces you would find throughout the markets and small shops in Bali. I particularly loved the textiles that told a story, held history and shared a meaning. 

Within the first year living in Bali I found the most amazing textile shop in Ubud that sold antique textiles from all over Indonesia and south east Asia. The woman that ran it was the sweetest Balinese woman who knew the history and origins of every textile in the shop. During one of my early visits to her shop I discovered a gorgeous colorful piece that was indigenous to Bali and depicted a scene from the epic Hindu tale, The Mahabharata. Having studied this text while in college I was immediately drawn to it. The Balinese have such a distinct style of illustrating their Hindu mythology and it spoke to me.

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I purchased the textile, framed it and hung it in one of our villa projects. As the years went on I came to realize that these particular textiles were hard to come by. They were rare, therefore all the more special. Those that knew me well knew how much I treasured these pieces of history and art. I think because of my studies and understanding the meaning behind the design, I appreciated these particular textiles and grew to cherish them. They were a special way to tie Bali’s history and roots into the villa designs that we did over the years. 

My last year living in Bali, my closest friends sourced one of these rare textiles. They had to search far and wide and talk to the right people and they found the perfect one. They framed it beautifully and gifted it to me on my birthday. It meant so much to me and it was the perfect gift. As I was preparing to leave the island, a place that had embraced me and blessed me with so much during my time living there, I carefully packed it away.

It was loaded onto a container and sent back to California where it now lives centerstage in my home. I look at it everyday and am flooded with memories of my beautiful Bali life.

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Do you have a favorite item in your home? Is there a sentimental piece in your space that has a story? We would love to hear! Share your stories with us, we're suckers for this stuff!

Love, The Sisters

Every Space Has a Story

Think about a space, any space. It could be in your own home or a space you remember from your travels. Picture the space in your mind. How did the energy feel in that space? What stood out to you visually? In fact, maybe you're sitting in that space right now. THAT space has a story.

When we design a space, we think about all of the pieces in that space as a whole and how the entire space has a dialogue. Each item and finish has a purpose and one of the most important finishes in any room is paint. Whether it’s on the walls or cabinet doors, paint color is critical to any design. So many people are intimidated by paint colors mainly because there’s so many to choose from. To us that’s the beauty of paint. The more colors the better! When we choose a paint color for a space, the process is the same as choosing any other item. And not only does the color of the paint matter, but the finish of the paint matters as well. The paint color and finish in a room helps tell the story of the space.

Portola Paints, the masters of paint and some of our favorite to work with! They have designed a full spectrum of paint colors and created unique finishes that completely transform any space. We’re drawn to their Lime Wash and Roman Clay finishes as they provide an antiqued natural texture that constantly reminds us of our travels. We’ve used them in several projects and most recently our project Van De Vort and Kaito Sushi. In each project we used different colors for different reasons.

VAN DE VORT

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When we first conceptualized this project, we knew we wanted to create a space with old world vibes, antique accents and finishes that looked as though they had been there for years. Portola Paints, Lime Wash finish was the perfect touch. We covered the dressing rooms in Mare Island to compliment the wallpaper that lived inside. As you enter the space you’re immediately drawn to it’s richness. To us, this color and finish represents regality and wealth, perfect for a retail space, wouldn't you say?

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To modernize the space we color blocked a feature wall with Portola Paints - Lime Wash finish in some of their Roman Clay colors (finish colors can be translated to the various finishes, just talk to the friendly staff at Portola Paints) Society, Costes and Mare Island. The pink tones help soften the space, creating an inviting and comfortable atmosphere for the customer!

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KAITO SUSHI

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Our project Kaito Sushi was a completely different space than Van De Vort yet Portola Paints was a perfect application in this space as well. We used Portola Paints - Lime Wash finish in Roman Clay colors Fade to Black and Nitty Gritty. We wanted the space to feel moody and masculine. In addition, we wanted the walls to look leathered and worn, as if you were stepping into a fisherman’s cave.

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EVERY space has a story. These are two very different stories yet the application was the same! Portola Paints helped achieve our vision for each space and tell their story. What story is your space trying to tell you?

Love, The Sisters

The Sisters Tips When Starting A Renovation

We've all had that moment. The moment you decide you want to renovate your home, but have absolutely no idea where to start. Well buckle in because the adventure is about to start here. We've done this a few times and have a few tips that might help you get started. The first thing to recognize is that renovation is a rollercoaster - there will be highs and there will be lows. If you're not a big rollercoaster fan don’t worry we'll be riding it with you with our hands up in the air, screaming and laughing until the end! Because we've been on this ride before we're sharing our tips and tricks to help you navigate this new adventure! Okay hands up… let the ride begin!

 
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Create a Road Map

Sit down and map out your vision. Literally, write it down on a sheet of paper or draw it out. Answer these questions - What is your scope of work? When do you want this completed? Physically writing all of this out will help you understand what phase of the project you are in and help you understand each step, including timelines, lead times and deadlines.

In our office we have a white board that maps out each project and what phase of the project we are in. Every week we discuss the status of each project as a team and update it accordingly. Seeing this road map visually helps us organize our priorities for the week.

