Architecture, History and Fun!

I have been making travel a huge priority in our lives recently. Partly to see new things but mostly to be inspired for future designs. I know we keep seeing all of these modern, open floor plan super clean looks. But honestly I am so in the mood for some traditional design, defined rooms and details. Check out these doors!

I am so in love with the details! Remind you of some of the ones we saw in Italy!?! And the colors! Many of these doors are actually shades of green! And the columns framing the doors, how divine! The mixing of the iron with the wood give such depth and makes he entry feel so stately. Sometimes with the rush to have a contemporary look we forget how some details and combinations can add such power to a design.

Brick, brick and more brick! Ok this is Savannah so we should have expected all of the brick. But oh my, I am in love and the patterns that could be found are fantastic. Not just your typical running bond or herringbone but mixtures and inlay designs. Details were everywhere, including dolphin downspout covers! These beautiful sculptures are made of iron and cover the gutter downspouts so that ghosts can’t get in. Did you know that most of Savannah is built on top of graveyards?

The squares all throughout Savannah are so fantastic! There are statues, benches, open areas and fountains all around. It has such a feel of a small town in a big city. The old southern elegance can be seen everywhere. And so many stories about each square and the area. The history throughout the city just drips from the walls. And speaking of walls check out this amazing old wall.

This is down by the river and was built so that the boats of olden days could navigate. And guess what it reminds me of? Your guessed it Italy. This set up is so similar to the was that boats would enter into the castles back in the day in Italy. Since most of the city was built by Irish Immigrants I am guessing they brought with them the European style of building cities and water entrances. You can totally see it in the stone that was used and the style.

So how does this inspire for new interior designs? For me I love taking these elements and using them in new homes. I love the inlay doors and even on a contemporary home you can bring in a detailed design for the front door. Marble and iron are great elements for design, and they don’t have to be columns! And brick, well I am in love with brick all colors, whitewashed, chiseled you name it. I love it for a driveway, a front porch, exterior accents on the front of the house, in a kitchen and so much more! These elements stand the test of time! So the next house you are looking at, think about looking back in time for design elements that never go out of style!

Let’s Get Real!

Ok, I have to apologize again for my slacking on recent posts. It has been crazy on so many fronts. And to be truthful I want to get really real here. For those of you who just want to talk design this may be the blog post you just skip. For those of you who have picked up Artfully Curated ( available on Amazon!) and want to know more about how we somehow manage to balance everything or just the carziness of our lives, this is your kind of post.

First, let’s talk about the projects we are currently working on. We have quite a few new construction homes going on, ten in fact. They range from $700k – $4m. And each and everyone is unique and totally fun to be working on! This also includes probably my favorite spec project ever so I am dying to complete this one by the middle of the summer. Here are some pictures of the projects in process.

There are four remodels going on. These range from full complete gut and redo to redesigning.

Yup, that is me on the plane drawing out my thoughts. And yes, I fly first class (as often as possible) so that I can continue to work while on the plane. Way too much time to lose due to lack of space.

We are consulting on multiple projects, have a few that are scheduled to start this summer and have a bar in the construction phase. Business is awesome!

It is also May and that means one last week if school for my kids! If you have not seen the Holderness Family Maycember video check it out here:


This is so true on so many levels! It is awards, and field trips, and end of year parties, teacher gifts, and so much more. Yesterday I woke up at 4:30 am to make enchiladas for my son’s world culture day. Ok truth I get up at 4:30am everyday. But making enchiladas first thing in the morning not my thing. Loving, caring and supporting my family, completely my thing! And I am exhausted but happy and enjoying seeing them grow.

I used to think that being a working mom meant that I was missing so much. But the reality is I am teaching them so much. I am teaching my kids that it is ok to be a business owner and a force in your industry. I am teaching them that independence and deep meaningful connections are vital. I am teaching them how to be present for the big things and the everyday while showing up for yourself. I am teaching them that quality is so much more important than quantity. But mostly I am teaching them how to be authentic.

All of this has meant not a ton of time with my husband Greg, although we did get an evening away for a drink and some painting!

