Archive for the ‘GUEST POST’ Category

Hello again lovely DBK readers! I’m Maggie from and I am so happy to be back swapping posts with Katy! Spring is on its way down here in NC, and the warmer temps are (mercifully) creeping up on us. There are many trends popping up for spring and summer, but how do you pick?! Don’t worry, today I am bringing my Top 3 Must-Haves for spring.  This guide will get you through the seasons stylishly, and I’m pretty sure you’ll be able to wear these pieces well into the fall and winter.

When it comes to trends, I like to keep my initial purchases focused on accessories because you can easily incorporate them into tried-and-true looks that you are comfortable with. First is the mule. Either you have a strong reaction that says “YES!” or another that says “NOOOO!!” I understand, I was formally part of that “HUH?! NO!” group. But I’ve seen the light. Mules are amazing. They are comfy.  You don’t even have to tie/strap/buckle them. Sold.

Next up is flared denim.  I can’t express how much I love the silhouette because of how flattering it is to almost every body type. You can get it high-waisted (my favorite), low-cut, wide-leg, or super flared depending on your personal preference. It is surprising how often I reach for mine.

Finally, there is fringe! So a fringe western jacket isn’t for you. That’s ok, it’s not for me either. But I can totally take fringe on a small scale, like this gorgeous clutch. The soft color makes it less moto or western and a lot more feminine and soft. Adding eye-catching trends like fringe on a small scale allows you to stand out for the right reasons.

Shop the post: mule, denim, clutch

Thanks for stopping by, Maggie! I don’t know about y’all, but I think I’m gonna run by The Gap today and check out some flare denim.  So cute.  Have a great weekend!

Katy Signature-01

Guest Post: The Mich Mix

September 23rd, 2014

Hey Designs by Katy readers!!! I’m so excited to introduce myself, I’m Michelle from The Mich Mix: a fashion and lifestyle blog out of Atlanta, Georgia. From the very first time I visited Katy’s site, I knew I was instantly drawn to her aesthetic and eye for interior design. I continually find myself inspired by Katy’s ability to put together a room in a unique way of mixing bold patterns, combining colors and textures with extraordinary pieces! You can see her of her clients individual style and personality within each project. I can’t wait to drop by Katy’s site daily to check out her latest work! Today I’m sharing my take on an easy black and white fashion look. You can never go wrong with the most classic color combo ever.

 Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Fashion Photographer The Mich Mix-111

Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Fashion Photographer The Mich Mix-130 (1)

Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Fashion Photographer The Mich Mix-125

Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Fashion Photographer The Mich Mix-129

Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Fashion Photographer The Mich Mix-132

Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Fashion Photographer The Mich Mix-127

Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Fashion Photographer The Mich Mix-119

Kathryn McCrary Photography Atlanta Fashion Photographer The Mich Mix-116

Blazer :: ​Monki || Tee :: T by Alexander Wang​ || Leather Leggings :: Helmut Lang​ || Slides :: Adidas via J.Crew || Clutch :: Vintage Bottega Veneta {lusting over this option​|| Bracelets :: Hermes & Vita Fede || Sunnies :: Ray Ban 

Photography :: Kathryn McCrary

You can keep the look simple {as pictured} for a day full or errands or for lunch with your best girls. But if you are heading into the office, you can simply throw on these heels. Take it up another notch and add some bling to meet friends for dinner by easily adding this statement necklace. Want to top the look off? Add this Janessa Leone hat​ and head out the door in style. Black and white always provides a canvas to tailor the look to your liking! Wouldn’t you agree?

I want to take a moment and thank Katy for having me today. It has been an absolute pleasure! Don’t forget to visit me again at The Mich Mix!! Happy Tuesday y’all!

Hello all! The last month or so has been absolutely insane, and I am sorry I haven’t had a chance to stop by and drop tiny whispers of organizational wisdom in a while! Since I’ve been gone, I got engaged to the cutest, smartest, and sweetest boy I’ve ever met, finished the last of my undergraduate classes, received a scholarship and graduate assistantship for grad school, packed my entire life into boxes, and started taking finals. Whew. I graduate on Saturday and let me tell you, I am ready to have this undergrad thing behind me! More time to blog, you know?

emily & seth

On to the important stuff — I totally left you hanging after I promised to expound upon my organizational tips! So, here goes.