Make Sure You Have a Plan

Everyone loves a plan, at least we do. Making a plan will make your life so much easier when it comes to renovating. Write it down on paper - just like your road map. In addition, make sure each of the members on your team know the plan too. That's silly to say because it seems so obvious but things can always get lost in translation and pour communication can really f*** up a job. Communication is key in construction and design.

Commit To The Plan

This is very important for you as the client and for us as the designers. We'll say it again, COMMIT TO THE PLAN. Know that when you start making changes it will cost you more money and more time in the end. 

Susanna's Kitchen Renovation

 
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Have All Materials On Site

This is something as designers that we highly suggest! We like to have everything ordered and onsite before construction starts. This makes the building and installation process so much easier. If you start ordering at the same time construction is starting, a number of things can go wrong, for example stock of an item may change or lead times may be longer than expected. Ordering everything ahead of time will alleviate stress during construction and installation! Trust us!

Phase Things Out

If you try to do everything all at once you may get overwhelmed. Many of our clients like to do their projects in phases. It’s easier financially and it allows for a less stressful process overall.

Walk The Site

This is very important! It’s so easy to just look at the plans two dimensionally on a piece of paper, but it’s so important to walk the site and the space before starting anything. Everything looks different in person! This is one of the first things we do with every client! As designers we are visual learners and this is one of the most important aspects of our job. There are so many details that go into a renovation and walking the site allows you to see the space in a three-dimensional way. In addition, verify ALL dimensions on site! The plans are never the same as the actual dimensions. We also suggest walking the site after you've conceptualized a design. This is a great opportunity for you to tape out all walls and large furniture pieces to help visualize the space.

Trust Your Team

This is the MOST important advice we could give you. Trust us and trust the process! We know what we are doing, we promise! This also means taking the time to choose the RIGHT team! Make sure you are comfortable with all the parties involved and let them do their job! This is our full time job and we will guide you! WE PROMISE!

 
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Make sure throughout the entire process you ask questions. Your team is there to help you make this new adventure a little smoother and more manageable for you! And just think, when the adventure is over you’ll feel overwhelmed with joy and satisfaction… AND you’ll have a brand new space to call your own!

Love, The Sisters

Meet Us In Mexico

We’re constantly inspired by the world around us and, in particular, Mexico. As some of you may or may not know we are of Irish and Mexican descent. That being said it’s safe to say that our heritage has influenced many of our designs. We’re suckers for an amazing decorative tile and a classic terra-cotta finish. With Cinco de Mayo right around the corner we wanted to celebrate by sharing our favorite spots in Mexico and how you can get the look in your own home!

OAXACA, MEXICO

One of our favorite cities in Mexico is Oaxaca. Known for its vibrant colored buildings, delicious food markets and unbeatable art scene. The colors of this city are so inspiring! Oaxaca undoubtedly has a soul of its own! Don’t be deceived by its size because this little city has a big heart and a huge personality!

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Photos: Pinterest

GET THE LOOK

Paint a door in your home a fun vibrant color.

Go bold with paint colors by accenting a wall in your living room, bathroom or bedroom.

Play with paint colors on the trim of your doors, windows or stairs.

HOTEL SAN CRISTOBAL

If we were a hotel we would probably be this one. This gorgeous space is filled with stunning decorative tile everywhere you look, simple textiles, colorful accents and breathtaking views!

We love every design element in this hotel and are inspired by Hotel San Cristobal on a daily basis! Is it obvious? HA!

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Photos: Hotel San Cristobal, Pinterest

GET THE LOOK

You can never go wrong with a beautiful decorative tile on bathroom floors, backsplashes, fireplaces or stair risers. 

Add some clay pendant lights or rattan furniture to bring some natural elements into your space.

Accent pillows are a great way to add a pop of color to any space.

PLANTS PLANTS PLANTS - can’t go wrong with some cacti scattered throughout your space inside and out.

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Decorative Tile

Pendant Lights

Accent Pillows

Terra-cotta Pots

Chairs

HOTEL TIKI TIKI, TULUM

Close your eyes and imagine yourself laying in a hammock slowly rocking back and forth. Listening to the wind flow through the palm trees outside. It's peaceful and serene. You open your eyes and see lush greenery outside and blue skies reflecting on the pool below. This is the experience of Hotel Tiki Tiki in Tulum. The energy in this space makes you feel like you’ve walked right into a jungle paradise. The décor is simple with modern nods to classic Mexican design.

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Photos: The Venue Report, Pinterest

GET THE LOOK

The color blue calms the soul. Adding blue accents in your furniture or floor tile makes any space feel a bit more serene and spa like.

Low comfortable seating such as a hammock or accent chairs and stools will make the space feel more inviting.

Dark wood accents add a richness to the space.

Breeze block is a great way to divide a space inside or outside while allowing light and air to flow through. Keep in mind breeze block is best in space where you are exposed to the elements.

