Friday, May 31, 2013

Granite shopping galore!

The design profession is quite cyclical; at one point in time I will be working on bedrooms, tons of bedrooms.  Then it will change to something like remodels and I'll have several clients looking to revamp their kitchens and baths.

Recently, I have been working on more new construction projects than any other.  And they all seem to be moving at the same pace which is both wonderful and exhausting.  Great because I can meet reps at one place and knock out selections for several clients in a matter of hours.

So, here are some highlights for granite and marble selections I did for three clients... all in one day!

Beautiful slab that stopped me dead in my tracks! It is an amazing combination of creams, blacks, caramels, and a beautiful deep copper color.

Here's a closeup of the slab with my backsplash selections.  "Taupe" will find itself in a beautiful kitchen :)

"Cedar Brown"
Cedar Brown is actually a marble, which is a softer, more porous stone but has a beauty that is so difficult to find in any other product.  It's smooth and milky looking; it's beautiful in it's simplicity. Perfect for a master bathroom which is what this lucky slab will be used for. 

If anyone doubted the existence of God, I would direct them to "Cosmos." This stone is breathtaking and has been one of my favorites since I ever set eyes on it.  It is am amazing foray of blacks, caramels, silver mica flecs, and deep red garnets splashed throughout. "Cosmos" makes a statement all by itself, it doesn't need a wing-man!

"Butterfly Beige"
Butterfly beige is a very economical slab (especially compared to the Cosmos) but it's grays, beiges, and red garnets make it a great choice for secondary spaces. It is quite neutral and goes with a number of different colors and tile combinations. 

"Ivory Travertine"
Yes- you can purchase slabs of travertine for countertops. It's very similar in composition to marble so it has the same smooth rippling.  Another fabulous choice for a bathroom. 

"Aspen White"
An exciting find at the end of my long day... aspen white is much prettier in person than this picture depicts. It has just a hint of gray/light blue swirling around a combination of creams and blacks. 

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Everyone loves a comfy bed!

Everyone enjoys a comfy, cozy, fluffy bed.  Even the felines!  While putting together a client's guest room bed, her cute little calico cat jumped in and snuggled up between the sheets. 
What better accessory to a French themed room, than a calico cat.  The pillows were custom made with navy blue velvet accents and the beige and white duvet cover adds a bit of whimsy to the room.  Little did the clients realize that they had been collecting Paris themed items for years and now they have the perfect guest suite to show off all of their items :)

Monday, May 27, 2013

Watching the tile come together

I use the computer a lot for my job.... a lot!  Every remodel requires to-scale drawings, product information, images, presentations, etc. Every tile design I create, is drawn to-scale for clients to see before giving the go-ahead. And it's quite common to walk onto a job site during the tiling phase and see my drawings taped up on a wall and the tile setter following the designs.

Here's a recent project where you can see the tiling is almost finished!

The simple travertine backsplash coordinates with any style/color and lets the beautiful cabinetry really shine in this kitchen.  The client called herself the 'anti-decorator' and wanted really clean design throughout her new home.

The same simple design was carried into the wine room/butler's pantry. 

There are three secondary bathrooms in this home; one on the first floor and two on the second floor. The one on the first floor got it's own special design and materials to give it a little personal flair.

The two bathrooms on the second floor are finished with the same materials, but they are installed and accented differently.  This unifies the spaces but also gives them a little individual personality.  

Walking into the master bathroom, the tub is easily the central focus of the space.  Tiling the walls not only will protect them from water splashes, but also creates a beautiful backdrop to the space.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Dino love!

Maybe because my niece and nephew are obsessed with dinosaurs lately, but I've become a little obsessed with dinosaurs lately!  I'm still trying to figure out how to incorporate dinosaurs into my next design project.....

Anyway, everyone needs some dino love!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

How to Buy a Couch: Part 3

And for the FINALE!


"There are different ways to construct the seat cushions.  Most online stores have poly wrap around them. These will be more firm and will retain their shape well. If you like softer construction - you'll have to upgrade and look at a more custom furniture line.  