The word ‘assess’ sound so scientific, don’t you think? As an English major, it’s been years since I’ve stepped into a lab or have been asked to solve any sort of mathematical equation, but simply saying the word ‘assess’ aloud makes me feel like I need to find my TI-84 calculator, stat! But really, as I mentioned before, you absolutely must assess the whole “situation” before you hurry to Target to buy baskets (and stationery and headbands and sandals and an ottoman and dainty knuckle rings and candy and throw pillows and pajama shorts and curtains…)


So. Without further ado, here is a list of questions you definitely want to address before making any big changes or purchases in your new, more organized space:

  • When are you in this space?
  • What do you use this space for?
  • What is the problem with this space?
  • What would you like to use this space for?
  • What furniture do you currently have that you use in this space?
  • Are you satisfied with the way in which you are using this furniture?
  • What furniture do you currently own that you do not use in this space that you could possibly use in this space?
  • What furniture would you consider purchasing for this space?
  • What is the maximum amount of money you are willing to spend on this piece or these pieces of furniture?
  • What free space do you have that can potentially be used better within this space?
  • Do you have an idea of a better way to utilize this free space?
  • If there is no free space, is there a possibility that you can create free space by utilizing furniture or currently “used” space better?
  • What different ideas do you have for utilizing this space better?
  • Who uses this space, besides yourself?
  • What will be easy for you and everyone else who uses this space to maintain?
  • What is your end goal?

Okay, okay, no more. Answering those questions might lead you to more specific questions you need to address, or maybe they will hit the spot and you’ll have an organization epiphany. Either way, you’ll be taking a more thoughtful approach to the organization of your space, and will hopefully not find yourself running in circles and making an even bigger mess. Because let’s be honest, we’ve all done it.

Image Source: 1

Katy Signature-01

Getting it Together

April 8th, 2014

When Katy suggested I write a little bit more about organization after my last post, I quickly responded with something to the effect of, “No problem! I am the master of this stuff and I know everything in the world, ever.” Well, friends, it turns out that as I write this post, a good three weeks later, I am still not sure where to start. The jury’s still out, but I think this means I don’t know everything.


Oftentimes when you realize something in your home or office needs to be organized it’s because the situation is out of hand and you’re close to the “let’s just buy a flamethrower instead of making that trip to The Container Store” breaking point. Unfortunately I have no good advice for that hair-pulling moment. I’ve been there and I admit, it’s scary to see that side of yourself. You know, the moment you see a crazy woman with messy hair and bugged out eyes in the mirror and realize it’s your face you’re staring at — that moment. What I can offer, though, is a list of basic organizational today and, over the next few weeks, I will expand upon each tip so before you know it, you’ll be an expert*, too.


*Disclaimer: I am not actually an expert on anything except how to spread Nutella on a piece of toast, but I am pretty dang good at the whole “staying organized” thing.


1. Assess the whole situation.

 Getting it Together

Let’s assume you have a room that desperately needs some attention. What you need to do before running to the store and buying those really cute wire baskets from World Market you saw that blogger pin on Pinterest (because darn it, you have a coupon!), you really need to look at every single part of the room. What furniture do you have that you can utilize better? What free space do you have that can potentially be used for new (or old) organizational furniture and accessories? When are you even in this room? What do you use this room for? What will be easy for you and everyone else who uses this space to maintain? These questions are really just the starting point, but I promise if you go into the whole process of setting up an organizational system with firm answers to these questions first and foremost, the rest will be a breeze.


2. Figure out what, exactly, you have already that you can use differently.


Drawers, you guys. Drawers. I am not sure who invented them, but I don’t think he or she intended for drawers to be compact graveyards for anything and everything under the sun. Chances are, if you put a little thought and effort into it, just organizing your drawers a little better to keep similar items together, the sun will shine a little bit brighter. Other things that you most likely already have that can be helpful in organizing: jars, vases, small boxes, trunks, built-ins, shelves, and that dusty space under your bed.


3. Keep your plan realistic and simple.


The best way to ensure your system of organization is going to fail before you even put it into place is by making the system difficult and elaborate. Especially if you are just starting out! Don’t put your DVD collection into alphabetical order if you know that you’ll be happy enough getting the case right side up on the shelf. It’s okay to be proud of utilizing your shelves well before you start researching how to implement the Dewey decimal system.