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Yellow Vases

Accent Lounge Chairs

Woven Stool

Rattan Bar Stools

Blue Pot

Decorative Tile

We could go on and on about the inspiration we find in and throughout Mexico. But for now we hope this post inspires you to be a little bolder with color and texture in your home! Take risks but stay true to who YOU are. This is us and we are proud to celebrate and share it!

Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Love, The Sisters

Latest Creation - Van De Vort

Like many, we have a love-hate relationship with Instagram. We can't seem to figure out the newest algorithm and the constant updates, but it's provided us with so many great opportunities! We've met some amazing clients and lifelong friends through the app and that's exactly how we met our client Andrea, the owner of our latest creation Van De Vort. When we first met in person we connected instantly! She had a clear vision of what she wanted the space to look like, which was helpful for us. She showed us her mood boards and inspiration and we were instantly hooked! We couldn't wait to get started and dove right in!

THE CONCEPT

Andrea presented us with a mood board that was filled with checkered black and white floors, columns, old painted walls, globe fixtures and lush plants in every picture. In other words, all of the old-world cafe vibes that we die for! Like us sisters, she is a huge fan of Paris, France and wanted her shop to feel as though you had walked right into a European getaway. She envisioned a space with old world charm and a feeling that the place had been around for a while. Are you hooked yet, because we were! We got started right away with a concept and instantly connected with some of our favorite vendors to collaborate with including Portola Paints, North County Tile and Stone, Stone Impressions and Arto Brick. We were met with such a good response and were lucky enough to pick and choose some amazing materials that helped build what the new Van De Vort is today!

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THE DESIGN

As we began designing the space, we knew we wanted to incorporate columns somewhere significant. We also wanted to define a clear point of sales area. We decided to flank two columns next to the cash wrap and wrapped them in the Arto Brick's Artillo Early Gray Limestone tile concrete. The finish was perfect because it provided the illusion that these columns had always been there, exactly the look we were going for! The Stone Impressions tile, The Aurum Collection, that lives in between the columns is the perfect amount of old world and glam!

Throughout the space and above the point of sale we added globe pendants with a modern twist to add to the “café” energy Europe is so well known for!

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Adding archways to the dressing rooms was another way to create an old-world vibe in addition to the texture of the Portola Paint throughout. Portola Paints Roman Clay finish was perfect in this space. It has a matte, velvet finish that gives the illusion that it's clay or a plaster finish! We did some color blocking on some feature walls to modernize the space and define certain sections of the store! Designer Tip - color blocking is a great way to make a statement in a space without spending a lot of money!

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Can we talk about the wallpaper by Cole and Son, provided by Kravet? Our client has a thing for sexy leopards. I mean, what fashionista doesn’t? Andrea found this wallpaper and knew she had to incorporate it into the space. We could not have agreed more! Great minds think alike because we all agreed without a doubt that it needed to live in the dressing rooms!

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Now enter Prince Van De Vort, the shops mascot, who honestly needs his own Instagram handle. If you’ve been to this space you know who we're talking about. He sits proudly near the cash wrap guarding his castle. Yes, it’s the fabulous cheetah statue. While Andrea was sourcing for clothing pieces in the LA fashion district, she stumbled upon an entire shop of these babies! She texted us immediately asking if she should purchase him. Without hesitation we replied… “DUH"! One of the best discoveries has become one of our favorite elements of the space!

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For us, the black and white floors really make the space special! Provided by North County Tile and Stone, we laid these tiles in a diagonal format to dress up the space a little which in our opinion screams Europe! Probably our second favorite part of the space! But really, how can you choose a favorite part…?

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We couldn’t design the space without a little taste of Bali! These vintage teak shelves are straight from Indonesia and their finish adds a richness to the space!

In addition, all of the clothing racks are custom made with acrylic rods and brass hardware! They bring an element of elegance to the space but are subtle enough to let the merchandise shine! 

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The chandelier to us is the cherry on top! This piece was truly a labor of love. It took an entire day to put that pretty girl together, but SO worth the time and energy! She’s a beauty, isn’t she? This piece really makes the space and adds an eclectic, vintage vibe that we were all searching for in the beginning!

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Swing by the new One Paseo development in Del Mar to check out this beautiful space! Be sure to take a selfie in the dressing rooms or re-apply your lipstick in one of the many vintage gold mirrors. Happy shopping! Your prince and castle await!

Love, The Sisters

Meet The Sisters - An Interview With Susanna

It's Susanna's turn! Her birthday is today, April 13th! Here's a little blast from the past with this always stylish birthday girl!

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What is one of your favorite childhood memories? 

I remember one Christmas as a young girl, the night before Santa coming I realized that I forgot to put a bike on my Christmas list. So I prayed and prayed all night long that Santa would bring me a bike. When I woke and ran downstairs and saw the bike, I was blown away! Literally, shocked and so thankful. That is when I first believed in the power or prayer.

If you had to describe your childhood in one word what would you say? 

Happy

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Are you named after anyone or is there a reason your parents gave you the names they did? 

Yes! I'm named after my mom Susanna. Her mom was Susanna and so on. I’m the 7th Susanna on my mom’s side.

Where did you grow up? Where was your first childhood home? 

