Tyson and Billy Architects

Outdoor Living ~ Enjoying Summer

As we all enjoy another blistering hot July day; I can't help but feel summer is winding down. It seems to zip by after the 4th of July. My impending sense of winter doom is further fueled by seeing Christmas décor already in stores and fall items on sale … impossible but true.

As I'm feeling slightly nostalgic today I thought I'd share a few of my outdoor living inspiration pictures.

via Décor Pad

Designer's Tip: Accessorize your patio!

Use garden statuary, rugs, art, planters, furniture, and pillows. The key to keeping these areas looking fresh throughout the season is buying items specifically weatherproofed for outdoors. Everything from pillows to rugs can be purchased ready to withstand the elements.

via Elle Décor

Achieving a natural look to your outdoor living area is tricky as neutrals can easily feel bland and lost in the outdoor environment. Consider using texture & pattern within your neutral color scheme to add interest and make your seating area a inviting oasis.

Via Better Homes & Gardens

Designer's Tip: Make your deck a destination by defining different activity zones within the space. Multiple levels carve out spaces for dining and relaxing on this deck.

via Glo MSN

This outdoor tile is gorgeous. It feels like a extension of their kitchen.

via Houzz

Designer's Tip: Your outdoor room will feel more like an oasis if it has a sense of enclosure. Fences, outdoor drapes, and garden walls ensure privacy for patios, but you can also use lattice, pergolas, and landscaping to define outdoor spaces and screen views of neighboring houses.

via Skonahem

Designer's Tip: Design the patio to be an extension of your home's architecture, and use planting beds, container gardens, and weatherproof furniture to decorate the outdoor space.

via Better Homes & Gardens

Provide a little shade via umbrellas, awnings, or even pergolas planted with vines or draped in a outdoor textile.

Enjoy your summer and be inspired to live outdoors!

~ Kelly


Art Hanging Inspiration

Over the holidays I was perusing through a gallery in Key West, and the gallery owner asked the standard question, what do you like?

My response: I like a little of everything. I'm eclectic as are my art choices.

His answer: Artwork is a journal. You buy a piece, you snap a photograph, and it helps you remember everything about that time period when you look at it.

Insert epiphany: Why in the world do I have art I've never hung and photographs I've never printed?!

Design Elements Blog

Which leads me to this post … time to hang more art, time to print my photographs, and time to be inspired.

Art is a designer's best friend. It can fill voids, balance rooms, and eliminate the "what's missing?" pause. This is that stop where you go: what's wrong with this room?

The only pause you should be making in any room is a - "Oh, wow."  - pause.

Here's a small sampling of art and photograph groupings I love to create a few - "Oh, wow." - moments of your own.


Entryways are always a neglected area of the home. There's a  - what do I do with this space? - question in most every home. So we often add a floor plant, toss a rug down, maybe a bench and we're done.

Wrong! The entryway should be the teaser to the rest of the house. A little preview of intrigue to come.

Art is a great way to lead you into a room or down a hall. Adding a mirror is a great way to fill a large wall without fighting the focus from the streamlined art on the adjacent wall.

Atlanta Home Magazine

Art doesn't necessarily need to be a framed picture. These stunning red hand hooks and a chunky mirror give a definite - Come hither and see what other surprises this house holds - statement.

Abigail Ahern

Less is More: This busy tiled floor is perfectly complimented by large scale art with white frames. If hanging multiples of 8x10s and 11x14s makes you break out in a cold sweat, opt for a large image that compliments your interior. Be simple and be impactful.

Lori Langille Blog


Black & White Sleek: large white mats and simple black frames unite this grouping. Great use of vertical space by hanging the pictures all the way up the wall.

Otterwerx, Tumblr

Touch of Gold: A beautiful red & gold color grouping that compliments the bedding. Framed art is on the petite size engulfed by the large white mats. This keeps the bedroom feeling serene and calm by minimizing the art subject matter.

Elements of Style

Daybeds can be on the awkward list of furniture to design around. The scale and size of this furniture piece can make a room feel unbalanced. Centered art above the daybed and a grouping on the far wall balances out the monster day bed and keeps the eye traveling across the room.

Design Manifest

Dining Rooms

The most common mistake I see made in hanging or placing art in a dining area is the orientation. Art should be placed or hung at eye level while you are seated, not eye level while you are standing.

Pictured here, art is displayed on the credenza creating a area of visual interested. The oversized light fixture fills the space above the art creating overall balance.    

The Glitter Guide 

How to handle the vertical wall space without changing your light fixture?

