Part I: FRESH CLASSIC Paint Colors

01/20/2015 § Leave a comment

When it comes to finding fresh and classic paint colors for your walls there’s the tried and true and there’s the bold statement colors. After recently spending many (many) hours looking for those perfect colors for my own place, I thought I’d share some of my finds along with some of my favorite selections from recent projects.

Some are just classic so they’ll appear as fresh and relevant now as in a decade from now. And others are bold and beautiful allowing you to create spectacular statement moments in your decor. Whether you use them for an accent wall, the edge of a door, or to refinish furniture, these hues are sure to bring that “wow” factor to your home.

Like an artist with an easel I find myself itching to splash them onto bare walls!


#1. Gray Owl – Benjamin Moore

A perfectly balanced light warm gray. Here’s it’s well lit by the windows so it’s very subtle but in darker spaces it’ll provide a little more contrast. This lovely room is from CCG Interiors from Chicago.


#2. Cotton Balls – Benjamin Moore

A crisp warm white that isn’t too yellow. Perfect for trim or just a nice bright white room. Kimba Hills used it in this lovely breakfast room as a neutral backdrop for bright colors.


#3. China White – Benjamin Moore

A classy muted ivory. I recently used this as the main interior color for The Lake House project (soon to be featured on the blog) and really loved the final result. Here is a cozy living room design in “China White” from designer Jennifer Hoey.


#4. Light Blue – Farrow & Ball

A bluish gray with green undertones that give it a vintage feel. “Light Blue” is one of The Chromologist’s Key Colors for 2015.


There are of course many other beautiful neutral colors I’ve used time and again but these are some fresh alternatives to experiment with now. What are your favorite classics?

PS: Watch out for the follow up post with BOLD colors to use right now in Part II: FRESH BOLD Paint Colors.


FRESH JANUARY: New Year, New Life

01/09/2015 § Leave a comment


Ahh it’s January all over again. There’s that spring of hope for new beginnings and yet, that small seed of doubt if I’ll be able to keep the promises for the new year…

I think, however, the doubt is healthy! It reminds me of my own power, responsibility and free will to transform my life and that what determines my success is within me. So January 2015 at Trace Blog will be all about creating that fresh slate.






In keeping with this month’s theme, I think Brazilian poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, said it best in his famous poem. So I leave you with his words and wish you a spectacular 2015!


“If you want to have a beautiful New Year
The color of the rainbow or the color of your peace,
A New Year beyond comparing to all the time you’ve already lived,
(lived badly perhaps or senselessly)
If you want to have a year
Not freshly painted with everything back on the right track,
But new in the feelings of coming to be;
Down to the heart of the things you are least aware of
(to begin with what’s inside you)
New, spontaneous, you don’t find it to be so perfect,
But with it you eat, you walk,
You love, you understand, you work.
You don’t need to drink champagne or any other drink,
You don’t need to go on visits or receive cards
(You plan to receive cards?
Send telegrams?)

You don’t need
To make a list of good resolutions
To file in your bureau drawer.
You don’t need to cry with regret
Over foolish things you’ve already done
Or to half believe
That by the decree of hope
From January onward things will change
And everything will be brightness, reward,
Justice among men and nations
Freedom with the fragrance and taste of morning bread,
Your rights being respected, beginning
With the sacred right to live.

To have a New Year
Which deserves that name
You, my friend, have to deserve it,
You have to make it new, I know that it’s not easy,
But try, experiment, be conscious.
It’s inside of you that the New Year
Has always been dormant and waiting.” 