I was born in Philly! However, we moved to Encinitas when I was around the age of two. So my first memory of my first home was in Encinitas, on Oceanview. It was my grandparents vacation home. They lived in LA, but had a vacation home in Encinitas. Eventually they retired and moved into the vacation home permanently, after we had moved out. They tackled a big renovation and for the remaineder of my life, my first home was now my Grandparents home. Our grandmother just recent passed away, but the house is still in the family (for now!).

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Is there a habit you just can’t seem to break that you’ve had since your childhood? 

My childhood habit was biting my nails. Thank god I grew out of that. In terms of what has stuck is the fact that I hate mushrooms. I was able to get over a handful of things I disliked eating as a child, but mushrooms still gross me out to this day! Yuuuck! Not sure if that's considered a habit, though??

Did you play any sports growing up? Which did you play and which was your favorite? 

Yes! Growing up I played soccer and basketball. As I got older in High School, it was basketball and cross country/track! I do none of that anymore! I've run a few marathons recently, but no more! PLEASE! Ha. 

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What was the first country you ever visited and when? 

Mexico was my first country, mainly because we grew up so close to the border, and Mexico City because of family. However my first big trip, by myself, was to the Czech Republic, Prague as a student ambassador of Carlsbad in my early teens. That made me fall in love with Europe and travel!

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When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in design? 

College! My 4th year in fact. I was a theater major and by my 4th year in college I realized that I wanted to switch! It killed my parents, but I stuck around another 2 years and solely took interior design classes. I loved art and architecture, so I tried interior design 101 and was hooked. I changed my major instantly!

What would you say is your best quality and what is your biggest flaw? 

My best quality is to laugh, and have a good time. My biggest flaw is that I cuss a-lot. "Fuck" is a regular word for me. My parents are mostly proud of me, but they cringe when the F-bombs get dropped. Sorry mom and dad!

What or who inspires you?

My mom inspires me for her loyalty and compassion, My best friend Venessa for her strength, my sister for her determination, Kelly Wearslter for her design work (her work blows my mind), My husband for his clarity and calmness. I could go on and on… I’m blessed to have such inspiring family and friends.

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How would others describe you? 

Ha! I would hope they would say, “ For a good time call, Sus!”

Does living in San Diego influence your work?

Yes! Love the “California Cool” that So-Cal is. You will see pop’s of this relaxed vibe in all our designs.

What does design mean to you? 

Design is: thoughtfully executed, functionality and/or thoughtfully executed expression. It’s magic when both can happen.

Love, Susanna

Meet The Sisters - An Interview With Elaina

Happy April! Did you know both sisters have birthdays this month!? Elaina's is first on April 7th and we're celebrating by walking down memory lane! Here's a few things you may or may not have known about Elaina!

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What is one of your favorite childhood memories? 

Playing with all of my cousins at my grandparent’s house in LA. 

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If you had to describe your childhood in one word what would you say?

Happy

Are you named after anyone or is there a reason your parents gave you the names they did?

My mom always liked the name Elaine, but she said when I was born I had so much black hair on my head that she had to add an “a” on the end to add more umph! 

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I grew up in Carlsbad, CA. My first home was in LA then the East Coast then back to the West Coast.

Is there a habit you just can’t seem to break that you’ve had since your childhood?

I still spazz out…

Did you play any sports growing up? Which did you play and which was your favorite?

I did, I played soccer, basketball and I ran track. I loved all of them. Soccer was probably my favorite though.

What was the first country you ever visited and when? 

Mexico. My parents were taking me to Mexico City from the time I was a baby.

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When did you realize you wanted to pursue a career in design? 

I believe I was in my twenties. I was working as a chief of staff for a high wealth individual and that evolved into running his private interior design firm and managing large and big budget design projects, collections etc. I was constantly designing new spaces, sourcing new things, managing projects and I loved it. I had a lot of responsibility and it taught me so much. The experience was my schooling.

What would you say is your best quality and what is your biggest flaw?

I listen to people. I try not too, but I do suffer from taking things personal, that's probably my biggest flaw.

What or who inspires you?

Definitely my friends and my family. They inspire me all of the time!

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How would others describe you?

Passionate.

Does living in San Diego influence your work?

At times yes. I think I’m more influenced by my time living abroad in Bali, Indonesia.

What does design mean to you?

Design is everything. It’s a feeling and a place. It’s creation in motion. It’s the intangible to the tangible

Love, Elaina

Travel Guide - IRELAND

As some of you may or may not know we are half Irish and half Mexican! We've visited both countries several times and have fallen in love with the culture of each place! In honor of St. Patrick's day we wanted to share some of our favorite hidden gems and not so hidden gem of Ireland!

A town that no one ever talks about, when referencing Ireland is by far one of our favorites hidden gems of Ireland.

Town of Clifden

A coastal town full of painted brick buildings and delicious food. It's easy to get lost in the history of this little town with old churches, and small family owned shops. Don't be deceived by it's size because this small little town has big personality. Located on the water and the sweetest lil stop you'll make while visiting the County of Galway. A must!!!

