A New Year… A Fresh Start On Art

Art is subjective… it can be many things, it can add color or be a back drop. As a designer, Flora Brama feels a space is hollow with out it. It is a beautiful back drop, a story and reminder to us, of color, moments and textures. Art is different to each individual and could be so many things; a child’s scribble, a hand written envelope or an artists rendition. So frame up what you  call art and group them to create a “forever” home on your walls.

Here is Flora’s guide to understanding, sourcing and creating your very own collection.
Art Sources
Local art
I believe there is something great about purchasing art locally, it supports local artists and shows pride in your home. 
MN Artists– Many mediums and talents for traditional and modern flavors alike
Beson Art– Abstracts and more
Danielle Voight – She is one of my favorites, and such a wonderful person. She creates beautiful abstracts with alot of depth in monochromatic tones.

** John Rummelhoff   – John Rummelhoff is my favorite of them all. I have referred and commissioned John many times. He has held an “artists life” with a major career in NYC.

Online art sources
One great part of searching for art online,are the many economical options that allow you to create a one of a kind look. Here are a few of Flora’s favorite sources for affordable online art:

Many of the art sources mentioned above offer framing services, but if I am looking to go elsewhere these are my top picks. 
Frame Ups – Contact Laura, she is the best and the price points are great!
Hang It – They offer installation services as well
As for less expensive options from retail shops, my favorites are from West Elm. These clean lined frames fit great into a transitional interiors, they have linen mats and a gilded finish. Another favorite of mine are these.

Other art styles
The artistry of venetian and other specialty wall finishes… I recommend Carter Averbeck of Trompe Art. I employ him for all of my project with feature walls, and areas of special interest. His personal sense of artistry and texture alongside his collaboration with designers and clients creates truly wonderful spaces.
A little something near and dear to my heart… 
Photographs by Flora, To each his own…

We hope this post inspires you to start sourcing and creating a collection of your very own for the new year! Thanks Flora!

Designers Giving Back

Tis the season of giving, that is why we are excited to share with you a philanthropy project by Kristen  Sheikh of Bruit de la Mode

FOR Parks 

The above photos are an annual philanthropic design that I take part in, its for FOR Parks. For Park, which stands for Friends of Roseville Parks, which  is a volunteer organization that supports the city park system of Roseville, MN. One of the annual fundraisers the organization holds is its Holiday Home Tour, where designers and industry professionals donate their skills and creativity to create holiday decorative spaces in usually two ‘donated” homes which are then opened to ticketed holders to tour.

This year’s briefing from FOR Parks was to decorate a small children’s play space, located at the top of the stairs in a two- story house. This space is open to the hallway on one side, with one window and was approximately 10′ x 10′. This was my fifth year in participating in the FOR Parks event, and my first time decorating a play space.

Kristen Sheikh is the 2012 ASID Emerging Talent award winner. Her interior design studio is located in Shoreview, MN.

Thank you Kristen!

FAQs Regarding Working With A Designer- Part 1

We spoke with Andrea and Jen of Fiddlehead Design Group. They shared with us ten frequently asked questions about hiring a designer, here are their first five answers… more to come!

Why hire a designer? 

  Contrary to popular believe, hiring an interior designer can actually save you money, not to mention time and stress.  Your designer can help you break down your project into a manageable, step-by-step process and help you prioritize what to do first and so on.  For example, many clients will decide to change out their kitchen countertops only to realize down the road that they want to change the layout and/or other materials such as cabinets, back splash or floors.  Had they talked to us in the first place, we would have asked these important questions up front and created a long-term, comprehensive master plan that could be done in phases but in the proper order so as not to make costly mistakes.  In general, we like to create a master plan for all of our clients projects so that they know what needs to be done and in what order.  This helps them create a long-term budget and have the peace of mind to know exactly where to begin and end.   

How much will a designer cost?
  Most designers in the Twin Cities will charge an hourly fee for their services.  The amount varies from designer to designer, but an average would be anywhere from $85-250/hour.  Our hourly rate is $150 and you get both of us working on your project.  Depending on the project we are typically able to estimate the amount hours it will take.  If you end up purchasing furnishings from your designer, s/he will typically give you their designer cost price plus a mark-up.  Most likely you will not be paying retail price.   

