Style Illuminated

Our home decorating blog offers interior design tips and lighting ideas for today's home! Enjoy professional interior design advice, home decor ideas and inspiration.

  • 5 Tips for Staying Organized During Home Remodeling with Bettershelter

    Staying Organized During Home Remodeling

    This week we checked in with Steve Jones of bettershelter to see the progress of his traditional bungalow project. Everything was coming along nicely and he even had a calendar displayed to help everyone stay organized and on schedule during the process of home remodeling. I am sure many can attest to the frustration that comes along with construction; things can easily get out of control and over budget. Steve seems to have everything under control and has flipped closed to 50 homes, so he definitely knows the importance of staying organized. We asked him to share his top 5 tips for being efficient and organized during construction.

    Renovation Tips with bettershelter

    1. PRACTICE THE SEVEN P'S: Prior Proper Planning Prevents Piss Poor Performance!

    2. CHECK IN ON THE PROJECT OFTEN: Check in on the project as much as possible, there are a million questions and decisions to be made on a daily basis. Especially if you have not worked with your contractor much, he wants to make sure you are happy and sometimes he will wait for questions to be answered. Your project will move much faster when you are present! And the results will be way better.

    3. HAVE A CALENDAR: Create a timeline with your contractor and have it posted BIG on the jobsite. It will keep YOU on calendar. Look at it and put critical milestones in your own phone, etc. to anticipate things.

    4. HAVE ALL MATERIALS AT JOBSITE WHEN NEEDED: For example, I order all my plumbing supplies at the very beginning of the job, I spend a bit more money at the outset, but then I deliver all the rough when needed and then the trim when needed. Better to have ready then waiting for it to be delivered.

    5. HAVE A STAGING/STORAGE AREA: Have an off-site location where all your fixtures, etc. can be stored, labeled, and organized. Do not leave at the job site; they will get ruined, thrown away or stolen. Deliver as needed. You get to feel like Santa Claus when dropping things off!

    Construction Timeline

    Thanks Steve! We will definitely remember to plan early and purchase our traditional wall lights, plumbing fixtures, and other needed materials early and also keep a calendar on site. To see the before pictures of Steve's Hollywood project, check out Renovation Ideas - Bettershelter Traditional Bungalow: Part 1.


  • Dwell on Design 2012 Recap: Trends, News, and People Spotting

    Dwell on Design 2012 Recap

    Did you miss Dwell on Design this year? Good news, we have pictures and a full recap from the event! Like most years, the modern outdoor exhibits are very popular. The G-Pod drew quite a crowd. It is a rotating pod complete with a modern outdoor light that is made for relaxing in your backyard. The garden trellises were another hit at the design event. And... of course the bubble stuctures had a lot of curious designers snapping pictures and asking lots of questions.

    Kohler and Dwell on Design

    A few other highlights included the Pop Arch exhibit. Carlo Caccavale, creates works of art from photos he has taken with his iPhone. The photos are usually detail shots of famous buildings and exteriors that we all know. Many visitors gathered around the Kohler display. They were showcasing their new partnership with design superstar Jonathan Adler.

    Voila! Gallery at Dwell on Design

    Avant-garde furnishings and art reminded you that you were at a progressive design event. Voila! Gallery participated in Dwell on Design for the first time this year. The owner was concerned their dark aesthetic may not fit in with the other vendors, but they stayed busy all day! Many art and design schools were present at Dwell on Design. Students from Woodbury University made a whole installation out of paper airplanes - cool!

    Modern Family at Dwell on Design

    Even kids are cool at Dwell on Design. The modern family booths focused on creating innovative and creative solutions to ordinary products such as storage furniture, chairs, and even campers. In a world that has become focused on technology and the internet, design ideas are easily shared and copied. So new trends are definitely focused on original ideas and one-of-a-kind products. Many retailers are producing their own products and making their products customizable.

    Who attended Dwell on Design this year? Below are a few talented creatives I ran into at the event!

    Designers at Dwell on Design

    (From left to right: Michael Sylvester, organizer of Dwell on Design; Minh Tran, graphic designer and Ted Dahle; John Saint-Denis, design curator and Carlo Caccavale, Associate Director of AIA Los Angeles; and Steve Jones of bettershelter)

    I definitely feel inspired having attended Dwell on Design last weekend. Until next year!

  • American Decor: Patriotic Interiors

    American Decor

    It’s almost 4th of July and while I could show pictures of porches draped in American Flags, I’m showing you chic patriotic interiors instead. This is American decor at its best.

