Textiles as Art & Accessories

I’m always inspired by the treasures that my clients have introduced me to, such as using more textiles to finish a certain room. Cruelty-free decor and environmentally safe products are always a plus, especially with very aware people.

Kantha, simply meaning patched cloth, textiles are a great way to get that certain, relaxed look while giving back to the world by supporting the Bengali women who sew them.  At Dignify, we found some  textiles to complete the bedding in this boho-contemporary Santa Barbara beach condo.



We wanted at least 3 patterns to mix up for the bed cover. Here are some of the Katha’s we chose from:



For a restful, light-weight (earthquake country) wall hanging over the bed we picked this Marimekko textile. We sewed a casing at the top and finished off the hem and sides. Popped into Bed, Bath & Beyond to get the right rod to hang it.marimekko

I love this Lari Pittman  “Go Girl”  silk scarf from MOMA, but since I’d rather look at it than wear it, I framed it.





Those Finishing Touches

The art & accessories budget used to be the first casualty in the war on interior design budgets.  That mindset has evolved over the years as we’ve become savvier regarding how much satisfaction we demand from our interiors.  We want to look at beautiful objects, not just use them, so pleasing aesthetics now are given equal billing to function, and are the final touch in making your house your home.

Accessorizing….styling…..what ever you want to call the process these days, is still a full-time job. Countless on-line choices overwhelm even the most experienced shopper. While the internet is a great resource, I still scout the good stuff in person, and, yes, that’d be the designer showrooms as well as the brand-name retail shops.  There’s still no better judging the scale and quality of accessories than face to face with the little things.

The real fun is seeing these works of art fitting beautifully into the home, adding one more dimension of beauty, and, that personal touch that so many pared-back spaces lack.

Oh those baskets…..Texture adds an exotic & affordable touch to out of the way spaces, offering a variety of shapes and sizes.

On a greener note, if you prefer a simpler, but punchy look of the objects you want to live  with, the contrast of a terra cotta container with moss is the answer…..


Fast & Fabulous Makeover

The Osborne & Little wallpaper in this after photo on the right side of the page, is the perfect elegant backdrop for this otherwise small guest bath that doubles as a powder room.  Subtle luminosity in the paper’s finish makes the tiny room feel even more spacious than it did before, (as shown below in the left-side photo) even with the half-wall architectural mirror and all the white finishes.  I adore paint. I do. But in this case, the answer is clear.

I also adore, as does the client, the 24″ round mirror from Arteriors Home.  This perfect pairing of products seamlessly blends a touch of style with the simplicity of the other finishes and fixtures in the space..

wall paper, round mirror

fast makeover for a guest bathroom


The 3D: Design, Decorate, Detail

How to make your house a home? The Scots have it down with updated riffs on their traditions and much of it is in the details. These throws from Anta-UK and Ireland’s Avoca Mills are a must have for the upcoming season. Soft and beautiful and so many colors!

img_0003You can see where the inspiration comes from:

screenshot-2016-10-17-10-26-59 On those overcast days, brighten up with nature’s palette:


A tea room under renovation features details in the napkins so you can glimpse history:


Update those old tiebacks with a kilt inspired detail and a welt-cord:


Taking note of wall treatments with pattern detail–––  Rugged half-timber meets dreamy wall print:

wallpaper  Refined & luminous wood panels with intricate top application in a homey hotel lobby:



To Raze or Not to Raze?

Yes, that’s correct, your eyes are not deceiving you.  Always good for business, though.

living room before

Long time clients buy a 275 acre spread east of Ojai, in the middle of NOWHERE, but the spread is pastoral and serene and my blood pressure drops as soon as I pull up with the team. Problem is, all the existing houses need various amounts of attention–––none of it minor. I’m not even mentioning the land–––that’s another story. Long story short, the clients re-do all the houses themselves at the wheel, the handyman provides the labor and I consult on all aspects.