How do I get the most from my designer and keep my project affordable?
  This is a really important question because the client actually has more control over this than they might think.  During our first conversation it important for us to get some critical information such as budget (most important), time frame and expectations so that we can create a plan to work with you in the most effecient way possible because we charge an hourly rate.  We always give our clients “homework” before we meet, such as creating image folders/files and a priority list which gives us intial direction and can save quite a bit of time in the long run.  We also encourage all decision makers to be involved from the beginning of the project. 

How long does a project take?
  Completely depends—don’t you love that answer?!  There are many factors that come into play here such as scope of project, logistics, and how quicky the client is able to make decisions.  We’ve had clients who are ready to go, who know what they like and can make very quick decisions.  On the other hand, some clients need much more time to wrap their head around each decision that makes up the overall project.  We typically try to keep the process moving so that the project doesn’t lose momentum which can be detrimental.   

How can an interior designer help add value to a home?

  Most good interior designers will also have a pulse on the overall market and home values.  Many of us work directly with realtors and can give our clients great advice as to where they can get the most bang for their buck.  This is especially important when doing a remodel such as a kitchen or bathroom.   

Stay tuned for more…

Holiday Decor

It’s that time of year again, if you were able to hold off on holiday decorating until after Thanksgiving congrats, I personally didn’t make it! There is something so special about holiday decor, maybe it’s because on no other occasion could you have a 3 foot brass deer, a vase filled with colorful bulbs or a quirky menorah.

We spoke with a local interior designer to get her tips on holiday decor done right.

Flora Brama of Revelry Studio has been creating custom designed holiday decor for her clients for years. Here are some stunning examples of pieces she has designed.

Residential Projects

Tips on decorating for the Holidays
  • Think beyond red and green, just because your decor isn’t typical holiday colors, doesn’t mean it’s not festive
  • Use natural elements found in nature to spruce up wreaths and trees
  • Add in a few unexpected elements such as a feather or a giant bow
  • When decorating a tree, don’t forget to place ornaments into the tree branches a little. You don’t want all the decoration on the surface of the tree
  • Add in sprigs, twigs, pine cones and ornaments
  • Temporarily place the decorations on a wreath when decorating, to get an overall look before making any permanent attachments
Commercial Projects

Thanks Flora!


We spoke to Anna Berglin of Anna Berglin Design to get an Interior Designers perspective on mudrooms.

“Mudrooms change lives… Truly”
Hear me out, now. Historically, the purpose of a mudroom was to shed the outside, as farmers (and dirty children) cleaned off before entering the home.
Today, mudrooms do the same, and more…. we have a place to remove outerwear and keep the dirt and snow out of the living spaces. But, as our lives have become increasingly complicated, mudroom design has evolved to accommodate our ever growing collection of gadgets, paperwork, sports equipment, etc. Freeing up the living areas of our homes, thus creates a more peaceful and beautiful place to reside.
How to create your life changing mudroom…..
Customizing your mudroom to meet your family’s needs is time well spent. List your needs and think beyond coats and shoes. Where are the problem spots in your house?
Here are a few ideas to get you started…

Issue:Is your refrigerator crammed to maximum capacity?
Solution:put an extra fridge in the mudroom for the juice boxes and sports drinks. Drawer style refrigerators work excellent and blend seamlessly into a cabinet design. Mudroom refridgerators also serve as a great place to store kids lunches, so they can grab and go.

Issue: Are the kid’s school papers and activity schedules taking over the dining room table?
Solution: Create a “family center” with a slot for each kid’s activity schedules and permission slips. Design a place for a cork board and/or chalk board.

Issue: Where are the golf clubs and the skis? Are they in the garage?
Solution: Customize your shelving and cabinetry to accommodate whatever your sports equipment needs are… deep wide shelves for hockey equipment, slats for the skies or right-sized cubbies for the golf bags.