Running a company, parenting and being a wife is hard. It is managing clients, managing expectations, managing anxiety, managing time, managing employees and managing stress. It is also being insanely grateful for so many things. It is being grateful for the support of my family. It is being grateful for the amazing clients that work with us and refer us. It is being grateful for the ability to take time off to be at my kids events and it is being grateful for a husband who supports all my huge business goals and visions.

Life is messy and scary and hard. But it is also fun, adventurous and joyful. I wouldn’t have it any other way! So, I will keep pushing, keep designing, keep supporting, keep showing up. And keep apologizing for not blogging as much as I had planned on!

Be you, be real, be authentic and just show up!

Insider’s Tour Highlights!

What a fun and fantastic day to the opening of High Point Market! I am so excited and honored to have hosted my second Insider’s Tour and check out the great group of tour guides.

This is a brief update on our fantastic day. I will post some of the great videos and lots of more pictures in additional blog posts to come later.

We had a great tour group and learned so much throughout the day. We started at Kravet getting to meet Jan Showers, Sara Kravet and Barclay Butera.

We saw fantastic pieces at Sarreid and Lazar. And learned so much about their new pieces and changes in their companies.

We had a great time getting henna tattoos and learning about Jaipur Living.

We met one of the designers at Arteriors, introduced everyone to Norwalk and Currey and Company. We checked out Four Hands for some great California styled pieces and a cocktail.

We had the most fantastic factory tour of Thayer Coggins while learning about Crypton Fabrics.

We ended the day with Surya checking out their new lighting, accessories and fantastic rugs. And of course we ended with some great parties both at Surya and Sunpan.

We had some great branding conversations. We talked about the direction everyone wanted to go with their businesses and we got to meet so many new people that I now call friends!

Artfully Curated and So Much More!

I feel like I need to apologize to everyone since it has been awhile since I have posted. I was working super hard to get Artfully Curated, Designing Balance in Interiors and Life finished, to the publisher and edited. It has been a labor of love and a whole new experience. There are lots of great pictures of the design process, of interiors that I completed and my loves. But there is more than that, it answers some of the questions that have been asked of me over the years. The more personal questions of how do you do it all? This is the scary part to me, as it is easy to talk about interiors, much more difficult to give a look into our personal life and how we live as a family.

And here it is! The kindle addition is out tomorrow April 1st, yup I did not realize it is being released on April Fools. But hey that sounds about right, I started a company in the middle of the biggest recession our country has seen in the recent generations. So why not have a book released on April Fools! I am super excited to have it come out and more than a little nervous to hear the feedback from everyone on what they think. Here is where you can get your copy!

We also have so much going on with tons of new houses. I mean tons of new houses that we are working on at Artful Conceptions. So many fantastic new construction homes. Here are some pictures of one of the homes we are finishing up.

Next week we will be at High Point Furniture Market! I am super excited and know that it will be a crazy time. Make sure you are following on Instagram to see our favorite things as we are seeing them. I am so honored to not only be hosting the Insider’s Tour this market but to also be a judge for IFDA Selects.

IFDA Selects is a great program that gives awards to show participants for categories such as innovation, sustainability and design. I am excited to be judging high end luxury upholstery as I know there are some really amazing options that we will see at Market. I can’t wait to see what my favorite companies will be releasing but also finding new companies to see some new things. This is the first time the IFDA Selects will be at High Point Market and we have a great award ceremony planned for Monday April 8th at the Point, in the center of it all!

So keep following on all of our platforms, let me know what you think of Artfully Curated and keep being amazing in every way!

