Interview with Kelly Edwards Author of Design Cookbook

This week I had the pleasure of interviewing the amazing Kelly Edwards. She is the co-host and design coordinator of HGTV’s “Design on a Dime” as well as STYLE network’s “Tacky House”. Next month Kelly’s book, Design Cookbook: Recipes for a Stylish Home will be in bookstores and we have  your first exclusive look! Check out my interview with Kelly after the jump –

Erin Martin Erin Martin Nicole Cohen

Jada: First off, not really a question, but a shout out because you are from Chicago too and that is always exciting!

Kelly: So great to meet you and so excite to hear your from Chicago.  Love the city.  I’d move back in a second if I wasn’t doing the whole TV thing!

Jada: So how did you come up with the cookbook approach for a design book? It’s so different, but makes total sense!

Kelly: It was actually my dad that came up with the idea.  I told him I was wanting to write a design book and he said, “Why don’t you make one that looks like a cookbook?”  I thought, ” that’s ingenious!”  Truth is… people love cookbooks even if they can’t cook.  It’s such a great approach to design.  If you give someone a photo, a recipe and a list of ingredients it makes it so much easier to complete a room!

Jada: Okay, here’s a design scenario: I want to spruce up my living room in 2013 for less than $200, what should I invest in to really make my home special?

Kelly: An amazing rug, lighting and some great pillows.  An inexpensive sofa can be dressed up with great pillows.  Texture is everything.   Velvet pillows will make any sofa look and feel more expensive. Lighting is the most important thing in any design as well.  The better the lighting, the better the room will look. You MUST invest in great lighting.

Jada: Anyone who’s seen you on television knows you’re amazing at repurposing. How do you approach turning something most people see as trash into some great treasure?

Kelly: Yes, this is definitely my favorite thing to do.  If something has great bones, then it will look even better with a fresh coat of paint on it.  A can of spray paint is every repurposer’s best friend.   I always look at the integrity of the piece first.  If it has character, it will look good in any color.

Jada: We are super stoked for entertaining this summer. What are some of your foolproof design tips for our readers to create an amazing space for their guests?

Kelly: Make it comfortable.  Guests love feeling comfortable in a space.

1. Have great lighting.  Lighting creates and sets the mood.  I like to make sure everything is on a dimmer and there are plenty of candles floating around.

2.  There is ample seating and it looks and feels comfortable.  For instance, all of the chairs in my dining room have a faux sheepskin throw over them.

3. For years the big thing is the indoor/outdoor entertaining. I keep my decor flowing from indoors to outdoor to give my guests the chance to mingle in and out.  I like the open space.

4.  Music can make or break your party.  Consider your guests taste when doing your playlist.  My personal favorite [is] having all our guests pick an album from our collection.  We love to play albums at the end of the night.

5.  Make a self-service bar complete with your best glassware and nice fresh flowers.  Let your guests know to help themselves.  It eases the pressure off the host from having to keep refilling glasses all night.

Jada: What are the 5 things you are most excited about for 2013?

Kelly: 1. Traveling.  I have the travel bug this year!  I want to go everywhere and anywhere!

2. The book.  My first book is out in May.  Couldn’t be happier!

3. Getting married.  We are working out the details now.  Wish me luck!

4.  Starting a business with my friend Jen Porter from Chic Living LA.

5.  Learning to cook more vegan and vegetarian dishes.  I’m kind of obsessed with it right now.  Oh, and to make my own Chicago hot Giardiniera.  I want to jar it and sell it I love it so much!  You can’t find it here in LA.

Best wishes to Kelly on her book launch and upcoming wedding! Make sure to check out the look book for Design Cookbook before it hits stores. If you’re feeling lucky, enter to win a free copy at Goodreads.

Seeing the big picture (window)


Energy-Efficient Windows

Kitchen Sunroom

Energy-efficient, replacement windows are designed to save you energy without sacrificing the functionality and features that you may be looking for when upgrading your home windows. This upgrade allows you to re-do your home for an affordable price and even save money on your electricity bill. These new windows may reduce your energy bill by around 15% and will help to protect the environment. You probably want to be able to let light into your home, but those old, outdated windows simply get too hot. With energy-efficient styles, the window panes will never become hot to the touch and will not allow air conditioning to seep outside of the house. Purchasing new windows can even save you money on your tax bill!

Modern Style Windows


Lonny dining room

amanda nisbet

Say goodbye to those plain, boring windows and hello to beautiful, brand new, modern windows for your home. Modern style windows will bring a whole new look into your space, providing you with a contemporary look that is sure to make any room pop. Bay windows are perfect when looking to create a focal point within the room. Windows can even be created in special and unique shapes to fit your style. Glider windows are ideal for kitchen spaces and can easily be opened to feel the warm breeze throughout the seasons. Other types of windows that you may opt to upgrade your house with include awning windows, casement windows and bow windows. This affordable upgrade is sure to turn a few heads and will put your house at the top of buyers lists when putting it for sale on the market.

How to Upgrade your Home for Less

brooklyn-townhouse03 books Amy Butler HouseTour

You may be interested in upgrading your home simply to improve its overall look, to up the safety standards that your home offers or to get it ready for a sale. Whatever the reason, making these upgrades will only increase the value of your home and provide you with a more comfortable and efficient living space. To easily upgrade your home design, updating old and outdated windows is a simple option. Many older windows are simply out of date and may not be as safe as they were once considered to be. They may not open and close as smoothly as they used to, they may not lock anymore or they might just be easy to break into. Newer windows are more modern and energy efficient, giving you that new home design look that you’ve been longing for.