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Restaurants

Guys Bar - located right on Main Street. We would visit this little pub almost every night to enjoy a glass of wine and their Guys Burger, named after the owner. Look no further than this "guy", (pardon the pun), on the menu - its loaded with goodness! And their seafood specials are to die for! The town is small so we found ourselves visiting quite often.

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Accommodations  

Sunnybank Lodge - this was one of the cutest joints we've ever stayed in! It's a family owned vacation rental. (Owned by Guy's family- Ha! We told it was a small town) They have a few separate properties but we stayed in their townhouse lodge and the accommodations were amazing! It was very close to town and we enjoyed every minute of our stay! How cute is this quaint townhouse. The charm was perfection!

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Skellig Michael (day trip)

In County Kerry, is one of the most magical places on Earth. So magical that Mr. J.J. Abrams himself decided to have this Island be the backdrop of the last scene in The Force Awakens (Yes, we're a Star Wars family.) The wonky boat ride, the wet hillside and the 600+ step hike up are all worth it. Around 600AD Skellig Michael became a haven for many Catholics whose beliefs and rights were being suppressed and soon became the home to one of the earliest monastic settlements in Ireland.

The monks that resided here led simple lives and lived in stone, beehive shaped huts. They would descend the 670 steps every morning and fish for the morning's breakfast and the would spend the rest of the day praying, tending to their gardens and studying. Today you can visit this Island, by boat, only during the dry season, hike the steps and explore these huts. The most beautiful hike, hillsides and views you will ever see. The bird life is quite exciting too, with real life puffins! Eek! This is a must if you EVER find yourself in Ireland. A real hidden gem.

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Dublin (DUH…)

Another amazing town that we loved visiting in Ireland was Dublin, the capital of the Republic of Ireland. Not a hidden gem, but still a must! Most will fly into Dublin and while you're there you may find yourself wrapped up in the tourist traps, but it won't disappoint and well worth it.

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Sites

The Old Library - also known as the most beautiful library in the world. It's filled with story high oak bookshelves (LOVE), a beautiful arched ceiling design and thousands of old novels. 

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Georgian Court - Known for its colorful doors, this little collection of homes is a must see in Dublin. Yellow, blue, red… there's certainly no shortage of color here! These streets will make for the perfect Instagram shot. We promise!

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Guinness Storehouse - for all you beer lovers this is the spot for you, the Guinness Storehouse! I mean come on, this is what your really going to Ireland for, right? Learn to pour a proper Guinness, watch the beer making process or a visit just to say you visited. You wont be upset about it, I promise. Touristy, but worth the stop.

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Restaurants

The Temple Bar - this bar is an iconic site in Dublin and if you haven't been here, you haven't been to Dublin at all. It's a busy spot all day, but definitely worth the visit. In fact although it's the name of an actual bar, the Temple Bar is also a section of Dublin consisting of pubs, galleries and shops. For all you night owls this is the spot for you! Our suggestion: start at The Temple Bar! You're on your own after that!

Happy St. Patrick's day friends! Cheers to you and we do wish you find yourselves on the cliffs of Ireland one of these days!

Love, The Sisters

Interview- Stephany Erlbeck of BODY ROK

This week we are interviewing one of our newest clients, Stephany with BODY ROK. BODY ROK has become on of our favorite workouts in the last few months! It is an experience that sculpts your body and elevates your metabolism levels. It involves a three-stage lighting system that guides you through the workout. There is currently one studio in San Diego, however, soon there will be a second location in the One Paseo development in Del Mar designed by yours truly!

With the NEW YEAR, and the NEW YOU we wanted to take a moment to interview the amazing woman behind it all! Stephany is so inspiring and we are excited to share her story with you! She explains her journey as a business owner, single mom and health guru! 

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How did you come to own a BODY ROK Studio?

I started my career in finance, but always had a passion for health, fitness and fashion. Early on, I had an entrepreneurial spirit and in my spare time I designed clothes, jewelry, developed plant-based recipes and taught group fitness classes. After years in the finance world, I decided to pursue my passion for fitness by opening BODY ROK in Encinitas, California – a Pilates and spin studio that has transformed the way people work out. I was good friends with the founders of BODY ROK and their goal was to expand BODY ROK in San Francisco and other larger cities and I had agreed to franchise and grow BODY ROK in San Diego. I also added a small boutique to the studio with a selection of active wear brands that are a unique studio to street wear collection which will be available at the One Paseo location as well. We have some very cool brands such as Noli Yoga, Niyamasol, Alo Yoga, Spiritual Gangster, Goldsheep, Track & Bliss, and many other lines that you don’t often find elsewhere.

I’ve lived in North County for nearly 20 years where I have influenced a large following of clients and friends to transform their lives through fitness, nutrition and healthy lifestyle. 

Can you explain the BODY ROK workout for those who aren't familiar?