My New Obsessions

I am just getting back from a trip to Italy and I have to say that my brain is just overflowing with ideas to bring into projects that I am working on and for future projects. As many of you who follow the blog and instagram or know me personally know that I am already obsessed with doors and natural stone. If you didn’t see the article in Contemporary Stone and Tile Design here it is:


But now after traveling through Italy I have some new loves. They work with loves that I already have but I have a whole new appreciation for these elements. And they are stone inlays, ceiling details and door knockers. I have always loved stone and have appreciated it’s beauty but have also never been a huge fan of overly ornate stone work. Ok so maybe I am appreciating more traditional things as I am getting older…..but I think it is simply appreciating the craftsmanship that we don’t see all that often in the US. And recently US design has been so focused on clean looks, farmhouse, urban and contemporary that I think we have forgotten where some of these styles really came from. When we were in Siena we stayed at a working Olive vineyard that is a 17th century villa. And let me tell you it was simple but not plain, detailed and elegant. The woods were mixed and not forced and the furniture pieces were mixtures of curved lines with the beauty of the wood showing through. Doors were arched and huge with only half of the door opening. Gardens were mixtures of stone, and brick and wrought iron with potted plants and vines allowed to grow along the walls. Nothing was whitewashed, nothing was shiplapped, everything was breathtaking.

But back to my new obsessions. Check out these marble inlays.

They are HUGE! Now we may not want to go this detailed or style in a new home design but there is so much to take away from these designs. I am in love with the black and white diamond design for a foyer, or master bath. Or imagine that inlay on the floor and in the ceiling of a master bath! We are seeing the concrete tiles like crazy with the beautiful designs such as the first picture above, but to see it done in marble is so impressive.

Ceiling details – OMG there is no way I can ever post enough pictures of the detailed ceilings in Italy! I have over the years done wallpaper on ceilings to create a highlighted feature and create a new feeling, but these ceilings are so far beyond the designs that I have done over the years. Here are a few examples but check out instagram for even more!

And let’s talk door knockers! These pieces to me are such a simple way to give a front door character that I can’t believe that we have gotten away from them in the US.

What a fantastic way to change the entire feeling of a door! I have a feeling these are going to be a new collection that I start, I am just in love. And you can see that they don’t have to be ornate and traditional, they can be simple or contemporary and add so much to the design.

So when you see new posts and pictures from me obsessing over these things you will know why. I have a feeling I will be noticing these things and looking for ways to adapt current projects and objects to give an added flare.

There is so much more to post about Italy especially the artwork. I think that needs a whole post on it’s own!

Special Guests Revealed – Insider’s Tour Update!

Ok so in my last blog post I let you all know that we would have special guests at Kravet when we start our tour. Well I can now officially announce that Sara Kravet, 5th generation Kravet, will personally greet our tour and see us through the Kravet and Kravet Curated Showrooms! She has been working out of the Boston Showrooms and has not only grown up in the business she and her family have been changing the industry for a 100 years! We will also be joined by Maria Parasugo the director of Kravet Furnishings. Parasugo and her team, are the brains behind the edge program at Kravet. You know the Kravet furnishings that are made beautifully in Kravet fabrics but won’t run you 1,000 per dining chair.

By now you may know that I love Kravet. I have been using Kravet fabrics since I started in the interior design world. In fact, if you have been to my showroom you will know that the fabrics across from my desk are all Kravet. I am so excited to introduce everyone on the tour to the fantastic furniture that they make.

How beautiful are these pieces! Wait until you sit in them! And even more so have you heard of Kravet Curated? Well those that join us on the tour will be able to see Curated as well. Will Hunt Lewis the Vice President of Kravet Curated will be meeting us at Kravet Curated to show us around all of the amazing pieces. Top designers in our field are working to with Kravet to create these collections, everyone from Barclay Butera to Candice Olson and Jan Showers. You will so want to see what they have selected and will be showing at Spring High Point Furniture Market!

So are you ready to be a part of this amazing tour? If you have never been or have not been to High Point Market in the past four markets and are an interior designer, buyer, builder or furniture store owner come join us by signing up at the link below. And don’t forget you have to select Sara Chiarilli if you want to get in on this. Because this is exclusive to our Tour, you will not get this opportunity with anyone else!


I can’t wait to meet you on the Spring Insider’s Tour!

Are you joining for the Insider’s Tour?

