Graber: The Window Treatments You Need

When you walk into a space, what’s the first thing you notice? I’d be willing to bet that the windows and the light they provide are definitely somewhere at the top of the list. I’m always looking to find ways to update my own home. If you know me well, you know my expectations are high! I want every piece of décor to be not only stylish, but also to enhance my quality of life. I shopped around for months on end and never found the perfect solution. I was ecstatic when I found Graber! I can’t wait to share all the things I love about my new window shades and the overall experience. I think you’ll love them, too.

Custom Window Treatments from Graber

One of the most common questions I’m asked is regarding easy ways to add luxurious touches to a home. It’s an easy question to answer, because my signature design style, “modern approachable luxury,” relies on my belief that luxury is something that can and should be attainable to everyone. In my opinion, luxury is in the details, and nothing could be more detailed than something custom-built for your home. Whether I’m designing for myself or a client, I tailor the space to the needs of the people who will spend time there. 

Functional items within a home become that much more beneficial when you can control how they serve you. I was amazed at the sheer amount of options Graber offers as I looked to outfit my home with new window treatments. You can customize practically everything! Graber builds custom window treatments and you select the materials, color, hardware, liner, size and control type. And, once you’ve decided on those features, they’re made to order, ensuring you get exactly what you want and need. 

Graber Solar Shades

I immediately fell in love with the solar shades option because it felt like the perfect addition for my home. Have you ever been engrossed in your favorite tv show only to have to suddenly squint or shift to another part of the room because of the glare on the screen? Graber Solar Shades are designed to reduce glare! Not only is that great for our electronics and screen-viewing, but it also helps prolong the life of delicate fabrics and materials. For a designer, that’s awesome news! Nobody wants to spend money on a beautiful piece of furniture only to have it fade from sun exposure.


Graber has truly thought of everything. You can select the fabric that works best with your color palette and even choose your “openness.” That means you can select the amount of sunlight you prefer to enter through your shades. The lower the openness, the more UV rays they block. The higher the percentage of openness, the better view of the outside you will get. Isn’t that spectacular? I love this feature because it allows the customer to decide how much privacy and sunlight they want in their home. I can protect my space from excess heat while still enjoying a gorgeous outdoor view. These shades are definitely covering all my bases!

The Graber Experience: Easy Does It! 

Perhaps one of my favorite parts of the Graber experience was how easy the whole process was. I’m accustomed to long, convoluted procedures when it comes to all things interior design. Often, it takes several people, multiple days and extended deadlines to complete an element of a redesign. With Graber, I was done in less than 30 minutes! Graber offers a one-on-one dealer home visit that can be in person or virtual. They even have a visualizer tool to better help you imagine how your window treatment will look in your home. 


During the home visit, the dealer will walk you through all of Graber’s offerings and answer any questions you may have. I appreciated the fact that I got to leave the measuring to the experts, so I never worried about making a costly mistake. In less time than it takes to eat lunch I had ordered beautiful new shades and a modern-looking design I love! A short second visit later, and my new shades were installed and working perfectly!

UltraLite Lift System

One of my jobs as an interior designer is to stay abreast of all the design trends, styles and décor offerings. I’m always looking to bring the very best the design world has to offer to my clients. Nothing makes me feel better than when I can recommend products that I love for my own home! Graber offers a modern take on a cordless lift system called the UltraLite Lift System. This innovation allows you to lift and lower the shades with the lightest touch. That’s right, it’s really that easy! 

I rejoiced when I learned about the Ultralite Cordless Lift System because it was exactly what I’d been waiting for to update my window treatments. Remotes weren’t an option for me because, simply put, they get lost in my household! Blame it on two energetic little ones, but I knew we would benefit from a clean, minimal design that was effective. And we did! Cordless window treatments are also the safest option for households with children and pets. It’s also a sleek, contemporary look that won’t clash with any other design style in a room.


I find that people often underestimate the impact window treatments have on a space. Our windows provide ambient light, but they do so much more than that when paired with lovely decorative elements. Graber knows that we shouldn’t have to sacrifice beauty for function. With their plethora of options, you simply can’t go wrong! When was the last time you updated your window treatments? Give Graber a try and beautify your space today!

Food Network: Bake or Break – Paris Bakery

It may come as no surprise that I’ve been working in creative fields since I was a kid! It’s true! HGTV and Food Network aren’t my first rodeos! Whether it was child modeling, painting and selling bookbags as a kid, owning my own retail store as a teen, or staging yachts early on in my career, creativity is something I just…get. So, when I got the call from Food Network to help another struggling bakery revamp their design to maximize selling potential, I was over the moon excited to help with innovative ideas! When I arrived in Livonia, Michigan, I was immediately struck with several ideas about how to improve the space. So, let’s talk about this week’s finale of Bake or Break!

Choosing the Correct Color in Retail Design

There’s a reason so many interior design tips involve the use of color. Interior design is largely visual, which means what we see when we first enter a space matters big time! We can use color to draw attention, to influence moods, and even to make a space appear larger or smaller. When I walked into Paris Bakery, I was instantly aware of how dark everything was. Kostas, the bakery owner, had painted the walls a deep red color. It was somewhere between brick and ruby. Now listen, I have nothing against red. But, I do think it can be tricky to use on walls. In fact, any darker color can be. The deep hue he’d chosen was making the space feel oddly closed in. It wasn’t the effect you want when the goal is getting customers to buy food and hang around for a while.

A doughnut is transformed into a bright pop of color, as seen on Bake or Break, Season 1. Photo by Ida Edelman


Full of inspiration, I sprang into action. When you’re designing a room, you always have to be careful to balance dark and light elements. It’s part of the reason why tuxedo kitchens work so well. Light usually opens up a space, while dark has the opposite effect. Keeping your walls light will trick the eye into thinking the room is bigger than it actually is, something you can benefit from in a smaller space like this bakery. We set out with a plan to brighten the entire place with a fresh coat of white paint, and the result was exactly what I hoped for!

