Saturday, August 23, 2014

Design Dish with Katie Gavigan

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Happy weekend my friends!

Today I want to share with you one of my favorite San Francisco based designers, Katie Gavigan. I came across her blog and absolutely fell in love with her

style, approach, and overall passion. As a budding designer myself, I think it's incredibly important to network and connect with other designers in your area and so I was beyond excited when Katie agreed to meet with me for coffee so I could pick her brain.

We met at one of my favorite lunch spots in the Hayes Valley neighborhood of San Francisco called Arlequin. This place has fantastic food and an unexpected beautiful garden in the back where you can sit and enjoy a glass of wine and pretend you aren't in a large city for a while. Take a peek...

Isn't it beautiful?! Ok, anyway, back to Katie :) Let's hear what she has to say about being a designer in this beautiful city of ours...

How did your passion for interior design start?

I think it really kicked in when we moved into our place about five years ago. Curling up with a design magazine was always one of my favorite things to do and it never really occurred to me that I could take this passion further. I would help friends with different projects here and there but once I really started getting into decorating my house I realized I was tapping into something--I could get paid for this?! It was a big revelation about 3 years ago and so I took some classes online through the Sheffield School of Art and Design. I then just started reaching out to friends and growing my business. 

What are some of the biggest lessons you've learned as you've developed your business?

I think one of the biggest things I've learned is to trust your gut--realize and believe that you truly do have something to offer. When I was first starting out I kept thinking I wasn't ready, that I needed more practice or training, but in reality I just had to go for it and remember to enjoy the process. 

So when did you start charging for your work, when did you feel ready?

Well, I started charging pretty early on but at first it was a 'portfolio building' rate. That way, even if you are doing work for friends, it maintains that business relationship and credibility. Then eventually over time I started increasing my rate as I gained more and more experience. 

Katie has an incredible and eclectic sense of style, here are some of my favorites from her portfolio:

Thank you Katie for taking the time to meet with me and sharing your passion for interior design! To learn more about Katie and the services she offers, visit her page here.

Enjoy this beautiful Saturday and I'll see you next time!

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer in the City: featuring Stern Grove

Happy hump day my loves! This summer is going by way too fast, so I wanted to share some fun summer activities going on here in San Francisco. This city is so rich with culture, innovation, inspiration, and things to do it can be very overwhelming--not to mention expensive. However, if you do your research, there are plenty of fun things to do that don't cost a dime. Stern Grove Festival is one of those things. I've been going to Stern Grove free concerts in the park since I could walk. As a child, my mom and grandma would take us to see San Francisco Ballet because, how often can you see a world class ballet company for FREE?!

Sadly, SFB did not participate this year but several other amazing performing arts were and are on the docket:

My sister and I saw Andrew Bird last weekend and it was awesome. We got there a bit late (and by late I mean noon when the concert starts at 2) so we had to sit up in the trees on the hill. It's actually a beautiful spot, but the downside is the down-slide you will experience trying to get to and from your spot to go to the restroom or what have you. Although, the cool part is we became known as the "tree people" which I thought was pretty special ;). Here's a pic of me and Sof:

We the tree people...

Any other fun and free activities you know of in SF?? I'd love to hear!


Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Travel & Design: Peruvian Style

Buenos dias mis amigos! If you've been wondering why I've been MIA for the last couple of weeks, it's because I was down in Peru visiting Lima, Andahuaylas, and Cuzco. I went down with an organization called Kids Alive International to serve in an orphanage in the small mountain town of Andahuaylas, inland from Lima. I can't even begin to tell you what an amazing experience it was with the friendships made, the amazing children, beautiful landscape, fantastic shopping, and lives changed.

Aside from spending time with the children, one of my favorite moments was when the director of the orphanage found out that I love DIY furniture upcycling and asked if I could re-finish a table for them. Of course I said YES! The table was nice solid wood, but the finish was a bit out-dated so I decided to sand it down (by hand, which was the biggest part of the job, but I enlisted some helpers). Here's the original:

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Instructables: Changing the World of DIY

I hope you all had a fantastic holiday weekend! Now for most of us it's back to reality, and for many that means going back to work, and for very few, that is an enjoyable feat. Who finds going to work enjoyable?? Well, I know for a fact that the people who work at Instructables fall into this category. I'm willing to bet that most of them probably don't even call it work--it's their passion and they love what they do, so they will never work a day in their life (sound familiar?). This is something that many strive for, but few achieve so major props to all you bots people!

