july “speakeasy” at Vin de Set

Welcome summertime!  We were hoping for an event on Vin de Set‘s lovely rooftop patio overlooking downtown but the heat moved us indoors.  Nevertheless, we had an amazing event in the gorgeous indoor bar!  New faces met with our “regulars” for an evening of relaxed networking and laughs.  We even choreographed a group shot from the mezzanine.

Our surprise raffle was 2 tickets to the FORM contemporary design show which is on August 12 & 13.  DesignSpeak will have a booth so please stop by if you can!  Should be lots of fun!

Thank you to Vin de Set for their hospitality and to all who came to meet & mingle!  We look forward to seeing you at the next one!


mixing patterns, textures, and colors by mandi maurer gray

As an Interior Designer, I am asked on a very consistent basis what the rules are when mixing patterns, textures, and colors. I many times say that there are no “rules” per say, just good design plans. For many, it can be overwhelming to mix many colors together or to add patterns into a space. I feel this leads many to staying with a very neutral color palette with little to no pattern, not venturing far from their comfort zones. For example, even though someone may love pink, they would never think of introducing the color into their decor. My advise is to find a designer whom you feel you click well with and who will understand your concerns and limitations. Maybe your love of pink can find a beautifully designed place in your home.

Below are some examples of mixing patterns, textures, and colors. Get ready to be inspired!


diy headboard wall – part 2 by andrea beckman

At last….I’ve finally completed my ‘headboard wall’!  If you have not checked out my first post diy upholstered headboard – part 1, I started this project over two months ago and it has been on my ‘to-do’ list for about seven!  None the less it’s finally complete and I’m happy to say it turned out beautiful, it’s exactly what I wanted!  There were a couple bumps along the way, one which included me almost firing my assistant (Dad), but he pulled through!  Actually I couldn’t have done it without him.  I had the vision but he was the brains behind this operation, and together we brought it to life.

Let me quickly refresh your memory…



  1. I fell for a pair of wall lamps and purchased them for my new bedroom, which at that point was only a figment of my imagination.
  2. I found a beautiful apartment and moved in!
  3. Unfortunately, the only wall that my bed could fit on has windows located on each side, thus providing no home for my wall lights….This momentarily put a little hitch in my giddy-up, but I quickly determined that I could work with this.





  1. Build a headboard with side extensions for my wall lights to attach to.
  2. While I’m at it, construct floating shelves to act as bedside tables.

We first created the actual upholstered headboard which was part – 1.




Now for part – 2…

Step 1 We first built the two side extensions ahead of time.  I decided to use planks of Western Red Cedar to construct these units.  I chose Western Red Cedar because of it’s wood grain, color and it was readily available.  As I mentioned in my first post, I wanted to create a slightly rustic look while keeping it refined.  This is why I decided to leave the wood untreated and in it’s natural state.  I also liked the way it contrasted with the upholstered headboard and added to the mix of textures!




To create these pieces we used (4) 1 x 12 planks of Cedar and attached them to a 1 x 2 (on edge) sub-frame using brad nails (head-less nail).  This gave us a clean flush look with the structural members behind.  To design the box units we used (3) 1 x 10’s on the top and sides, and a 1 x 12 for the bottom.  I originally intended on using the 1 x 10’s for the entire box, but I did not plan for enough material and we were short.  So, to prevent spending more $ and having additional waste, I decided to suck it up and put the left over 1 x 12’s to use.  Surprisingly, once in place I really liked the way it looked.  I love when this sort of thing happens…I love it when you have to get creative due to lack of funds, or a ‘mistake’ ends up turning into something great!  In some unexpected way, the deeper piece at the bottom provided this subtle detail that really added a nice touch.  In fact, I wish I could say I planned it that way!  We also used brad nails to create these box units and attached additional screws from the back and bottom to give it extra support and strength.  While this is not engineered to be used as a step ladder, it will hold somewhere between 30 – 50 pounds.


Step 2.  We attached the side extensions to the sub-frame of the headboard using (3) 1-5/8″ Phillips drive screws (cordless drill is a must)!





We built the ‘headboard wall’ in three separate/ modular units.  We used removable screws so that it could be easily dis-assemble or reassemble at a later date.  This also allows the different pieces to be used independently of one another, not to mention it would be extremely difficult to move as one unit.

Note: Before attaching the final section, be sure to secure a ladder behind the unit.  Because this was designed to take up the entire wall space, once you’ve attached the last section, you might have a difficult time getting out from behind!  We used the ladder numerous times!


Step 3.