Create a large grouping that is oriented to both the seated view and the standing view. Notice the scale of the light fixture is petite allowing the art to be the focal point.

Dust Jacket Attic


Art in Kitchens? But where?

Most of us have every vertical surface of our kitchen covered in cabinets. For those that don't a empty spot can feel a bit off kilter. Something a few pieces of well placed art can resolve.

Gallery Kitchen: This is a little extreme, but can you imagine this space without all this art? A white tunnel stopping at the stove. Yick!

Filling this space with art makes use of the verticality of this room and gives this tiny space a cathedral like quality.

The Pursuit of Aesthetic

Minimal Clutter + Lots of Emphasis - open shelves in a kitchen can look very cluttered very quickly. A box of cereal or a loaf of bread can resulting in a lackluster eye level display.

Keep the function (pretty drinking glasses) and ditch the everyday food packaging (Wonder Bread). Subtle artwork on eye level now makes a pleasing display to view while washing dishes or chopping veggies.

House & Home

I bet these homeowners went where's my cabinet to the right of the window?

Feel like you are missing a cabinet or two? No problem, artwork appropriate to the scale of the cabinets fills the void and eliminates the "what's missing?" pause.

Blessed with sprawling countertops? Fill the not so often used surface space by placing artwork on the countertop. Lovely display.

Habitually Chic

Base Cabinets Only? Fill the vertical with art. Hint: changing the size of the art (as shown: 3 small on the left & 1 large on the right) keeps this focal wall interesting, rather than a one note view that art all in one size would create. Spice it up with variety.

Habitually Chic

More to come on this. I will cover kid's rooms, bathrooms, living rooms, and home office another day. Following that - a post of my "go to" websites for unique artwork.

I hope this got you thinking about what's stored in your attic or pictures sitting in a folder on your desktop. Let those captured moments live on your walls.

Be inspired.

~ Kelly




Inspiration Weekly ~ Capri Blue

Artchings Interior Image, Amity Imports Pillow, Untitled, & Adam Lloyd Blue Ink 2


A splash or a dash makes this bright and cheerful blue the star of your room.

Try adding a throw, a pillow, or a piece of art in this daring hue.
Definitely a accent color only as too much of this blue could have a elementary result rather than sophisticated.

DIY Idea: Paint vintage frames in Carpi Blue and frame black and white photos with a chunky white mat. A little sophisticated drama with a touch of surprise.

Carpi Blue's Coordinating colors: Chamomile & Shagreen with stainless steel and white accents makes a great pairing.

Wishing you a inspired weekend!

~ Kelly


Inspiration Weekly ~ Hearty Orange

I'm kicking off a new category … Inspiration Weekly.

Color is by far the design element we most strongly and instantly react to in a room.
Color inspires us … and all things aside, what really has been achieved in design if the result is not inspiring?

Does your entryway inspire welcome? Your kitchen creativity? Your home office productivity? Does your bedroom inspire you to sink in and relax or vice versa to jump start your day?

What's the missing element? It could be color …  but where to start?!

No worries.  A subtle splash or a bold statement of color could be just the right thing.
I'll be featuring a paint color each week to kick start your color inspiration.

Hearty Orange

1. Lonny Magazine. 2. anthropology + you on Flikr 3. Danielle Kroll blogspot 4. Sherwin William's Hearty Orange 5. Raffaella on Flikr


Positioned on the fandeck between coral reds and bright oranges ~ Hearty Orange is a sophisticated blend of red and orange.

Orange is associated happiness & creativity, and a little goes a long way. Notice the bedroom example, orange is only on two pillows & the comforter.

A piece of art, a upholstered chair, a throw on the end of your bed … go saturated subtly for big results.

Hearty Orange's Coordinating Colors ~  Reflecting Pool & Eider White

~ Kelly


Moody Blues contrasted by Warm Tones

With Fall already ushering in its mercurial Midwest weather … I needed a little cheer on this gray, rainy day.

This interior popped out to me as the perfect mix of  warm and cool tones. Orange and blue are such a stunning combination!

As we transition from summer into fall … remember to balance the warm and cool tones to keep a cheerful interior despite the weather outside our windows.

Happy Monday Everyone!

~ Kelly

Interior via Chicago Homes


Kitchen Crush ~ Colorful Cabinets

berloni gallery set2 kitchens

Kitchen design is one of my favorites. It's the most functional area in a house and is truly the family area of today's home. So why do we limit ourselves with light, medium, or dark wood tones for cabinets?

Not that those aren't gorgeous and you can introduce color in so many other ways … but why not start with the color ON the cabinets. I know! Revolutionary, and not as scary as you might think.

