Image from Frette

When luxury linen company Frette approached me to be featured in their Designer Dialogue for August, I was thrilled. Frette has an incredible history, with its linens featured from the altar of St Peter’s Basilica to the dining car of the Orient Express. In fact, more than 500 European royal families have slept on its sheets. It’s also a company that I believe in. I recommend Frette bed and bath linens to my clients for their own homes. Once you’ve slept on their luxurious bedding, you’ll never want to sleep on anything else.

Bedroom designed by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

In the Q&A, I give you a bit of a behind-the-scenes look at my business and how I got started. Spoiler alert: I started out in software sales and commercial real estate before following my passion to be an interior designer.

I also reveal the designers who I consider icons in the industry. They include Vicente Wolf for his restrained style of design. David Hicks for his mastery at mixing antique and modern furnishings. Ralph Lauren for bringing his iconic fashion style to home design. And Brad Ford for his modern aesthetic and love of handcrafted work. They give me so much inspiration – just as a recent trip to India also did. You can see my own blog post on that amazing trip here.

Bedroom designed by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

Frette also asked me for my go-to designer advice. The first thing that’s key is that function should drive the design. In other words, the room must work for your lifestyle. And then I always say you should choose quality over quantity – like Frette. Always buy the best that you can afford. The saying “you get what you pay for” is so true.

My own bedside table.

There are also a few fun questions in the Designer Dialogue, like what is on my own bedside table. I always have fresh flowers in a cut-glass vase and my favorite scented candle. At the time I answered the questions, I was also reading Born Free by Joy Adamson, in anticipation of my trip to South Africa. I can’t wait to tell you more about that trip in an upcoming post!

The key to my interview with Frette, though, is how important a good night’s sleep is to your life. We spend over a third of our lives sleeping, so we must have a welcoming and comfortable bed. The headboard, pillows, and bed linens should create an oasis that contributes to the overall quality of sleep. And if you’re looking for fabulous new linens for your own oasis, my favorite Frette collections are Across and Grace.

Be sure to read the full Designer Dialogue on Frette’s website here. And sweet dreams!

Nothing says summer like a Fourth of July celebration. With more and more crowds at the beaches and in parks, people are deciding that a staycation celebration is more their speed. But how do you welcome friends and family with fabulous outdoor spaces? Try these 5 tips for making the most of summer soirees for your guests:

Front House Exterior, Kriste Michelini - Luxe. RED Awards Reader's Choice Winner 2019
Interior design project by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

1. Make an Entrance

Too often, we spend all our money and time on backyard spaces and forget the front of the home. But that’s usually where your guests enter, so you want to make an impression. Set a casual summer mood with seating on a front porch. If you have a place for a flag, wave that red, white, and blue – it’s the perfect accessory for the Fourth. And be sure your front door is gorgeous and welcoming.

Kriste Michelini outdoor design
Design by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

2. Be at Ease

The most important key to welcoming your summer guests is to make them feel comfortable. Give them plenty of seating so that they’ll want to stay for hours. And be sure there are enough tables nearby for drinks and plates. I like to arrange my outdoor seating almost in a circle, so people are encouraged to visit and talk.

Design by architect Steve Simpson

3. Create Zones

In addition to conversation areas, create other zones for activities like dining al fresco. A table that can fit a lot of guests is also great for board games, extra seating during a party, or a place for kids to have their own zone. Think about setting up your outdoor spaces in areas like your indoor rooms. It will give you plenty of space for guests on warm summer nights.

Photography by James Baigrie

4. Keep It Casual

The best outdoor parties are casual and simple, without a lot of formality or stuffiness. Stack melamine plates on a simple summer oak table with flowers from your garden. Let guests serve themselves chilled rosé in acrylic wine glasses and a buffet of delicious grilled dishes. Add in plenty of candles and a fun custom playlist and you’ve got a great summer party.

Outdoor design by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

5. Remember Those Special Touches

What really makes your summer guests feel welcome are those extra touches. Like a light and soft throw for cooler nights. Or an array of straw hats to keep the sun out of their eyes. Or even a bowl of frozen berries to flavor their water or wine. Those are the things that take a hostess from good to legendary.