Once the last section was installed and everything was flush with the top of the headboard, we attached a 1 x 4 board (that ran the entire length) behind the unit.  This was attached to the verticals of each section’s sub-frame and provided extra rigidity to the entire unit.  In addition, we attached a small 1 x 4 piece of lumber behind the center of the headboard.  This also attached to the 1 x 4 on the back side (see below).  This was necessary for step 4 and continued to provide extra rigidity.


Step 3


Step 4.  The final design detail included a top piece that capped off the entire structure and visually tied it all together.  Again, it also added to the overall structural support.  This was screwed into 5 places…the top of each section’s sub-frame and the center 1 x 4 piece that was just added in step 3.  This really gave it a nice finished look!




Below is why you need the ladder….




Step 5.  Lastly, to secure the entire unit in place and ensure this bad boy wasn’t going anywhere, we used (2) 5″ – ‘L’ brackets and attached the sub-frame to the inside of each window jam, using one screw.  This last step solidified the entire unit and it’s as sturdy as a tank…oh yeah!


Final Steps….






Side note…I do know how to work a power drill, but Patrick always insist on doing it himself!


Final Result!













I think what surprised me most with the final result, was how much larger it made my entire room feel!  That was nice and I’m not going to lie…it does add a touch of sophistication that I do enjoy!

The entire headboard definitely possesses that home-made touch and is not perfect.  It is however ‘perfectly – imperfect’ which is perfect for me!  As always, it’s about ‘blooming where you’re planted’…creating a space that you love, utilizing what you love and most of all, with the ones you love~





june “speakeasy” at cafe pintxos

Here are pics from last month’s event at Cafe Pintxos!  We had such a great time and we owe a huge Thank You to the staff at Cafe Pintxos and Hotel Ignacio for making us feel so welcome!

If you haven’t been there yet, you definitely need to check it out!

Our Surprise Raffle Vendor - Chris Cassimatis Sculptures!

Christie Lewis won the prize at her first event! Beginner's luck!

Luckily, the hotel was gracious enough to tour our group through a few of the guest rooms!  An even greater feat when you consider only about 4-5 people fit in the elevator at a time and we had over 50 attendees!  Thank you Rachel!

 Looking forward to tomorrow night at Vin de Set!  Hope the weather is nice!

did you bloom with color?

I apologize I am just getting around to posting recaps of some of our amazing events this spring/summer!  Here are highlights from our appreciation event for designers this past May…

I first have to extend a HUGE thank you to all who participated in our outstanding colorbloom event!!!  Our first collaboration with Sherwin Williams was a lot of fun!  Colt Industries really stepped up as an gracious host; what a great space!

I could not have done this without my right hand girl Vicki Dreste of Victoria Dreste Designs!  She was nothing short of amazing at helping me execute our pink & blue vision!

Lastly, we really appreciate the participation of these wonderful vendors to help make the whole event a success!


Visit their websites: Sherwin Williams, Colt IndustriesDesign & Detail Trade Showroom, Pottery Barn at Plaza Frontenac, Paperdolls Boutique in Kirkwood, Traveling Tea, Stimulus Baking Company

When we first came up with the idea to host an thank you event for designers, I thought it was a great idea.  I secretly love the honeysuckle pink that was chosen by Pantone as the color of the year and what a perfect way to show it off!

A royal wedding table (2 days before the big day), loads of beautiful fabrics, a colorful slideshow, lovely fashion collection from a local boutique and colorful cupcakes all in the wonderful honeysuckle & denim hues!  Spectacular! Design inspiration, food and fun were a great mix!  Thank you to all who attended!

Hope we can do it again next year!

how to prepare for your home design or renovation project by paige gilbertson

Define your environment

Spend some quality time assessing how you live in your home, not just the space you are looking to renovate. Good designers weigh how the layout, traffic patterns and needs of your lifestyle balance with the functionality of your home. How does the layout of your space psychologically affect your emotional well-being and life? More than you may realize. It’s hard to identify those trouble spots without spending some time analyzing all areas in the home.


Start by listing your general wishes for the house (a fully functional office, room to entertain friends, an inviting outdoor space, storage for your Boston Terrier figurine collection.) Just brainstorm, don’t think too hard or try to limit your ideas. Next list adjectives you want associated with your space (calming, inspiring, themed, glamorous, rustic, ethnic, urban, sleek, etc.)

Frequently, clients think they can’t have it all, but more often than not, design professionals are able to incorporate all their client’s wishes by thinking a little outside the box!