The workout at BODY ROK is a pilates inspired, 40-50 minute, full body, strength training group class on the custom BODY ROK reformer. Each challenging class ROKs your body with a curated playlist, inspiration, motivation and the best instructors in San Diego that will help you strengthen, tone & build lean muscle. What makes this workout so special is that there is nothing else like it. The machine allows you to target smaller muscles that help build strength, lean definition and a youthful body. Because you are on a moving/spring based machine, you literally have to engage your core the entire workout and so you work those abs and obliques even when you are doing leg and upper body exercise.  People see huge results and that is what keeps people coming back! Our teaching pros guide you every step of the way with personalized attention throughout your 40-50 minute class.  

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How often do you workout?

I typically take a BODY ROK class almost every day. I love the workout and the great thing about it is that you don’t get bored with it. All of our teachers come up with their own routines everyday – so unlike some group classes where they are stuck teaching the same routines for weeks or months – every day is a different routine. Plus… no other workout works as well for me, so I try to get in a BODY ROK workout 5 to 6 times a week. When I’m not working out at BODY ROK, I like to do yoga at CorePower Yoga or Yoga Six! It's the best combination for a long and lean look to your body.

Do your kids workout with you?

Yes! My kids are all really into working out and love taking classes at the studio too. I think because they grew up around it and were exposed to it at an early age, they all are really great at pilates, spin and yoga and it’s something we all do together! I think it’s great to start kids at an early age appreciating working out and finding fun group classes that make them feel good about themselves but are also fun. It’s a lifelong gift!

How do you keep a balanced lifestyle and daily routine?

It’s not always easy. Being a single mom of 4 and a business owner, I have to be really mindful of my time and the things I choose to put my energy into.

I find that if I start my day with my typical morning routine, I tend to accomplish more. I get up and do 10 minutes of meditation. Then I write down 5 things that I absolutely, non-negotiable have to complete that day, 1 thing that I have been putting off and 1 thing that I will do for myself. Then I drink 16 ounces of lemon water, followed by 16 ounces of celery juice 30 minutes later. Then I have an all fruit smoothie for breakfast. I usually go to BODY ROK in the morning and take a class. When I stick to that routine, I feel like I have set myself up physically and mentally to be efficient, get a lot of things done and also do something for myself every day!

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What motivates you?

I lost my husband 5 years ago to a heart attack and was left to raise my 4 kids on my own. THAT is what motivates me. It has been my mission to live my life in a way that shows my children, and other people that have had adversity or tragedy, that you can find strength to overcome difficulty and still have a beautiful life. I find so much motivation in watching and helping other people finding their strength and being the light for other people.

How do you challenge yourself and those around you?

There are always improvements you can make in yourself and how you live. Every month I pick one fear or limiting idea I have about myself and I attack it by going outside my comfort zone. I push myself to confront those limiting ideas or things that I’m not exactly pleased about and I try to make little changes every week. It doesn’t have to be big/huge things. For example, I don’t love cardio exercise so one month, I really focused on trying to mix up my exercise routine. Another month, I focused on my lack of organization and my propensity to put things off until the last minute. This month, I’ve focused on trying to reconnect with friends because it’s easy for me to get lost in my busy schedule with my kids and work and become a hermit!! I try to challenge others around me by leading by example. I encourage my clients and friends to challenge themselves when it comes to fitness and nutrition. For example, at the studio, we are going to do a 28 day challenge:

No animal products.

No chips or fries.

No soda.

No cakes or donuts.

No white bread.

No ice cream.

No candy.

No alcohol.

No fast food.

No cookies.

No fried food.

People love a little competition – so why not make it healthy.

What is your astrological sign?

Gemini – and I am soooo Gemini lol. My youngest recently told one of my friends that “my mom is like Buddha and then sometimes she is the devil.”

What is your favorite vegan recipe?

I have so many but one of my kids favorites is my banana, oatmeal, chocolate chip cookies:

3 ripe bananas

1 tsp vanilla extract

¼ cup barely warm coconut oil

2 cups rolled oats

2/3 cup almond flour

1/3 cup shredded and unsweetened coconut

½ cinnamon

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tsp baking powder

6-7 oz vegan choc chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large bowl combine the bananas, vanilla and oil. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the oats, almond meal, shredded coconut, cinnamon and salt and baking powder. Add dry to wet ingredients and stir until combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Make dough into balls - 2 teaspoons in size and put on parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-14 minutes. 

Any New Years Resolutions?

My New Years resolutions for this year are:

Hydration! - It’s easy to get so busy that you don’t have time to drink enough water! That’s why I’ve switched up my morning routine to include 16 ounces of lemon water, 16 ounces of celery juice and 16 ounces fruit smoothie. Hydration is the absolute key to good/youthful/glowy skin, healthy hair, relief of muscle pain/fatigue and better energy.

More Yoga and stretching.

More mediation.

Be more social. - I’ve gotten complacent and have used my busy schedule with kids and work as an excuse not to do things! 

Look for BODY ROK San Diego location #3! - I really would like to open another one in the Little Italy area of San Diego. I'm putting it out into the universe!

What do you want to be known for?

I want to be known as someone that lived with compassion and that helped people live healthier and happier lives. I want to help people feel good about themselves and feel healthy and youthful. The power to do that is in eating more plant based, avoiding the use of toxic products, low impact strength training and movement, meditation and limiting medications. I try to lead by example always and hope this is how I am remembered.