Now the original in Portuguese:


“Para você ganhar belíssimo Ano Novo 
cor do arco-íris, ou da cor da sua paz, 
Ano Novo sem comparação com todo o tempo já vivido 
(mal vivido talvez ou sem sentido) 
para você ganhar um ano 
não apenas pintado de novo, remendado às carreiras, 
mas novo nas sementinhas do vir-a-ser; 
até no coração das coisas menos percebidas 
(a começar pelo seu interior) 
novo, espontâneo, que de tão perfeito nem se nota, 
mas com ele se come, se passeia, 
se ama, se compreende, se trabalha, 
você não precisa beber champanha ou qualquer outra birita, 
não precisa expedir nem receber mensagens 
(planta recebe mensagens? 
passa telegramas?) 

Não precisa 
fazer lista de boas intenções 
para arquivá-las na gaveta. 
Não precisa chorar arrependido 
pelas besteiras consumadas 
nem parvamente acreditar 
que por decreto de esperança 
a partir de janeiro as coisas mudem 
e seja tudo claridade, recompensa, 
justiça entre os homens e as nações, 
liberdade com cheiro e gosto de pão matinal, 
direitos respeitados, começando 
pelo direito augusto de viver. 

Para ganhar um Ano Novo 
que mereça este nome, 
você, meu caro, tem de merecê-lo, 
tem de fazê-lo novo, eu sei que não é fácil, 
mas tente, experimente, consciente. 
É dentro de você que o Ano Novo 
cochila e espera desde sempre.”



Finding Fine (& Affordable) Art

08/25/2014 § Leave a comment

One of the most common questions I get asked by friends and family is where to find good quality art at reasonable pricing. For some reason most of the art I see readily available is either really boring stock photography, tired beaten down reproductions (like Starry Night by Van Gogh or Water Lilies by Monet), or are just plain bad. So then where do normal individuals with good taste and limited budgets find decent unique pieces for their homes?

Many clients want beautiful pieces but don’t necessarily have the interest or pocketbook to acquire a serious collection*. So what do I do? Yes, I peruse the shelves of popular vendors (like West Elm, Anthropologie, Williams Sonoma, Horchow, etc) as well as some local showrooms but I also have a growing list of online resources that I turn to. Art is very personal so finding that one piece that speaks to you and that works well within a given space is sometimes a tricky affair. You might have to spend a good amount of time searching for that perfect piece but it definitely helps if you are looking in the right places.

These online shops are good places to start: Good luck with your search!

Dwell Studio

Prints are modern & abstract. Most start around $350 for smaller sizes and go up to about $1,500 for larger pieces. (medium – high price range)


Indigo Dot


Exhibition A

Founded by designer Cynthia Rowley, the pieces are contemporary, edgy, conceptual and avant garde. Signed limited editions by contemporary artists. Most sizes are very reasonably priced starting around $200 and reaching $500+ even for the larger prints (low – medium price range)

Alexandra Dreaming by Kon Trubkovich on Exhibition A

Alexandra Dreaming by Kon Trubkovich


From Le Cri III by Anne Lise Coste on Exhibition A

From Le Cri III by Anne Lise Coste


20 x 200

“It’s Art for Everyone”. As they claim, this is REAL fine art at affordable pricing. Pieces are conceptual and intellectually engaging but are also easy on the eyes, balanced and modern & work well within many different interiors. Prints are signed limited editions signed by the artists. Smaller formats are very affordable (ex: 16″ x 20″ $240) and larger formats quickly jump to typical fine art pricing (30″ x 40″ $2,400). (medium price range)

Poolside by Helena Wurzel on 20 x 200

Poolside by Helena Wurzel


Cemetery Rd, 3169-3327, Viewmont, NY by Pete Mauney on 20 x 200

Cemetery Rd, 3169-3327, Viewmont, NY by Pete Mauney


If you are looking for one-of-a-kind pieces without the gallery prices this is a great resource. Though the overall aesthetic seems to be more commercial than the other shops I’ve listed here, if you dedicate some time you can find some great original pieces directly by the artist. Smaller formats can start as low as $100 and can go upwards of $3,000 depending on the medium and sizes. You must remember these are original pieces though, not prints like the others. (low – high price range)

Reflections by Margaret Biggs

Reflections by Margaret Biggs

Humble Chakra by Christina Massey  on Zatista

Humble Chakra by Christina Massey




If you’ve planned an event like a wedding or a baby shower you’re probably familiar with for their beautiful and affordably priced stationary. Turns out they now also sell art prints! Beautifully curated (like their stationary) the site conveniently offers very affordable pricing, a wide range of sizes and the option to purchase framed or unframed. Starting at about $20 for 5″ x 7″ prints and around $325 for framed 30″ x 40″ prints.