Issue: Are you a gardener without a proper shed?
Solution: Maybe a potting bench and small sink would be more convenient for you than running out to the garage and back for tools and supplies?

Issue: Where are you bathing Sparky?
Solution: Maybe it makes more sense to bathe the dog right where he enters the house.  Install a deep single bowl sink and a faucet with a good sprayer. If Sparky is a Newfoundland, a dog shower station might be the way to go.

Solution to almost everything: You can never have too many hooks… the more the better.

Now, make it beautiful…..
Now, because your wonderful mudroom is a conditioned part of your home, not a lean-to loosely attached to the side of the house make it stylish and beautiful. You’ll love it all the more!
      Make it a room, not a glorified storage closet. Work from a color palette coordinating the flooring, wall and cabinet surfaces.
  • Color Color Color…  paint your cabinets and don’t be afraid to use some colorful flooring.
  • Art. Incorporate wallpaper and get some art on the walls.
  • Mix in an antique or furniture piece somewhere.
Other considerations….
Flooring should be durable and hide dirt so that you don’t feel inclined to constantly clean it.
My rule of thumb is medium value. Dark flooring will show all the salt and  water spots. Lighter floors will show dirt. Find a medium value material with texture and variance to distract the dirt.
Porcelain is very durable and is available with textured surfaces for a non slip surface
Natural stone will patina over time and will always be relevant

Linoleum in tiles or sheet goods are another wonderful option, as there is no need for grout. Linoleum is a timeless look and will last a century!

I like benches that are open underneath to store shoes out of the way and typically have them custom made and built in to maximize every inch of space.

A painted picnic bench or old church pew adds giant style. 

Similar to online banking, the modern day mudroom helps us have more efficient ways of living, so that you can get to the good stuff…. Making holiday cookies and enjoying the movie with the kids.

Mudrooms = better life

Featured Designer- Talla Skogmo

Talla Skogmo designs interiors that live as beautifully as they look.

Talla believes projects are created and measured by teams — client, designer, architect and builder. She has been an Interior Designer for three decades and has kept the same philosophy;  creating spaces that fulfill her client’s needs in a timeless and tasteful style.

Share your background
I have a degree in interior design from The University of Minnesota, and have been an interior designer for 35 years. 27 years at Gunkelmans Interior Design and 8 years with my own firm, Talla Skogmo Interior Design.
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why
I am very happy where I am, I love traveling but the best part is always coming home. We have enjoyed having a second home in the mountains and perhaps someday could see myself living in Colorado, getting lots of exercise and fresh air!
Describe your dream home in five words
Comfortable, unique, full of family
What are your hobbies
Watching my children excel at their dreams, snow skiing and traveling
Five things you can’t live without
Family, nature, antiques, good food, and beautiful architecture
What are your favorite local shops and restaurants
I love Ciao Bella and Mill Valley Kitchen. When I spend my days shopping for clients, shopping is not the onl ything on my agenda.
Describe your favorite project
Working for a client on probably our fourth home for them in Naples, Florida. We were very involved in every aspect of the project, from the architecture to the last vase in the home. A formal yet comfortable home, designed for day to day living but also welcoming guests, and entertaining. It was a unique and wonderful opportunity to have such involvement with the project.

Who is your favorite artist/furniture designer
I love Rose Tarlow- Melrose House
What is your favorite room in your home and why
Our living room, it’s the original great room, complete with  an inglenook fireplace, butternut beam ceilings and plenty of group seating groups for entertaining small and large. ( My home has never been photographed)

Fill in the blank, no home would be complete without…
Great lighting
Do you have “go to” paint colors
You can always count on Benjamin Moore 967, for a perfect white in both contemporary and traditional interiors.
Thank you Talla, check out more of Talla’s work here!

Health and Wellness Project

We are excited to share with you a truly one of a kind project designed by our Friends at Walsh Design Group.

Designed for a family in Minnetonka, whom four of the members have MCS (multiple chemical sensitivity). MCS  is a chronic medical condition characterized by symptoms that the affected person attributes to low-level chemical exposure. Commonly accused substances include smoke, pesticides, plastics, synthetic fabrics, scented products, petroleum products, and paint fumes. Symptoms are usually vague and non-specific such as nausea, fatigue and headaches.