  

Coffee or Tea – Tea

Lipstick or Chapstick – Chapstick

Heels or Flats – Flats

Red Wine or White Wine – Vodka (LOL)

Beach or Mountains – Beach

Hike or Stroll – Hike

Jeans or Skirt – Jeans

Less or More – Less things… More love!

Follow Stephany on social media at @stephsfitculture, where she shares more of her everyday nutritional routines, beauty regiments and lifestyle content!

Stephany was kind enough to give us a promo code for you guys to get your first class at BODY ROK free! See below! 

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Valentines Day 2019 Gift Guide
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1) Hoop Earrings - The perfect little hoops for any occasion! 

2) Vegan Lipstick - Pucker up! You can't go wrong with this gift, especially if your name is Bianca because that's the name of this amazing lip color!

3) Cheetah Clutch - You'll never leave the house without this sexy little number!

4) Leaf Supply - Keep your beautiful house plants happy with this plant supply guide! Perfect for all plant lovers!

5) Red Leopard iPhone Case - You won't loose your phone with this baby!

6) Ryder Tote - The perfect tote for any getaway! 

7) Dream Stone Necklace - Well aren't you dreamy! Lets face it they say… diamonds are a girls best friend. And whoever "they" are, they're completely right! Number one gift rule:  jewelry is always a good idea!

8) Communal Coffee Gift Card - You can NOT go wrong with a coffee gift card, especially to this cute cafe! 

9) Plants - One can never have enough plants! A little air-plant is the perfect gift! All it needs a little water, sunshine and love!

Love, The Sisters

An Interview with our General Contractor

You're sitting in your kitchen and the dated cabinets that are staring back at you are due for a little makeover. Maybe even new hardware and a new countertop. All of a sudden inspiration hits and visions of a beautiful new kitchen floods your mind! But where to start… well we've got all the answers right here!

We get asked questions all the time about where to start with new construction. Questions like, who should I talk to, what should I do first, can I afford a remodel? Well we've gone straight to the source, this week we sat down with our long time friend and partner Brian, a professional General Contractor and owner of Fassino Construction. He's helped us with a lot of our projects and most recently our project Modern Farmhouse. If you're starting construction and don't know where to start or maybe just have some questions, KEEP READING!

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How did you get into construction?

My love for architecture and building started when I was 5 years old, building “homes” in the sand box for my younger brothers. Then, around the age of 9 I discover Frank Lloyd Wright and was immediately hooked on his incredible designs, I ordered books on this work while still in grade school. After college, I went to work for several large international architectural engineering companies, but after 20 plus years working for corporate America I decided if I was going to work 7 days a week, I would prefer being my own boss. I figured there is nobody better I would rather work for than myself! 

I started Fassino Construction 16 years ago with the idea that I would build my own designs. Having my own company allowed me to fulfill my craving for touching every piece of the project from conception through turning the keys over to the owners.

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What's your specialty?

At Fassino Construction we like to say, we specialize in doing it right with extreme attention to detail and precision. As for our construction specialty, we specialize in design-builds (new home construction), full home remodels, additions, kitchen and bathroom remodels, tenant improvements/light commercial and every now and then a doggie door. Because we love what we do we don’t put boundaries on the type of work we will do, we love a good challenge!

What do you recommend the client do before starting a construction job? Any specific steps to take?

Have a clear understanding of goals.

Prioritize a list of must haves and a wish list if budget permits. 

Set a budget.

Research design ideas. Sites like Houzz, Pinterest and home improvement programs are great for ideas. 

When it comes to do doing a remodel or building a new house, check with your local planning department first or hire a specialist to do the research for you, they understand all the different departments and agencies that will have jurisdiction over your project. Even with a kitchen or bathroom remodel there are very specific code requirements, it is important to design to those requirements from the start. Working with an interior designer, architect, engineer, and general contractor from the start will not only help with understanding construction requirements but also help with related construction costs. 

Keep in mind, detail is your friend, the more you provide the contractor the better chance you will have of achieving or exceeding expectations and staying on budget. It also helps everybody involved to have the same goals. 

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Any advice on developing a budget for construction cost? How do you know if you can afford a remodel or not?

A general contractor is one of your best sources for helping you develop a budget and in helping you understand what you can afford to do and how to place value on the important aspects of the project.

Too often, the general contractor is placed at the end of the cycle after the project has been designed and permitted, with the idea the owner can find a contractor that will meet their budget price. This is where the problem lies. You start looking for a contractor that tells you what you want to hear and not necessarily reality. Eventually, you will find THE contractor, however that doesn’t mean it is a good thing, it could be the start of a horror story. By focusing on cost, you start placing less weight on quality and ability to perform.   

A better approach would be to start working with a general contractor from the beginning, one that has a strong understanding for the meaning of “Value Engineering”, a solutions provider. This is critical for developing a budget for success. It also allows for complete transparency, setting goals and establishing an agreement with the contractor on a fair value for his or her Project Management services. Not only that but developing a good relationship with your contractor early on also creates a sense of ownership and pride for the contractor. They are far more likely to go above and beyond knowing they were part of the process from the beginning. It also creates mutual trust, a win-win for everyone.  