This house survives as the main family (it’s a second home) house. It’s gutted, reinforced, systems are updated. The new sliders allow for more natural light and since the workmanship is more pristine than I anticipated, I advise the client to reface the fireplace as the old one won’t cut it now.

refacing fireplace, opening up ceiling

refacing fireplace, opening up ceiling

Since the view out to the acreage is magnificent, and we can use more natural light, we add windows above the sliders.

needed more natural light

needed more natural light

We finish up with hickory board floors, cabinets, finish selection and finally some furnishings.

living room after reno

living room after reno

view after renovation to dining and kitchen area

view after renovation to dining and kitchen area

The open kitchen has horse tiles (that the client ordered from an artist on-line) imbedded into the backsplash. Each horse tile is made in the likeness of the client’s horses. The house is perfect for entertaining larger groups as well as for quiet, reflective moments.


Nip & Tuck for a Beverly Hills Plastic Surgeon

Always love getting those call backs from clients wanting to make their spaces even better.  I helped Dr. Randal Haworth (you know, from the Swan TV make-over show)  with his home (and Beverly Hills office) years ago. It was such a successful result that Western Interiors and Design magazine published it in their premiere issue.  Randal called me recently wanting to update his home. He still loves it, and uses every part of it.

entry bench

Waldo H’s Louis XVI bench

He tells me he would like to get new dining room and living room drapery as the fabrics have faded over time.

He would also like new carpeting and drapery in his bedroom, as eventually he will build a new master wing and use the now bedroom as the TV room. While he wants an update, he really doesn’t want to change the overall feeling of the rooms. Challenging, it is, to bring in something new and to make it appear NOT new.

dining room drapery

updating the dining room drapery working with existing elements

new colors must work with existing palette

a change is coming for the dusty blue living room silk drapery. Will use a trevira, so we won’t be affected by silk rot from the sun.

The master bedroom gets new carpet and new drapery. In the near future when Dr. H adds a new master suite to his home, the current master bedroom will become the TV room, so the current TV room furnishings will have to work with the new carpet and drapery. They look perfect, luxurious and sexy ensemble.

new materials work with existing elements

new carpet and & drapery material work with the existing Donghia TV room fabrics.


Anatomy of a Project

I receive an inquiry from a relocating Australian family for help with their (entire) new LA home. Not sure how long their stay will be, they lease.   I survey the empty home.  Communicating via Skype meetings from Sydney to LA, Copenhagen, Paris to Bali, I assess their needs, advising them on what to bring with them and what to buy new. The client hates the wall covering in the master, but because they lease, we can’t remove it.

before living room needs furniture

before living room needs furniture

empty/before photo bedroom

empty/before photo bedroom

We’ve edit down several options and I have Morgan prepare the boards to send to the client. With a few minor changes, I order everything (budget/payment arrangements/agreement all established in first meetings). Must meet their move-in deadline (6 weeks) and we don’t have much time. Much shorter than I prefer (12-14 weeks).  Add to the mix, we are pre-holiday season, which is always hectic.


E-design baords

E- design presentation board selections

Screen shot 2014-01-10 at 12.10.22XX PM


Everything comes together in time for their December arrival. Client asks me to holiday decorate so the kids will be wowed when they walk in their new home in their new country for the first time.  I bring in Robby Gregory to oversee that.


holiday decor

shabby chic great room holiday decor


great room furnished

great room furnished

living room 3

hiding wall covering

master bedroom- draped walls

We cover up the unsightly wall covering with a ripple-fold drape that hangs from a track on the crown molding. The landlord ok’d it as we can remove it later without harming the molding.