What is Instructables? So glad you asked! As an avid DIY-er this online community is like Mecca. Here you will find tutorials on everything from fashion to technology to your new favorite dinner recipe. And the best part? Anyone can be a part of this creative community and grow as artists, designers, foodies, etc., share our ideas, learn from each other, meet new people, make new discoveries, and enrich our lives in ways we never thought possible.

Today I had the pleasure of taking a tour of their INCREDIBLE workshop located at Pier 9 in San Francisco. Anything you could possibly imagine can be created in this workshop--I'm not exaggerating. This state-of-the-art facility includes a cutting edge digital fabrication lab, a woodworking shop, a metalworking shop, a 3D printing lab, laser cutting and printing capabilities, an electronics workshop, a commercial test kitchen, and an industrial sewing center as well as smaller specialty project areas. Here's a little sneak peak:

Photo cred

Ready to get to work? I sure am! Here are some of my favorite Instrucables so far:

The Honeycomb Pinboard:

I think I'd use different colors, but this is definitely a contender for my wall above my desk! Black, white, and gold perhaps?

How cool is this? I love the pattern they chose, but it also gets my mind reeling with the infinite possibilities with this project as far as pattern, shape, color, I just need to get my hands on a laser cutter...more on that later ;)

I've been wanting to make a tufted headboard for years now but for some reason just haven't gotten to it. This method, however, looks to be much easier and just as effective (if not more!) This one looks pretty modern, but if you just change up the fabric you could achieve any style or mood you want.

These are just a few selections from their thousands of tutorials, and it keeps growing every day! So if you are in need of a little creative outlet, spend some time checking out the amazing things you can make at home from Instructables and the creative community that surrounds it, come join!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Stars and Stripes Forever

Happy "Friday" my friends! I hope you are looking forward to this long weekend as much as I am. This sounds weird to say, but I keep forgetting that it's summer because it's so cold and foggy here in San Francisco, especially where I live (near the ocean). Due to these misty mornings and cool evenings, this 4th of July holiday really snuck up on me!

When it comes to holidays, I always say, thank goodness for Pinterest (well I say thank goodness for Pinterest for almost anything) so I thought I'd share some of my favorite red white and blue pins with all of you...

Follow the jump to see more...

Friday, June 27, 2014

Featured Designer: Tord Boontje

Happy Friday! I'm so excited for the weekend, first of all it's a three day weekend for me which means more time for projects. Lately I have been fascinated by unique light fixtures, particularly pendant lights. As I was browsing Houzz (one of my absolute favorite resources for local designers, inspiration, products, and more!) and I came across this gorgeous brass garland pendant by Tord Boontje (don't ask me how to pronounce THAT one!). Take a look:

It was love at first sight, and I got even more excited when I discovered that you actually form it yourself so each one is unique. I will definitely be investing in one of these puppies as soon as my wallet allows. The best part is, they aren't that expensive! I found the one pictured above on Amazon for only $72 with free shipping!

Tord is a designer from the Netherlands who has worked with a range of international companies such as Shiseido, Yamaha, Hewlett Packard, Bisazza, Target, Philips, Kvadrat, Alexander McQueen, Perrier-Jouët, Nanimarquina, Artecnica, Authentics, Meta and has continued his work with Swarovski, Moroso, and Habitat. In addition to his beautiful lighting designs, he also has an array of tableware, jewelry, fashion, accessories, stationary, and books. Check out his online store here

All of his work is very whimsical and enchanting. Here are a few of my other favorite things by him:

Transglass, made from recycled bottles:

Table Stories: a collection of porcelain and glass tableware filled with drawings of flowers, deer, squirrel, birds, bear, butterflies, horses, bunnies and a peacock:

Have a fantastic weekend, until next time!!


Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Design Dish with Michaela Warner

Happy hump day my friends! Today I will be sharing my interview with the beautiful and talented interior designer Michaela Warner of Michaela Noelle Designs. As I develop as a designer, I find that learning from others is imperative--whether they are decades ahead of me in their career or just a few years, there is always something to learn and I get to have fun in the process!

Like me, Michaela was born and raised in the beautiful San Francisco bay area. How lucky we are to live in a place that is so diverse and inspiring! After discovering her blog and falling in love with her aesthetic and approach, I reached out to see if she would be willing to answer a few questions for my blog and she very kindly accepted! Yay! Since she is now living in Michigan, she agreed to a virtual interview. Take a peek:

When did your passion for interiors begin?

 I've always loved decorating, being creative, and crafting things for my room or house (or my parent's house!) It wasn't until freshman year of high school when I realized I could ACTUALLY do this for a living and go to school to become a designer. The passion for interiors and homes has always been there, though. I used to draw floor plans on scratch paper and then come home and build the floor plans out of block all across my bedroom floor!

follow the jump to read more!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Etsy Stores Worth Visiting

Etsy is one of my favorite sites to scour for treasures. It is jam-packed with talented DIY-ers selling their products. It can be so exciting to find something you love for your home as well as support independent business owners. You are also more likely to get unique pieces that few others will have, which is always a plus in my book! Here are some of my latest discoveries from this amazing online marketplace...


If you are a fan of reclaimed wood and wrought iron hairpin legs (which I LOVE), then this is the store for you. Based out of Chicago, Il, they make everything from reclaimed wood dining tables, to benches, bar stools, coffee tables, wine racks, media stands, chairs, kitchen counters, and much more! And their prices aren't bad either, the console table pictured below is only $180.

I'm crazy into tribal patterns/kilim rugs right now and this store has some incredible throw pillows I've been drooling over... With over 70 pages of inventory, you are bound to find something you'll love!


"Home accessories in Color" is how this husband and wife team describSes their store. They are obsessed with 
color and you can tell by looking at their pieces! Usually you see busts in white or grey, natural stone tones. 
But mahzerandvee takes it to a whole new level...take a look:

You may recall that I'm a big fan of textiles from India from this post. Kantha quilts are so beautiful and are made from old sari scraps so each one is unique. They are fantastic to fold up at the end of your bed to add a punch of color, or to throw on the couch for a cozy evening in. I selected this Etsy shop in particular due to their amazingly low prices!

This shop based out of Thessaloniki, Greece boasts beautiful geometric light fixtures and organically shaped paper mache bowls in beautiful pastels and metallic shades:

Next week I will be interviewing a special guest, so stay tuned!!!!

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Bohemian Birthday Party

Hello friends!

Its been way too long since my last post, things have been crazy! This weekend I had the opportunity to host my sister's 25th birthday party. We decided on a bohemian backyard theme, and of course I ran with it. She and I scoured our grandparents and parents garage for supplies--including everything from rugs to chandeliers and everything in between. I even ended up creating a DIY pvc pipe cabana which my little niece decided was her 'castle'. It was a beautiful and intimate gathering, take a look....

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Green Design is Good Design, Good Design is Green Design

Happy Earth Day!!!

This is the motto, a weblog that is committed to driving design in a more green and sustainable direction. In honor of Earth day, I decided it would be a perfect topic to discuss. You may be thinking, 'my house is several years old, what can I do to support the sustainable movement?'. Well, if you are a renter and can't make structural changes, there are plenty of other things you can do! is an excellent resource for finding attractive furniture and accessories that are made of recycled goods. Here are some of my favorites:

The Eames Shell Chair, now available in recycled fiberglass. These little gems can be found at the Herman Miller Store in a variety of colors.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

My New Website!

Hello friends!

It's definitely been too long since my last post, so my apologies, I have been so busy lately. I just finalized my commitment to go to Peru this summer for two weeks to work with orphan children and I am SO excited to be a part of this trip. I adore kids and I have never been to South America so it should be an incredible experience. I've also been working hard at putting together a website so my potential clients have an easy way to contact me and schedule a free consultation, take a look:

It's not much yet, but once I get some professional photos done I will be able to include a portfolio which I think will make it a much more interesting website, don't you?!