Always Take Advantage of Natural Light

As I surveyed the space, I realized that a part of a wall jutted out in a way I’ve seen several times before. I instinctively knew (I mean, I am a designer!) that could mean a window was hiding beneath. A little investigating, (read: pounding through the wall) and we struck gold! Turns out there were windows after all! One of the biggest tips I can offer anyone looking to make a space feel open and spacious is to harness all the natural and artificial light you can. Whether I’m designing for someone on HGTV or Food Network, I always look to see how I can either arrange pieces for the best ambient light, or select lighting fixtures that will mimic natural light in order to create a welcoming space. To me, one of the most impactful changes we made to the bakery was giving it the ability to be bright and airy. Consider that if you’re buying a home, refreshing a room, or designing a retail space.

Personalize Your Space With Custom Design

Even after we brightened the bakery with windows and paint, it was still lacking something. Kostas was clearly very passionate about making this business. He felt strongly about what he had built, and he wanted it to be a success. His employees were dedicated and talented. Yet, the space seemed to lack personality. Design should be memorable. When I’ve designed restaurants in the past, I wanted to include touches that would make patrons think back to the amazing meals they enjoyed there. Interior design is powerful! I once took an image of a chef’s hands at work creating her culinary masterpiece, and made IT into a masterpiece! I enlarged it big enough to cover an entire wall, and it became a feature of the space. It was amazing to see the spirit and soul of the restaurant in art that way. I knew I could do the same for Kostas.

When I looked at the signage outside of the bakery, I felt inspired by the name. I thought about Belle Isle, a place known as the jewel of Detroit. We were able to find a beautiful print and turn it into wallpaper for the bakery. This simple but clever touch not only pleased Kostas, it gave the bakery life! My signature design style is modern approachable luxury. The luxury part is often in the customization that I aim to infuse in my designs. When you want to elevate the design of a space, think about the ways you can tailor it to you. That can be with custom finishes, colors, artwork or even appliances. With this art on the walls, this bakery would always feel a little more special than it did before. A bit of history mixed into the design? That’s a win.

Designer Breegan Jayne, Bakery Owner Kostas Charizanis and host Stephanie Boswell discuss the exterior transformation of a bakery, as seen on Food Network: Bake or Break, Season 1. Photo by Ida Edelman

Get Rid of Clutter in Your Space

If you watched this episode of Bake or Break on Food Network, you know the first impression of this bakery wasn’t a great one! There just seemed to be junk everywhere! Both Stephanie and I felt like the “stuff” overwhelmed the small space and took up precious real estate. After listening to the vision Kostas had of Paris Bakery being more like a café and having seating for customers, I knew we had to find a way to declutter the main area. I took the mismatched food cases and swapped them for matching ones. Next, I focused on configuration. We needed a free area for a bit of seating for customers. We easily did that by arranging the cases around the exterior of the room. Now, all of the “stuff” that was contributing to clutter was hidden to anyone who walks in!

Hidden Storage is Your Friend

I’m a fan of making furniture multi-purpose. We all lead busy lives. We need our homes and other spaces to work for us, not against us. Whether I’m designing a bedroom, baby nursery or retail space, I look for ways to incorporate hidden storage. Is your space full of items that you need, but don’t need (or want) to necessarily see each day? Use large baskets with lids! These are great because they’re attractive, and you can put them anywhere. We use them in our home to house blankets when we want to curl up on the couch. I also like pieces like ottomans that open to storage. I like using these for parents because they’re perfect for stashing diapers or wipes in places where moms always need them. When you use furniture items this way, you can clear space for a more aesthetically pleasing design with ease!

Paris Bakery gets a recipe makeover with a S’more Donut, as seen on Bake or Break, Season 1. Photo by Ida Edelman


The transformation of Paris Bakery was amazing. We took this dark and bland space and turned it into a gorgeous, bright and spacious store that felt fresh again. Stephanie helped Kostas and staff come up with delectable additions to the menu, and the entire feeling of the space was rejuvenated. If you haven’t already, check out Bake or Break on Food Network or discovery+. It’s sure to bring a smile to your face!

Styling Your Bathroom: Interior Design Tips

If I asked you to name the places in your home where you spend the most time, I bet the bathroom would rank pretty highly on the list. I mean, think about it. We visit our bathrooms several times each day for… all the things! It only makes sense that these areas are pleasing to the eye, right? I want my guests to have a beautiful place that feels comfortable, and I want my own personal bathroom to feel like a peaceful retreat. I achieve both of those things by styling bathrooms with intention and panache. The result is always divine, and my clients agree! I’ll give you all the interior design bathroom tips you need to do the same. Keep reading!

Selecting Bathroom Fixtures and Hardware

Bathrooms, whether big or small, all have something in common. They need fixtures! When I’m designing for clients I find that many people focus so much on a color scheme or theme that they forget the impression that the fixtures and hardware can make on a space. In fact, when people ask me how to update their bathroom spaces without a ton of renovations or exorbitant costs, I often suggest changing out the fixtures and hardware as a cost-effective option. Why? Because these small swaps make a huge difference! Best of all, the options are endless! So, where to begin?

Bathroom Fixtures: Small Changes, Big Impact

What look are you going for and what type of hardware do you prefer? Hardware comes in so many different colors and materials, and there are even more options for finishes. Spend some time browsing before you commit to anything. If your current bathroom has chrome faucets and controls, perhaps you’d like to go with black or brass tones this time around. I’ve seen a bathroom completely transformed by making simple changes like these. 