Let’s Go Spring Shopping!

The hats and scarves have been put away, the house is clean – now it’s time to go shopping! All of the great new seasonal colors and trends have really helped to push out that final lingering winter weather. Pacing myself for what is sure to be a great shopping season, here are my top finds:

Delicate and a little dangerous (via)

Delicate and a little dangerous Cut Lace Vanity Tray from Urban Outfitters (via)

Because Practice Makes Awesome Print by Bridgette & Michael (via)

Because Practice Makes Awesome Print by Bridgette & Michael (via)

With names like Kerfuffle and Molly Coddled, the Sweetie Collection features perfect spring shades (via)

With names like Kerfuffle and Molly Coddled, the Sweetie Shop Collection features perfect spring shades (via)

Every day is a Saturday with this Kate Spade Checkerboard set! Perfect for springtime rooftop parties (via)

Every day is a Saturday with this Kate Spade Checkerboard set! Perfect for springtime rooftop parties (via)

These hand painted, handwritten letters are gorgeous and unique (via)

These hand painted, handwritten letters by Janice MacLeod are gorgeous and unique. Who wouldn’t want this in their mailbox? (via)

The best apps for inspiration and organization from the pros (via)

The best apps for inspiration and organization from the pros (via)

What are you looking forward to in stores this season?


Small Spaces, Big Impact

We all know spring is a time to refresh not only yourself but your home. But when you live in a smaller space it can be challenging to make a big impression. Lonny Magazine has just the thing to make sure your small space spring makeover will have you feeling renewed all year long.

Statement Lighting

Draw the eye up and dazzle with large pendant lighting and mirrors (via)

Christie Brophy, web editor at told us “People are often timid when decorating a small space and try to avoid overwhelming it with bold decorating choices. But by taking advantage of vertical space and playing with scale, you can fill your home with well-crafted interiors, regardless of its size”. Here are some photos of my favorite techniques:

Streamline Bedroom Furniture

Clearing the floor of lamps in favor of hanging or wall sconces (via)

Using dark colors to enhance the depth of your space (via)

Using dark colors to enhance the depth of your space (via)

Clearing valuable floor space of smaller pieces that clutter and replacing them with bigger furniture that creates the right balance in the space, are just the tips most of us miss when decorating. For more big ideas on small spaces visit Lonny.


Storage Solutions | Maximize Space Under the Stairs

With all the talk of spring there is one downside – the cleaning. If the stuff you’ve amassed all year is starting to make you feel a bit cluttered, try storing it. Granted you don’t want to forget about it, nor do you want to take up valuable closet space (hello, spring wardrobe!). So this post we’re taking a page from our favorite boy wizard and headed under the stairs!

Whether you want to show off, organize, hide, or get to work – we found some great inspiration that’s as easy as 1, 2, 3!

Show off your unique collection

Show off your unique collection (via)

Simple shelves and baskets for storage

Simple shelves and baskets for storage (via)

A special place for the pups

A special place for the pups (via)

Pull out drawers conceal, while tiered shelves organize

Pull out drawers conceal, while tiered shelves organize (via)

When you need a place all your own to get work done

When you need a place all your own to get work done (via)

Highlight beautiful artwork and catch your favorite shows

Highlight beautiful artwork and catch your favorite shows (via)

Storage with style, these mirrored doors make your space look larger and clutter-free

Storage with style: mirrored doors make space look larger (via)

A great workspace for everyone in the family

A great workspace for everyone in the family

Check out some more examples in our previous posts here, here, here, and here!

Good luck!

Egg-ceptional Designs

Decorating Easter eggs is something even a child can do, but it doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice your amazing sense of style to have fun with the kids. Check out these contemporary takes on a timeless springtime tradition.

Take your dyed eggs up a notch with gold (via)

Glam up your dyed eggs with gold (via)

Get graphic (in a good way!) with your eggs (via)

Get graphic (in a good way!) with your eggs (via)

Break out your paint brush and add abstract patterns (via)

Fabergé has nothing on this hand painted Ukrainian design (via)

Ostrich eggs + Modge Podge = a unique decoupage decoration (via)

Repurpose leftover party napkins (via)

No eggs in the house? No worries!

Strips of paper add a new dimension to holiday art (via)

This washi tape egg can be made 2-D or 3-D! (via)


Hello Monday




“This is my design laboratory And things are always changing. ” Ellie Sommerville McNeven – Love her Harlem digs in the latest issue of Rue.

My focus for the next few days will be on a new project for DIY Network. What are you most looking forward to accomplishing this week?



Happy Friday

Its nearly happy hour here on the East coast and I am just about ready for my glass of brut.  9e646243c7f1d31c5418cf8777ea30f5


Here’s a simple tip to enhance a glass of bubby: add a sprig of lavender to champagne for a refreshing and relaxing flavor.

Happy Weekend



Spring is here!

Here’s a peek from today’s shoot over at Living Social‘s 918F st offices. We created three tablescapes/ party decor looks for their marketing collateral.They have awesome event spaces which are a delight to decorate. I LOVE how everything turned out. Especially love the pics taken by Lisa Marie of Sweet Tea Photography. I am such a fan of her work and such a pleasure to team up with. Thanks for all your hardwork Lisa Marie.


Happy Spring, friends.

image: Manvi Drona