Interior Designer Chats: Trends, Faux Pas, and the Ideal Home by Mackenzie Collier

Hey guys! I recently spoke with Phoenix-based multi-housing rehab studio Nuviro for their Interior Designer Chats series—check out the interview here! Learn about my favorite things, get some home advice, and find out which huge design mistake I see most often.

Get the Luxe Look for Less by Mackenzie Collier

We love the classics, the high-end originals—we marvel at their fine details and clever ingenuity—but we also realize not everyone who wants a cool space to live in can spend $7500 on a lamp. (Personally, we'd rather spend our money on experiences, not necessarily on things!) If you're willing to compromise on some features, you can achieve almost any look for less. Here are a few options for awesome-looking, quality products that won't break the bank... 

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This Mathew Hilton table from Design Within Reach is made of solid walnut, which sounds fancy, but solid wood has a tendency to contract and expand with the weather, making it less stable at times. This piece is 59" in diameter, while the similar piece from Article is 73" oval. Both say they seat eight, but it may be a tad crowded at this table.

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This piece has an ash veneer stained in a walnut finish. You wouldn't be able to refinish this piece, but veneers tend to be more stable than solid wood furniture, so it's a trade off. This piece is also a touch bigger than the DWR counterpart, making it more comfortable for 6-8 people.

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"An inspired take on the modern forms of 1970s Italian design," there's no denying this Restoration Hardware chair is a sophisticated selection. It's scaled slightly larger than the West Elm version, but both are made from top grain leather (that's the next best thing from full grain leather. Top grain leather has had the top few millimeters sanded off to eliminate imperfections).

Slightly smaller than the Restoration Hardware counterpart, this West Elm piece offers the same cool industrial style at a significantly lower price. It does, however, lack the built-in lumbar pillow. If you're in the market for a $4000 chair and want the best available, RH would be the best choice. If you are looking for something to do the trick while your kids are still in their "color on everything" phase, this West Elm chair is a great option!

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This 115" sofa by Mathew Hilton for Design Within Reach has articulating headrests, which is super cool—you can adjust them to just the right angle and height for reading or watching TV, or fold them out of the way when not in use. It's also made in Italy- hence the price tag.

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This piece has the same minimal yet cozy lines as the DWR piece but at a fraction of the price. This piece is made of FSC (SUSTAINABLE) kiln dried hardwood right here in the US. It's even deeper and longer than DWR version—134" wide as opposed to the DWR's 115"—so you can probably squeeze an extra friend on here. If you can live without articulating headrests, I'd save the money.

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This piece is carved from a single block of sustainably harvested kiln-dried wood, which is great, but coffee tables are meant for feet and cocktails and buttery popcorn, so I'd be a tad worried about stains.

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I actually like this design better than the RH piece because lifting the sphere up a bit shows off the shape more. I also like the structured architectural base, it juxtaposes with the smooth sphere quite well. It's cement, so it will be really durable and you won't get ring marks from wet glasses.

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So if you're the kind of person who needs the BEST lamp available, this Serge Mouille lamp is the one for you. Its three arms swing freely in any direction so that you'll need never fear a shadow. It has elegant lines and exquisite hardware. And the price tag? Well...

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This lamp by Target (pronounced Tar-zhay) may be less flexible and a bit smaller, but it still has that modern insect look to it that sets it apart from your mother's old Pottery Barn wood & linen deal.

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Both of these rugs are 100% jute, handwoven, unbleached, and will inevitably shed for a while. So what makes them different? This one is woven into a latex backing, while the PB version is woven into wool. Personally, I'd prefer the wool. I think the cost difference here is simply a matter of comparing the textures (this one looks more expensive), but this chunkier version may be tougher to live with.

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Pottery Barn | Chunky Wool & Jute Rug ($719)

You might compromise a bit visually on the smoother texture here, as compared with the RH version, but frankly, a thicker texture is much more difficult to keep clean, so I would opt for this one anyway! Have you ever tried to clean a spilled bowl of quinoa out of a textured jute rug? No? Oh. Err, me neither.

Meet Our New Interior Design Intern! by Mackenzie Collier

MCI welcomes a new addition to our crew of merry interior designers...

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Meet Ali

Hometown: Chandler, AZ
School: ASU Herberger Institute
Major: Interior Design
Minor: Sustainability—Ali is passionate about green living and loves listening to TED Talks about the environment.
Other job: Urban Outfitters
"Fashion trends follow design. For instance, ruffles and yellow are coming back in clothing, and you'll see them popping up in home goods too."
Fun fact: Ali spent a summer volunteering in Africa teaching English and helping build a school in Zanzibar.

Favorite...
Color: Purple
TV Show: Criminal Minds
Pet: Cinnamon the cockatiel (she whistles pretty bird!)
Design style: California casual—clean, organic, white walls and warm accents
Go-to destination: Hawaii (Ali's mom works for an airline, so she gets to travel frequently!)