 It's a personal preference.  What is great about design today is that even if you have a contemporary sofa - you don't have to have a contemporary space.  And vice versa. You can mix and match to create a very personal and collected look.  

Custom doesn't always mean extravagantly priced. There are a few places around that you can choose style/fabric/cushion comfort/frame color and not break the bank.  Of course, people typically like the extras and it will cost a little more than buying something off the floor. However, at least you're getting something you really like and enjoy." Erika Barczak

Hope this helps when buying your next sofa!
 - Erin

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How to buy a Couch: Part 2

Okay so from last week we know that quality matters in buying a couch (or any type of furniture). So what else do we need to know about buying a sofa?


"Sofas comes in a few different sizes and different depths. Different sofa sizes will affect comfort.  I'd really suggest hopping into a store one day and test out a few different sofa styles and sizes for this reason. 
Semi Custom House Project

Also, take measurements of your space and determine the best size - take newspaper and layout one of these sofa sizes and see how it would feel, how much space you have around it, etc.  It is really easy for people to purchase items that are too large because they look really small in a showroom that has really tall ceilings and expertly designed walking paths


Are you going to be eating/drinking on your sofa?  Are you going to vacuum it regularly?" - Erika Barcak

Ranch Office Project
Now keep reading because next time we have the final pieces to the puzzle.

Home Addition Project
 - Erin

Sunday, May 19, 2013

How to Buy a Couch

We all get to a certain age where we decide that we are going to buy new furniture instead of getting hand me downs from family or friends...I have not hit that point yet, just FYI.

Awesome Apartment Model Project
Anyways, how do you go about buying something that you have never shopped for before. I mean most people aren't going couch shopping everyday. What do you look for? Do you want firm or soft? Down or foam? Light or dark color? These are a lot of questions, and you have to know the answer or you will be in a 10+ year relationship with furniture you hate!
Awesome Apartment Model Project

Well hopefully these few tips and tricks over the next few days from Erika will help you out.


Clubhouse Re-do
"One of the things I did with a client that I think really helped was furniture shopping with him one afternoon. I made him sit in different quality sofas and chairs to be able to feel the difference.  You get what you pay for and price really does reflect quality and comfort.

Custom Home Project
I also showed him the difference between style, depth, cushion fill, fabric, leather, details like nailtrim, tufting, etc. and he was able to figure out what he liked and what he didn't.  If you're going to be spending this kind of money - you don't want a sofa that is really uncomfortable or hard to maintain and both of those qualities are different for every person...." Erika Barczak
 - Erin

Friday, May 17, 2013

By Design's New Website!

This week saw an exciting change here at By Design Interiors. We had the launch of our new and improved website, thanks to our new Marketing Manager, Mrs. Jamie Jones.

The new website looks great and has a ton of pictures for potential clients to look at for inspiration and show off how awesome all of our designers are. We are all really excited to share it with everyone!

You can check out our revamped website at

 - Erin

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Fake or Real...I can't tell :)

I love floral arrangements! Especially real ones. Love, Love, Love! However, I'm allergic to most flowers, grasses, and trees. Yay :/

Anyways,  we have a great floral design vendor, For All Occasions, we love to use on projects. They make some of the best fauxand real florals you've ever seen. I mean you really can't tell the difference until you touch them... and even then it's questionable.

Recently, we worked with a client who has an extensive collection of crystal vases, candlesticks, champagne flutes, etc.  To highlight some pieces, Erika arranged several of the client's most beautiful pieces on the dining table and had several custom floral arrangements, ranging from big to small (and so cute) to go in the collection. Check out these great additions to the project.
Dining Table Center Piece
Dining Table Console
Dining Table Accent

Entry floral and painting
The arrangements are made just like wedding bouquets, the stems are wrapped in leaves.  So the arrangements are not permanently living in the vases, they can be moved around from vase to vase and the entire scheme can be changed out seasonally!

