Design Styles


Menswear Inspired Decor

Have you noticed more and more men pairing window pane plaids, or gingham checks with bold solid colored ties? It seems they have adopted the pairing of casual yet masculine patterns, rather than the tired look of a solid or striped shirt with a busier tie pattern. Since fashion sets the tone for interior decor, lets’ follow this lead and look at mixing masculine patterns for a gentlemen’s den.

Bennett Check Rod Pocket Curtains with Back Tabs
                                                                                          photo source

Houndstooth, window pane plaids, checks, or pinstripes, all of these are thought of as masculine patterns. They offer strength and steadiness, unlike a feminine floral pattern which is softer.  Incorporating these patterns in to a man cave, or men’s home office sets a rugged powerful tone to the room. But how do you pair these patterns for a cohesive pulled together look?

Pacific Heights Transformations

The trick is to stay within a color family and stick to the color scheme. Brown, beige, gray, and cream are fabulous neutral choices that allow you to bring in any accent colors you may like. When picking out fabric for the window treatments, upholstery or accent pillows, I like to keep the number of patterns to about three in coordinating colors. Using more than that,  can look a little busy and chaotic.

Presidio Heights Project
     Photo source

Another pit fall is not including solid colors into the plan.  A room filled with all pattern can appear dizzying, ans chaotic. Solids allow your eye to rest and not be barraged with pattern all at once. A solid color peppered in with coordinating patterns calms the room down a bit and makes it more pleasing to the eye. Pull a color from the patterns and run with it. Use it for a pillow or two, let it stand alone as the color of the couch, or opt to use it as window treatment.


Eclectic Wallpaper Designs Created Locally

A few years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Given Campbell, Tampa’s own eclectic wallpaper designer, for a piece on Examiner. Examiner recently shut down their website and I couldn’t let a great piece go by the wayside.  So, I am reprinting it.  I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Given.

Untitled design (16)

The use of wallpaper in interior decorating is making a comeback.  Decorators understand the visual interest that a well-designed, colorful wall paper will add to a space and often times they turn to the big brand names such as Waverly, Schumacher and Thibaut. For a more unique look, designers may turn to a smaller boutique line such as Given Campbell, located right here in the Tampa Bay area.

eclectic wallpaper

photo courtesy of Houzz

Given Campbell, a modern eclectic wallpaper design firm that is conceptualized and printed right here in the Bay area.  It may seem like an unusual business to have launched here, but it is thriving with designer and owner Given Campbell at the helm.

Given is an artist at heart and she had a passion for interior design.  She knew she wanted to do something artistic within the home goods industry but hadn’t found a niche until a random conversation when the idea of designing wallpaper came up.  She noticed the wall paper trend taking off again and with the advancement in technology it seemed like a prosperous niche worth exploring.

After a few years of product development she began to market her designs to consumers. Soon designers were discovering her line and using them in their projects. Then the recognition and awards began.  “Working in a bubble,” she says, “it’s hard to know if I am doing the right thing. Winning lets me know I am doing the right thing.”

Seven years later she has been featured nationally, won numerous awards and had her designs chosen for the walls of MTV’s corporate headquarters.  She now designs and markets several collections, including a Couture & Custom line.

She designs to her taste and not to trends but will build around Pantone’s seasonal color forecast.  She favors classic lines and timeless designs with a modern twist.  Most of her collections will compliment a variety of design styles. She will also create custom patterns.

eclectic wallpaper

Any good artist finds inspiration in the world around them and Given is no exception. She considers herself a conceptual thinker and can be inspired by an idea, a conversation, or a song that she will build an idea around. She derives inspiration from the great design of others too. She said, “I kept an old magazine with a collection of student art in it. It was ragged and old but inside it had a stair armoire that was curved and seemed to dance to one side.”

Her inspirations lend themselves to eclectic wallpaper designs that are graphic, vibrant, bold and colorful. There is nothing meek or demure about them, yet they are works of art fit for any modern home.


