A hub for all things to do with design, furniture painting, photography, style, event planning [and some foodie bits for good measure].  

House Tour: Bright and Colorful Great Room

In taking you through my house, I realized I forgot a crucial part of the tour! I took you into my kitchen, but neglected to note the adjoining space which is easily the most used room by the entire family [dogs and cats included]. Adding on a great room was the biggest [and best!] transformation to the house.

I tried to create an open, inviting space that worked in conjunction with the kitchen. Since I spend so much time cooking and photographing food, it's nice to have a spot where I can interact with anyone else at home, bet it family or friends [but again, mostly I hang out with a pair of dogs and cats...].

I never really used my original dining room [now the 'piano room'] for entertaining or serving food, so integrating a dining space was a real treat for me.  I designed it to have built in banquettes, since storage is top dog in this house. I've always loved the idea of a banquette, and though it's not quite done [one day I'd like to have extra plush cushions made for the ultimate in comfort!], it's a spot all of us enjoy and get so much use out of.

I styled the table simply with some vases from West Elm [love the post Christmas sales!], another spot of yellow [in the wiley craspedia], and candles for good measure.

Since I don't have fancy custom cushions, I opted for a smattering of pillows that I change out periodically, mostly based on my mood.  My dog pillow is naturally a staple in this house!

A couple years back I painted our entertainment center, since before it was quite dark and too traditional for my taste.  I love how the bright and light teal-blue stands out in the room.

I never quite know how to style the top of the entertainment center.  Since our ceilings are so tall, it really requires something up there, otherwise it feels unbalanced.  I recently acquired a couple new prints, and so I leaned those up there alongside my vintage printers drawer.  A few other colorful bits, glass containers, and dried eucalyptus complete the set.

My one gripe with this piece is I'm not a massive fan of cluttering bookcases with lots of objects.  I certainly have enough to load them up, but it's honestly distracting to have too much going around the TV, so for now, I keep things simple with random white objects.  I like the mixture of animals and pottery, and keeping the color palette monotone keeps things clean and uncluttered to the eye.

My Eames-esque [I believe it's made by Plyrcraft] chair is a beloved find of mine [the AJC article discusses this!], and I moved it here from my studio for the photoshoot.  I love having it here, so it's sticking around. 

I've spend years hemming and hawing about what to place above the sliding french doors, and finally after our recent trip to Hawaii, I picked up a trio of vintage inspired prints depicting scenes of Maui.  I hung them up for the photo shoot, but I'm so glad to have this once unused space filled with something that brings me happy memories of my second home [I mean, I don't have a 'home home' in Maui, but Hawaii will always feel like home!].

My favorite vignette in the whole house is my custom built in bookcase.  I love seeing the original brick wall from where the house once ended, and it's really just the perfect spot to house my colorful collection of books and objects. Some have asked, NO I didn't buy all these books based on their colors! You would be surprised to find when you try and organize your own collection of books in color order, you'll quickly find you too have a rainbow of books!  I hope that gives you a bit of a taste of one of the more colorful parts of my home.  Back to bedrooms and other parts of the house later in the week!

House Tour: Creating a Cozy and Functional Den

Continuing on the house tour, I'll bring you to a room that wasn't featured in the AJC article, but is still a favorite of mine! Back in December, I had one of those moments where I made an executive decision to single handedly move around quite a bit of furniture. I needed and wanted a change, and so change I did. This room, which used to be our guest room, in hours transformed into a den/exercise room.  Here’s what the guest room used to look like: One Guest Room, Two Ways.  Here’s an even older iteration of the room, back when it was my bedroom, pre-renovation: Throwback Thursday: Before & After Bedroom Transformation.  These days, the room looks a bit more like this:

When my mom and I are both out of the house, the dogs spend their time in this room.  Granted, we turn this plush, down sofa into their ‘bed’ by covering it up with a big quilt, but basically, it’s our dogs’ room. Since I’ve readjusted the layout of this space, I’ve really wanted to make better use of this room.

It’s the perfect spot to sit at the desk and quietly work [if I close off the room from my hoard of pets of course!]. 

I also like to grab my iPad and catch up on Netflix while having a go at the elliptical.  Truthfully, I’m not utilizing this space as much as I’d like, but it’s far more functional for us as a family than it was before. 

The art in this space is just a hodgepodge of different pieces I grabbed from around the house.  Some are thrift store finds, others are watercolors or acrylic paintings my aunt has painted over the years.  I love having a mix of mediums, textures and sizes of art on gallery walls and hung up around a room.  It allows the eye to take it all in as a whole, and then read into things a bit more once you give it a proper look.

This room still has an attached bathroom and is the one we send anyone visiting the house over to.  Though it’s not used often, I still wanted to tie it into its adjoining space. I did that by adding this West Elm shower curtain [one we got on clearance years ago, and completely forgot about!]. 

