I’ve known I wanted to design homes since before I can remember. I used to scour BHG + HGTV’s early websites for ideas, sketch layouts of my future home, design 3D houses on Sims + watch shows like “I Want That” to explore the latest + greatest in the industry. Now that I can travel the world, I’m an award-winning member of the NBKA [National Kitchen & Bath Association] + Pinterest exists, my inspiration is refreshed daily. Here are some sources that keep my mind inspired + my work current!
This is a huge one for me. I have found my true few over the years that never disappoint + I’m excited to share them with you. These women have an exceptional eye for design + their style + brand is so consistent that I most times can see a photo on my feed + name the designer instantly.
I found Donna Mondi’s page while studying interior design in college + was instantly attracted to her unforgivingly bold, high-end designs. Donna is based out of Chicago + creates that luxe, city aesthetic that most of us can only dream of. Her use of textures, loud art + deep tones is extremely unique during this minimalist meets casual Californian trend we’ve been seeing over the recent years. Donna is the first designer I truly fell in love with via Instagram + her complex, moody spaces continue to inspire me years later.
If I see a space on Pinterest or Instagram + there isn’t one square inch I don’t like, I know Kate Marker is the brains behind the operation. Kate is one of the most talented designers I’ve come across. You look at one of her designs + immediately feel peace — this is her superpower. Each space is soft + inviting, but at the same time, uber functional + organized. I’d love to see her design process in real time.
The goddess of neutral. Amber Lewis is a master of tone, texture + naming her projects. I also love her frequent #crappyiPhonepicsaremyjam hashtag she uses when posting her own photos on her Instagram. She recently designed + built her own home which is STUNNING — but I wouldn’t expect anything less from this majorly talented chica.
4. Studio McGee
Me + the rest of the world, right? Shea McGee is the poster child for following your dreams + not stopping when you hit some SERIOUS milestones. I found Shea’s website in college + feel like I’ve watched her baby business turn into an empire in the blink of an eye. Her social media blowing up, to opening her own shop, to releasing a book + producing a Netflix show, Shea has done it all. Her designs are the most beautiful, thoughtful spaces + she is someone I have looked to for inspiration for years. Even with millions of followers, Shea has reposted me on Instagram + responded to me on multiple platforms. We stan a down-to-earth superstar.
It was difficult to choose only 5 designers that I’m inspired by [because there are SO many], but I love Pure Salt because their spaces feel so much more real + attainable compared to many other insta-famous design companies. I’m not sure if it’s because many of their spaces are on the smaller side or their designs just always make so much sense to me, but this is a design team that I SO appreciate. Everything I see from them is something I can picture in my own home + that’s saying a lot.
Because there are so many amazing designers out there that are crazy motivating to me, I couldn’t help but mention a few more of my favorite gals: Lindsey Brooke Design, Lindye Galloway, Brooke Wagner Design, Katie Hodges Design, Lark & Linen, E. Interiors, Eye For Pretty, Becki Owens, House of Jade Interiors + South Harlow Interiors. I am also inspired by architects such as Patrick Ahearn, Paul Bates + Brandon Architects. Did you know I almost went to school for architecture instead of interior design?
I’m talking majorrr inspo. Whether it’s industry shows, brand events, sponsored trips, or just personal travel, I am fortunate to travel often + see what’s trending in other regions.
If you could view my travel log, or searched any of my designer idols listed above, you’ll find a common theme. If you know anything about me, you know I’ve been obsessed with California since elementary school. I’m not saying MTV Cribs wasn’t a factor. Then in junior high, my older sister + I watched Laguna Beach religiously. Did I mention I would email California realtors at age 12 + try to convince my family of six to move there on a weekly basis?
The stunning ocean cliffs, rolling hills + mansions that sat atop them have always inspired me. I love the subtle luxe, effortless, organic feel California homes have always embodied + it sucks me in every time. I ended up going to college in San Diego + although I moved back home to MA after graduation, I’ve traveled back to California at least twice a year since. I draw inspiration from new, over-the-top restaurants, the natural landscape + trendy home accents. We all know home + fashion trends start in California + take about two years to make it over here to the east coast. I like to expedite that process.
Brand + Sponsored Trips
This one is HUGE for me. Whether it’s a visit to the SubZero/Wolf headquarters in Wisconsin, a Plain & Fancy cabinet factory tour in Amish Country, Pennsylvania, or a weekend in Napa with Signature Kitchen Suite, I am extremely fortunate to be whisked away to these amazing designer experiences. Not to mention paid trips to Orlando + Vegas for KBIS, the largest kitchen + bath industry show in the world!
Although the lodging, food, drinks + events are nothing short of spectacular, I am always mind blown with how much knowledge I leave with. Not only am I getting to play with the newest technology before it hits the market, I’m learning the ins-and-outs straight from the source. These educational seminars allow me to provide more options to my clients + help them make more informed decisions on what’s best for them.
Until my Napa trip, I never would have guessed there was a range that had a specific module built-in for sous-vide cooking or a wine refrigerator with a soft-close door. Two years later + most people still don’t know! But my clients do. This is exactly why these trips are so valuable to me as a designer.
Before social media existed + even before the term influencer meant what it does today, I was constantly watching beauty gurus on YouTube, such as MakeupGeek, Blair Fowler + Elle [Fowler] Goot. I mean… if it wasn’t for Blair, I wouldn’t have owned the Clarisonic Mia or the Clinique Three-Step Skincare System in high school. And she didn’t even have affiliate codes! It’s crazy to see how far content creators have come + watch the evolution — but I’m here for it! Believe it or not, many of the products I purchase for my home, makeup bag + closet are because women I trust + have watched for years have raved about them first!
If Ariel got lost in NYC + started a blog, her name would be Teresa Caruso, because she has the most amazing collection of everything ever. Her style is everything I’ve ever wanted to be — feminine + soft, but super organized + functional. I have nothing but good things to say about her + could go on forever, so I’ll just leave you to check out her perfectly neutral + blush aesthetic over on her blog.
Speaking of real-life mermaids, meet Rachael Proctor. A super beautiful, beach-obsessed fashionista with the most unique eye for style + design. She puts SO much effort into everything she does, while making it look completely natural. Even her Instagram stories + how she lays out her text + images inspires me on the daily. She’s the effortless tropical cool we all wish we could be.
I follow creators in so many different departments + they inspire me in lots of different ways. Whether I admire their style, work ethic, aesthetic, content or a combination of these, here are some more hardworking people that bring me joy + inspo on the daily: Jaclyn Hill, Elle Fowler, Luna Skye, Wyld Blooms + Grand Floridian Girls.
I gather lots of ideas from the outlets mentioned above, but one of my biggest motivators is my family + friends. They support me to the fullest + I couldn’t be more thankful for them. In turn, they motivate me to work my hardest to create a better future + a better me. You know who you are xx