What to avoid doing or suggestions to help make living through a remodel easier?

Develop a construction plan with your contractor for phasing of work and house rule, such as, hours of work, a list of workers and their roles, where workers can park, and where materials can be stored. These simple steps will greatly help in reducing disruption in your home and life. 

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When a client gets two bids and they are comparable in price? What should they then base their decision on?

Before selecting a contractor, make sure the contractor is licensed, bonded and insured. All General Contractors are required by California law to be licensed, bonded and insured.  

Getting multiple bids is a good idea as long as you provide the contractors with a very detailed scope of work. Without that, trying to compare apples to apples will be impossible. Plus, a bid doesn’t tell you equally important details such as reliability, abilities, and quality of work. Ask your contractor for references. Even better ask to see some of their past project work.

Another thing as a licensed General Contractor the State of California requires is very specific verbiage in our contracts, even specific font types and text sizes. If a bid doesn’t have that, buyer beware. A contract should spell out in detail exactly what is included in the scope of work and what is not. It should match at minimum in detail the scope of work provided.

Do you folks develop the schedule or the client? Can you give any tips or thoughts on this?

As the general contractor, we will develop the schedule with input from our clients. As for tips or thoughts…good communication is critical for setting a realistic and achievable schedule.

Any tips on staying on schedule?

Staying on schedule starts long before the project work starts. Spending time on the details during the planning stages of the project by identifying products and materials will dramatically help stay on schedule. It allows for products and materials with long order lead times to be ordered in advance and made available for installation when needed versus having to wait for them to arrive.  

Spending the time on details will also help reduce the chances for costly Change Orders. 

Tips on staying on budget?

Again, planning, details, and having all the right people on board from the start greatly helps with staying on budget. It is common for clients to hold back on the amount they can spend with hopes it will control the project bid cost, which it may, but usually it just reduces the scope of the project or eliminates options or opportunities. If you want to get the best bang for your buck it is best if the people helping design and plan your project have a clear understanding of the true budget available to work with. 

Tips on how the client can relay their ideas to you?

Put everything on the table from the very beginning. Knowing what your goals are will help us in developing a strategy throughout the project and don’t be afraid to talk about new ideas and changes you want as you see the project progress forward. It is very common to have new ideas during construction. I always say, a great project evolves during the building process. People just see things differently once work has begun versus how they imagined it or compared to the project on paper. The important part is addressing these changes as early in the process as possible. This helps with controlling cost and staying on schedule. 

Who typically buys the materials when building?

The Contractor and here is why. Gone are the days of building whatever you want as construction has become very sophisticated from just 10 - 15 years ago, especially with all the fires in recent years, along with very strict energy building codes. Construction today, requires very specific building products, products that meet these new code requirements. It is also not one size fits all anymore. For example, a different fire code requirement can apply on the same street depending if a house backs up to open space or another house or street. Contractors today, are in a lot of ways like doctors and teachers. They require continual education to keep up with all the new regulation and certification requirements.  Contractors also have suppliers that carry these specialty items, items that are not found in the big box stores, many of which only sell to licensed contractors.

As far as materials like tile, lighting, and plumbing fixtures, these items are either purchased by the contractor, designer, or customer. With today’s strict building codes, it is important that the customer consult with an expert who has knowledge of these code requirements. For example, today’s electrical codes require a certain type of motion switch, lighting fixture, and venting in bathrooms while plumbing codes requires lower water usage toilets and shower heads. Consulting with an expert can save the customer money and avoid getting stuck with materials and fixtures that cannot be installed due to these code requirements. 

Describe the value of having an interior designer on board as part of the team?

Not only is it a great idea, it is a smart idea, to have an interior designer as part of the team. They bring a wealth of knowledge, a walking product encyclopedia so to speak, with an understanding of what the current trends are and products available. Interior designers also help keep the client focused on the important issues, things that can cause construction delays. 

Now, you want to drive yourself crazy let’s talk about paint colors. You think white is white and black is black, think again. There are thousands of whites and blacks to choose from, each having just of enough in color similarities as the other and just enough differences to drive you crazy trying to pick the perfect color. This is where your interior designer is invaluable, if for your own sanity alone. They have an incredible sense for which color(s) pulls all the other pieces in the room together to create a seamless bond.

People tend to get bogged down and struggle over a single item not seeing the whole picture. An interior designer is skilled at seeing the whole picture and how each piece compliments the others creating a cohesive look that is timeless. Simply put, they just know how to make a space make you feel good.

Having an interior designer and contractor part of your project from the start just makes sense, they are the perfect flavor combination that makes a project spectacular and successful!

Now, how do you feel about that new kitchen remodel? A little more comfortable, a little more excited? When you're ready to get the ball rolling, we're here to help! Not only will we help you pick the perfect white paint color, but we'll create a beautiful new space for you and your family to enjoy every day! No more dated cabinets, hardware or countertops…

Love, The Sisters