Even the knobs and door pulls are easily updated for a customized and polished look. Think about the design style in the bathroom. If you’re after a more traditional look, that will govern the type of pulls you install. Looking to add a little more personality to the space? Consider knobs that sport radical designs and colors. The effect you get is up to you. You can even decide on the finish of the hardware. Once upon a time, “glossy” was the norm. But today, you can choose from glossy, satin, brushed, matte and more! As if you need any more options, you’ll also want to decide whether your hardware is mounted horizontally or vertically depending on the shape of the pull you select. All of these details have the power to make your bathroom look brand new! So you see, giving your space a refresh can be pretty simple!

The Significance of Bathroom Surfaces

I would be remiss if I didn’t acknowledge the largest part of our bathrooms, and that would be the surfaces! I’m talking about the flooring, walls and backsplash. Due to the sheer amount of space these surfaces occupy, they are the ones that often grab our attention first. Once you’ve decided on the design style and color palette, choosing the material for these surfaces becomes a bit easier. I advise my clients not to go too bold with the color of flooring. The reason? Well, while swapping out a doorknob or handle takes little effort, ripping out the pink tile you thought you were obsessed with for a weird moment in time requires much more, AND it can be costly. Keeping your flooring choices to something versatile will allow you to change your bathroom design style often and give it a longer life. 

As I’ve said many times before, neutrals don’t have to be boring! While I don’t recommend bright colors for bathroom surfaces, I DO love adding sophistication with beautiful stone! Natural elements have a way of truly bringing a serene element to a space. Stone is a lovely accent on walls because it instantly makes the space feel luxurious. While I’m partial to white stones with grey veining, I have used several different types of stone in various projects over the years. They’re all lovely! I even love using stone as a backsplash instead of the more traditional tile options. Running the stone all the way up gives that area a seamless feel that I always appreciate. If you haven’t considered stone before, please do! Real stone is always available, but manufactured stone also offers many advantages. Stone can be used on counters, walls, backsplashes and more.

Choosing Color

Have you been following along with my Instagram reels? You should! I take you through the process of designing my dream beach home, and I share a ton of design tips along the way. I’m always amused when people express shock at my use of color in certain places in my home. I love neutrals in most of my living spaces because they make me feel calm and centered after being overstimulated with all the “life stuff” we all deal with day-to-day. However, picking specific places to indulge in brilliant hues is one of my favorite ways to give bathrooms personality. I do this with smaller powder rooms. 

If you’re looking to have a bit of fun, this is the way to do it! Have a half bathroom and don’t know how to design it? Go big or go home. Don’t limit yourself. I know painting walls black in a bathroom might sound strange, but it can be elegant and striking when done well. Bathrooms are also great places to do accent walls. We usually see that done in bedrooms, but who says it can’t work in other places? Get funky with cool wall art to give your bathroom design some character.

I create little jewel boxes for my guests to enjoy by using vividly colored wallpaper that catches the eye. Powder rooms are perfect for unusually patterned wallpaper or paint colors. Animals? Bold florals? Why not?! Have fun with it, and remember that things like wallpaper, paint and art are easily exchanged when you no longer want that particular look. It isn’t a permanent commitment, so you can rest easy knowing that you will always be able to switch things up when necessary.

We’ve been talking about the great deal of time we have all spent in our homes over the last few years. The truth is, there has never been a better time to invest in our spaces than right now. Creating an environment made for thriving is easier than you might expect. Prioritize the rooms you use the most. Bathrooms are definitely at the top of that list! These are just a few ways to style them for the effect you desire. Stay tuned for more soon! 

If you would like help selecting fixtures, choosing colors or finding the perfect wallpapers it’s really easy to book a design consultation with me through The Expert.


Food Network: Bake or Break – The Cookie Jar

I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to be doing my eighth show with the HGTV and Food Network family! We’ve tackled everything from building houses for deserving families on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, to judging sweet confectionery designs on Holiday Baking Championship: Gingerbread Showdown! Now on Bake or Break, Stephanie Boswell is helping struggling bakeries regain their stride with her incredible pastry chef expertise, and I’m redesigning the spaces to maximize and complement all the retail success they’re after! It’s a show with a lot of heart, beautiful design and delicious desserts! Let’s explore the power of the visual demonstrated throughout the episodes!

The Cookie Jar is Born

The first Food Network episode of Bake or Break took us to Flint, Michigan. There, we met Teressa Morris, the owner of The Cookie Jar. Teressa went into business for herself after leaving her job in the auto business when that industry took a hit a few years ago. She hadn’t considered a career in baking until her son took the five-inch cookies she made to a local barbershop and they sold out within an hour. The sweet treat named the “Million Dollar Cookie” was an undeniable hit, and soon after so would be the case with her bakery, The Cookie Jar. Unfortunately, Teressa’s business has had trouble hitting its financial goals recently. She was worried that she would need to close the store if things didn’t turn around soon. That’s where Stephanie and I came in! 

Creative Use of Color in Design

If you’ve followed along on my Instagram and blog, you know I talk about color therapy from time to time. That’s because color holds so much power! Color has the ability to affect our mood, the way other hues and lighting show up in the space, the length of time we spend in a place, and sometimes even purchasing power! Sound strange? Consider the places you typically associate with relaxation. What colors do you usually see in spas? What about vacation resort brochures? It’s usually the blues, whites and creamy neutrals that abound. That’s because when used well, these tones can feel soothing and serene. I’ve talked at length about my love affair with the color teal. It always has a way of reminding me of my favorite place on earth: Ibiza. Color can evoke the mood you desire in a space or bring up memories and feelings. 

