Caffeinated Thoughts and a Little Insecurity...

Welcome Design Aficionados, Upholstery Lovers, and Thrift Store Junkies!

Morning musings and an update to my thoughts on the One Room Challenge

True confessions of a designer.

Hi. I’m Richelle. And I’m a closet Maximalist.


(Out and Proud Maximalists, please jump to the end for my *side note* – I need your support)


I want to share with you the moment I realized I was a Closet Maximalist. This morning I was quietly sipping my coffee while everyone was still asleep - If you like your coffee in peace and quiet, then you know how important this alone time is when you’re a mom - and an entrepreneur - and an introvert - and a morning person.

 SHHHH….don’t talk. Nope. not yet

SHHHH….don’t talk. Nope. not yet

I was doing investigative “research” on Pinterest for a project I’m working on for the One Room Challenge.

In my defense, I felt I needed some visual confirmation that I could really pull this sucker off. I’m sure I’m overthinking it all the way around, but this project is really going to stretch my out of shape design talents. Not only is it a budget grinder, but it’s also outside of my default aesthetic. I’ve been doing grey and beige and shades of greige for the last several years, because, that’s what clients wanted and darn it! I was going to give it to them, because well…a mortgage and all that.

Truth be told, I admit (head hung low), I do like greige interiors. Black, grey, warm white, and if it looks anything like a nice tailored men’s suit, I’m all over it! (that could be an observation for a future blog)

 I’ll take TWO of these, please?

I’ll take TWO of these, please?

Maybe up until now, I’ve avoided color because life has been pretty hectic the last few decades. Maybe it’s because I am surrounded with fabric and wallpaper books during daily designer duties and need the visual equivalent of a coffee bean snifter once I got home.

But more likely, I think it’s because for the last 25 years I’ve been immersed in Fisher Price Toys, Barbie Pink, Barney Purple, Blues Clues Blue, and endless little brightly colored Shopkins tid-bits. My oldest daughter is 28. My youngest is almost 10. That’s 28 years of tripping over technicolor toys ya’ll. I think subconsciously I needed my environment to be neutralized so that I could deal with the visual chaos.

 So. Much. COLOR!!!

So. Much. COLOR!!!

But my baby is growing up and she now prefers to play in her bedroom or on the ipad, so the “pops of color” that littered the living room floor are put away and my eyes are now craving something pretty.

So when Jill and Troy let me know they wanted color (and lots of it) for their project I was both super excited AND a little intimidated! Was I out of practice? Could I get back in touch with that little girl inside of me who loved to wear purple, blue, green, zebra print, and hot pink all at once? Feeling the need for inspiration, I turned to my trusty digital image inspirational source, Pinterest.

Quickly passing up all the washed out faux Scandi and farmhouse images, I dug deep into the good stuff.

For those of you missing images in this post, I have a board. It’s called CHICK PAD and you are welcome to check it out! But please, not ‘til you get to the end of my story! Its my fantasy board of what my living room WOULD look like if I didn’t have to co-habitate with others. Don’t judge. I bet you have one too.

 Oh! A girl can DREAM!

Oh! A girl can DREAM!

So I decided to look deeper at my curated Chick Pad inspiration. This is an exercise I ask my clients to do. Create a dream board and don’t edit themselves. Don’t bypass an image just because the pillow is in the wrong place – in other words, let loose their control issues and be open to things they are drawn to without questioning. Then, I look at it with trend spotting eyes. I’m pretty good at analyzing for patterns. I can read if people are drawn to high contrast, symmetry, color blocking or monochromatic, geometric or organic prints. I’ve just never turned this skill on myself.

Here’s what I realized. I am a Maximalist! I do love color! Deep, rich color in shades of magenta, teal, navy, crimson, coral fill my dream board. Glass and brass, mixed metals, shiny things, oversized art, whimsical lamps, chinoiserie, and always – in almost every single picture – some sort of animal print. This is the freak flag I secretly crave to fly! Somehow this knowledge makes me feel suddenly free! Like there’s a light at the end of this endless, bleak grey tunnel.

Exhibit A. My own dining room. I really do love my Cole and Son wallpaper, but with this new found liberation, I think I will start injecting some color by reupholstering my vintage Kipp Stewart Dining set in Fuschia velvet!

 Cole and Son Summer Lily Wallpaper, Vintage Kipp Stewart MCM dining set and my husband’s sentimental German radio.

Cole and Son Summer Lily Wallpaper, Vintage Kipp Stewart MCM dining set and my husband’s sentimental German radio.

I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to be able to share examples of these amazing inspirational images with you! HOWEVER, because posting photos of other designer’s work without their written consent is a BIG BAD NO-NO! I will simply invite you to check out my board for yourself and witness the deep dark recesses of my brain. These are my some of my favorite inspirational images. And by the way? I’m feeling much more confident about how this challenge is going to turn out!

In the Meantime, Check out this AMAZING epingle animal print from THIBAUT I’m using on this little side chair in my client’s room. Watch for the reveal November 7th!

Side note: If any of my designer friends ARE established Maximalists and would like me to include your photography in this story, please feel free to message me and send photos (but also written permission to share) and if anyone has an “in” with Miles Redd, let me know!

Thibaut Amur
Jill's cute chair

Better Homes and Gardens will be judging the entries and the winning TWO Designers will be featured in the Spring One Room Challenge and may gain sponsorship with these great design resources.