Here's a few images from my inspiration folder called:

Color, Color, Color

Oh this lime green and red is my favorite. Love the letter decals on the cabinet glass. Jean Allsopp

Designer's Tip: This much color needs to be grounded - notice the slate gray countertops and ebony floor. Perfect counterbalance.

Color in Small Doses … Just the Island

This teal island makes me swoon. This color is not standard from this manufacture. The homeowner found this color on a piece of furniture and they matched it for her.

Shaker Style Cabinets in Sweet Dreams

Don't be afraid to ask … custom is almost always a option and might cost less than you think!

Shaker Style Cabinets in Sweet Dreams

Even this dramatic kitchen needed some oomph. This island is the saving grace keeping this kitchen from being too dark, and giving the room a beautiful focal point topped off nicely by that stunning light fixture.

Square Raised Panel in Cardinal

Designer's Tip: Using glass fronted cabinets results in less visual weight maintaining that fine line between dramatic and overpowering.

Two-Tone Triumph

This traditional kitchen received a well executed design trick to keep this kitchen/dining room from getting lost in this expansive space.

Sweeping the eye from the inset hutch to the island and on to the cream chairs surrounding the table - the cream tones unite these three fields and give direction for the eye to follow.

Flanked by sage green cabinets -  the cream color sweep results is coziness instead of emptiness.

Square Raised Panel in Sage & Mushroom

Less is more. These bright red base cabinets are a shining spot of color in this neutral space. Snow white countertops and upper cabinets keeps this space balanced allowing the red be the showstopper.

Master Collection


"U" shaped kitchens can be a little heavy in appearance as there's so much cabinetry. This smart design uses mint green cabinets on the island and the between the windows keeping this kitchen light and airy.

Square Raised Panel in Cherry Willow


Designer's Tip: Use elements of the same color family to unite multiple colors in a room. For example the countertop and light fixtures in brown & cream above the green island relate back to the wood cabinets. Likewise the green wall paint above the wood cabinets coordinates with the green island and hutch. Subtly sneaky.

Beautiful Blue

Definitely a modern statements being made here with this urban kitchen. My favorite … the shades of blue being used from the cabinets, floor, chairs, countertop risers, and built-in shelves it's wonderful medley of many blues.
If you're wondering what the floor is - it's polished concrete.

Urban Desert Design

This sleek contemporary kitchen is a blend of stainless steel, walnut, and textured paneling. Check out the floating butcher's block above the seating area in the island countertop… and the stainless steel backsplash! So wonderful.

Dramatic Spaces

As see on our Facebook Page earlier today....

French Elegance

This bathroom is appropriately titled French Elegance. I could live here. Literally.

These are actually furniture-style cabinets, which allow for more complex mixing of color, style, and detailing. A amazing design that looks like it belongs in a historical French Chateau … that had chromotherapy tubs in the 18th century of course.

Sophisticated Sage

A easy slide into color without having the drama of a dark color: Soft - almost but not quite neutral - Sage.

Square Raised Panel in Sage

Separating the kitchen and dining by function and color.  The change from wood tone to a glazed sage color adds clarification to each zone and brings emphasis to the display area.

Square Raised Panel in Sage

A custom sage color was mixed for these homeowners that found inspiration on a TV show.  In design there's not always the perfect match when you have something you're set on … that why there's semi-custom.

Flirtatious Finish

Side Note: This kitchen is set in a renovated farm house.

Dramatic Red

For those of you who are go big and bold or go home … these kitchens are for you!

This color is called cardinal and pairing it with a sophisticated gray is just the right touch to keep this bright color toned down and urban chic.

Solid Slab in Cardinal

Italian cabinets are always so sleek. Even when set with traditional detailing, there's something so fresh and updated about them.

Montecarlo Collection

Designer's Tip: They used a cream shade on the upper cabinets which pairs nicely with the wood on the floating island. A Pure white cabinet would have completely disappeared much like the top of the range hood.

Majestic Purple

The organic shapes around this open concept kitchen is made powerful by the introduction of purple cabinets. The purple punch of the cabinets assist in distinguishing zones of cooking / dining and living / relaxing in this wide open floor plan.

Lakeview Contemporary

I would love to do a entire kitchen in this smoky purple by Benjamin Moore (Vintage Wine 2116-20). It's sophisticated and timeless and so many great color compliments to go with this shade.

Vintage Wine

Designer's Tip: This shade of purple could be paired with gray, orange, taupe, green, or blue without a hitch.