Interior design by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

Cheers to the Fourth and to the best summer staycations!

Kriste Michelini Interiors' Danville project selected for a 2019 Luxe Red Award

I’m thrilled to announce that my Danville project was selected for a 2019 Luxe Red Award! But what made it even more special is that it won the Readers’ Choice Award for Classic Interior Design. That means so much to me because Luxe readers (and many of you) voted for my project. Thank you to all who voted. I am beyond grateful.

2019 Luxe Red Awards

The awards ceremony was held last week at the Signature Kitchen Experience and Design Center in Napa Valley. I was so happy to be able to share the ceremony with my team member Emma Olofson who worked on the project with me.

Kriste Michelini and team member Emma Olofson on the way to the 2019 Luxe Red Award

Here we are on our way to the event, and with the gorgeous Red Award below.

Kriste Michelini and team member Emma Olofson Receiving 2019 Luxe Red Award

We were in incredible company with the other honorees. It was terrific to see Chloe Warner, another San Francisco designer, among the award winners, below left.  It was such fun to meet architects, landscapers, and interior designers from across the country who were also award winners. You can see all of the Reader’s Choice winners below right.

Architects, landscapers, and interior designers receiving 2019 Luxe Red Awards

It was also a huge honor to see my project featured in the newest issue of Luxe – you can get your copy on newsstands now.

Kriste Michelini Interiors' Danville project selected for a 2019 Luxe Red Award

And because this project is one of my favorites, it made it especially exciting to receive the award. We designed the home to have an elegant and timeless interior that’s also family-friendly. It’s a California retreat that truly is welcoming and has a thoughtful plan to accommodate every family member. It really does fit the category of Classic Interior Design.

Kitchen by Kriste Michelini Interiors
Kitchen by Kriste Michelini Interiors. See the full project here.

Thank you again to everyone who voted for me. It is such an honor to win a major design award, but it’s even more special because it came from all of you.

Kriste Michelini Interiors' Danville project selected for a 2019 Luxe Red Award

Mother’s Day is just three short weeks away. It’s time to find that perfect meaningful gift to treat your mom on her special day. I created a list of 10 fabulous gifts that are perfect for any mom, so scroll through to find the perfect present for your mother – or for yourself.

The Home Body

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - A Tree in the House

A Tree in the House: Flowers for Your Home, Special Occasions and Every Day, by Annabelle Hickson. This gorgeous book, from Chronicle Books, offers ideas for natural flower arrangements while celebrating rural life. It’s perfect for a mom who loves beautiful flowers and a beautiful home.

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - Brasserie Plank

Brasserie Plank from Hudson Grace. Charcuterie is all the rage now – there are literally hundreds of photos of styled versions on Instagram. This plank is created with reclaimed wood for a modern organic look – a great gift for a mom who’s also a “foodie.”

The Modern Mom

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - Apple Watch Series 4

Apple Watch Series 4. I love my Apple watch, but I may have to upgrade to the new version. The Series 4 has built-in cellular, keeping mom in touch. And it offers better health monitoring and motivation to help mom stay fit.

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - Marble Charging Dock

Marble Charging Dock from Native Union. Sleek and chic, this lightening-compatible charging dock is more than a gadget. It’s a gift that’s both functional and lovely, perfect for a busy mom.

A Mom on the Go

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - Travel Case Set by Cuyana

Travel Case Set by Cuyana. Sized right for toiletries, makeup, jewelry, and more, this set is made of pebbled leather. To add a more personal touch, each case can also be monogrammed with your mom’s initials.

 

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - Slip Travel Pillow and Mask from Sephora

 

Slip Travel Pillow and Mask from Sephora. To keep mom’s hair looking gorgeous – and to help her have a good night’s sleep – give her this silk set for her travels. Not only is the material gentle on hair and skin, the pink color will make her smile, too.

The Spa-Loving Mom

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - The Eberjey Gisele PJ Set from Bloomingdale's

The Eberjey Gisele PJ Set from Bloomingdale’s. Every mom needs some down time, and these super-soft jersey pajamas will have her relaxing in style. In a pale blush color, they’re tailored with sharp black piping.