When I’m designing, color is always carefully considered because of the power it holds. When Food Network expert Stephanie Boswell visited The Cookie Jar for the first time, she drove past it several times before actually finding the building! A lot of that was because the building blends right into its surroundings. The Cookie Jar featured a pretty no-frills black and white design on the exterior. Even the sign failed to stand out. Immediately I knew we needed to give the exterior a facelift that would be more than simply aesthetically pleasing. I wanted the building to be eye-catching and fascinating. We want to drive traffic and potential customers to the right place, after all!


Photo: Ida Edelman

Choosing the Right Paint Colors

Teressa wasn’t the biggest fan of color at first, but when we discovered she loved blue, I set out to find that perfect shade! With the challenge of colder temperatures and rainy weather, we solidified plans to cover the building in a vibrant blue with a bright yellow stripe. Since parking was a bit of a mystery to anyone looking to buy Teressa’s Million Dollar Cookies, I used arrows (also yellow) as a bit of decoration to direct customers to where they could park. It was the perfect fusion of form and function, and it worked out well! Now, anyone driving by can immediately spot The Cookie Jar, and I’m certain Teressa will gain new patrons because of it!


Photo: Ida Edelman

Interior Design as a Branding Tool

It’s true, we interior designers love to make things beautiful. Design relies on the visual to influence the way we experience a space. But, in retail, design can also do the heavy lifting of branding and advertising. I recently designed Anne Sisteron’s flagship jewelry store in Beverly Hills, California. We commissioned custom, hand-painted wallpaper featuring the owner’s favorite color (chartreuse) to adorn the walls in the store. The paper will also be used in packaging and artwork around the space. It’s become a bit of a signature for the store because of the easily recognizable print and colorway. That’s what great design can do!

Inside The Cookie Jar, I noticed there wasn’t a single actual cookie jar in sight! Ironic, considering the name. I also noticed attention to the look and décor  was lacking. When you want people to feel comfortable in a space, you have to create ambiance. I wanted Teressa’s bakery to stimulate the kind of warm feelings you get when you walk into your mom’s house with cookies baking in the oven. We achieved that by setting up a space that felt more like a living room than a warehouse. I also wanted to make the connection to the name of the bakery. I used several cookie jars in different sizes and arranged them on cool shelving. This addition made the space look like a showroom for all of Teressa’s beautiful and delectable sweets. You can’t buy what you can’t see! Now, everyone who walks in will be tempted to purchase something!

Photo: Ida Edelman

Configuration Counts in Retail Design

Before the makeover, there was a huge ice cream case occupying a great deal of real estate right as you entered the bakery. While Teressa’s customers have been known to frequent her store in the summer for a scoop, this cumbersome appliance was definitely blocking valuable space that could be used in other ways, and I was determined to fix that. Whether I’m refreshing a room or designing from scratch, I always ask myself how the space will be used. In this case, the question posed was, “do you want people to come and stay for a while, or buy and leave?” 

Teressa mentioned that she wished there was room for seating. So, we created a cozy nook at the front of the store with gorgeous golden chairs to match the exterior. I also added a fireplace and table. Now, guests have a dedicated place to sit and enjoy their treats when they visit. Additionally, there are cute little tables outside surrounded by yellow flowering plants! Seating is everything when you’re creating a useful space. The more comfortable and convenient you make it, the more likely your customers will want to hang around. And more time spent in a space means more dollars spent there, too!

Photo: Ida Edelman

Food Network: Bake or Break!

Food Network, you’ve done it again! Stephanie was able to give Teressa some great tips on new desserts (the trillion dollar truffles are so tasty!), a boost in her confidence, and even ideas to bring in more wholesale orders! I was able to upgrade the design in the space to a striking and prominent landmark that no one will ever miss again. I’m so sure The Cookie Jar will be around for quite some time! Did you watch? Share your thoughts with me in the comments.

Table Styling Ideas on The Rachael Ray Show

What’s the first thing you think about when you hear the words “interior design”? Well I’ll be honest, for me, it changes depending on the project I’m working on. But, the one concept that never leaves my mind is visual impact. The ability to shift a mood, relax the body and appeal to the senses is something that cannot be overstated. So, we should look to maximize the positive effects we can apply in our homes where the eye is naturally drawn. Tables are most definitely among the areas at the top of that list! If you’re looking to bring an extra dose of beauty to your home, I have the perfect table styling ideas for you!

Styling Your Coffee Table

I had a blast on The Rachael Ray Show sharing all my best table styling ideas and tips. One of the most common types of tables found in homes everywhere is the coffee table. It’s usually placed in front of or adjacent to a couch or sectional in a living room, a prime place for gathering. That means people are likely going to lay eyes on this area often! One of the best ways to achieve a designer look when styling a coffee table is to arrange items in groups of three, at three different heights. Sound simple? It is! 

Rule of Three in Interior Design

Think about your table décor in terms of “small, medium and large” when you’re choosing your items. You can even allow one of the items to be something sentimental to add an extra personal touch. Candles, flower vases or even stacks of books make for excellent table styling ideas. The biggest thing to remember is to stick to the old school rule of thumb: three items, arranged at various heights. This method will ensure your coffee table will look chic and polished.

Table Styling Ideas for Your Entryway Table

I have always believed your home should make a great first impression. Everything from the way your home looks, smells and feels can influence the way you experience it when you or your guests walk in. An entryway table is an excellent way to greet your visitors and direct the eye exactly where you want it, almost immediately. Utilizing a large entryway table gives your space the look of a welcoming hotel entrance. I even have one in my home that I showed on The Rachael Ray Show. A big entrance table is a great starting point, but be sure to keep scale in mind.