Formation by Kelly Ventura

& I Love to Read by Niki Digrigorio


Little Paper Planes

Sells smaller prints at very affordable pricing. Pieces have a contemporary/psychedelic/hipster vibe. Not for everyone, but if you sift through the collection you’ll find some quirky unique gems. (low price range)

Pink Tectonics Print 3 by Amelia Midori Miller on Little Paper Planes

Pink Tectonics Print 3 by Amelia Midori Miller

Print 2 by Jazmin Berakha on Little Paper Planes

Print 2 by Jazmin Berakha

Print 2 by Jazmin Berakha - Close Up on Little Paper Planes

Print 2 by Jazmin Berakha – Close Up

* For those interested in fine art collecting (or window shopping), The Drawing Center‘ s Viewing Program (estab. in 1977 in SoHo, NYC) is a spectacular online Art Registry of curated works by emerging artists.  Be prepared to be impressed & intrigued.


Trace Design: The Studio & The Blog

08/06/2014 § 2 Comments

Hello World! So it’s been a long yet extremely fast and fruitful two years since my last post here on Trace Blog. It’s amazing to look back and see how much has changed and to observe what has remained constant.

The Setai in Miami Beach

View from Above – The Setai Penthouse in Miami Beach

In this time I worked as project manager for Valeria Lopes, a Brazilian designer based in Miami, FL.  I spent a year going to The Setai once a week for a remodel of a beautiful penthouse with North to South ocean views over Miami Beach. I also spent about half a year going to the Icon Brickell to completely finish a 2 bedroom apartment from the bare concrete slabs to final accessorizing. I was ID project manager in a design team collaborating with STA Architectural Group (as well as many other consultants and engineers) on a 17,000 SF new construction home in Star Island. I also managed and assisted with numerous other projects at the firm.

The Setai Penthouse in Miami Beach

In the meantime, I opened the doors to Trace Design Studio to begin to fulfill the requests of personal clients that had come knocking on my door. First, was a young Brazilian couple that had purchased a vacation apartment at the Trump Towers in Sunny Isles. Then a renovation for a young family with a Mid-century modern aesthetic. Then a professional grade minimalist kitchen for a personal chef. And, luckily, it goes on and on…


The Icon Brickell Apartment

I also took a creative hiatus the latter half of last year to experiment with display design and installations as a Display Coordinator at Anthropologie in Merrick Park. The company (part of the Urban Outfitters Group along with Free People)  is truly amazing and having the opportunity to take a peak behind closed doors, even if just briefly, was truly inspirational. It gave me a glimpse into the corporate retail world as well as the foundation of their compelling visual merchandising and story-telling.


Golden leaves installation for Fall 2013

Anthropologie Fall 2013

Forest trunk installation for Fall 2013

Finally, (woof – I didn’t actually realize how much I’ve been up to!) I decided to open The Studio full-time and focus all my time and energy into synthesizing all this experience and information into Trace. I hope you will stay along for the ride.

Thank you for reading my lengthy explanation of what I’ve been up to. I did feel I needed to explain why I had been too busy to post but hopefully now you’re convinced and will forgive me for my absence. I will post about my latest projects but will mostly continue focusing on that which inspires me, excites me and informs my designs.

I’m glad to see you here. Let’s continue the conversation!

Best Always!