Scope of Project

This is a term you will hear the professionals using time and time again. Once you decide exactly what your project will be, you need to set some parameters. To define your scope of project you need to, not only answer the questions in the exercise below, but expand upon them into as much detail as you can. It’s like having a business plan: the more detailed you can be, the clearer your vision will be and the better your chances are of having a good experience and successful renovation.

Answer these questions with as many specifics about your expectations

  • What is my timeframe?
  • Do I need to hire a professional? (interior designer, architect, general contractor, project manager) See article Who are these people?! And what do they do?
  • What is my budget maximum?
  • What vendors do I have in mind for materials?

Do your style homework

Frequently, when meeting with clients, it becomes a designer’s job to be an interpreter, to read between the lines. Clients will show the designer pictures from magazines that exemplify what they believe to be their ideal look for the room. Sometimes it’s just the color scheme, the furniture arrangement or texture story that really speak to you. It’s very important to look critically at what you do and don’t like about photographed rooms to hone your vision and get exactly what you truly want.


Read design magazines, blogs and websites to find out more about what’s going on in the design world. Tear pictures out of magazines. Try to define what about each picture catches your eye. Is it the light, bright airy feeling, is it the furniture arrangement, is it the fabric and rug textures, or could it simply be the wall color? Get a binder and put those inspiring pictures together, jot down your thoughts about each room on a post-it affixed to each page. This will help hone your vision and give your project more focus. Create floorplans

Create floorplans

Don’t want to waste time and money? Smart designers start their physical design process right here: with floorplans. After defining your desires for the space, it’s time to get down to the dirty business of laying out that idea. Retail furniture stores like Pottery Barn and Crate and Barrel can help you get ideas on various furniture arrangement possibilities just by visiting and looking at their how they display their floor models in settings.


Go to an art store, like Dick Blick or ArtMart here in St. Louis, and grab a packet of ¼” scale graph paper and a ¼” scale furniture template (only a couple bucks!) Sit down and map out your room. Pencil in a couple different arrangements to see what may or may not work. It helps to sketch the room out once and make some photocopies of just the walls and doors so you can try out many different plan ideas. One idea should stand out as a natural arrangement. Before completely committing to your space plan, lay out newspaper on your floor to make sure the footprints of the items you are selecting will indeed work.

Some general spacing considerations:

12-18” between sofas and coffee tables or ottomans

3-4” between upholstery and side tables

24”+ for traffic paths (wheelchairs need 36”)

36”+ between dining chairs and walls

Budgeting & Materials Research

Building on the previous step, creating floor plans, you now have an idea of what items to budget and research for your project! Go out to shops, look in magazines and check out websites of retailers to get an expectation of what the components of your project will cost. Above all, do not forget to include LABOR, this can easily double the cost of a project.


Create an Excel spreadsheet that lists all items you will need to purchase (see our sample budget spreadsheet) to obtain a clearer picture of your total cost.

Some tips regarding budgeting and materials research

  • Be realistic–those lamps you love…$1800 each? Clip a picture for your designer or lighting showroom salesman, they can probably find something similar in your price range.
  • Don’t forget all those incidentals-they can really add up (curtain rods, rug pads, chocolate silk shades for your chandelier that was purchased with cream silk shades.)
  • Delivery costs can add as much as 20%, so be sure you are factoring in those figures.

The Right Stripes by Kimberly Reuther

How do you feel about stripes?  I personally think a room isn’t complete without a stripe fabric, rug, etc.  Stripes are a fundamental part of design. They can change the look of a piece of furniture or a room by being bold or subtle.  Stripes can be edgy, playful, modern or sophisticated depending on the size, color and placement.

So, which ones are right for you?  I’ve compiled a group of beautiful spaces using stripes to their advantage.  See if this helps you narrow down your options!

A well-tailored room gains energy from the striped rug.

This bold cabana stripe awning is the perfect backdrop to the colorful furniture and lush plants.

Wide horizontal stripes along with moulding accents blend beautifully with the baroque elements in this room.

This playroom screams enthusiasm partly due to the varied colorful stripes on the wall.

I love how this traditional room is transformed by a bold color palette and the vibrant striped rug.

This sofa from Crate & Barrel is like a men's suit, handsome and timeless.

This is not your grandmother's sofa. Reupholstering an antique in a modern stripe is the perfect juxtaposition.

Skinny stripes form a soft balancing backdrop for a room that is full of collected pieces.

Another great example of a bold stripe on a traditional piece of furniture.

Previously written by Kimberly for St. Louis AT HOME’s website.  Read more of Kimberly’s work and view her portfolio at www.kimberlyreuther.com.

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