    Is there anything more Yankee Doodle than a red, white and blue dining room? Seriously? A red lacquered ceiling - amazing! I’m also loving the highly saturated cobalt contemporary dining chairs.

    American Country Interiors

    This uber-American interior has a more cozy feel with the introduction of deep seating and soft pillows. While the room is still themed in red, white and blue, there are subtle black accents to ground the space.  

    Black Floor Lamps

    The always useful carved black floor lamp. Just like in the room above. A little bit country, a little bit “never out of style.” 

    Blue Living Room Decor

    Hello glamour puss. I clearly couldn’t only show red lacquer, now could I? The All American colors are easily achieved with a simple white sofa, color-blocked pillows and bold trunk.

    Trunk Coffee Tables

    This Asian-Style red trunk is functional and exotic, yet totally at home in classic American decor. 

    Eclectic Living Rooms

    Here is a great way to infuse red, white and blue in a more subtle way. The clever mixing of pattern introduces the American decor theme, but the use of various scale, pattern and textures makes it look eclectic. I also love the idea of using a modern large chandelier in a living room. It's unexpected and shimmers.  

    American Style Decor

    Another way to keep Patriotic Interiors less hokey is through the introduction of another color, like this bold yellow chair. It works because like the red, white and blue, it’s a primary color.

    Happy July 4th and I promise to bring back the porches soon.

    Images: Savvy Home

  • Get The Look: Foyer Design

    Get the Look: Foyer Design

    I know you have been chomping at the bit to see some of my work. Today is your lucky day. While I pride myself on elegant interiors, beautiful foyer design can be achieved on your own if you follow some simple rules. First, make sure there is some form of a table for mail, keys, and lighting. Second, make sure there is a place to sit. We styled the space with one of the square parsons dining chairs which played nicely off the arched closet door. I ultimately replaced the chair with a long bench below the stairs. Third, ample lighting is key. I chose a pair of tall buffet lamps to mirror the height of the space as well as a glorious glass and wrought iron lantern.

    These golden buffet lamps would look great in a formal foyer or on the sideboard in a dining room. Look familiar? This bronze and glass lantern is similar to the one I used in the foyer above. Regardless of what hanging light you choose, make sure it fits the space. This is a tall and narrow room, so the lantern was perfect. If the room had been round or square, a large chandelier would be a perfect choice.

    I was very deliberate with the design from balancing the geometry of this space to picking the right accessories. Busier rails meant I wanted simpler walls and the arched door meant I wanted a boxier console table. After all, foyer design is all about the yin and yang, baby.

    Image: Karyn Millet Photography

  • Style Tips from Cassandra Lavalle of Coco + Kelley

    Cassandra LaValle's favorite Lamps Plus lights

    A few of Cassandra's favorite Lamps Plus products: 1. Tetra Collection Tiffany Style Pendant Chandelier. 2. Robert Abbey Axis Adjustable Height Table Lamp (no longer available.) 3. Holtkoetter Up/Down Polished Brass Wall Sconce. 4. Arteriors Narnia Cocktail Table.


    Cassandra Lavalle is the editor of the chic interior design and lifestyle blog Coco + Kelley, where she shares "stunning interiors, brilliant fashion, inspired tabletops, and original color palettes - always with a touch of glamour." We chatted with Cassandra in between stops on her busy, jet-setting schedule, and she's here today sharing style tips, her design inspirations, a look at her blogging business, and a few of her favorite things. Welcome, Cassandra!

    LAMPS PLUS: Coco + Kelley’s philosophy is “Life is in the details. Style accordingly.” From interior decorating to event design to personal style consultations, you’ve gone beyond the role of a traditional designer by helping your clients create and embrace a lifestyle aesthetic. How did your wildly successful career as a “personal advisor in all of life’s little details” begin?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Honestly, it probably began with me being the gal who always had an opinion on things! But I also have a passion for all things design and have always immersed myself in that world. I come at things from a psychological standpoint, so that helps me in communicating with clients and expressing ideas to readers. It all began with the blog in 2007 and grew from there!

    LAMPS PLUS: How would you define your own style? Is that how your home is decorated?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Growing up on the West Coast has definitely influenced my sensibilities. My style is somewhere between relaxed West Coast meets refined classic. It's not based on an era or a category. It's just a feeling. And yes, that's absolutely how my home is decorated! I think I take a relaxed approach to glamour that's based in taking classic styles and making them approachable.