I was tempted to paint over the avocado green walls in this room [the paint color is actually called Retro Avocado by Behr!], but by running with the color scheme, and bringing in other pieces that tied it in, the room feels cohesive, stylish and yet serves as a functional in a variety of ways!  Next up is my mom's bedroom [and I ADORE the colors in this space!].

House Tour: Adding Vintage & Colorful Touches to a Classic Kitchen

The love I have for my kitchen knows no bounds.  I spend ALL my time in here [and happily so!].  Between cooking [if you don’t know me, I’m a fairly avid cook and foodie!], working on my computer, hanging out with the dogs or chatting with friends, my life gravitates to this room. 

The kitchen didn’t require much styling for the AJC photoshoot, but as I write this post, I'm recalling all the little things I did to pull this space together. I decided to purchase a new pair of counter stools for the peninsula, and it was easily the best purchase I’ve made in a while! These chairs have a great mid century modern flair, and were a steal at around $200 for the pair.  They’re available in a variety of colors, but I opted for yellow since I wanted there to be a nice punch of color in this neutral space.

Following my new accent color, I injected hits of yellow in different parts of the room for the photoshoot. I didn’t have to purchase anything new, since if I root around long enough, I’ll find things that fit my styling bill.  

A yellow vase [the origins of which are completely unknown to me] paired with a crimson paper flower brightens up this vignette.

Adding in color can sometimes be found in unconventional places. The yellow from the orange juice I poured into a Bormioli Rocco carafe adds that same warm yellow to this spot, along with a tiny abstract oil painting [done by my aunt Sandra Torrijos].

This wall is one of my favorites in the entire house. For me, it’s the perfect collection of functional items and vintage touches [and generally pretty things!]. A vintage engineer’s shelf [I’m guessing this from the labels on it, but really don’t know for sure!] houses a collection of wooden spoons and ceramics, along with some air plants and succulents.

Of course, a bit more yellow finds it’s way on this wall, in the shape of vintage plates with old cars on it [I had these lying around, and they never really had a home until this shoot!]. I also added a new favorite print from Rifle Paper Co.  It’s actually a sweet thing to look at while washing my hands at the sink. A vintage hook from my last trip to Germany provides a perfect spot to hang a towel.

While the photographer was shooting the rest of the house, I hung out for a bit in the kitchen and had a cup of coffee while paging through a magazine.  I forgot to remove these things when it came time for me to shoot my own photos, but I actually like styling shoots with everyday items. It makes me feel like it’s a truly lived in space. Now, I’m not saying this coffee cup makes this photo come to life, but it reminds me that someone likes to sit in this spot and read.

This side of the kitchen I really didn't style at all.  I just tidied things up a bit and added my favorite tea towel [via Anthropologie]. The star of the shot is really the gorgeous honed marble tile backsplash and my beloved Wolf range. [it's magical!]

This photo gives a nice view of the contrast between the bolder green of the butler's pantry and the light neutral gray of the kitchen.  Though different in color and style, both spaces work well side by side.

This room feels so bright and energized after adding color to the space. At the same time, it's 'blank canvas' of classic, neutral details makes for a lovely place to cook and entertain and live. I'm lucky to have such a wonderful space, and I hope some of my styling tips can help bring some beauty to your kitchen!

Next, I’ll move into the bedrooms of the house, finishing off the first floor! I hope you’re enjoying these posts as much as I do!

House Tour: Styling a Transitional Space

This week, we're now entering a room that’s easily forgotten in most homes. Since I’ve lived here, this room has taken on a few different roles: dining room, living room, and now our piano room!

I can’t find any photos of the space as it was when I first moved in and used it as a dining space, but I thought I’d include some past posts of this space [make sure to check out the first one- I still can’t believe how drastic a change this space has made since then!].





I go back and forth about the bamboo green walls in this space. This room has been at least four different colors over the last seven years, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it changed again a year from now.  I do have to say though, when looking at photographs of it, I really do love the bright pop of color it gives to this space. I added my favorite fiddle leaf fig to the room to tie in the botanical green of the walls, and it adds a natural softness to the space. 

To bring an extra touch of class to this room, we went for these gorgeous gray silk curtains from West Elm in an extra long length so they billow along the oak floors. Also, have you noticed a very prominent model in these photos? Sweet Watson insisted on being in nearly every photo, and wouldn’t take no for an answer!

Mostly everything else in this space is fairly dark, starting with my mom’s baby grand piano [my expertise ends with Can You Feel The Love Tonight via The Lion King…!]. The piano is absolutely the showstopper in this room, but I find the light and bright green balances the large, dark pieces in the room.

I also opted to paint an abstract triptych for the wall beside the piano to brighten up this space even more.  These paintings aren’t necessarily done yet, I just ran out of time working on this before the shoot!

The blue is meant to mimic the lines found on sheet music.  In the future, I may add some musical notes from a favorite song of mine, or I may just leave these three as is [we’ll see!]. 