Walsh designed a “clean room” addition above the garage to allow the family members with MCS,  a safe environment  to gather and  create memories with friends and family.

  • What was the most challenging aspect of the project
    • The most challenging aspect was finding building materials, interior finishes, and furniture that met the homeowners chemical sensitivity requirements, style and quality standards.  The homeowner had a traditional style and lots of great ideas of what she wanted the addition to look like.
    •  Choosing materials and furnishings from our standard resources would have been easy is it wasn’t for needing them to be made of 100% natural products with no preservatives, pesticides or finishes. While there are many “green” products on the market, many of these still did not meet the safety guidelines for the project.
  • What was the most rewarding aspect of the project
    • Creating a safe space that the homeowner has been able to enjoy with her family and friends that is not causing allergic reactions for her and her children.
  • Which type of materials were used
    • The homeowner consulted with a chemical specialist to identify materials that should be safe for the family. The structure began with a hospitality HVAC system, specialty lumber and plywood and zero VOC paint. Every building material and all of the furniture and accessories were chosen of the purist natural materials.

  • Which type of furnishings did you use 
    • All of the fabrics were natural: wool, silk and cotton. We researched how the fabrics were stored and had them washed in a special detergent to remove all foreign materials they may have come in contact with. Rugs and carpets were not only made of specific wool, but the wool had to come from specific sheep. Sheep that were raised in their own buildings away from other sheep that were treated with pesticides, moth repellent and flame retardants. This wool was pure. Once made the rugs and furniture ere shipping in special packing materials and allowed to off gas for months before they were delivered to the new clean room. Much of the furniture was bench made locally by custom workrooms.
    • Does this family have special lifestyle constrains due to allergies and sensitivities
      • Yes, the family will experience ” allergic like” reactions to many environments. They cannot be comfortable outside the clean room for too many hours per day. Traveling and hotel stays have always been a big challenge.
    • How long has the project been complete. Have you maintained contact with them regarding the health and wellness of the family. 
      • The family has been living in the clean room for about two years. Their quality of life has improved remarkably since their new space was completed. Careful selection of the building materials, fixtures and furnishing have created a space that for the first time in many years the family can enjoy safety and comfortably.
    Thank you Walsh Design Group for sharing this unique project with us. Check out more completed projects here !

    Sources: 1


    You have been told that the first impression is the most important. How about the first impression when you enter your home… what is it saying to visitors? Is it showcasing your individual style while welcoming your guests?



    Entry Table Styling
    A few good things to remember to include when designing an entryway are:
    • Mirror
    • Key catch-all
    • Storage
    • Personality
    • Coat rack- if no closet


    One of the most important things many people forget about in their entryway is seating. Seating is important to assure that there is a comfortable spot to remove shoes,especially for children and the older generations. A bench may also double as additional storage, which is certainly an added bonus!


    Sources: 1/  2 /3

    Featured Designer- Lisa Ball

    The featured designer of October is Lisa Ball of Design by Lisa.  Lisa’s idea of successful design is more than following a formula, it is about helping to create a home that reflects not only good design but reflects her clients as well.

    Share your background
    I grew up as an “Army Brat” and lived in many different places before coming to Minnesota, which I now consider “home.” I worked as a Flight Attendant for Northwest Airlines for many years and worked in interior design at the same time until I decided to retire from the airlines in 2000 and devote myself to interior design full time. I worked at William Beson Interior Design until 2005 when I opened my own studio.
       If you could live anywhere  in the world, where would it be and why
    The only place outside of the country that I would consider moving to is Australia. There is a fun, adventurous spirit among the people there that fascinates me…and the weather is wonderful.
    Describe your dream home

    What are your hobbies
    Cooking, travel, entertaining

     Five things you can’t live without
    Great conversation, laughter , new experiences, friends and family.
    What are your favorite local shops and restaurants
    112 Eatery, Hunt and Gather, Sparks