Fast forward: Alas, the family is moving back to Australia! They ask me to help select new wallpaper  for their much smaller bedroom in the Sydney home.  I found a textured paper that is  perfect with the furniture they bought here.

wallpaper in Sydney

wallpaper in Sydney

Here’s what they have to say about the experience:

“Kathryn Waltzer has been my interior designer for the past 2 years and has overseen my home relocation from Sydney to Los Angeles. In that time Kathryn has been a sheer pleasure to work with and has made designing our Pacific Palisades home a great experience. Kathryn had a beautiful design vision for our home and the results she has delivered are stunning. She listened carefully to our brief and worked with us every step of the way providing advice, an array of styles and options and that all important guidance at key moments. In addition to her wonderful designs Kathryn also worked incredibly hard to make a major family international relocation so easy and pleasurable for us – she was quite amazing and took care of every small detail. Her manner is always friendly, warm and attentive and her style so classy that she exceeded all of our design and service expectations. Many of our friends and visitors comment on how beautifully our home is designed and we have recommended Kathryn to many of them.

We are now in the process of relocating back to Sydney and Kathryn was so good that we’ve asked her to assist us with the styling of our Sydney home from Los Angeles. Kathryn Waltzer has become a trusted and valuable colleague and I am pleased to offer her the highest personal recommendation.”





The Elephant in the Room

The previous owner of my clients’ new home had outfitted the place to suit her own needs- which didn’t work at all for my clients- especially the TV placement in the living room, which was mounted way too high on a travertine-clad monster. I assumed the structure had to be housing something, because no one would place such an obtrusive component in an elegant living room unless it was necessary. I consulted the building plans and sure enough, it showed three duct-like things behind the stone. Having been in this business for a while, I also knew that things aren’t always built they way they were drawn. But that’s another story.

Before image of too high TV placement.

Before image of too high TV placement.

I sketched a couple of ideas for the client, explaining that I didn’t know how far we were able to go until we take a look behind the great wall. Just at that time, I was contacted by an overseas intern who needed a real world SketchUp & Revit project for D-School. I DropBoxed her my drawings and she rendered my first choice of the new cabinet, along with showing the relationship to the proposed furnishings and color palette.

My proposed solution for the TV and massive stone structure.

My proposed solution for the TV and massive stone structure.

Once we started the (entire home) remodel, we opened up the big box to see what are options were.


I am delighted. The ducts are much smaller than on the original plans. Looks like there is plenty of space for the depth our new upper cabinet.

opening up the cabinet to take a look.

opening up the cabinet to take a look.

Now that I know our direction, I can focus on the details. My design assistant, Tara draws a SketchUp for the contractor, Steve.

a scaled out design for the contractor shows the new placement of the TV.

a scaled out design for the contractor shows the new placement of the TV.

The cabinet finish will depend on what our refinished wood floors will look like….Stay tuned.


Fireplace Facelift

I like showing the design process. In this business, showing (telling) a story is a must. Like the one about the 100 year old Shasta County farm house that my client turned into a wine tasting house. This is just one of many chapters in that story: The Fireplace Facelift.

The plans called for a complete commercial renovation of the old house.  We knew we would keep the fireplace. But what would it look like? my client asked.  I’d like to see what we have to work with once we pull off the existing surround, I said (I’ve never been fond of blurting out solutions when I don’t have all the facts).

winery farm house living room fireplace before

winery farm house living room fireplace before

Soon after the house was ripped apart, I liked what I saw;  a direct link to the farm’s 100 year history had been buried under that unsightly prefab surround.

original fireplace

once in construction the original bones are revealed


While the potential of re-using the original structure was obvious to me, I had some convincing to do.  I knew we could grab some of the property’s black walnut trees for the mantle.  I sketched it out to show the client what the end result would look like:

fireplace sketch black walnut mantle

fireplace sketch black walnut mantle

With skilled local craftsman fabricating the surround, a new gas insert with arched doors and painting the old façade in harmony with the American Clay Plaster on the walls, our end result was nothing short of “just right”.

fireplace update

Utilizing black walnut from the acreage for the mantle and painting over the vintage insert keeps this old fireplace relevent while nodding to the history of the 100 year old farm house.

But those are my words. My client’s words?

“If you like the look of our winery, we highly recommend our interior designer, Kathryn Waltzer.”