Dream Rooms

By Gretchen Eichenberg

Dream Rooms

Five Waco designers share their design vision & inspiration

Pictured: Photos by Jennifer Pisarcik

From kitchens to bathrooms to quiet spaces and common areas, five Waco designers share their vision and inspiration for designing a room to fit their client’s dreamiest — and most functional — desires.

Bennett Bouldin

Bennett Bouldin

Palmer Davis Design

Kitchen/Wine Room/Bar
Woodway, Texas

1. What was the ultimate objective or vision for this project?
The clients had a very open mind and wanted to explore a more modern aesthetic for the space. It was fun to use the vibrant colors, hard finishes, textures and modern elements that they wished to incorporate in the design for their new home. They wanted the space to have a unique feel and an open and comfy flow when they are entertaining or cooking a meal for family or friends. An experience where guests can enjoy a glass of wine at a large island while the hosts cook dinner is a dream the clients wanted to turn into a reality. The old kitchen was rigid and confined rather than the open feel that so many are wanting now. The storage and prep spaces were congested. There was a small breakfast area close by, but it did not allow for an open concept to accommodate more guests due to the area being closed off from the adjoining spaces. Opening the kitchen to allow for a more spacious feel was top priority.

2. Where did you get your inspiration for designing this space?
For this particular family, the inspiration came from their vast traveling experiences across the globe, their past homes that they loved and how they functioned, as well as their love for entertaining. For me, inspiration can come from many different places. Whether from a piece of art I see on a wall, an amazing culinary experience or from a hotel that I’m visiting, there are an abundance of things from which I draw inspiration. In addition, taking inspiration from people in our field who are innovators in design and striving to work outside of the box also helps me incorporate aspects of these new elements into my own personal designs. My education taught me the fundamentals of working in this industry — how to do the mechanical and business side of things — but a true eye for design comes from one’s innate ability to be creative and implement that into beautiful and functional spaces.

3. What was a challenge during this project and how did you work with it?
When my homeowners were searching for their new home, they fell in love with the Mediterranean design of this unique property, however, the interior layout was not conducive to how their family lives. We wanted to blend the more modern style they loved with the Mediterranean style that was so prevalent in the existing space. The original layout of this home was a bit unique in that it incorporated many room angles and arches to enter the different spaces, so getting the space to feel “open” was a bit of a challenge. By using the see-through glass walls at the wine enclosure and eliminating some of the domineering arches and columns that once divided the spaces, we were able to achieve that open feel. Adding a singular flooring throughout, in lieu of the different medias that once separated the spaces, also helped with the flow and open feel that they desired. The existing home had a beautiful backyard, pool and outdoor cabana that was not able to be fully viewed or enjoyed from the main home, so opening it up, brightening the wall color and having a cohesive design were all factors in the final design concept that appreciated all aspects of the home.

4. What are some design trends you are following right now?
Some trends come and go while others are here to stay. We have seen for years the “modern farmhouse” style with the white-on-white cabinets and counters with black accents. However, recently, there has been a pull toward more historical and timeless design. Incorporating natural textures, refined antique pieces and brass accents in lighting and hardware are all elements in the new era of interior design. We are starting to see pops of color in appliances and elements of a kitchen, like a colorful wallpaper in a pantry or a patterned backsplash tile, all while maintaining neutral walls and floors.

Gone are the days of the typical spec house neighborhood. With endless resources for design inspiration, homeowners are opting to incorporate custom design elements into their homes, no matter the budget. With more people entering the home renovation industry, it’s likely custom features will be a trend to stay.

As far as space planning trends, we are seeing large islands with lots of seating that allow for eating and interacting, the use of a working pantry and elimination of the formal dining area in exchange for a combined kitchen, dining and living space. In conjunction with these grand open spaces, there is an increased use of an outdoor kitchen and living areas that allow for everyone to be together and enjoy time outside.

5. What is one tip you’d give someone for working effectively with an interior designer?
As a designer, I’m open to various trends and designs that a client may like. What I find difficult is when a client comes to me and doesn’t know what their design preferences are. There are so many avenues to take when designing a space that when a client has a picture of something they like, it helps give direction to the project. Before our first meeting, I typically tell a client to research online and create an inspiration file where they can add things they like. Therefore, when we get started, we have a clear goal in mind because the client knows what they want.


