IT'S FINALLY MY TURN: PROJECT MASTER BATHROOM, 2015

My house was built in 1984 so you can probably imagine what that means.

If not, here's a hint: when I first walked into this house, all of the doors, trim & windows were painted peach. Not pink. Not beige. But PEACH. 
It was really horrid--disgusting in fact, but I actually kinda loved the house & the neighborhood, so I bought with the idea that I could put my own stamp on it...but over the years it's become apparent that this "stamping process" takes much longer than I ever anticipated. I surely thought that my house would be completely finished by now, neglecting to take into account that life would be happening in the midst of it all: money fluctuations, starting a business, family deaths, major system failures, ever-changing design choices, exploding pipes in the front yard--these things haven't been gentle on my time or my wallet. In hindsight I may have bit off slightly more than I intended to chew. People rave & rave about homeownership (particularly parents), but if you own your own home and it's not a new build, there's likely to be a maintenance issue (or two) around every corner! But don't get me wrong--if I had to do it all over again, I'd probably still choose this property because owning this home has given me an opportunity to develop a skill set I never would've gained otherwise. Until my water heater was replaced 2 years ago I used have to go into the crawlspace MYSELF to light the pilot every time it went out. Sometimes I had help, and sometimes I didn't. But when your hot water is out in the dead of winter, it's 5:30pm and nightfall is around the corner, you learn how to do what you must do to do to get it back cranking again. And along the way I learned how to take care of this house and of myself in this house and that alone is a huge source of pride for me. 

 If you've followed my blog for any time you've had a chance to see most of my downstairs and my bedroom so you know it's not like I haven't totally neglected this place--it's just that there's so much more to do! At this point almost every room has seen the touch of my hand in some way (even if it's still not ready to meet the public) so the good news is that I AM heading towards the finish line, slowly but surely. 

But there's been one room that's basically just as old & "pristine" as it was when I bought this house, and that's my Master Bathroom.
If someone were running a contest for America's ugliest bathroom, it would undoubtedly win.
Years ago I attempted to do the basics--paint the vanity, remove the disgusting doors on the tub/shower combo, prime the yellowed floral wallpaper--but in the process I realized it really wasn't going to make any difference (think lipstick on a pig!), so I just gave up until I could embark on the real deal.  
I think it's actually worse now than it was when I bought this place.

I don't want you to leave this blog with a visual assault burned into your memory so I'm not going to show you Before pics until the Afters are completed but know this:
I've come up with a plan that I love and am excited about finally getting a bathroom that fits this house and meets my needs!
Herringbone subway tile surround, new deep soak tub, tile floors, brass fixtures, a faaaabbbulous new toilet--I am beyond excited. No more showers in the guest bathroom for me!!

Demo starts this week, and I'll do a full post once it's completed.
In the meantime, see my Instagram feed for the latest pics!

AN 8 PAGE SPREAD IN SOUTHERN HOME...FEATURING YOURS TRULY!!

On the list of cool things that have happened to & for me since I started my business 4 years ago, this ranks up there at the very top--definitely a milestone. 
My first bit of press is out for 2015 and it's a huge deal for me--AN 8 PAGE FEATURE IN A NATIONAL MAGAZINE!!!! And I don't mean me and someone else on the same page, I mean page after page of yours truly in a story on my home here in Atlanta.

When an editor of Fresh Style magazine and its sister publication, Southern Lady, reached out back in November 2014 to profile me for this piece, my first thought was "no" because like most designers, my house isn't exactly how I want it to be. Still, I knew I'd be crazy to pass up the opportunity and got busy prepping my place for the team's arrival from Alabama. I'm used to working with my own photographers (or ones I know well) so it's rare that I don't see images before something gets published. In this case I didn't see anything with exception of the headshot pics they took of me, so I had zero idea of what to expect when it hit newsstands. When I finally found the magazine in the grocery store, I was in awe of how beautiful the photos were....and blown away by the size of the feature!

(pages aren't in order)

Seriously overjoyed!!

My house, as you can see, is done in a palette mainly consisting of black, white, brown & gold with a few pops of color, texture and pattern throughout. I really do LOVE color, but when I finally started getting around to addressing my home I found myself getting color confused (too many choices as a designer!) or the things I really obsessed over were a bit beyond what I wanted to spend, so I went with the palette of all of the things I most love to wear (which is a great place to start your design, btw!). This strategy also worked well for me because I tend to like spaces that feel warm & enveloping, so I'm a huge fan of darker colors and cozy rooms--and when I pull those blackout drapes closed in the living room, I feel like I'm in a cocoon on a planet far away.
Mission accomplished. 