I am so excited to be hosting the Spring Insider’s Tour this High Point Market! We are getting so close to the end of sign up I wanted to let everyone know some of the amazing places we will be stopping at. Our first stop will be at Kravet with some very special guests that I know you will want to meet! And of course all of their amazing new pieces they will be showing at market! And don’t forget Kravet is celebrating their 100 years in the industry as a company. So much history and talent!

And our last stop will be a private tour of the factory and showroom of Thayer Coggin. I am so excited for this stop as it is super special and a huge thank you to Crypton for setting this up for us!

These are some amazing American made pieces that you are so going to want to see and meet the people making. Thayer Coggin has been done since 1953 and include the Milo Baughman collection! Are you excited yet!?!

The deadline is March 15th so you need to sign up now! Make sure you sign up under Sara Chiarilli to get these amazing experiences!


I can’t wait to see you there!

Design and Creativity Runs in the Family

For the past few months I have had the pleasure of helping my daughter start and run her handmade soap business. So I thought I would post about it a bit to share some of the amazing things she has been doing and give everyone a little look into our lives. I had been keeping this blog to mostly my interior design business but the reality is that my family life shapes so much of the work that I do that it is time to share some of those things as well.

So here is my daughter’s company Ella Bell Soap Company.

My daughter in the middle of dealing with a great deal of anxiety found that she needed something to channel that anxiety into and create things. She needed an outlet where she was achieving and building her own mark on the world. As a parent I am so happy to support her in creating this company and I am seeing her become so much more confident in so many things. The joy that she has had by being able to purchase presents for her friends and family during holidays has done miracles for her self esteem. She no longer asks us for money for things that she wants, she justs asks if she can use her money. For a seven year old I am just impressed!

Check her out making her soaps.

Each and every one of her soaps and scents she creates on her own, with a little help to make sure she doesn’t burn herself. Each soap is made from organic ingredients and essential oils for the scents. She loves blue so there are lots of blue soaps!

Aren’t they beautiful!?! She adds dried flowers and fruits to many of the soaps. And she sells them at local markets on on her website.


Check her out on Facebook and Instagram @ellabellasoapcompany.

And here she is at some of her markets.

As a designer and artist I have tried to create a culture of creativity and design within our household. It looks like it has truly taken hold. Keep following to find out more about Elliana’s updates and more about our design projects.

Let’s Talk Trim!

When I say trim I am sure most of you are thinking the pretty decorative elements we add to pillows and drapery. But nope I want to talk about the trim we use in the building process. Since I live on construction sites all the time and am constantly working with new designs I though I would talk about the element that gets very little attention but yet is one of the elements that add the biggest impact.

Everyone loves crown molding but the only crown molding I think anyone knows in cove.

Yup this is what everyone thinks about when we say crown molding. But this is just one style. There are so many options for crown molding here are some options people don’t always think about.

Dentil Molding

Stair Step Crown

Greek Key Crown

Corner Blocks

And these are just a few options for crown molding. This is not even touching door casing, base molding, wainscotting and so many other options that we have when designing a home. So, when you are working on your home and you want to add a whole lot of wow think about the trim.

Look at these headers and door casings.

How about these baseboards.

Trim is not just for pillows and drapery, it is crucial as a finishing touch for you walls and ceilings. So don’t neglect the trim and make sure you are putting the icing on the cake in your design!

Are Pantone Colors of the Year Still Relevant?

Over the years we have seen so many different directions that the pantone colors have gone. The predicting of colors each years has been all over the place. Sometimes I think that it is almost like a game that whenever the industry starts to get where the pantone colors are going then pantone throws a huge curveball. But my question is do these colors seem relevant in design for the average client. Yes we will always have the client that wants the newest, thing and wants to be cutting edge. But are these pantone colors really leading to design trends for the masses? Or should we be keeping these colors to small pops in designs? Are these colors moving design forward or are they behind the current design trends?

This years color is living coral.

Designing in Florida, this is a great color. But honestly we have been using this color for years. So it really doesn’t feel new and fresh as I see it. Don’t get me wrong I love the color. I am still using the color and the designs that we have done with this color still look super new and fresh. But is this trendsetting? Were we just way ahead of the trend?