Decorating and styling your entryway table should be done with intention. If you fill your table with a ton of small items that look cluttered, that’s all it will ever be. Instead, go big! I love the idea of using black and gold pots with stacks of décor around them. Again, be sure to vary the height for a sophisticated aesthetic. An entryway table is an ideal place to house mementos like family photo boxes, eye-catching jewelry you never wear, and even functional pieces that double-duty like a decorative bowl for your keys. In grand hotels you often see oversized floral elements. This table is a great place to use faux flowers. I love orchids for this reason, because even real ones almost look fake! Adding greenery to your entryway table is sure to liven up the space and bridge the indoor-outdoor gap.

Occasional Tables Styling Tips

So, this might surprise you (but only if you missed me on The Rachael Ray Show), but I ditched my coffee tables for my new love: occasional tables! My love of these smaller, often grouped together tables arose from my specific lifestyle needs. With occasional tables, the kids can have their peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, and I can get my work done without worries of sticky residue getting all over my important documents. We can share the same space and be close enough to interact without either of our activities interfering with the other. We’re all demanding so much more of our spaces these days. Occasional tables allow me the freedom to pull up a table and place a computer on it to work. Or, I can have a convenient place for my morning coffee. A more traditional coffee table doesn’t always allow for that easy mobility.

I suggest grouping these in clusters of two or three and positioning them so you can take advantage of the varied heights. You can easily place a decorative book, small floral arrangement or some other visually interesting item on one of the tables in the cluster. Occasional tables have the benefit of serving as a place to beautify as well as multitask, and that’s what we’re all after these days!

We all have tables in our homes. Whether you have an oversized entryway table, a traditional coffee table or you’re incorporating occasional tables in your home, these table styling ideas will help you elevate your design in easy and fun ways! If you try these tips, tag me on Instagram with your photos!

HGTV, The House My Wedding Bought: Ep 106 Recap

When I signed on to host “The House My Wedding Bought” on HGTV, I knew my days would be filled with choices and compromises between couples. For the second episode, Cody and Michelle introduced themselves as a couple who knew exactly what they wanted in their first home purchase and their wedding. That’s a great thing! At the point of paying for all the extra amenities that each wanted, though, I knew some things were not going to be feasible. Here’s how we made it all work.

How Much Does a Wedding Really Cost?

Weddings are one of the most important days a couple experiences together. And, there’s s a lot that goes into putting it all together. Michelle and Cody’s big day was no different. However, they both started out wanting very different things. With a $30K budget for a home and a wedding, they were really up against some serious decision-making.

The first decision centered on how much they were actually going to spend. Michelle wanted to spend a sensible $10K on the wedding. However, what she wanted out of that was a bit of a challenge. The bride-to-be wanted a large gathering. As someone who is very family-oriented, I completely get that. Michelle also wanted a mariachi band, Mexican food and on-site housing for her family. That didn’t include the photographer, open bar, or wedding dress. Whew! Did she pick the right HGTV show?

Cody had bigger dreams when it came to the wedding, and he wanted to spend like it. He wanted his wedding to be a “big spectacle.” For $20K, he wanted a Texas-style bbq, photo booth, and all the flashy things. He also wanted an affair to suit 150 people. While his budget fit his desires slightly more reasonably than Michelle’s, that still left less to put on the house. Was Cody thinking and planning in the right direction? Only the house choice would tell!

Making the Most of Your Home Purchasing Budget

Owning my own design company and being on several HGTV shows, I know the importance of a decent house budget. It’s also important to be flexible with home wants and needs. Michelle wanted $20K of the budget to go towards a single-story, open concept home. She wanted to be able to entertain her family from the kitchen. She also wanted to incorporate colorful Spanish elements in the home to honor her culture. Cody preferred a more minimal look for the home of his dreams. Black and white accents permeated his future two-story, modern industrial home. He also wanted his home to make a statement and visually be set apart.

With those wishes in mind, I showed the couple three homes with varying amenities. The first was a single-story renovated home, but it was 22 years old. Cody wasn’t a fan, but he loved the black and white exterior. Michelle loved the open concept of the second home, which was a new, single-story construction. Cody, however, didn’t like that it looked like every other home on the block. Curb appeal was very important to him, and “cookie-cutter” looks wouldn’t cut it. The final house was a spacious two-story home, but it was the most expensive one. And, it would have taken them over their intended monthly budget. Michelle wasn’t a fan of the price or the stairs, which would have created a problem for her grandmother and Cody’s mom. So many options, and one wise choice to make!

Choosing Between A House and A Wedding!

What did Cody and Michelle ultimately decide for their wedding and new home? Flip your television to HGTV or discovery+ and check out the episode! You’ll be surprised at the compromises they made. I will say, though, they considered the best choices to make their special day a very wonderful day. They even showed us some highlights! And, we get a glimpse of the home of their dreams. Let me know what you think of the couple’s decision, and be sure to check out the next episode of The House My Wedding Bought!

“Living by Design” Showhouse: Kitchen and Pantry

Joining the amazingly talented host of designers and home experts selected to create spaces in the “Living by Design” Showhouse was an honor. Martha Stewart Living’s aesthetic is defined as “timeless and approachable,” a theme that resonates with me greatly! I knew I would enjoy bringing my own signature design styling to the space I would be designing. Excitement was heavy in the air when I learned I was designing the kitchen and pantry in the “Living by Design” Showhouse, because kitchens have long been some of my favorite spaces to create! I sought to bring splendid neutrals, rich textures and sustainability to my design, and I can’t wait to tell you more about my process!

