Design Translation


So my husband and I were trying to find something to watch on tv the other day and I saw that Emily’s show, Secrets From a Stylist, was on HGTV. I loved her on Design Star and my husband always said she reminded him of me. As we were watching, I was talking to him about what she was doing and about the similarities in the way I like to find a person’s design style. There are all sorts of “places” you can pull from to determine this- a person’s lifestyle, their personality, the food they like, the places they want to travel and have traveled, their wardrobe, the music they listen to,…the list goes on. It feels a bit like being a detective…

So I decided to show a little example. Below is a wonderfully stylish lady, we’ll call her Zsa Zsa because I think that’s a funny name that evokes total *glama*. Zsa Zsa lives in Miami and is always comfortably dressed, showing she has laid-back, effortless style, but never lacking in modern femininity, glamour, or necessary luxuries- i.e. her tan and gold Hermes Birkin handbag or her white Gucci aviators. Her color palette of choice is black, white, gray, and tan with any color metal thrown in, as long as it’s tasteful. She is simple, modern, chic and classic, but always turns heads with sexy heels and her sharp, yet ladylike appearance. She knows what she wants and she always gets it, never being afraid to speak her mind. And being that she is quite the social butterfly, she is never without the latest Smartphone to stay connected to everything and everyone and travels in the ultimate style, never to be outdone…Picture1 

So how would I translate Zsa Zsa into design? I’d do it a little like this…Picture6Picture5

(above photos of Ralph Lauren’s Manhattan apartment from Elle Decor)


(Porsche kitchen)

To break it down a little, here are some great examples of modern furniture I found that are a perfect reflection of her sexy, sophisticated, modern glam lifestyle…Picture3

Lots of bold shapes, sleek lines, and glossy surfaces…


Luxurious leathers, simple forms…low-slung, relaxed, yet incredibly refined…


(furniture is all from one of my favorite new lines- Luxo by Modloft at allmodern.com)

So you see, it’s pretty easy to extract things from a person’s lifestyle, likes and dislikes, dreams and goals, personality traits, etc. and incorporate all those “pieces” of who a person is into the home. There are similarities, consistencies, and connections between all of the things that make up an individual. It’s just a matter of finding out what they are, following those paths, and connecting the dots.     


  1. So modern and perfect! I used to not be a fan of modern, but over the past few years it has really grown on me! :)

  2. I was the same way, Kyrstan. I use to not like modern, before I really started understanding design, and as I began to search for my individual interior style, I realized I was drawn to modern style. I actually prefer to have my spaces done mostly in modern with a few antiques and odd-ball items thrown in. I have found these two things to be true in design: 1) layering styles and periods has a very charming effect on a space and creates instant personality 2) whatever you have most of in a room (i.e. modern pieces) is what sets the tone...that is how your room will "read". So I like modern to be my rooms' melody, you might say, and the few other styles to be the harmony which gives it more of a "full-body sound", or "look" in the case of interiors . It keeps the overall appearance of a space clean, simple, and fuss-free.

  3. I think you hit Miss Zsa Zsa right on the head! I completely agree and try to do the same with all of my clients. It's the most fun part! I especially love when people are surprised by what their outward appearance tells others about their style. It's funny how we can't always "see" ourselves.
    Fun post!

  4. Yeah, sometimes it's hard to "see the forest for the trees." That's why people need us! Sometimes a place can become so familiar to people that they have trouble seeing it with fresh eyes. Especially when you have a home that has been a constant source of frustration, it can be hard to pull yourself out of a design rut. And you're right Kelle, so many people out there don't really know what their style is or what kind of image they portray to everybody else. It's our job to gather information and uncover clues to who they are, how they want to live, and what they want to say to the world. It's not always easy for people to do that on their own.