Kristi Kane

Kristi Kane

Waco Carpet Company

Bath/Dressing Room
Crawford

1. What was the ultimate objective or vision for this project?
My client wanted a closet and dressing space that was comfortable and fabulous. She needed a space that was easy to keep organized with plenty of storage.

2. Where did you get your inspiration for designing this space?
We started with a blank slate and really only worked around one item; the beautiful Schonbek Chandelier that was a gift from her dad. We wanted a calm, spa-like feel for the room, and wanted to incorporate a sitting and reading area in the space as well. There’s no shortage of mirrors which help make the room feel larger and more open. The beautiful Taj Mahal quartzite countertops partnered with the soft blue cabinets make a very elegant combination. The natural toned vinyl plank floors add warmth to the room but keeps maintenance to a minimum.

3. What was a challenge during this project and how did you work with it?
The client had furnishings that she wanted to incorporate into her project. Sometimes, not starting from scratch on everything can be a challenge, but I love mixing new modern materials with classic furnishing. This beautiful modern ranch house is full of class and personality.

4. What are some design trends you are following right now for bathrooms, or other spaces?
New samples are arriving daily and are full of color. We have had several years of classic neutral colors, so it’s refreshing to see color. Also, large format tile is a big deal, literally. I love using them in showers and on floors. I am really liking the wide French Oak wood floors as well. They have so much character and great texture.

5. What is one tip you’d give someone for working effectively with an interior designer?
Have your own vision and don’t be afraid to use it. It’s a great place for a decorator or designer to start. It’s always helpful to understand what your ideas and expectations are for your project. This challenges your designer to make your space personal to you. Ultimately, your project needs to work for you and not just be magazine worthy.


Alex Garza

Alex Garza

DesignCo (built by Garrison Construction)

Kitchen
China Spring

1. What was the ultimate objective or vision for this project?
This home was designed by a builder with the intention of being put on the market to sell, but still showcase a beautiful home. Our goal was to make the home appeal to many buyers but be unique enough to stand out. I wanted the space to feel luxurious but still homey. For the kitchen island, we used a quartz countertop with a drop-down mitered edge to make the stone appear thicker, therefore luxurious. Around the perimeter of the kitchen, instead of the typical tile backsplash, we chose to continue the quartz up the wall. A light oak floor was chosen to give a modern, open feel to the home. We chose a green color as the accent color for the design to give the kitchen a warmer feeling.

2. Where did you get your inspiration for designing this space?
For this particular design, we started with no inspiration in mind. We knew the overall look we were wanting to achieve but started from a blank canvas. I started with one selection — the kitchen countertops — and from there, we brainstormed decision to decision and ended up with a beautiful design. The next choice was the green cabinet color, which is SW Evergreen Fog. We felt that green was enough color to give the space some character, but not too overwhelming of a color. This shade of paint is a warm green with greige undertones. After choosing the cabinet color and the countertops, we knew that gold fixtures were the obvious choice for the space. The gold hardware, lighting and plumbing fixtures complimented the green cabinets and became the finishing touch of this home that was designed to feel warm, homey and luxurious.

3. What was a challenge during this project and how did you work with it?
All projects have their own unique challenges. Since this project didn’t have a homeowner when it was designed, there was a little bit more freedom. In today’s climate, stocking and supply chain can cause major delays. Luckily, we were able to work around any delays and get the finished product the client wanted.

4. What are some design trends you are following right now for kitchens, or other spaces?
The trends are moving away from cool tones and greys and moving towards more warmer tones. More and more people are looking for textures, shapes and colors that are inspired by nature. One of my favorite trends right now is White Oak floors. Where so many people were afraid of lighter floors in the past, now people are realizing how light floors can open and brighten up a space.

5. What is one tip you’d give someone for working effectively with an interior designer?
Always do your homework. Know what your goal is for your project, know what is important to you and what your budget is. When designing a home, it’s important to spend your budget in the place that you care most about. Be open to ideas and suggestions, but also don’t be afraid to speak your mind and say what you don’t like. Communication is always key. As a designer, my goal is to always make my client’s vision come to life in the most beautiful way.


Ashlyn Adam

Ashlyn Adam

DesignCo

Kitchen
Hewitt, Texas

1. What was the ultimate objective or vision for this project?
I always want to ensure the spaces I design fit my client’s personal style, while still being practical. I see so many beautiful spaces, but often find myself asking if its beauty has come at the cost of the space being ultimately functional. This client wanted her space to be transitional in terms of style, while still being warm and inviting. It was important this space be able to grow with her and her family’s lifestyle, meaning ten years from now, it wouldn’t be outdated in either its aesthetics or layout.