A Sustainable Kitchen as Inspiration

I’ve been fortunate to travel all over the world and as a result, I’ve made so many friends who live life differently than I do. Visiting my friends in various countries has impacted the way I think about the possibilities surrounding the idea of sustainability. When the topic arises, I find it can often feel intimidating to those who are less familiar with it. It doesn’t have to be. As I thought of my friends in Spain and the way they consider food, I realized that one of the keys to sustainability is simply establishing renewable methods. That would become the inspiration for the kitchen and pantry in the “Living by Design” Showhouse.

I can recall one specific trip to Spain when I stayed at my friend’s ranch. One of the first things I noticed was their family’s meals often consisted of meat they raised and crops they grew in their own backyard. Because of that, their home needed to be capable of housing and storing all that was necessary for this way of life. I could walk in and see everything they needed displayed in the kitchen and pantry. I was moved to create an atmosphere that would foster sustainability in an approachable way in the “Living by Design” Showhouse.

Reimagining “Fresh”

The kitchen and pantry I designed featured a walk-in freezer and fridge with tons of space for all the fresh foods any family would want or need. I loved the idea of an abundant raw and living food supply as opposed to more processed foods in boxes and single-use plastic. Sometimes the success of sustainability for a family or individual simply comes down to ease of access. Besides offering a spacious capacity for food, the freezer and fridge feature a smart garden. In addition to being a living piece of art, the indoor smart garden puts growing and harvesting fresh foods at your fingertips. I wanted sustainability to feel like an organic part of the everyday agenda. Dedicated areas like the walk-in freezer for meats and indoor garden housed in a fridge with generous volume create and foster opportunities to be deliberate about caring for ourselves and our planet.

Earthy Elements and Statement Pieces in Kitchen Design

Kitchen design requires a layered approach because of all the moments that will inevitably take place in these spaces. Everything from cooking to gathering to entertaining often happens in our kitchens. The space feels inviting, and bold, textured neutrals accented by a striking metallic helped to achieve that. I used a manufactured stone, Taj Mahal quartzite, not only for its durability (a welcomed quality in any kitchen space), but because of the untraditional combination of grey and brown hues it features. I loved the way these colors introduced a rich earthiness into the space. The cabinetry is careful to underscore texture with beautiful beadboard right underneath. This kitchen and pantry is representative of so much of my signature design style. It showcases ample, resonant neutrals and eye-catching textures infused throughout the space.

While the immersive earth tones provide the ideal backdrop for an eco-conscious sensibility, the prominent oven and dazzling gold statement hood is impossible to miss. The hood is a classic brass element and perfect complement to the space. I wanted this specific area of the kitchen to become a social element conducive to gathering when a host desires to entertain. The range and hood are positioned with access to the culinary tools and easy mingling with family and guests in mind. 

A Spotlight on Greenery

No sustainable space would be complete without an emphasis on the user’s connection to nature. Perhaps the greatest way to highlight that is with plants and greenery. I leaned into that in a major way with oversized planter baskets that hang from the ceiling. These towering planters house lush greenery that bridge the indoor-outdoor gap and oxygenate the room. Innovative design frequently allows an element to provide multiple functions. Because the kitchen boasts such a grand ceiling height, I wanted to add a bit more of a human scale to the room. The planters are an excellent way to fill extra space and balance the dimensions of the room.

The “Living by Design” Showhouse is a one-of-a kind interactive experience that truly showcases the latest and greatest in home design. The “Living by Design” Showhouse national media partner is Martha Stewart Living, and the producer/production team is none other than the amazing Embello. Designing the kitchen and pantry was an absolute dream, and I hope my contribution will spark creativity in those who view it! 

I want to extend a huge thank you to our Official Brand Sponsors: California Closets, Minted, and Monrovia. I also want to thank our Participating Brand Sponsor: Currey & Company. Of course, none of this would have been possible without Brandon Architects and 3D visualization by YouSee

HGTV: The House My Wedding Bought, Ep 102 Recap

In this episode of my HGTV show, The House My Wedding Bought, Los Angeles sets the scene! I’m so glad I got to film in my hometown because I met the super cute couple, Katy and Tyler! They both embody the life, vibrance and freedom of LA. They also represent the variety the city can offer, too! Their styles were so different, but hey—opposites attract! I’m glad I got to be a part of their house and wedding journeys.


Weddings Wishes, HGTV Style

What I like about Katy and Tyler is they don’t let their differences overtake how united they are. But boy, did they have some contrasting views! Don’t get me wrong; they agreed on their $75K budget, but that’s about all. How did they want to spend their budget? Well, this is where things got interesting.

As most brides do, Katy wanted to have a lavish wedding day. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that! I knew exactly what I wanted for my wedding day, also, and I loved every minute of it! Katy wanted a very traditional affair, but she definitely saw her special day as an all-out party. And, she preferred to spend the majority of the savings on that event. Tyler, however, seemed to be more investment-focused and wanted to utilize most of their savings on the home they would be purchasing. That said, he wanted a more intimate wedding event with fewer people and a smaller venue. He wasn’t opposed to a nice backyard wedding. Katy was open to the idea, but I knew I had a lot of convincing to do to pull that off in the grand style she wanted. I had my work cut out for me!

Behind the scenes shot of Katy, Tyler, and Breegan Jane touring a potential new home. As seen on HGTV’s The House My Wedding Bought.


Picking the Perfect First Home

One of the great things about being on HGTV is having expertise in finding different types of homes for clients. Once I figured out what Katy and Tyler both wanted in a home, I was able to hone in on different options that would possibly satisfy both of them. With such vast wishes for the perfect home, I knew I needed to make sure the options presented as much of an all-in-one package as I could find. I’m so glad I do this full-time!