 - Erin

Friday, May 10, 2013

The Perfect Looking Bed - Tips and Tricks

 So you know those beds you see in ads and they just look...perfect. So comfy and fluffy, that you just want to curl up in it and fall asleep. But so often people's beds at home do not look like those awesome ones in the ads. So how do you accomplish this look? With these tips and tricks you will be well on your way to a more beautiful bed.
Semi Custom House Project - Master Bedroom

1) "For me I would say the "perfect bed" would be a King size bed with 3 overstuffed custom box pillows, 2 custom king shams and a rectangular pillow to place in the front (6 decorative pillows total). I would chose a duvet (so comfy!) with a coverlet beneath the duvet for the nights you don't want as heavy of a top on your bed." - Tamara Cunningham
Townhouse Project - Master Bedroom

2) "I prefer a duvet over a comforter - it makes it easier to change the look (like for holidays or just for fun) and to clean it (comforters a lot of times has to go to a cleaners because of their bulk)." - Tzeitel Petrzelka

Apartment Model Project - Master Bedroom
3) "Use a neutral coverlet/duvet and then bring in pops of color with pillows/throw. Also, steam or iron your sheets.  Think about how good it feels to crawl into a nice hotel's bed; those crispy sheets are super smooth. Create that luxury at home!And finally, don't like bedskirts? Have a 'headband' made for your boxspring. It can be out of a fabric that coordinates with the bedroom and nicely slips over the boxspring to make it look much prettier." Erika Barczak

Custom Home Project - Master Bedroom (Photo by B-Rad Studios)
I hope these tips will help you out the next time you decide to do a bed makeover.

 - Erin

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's probably about time you get to see my living room....

Last November, my roomie and I decided we were going to stay in our current place for another year. Since then, we have been trying our best to spruce up our place. Since we're young and just getting our professions going, our place is full of a bunch of stuff from every which place. 

We've got some hand-me-downs, some new stuff, some oops stuff from my work, some art pieces from friends, and some oh-I've-got-to-have-that! stuff :)

But I think it's coming together well and I think we're both enjoying it :)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Rodeo 2013

Depending on how long you've been following Decrospective, you may recognize some of these guys from previous posts!  (click here.....)

But these familiar faces, Jared and Margaret from the cruise wedding took a trip to Houston in March to experience the Rodeo.... and to visit Evan and I.  (Mostly to visit Evan and I :)

Here are some of the highlights....
Margaret flew in during some nasty thunder storms and her flight was continually delayed. Finally - around 9pm  we were able to pick her up!
The morning before the rodeo, we went to the Karbach Brewery Tour. The brewery is just down the street from my place.  Several times throughout the year, they throw open their large garage-like doors, set up a bunch of picnic tables, bring in some food trucks, and invite the public in for tours and tasting! It was one of the coolest things I've done in Houston!

I was given these extraordinary seats by one of my vendors.  If you don't know how the rodeo goes.... each night for three weeks there are a series of rodeo events (bull riding, calf roping, muttin bustin, etc.) followed by a concert.  The concerts have become pretty awesome as some of the biggest names in the music industry come to play.  This night, we were able to see the Band Perry.

Hanging out at the rodeo!

Saying goodbye is never fun... but I don't think the four of us ever stopped laughing during the entire weekend!

Thanks for the awesome visit.  I am holding everyone to their word that it is going to become an annual thing!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Nutella Pastries!

It's no surprise that I love Nutella.  Try these guys with a cup of coffee or cold glass of milk for breakfast or snack! These pastries surely won't disappoint :)

Take some puff pastry dough or croissant roll dough and spread with a layer of Nutella.

 Fill half with mini marshmallows, fold and pinch together into a pastry.

 Brush tops with egg wash (egg white + teaspoon of water) and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 min. 

 I might not have done the best job at pinching the edges together.  Some of the melted marshmallow and Nutella oozed out of my pastry.

But that didn't stop me from enjoying it!! :)