Most of what you see here is vintage. The sofa & dining table are the only things that I purchased brand new almost 10 years ago...and both of them are hopefully on their way out soon! A few years back I mentioned in a blog post that I wanted the majority of the pieces in my home to be secondhand and fast forward a few years later and it's safe to say I'm around the 95% mark! The only other piece of furniture that I purchased brand new was my mattress--every other piece in my house is either from a thrift store, estate sale, yard sale or something similar, and it's all been refinished and reupholstered within an inch of its life! But I wouldn't change a thing about my choice to go that route. I pretty much love (almost) everything in here and when I DO tire of something, I have no qualms about letting it go on to its next life because my investment hasn't been outrageous. And more importantly, I know how good it feels to live with things you love. I'm grateful I can say that.

So if this is feature any indication of what 2015 will be for me, I am expecting to constantly have my mind blown this year, both personally and professionally.
And am I'm very much looking forward to every.single.bit of it.
And so it is.

DESIGNING HGTV.COM'S HOLIDAY HOUSE 2014

This past year, my work with Flynnside Out Productions as a Project Designer has had me dividing my time between my personal residential/commercial clients for DRD and designing/project managing various projects for FSO, the brainchild production company of Interior Designer Brian Patrick Flynn.

Flynnside Out is a full-service production company specializing in lifestyle related content, and some of the major projects we do each year include the production of HGTV.com's Spring House and Holiday House, both of which are entire home makeovers packed with tons of tips, projects & design ideas to inspire you to live stylishly throughout the seasons.

Most of this summer was all about creating Holiday House 2014, and I have to tell you...
I worked my ass off. 

Imagine making Christmas merry in the sweltering Atlanta heat & humidity, smack dab in the middle of July--trimming the Christmas tree, lighting fires in the fireplace and making gift baskets & making tasty cold weather holiday treats while simultaneously trying to make sure you don't have a heatstroke because the A/C is struggling to compete with the heat which is streaming inside because the doors need to be open for maximum light exposure. 

Yup..alladat.

Boozy Double Chocolate Hot Chocolate
That, in a nutshell, is how you tackle a project like this in the off-season. 

The upside of all of this toiling, of course, is that YOU get to see the fruits of our labor--visually stunning interiors and very cool projects to up the Christmas & holiday ante in your own home. With picture galleries, recipes, easy DIYs plus beautiful room tours & video how-tos, EVERYTHING you need to banish seasonal bah humbug is right at your little fingertips. 

If I was a betting woman, I'd bet that one of the best things you could probably do for yourself today would be to hop on over to HGTV.com (here) to see this rest of the project....I can assure you, you will be blown away and encouraged to create a little holiday cheer in your own place.
So proud of our team! 

CLASS IN SESSION! WHAT SOLANGE'S WEDDING CAN TEACH YOU ABOUT DESIGNING YOUR HOME

Solange Knowles.
Formerly known as the little sister of Beyonce, now more famous for crafting a wedding whose images have been flooding all of your social media timelines for the last 3 days.
I, too, am obsessed. 
I used to wonder what it was like to be Solange, what the pressure was like to grow up in (what seemed like) Beyonce's shadows, constantly being compared to her older sister and under the firm hand of a national media that was trying to craft her in the same mold. That can be a lot to manage at 17, especially when you're getting married and having a baby. But fast forward 11 years later, where Solange has blossomed into this energetic force of her own, as an in-demand DJ, songwriter, fashion icon, performer, model, mother and now, wife to music video director Alan Ferguson. 

She has SLAIN everyone with this wedding, not BECAUSE she got married, but because of HOW it was done. She took every last one of us to school with a lesson that applies to so many areas of life, but since I'm a designer, let's talk design, shall we?
Solange's approach to her wedding was a visually breathtaking and awesome reminder that following the beat of your own drum is really where you find your sweet spot. Even if you don't love all of her choices (say WHET???), you have to hand it to her--she single-handedly changed the game by throwing the wedding celebration of her dreams and took the internet by storm in the process. She's a celebrity so it's true that it would've made in the news anyhow, but the sheer volume of coverage was definitely due to her stylistic choices. Her wedding album is unconventional in a way that makes you step back in awe at how bold her choices were...and how cookie-cutter and mass-produced everything else is starting to look. ;-(
Well, my friends, that's what happens when you live without intention. 
My thought? 
It's never too late to course correct & do something different, whether in design, work or life (and when it comes to designing your home, WHY AREN'T you doing something different??).
Here's what Solange did:
She got crystal clear about who she is and designed her wedding day 100% around that. 
How do you extend this philosophy to designing your home?
It starts with knowing yourself--really. Figuring out who you are, what makes you happy and what you really love, then finding ways to incorporate you, your happiness, and your loves into your decor. And I'm not talking specific items here, I mean clarity about the larger, important things, then creating an actionable plan as you work your way down to the specifics. 