Coastal Cottage Decor

Coastal cottage décor draws from vintage and nautical finds and can take time to create, but the effort is well worth it to design a truly considered home.  It evokes a sense of the past in a casual, eclectic and charming manner that invites people to relax and enjoy.  There are a few key characteristics to decorating a home with the coastal cottage look and feel.


Bead board is a hallmark of the cottage look.  Bead board is a wall treatment used as an accent on the lower half of a wall and topped off with a chair rail. It is frequently painted white with either wallpaper or a coordinating color above the chair rail.  Another option is to hang bead board horizontally over the entire wall. This gives the illusion of horizontal stripes and adds a bigger punch of visual interest to the room.



Coastal color schemes are usually neutral with a mix colors in blues, yellows or greens. Keep it light and welcoming. Avoid dark walls and opt for lighter clean shades that evoke a bright sunny day at the beach.  Don’t be afraid of using small doses of a single color throughout the space. For example if you could use a sage green as an accent. Incorporate it in with throw pillows, matching pottery or even the lampshades. It adds dimension to the room and keeps it from being boring.


Next, to consider is the furniture. Cottage can be eclectic with a mix of pieces from different eras. It’s more of a relaxed look with rolled arms on sofas and chairs give the room a soft gentle feel.  Flea market finds are welcomed and often give the space a worn and comfortable feel. Perhaps add to the floor plan with a coffee table and end tables rescued from a local thrift shop and painted in an accent color or gently aged wicker chairs Use slipcovers for a very casual almost shabby chic look.

PicMonkey Collage_coastal_accents

No room is complete without accessories. Seashells, sea glass, drift wood or old lobster buoys all evoke a coastal look and feel. A bowl of shells may grace the entryway table, while a framed beach scene hangs in the family room.

The most appealing aspect of the coastal cottage look is the randomness of it. Keep it to light colors, gently worn furniture and unique flea market finds to create your own coastal home.

Rustic Glam

Rustic Glam…..

The other day I received a tweet asking me about the rustic glam look.  I am embarrassed to say I wasn’t  too sure what that look was.  After a quick perusal of Houzz, I had my answer.  I’m happy to say it’s a fabulous look that combines elements of the rustic look with the more sophisticated glamour style.

Think log cabin meets Hollywood, if you will.  I know it sounds quirky, but it really works well together.  I think the look is perfect when decorating for both sexes. Grab a few masculine elements of rustic like dark wood flooring, exposed brick walls and roughhewn wood ceiling beams. Pair it with elegant chandeliers, soft linen fabrics and mercury glass accents.

A rustic lodge can be cold and unwelcoming with exposed wood beams, stone walls and darker colors, while Hollywood regency can be too frilly and girly. By mixing loved aspects of both, you balance the two styles out.  The glamour style is soft and sensual and it smooths out the rough edges of the rustic look.

Design Trend: Monograms

The monogram began as a simple signature during the Greek and Roman times. Artisans employed the single initial to denote their art. During the rise of the Victorian age, the monogram grew in popularity. It signaled wealth, class and taste. Often associated with the aristocracy, the three-letter monogram popped up on everything from linens to knives.

Over the years the popularity of the monogram has ebbed and flowed, with it never really going out of style among the preppy set.  I grew up with monogrammed boat totes, turtle necks with a simple blocked patterned monogram and hankies with a bright “W”.

Today, the monogram has found its way into several areas of home decor.

two letter monogrammed napkin  photo source

two letter monogrammed napkin photo source

1) Monogram Napkin

Dress your table with monogrammed napkins.

vintage linen towels with monograms photo source

vintage linen towels with monograms photo source

2) Vintage towels

Scour flea markets to find vintage linens with your monogram. A simple letter stitched in the same color, or a contrasting letter will make a statement in  the powder room.

3) Pillow Shams

Pillow shams with an initial or a three letter monogram is clean and classic. I particularly like using a contrasting color pulled from another color in the room.

photo source
photo source

4) The Gallery Wall 

The gallery wall has really grown in popularity. It’s a great way to use a variety of art pieces, from framed art to vintage needle point.  Add a single initial or a collection of three to the wall for interest and a little identification.

letter wreath

5) Front Door Wreath…. 

Or simply hang the initial of your last name on a wreath.