‘Interviews’ Category

Designer Highlight: Mili Suleman of Kufri Life Fabrics

Wednesday, August 13th, 2014

I’m really excited today to share my interview with Mili Suleman of Kufri Life!  Over the past month, I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know Mili and her work when she asked me to help style her showroom.  I’m very impressed with Mili’s talent and kindness.  Kufri Life uses handcrafted techniques like hand loom weaving, block printing, and hand screen printing to create one-of-a-kind pieces.  And they’re a dream for interior designers because all of the fabrics can be custom made to fit any client’s needs.  The textiles look so effortless when mixed together and create an elegant, eclectic feel.  You’re sure to see more of Kufri Life fabrics everywhere!  So, now let’s learn more about Mili and Kufri Life!

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Mili Suleman

Tell us about Kufri Life and how it started.

My mom lives in Oman (in the Middle East) and I really wanted a way to connect with her through something more creative, so I dreamt up Kufri Life! I also wanted a new medium for my graphic design, and a life that’s more connected with people in general, which includes traveling. Kufri Life just came together as a result… it’s my authentic life. It reminds me everyday that living authentically is important.

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A few of Kufri Life fabric pillows

Who has been your greatest professional or personal influence?

My parents have been my greatest personal and professional influences without a doubt. They were first generation immigrants from India to Oman, and taught me that hard work, thought, patience and honesty will get you places, even if it’s the long route.

Even though we didn’t have a ton of money to travel around back then, my parents exposed me to a TON of amazing things from all over the world… my dad used to get “Top of the Pops” videos, which were british music videos. They spent their money on encyclopedias and amazing books, which kept me entertained endlessly. They sent me to Indian classical dance and oil painting classes… they made sure I had an open-minded upbringing. And that has been the greatest gift and the influencing reason for me being curious and creative today.

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Tablescape using Kufri Life Fabrics

Where do you find inspiration for your work?

All over. From the souks back home to old Japanese artwork. It’s really a mixture of travel, books, music, culture, history, textiles.

What is your favorite thing about being a graphic/textile designer?

The fact that it’s never boring. If I have a few dead days, I use it to dream up the next collection, which may or may not come to fruition, but I never allow myself to be bored too long. I also meet some amazingly creative people from time to time, and that’s pretty cool, too.

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Mili’s creative space:  her office

Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on?

Graphic design- I love packaging projects… packaging for Zevlin, Shea Touch, Taste Elevated… I can go on. Hard to pick a favorite.
Textiles- I love the research part because that’s where I exercise the most creativity.

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One of Mili’s favorite packaging projects

How would you describe your style?

Very eclectic. My dream home would be a mix of modern easy living + coastal + global + antiques + art deco + victorian… lol… you get the point. I’d mix an old kilim rug with a sofa with clean lines, then throw in things I have collected from around the world and estate sales.

What is your favorite room in your home?

I loved the living area the most. It was comfortable, lived in without being too messy and I could sit anywhere and see my favorite art pieces.

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A shot from the Kufri Life showroom with more fabrics, pillows and rug

What is one item you can’t live without?

A beautiful wood, large table. I’d use it for eating, writing, work… multi-purpose.

What three things are you currently loving?

Lipstick Queen’s lipsticks!! The “sinner” ones are matte and 90% pigmented
Anything beautiful that’s indigo color.
Antique kilim rugs stop me in my tracks too.

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1. Outfit: vintage-style easy everyday dresses in colorful unusual prints (african wax prints, indian ikats and block prints)
2. Meal: spicy chicken curry with naan
3. Color: indigo, off-white and coral (pictured above Kufri Life fabrics Zohra, Leeds and White Dots in Navy)
4. Drink of choice: ginger ale and killer craft cocktails
5. Your go-to item for entertaining: hummus in beautiful patterned bowls
6. Flower: bird of paradise
7. Destination: Oregon (all of it!)
8. Guilty Pleasure: Drop Dead Diva

Follow along with Mili on Instagram @kufrilife as well as her amazing blog, here.  Thanks for the interview, Mili!