    Office of Coco + Kelley's Cassandra LaValle

    LAMPS PLUS: What tips would you offer someone who wants to discover and embrace their own personal style, but doesn't know where to start?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Honing in on your personal style is kind of like training for a race. You're not going to just jump in an run a full 10k. You have to start with the basics - start reading more blogs and magazines. Try on new things. Push yourself beyond your comfort zone. Invest. And most importantly, surround yourself with people who have great style!

    LAMPS PLUS: What or who has most influenced your design aesthetic?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: I was the first kid in the bunch of my parents' friends, so I was always hanging out with grown ups who had great style and taste - I think I picked some things up from them. Living in LA during my youth definitely played a role in my aesthetic - that laid back Southern California vibe comes through in the colors I choose (very beachy) and materials I use (lots of linens, cottons, and natural weaves). But, somewhere along the way I think I trained my own eye to have a pretty classic foundation.

    LAMPS PLUS: What is the best design advice you ever received?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: I know it's cliché, but when people say "buy what you love," it's for a reason. You should surround yourself with things that make you happy or make you feel good. You really can't go wrong when you design from the gut.

    Coco + Kelley blog tagline

    LAMPS PLUS: The Coco + Kelley blog is a well curated source of design inspiration for all things fashion, interiors, and lifestyle and you have a loyal following of style savvy readers. How has blogging impacted your business? How do you stay inspired as a blogger?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Blogging IS my business. Coco + Kelley has opened so many doors for me and I'm incredibly amazed and grateful for that opportunity. As far as inspiration, lately I've been trying to take myself out of the online world and more into the real world for inspiration. It seems like so many images and ideas are getting recycled that you really have to find new ways to make them your own or product content that's original. I love just walking through the city, sitting down and going through old books or looking outside the design world for new thoughts and ideas. 

    LAMPS PLUS: Beyond blogging, you also take on a variety of freelance clients and design projects. With all these different creative to-do's on your plate, you must be one busy gal - what does a typical day look like for you?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: When you're self-employed people think your life must be so leisurely. It's not true! I wake up around 6:30 am to get a jump start on e-mails before they build up too much in my inbox. I usually work on my laptop until 11ish - that's taking care of emails, creating blog posts, putting together projects for my interns, and really running the business side of things. After that I usually head out for the day to run whatever errands need to happen - sometimes it's scouting for shoots, sometimes it's shopping for clients. I try and head to the gym in the afternoon, then back home for more work ... usually throughout the evening if I'm staying in for the night. I'm basically hardly ever not working!

    Cassandra LaValle's living room in Rue magazine

    LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite luxury in life?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Food and travel. I would give up a lot of material possessions to ensure that I always had the ability to travel and experience long, delicious dinners with friends.

    LAMPS PLUS: When decorating, what should you splurge on?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Number one investment in my book is a good sofa. Everything from the bones to the fabric should be taken into consideration. It's the type of piece you really want to hold up over the years.

    LAMPS PLUS: How important is home lighting to interior designs?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Hugely important. I think lighting changes the mood of a room. It's important to have all the bases covered - task lighting to overhead lighting to indoor wall lights. I also think table lamps can provide such key accents in a room! From color to texture, they add so much.

    Interior styling by Cassandra LaValle of Coco + Kelley

    LAMPS PLUS: What are you obsessed with right now?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: Stripes and linen. Preferably together. I just keep buying them in every shape and form, from pillows to dresses!

    LAMPS PLUS: Can you tell us about your goals or any projects in the works that you are excited about?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: I have about a million ideas swirling my head at any given moment, but I am really excited to start doing more original content on Coco + Kelley. We'll be introducing a few more series on the blog that we'll be shooting ourselves. Along with that, we're going to be doings some pretty fun product partnerships in the coming year to celebrate our 5 year anniversary!

    LAMPS PLUS: What is your favorite furniture piece and why?

    CASSANDRA LAVALLE: A beautiful large chandelier. It can make a room.  

    Lamps Plus table lamp and floor lamp in Rue magazine


    Thanks, Cassandra! Love these two lamps above? They're the Dasan Ivory Table Lamp with Black Silk Shade and the Brass Pharmacy Floor Lamp from Lamps Plus - and they're both featured in Cassandra's home in the May/June issue of Rue Magazine! (View her home tour starting on page 92.) You can also take a peek behind-the-scenes of Cassandra's home on her blog.

    Image credits: Coco + Kelley, Rue Magazine - May/June 2012

  • How to Use a Single Table Lamp to Style Your Home