2. Where did you get your inspiration for designing this space?
I always urge my clients to bring me photos of design elements they love. Most often, these come from the internet and magazines. Being a designer myself, I am constantly keeping my eyes out for different forms of inspiration. My camera roll is full of things I’ve seen and love, whether it be a wallpaper in a restaurant restroom or a light fixture in a catalog. I tend to first look through my client’s inspiration images and then sort through the various inspiration images I have, pulling anything that corresponds to my clients’. I find that this process lends itself to allowing my clients and me to stay on the same page throughout the design process. Being able to bring my client’s vision to life is the most rewarding part of what I do.

3. What was a challenge during this project and how did you work with it?
I’m finding that in today’s climate, one of the biggest challenges while working on new home builds is material availability and shipping lead times. Luckily, these setbacks can be easily mitigated by being proactive when ordering materials. I prefer to order material as soon as a field measure is possible and most of the time, this can be done when the house is being framed. So, there were no real challenges with this project, thank goodness.

4. What are some design trends you are following right now?
For a long time, I was seeing a lot of the “modern farmhouse” style, grey flooring, white quartz countertops, porcelain subway tile, black hardware, etc. I mean, it was everywhere! Recently, I’ve noticed that we’ve shifted towards warmer finishes, such as taupes and creamy whites and more organic forms. Take this kitchen for example. We mixed the white quartz island with a natural stone that is a bit more earth tone. This client’s backsplash tile is a type of subway tile, but it’s a 4×4 versus the 3×6 we are used to seeing, and it has a handmade quality versus the uniformity in standard subway tile. I think within the next few years, we will be seeing the cool toned grays and stark whites decrease drastically.

5. What is one tip you’d give someone for working effectively with an interior designer?
Be honest with us. Our goal is to give you a space you love. If there’s a disconnect, let us know. We don’t take it personally. Additionally, don’t get so caught up in the desired “style” of your home, that you sacrifice things you love. Billy Baldwin said it beautifully: “Stick to the things you really love. An honest room is always up to date.”


Christi Proctor, AISD

Christi Proctor, AISD

Moon Rein by Christi

TV Room/Study
McLennan County Texas

1. What was the ultimate objective or goal for this project?
I have worked with this family several times and have developed a deeper understanding of their family dynamic and what is really important to them. Their home is the heart of their working cattle operation. This project was an update of what we had done when she first built her home more than 10 years ago. While updating, she wanted to continue to incorporate more of their family ranching history and add more of their personality as well as more color.

2. Where did you get your inspiration for designing this space?
Lifestyles that revolve around ranching, horses and cattle most times bring a different style aesthetic than most mainstream design trends. My custom bedding company, Moon Rein, was created with that demographic in mind and this community has been a very large percentage of my customer base. Like most of these customers, this client has been inspired by this culture and design influences. While we were working on the house, we agreed that the one space we could step out more with color and personality was the study. She knew she had the opportunity there to be bolder since it was not the main living area. She had seen several of the antique sofas and chairs where I had done over the top, Western “updos” and specifically requested one just for her. I love collecting antique, very unique, carved sofa and chair frames and I had the perfect piece for her. I reworked everything in that room around that sofa.

3. What was a challenge during this project and how did you work with it?
The room was really small, and she wanted to incorporate television viewing, a piano and comfort for small Bible study groups, so that was a challenge. The over-the-top sofa is perfect in that it is more of a loveseat size. I was able to bring in two rough out leather swivel rockers that are super comfy but also a fun “punchy” western look, and repurposed an old, large round ottoman with a cowhide top that serves as not only a foot stool, but also a perfect place for study materials and snacks. It’s an intimate room. It’s colorful, quirky, comfortable and full of personal touches.

4. What are some design trends you are following right now?
I do follow some trends and certainly follow my client’s lead if there are trends they really love. However, my favorite design projects are those where the inspiration comes from the clients themselves. I love creating unique looks for their wonderful individual personalities and family dynamics.

5. What is one tip you’d give someone for working effectively with an interior designer?
I love to encourage anyone who asks to decide beforehand any parameters or make a wish list before you meet with your designer. Also, decide how involved you want that designer to be. We can work with clients in multiple ways and at many different levels of involvement — from one-hour consultations to practically living at your home facilitating your project. It is better to over communicate before you start than to wait until your expectations are not met after the project is finished.


Join the Conversation