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Designer Highlight: Lily Lasuzzo of Lavender and Mint

Wednesday, July 9th, 2014

For the second installment of my interview series, I was honored to interview Lily Lasuzzo, who is a graphic designer in Houston, Texas. She owns Lavender and Mint, which is a bespoke invitation and retail stationery boutique, specializing in graphic design for custom wedding invitations, announcements, birthdays, parties, baby showers & exquisite social stationery. Lily did my business cards, and I couldn’t have been more impressed with her skill as well as her kindness! Let me introduce you to Lily and Lavender and Mint.

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Since you are originally a California girl, tell us what you love most about Texas?
The trees and the rain! I can do without the heat, but the oak trees in my neighborhood and the sounds of the rain when it pours through them is something I had never experienced before. There is something really calming about it – almost like waves crashing.

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Who has been your greatest professional or personal influence?
When I lived in LA and was producing movie trailers, my boss, Matt Brubaker, taught me so much about how to manage creative projects. I definitely consider him my mentor and someone who I think has such an amazing understanding of how to be creative while still giving the client what they want.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
Everywhere. I love type and patterns. Fabric swatches are a great go-to for color ideas, and oddly enough the labels and packaging in the grocery store always make me want to get back to the computer and start designing. I love that brands really focus on use of color and type and everyone is getting creative!

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What is your favorite thing about being a graphic designer?
I have always loved learning new things, and because the software that I use is always changing, I feel like I am constantly learning new things. There is always something new to try. I never get bored.

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Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on?
I recently did a baby announcement that was a photo on the front and letterpress on the back. Super simple. My favorite part about it was the typeface I used and the color of the ink. I decided to tint the ink with a hint of blue so at first glance it looked like a blind press (no ink) but when you really looked at it there was this subtle, soft blue that was just so sweet.

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Your wedding has been featured on Style Me Pretty and was so thoughtfully designed! What advice would you give a soon-to-be bride or anyone that’s searching for a custom invitation suite for their event?
I had such an amazing time working on the overall design for our wedding. I always tell brides that your wedding is such a representation of you and your fiancé and it can be fun to make it feel like your very own brand. I think a cohesive design from start to finish is key. By taking the time to think about the wedding as a brand, it forces you to perfect your design aesthetic and focus on curating invitations, flowers, music, linens, rentals etc. I think traditionally people feel like a monogram is the way to achieve the cohesive feel, but I think you can really tie everything together in a variety of ways: artwork, color, typeface, paper stock, ribbon etc. A monogram isn’t for everyone but that shouldn’t stop you from creating something that you carry through everything from a visual point of view.

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How would you describe your style?
French California. I am casual but I love a little edge.

What is your favorite room in your home?
My living room. People always tell me it feels like California. It has seagrass, blush drapes, a tufted linen sofa with velvet pillows.

What is one item you can’t live without?
That’s a hard one! Haha. I would have to say good bedding. It’s key to a good nights sleep.

What three things are you currently loving?
Blush Cotton Paper with a deckled edge
Brass Hardware
Napa landscaping – olive trees mixed with climbing roses.

 

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1. Outfit: Boyfriend shorts, Isabel Marant boots, Isabel Marant top
2. Meal: Grilled swordfish
3. Color: Blush
4. Drink of choice: Rosé
5. Your go-to item for entertaining: Cheese plate
6. Flower: Peony
7. Destination: Amsterdam
8. Guilty Pleasure: Anything on E – hey, I’m from LA, I have to get my celeb fix somewhere :)

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So hop on over to t Lily’s website-www.lavenderandmint.com- and if you’re in the Houston area, visit her adorable boutique that carries everyday social stationery, greeting cards for any occasion, wrapping paper, calendars and journals–just to name a few!  And you may even get some bubbly while you’re there!

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Designer Highlight: Jessica McIntyre Interiors

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

Hi!  Today I’m starting a new series where I interview other designers, business owners, bloggers, and fashionistas.  I love to learn from creative folks–what they love about their careers, where they draw inspiration, and what they enjoy when they’re not working.  So what better way to start the series than with Jessica McIntyre of Jessica McIntyre Interiors (JMI).  Jessica is not only a local designer in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, but also a fellow University of Oklahoma alumna (not to mention a sorority sister of mine!)  Jessica is extremely talented and has accomplished so much at a young age.  So let’s dig into her company and learn more about what she’s up to.  All pictures below are from her portfolio of work.  Let me introduce you to JMI!