Our round table was my original dining table that I first purchased when moving to Atlanta. While I was writing this, someone came over and bought it! So long round table, you’ve treated us well!

I styled the table simply, using our fancy pants Scrabble set, a large plant [via Ikea] and a clock that never tells the right time [because why not confuse everyone who comes over?].

Another cheeky little one who likes to sneak into photos every so often is Maggie! It helps that her gorgeous green eyes are the very same color of the walls in this room! [intentional of course...!]

On the far end wall, I’ve had these picture rails up for years, but periodically, I change out the art and photos, just to mix things up.  For the AJC photoshoot, I opted to add in some Atlanta touches and art, while still keeping some photos in the arrangement. 

I took one of my favorite little side tables and styled it with some cocktail making supplies and a few board games, since this really is the perfect spot to have a drink and play a game with friends.  

 Anytime I’m styling a room for a photo, I try to create a story with the space, and I found this vignette fit the bill beautifully!  I love how the bright turquoise hits your eye agains the taupe gray base wall color. This room has hits of blue in different spots, but the turquoise stands all on its own and just works!

Even though I don’t spend as much time in this room as I’d like, every time I pass through what we refer to as the 'piano room,' it makes me happy and just feels pulled together. Later this week we'll move onto a tiny but thoroughly used space...the pantry!

House Tour: Styling my formal living room for a photoshoot!

I'm finally back! It's been just over two weeks since I've posted on here, easily the longest break I’ve taken on here in years!  First, I took some time off for the holidays. Then, I was thrown a happy little curveball of a photoshoot of my house at the start of January! 2015 ended with my studio being featured in Atlanta Magazine, which is HUGE! Now, I'm starting 2016 with another feature, this time in the Atlanta Journal Constitution [for those of you who don’t live in Atlanta, it’s the big newspaper here, and having my work in the paper another great boon for A Simpler Design! [disclaimer: if I don't mention my overwhelming gratitude for having opportunities like this in every post, know that it's constantly on my mind and something I'll never stop being thankful for!!]

Pictured: West Elm Settee [currently not available, but they seem to bring it back occasionally!], Herman Miller coffee table:  thrift store find of the century! , Room & Board swivel chairs, Pottery Barn rug

Pictured: West Elm Settee [currently not available, but they seem to bring it back occasionally!], Herman Miller coffee table: thrift store find of the century!, Room & Board swivel chairs, Pottery Barn rug

I had a hectic week of prepping my house for the shoot [which made some of my friends laugh since they think the house looks lovely as it is…but I’m a perfectionist, so…]. Having someone come and photograph every space in your home [yes, including bathrooms!], is actually a fantastic impetus for working on that never-ending ‘To Do’ list for your home.  I worked virtually nonstop cleaning, decluttering, organizing, painting, and styling every inch of the house until I ran out of time and just had to be okay with how things were. I haven’t seen the photos taken for the paper just yet, but as soon as the photographer left, I decided to make my way through the entire house and photograph it for myself.  Having everything styled and photo ready gave me a great excuse to add these photos to my portfolio.

Pictured: styling bits from various sources, mostly vintage, but the vase is Steven Allen for West Elm [ mentioned in this post ], and the painting was a gift from my mom a couple years back from  Highland Row Antiques !

Pictured: styling bits from various sources, mostly vintage, but the vase is Steven Allen for West Elm [mentioned in this post], and the painting was a gift from my mom a couple years back from Highland Row Antiques!

I’ll start sharing each space with you here, starting today with the interior entry / formal living room of my home. This room has evolved quite a bit over the years! Here are links to five posts I’ve done on this space [I may have more photos of the room out there, but these were the posts I could find while writing this!]: 

I still can’t believe the walls were such a bold yellow when I first moved in seven years ago!  I clearly still had an affinity for that color palette, only now it can be found in the pretty little mustard settee. Scroll through the photos of the space if you fancy a peek at the details of this room. I may add in some comments on my styling choices later on, but I've already spent ages on this post!  If you want to see the rest of the house, do check out Private Quarters at; my home should be featured on their website starting TOMORROW and in Sunday’s paper! Here's to a great start to 2016!

Pictured: one of my most coveted Craigslist finds is this dresser. The mirror we've had for years and I did a quick coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint on it to tie in with the colors in the space. The styling bits include paintings done by my artist aunt, Sandra, a clock from my mom's childhood home in the Philippines, other vintage bits and a framed David Bowie quote [something I did prior to hearing about his passing, but still as meaningful!

Pictured: one of my most coveted Craigslist finds is this dresser. The mirror we've had for years and I did a quick coat of Annie Sloan chalk paint on it to tie in with the colors in the space. The styling bits include paintings done by my artist aunt, Sandra, a clock from my mom's childhood home in the Philippines, other vintage bits and a framed David Bowie quote [something I did prior to hearing about his passing, but still as meaningful!