atx design

Black is the New Neutral

This kitchen is one of my most recent East Austin projects and demands to be noticed. Its dramatic black cabinetry, proper lighting, unique accents and lighter surfaces were the secrets to its success. Most home owners tend to worry that black cabinetry will make a space feel smaller, which nobody wants, but I’ll explain how I made it all work…

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But first I have to mention how this client actually loved color and patterns, blue being her favorite color! If you can’t tell from my work, I personally love color too so this neutral and minimalist design was quite the balance needed in the home. We decided to save the fun patterns and bold colors for the four bathrooms (see photos below!) and designed the kitchen to be the grounding center with one major piece as a focal point…the stunning royal blue La Cornue oven.

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Choosing the right flooring and counters to keep the space neutral and airy was a must! Not only was the countertop material important on this project but the design of the material. I quickly fell in love with the vision of a marble like quartz counter wrapping both ends of the island, tucking black cabinetry underneath. The same quartz was also used as a backsplash. This sleek effect lightened the center of the space and created a comfortable seating area. The engineered white oak wide plank flooring was light enough to stay subtle but unique enough to complete the room by creating balance.

Lighting played a huge roll in allowing the space to feel open and who doesn’t love a well lit kitchen? Natural light flooded this space and with the use of a few stunning light fixtures there was little to no concern of feeling dark. The two acrylic and gold pendants over the island quickly became a conversation piece and some of my favorites.

With the La Cornue range as the focal point in the kitchen, I was mindful in keeping decorative elements at a minimum. Brass hardware and elegant plumbing fixtures were beautiful accents to the black cabinetry. Large vases filled with a touch of spring brought comfort to the space as finishing touches. Happy Spring!

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Pictured below are a few of the bathroom tile designs I did, bringing color and personality to the space.

The Tile That Inspired Me

I found this image on the internet in 2014 and fell in love.

I found this image on the internet in 2014 and fell in love.

When I was searching the internet in 2015 for inspiration, I didn't realize this very image above would make such an impact on my design career. 

I didn't know what this tile was called, but I was on a mission to find it. I was designing my very first shipping container studio for myself, so I wanted every single design element to reflect me. I couldn't stop going back to this image without getting excited. It was the color, the pattern, the shape that was just so perfect. Just a few months earlier I had been to this wonderful tile shop in North Austin called "Clay Imports". I decided to take a visit to the store and I kid you not, as I was walking up the steps to the front door, there it was, the single tile waiting for me. 

There it was. Waiting for me.

There it was. Waiting for me.

Needless to say, I placed my order right then and there for 100 square feet of "Dandelion" cement tile. So, step one, finding the tile and its name was complete. Now, step two, incorporating it into my shipping container. Here I go. 

I wanted my studio to feel light and bright, natural yet energetic. I wanted a lot of natural wood elements with pops of color and bold patterns. I thought it would be overwhelming to cover the entire floor with the Dandelion pattern, so I came up with a mixed design of natural wood tile 3"x 36" planks in a herringbone pattern (sketch below). It sounds crazy, but little did I know I would have clients years later reference this floor pattern. Nor did I think it would be featured on HGTV, used as an advertisement for "Clay Imports" in Austin Monthly Magazine and be published in Austin Home Magazine. 

I recently went into the new Google office in Austin and walked into a bathroom that was floor to ceiling covered in the Dandelion pattern. I'm not going to lie, I felt a little honored haha I would like to think I started this fabulous trend in Austin, even though I know I 100 percent did not. 

I am very happy to see my personal studio celebrated in so many ways. I am grateful for the image that caught my eye and inspired me. I hope my design continues to inspire others. 

Capturing light and bright. Photo by Julie Holder

Capturing light and bright. Photo by Julie Holder

Austin Monthly Magazine 2017. That's me! Photo by Julie Holder

Austin Monthly Magazine 2017. That's me! Photo by Julie Holder

Another One To Be Thankful For

Unit A Kitchen - Natural Hickory mixed with Painted off white cabinets

Unit A Kitchen - Natural Hickory mixed with Painted off white cabinets

I have many feelings today, completing my latest personal project located in East Austin. I am excited, I am exhausted, I am anxious, I am thankful. I am excited to show the world another artistic twist on a spec home. I am exhausted after 12 straight hours of staging with my mom (what would I do without her!). I am anxious to see what people think about the quirky details of the home. I am thankful to be able to express myself 100% through design. 

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I never like to duplicate a design. I see duplexes as a huge opportunity to give two homeowners their own special space. 

Unit B Kitchen - Black, Hickory, Painted Oak Cabinets by Troo Designs 

Unit B Kitchen - Black, Hickory, Painted Oak Cabinets by Troo Designs 

We used shipping containers as the entrances to the homes (this is a duplex). We collaborated with Starbucks' senior designer Victor Melendez to create the coolest murals EVER! We stepped it up a notch on our back-splash selections and we pushed the envelope on the cabinetry colors and mixes. All cabinetry provided by my company Troo Designs KBI. 

Shipping Container Entrance - Photo by Scott Gordon

Shipping Container Entrance - Photo by Scott Gordon

So thankful for the future owners of the special project 

So thankful for the future owners of the special project 

Unit B shipping container entrance 

Unit B shipping container entrance 

Ever since I laid eyes on Victors work at Starbucks, I knew I had to work with him on a project one day. These murals are his perspective of Austin. I enjoy the Mexican inspiration. 

Unit A - Austin Mural 

Unit A - Austin Mural 

Unit B - Electric Guitar Mural 

Unit B - Electric Guitar Mural 

I cannot thank everyone enough on all the help and support I constantly get. Everyone encourages me to push the envelope, which results in original homes just like our Reyes project. These homes are on the market now and now we anticipate a great offer and a smooth closing. I am so thankful.

How can you resist all of the colors? I believe color gives you positive energy. I always want my homeowners to feel energized and inspired by the design surrounding them.