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer from Nordstrom

Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer from Nordstrom. This styling pro is a great gift for a mom who wants to look good, but doesn’t want to spend a lot of time on her hair. The Dyson dryer also protects hair while drying it in almost no time.

The Mom Who Loves Classic Gifts

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - Mom Necklace by Jennifer Meyer

Mom Necklace by Jennifer Meyer. Jewelry is a classic gift, and this necklace is perfect for woman who is proud to be a mom. Give this sentimental favorite to your mother, a friend, or a new mom.

10 Fabulous Gifts for Mother's Day - Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Candle from Nordstrom

Jo Malone Wood Sage & Sea Salt Candle from Nordstrom. Jo Malone is known for luxurious and incredible scents. Pamper your mom with this fresh and earthy version.

Use this list to find the perfect gift for your mom – and Happy Mother’s Day!

The saying “you get what you pay for” has never been more true than in home decor. But even my most high-end luxury clients have a budget for their interior projects. So it’s important to know where to splurge and where to save in home furnishings, no matter what your own budget is. Here are my top 7 investment pieces that are worth paying more for and that will stand the test of time.

Investment Pieces - A sofa or a couch is one of the most important furniture decisions you'll make, so it's important to choose a well-constructed piece that will stand the test of time.
Interior by Kriste Michelini. Art by Santiago Garcia.

1. The Sofa

Whether you call it a sofa or a couch, this is one of the most important furniture decisions you’ll make. Think about how often you’ll sit on the sofa – you and your family spend a lot of time there. And if you have kids and dogs, this piece definitely needs to stand up to wear and tear. So it’s important to pay for a well-constructed piece that will stand the test of time, and that you can reupholster when needed. I created a custom sectional for the living room above, covered in a gorgeous Rogers & Goffigon mohair. It is quality workmanship and the upholstery is done with care.

Investment Pieces - Statement art can set the tone, inspire the room's color palette, and showcase your individual style & personality.
Interior by Kriste Michelini. Art from Simon Breitbard, Bottega Dining Chairs by DWR, and lamp by Kelly Wearstler.

2. Statement Art

Art is so important for a room’s design. A statement piece can set the tone, inspire the room’s palette, and showcase your personality. Original art is going to give your home a unique look, too. I advise my clients to invest in art that they love, that really speaks to them. The gorgeous paintings in the modern dining room I designed above are the stars of the space, adding splashes of color to an otherwise neutral palette. The painting on the left is “Pont de Glace,” acrylic on canvas by Karine Leger. The cloud art is by Federico Pietrella titled “Dal 5 al 14 Settembre 2018,” and both are from San Francisco gallery Simon Breitbard.

Investment Pieces – The dining table is where families gather and memories are made, so it should be a special piece that sets a stylish tone.

3. The Dining Table

The dining table is where families gather and memories are made, so it should be a special piece, too. Plan for as many seats as the room can comfortably hold, and be sure it’s as gorgeous as it is functional. After all, this is where you’ll do most of your entertaining, so it needs to set a stylish tone.

A mattress that fits your sleeping style is critical, but you also want a bed that's luxurious and inviting to the eye.
Interior by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

4. The Bed

You spend over a third of your life sleeping, so you need to have a welcoming and comfortable bed. A mattress that fits your sleeping style is critical, but you also want a bed that’s luxurious and inviting to the eye. With an upholstered headboard, piles of pillows, and luxury bed linens, you can create an oasis that you may never want to leave.

Investment Pieces - A chic console table in your entry will allow you to showcase art and collectibles, giving a hint to your personality and the rest of your home's decor.
Console table and mirror by BDDW.

5. Entry Console Table

Your entry is the initial view a visitor will have of your home and it should make a great first impression. A chic console table in your entry will allow you to showcase art and collectibles – giving a hint to your personality and the rest of your home’s decor. It’s also a perfect place for mail and your keys, so I like to have bowls or baskets on the console for storage, too.

Investment Pieces - A sideboard or buffet needs to have enough space to hide away dishes, serving pieces, linens, and more.
Interior by Kriste Michelini.