A Nod to Unique

Farm House Red - chicken wire cabinets are so cool in the right setting. Coppery accents are such a nice compliment to this burnt umber shade.

Rugged Farmhouse Kitchen

There's actually two shades of green in this kitchen. Cabinet doors are in Green Tea and the island a Colonial Green.

Designer's Note: Contributing to this vintage vibe is a crackle finish on the cabinets giving it a charming and lived-in sensibility.

Inspired Questions?

If this has inspired you to make a change in your own kitchen and you have questions … post away! Add your question to the comment section of our blog and I'll reach out to you.

Life is too short for beige, so color away and ask a designer if in doubt!

~ Kelly

Sources for this blog post are as follows: HGTV Pro, K+BB, Plain & Fancy Cabinetry, Berloni America, Jean Allosopp, & KraftMaid.


Designer’s Tips: Textile Layering

Add a little pizzazz to your bedroom by layering textiles.

Although using this much pattern might be a little vivacious for some … here's a few keys to achieving this look in your own space.

Design Rule of Thumb: Visual Balance

Repeat One Textile

Using the same pattern twice in a high and low visual field will balance the entire setting.
The coverlet (low) and the headboard (high) are the same fabric providing a counterbalance for the usage of other materials.

Use Similar Patterns

The Euro shams and the sheet set are a slightly varied chain link pattern of the same size and scale. Despite their slight difference the repetition of similar pattern and color connects the center of the bed as one field.

Coordinate Style & Color

The accent pillows and the bench at the end of the bed share the same Mediterranean style. The black and cream base colors connects these two items visually, bringing your eye from the foot of the bed ~ to the head of the bed.

Create a Neutral Envelope

This room has a demure rug with solid curtains and a slightly textured wall covering.  This quiet envelope allows this bold bed be the focal point without the walls and floor vying for attention.

Moderate your Styling

Just like the envelope, when you have a screaming focal point, style the rest of the room to frame it.  All necessary items  - lighting, side tables, decorative accents, etc - take on a secondary role of subtle and sleek.

Result: a framing effect of this stunning focal point

Wishing you a productive and design inspired weekend!

~ Kelly

Images scanned from Style at Home Magazine June 2011 Issue.
Visit Style at Home for more inspiration.

Find this amazing red fabric in a similar pattern at Calico Corners.




Accent Tables with a little Oomph

I am loving extreme color lately.
In your face, can't look away, unapologetic - Oh My Gosh, It Bit Me! - Color.

My color formula  …
Neutral landscape + Bold splashes of color = Maximum Color Pow

Real Living Magazine

This purple table takes my breath away. I think I need one.  As in contemplating picking up a can of Sherwin Williams' Impulsive Purple on my way home and attacking my kitchen table.

Heirloom Oak meet my purple paint.  Muwhahaha!

To feed this color addiction, I've recently discovered a company called Oomph.

They are everything chic, charming, and - oh! - what wonderful customizable color combinations.

Sticking with my table theme …

Accent Tables!

tini I stone

They are US made (which is so hard to find these days in the furniture industry) and a Green company.

tini table V

Oomph's Products: custom made tables, chic chairs and beautiful pillows.

tini II z

Did I mention they have options?

Zillions. Zillions of options and in Zebra too.

Their tag line is "always room for a little oomph". Catchy and true.

And if your tune is a little more sedate, they have colors pops with a toned down pizzazz for you as well.

tini I

But if you need Slap 'Yo Momma Color, they have options in abundance.

harbour Island side

Happy Decorating.

~ Kelly


Outdoor Living, Be Inspired.

Summer is my favorite time of the year and I hate it when retail rushes the next season. Yesterday to my horror I discovered a full blown Christmas Display while shopping (*ahem, Hobby Lobby).
In direct opposition to this I am determined to enjoy every last moment of summer even if mid-July in the Midwest does mean storms …

Anybody else without power right now?

(from Dahlia House Studio)

For those of you willing to dole out sympathy to my plight: the power company said we might have power restored on Thursday. Oh, joy. Not too soon please, I love fumbling around the house with a flashlight

I think I might buy this:

Hilarious that this HUGE flashlight has such a dinky arm strap. *Ouch
Apologies to the maker, but this beast should have a American Tourister size padded shoulder harness.

Okay, back on track …

So to escape the heat of our house, I found myself outside yesterday evening serenaded to the hum of a neighborhood full of running generators, wishing I had a luxurious - albeit soundproof - outdoor living area.

I have a couple of chairs I keep in my garage and haul out when the mood strikes, but oh how I wish for one of these:

Designer: Michael Penney

Layer your accent colors!