4. Take it day by day, and breathe a lot.

 Getting it Together 2

One of my bedtime rituals is to make sure that everything in my room is picked up and in its proper place. Although this practice might seem tedious and, frankly, a little bit sad, it helps everything stay where it belongs. I have learned that when I start making “I’ll get to this later” piles, later never comes. If you don’t have time to make a sweep of your home every night, try doing it at least once or twice a week for starters. You’ll realize that taking ten minutes every few days is a lot more time efficient than spending four hours wading through everything you own once every few months.

Whew. This post was long-winded and, if you made it to the end, I applaud you. I hope these tips are helpful to you, for they’ve surely helped me a lot in keeping everything in my life a little more pulled together. Stay tuned — next time I will be writing more about how to assess the whole task at hand before getting started.


For those of you who already have great systems of organization in place, what are some of your tips and tricks? I am all about learning snazzy new ways to keep my things in place!


Imagery Sources, 1, 2

A Hoarder’s Justification

March 19th, 2014

I am a hoarder. I might have mentioned that to you before, but, in case you missed it, I’ll say it again. I am a hoarder. A reformed hoarder, but the H-word nonetheless. I used to keep literally everything that had any sort of value to me: candy trash from a nice afternoon, thousands of coded notes passed furtively in class dating back to 1999, clothes that I liked but had outgrown, and pre-packaged snacks that I might want later, organized in order of expiration, of course. You must be thinking, Emily, why are you telling us these ugly secrets? I did not want to know that about you. I am telling you because, as a reformed hoarder, the only thing I still keep (in excess – reform is a process!) is my perpetually growing collection of books.

I have yet to jump on the e-book train, so my love for literature is palpable and happens to take up a lot of real estate in my bedroom. The last time I “hit a few bookstores” on vacation, I came home with forty-two new books. So. Like I said, I have a problem. When trying to make my space work well for me while maintaining visual appeal, storing hundreds of books becomes a bit of a nuisance.

There are tons of different ways to organize books, but, as of late, my favorite way to incorporate my most prized possessions into the complete look of my room is by grouping and stacking them according to the color of the spine. It drives my boyfriend insane that I do not have the books in Dewey Decimal, but I can’t get over how visually appealing the rainbow of my favorite books is. Here are a few different ways other people have classified their books based on the color of the spine:



books large






See, color grouping can be really gorgeous and fresh. Plus, because I’ve found a way to make my copious books work well in my room, I feel very little guilt in regards to my hoarding habit. So, what do you think? Do you like the color classification, or would you rather organize a different way? Perhaps by size? Tell me what you think!

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When we first met last fall, I mentioned that I am in the very interesting process of growing up. In two short months (May 10th, to be exact) I am graduating from college and doing the whole adult thing, presumably. I’ve been accepted to graduate school, internship applications are in, the job search is on, and I am wrapping up all my research work for my undergraduate degree. Yikes, right? Amidst all the paperwork and Google docs I am finding solace in dreaming of my new space and, random as it may seem, benches have caught my eye.


Benches? What?

I know. Hear me out, okay?


I am of the opinion that having a bench at the kitchen or dining room table is a très chic way to provide seating. Imagine an intimate brunch with your honey on a Saturday morning, huddled up next to each other on the bench, eating crepes and strawberries. Or think of a gaggle of adorable and creative kids squeezed on the bench, coloring or painting or drawing or writing next to each other. Even better, think of girls night with all your best friends, snacking on your new favorite dessert recipes and catching up on the latest gossip. Having a bench at the table is a great way to maximize seating by saying, “Hey, slide on over. I don’t bite!”


There are infinite ways to fit a bench into your style, so check out a few of my favorites:

 Bench 1

Ok, this plush bench in a white kitchen is my dream. It looks so comfy, am I right?


bench 2


Why stop with one bench when you can have two?! This indoor picnic table is so rustic and fun.


bench 3


You can never go wrong with minimalism: case and point.

bench 4


Um, hello. A couch at the table? I would never, ever get up.

bench 5


Here’s another couch at the table. I’m starting to think this is what I need.


bench 6

A fun take on your classic booth plus a great bookshelf.


bench 7

This might be my favorite. White walls, great windows, dark wood floors, and a bench.

So, what do you think? Would you choose a bench or sofa over regular chairs? Help me out here!


Imagery Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

Groundhog Day is such a tease, isn’t it? The prospect of immediate spring at beginning of February is enough to send me into a  frenzy, but, alas, never-ending winter always seems to prevail. I don’t know about you, but I am ready to say goodbye to this Polar Vortex business and work on my tan (read: perpetual sunburn).