6. The Sideboard

Stylish storage is important, especially in the dining room. A sideboard or buffet needs to have enough space to hide away dishes, serving pieces, linens, and more. It can also be used as a extra serving space during dinner parties. I like to use the surface of a sideboard for lamps, as well, which gives you more mood lighting for soirées.

Investment Pieces - Sculptural light fixtures can make an artistic statement while layered lighting including overhead lighting, task lighting, and lamps in each room is key in a functional home.
Interior by Kriste Michelini. Custom Lindsey Adelman inspired chandelier.

7. Lighting

Speaking of lighting, layered light is key in a functional home. I like to provide overhead lighting, task lighting, and lamps in each room. But function isn’t the only consideration – sculptural light fixtures like the one above can make an artistic statement in modern living rooms and dining rooms. They’re well worth the investment.

These must-have items are more than utilitarian, they’re well-designed pieces that offer form and function. And they are solid, long-term investment choices for every room of your home.

I love to travel – not just to get away and relax, but also to find new energy and inspiration for the interiors I design. I was lucky to travel to India recently. And I was amazed and infatuated with the color palettes, the shapes and tiles of the buildings, and the sights and sounds. There was so much to see and experience in India! Here are just a few of the scenes and people that inspired me.

Artisans and Crafts

There was so much to see and experience in India! weaving, rugs, crafts, artisans
Photo by Kriste Michelini

Jaipur is known around the world for incredible textiles and hand-knotted rugs. The color-blocking being created in the photo above is an art form. It was amazing to watch these men work.

Hand-made craftsmanship and art in India is stunning - jewels, beads, color, india, jaipur, travel
Photo by Kriste Michelini

Hand-made craftsmanship and art in India is stunning. The mix of materials and colors that I found in beads and jewelry like those above was dazzling.

Color and Texture

Flowers wrapped in a natural burlap
Photo by Kriste Michelini

The street markets in India are almost overwhelming. There is so much to see and a kaleidoscope of color, smells, sounds, and textures. The combination of natural elements was particularly inspiring, like the flowers wrapped in a natural burlap above.

Indian food market featuring vegetables, fruits, market, design, india, jaipur, inspiration
Photo by Kriste Michelini

Even in a food market there was inspiration around every corner. The colors from the buildings, the clothing, and the fruits and vegetables made an incredible palette.

Architecture and Design

Blue pallet with ornamental detail and architecture.
Photo by Kriste Michelini

I was blown away by the ornamental detail and architecture of this room. It would be an incredible blue in a dining room, or maybe in a showhouse.

Chand Baori is a stepwell constructed of 3,500 steps dating from the 8th century.
Photo by Kriste Michelini

Chand Baori is a stepwell constructed of 3,500 steps. The oldest part is from the 8th century. The inspiration for me was in the geometric pattern created by all of those steps.

Bar near the Royal Palace with an incredible layered look with a mix of rugs, patterns, styles, and colors.
Photo by Kriste Michelini

This bar near the Royal Palace showcased an incredible layered look. I loved the mix of rugs, patterns, styles, and colors.

The People and Culture

Indian river cremation ceremony.
Photo by Kriste Michelini

The people I met in India were also so inspiring to me. It was amazing to be able to share in their culture, like the cremation ceremony above.

The warm and welcoming people of India.
Photo by Kriste Michelini

I may have occasionally felt like a giant, as you can see above, but the people were so warm and welcoming. And look at the gorgeous colors on those saris.

Each one of these experiences inspired me in different ways. Look for these amazing colors and patterns in my future work!

The latest research shows that 8 million people are now working from home. And even if they aren’t working there full-time, most people need a place for their computers, homework, or hobbies in their houses. Whether you have a dedicated room for your home office, or you’ve carved out a spot in another room, you want a space that fits your home’s style, and your work style.

The glass-topped desk works well in modern homes as well as in more traditional interiors.
Interior by Kriste Michelini. Desk by Kelly Wearstler and pendant by Circa Lighting

For a dedicated office, one piece that’s most important is the desk. The glass-topped desk in the room I designed above makes a statement in a subtle way and allows the bold black walls to be the star. This style of desk is on-target because it works in modern homes and also more traditional interiors. And it offers a lot of flexibility for your work day.