The first thing I realized was location was extremely important to Tyler. He wanted something close to downtown LA where he worked. I get that. It’s a common consideration for many new homebuyers, and for good reason. We spend so many of our hours each week at our workplaces. It makes sense to want to eliminate a long commute. Trust me: I understand the headache that can come with LA traffic! I kept that at the forefront as I helped them look for homes.

On the other hand, Katy wanted a traditional home with a large backyard. I completely understand that, too. They have dogs, and it’s important to have space for them to run around and exert energy regularly. The challenge is, in Los Angeles, you simply don’t get much yard space the closer you get to downtown. There really wasn’t a middle ground between the couple’s preferences—and this was just one consideration where they differed!

Episode Takeaways

There were several takeaways that I hope HGTV watchers think about as they finish this episode. First, when it comes to buying a home, take your time! This is an extremely important decision, and you don’t want to make a mistake. If your first home is your forever home, you want to make the most of your money and investment. Katy and Tyler had to make a decision quickly because their lease was going to be up the week before their wedding. Not investing the right amount of time gives way to being impulsive. This could lead to several negative circumstances, including possibly losing down payments or deposits (as this couple did).

Also, couples should have several serious conversations about individual needs versus wants for the home they want to purchase. When two people want different things, the biggest challenge is compromising in a way that makes both people happy. With this couple, one wanted a modern home close to downtown LA, while the other wanted a craftsman-style home with lots of yard space. Would they each be willing to compromise location or house style if it gave them the home they wanted? Or, would a home that needed renovations be worth the sacrifice if they could save money? Sincerely discuss the non-negotiables and things that could be compromised before making final decisions on what homes you consider.

Finally, when you’re looking at home amenities, don’t let your eyes limit your possibilities. Many homes are clean slates waiting for color and texture to give them personality. Don’t let a neutral presentation turn you off when you look at homes. You can make a home whatever you want it to be! You shouldn’t pass on a home with great bones just because you don’t like the tile, colors, cabinet doors or drawer pulls. Those are easy changes you can make without spending a great deal of money. Know that you can always create the impact you want to see in your home.

Another Classic HGTV Episode!

I had a blast with Katy and Tyler, and I’m so excited about the final choices they made for their wedding and home. They met in the middle when it came to the options that were important to each other. I honestly think their marriage and future together will be better for it. What was your favorite part of this episode? I’d love to know in the comments below!


HGTV: The House My Wedding Bought, Ep 104 Recap

I had a blast hosting my HGTV show “The House My Wedding Bought.” I’m always honored to help clients, especially when they’re couples making two of the most important decisions of their lives. It can be challenging to navigate purchasing a home and paying for a wedding simultaneously. Thankfully, I have expertise in both to make the paths for these special events clearer!

Fancy vs Glampy

When it comes to home and wedding desires, Francis and Kristen couldn’t have been more polar opposites. Fancy Francis, or “Francy”, as his fiancée’s family calls him, appreciates the finer things in life. He had no problems letting me know when it came to the house he wanted, he preferred a new build with all the bells and whistles. And, he didn’t want to obligate himself with many modifications, maintenance or sweat equity. His wedding mindset was no different; Francis put grandeur over an extensive guest count. Prioritizing plated dinners, multiple courses and a live James Brown cover band, his tastes were definitely the more elevated between the pair. The catch? He only wanted to spend $10K on his ultimate wedding wishes. (How’s that for an HGTV kicker?!)

Kristen, on the other hand, wanted to spend the bulk of their $30K savings on their special day. Instead of opting for a quaint guest count, she wanted all of her family and friends—at least 150 of them—to attend her glamping-themed wedding. Going for a buffet versus plated meals, Kristen hoped to still save for a charming, farmhouse style home with three bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large backyard. While I’m in no way playing favorites or endorsing one person over the other, I get Kristen’s thought process. A couple can take their time getting a home together and making the necessary investments over years. A wedding, however, is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. There were big dreams and big bucks proposals on all sides of the couple’s dreams. Getting the best of both worlds required some serious negotiating to truly get them to “the house my wedding bought”!

Home Buying Options Galore!

As with most couples, Kristen and Francis wanted to do a lot with the money saved for their home and wedding purchases. But I wondered if the expectations on either side were as realistic as they needed to be. I decided to present high-, low- and middle-range options for homes and wedding venues in the Austin area. I wanted to show them that having a budget was only half the battle, but that there were plenty of ways to get what they both wanted with a little compromise.

The first home I showed the couple wasn’t a new build, much to Francis’s dismay. BUT, it did come in at a lower cost and lower down payments. This would get them below their monthly mortgage payment goal. Even without the thought of a wedding, that’s a wise notion; there’s a high potential for more savings while making a great investment. While the second home was a shiny new build, it was more expensive and would force Kristen and Francis to go above their anticipated monthly budget. The third home was a new build that would allow them to be under their monthly budget. However, to give the home the personality they wanted, it would require a little financial investment to make some cost-effective upgrades.

None of the options were bad, but they did force both Francis and Kristen to consider what they were willing to sacrifice. The older home would cost less IF Francis would be willing to do some maintenance and upgrades himself. The second home would be great IF they were willing to have a greater monthly payment for years to come. The third house would be an excellent choice IF they were willing to invest in some cost-effective upgrades. Decisions, decisions!

The Perfect Place for an HGTV Wedding!

Such was the same with choosing the wedding location. I ended up showing Francis and Kristen two different venues that catered to each of their preferences. The first was a historic hilltop venue that offered a gorgeously elevated landscape and amenities to create epic photo memories. It was the kind of place HGTV dreams are made of! The historic church at the venue offered great space for all of Kristen’s family and friends, as well as the live band and games Francis wanted. This satisfied all of Kristen’s desires, but it was a bit too much for what Francis had in mind for a smaller, more intimate wedding.