Stay tuned, my next project is going to be tackling a gallery wall for my bedroom. I'm gathering some pieces I want to include and going over several arrangement options so get excited!!!

Until next time,


Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tempaper to the Rescue

Do you live in a rented space? Wish you could paint your walls a fabulous tangerine or perhaps a peacock blue but your landlord isn't on the same creative level as you? If so, your life is about to change. (Ok, that may be a little dramatic, but it's pretty exciting). Ever heard of temporary wallpaper? Well you are in luck because this month's giveaway will be your very own 20" x 48" self adhesive vinyl temporary wallpaper from Etsy!

Now the hard part, how to choose one?! The best part about this interior accessory is that it is can take it down and put up a new pattern whenever you want! No steaming off old wallpaper anymore. And what's great is it doesn't damage your walls so if you are in a temporary living situation or a renter this is one way to really spice up your space. If bold patterns on the wall seem too intimidating, give it a try on just one wall or in a smaller space like your bathroom.

Here are some of my top picks:

Etsy store: Betapet

Monday, March 17, 2014

White White and More White

Happy Monday and Happy St. Patty's day!

I suppose in light of the holiday I should have entitled this post 'Green Green and More Green' however I generally prefer to use green in small doses. As my taste and style has developed over the years, I have transitioned from thinking that white walls are boring to incredibly chic and eye-catching. Every time I had the opportunity to redecorate a room, I always felt like I had to come up with a striking color to paint the walls and develop my design with that color as a starting point. Growing up, my bedroom went from pink, to canary yellow, to oxblood, to blue-grey. I had fun with each of these but grew tired of them after a short while. The best part about white walls is that if your style changes, you can switch out furniture, textiles, and accessories a lot easier than repainting the entire room.

My favorite inspiration images encompass bright white walls and sometimes floors with eclectic, industrial, and unique accessories. I'm moving toward a much simpler 'less is more' type mindset as opposed to my previous obsession with 'organized clutter'. So how do you achieve this effect? Well, to start, paint your walls white. There are tons of different 'shades' of white, but for this particular look you want to go with a bright white without any hints of yellow or cream in it. My recommendation would be Benjamin Moore's Super White or Sherwin Williams High Reflective White If I had the option, I would paint my floors white too to get the full effect, but sadly I'm a renter. :(

Next, you will want to carefully select your accessories so as to not overwhelm and lose the effect of simplicity. If you are doing a bedroom, I recommend sticking to white bedding also with maybe a throw pillow or neutral throw blanket. My absolute favorite accessory to add to an all white room is some sort of indoor plant. I love love love fiddle leaf figs, they just look so classy:

Architects and designers alike love this 'superwhite' and for good reason. It is best used in minimalist eclectic rooms where the eye focuses on the objects and accessories in the room and gives a sense of calm. Here are some of my favorite inspiration images:

Friday, March 7, 2014

Manhattan Studio Vignette

Happy Friday my friends!!

My apologies for being MIA for the last couple weeks, things have been crazy busy with work, school, and a couple of weekend getaways in between (including Disneyland!). But I am back and ready to put this blog back in full swing.

Recently I have been working on some pro-bono projects for friends and family to gain some experience with decorating and working with clients. My first project was to create a small vignette for a friend's studio apartment in Manhattan, NY. Most of her place was already decorated, but she had this one area she didn't know what to do with. Judging from her pictures, Pinterest profile, and discussion it became apparent that her style is classic glam with neutral colors, clean lines, metallic finishes, and an elegant feel. Aside from these general guidelines and the rest of the apartment to use as a starting point, she also mentioned how she would like to incorporate maps into the design somehow.

To give you an idea, here are some pictures of her space:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Kyra Elisabeth Interiors, Now on Instagram!

Hello friends,

I now have an instagram for Kyra Elisabeth Interiors where I will be sharing a daily inspiration among other things here and there (like giveaways!). Follow me @kyraelisabethinteriors !!

Monday, February 10, 2014

Announcing the February Giveaway!!!

Happy Monday!

Even though I plan to keep this blog mainly focused on interior styling and DIY-ing, sometimes when I discover a good product I just feel the need to share it with the world...