     Describe one of your favorite projects (location, client, and overall aesthetic )
    I worked with clients who have a beautiful home on the bluffs. The house was quite contemporary and the clients wanted to keep the contemporary feel, but almost all of the finishes in the house were white and the clients wanted to maintain the contemporary feel but bring in some warmth.  I think that we were able to maintain the best features of the house and give it the warm, updated feeling that the clients wanted.
    Master bedroom- before and after
    Master Bath- before and after

     Kitchen- before and after

    Wine Cellar- before and after

    Who is your favorite artist and/or furniture designer
    I love the work of David Hicks because I think that it was ground breaking and it has stood the test of time. Current designers that I admire include Thomas O’Brien and Bobby McAlpine.
    What is your favorite room in your home, why?
    My Sun Room is the most comfortable room in my house (I am fixing up a 1960’s rambler and this is also the only room that is finished!)

     Fill in the blank, No room would be complete without…
    Books and pictures

    Do you have “go to” paint colors, if so which ones
    Benjamin Moore White Dove, Lennox Tan, and Timothy Straw are three colors that I go to often.
    Thank you Lisa, you can see more of her work here!

    Featured Designer- Joy Cacicia

    The featured designer of September is Joy Cacicia of RCC Interiors. Joy has over 40 years of experience, and has designed over 900 projects in her career.  Joy works closely with her clients to ensure their goals become a reality and her designs stand the test of time. We are thrilled to share with you this questionnaire featuring Joy!

          Share your background
    Having accrued over 40 years of residential and commercial design experience, I have built a reputation for devoting my attention to beautiful design and exceptional client service.  Originally from Boston Massachusetts, I moved with my family to Minnesotain the early 80’s. I founded an independently owned interior design firm: JBC Interiors. In 1990, I joined Dayton’s Design Studio and spent sixteen years building a large clientele base. I was instrumental in developing the first “Trend House” which was located within the Dayton’s Southdale Home Store. I appeared regularly on the HGTV show “Room for Change”. In 2006, I co-partnered to form RCC Interiors Inc., a Boutique Design firm. I now serve as Principal of RCC Interiors LLC, a wholly owned and operated interior design firm located in the International Market Squarein Minneapolis.  

    I     If you could live anywhere  in the world, where would it be and why
     I have established deep roots along with strong and wonderful friendships right here in Minnesota
     This is my home and I am happiest right here.

           Describe your dream home in five words
     Warm, Inviting, Comfortable, Classic, and TIMELESS

           What are your hobbies
     I enjoy Yoga, Cooking, Reading, and Antiquing.

          Five things you can’t live without
    My husband, Ron, my children, Gabrielle, Sarajill and Connor, my granddaughter, Averie, my dog, Tank and last but not least, my IPAD

          What are your favorite local shops and restaurants
    I Nonni’s Restaurant, The Olive Grove, Embellir, Art Resources Gallery

          Describe one of your favorite projects 
    Every project is my favorite project and receives my total focus…but last year I worked on the second home of a long time client who purchased a condominium in Florida.  We were able to start from the ground up…selection of floors, wall coloring, kitchen and bathroom design, lighting, space planning of previously owned furniture and with the addition of new pieces; the end result is a condominium that is classic and timeless.

          Who is your favorite artist and/or furniture designer
    I have many favorites, but my MOST favorite are
    Jacques –Emile Ruhlmann and Mies Van der Rohe, two very well known and respected Art Deco furniture designers.

          What is your favorite room in your home, why
    I love my home, but spend the most time in my kitchen. I remodeled the space over 6 years ago. The end result is a functionally inviting space with many classic touches. Entertaining is a breeze and I am able to spend time with both my family and friends.

    Fill in the blank, No room would be complete without…                                                                                                                                                                                                    
    A feeling of welcoming hospitality and …a bit of whimsy!

          Do you have “go to” paint colors, if so which ones
    Benjamin Moore’s “Super White” for woodwork. It is not a stark white…it has a warmth to it. It truly is a “super white”.

    To see more of Joy’s work please visit her website here

    Thanks Joy!