Sleek and chic desk matching the rest of the interior.
Catherine Kwong Design

The key to a successfully integrated home office is to be sure the design matches the rest of the house. So if your home is modern, the office should be as well. I like the design of the sleek and chic desk above, and the fact that plenty of storage is offered in the built-in cabinetry and shelves.

A corner nook that fits in perfectly with the design of the room serves as a great spot for a home office.
Cynthia Hayes Interior Design

In many houses, space is at a premium. You also may not need a dedicated home office, but really just a nook for paying bills and checking email. The desk area above fits in perfectly with the design of the room and provides a great spot to take care of family business.

A home-based business with employees requires additional space within your home. The office space needs to be stylish enough to welcome clients and employees alike.
Riikka Kantinkoski

On the other end of the home office spectrum is a home-based business. If you will have other employees work with you in your house, the space needs to be stylish enough to welcome clients and employees, but practical enough to support the work you need to do. Plan for plenty of seating and desks or tables, as well as great task lighting.

Ample table space and clever storage creates a hub for homework, hobbies, and at-home business.
Alicia Design

Sometimes you need a flexible workspace that can serve as a command central for a lot of activities in the home. In the room above, there is plenty of table space and clever storage to create a hub for homework, hobbies, and at-home business. There’s something for everyone in the family.

Plan your home office as carefully as you do the rest of your interiors, whether it's a room or a nook.
Jessica De Ruiter

The most important part of creating a stylish place to work at home is not to make it an afterthought. You want to plan this space – whether it’s a room or a nook – as carefully as you do the rest of your interiors. Remember to include great art and accessories to add gorgeous details and to spark your creativity.

Whether you work from home full-time, or you just take care of family business every now and then, keep these ideas in mind for a chic work space of any size.

This spring, I’m planning a refresh of my own home. At the top of my list is to take stock of the bedroom rugs. I love a rug in the bedroom, to have that feeling of warmth and comfort underfoot. Here are some tips for how select the right one for each of the bedrooms in your home:

Master bedroom rug is large enough to extend out from both sides of the bed creating a morning landing spot.
Kriste Michelini Interiors

1. Chic and Functional

In a master bedroom, you want to make a stylish statement but still have a rug that will stand up to wear. I like to ensure that the rug is also large enough to extend out from both sides of the bed, to give you a great “landing spot” in the morning when you rise.

Choose as large a rug as you can for any bedroom.
Stark Carpet

2. Go Big

Choose as large a rug as you can for any bedroom. It helps add a softness to the space and creates a more luxe look. You can even create your own rug out of a carpet that you like. Just have the edges bound by a professional, like a local carpet source.

In a guest bedroom, be sure the rug is as inviting and cozy as the bedding.
Kriste Michelini Interiors

3. A Cozy Welcome

In a guest bedroom, be sure the rug is as inviting and cozy as the bedding. Nothing says “welcome” to a guest more than a soft and sumptuous rug when they step out of bed.

In a child's or teen's bedroom choose a durable rug or carpet that has been treated for stains.
C&C Milano

4. Make It Work

In a child’s or teen’s bedroom, you want something that will stand up to a lot of roughhousing. Whether you choose a rug or carpet, be sure it’s easy to clean and has been treated for stains.

Layered rugs create a luxe look in any room.
Amanda Nistor Designs

5. The Layered Look

For any bedroom, don’t be afraid to layer rugs. You could have a sisal or a carpet as your base for its wearability, and then place a softer-pile rug on top for comfort. Layered rugs create a luxe look in any room.

Make the effort to find the perfect rugs for all your bedrooms.
Kriste Michelini Interiors

Use these tips to find the perfect rug for any bedroom in your home.

The first of the year is always a great time to make predictions for the coming months. So I was excited to be featured in Better Homes & Gardens with my take on bathroom trends for 2019. Bathrooms are one of the top two most popular requests for interior renovations. And they’re one of my favorite rooms to design, too. Since I was only able to share one idea for BH&G’s article, here’s my take on the top 5 bathroom trends we’ll see this year:

Warm woods for vanities offer a natural and organic look that keeps a room from feeling too sterile.
Kriste Michelini Interiors

1. Wood Vanities

As I said in Better Homes & Gardens, I definitely see a trend toward warm woods for vanities. It offers a natural and organic look that keeps the room from feeling too sterile. In the bathroom I designed above, the wood tones balance the white walls and tile backsplash.