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Jessica McIntyre Interiors was established in 2008 by owner/designer Jessica McIntyre. The company has since grown from a one-woman show into a firm with two full-time interior designers and office manager. The majority of JMI’s portfolio is residential new-construction, remodel, and decorating, but also includes commercial and hospitality projects. The JMI offices are centrally located in downtown Arlington – allowing easy access to both Fort Worth and Dallas clientele. The Arlington location also houses the retail side of the business, J.McIntyre HOME, a small boutique home-goods source for furniture, lighting, accessories and gifts.

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ABOUT JESSICA MCINTYRE:

Jessica McIntyre received undergraduate degrees in Interior Design and Art History from the University of Oklahoma, and a masters in Architectural Lighting Design from Parsons The New School for Design. After years of experience with reputable design firms in Dallas, she took a leap of faith and started her own company. Jessica worked out of her home in Dallas during her husband’s medical residency and after two years of steady growth, opened the Jessica McIntyre Interiors office and J.McIntyre HOME retail shop. Jessica now resides in Fort Worth with her husband and two sons.

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What is your favorite room in your home?
We just moved into a new home 6 months ago, so it is still a work in progress! I would have to say my favorite room is the breakfast nook. The kitchen and breakfast areas are closed off to the rest of the house, which is a layout I personally prefer. It has an abundance of natural light and a great view into our back yard. Years ago with a bonus from my first “real” job, I bought a white Saarinen Pedestal Table (“tulip table”) and it was the best purchase I ever made. This table has hosted many laughs family and friends, late night work sessions, and even a little wine and magazine me-time… which is hard to come by these days.

Where do you find inspiration for your work?
All around! I begin designing with a very vague idea – maybe a texture or an abstract image. It has to coincide conceptually with the client or project that I am working on, and then it all takes off from there. That one piece of inspiration can drive an entire design. It is usually later in the design process that I start doing hard research and hit my library or go online for ideas. Online resources are endless, so it is an overwhelming place to start the process.

What is your favorite thing about being an interior designer?
The finished product. I love the adventure of getting a new client, being introduced to their project, and obsessing over it for weeks, but that process can be quite the roller coaster ride. It is the end result that keeps me going back for more. There is a unique sense of accomplishment that comes with creating someone’s environment and being able to stand in the middle of your work that was once just a vision.

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Do you have a favorite project that you’ve worked on?
I have had wonderful experiences with many residential clients and outstanding homes, but my favorite project would have to be Hair By Charlie, a hair salon in Dallas’ Design District. It was a home-run every step of the way. Charlie Price (the owner and amazing hair stylist) has been a good friend of mine for years, so when he came to me with the idea of moving his salon to the Design District I was eager to get my hands on it. Knowing the client so well allowed me to create a salon that was reflective of him personally – and he happens to be a very unique and hip guy. The process was seamless and it resulted in a space that I am extremely proud to have in JMI’s portfolio.

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How would you describe your style?
Eclectic and ever-changing! As a designer, I have access to many different things and a love for various design styles. That combination makes me a commitment-phobe when it comes to my own home. Things are in-and-out at our house, but the few pieces with staying power aren’t going anywhere. I am slowly getting a collection of items I’ll never part with, and in the end I hope our home is an eclectic collection of favorites: vintage and antique finds, hides, velvets, lacquer, custom upholstery, acrylic, chinoiserie, and abstract art.

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What is one interior design item you can’t live without?
Garden stools! They are so versatile and end up on every project. What else can you sit on, set a drink on, or put by the pool? There are so many styles and colors. I absolutely love to use garden stools in nurseries because little ones can’t knock them over and they are a great side-table to a glider.

What three things are you currently loving?
Wallcoverings. Brass. Large-scale photography.

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  1. Outfit: black, black and more black… with heels.
  2. Design book: designers at home personal reflections on stylish living, ronda rice carman
  3. Color: orange
  4. Food: sno-cones. that’s a food, right?
  5. Your go-to item for entertaining: a three tiered wooden tray by vagabond vintage
  6. Design element: lighting. it’s important.
  7. Destination: when i want to GO… new york city when i want to STOP… crested butte, colorado

Check out Jessica’s website and her blog - www.jessicamcintyreinteriors.com to see more of her work!  Thank you, Jessica for the interview and I can’t wait to see what you do next!

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