The second wedding venue option was a beautiful winery setting that was as cheap as I’ve ever seen. That left more room for food and wine, two priorities the couple shared. There was a catch: the venue only allowed 75 people for an event. This would force Kristen to cut her guest list in half, but it would offer the smaller, more intimate setting Francis was fighting for. Still, Kristen would get the camp-y vibe she wanted for her wedding, sort of, and they would be saving money for the dream house they wanted for their first purchase. While I didn’t have a perfect option to fill EVERYTHING they wanted without some sacrifices, there were enough choices to make some great decisions, both for the present and future.

Host Breegan Jane shows a couple kitchen storage in Austin, TX. As seen on The House my Wedding Bought.

Final Choices

So, what was the final verdict? You should check out the episode on HGTV or discovery+. I think the final decisions will shock you. I know I was! What matters most is they both chose to compromise and consider each other in their ultimate decisions. And, I believe they chose the most cost-effective options for their budget and home investment. As staunch as they both were with what they initially wanted, I’m very proud they made the perfect choices for the life they were building together. And, I wholeheartedly believe they are both proud to tell their friends and family, “THIS is the house my wedding bought!”

HMWB on HGTV: Episode 103 Recap

The first episode of my HGTV show, “The House My Wedding Bought,” was the perfect example of what great savings can do for both a home purchase and a dream wedding. It was also a great example of how different each partner in relationships can be when it comes to purchasing priorities! I’m glad I started with a couple that was fun to work with, as most of my clients are. Here’s what happened with Ray and Allison.

Couple (left) and host Breegan Jane (right) pose in front of a reception venue in Austin, TX. As seen on The House My Wedding Bought.

Should You Spend More on a Home or Wedding?

I found it so interesting that out of the two, Ray was the one who wanted to spend more money on the wedding! That’s atypical, but it makes so much sense when you get to know him. He’s the socialite of the two, and I could tell he loved being the life of the party. For the wedding, he wanted to have 150 guests, a DJ and a live drummer. He also wanted multiple food stations, several bars AND drink donkeys roaming the event. To his credit, he did prefer to split their $60K savings down the middle on the wedding and home.

Allison proved to be the more investment-focused one of the couple. Her wedding tastes were much more reserved and focused on an intimate event. I wasn’t shocked that she wouldn’t rule out eloping at one point! That being said, Allison preferred a smaller backyard wedding with fewer frills. Growing up in Hawaii, she simply wanted to be surrounded by tropical flowers, and that wasn’t an unreasonable request in my book. Focusing more on the home, Allison wanted to budget $10K on the wedding and use the rest of the savings on the house.

When I look at Ray and Allison, I saw how opposites could attract, as the old saying goes. But when I looked at how they wanted to utilize their savings, opposite desires proved to be a serious balancing act of give-and-take. I decided to show them home and wedding options that ranged in price and amenities, and crossed my fingers that one (or more) of the choices would please them both.

House Hunting for the Best Value

While house-hunting, Ray was more about the plug-and-play amenities. One of the only things he agreed with his partner on was wanting a more open concept for the home. But he *had* to have his “dude dungeon,” and he didn’t want to put money into maintenance and upgrades. His ideal home was ready to move in with all amenities ready to be used. He also wanted a large backyard for their dogs—and for over-the-top entertaining. It’s not often that I work with couples where the groom is pickier than the bride! (Maybe an HGTV first??)

Though she wanted to spend more on the house than her to-be husband, Allison’s house requests remained practical. She wanted to find a modern farmhouse with lots of windows and natural light. She was very open to working with Ray on his house requests. But, she wanted to maximize the investment and money put into whatever they decided as a couple. I hope all couples consider that as they work together. Whatever the wants and needs are for your home, make sure you get the best bang for your buck, and don’t focus on things that can be easily modified or acquired down the road.

The couple saw three homes. They first saw a below-budget home in a cute cul-de-sac that needed minimal customization. I then showed them a brick home that met their financial goals and monthly payments. But, it needed some personalized renovations that would take more of the savings. I finally showed them a farmhouse build that was higher than the rest, but could be managed with some exterior upgrades. The choices ran the gamut, but it was up to them to decide which fit their needs most. If you’re an avid HGTV fan, you know how hard these choices can be!

Picking the Best Wedding Venue

I wanted to make sure that the wedding venue Ray and Allison had didn’t lack any of the accommodations they wanted for their special day. And, it was important to me to make sure the venue would help them utilize their savings in a way that maximized their home investment. There were two places that I thought would fit the bill perfectly.

We first looked at The Terrace Club, and I chose this space for a couple of reasons. It was outside, which appealed to Allison. It also had a large open space with pockets of space for more intimate activities or grouping. This allowed both of them to get the sort of atmosphere they wanted. But with the amenities they wanted, the space would cost them close to $25K, which was much more than Allison wanted to spend.

The second venue, Vintage Villas Wedding & Event Center, was also an outdoor setting, but it had an AMAZING view of Lake Travis. It was ridiculously inexpensive to rent, and with on-site catering, it was a steal of a venue. The flipside was that it allowed fewer guests, which blind-sided Ray’s 150+ attendee plans. He was also concerned about the traffic noise that could interrupt their ceremony, so that had to be considered. Still, the total cost would give them a bit more to spend on their house.

Host Breegan Jane poses for picture in Austin, TX. As seen on The House My Wedding Bought.

House vs Wedding: Decisions, Decisions!

So, which house and venue did they choose? You’ll have to catch the show on HGTV or discovery+ to find out! I will say that they made really great and wise decisions that set them up nicely for their future together. Though they disagreed on some things, they came together in the end, and that’s ultimately what matters. It makes me confident they’ll be excited to show their friends and family, “This is the house my wedding bought!”