Color cabinetry in a kid's bathroom is easy to change out as your child gets older.
Kriste Michelini Interiors

2. Colorful Cabinetry

Last year at the Kitchen & Bath trade show, cabinets were displayed in every color of the rainbow, from blue to red to hot pink. So this trend will start appearing in bathrooms this year and beyond. The great thing about color on cabinetry – as in a kids’ bathroom I designed above – is that it’s easy to change out as your kids get older.

The "wet room" trend takes advantage of every square inch of space and offers the look of a fabulous luxe spa.
Kriste Michelini Interiors

3. Open Showers

Europeans have used an open shower design for years, but we’re finally starting to see this trend emerge in the U.S. Some bathrooms have a glass wall partition, and others are wide open to the room, like the one I designed above. This “wet room” trend takes advantage of every square inch of space. And it offers the look of a fabulous luxe spa.

Big, bold statement wallpaper patterns are coming into their own this year in florals, geometrics, and abstracts.
Kriste Michelini Interiors

4. Statement Wallpaper

Another great bathroom trend is bold wallpaper design. Wallpapers have come a long way, and today’s offerings are more durable and easier to clean or remove. Big, bold patterns are coming into their own this year in florals, geometrics, and abstracts. Powder rooms and bathrooms are a great place to experiment with a little more drama in your home’s design.

Seamless transitions with the floor and walls covered in the same marble or stone are becoming more commonplace.
Kriste Michelini Interiors

5. Seamless Transitions

Tile has always been a popular material in a bathroom because of its durability. But in a twist on that look, I’m seeing more seamless transitions with the floor and walls covered in the same marble or stone. As you can see in my project above, the gorgeous tile flows from the wall to the floor. That’s a perfect look for a room known for using lots of water.

Keep these trends in mind as you plan your own bathroom remodels for 2019.

Please vote for Kriste Michelini in the Luxe RED Awards

Luxe Magazine is hosting its annual Luxe RED Awards, and I’m proud to say that we’re up for a Readers’ Choice Award. For this category, anyone can vote on the Awards site (yes, that means you!). I’m so excited to be in contention for the Classic Interior Design Category.

Voting just opened and you can vote through January 25. Click here to see my entry and to cast your vote. The Luxe RED Awards honor excellence in residential design and I entered an elegant project in Danville, right outside San Francisco. Let’s take a look at the home, and why I think it’s special.

Kriste Michelini Interiors kitchen features a Calacatta Oro marble island with art glass pendant lighting.

The home was designed for a newly blended family of six, including four teenagers. The subtly elegant kitchen features a Calacatta Oro kitchen marble island with art glass pendant lighting. I love the way the crisp white cabinetry complements the warm hickory floors. And the silhouette of those barstools adds great shaping.

Kriste Michelini Interiors living room highlights a mix of neutrals, while the concrete fireplace serves as an architectural focal point in the room.

The living room highlights a mix of neutrals, while the concrete fireplace serves as an architectural focal point in the room. The art brings in a bit of color, but keeps the feeling serene.

Kriste Michelini Interiors entry features a grand staircase which gives drama to the space.

A grand staircase gives drama to the entry, while the white-painted risers and balusters contrast the dark wood treads and hand railing.

Kriste Michelini Interiors dining features a custom box-grid millwork providing a creative backdrop for the abstract art in the dining room.

Custom box-grid millwork provides a creative backdrop for the abstract art in the dining room.

Kriste Michelini Interiors mudroom keeps everyone organized and the house tidy.

The mudroom keeps everyone organized and the house tidy. There are wicker storage bins for each member of the family. And even the dog has his own feeding station. The apron sink is routinely used for gardening and indoor/outdoor projects.

I love this classic contemporary design and can’t wait to show you more soon in my portfolio. In the meantime, I would appreciate your vote in the Luxe RED Readers’ Choice Awards by clicking through here. And thanks in advance!