Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Introducing Kimberly, Summer Design Intern

Hey there! My name is Kimberly Wilson and I am currently interning for Sanctuary Design. I am originally from a small town right outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania but I moved to Laguna Niguel, California after I graduated from high school. I am a rising senior at Virginia Tech, majoring in residential interior design with a cognate in marketing and advertising. I have taken several business classes such as accounting, finance, marketing and management so post graduation I will have an array of knowledge in not only in the field of design but also in business. My main goal I would like to accomplish through my experience working with Sanctuary Design is to learn a great deal about the design field and become comfortable and familiar with the everyday tasks an interior designer has to take on.
            I have been surrounded by design ever since I was born because my father is an architect. He has inspired me over the last 21 years of my life and I owe my passion and love for the design field to him. I have a very out going personality and I love working and helping others to achieve their goals. I feel that pursuing a career in residential interior design is the best path for me because I have a very creative mind and I love getting to know the people I work with on a more personal level - so I’m not only gaining clients but also making friendships. I was fortunate to have been given the opportunity to travel all over Europe in high school so I have really developed a level of respect for a variety of architectural styles... my favorite style, however, is modern. I love the simplicity of it with its smooth edges, geometrical shapes, and open spaces.
            Before I got the chance to intern from the designers perspective I was given the opportunity to help remodel my parent’s kitchen in the summer of 2009.  Being on the other side was a great way for me to learn (the hard way, perhaps) what clients expect from the designers and the steps the designer must take to keep clients happy. One thing I was very disappointed in with the designer we chose was his lack of project management skills. Things were never done on time and just poor communication over all really made our remodel experience frustrating at times. I found myself doing things the designer should have been doing such as running to the store to pick up tile, and getting in contact with the contractors to figure out when they were coming to work. I was not impressed with the way the designer handled our remodel. From this experience I have learned that communication is key in this industry. Taking the time to get to know the client and keep them clued in every step of the way as to what’s going is just as important as figuring out their wants and needs. I'm looking forward to working with Lauren and her team this summer, and learning about the remodeling business from an interior designer's point-of-view!

Here are the Before and After photos from my parents' remodel last year:

Monday, May 10, 2010

What is a direct-vent fireplace?

You work too hard not to reward yourself with a little pampering at the end of the day. Imagine soaking in a steaming hot bath, basking in the mesmerizing glow of fire contained neatly in a swanky clean-lined modern fireplace.

Goodbye, Monday, goodbye.

This luxury is no longer reserved for the movie-star crowd (though we may see an increase in celebrity bathroom remodels in the next few months). You can create this setting in your own home by incorporating a direct-vent fireplace, like the new Napolean Limited Edition Modern Fireplace Made with CRYSTALLIZEDTM Swarovski  Elements I previewed this year at KBIS, into your upcoming remodel.

A direct-vent fireplace is compact in design and requires no chimney... it vents through the wall or roof. It uses about the same amount of natural gas or propane as a high-output burner on a gas range. Installation costs are considerably lower than a traditional fireplace (which requires a chimney structure, as well as a tile or stone fireproof hearth and surround) and the unit itself is affordable and beautifully crafted.

As a designer and project manager, nothing makes me happier than letting a client know that indulgence like this is easily attainable. We all deserve a little luxury in our home!

View Limited Edition Napolean Modern Fireplace Online

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Cinco de Mayo cocktail!

Compliments of my boyfriend Josh (General Contractor, Chef and Gourmet Bartender):

2 oz. vodka
2-3 oz. 7-up (he used diet)
Juice from 2 whole limes
1 oz. simple syrup
1 tsp. cumin seeds- freshly toasted, then finely ground once using a mortar and pestle

Garnish with jicama sticks (to stir) and a sprig of fresh cilantro.

Muchas Gracias, Josh!

How to Turn a Store-Bought Orchid into Something Special and Unique for the Home

Orchids are simple to care for and add a touch of the exotic to any decor. By adding a few finishing touches, you can personalize a store-bought orchid to be displayed proudly in your home or given as a meaningful gift. Just in time for Mother's Day, here are a few tips on purchasing the perfect orchid and creating a professional-looking vignette.

Tip #1: Be an expert orchid shopper. Beyond looking for a plant that has a lot of flowers, consider the direction the flowers face compared to the leaves. Ideally, you want the flowers to face toward you when the leaves are fanned out to the sides. Also, make sure the leaves are healthy and free from breakage and scars. Look for long, supple roots.

Tip #2: Find a container that suits the decor of the room where the orchid is to be placed. Go for something shiny or metallic; it will contrast nicely with the softness of the orchid itself. Be sure the opening is big enough for the root system to fit. (Use the little terra cotta pot that comes with the orchid to plant some culinary herbs in the kitchen, or flowers on your front porch.)

Tip #3: Fill in the extra space around the root system with orchid bark, which can be purchased at your local nursery or home improvement store.  The bark will retain excess moisture and hydrate the plant in between waterings.

Tip #3: Top off the bark with spongy, luscious green moss (also available at most nurseries). This is not only decorative, but also helps the bark retain necessary moisture around the root system.

Tip #4: Replace the plastic twist ties holding the stem of the orchid to the stake with twine or hemp string. Snip off the ends of the string so all you see is a nice, clean loop around the stem.

Tip #5: Finally, showcase your orchid in a place that receives indirect sunlight throughout the day. Group it with framed photos, cherished accessories or souvenirs from a memorable vacation. Experiment with stacking to vary the heights of the objects. You'll be creating an impressive focal point in the home that brings a smile to all who see it!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Best new products from KBIS

I recently paid a visit to the beautiful city of Chicago, host of the annual Kitchen and Bath Industry Show. Attending the show each year is important to me because it's the one chance I get to experience first-hand the latest and greatest appliances, fixtures, decorative hardware and building materials for the kitchen and bath all in one giant place. After visiting hundreds of interactive booths and displays, I'm left inspired and well-informed... ready to design my next masterpiece!

Here are some of the highlights of this year's show:

Architectural iron work for indoor and outdoor spaces from Raw Urth Designs ( The rustic beauty of these patinaed range hoods, counter tops and fire features left me in awe. Crafted from American-milled post-consumer steel, these statement pieces will adorn any room with a timeless feel and true connection with the elements, creating a sense of permanence and significance. What's more: this Colorado company is not only committed to recycling, but they also operate 100% on wind energy credits. 

Those of you who enjoy watching the morning news (but can't get enough of the snooze button) will appreciate the new TV Mirrors from MB Quart Entertainment. You can catch the weather or traffic report while you brush your teeth. Welcome to the future of multi-tasking!

Finally, you can enjoy filtered drinking water directly from the tap with Rohl's new Integrated Faucet Filtration system. Choose from a nice selection of modern or traditional fixtures and lose that secondary filtered water faucet taking up valuable counter space! The filter itself fits nicely inside the cabinet below and leaves plenty of room for storage.

Monday, February 22, 2010

I'd rather be a designer.....

Today is a good day. I get to visit an artist's studio to pick out beautiful oil paintings to show a client. I feel so lucky! (The artist is Helga Batman-Koplin.... you can see some of her work at

Tuesday, November 17, 2009


It's official: I'm a blogger now. It's all about food, wine and design.