Trace @ Art (Basel) Week MIAMI 2012

12/09/2012 § Leave a comment

Is it just me or is Art Basel weekend growing exponentially by the year? Unfortunately for us 9 – 5 Miami-Dade residents, there’s so much to see (20+ shows) and so little time!

Every year I focus on the main event at the Convention Center, so this year I thought I’d mix it up:

Thursday I went to Peace on Earth, an art fundraising event by For The Cause Events benefitting Planting Peace @ FIFTY in The Viceroy. I decided to do my part by bidding on and actually won a photograph that’s already up in my living room!

Yesterday, I spent the afternoon at Design Miami (the sister event to Art Basel with a focus on collectible design) and today I’m dedicating to Scope (a large fair in Midtown for emerging contemporary artists and galleries).

I’m about to get out the door for an early brunch to prep me for another day of art. So, the news will come first, the photos will follow in a few days time!

Check back for:

Design Miami/2012 HIGHLIGHTS

Scope Miami 2012 – Emerging ART

Happy Sunday!


The Magical Alhambra in Granada

11/26/2012 § 1 Comment

Precedents, vol.1

It was first year, first week of studio, when my professor suggested I research the Alhambra in Granada, Spain. Off I went to the silent Richter stacks to begin an exercise that would lead me, four years later, to the actual orange courtyards of Andalusia.

I didn’t know then, but I was to soon fall in love with the romanticism of this place and the past it represented.

Of course, the illustrations I found from numerous 19th century Orientalists didn’t help at all! These artists depicted exotic (and at times erotic) notions of what life would have been like in the Alhambra when it was still inhabited by the Nasrid rulers (around 889 – 1492). Claude Debussy wrote songs for it & Washington Irving wrote a collection of stories while living in the complex, called the “Tales of the Alhambra“. There’s no wonder I got this romantic notion about the place that could only be satiated by a flight to Madrid, a rental car, and a road trip South to Andalusia.

What follows is a collection of the 19th century illustrations alongside photos from my trip of the same spaces being depicted. For the most part, they are in consecutive order that I walked through the palace and shot them.

There is so much history and legends surrounding this palace complex I thought it’d be best to leave them to the experts and just wet your appetites with photos. If you’re intrigued and would like to know more about the history of the Alhambra, please visit:

On the way up the hill to the Alhambra…

The Gate of Justice – by Asselieneau, 1853

The Gate of Justice on a cold day in December…

The Patio del Cuarto Dorado – by Frans Wilhem Odelmark, 1889

The Patio del Cuarto Dorado on a busy afternoon…

Detail on opposite wall of the Patio del Cuarto Dorado…

Patio de Comares – by Asselieneau, 1853

Patio de Comares

Detail of door at Patio de Comares

Sala de Los Embajadores – The Day after a Victory at the Alhambra by Jean Joseph Benjamin Constant, 1882

Detail in the Sala de los Embajadores (at the far end of the Patio de Comares)

Arab Baths on East side of the Palacio de Comares

Patio de los Leones – by Asselineau, 1853

Daguerrotype by N.M.P. Lerebours from mid-1800’s

Patio de los Leones

Sala de las Hermanas – Asselineau, 1853

Sala de los Abencerrajes – Asselineau, 1853

Ceiling at the Sala de las Abencerrajes

The Partal Palace portico

View of Granada, Spain from the Partal

Lower Gardens in the Generalife

Generalife – by Doré

Generalife Lower Gardens

The Main Canal Court in the Generalife

Portico at end of Main Canal Court in the Generalife

Looking back in the Main Canal Courtyard in the Generalife

Sultana Court in the Generalife

Peinador de la Reina (Queen’s Dressing Room)

View of the Alcazaba

It’s Turkey Day 2012!

11/22/2012 § Leave a comment

Gobble gobble! I hope everyone has a spectacular holiday with your loved ones with some juicy turkey and all the works!

Thank you readers for checking in and following my blog. You inspire me to keep going and staying creative!

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

X O X O ,


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