Hello, welcome to Trace Blog, the thinking space, chalkboard, collection of ideas & references behind our residential design firm, Trace Design Studio. We're most curious about the home, materials, design history & theory, but we'll admittedly diverge in to foreign territory from time to time. I invite you to explore and hope you enjoy!



Designing Your Home Away from Home: Renovating a Vacation Home

Lately I was asked if it’s more difficult to design and manage a vacation home project rather than having a local client.  Though there are some obvious differences in being able to meet face to face, technology has made that much simpler and of course Fedex helps to speed samples along. Between emails, whatsapp, phone calls & video conferences staying in touch is really no longer a barrier to having long – distance clients.  In reality it’s not very different from any other local project, overall the process is the same. In fact, locally we also give our presentations digitally…

out of; (c) Leamington Spa Art Gallery & Museum; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation


Last week I posted the question, “what is a home?”. In exploring this topic I’ve recently picked up a book from my shelves: “Home: A Short History of an Idea” by Witold Rybczynski. Here he describes how the concept of “comfort” and domesticity was not invented until the 18th century and makes an interesting connection between the emergence of an idea and language: “The first use of the word ‘comfort’ to signify a level of domestic amenity is not documented until the eighteenth century. People began to use the word in a different way because they needed a special word to…


Creating Personal Utopias

What is a “home”?  Is it different for each person, each culture, or are there consistent notions of what people define as “home”?  Since most of my work has been and is with residential design I can’t help but come across this conundrum every time I begin a new project, meet a new client, visit a new job site. When talking to clients I soon realize that the answer is not one dimensional. There are specific individual notions of what a “home” is based on personal experience and meaning, group notions and also collective notions. The layering of these for…


MiMo Design Inspiration

A new project for a young family in Miami Beach has me drawing from 1950’s MiMo (“Miami Modern”) architecture for inspiration. Last Friday I dined at the Fontainebleau (and spent a solid 15 min admiring the lobby with it’s winding staircase to nowhere and bow-tie floors while my husband got the car) and coincidently had breakfast in the North Biscayne MiMo District on Sunday (near my favorite car wash in town, Karma). Both outings had me appreciating the surrounding architecture in their 20th and 21st century versions. I realized the MiMo spirit lives on in Miami as architects and designers continue to draw from…


Designer Faces #2: Kelly Behun

Kelly Behun is another more modern/minimalistic designer but what I love about her interiors, which differs from Dirand, is her bright palette and the introduction of whimsical and unabashed art and furniture pieces. Her spaces are soft and inviting yet each have an edge, a personality, and a definite playfulness. #2. KELLY BEHUN /// New York based interior designer Midtown Pied-a-terre Hamptons Home Park Avenue Penthouse For more of Behun’s work visit kellybehun.com


Designer Faces #1: Joseph Dirand

There are many many talented designers and architects practicing throughout the world. But once in a while, you see work that personally speaks to you and stops you in your tracks. Every detail, every choice feels deliberate and contributes to a greater result than the “sum of it’s parts”. Joseph Dirand is definitely one of those. In the past few years others have been taking note and this French architect has become “trés populaire”. Well, popular or not, I’m a fan. I think you might become one too!  #1. JOSEPH DIRAND /// French architect/designer Dirand’s projects are masculine and minimalist yet set against the softer…


Part II: Bold Paint Colors

So for Part 2 of our Fresh Paint Feature we have the fresh bold hues for those of you that like a bit more drama and a maybe a little edge to your decor. Here they are,  my favorite colors with real personalities. FRESH PAINT – BOLD: #1. Hague Blue – Farrow & Ball (The Mysterious One) It doesn’t get much deeper or moodier than this navy blue. It’s not too purple, not too green and just dark enough (which is quite dark depending on the lighting). The Balcony Gardener herself, Isabelle Palmer, (mentioned in my earlier posts about my own Balcony Garden here and here)…


Part I: Classic Paint Colors

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…

New Year, New Life

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. * FRESH PAINT * * FRESH DESIGN FACES * In keeping with this month’s theme, I think Brazilian poet, Carlos Drummond de Andrade, said it best in his…

Sourcing Unique Art

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…