With the sudden change in weather here in California (finally), I've discovered how dry my skin has become. I'm a big fan of good scents whether that be for the home (like the lovely Voluspa candles from last month's giveaway) or for myself so I ventured out to find a lotion that was both moisturizing and pleasing to the nose. I never would have thought I would make this discovery at Bath and Body Works. I don't think I've even set foot in one of their stores since high school, but a friend told me their line of aromatherapy items was I decided to investigate. Well, she was right (as this particular friend usually is), the products are quite nice. I went a little overboard and bought some lotion for stress relief, energy, and sleep.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Art for Your Home

One thing I love about interior decorating is that there really are no rules. Sure there are guidelines to what colors look best together, effectively balancing scale, properly installing window treatments, etc. but when it comes down to it, it's your home! You can do WHATEVER you want! This is great, but also can be overwhelming considering how many options we have to choose from these days. I especially have difficulty with decision making when it comes to selecting art. Some of the questions I ask myself are:

1. What pieces really represent me? And why?
2. What will go well with the particular area I need to fill?
3. Do I want fine art? Photography? Original work or a print from a famous artist?
4. What colors will work well in the room?
5. How much can I/should I spend?

I was scouring websites like and looking for that 'perfect piece', like it was just going to jump out at me. Well, long story short, that didn't happen. I talked to my sister about it (she was an art major and has much more insight on this topic than I do) and she said it can take years to find that 'perfect piece'. I thought about it, and she's right, why rush into finding something that you will be looking at every day?! So I've decided to take the pressure off myself, enjoy the process, and just take my time looking for the right piece. Sofia (my sis) also gave me a great recommendation for finding inexpensive original! So, that will be my mission today...searching the artists on there. I love this idea, I can actually support an aspiring artist instead of just buying a poster.

Do you have any good ideas or resources for finding art for your home? I'd love to hear it!!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Black Walls=Bold Move

Hello friends!

The weekend is almost here and I am so excited because for me, weekends=project time. I don't have much time during the week to pursue my creative outlets with a full time job, but maybe one day that will change ;). Ever since I re-decorated my teeny-tiny bathroom, I haven't felt fully satisfied with it. It still feels generic (and I try to be anything but generic!). They always say dark colors make a room feel smaller, but sometimes a bold move in a small space is exactly what you need. In my collection of paint, I ran across the black high gloss can I bought to paint my dresser and it sparked the idea of painting the bathroom BLACK. Sounds crazy right? After a little research for inspiration, I've come to realize that black walls can be quite striking and elegant. It's also an excellent backdrop for art and accessories, punches of color, and metallic accents. Check out some of my inspiration photos below. What is your opinion on a black backdrop?? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments section below!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Everyone looks better in candlelight...

UPDATE: The winner has been selected and emailed. Thanks for those of you who participated! I will be doing a new giveaway each month so stay tuned...

Happy hump day!

Is this week dragging for you like it is for me?! I can't believe it's only Wednesday. Anyway, today I am announcing the giveaway prize. Drum roll please..........

One lucky winner will be receiving a Voluspa Cut Glass Jar candle from Anthropologie (one of my absolute favorite stores)

Believe it or not, a good scent goes a long way. It can boost your mood, stir up old memories, help you to relax, or simply make a space that much more inviting and pleasant.

You really can't go wrong with any of the Voluspa scents, but the winner will have their choice of...
1. Crane Flower (pictured): ripened grapefruit combines with geranium, lavender and nectar inspired by the Birds of Paradise flower
2. Goji Berry: cold-pressed tarocco blood orange blended with sun-dried goji berries
3. Santiago Huckleberry: sweet and spicy, with hints of vanilla pod and sugarcane (one of my all-time favs)
4. Baltic Amber: forest scents of sandalwood and cedar
5. French Cade: refreshing blend of French cade wood, lavender, verbena and mos
6. Bella Sucre: comfortingly sweet with demerara sugar, tiare flower and coconut milk
7. Eden and Pear: lemon vervaine, ancient galbanum and ripe hosui pear
8. Mokara: a floral mix of Mokara orchid, white lily and spring moss

Put your choice in the comments section below for a chance to win. Winner will be chosen on Monday 1/20. Good luck!