Mackenzie Collier Featured Interior Designer on Half Hour Intern Podcast by Mackenzie Collier

Design is a visual language... Everything kind of has an emotional attachment to it, so understanding what that means and how to manipulate all of that to create an experience for someone is what we study.

Ever been curious about the ins and outs of the interior design world, or what it means to be an interior designer? Check out Mackenzie's recent interview on Half Hour Intern, a podcast that explores the interesting paths people take in life, and why and how they take them. 

Thanks so much to Host Blake Fletcher for an awesome time! Check out all the other incredibly interesting episodes of Half Hour Intern by subscribing on iTunes and Soundcloud. And don't forget to check out their blog too! 

15 Interior Design Products To Get You Through the Dog Days of Summer by Mackenzie Collier

Fun, functional, and stylish: these 15 products are guaranteed to make your summer a little more bearable. 

West Elm Jardine Expandable Dining Set

Jardine Expandable Dining Set

Take your backyard parties to the next level with this versatile, weather-resistant dining set! Made from sustainably sourced wood, this picnic-perfect table has a "rugged, driftwood-inspired finish that feels cured by sun and salty air." The set comes with an expandable table and six chairs, which makes it great for outdoor entertaining! 

Urban Outfitters Watermelon Keg Tapping Kit

Watermelon Keg Tapping Kit

When you are having an identity crisis about the fact that your keg tapping days are over and you're more excited about Pinterest-worthy party details, this fun little accessory will help bridge the gap. Plus, when you're trying to beat the heat, you may as well have a fruity drink in hand.

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Outdoor Throw Pillows

A colorful set of outdoor pillows are an inexpensive way to refresh your exterior decor. We love the Golden Girls vibe of this bright palm pattern. Pair it with the structured geometric cushion for maximum effect—the modern graphic pattern will bring it right back to 2017.

Urban Outfitters Pineapple String Lights

Pineapple String Lights

Summer design is all about being playful. What's more playful than pineapple lights?

Urban Outfitters Floating LED Orb Set

Floating LED Orb Set

So maybe your clubbing days are over; that doesn't mean you can't enjoy these colorful waterproof LED party lights for your next pool party. The magical illuminating orbs only light up when floating in water!

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Trent Wind Chime

Sight + sound. Simple, earthy ceramic matte chimes suspended from a single jute cord. Understated style and ambiance for your terraces, balconies, patios, and gardens.

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Canyon Fringe Hammock

You'll be in your own personal paradise lounging in this woven, island-inspired hammock from Anthropologie. We love the way it drips with netted fringe. "Finished with braided loops for hanging, it's the perfect addition to your porch or sunroom,"—and a wonderful excuse to take a load off.

Sunday Supply Co Beach Umbrella

Sunday Supply Co. Beach Umbrella

Australia knows how to beach—these vintage-inspired beach umbrellas from Sunday Supply Co. are made for shade... "The result of a lifetime spent chasing sunny days — an exclusive selection of boutique beach essentials designed for an endless summer. Conceived by the sea, residing in the sun, these unique pieces are designed to accompany every trip to the beach and create beautiful shade. Bold patterns inspired by the world around us make each piece something special for your place in the sun." Bonus: all their umbrellas come with a matching carry bag.

West Elm All-Weather Wicker Woven Lounge Chair

All-Weather Woven Lounge Chair

This is perfect to accent a bland beige outdoor lounge! Pair it with a simple chunky stool-style side table and the frozen cocktail of your choice. You'll have an outdoor oasis in no time.

Deny Designs Summer Fresh Cornhole Set

Summer Fresh Cornhole Set

Who knew lawn game accessories could be so stylish? This cornhole set by Deny Designs has a sleek baltic birch printed top and and tapered wood legs. Feeling inspired to freshen up? DIY a set of your own!

Crate and Barrel Allta Indoor-Outdoor Rug

Allta Multicolor Indoor/Outdoor Rug

For high-traffic houses, durable indoor/outdoor rugs are essential—especially during the summer, when muddy feet abound. This multi-color, basket-weave floor covering adds a nice graphic layer to a space while holding up to the elements.

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Cabana Round Beach Towel

A stylish and functional pool or seaside essential! This plush towel comes from a line of beach and bathware by Kassatex. "Crafted from super soft cotton velour and adorned with hand-knotted tassels for a boho chic look, our Cabana Round Beach towel is all you need for your beach escapade."

Terrain Blossom Soy Citronella Candle

Blossom Citronella Candle

Bugs be gone! Late summer evenings are much more enjoyable when the insects buzz off. These hand-poured soy-based candles come in cute containers and soften bug-repellent citronella with notes of jasmine, hibiscus, and subtle peach.

Terrain Madison James Flyaway Sticks

Orange Oil Flyaway Sticks 

Use these citrusy sticks in addition to the citronella candles to keep your outdoor dinner parties and afternoon barbecues extra bug-free. Non-toxic orange oil naturally keeps bugs at bay without harming local populations of bees.

Urban Outfitters Moxi Leather Roller Skates

Moxi Leather Roller Skates

Because why not?