Although the temperatures may not be complying with my wishes for springtime, I do have a few go-to ways to make my indoor living space feel sunny with a high of 75 even when it is frigid outside.

  1. Spring Cleaning — If you had seen the kinds of fits I used to throw in order to avoid cleaning, you’d laugh at my suggesting this. However, after moving into my own place and realizing that the blinds won’t dust themselves, I’ve reformed. I would like to tell you I have a regular deep cleaning routine, but it seems like every time “Dust the freakin’ baseboards” is on my To Do list, something else comes up. Taking an afternoon to clean all the forgotten nooks and crannies (windowsill behind the blinds, included) will freshen up your space and, really, who doesn’t love the clean home smell? And one last bonus bit for free, I highly suggest making a cleaning playlist because it makes otherwise boring time a lot of fun. Mine includes some Backstreet Boys, Beyonce, Vanilla Ice, and Dexys Midnight Runners!

  2. Colorful Prints — One of my favorite ways to change the look of my space is by adding mood-shifting prints. This winter I hung a black and white canvas print of New York City to help transition into the colder temperatures and mellow out my mood. Well, spring’s a-comin’ and I am lusting over some brighter art for my walls. This lipstick print is on my wishlist, and pretty much all of Paul Ferney’s work puts me in the mood for warmer temperatures. Etsy has more options for art prints than anyone could ever exhaust, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll find something within your price range, whatever it may be.

  3. Open Those Windows — This one is easy. Just do it! Natural sunlight will brighten your home in the most delicious way and, even if it’s too cold to have the actual window open (or, if you’re like me and have the windows painted shut), opening the blinds will do wonders for your mood. Goodbye sad, cold winter, hello beautiful spring!

  4. Fresh Florals — Around this time of the year, I cannot go to the grocery story without coming home with a fistful of flowers. Living in a small town in west Texas, I don’t have many options in the floral department, but I can usually find some bright orange tulips or a few pretty white or purple spider mums. Having flowers in the house never fails to make me smile, even when they’re not quite ready to grow outside.

Lastly, here are some images that are making me giddy for spring!

A cheerful gallery wall:

Emily SC 1


Open windows and a clean color palette:

Emily SC 2


Don’t you just want to lay in these flowers? So deliciously colorful and springy!

Emily SC 3


I love Emily’s posts.  Thanks so much for stopping by!

Katy Signature-01

Guest Post: The Zhush

February 3rd, 2014

Hi, I’m Sue from The Zhush blog and also, an online shop for home and fashion accessories.  When Katy asked me to talk about my current favorite wall treatments for 2014, I knew immediately that it would have to be grass cloth wallpapers! These three images (all from Lonny Magazine) really help to illustrate why I’m so crazy about this chic look.

I love the way grass cloth papers add warmth and depth to a space.  Recently we papered our entire master bedroom in a beautiful textured tan grass cloth (I instagrammed a small peek of that here) and last year we added it to the ceiling in our back hallway…(I should capture that on Instagram as well actually).  I don’t see myself tiring of this look anytime soon, in fact, I’m already thinking about what else I can cover in this chic paper…perhaps the backs of some bookcases?


Sue, those shots are beautiful and I could not agree more.  Thanks so much for stopping by! I’d definitely go ahead and tackle those bookshelves.  Be sure to add the Zhush to your reading list!
Katy Signature-01

Hello, DBK readers! Same here, from The Peak of Tres Chic, where I blog about all things design-related. Katy and I have recently become blogging buds and I was so thrilled to have her share her holiday wishlist last month.  Needless to say, I am flattered she is allowing me to share the items I have been coveting lately for the home here with you all today. One thing that keeps me inspired is to constantly be scouring new online boutiques, flipping through coffee table books, and keeping my eye out for new ideas when it comes to design.  My list of must-haves right now is quite varied in style and function:


Shop this board: Pink Lacquered Box Set $65 / Longevity Table Lamp $495 / Faux Fur Throw $395 / Bond Wall Mirror $695 / Jonathan Adler Cheval Brass Cart $1950 / European Preserve Jar $100 / Lucas Tassel Pillow $150

Carts are on my mind, and this Jonathan Adler Cheval version fuses vintage charm and classic design well. Also, I can never resist a tassel detail, burled wood, or pop of pink.

What’s on your “currently coveting” list right now? Be sure to visit my blog and say “hi!” Thanks for having me today, Katy!



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