How about the 2018 color of the year?

I love purple! I have been using touches of purple and more than touches of purple in designs for ages. In fact at the beginning of 2017 I redid my showroom to incorporate this deep rich color.

So again I ask the question were we moving ahead of the trend or was pantone running behind? Were we predicting the direction of the industry? My ego absolutely loves the idea that we have been designing ahead of the times and are setting the trends, although I am not sure that is the case.

Let’s go back to 2017 color of the year – Greenery.

I absolutely love this color. I think that just about every design needs this color in some form. But this is because I design a lot in the style of biophilic design. I strongly believe that the outside should always be brought into the interiors. In 2015 I did an interview with Sears about what the color trends would be and this was one of my main colors that I felt needed to be a staple in interiors. Check out the article here: https://www.searshomeservices.com/blog/2015-kitchen-color-trends

So does this mean that pantone colors are on trend? Are they relevant? Here is what I think. I think good design is always relevant. So if you feel like you need to follow the pantone colors great. If you are ahead of the pantone colors great. As long as the design is taking care of the client’s needs and has the ability to last the test of time who cares if it falls in the pantone colors. So follow the trends, don’t follow. Use the colors for large impact or small pops. Just remember at the end of the day create a great design and it will always look great!

Spring Insider’s Tour!!!

I am super excited to announce that I will be hosting the Spring Insider’s Tour for High Point Market! We had so much fn in the fall I am so looking forward to it again! For the Fall tour we visited Stanley Furniture, Sarreid Ltd, Lexington, Bramble Company, Surya, Rowe and Sunapan. Check out some of the pictures from the great time that we had!

Checking out the giant chair outside of Showplace!
Surya at the end of the day, time for fun and cocktails!

We had a great group of designers from all over the country.

High Point Market is one of my favorite things, it is where we learn all about new products and solutions for our clients.

Crypton education!

High Point is where we run into the celebrities in our industry.

Ben Marshall – that’s one of his lights behind us!

It’s about the amazing friendships that we make!

It is where we take our businesses to the next level! Where we get inspired to be better designers. Where we get exclusive looks at newly releases and get the behind the scenes information from the manufacturers. It is where we get to see, feel and sit in all the amazing furniture. It is where we can create full designs that include in new pieces, antiques and vintage inspired all in one place. To have access to all of the options at High Point Market it would take weeks to get to all the different showrooms. But we don’t have to we get to take a few days and see all of the options available.

So , if you haven’t been to High Point Market in the last four markets and want to see market through my eyes you need to join us for the Spring Insider’s Tour! You can sign up here:


Make sure you select SARA CHIARILLI OF ARTFUL CONCEPTIONS, especially because you know we will be having the most fun! I will be releasing the stops on the tour as we get closer, but I am working on some fun cocktail parties, great education and so many new releases!

You can find all of the requirements for the tour and how to register for High Point Market here:


So are you ready to make this year your best year in your design business? If so, join me for my favorite show in the design industry for education, fun, friendship, inspiration and business growth!

I look forward to meeting new designers, buyers, business owners and first time attendees! When you are done with the tour you will have my secrets and know how to navigate market but also will have a love for this fantastic event!

A Day in the Life in Pictures

Happy New Year everyone! Ok I know I am a little late but hey it’s still January! It has been a whirlwind the last half of this year with so much going on. Building has been booming so lots of new construction and remodels. But also lots of great new things like the High Point Market Insider’s Tour, Design Blogger’s Tour, the Tour of the Kravet Archives and Crypton tour of Duralee and Robert Allen in NYC. In between all of that it has been family, holidays, skiing vacation, new clients and prepping for this year! Are you exhausted yet!?!

But right before the holidays in a preparation for an article that will be coming out for the High Point Market Authority we had some fun doing a photo shoot with Theresa NeSmith Photography. We kinda broke down some of the design process and she got to see me in my element with some of my favorite things…..fabrics!

So check out some of these amazing pictures and stay tuned for lots of announcements that will be coming for 2019!

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