Multiple textures and patterns in the same accent colors on different levels keeps your eye moving and brings the accent color to the forefront.

A accent color is more impactful when at least three elements have these same color.
Notice how the blue is used on the vintage table [mid], the pillows [high], and a darker shade on the book [low].

Here's a few outdoor living areas I love with my Designer Hints for creating these "looks" in
your own way.

Designer: Greg Murphy

Colorphobic? Solution: Pattern

Layer different neutral tones and patterns to keep things interesting without committing to a seasonal color. Stay with a classic neutral, just mix up your patterns for monochromatic pizzazz.

Designer: Christopher Wood

Coloraholic?  Where's the fine line between too much and just right?

Create your mutli-hued space by sticking to 3 main colors and 1 pattern.
Photo: Green, Blue, and Yellow with a White & Black checkered pattern.

Still need more color? Introduce another hue with accessories you can change out and take away. The pink and orange serving tray zings your eye right to that unique color pop without distracting from the primary accent colors.

Designer: Lisa Rogers

Color Trend Solution: A Easy and Safe Commitment

I have found that a lot of people hold back on designing with color because they don't want to create a space around a "trendy" color that's moment will not make it to next season.

Easy Commitment: buy at least three items in the color of your choice. Trendy or not, it's a great color splash and if you need a new color next summer ... ultimately it's two pillows and a floor vase to replace.

Play it Safe: Invest in neutral staple items and add color accents with economical items.
The chair cushions (a staple) are in a neutral straw color and accented with teal pillows (economical) make for a great color pairing. Next summer red, purple, pink, or green would be just as stunning with those straw colored cushions.

Accessorize Your Outdoor Seating Area

What a interesting idea: hang a mirror or wall art or a planter at the eye level of your table when seated. Creates a cozy pocket for conversation and brings a little indoor flare outdoors.

This pair of chairs and table by themselves would not be nearly as impactful, but the addition of a wall mounted décor and a little color creates a splendid result!

*Designer's Pick Frontgate & Ballard Designs have great outdoor artwork and accessories.

Designer: Mark Hartley Landscape Architects

No match? No Worries!

Please put away the misconception that your outdoor living area HAS to match your house perfectly. It really doesn't.

Although, this isn't a comfortable idea for everyone… introducing a design statement that is unique from the house is a great way to define a lounge area.

In this picture the striking difference of the background and landscape of the home to the lounge seating area creates a beckoning invitation. It continues the modern theme of this home and adds a dash of whimsy.

Do something unexpected! I love the suspended globe above the seating area.

Temporary Party Decor

String a few strands of lights above a seating area for a little mood lighting and design flair.

Create the suspended globe look on a smaller scale: Pottery Barn has a great offering of outdoor light strands.

Designer: Barb Purdy

And lastly: Pattern Wow

The simple, bold pattern on the cushions and pillows makes for a easy design statement. The simplicity of this setting remains dynamic through its minimalism.
The absence of other colored décor keeps your attention on that fantastic pattern.

If you find a bold pattern you love, don't overcomplicate it. In outdoor areas flowers and nature are often enough of a addition that adding different color or patterned pillows and colored accessories can result in too much of a good thing and can be overwhelming.

Be simple be impactful.

If I had the time and resources to design a outdoor living area for myself right now, here's what my inspiration board would look like:

Designer's are often victim to the adage: "A gourmet chef that goes home and makes macaroni and cheese."

Our homes are often the last thing we get to. I wake up in the middle of the night thinking about someone else's space and not my own.

*Sigh, someday. In the meantime, here's my dream world:

I have pretty basic gray and white house, so I would layer color and pattern with metal and wood tones to add some outdoor pizzazz to a otherwise non-noteworthy exterior. I love outdoor parties, and would set the scene with accessories and serveware that picks up on the colors and tones from the furniture and fabric.

Harking back to earlier tips, group your accent colors into three or more items and repeat them on different levels for maximum impact. (floor rugs, pillows, table accents, wall art, etc).

Get this look:

Restoration Hardware

Floor Cushions ~ Outdoor Pillows: Yellow & Linen ~ Outdoor Pillows: Orange & Red ~ Blue Pillow

Pottery Barn

Chairs ~ Drum Accent Table ~ Metal Lanterns ~ Drink Dispenser ~ Ceramic Lanterns ~ Shell Bowl

Ballard Design: Outdoor Fabrics

Outdoor Living Photos curtsey of Canadian Home and Garden - one of my favorites! Please select the designer's name below each photo (or click on the photo for some) to access photo credits and a link back to the source.

Be inspired!

~ Kelly