Know what Solo's wedding shows me that she really loves?
Her family. Her fashion. Her art. Her hair. A good party. Her man. And most of all, herself. 
If I were to take a guess at the words that guided how she wanted to FEEL on her wedding day they'd be: Beauty. Love. Style. Joy. Family. Fun. Laughter. 
Because that's exactly what I feel when I look at all of her pics. And THAT is the purpose of creating a home, an event, and a life with intention. 
Your essence should be all over that shit. 
So let's stop worrying about what's on-trend. Cease fretting over something you love that may have been "done 1,000 times". Trust me--what's more interesting and infinitely more meaningful is creating a home that speaks to who you are. Nothing (and I mean not one single solitary thing) should be in your house that you don't love the hell out of. 
LOVE.
Ain't nobody got time for that. 
So if that means using a pattern that's appeared in every shelter magazine since 1985, I still say go for it. All that matters is that you truly love it. 'Cause ultimately, we should all be driven to identify what makes our hearts flutter, and then make it our mission to fill our lives with as much of those things as we can, in the way that feels right for each one of us.

Just like Solange. 
If you'd like help designing a space that looks and feels like you, I'd love to speak with you! Send an email to: dayka@daykarobinsondesigns.com or call: 678.558.6731 and let's see how we can work together.

WHY INTERIOR DESIGN MATTERS TO ME: MY MANIFESTO

Being an Interior Designer has been one of the biggest blessings of my life.

To have created a life with art as my center, doing something I love (and think I'm pretty good at, too!) around interesting people with similar creative interests and energies feels like a divine appointment. 
And yet sometimes I find myself wondering if there's more. 
Beyond the cushy velvets, embossed wallpapers, latest natural-fiber floor covering and punchy paint colors, I've found myself questioning why design is important to me and why I do this for a living.

I've thought, and thought, and thought about it (watch this if you don't know what I mean), and I came up with this:

Over the last few years I've changed--seismic changes that have caused me to rethink EVERYthing about my life--and I realized that...I've been through a serious growth spurt in the last 2 years. As my inner life has changed, my outer life has made many incremental shifts as well and as a result, my "why" is vastly different today than it was when I started my business in 2010. In fact, I didn't really have a "why" when I started out doing design, other than the fact that I loved beautiful design and wanted to soak it up 24/7.

But that alone isn't reason enough for me anymore.

For me, my connection to design is about more than simply living in a well-styled house or having nice things for the sake of sharing pretty pictures with the world. If there's no deeper anchor in my well, my love for design will fade away in the coming years, quite the same way my juvenile love for mustard sandwiches did so many years ago (and I mean straight yellow mustard on white bread--nothing else. Yum.).
Design is my vehicle (as is writing!) to share the story of who I am, where I've been, whom I love, and what's important to me.

So here's my truth:
I believe wholeheartedly in living with intention.
To me, this means getting really clear about what it is you want and plan to get out of life. Not to to be confused with HOW you're going to get there, but examining WHAT you're choosing to focus on--how you want to feel, who you want to be, the type of life you want to lead--and letting these answers guide all your choices.
I believe in a LIFE, not just a room, well-designed & focused around your values and intentions. Asking questions like...

What is important to me?? 
How can I lead my life in a way that the important things are evident??

And I believe that your home should be an extension of these answers.
After all...it's the place you rest your soles and your soul.
Nourish your  friends & family.
Let down your hair.
Take off your mask (and your bra).

So my conversation is widening and becoming about more than just giving my clients an on-trend space that gets pinned thousands of times and hundreds of likes on Instagram, but something that really helps them get closer to who they say they want to be.

Is entertaining important to you? 
If you're not doing it now, how can I help you create a space to do more of what you love in a way that best speaks to the core of who you are??

That's what I really want to know, and this is how I really want to help my clients.

The thing about a life passion is this:
when you have it, it spills over into other areas of your life. 
There's no such thing as work & life separation because you've made the object of your life passion your work, so those two things are like a couple that's newly minted--snuggled in bed together with their legs intertwined all up & around each other. I obsess over design stores and ransack flea markets in my free time/when I travel because I LOVE to do so and for me it's not just a job...it's who I am.

So here's my design manifesto.

I believe you were designed to live a fantastic life.
I believe your home should fit your lifestyle & desires,
and support you in living the life you've always wanted.
People should walk into your home and get a glimpse of who you really are. 
Your home should honor your incredible journey.
I believe in buying pieces because you love them and finding ways to make them work
...because that's reason enough.
I believe your history should be cherished.
I believe you should create your life around the things you love...
but always seek out the things you love in the life you have now. 

The bottom line?
You deserve to live the good life.
Let me help you figure out what that is. 

pics via: here and here