This is the time of year when memories are made and traditions are passed down from generation to generation. Those special traditions make the holidays even more special. Each of our team members wanted to share their traditions with you. Feel free to adopt any of these for your own family this Christmas season.

Photo from Welch House 1900

Kriste’s Tradition

Christmas Eve is my favorite night of the year – getting dressed up, having a formal dinner with my family, and exchanging gifts. It is magical. I love coming up with a gift for everyone. Last year we did 23andme for all of the family members and it was great comparing results.

Ugg Pom Beanie from Nordstrom

Emma’s Tradition

We like to spend one night in December getting hot chocolate, dressing all warm and cozy, and going to the best neighborhoods to view all the beautiful Christmas lights. The beanie above would be perfect for a chilly night.

Get a great recipe for guacamole here

Danielle’s Tradition

Every Christmas Eve our family orders tamales and pairs them with our homemade guacamole while watching The Santa Clause.

Get your own string of advent stockings/bags on Etsy

Crys’s Tradition

I have a string of 25 stockings that I use as an advent calendar for my kids. I buy a bunch of small items and ornaments or candies and stuff a stocking each night. It’s their elf-on-the-shelf treat.

Get the rules to the cellophane game here

Marcie’s Tradition

One of our favorite traditions to play on Christmas Eve is the Saran Wrap ball game. I start collecting a bunch of small, silly gifts (candy, gum, quarters, socks) throughout the year and then roll them in cellophane until it turns into a giant ball.  You can find the game instructions here, but in a nutshell, you put oven mitts on your hands, set a timer, and each person gets 30 seconds to peel off as much cellophane on the ball as they can in hopes of unwrapping as many gifts as possible. It is so funny and a great way to involve both adults and the littles as everyone loves it!

Elsie pumps from J.Crew

Linda’s Tradition

As far back as I can remember growing up, when my dad’s Christmas plaid blazer came out I knew the holidays and fun occasions had arrived! Investing in a a great statement piece of plaid for your wardrobe never goes out of style and you will always have something festive to wear for the holidays. Currently I’m loving my plaid Christmas pumps and a plaid silk blouse (both J.Crew). While I’m not planning to wear them together, these pieces work dressed up or down for the holiday season. And like my dad’s Christmas sport coat of my childhood memories, repeating a classic piece every year might one day invoke fond memories for my own children.

What traditions do you celebrate with your family at Christmas? Let us know in the comments below. Have a very merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

The holidays are full of excitement and celebration, but they can also be stressful. To keep the emphasis on family and fun, my team and I have some great shortcuts and tips that we use at home. Try these holiday hacks to keep your Christmas celebrations running smoothly.

Kriste’s Holiday Hack

I always purchase a ton of paperwhites planted in terra cotta pots from the Flower Mart. I place them down the center of the dining table, use them to line the mantels, and place them throughout the kitchen. They last the entire holiday season! And your house will smell amazing.

Gift tags from Etsy

Linda’s Holiday Hack

I love to keep a small stash of hostess gifts ready for the holiday season. Last year I bought ornaments at an after-Christmas sale at one of my favorite stores in my husband’s hometown of San Marino. I’m excited to gift these this year! While great on their own, I plan to tie them to a bottle of wine or bubbly for the lucky recipient.

Planner from Sugar Paper

Marcie’s Holiday Hack

Something I learned from Kriste…make a spreadsheet! It helps keep me organized and keep tabs on who I have bought gifts for and who is left on my list. I love to use a planner like the one above from Sugar Paper to keep it all together.

Gorgeous grosgrain ribbons from Sugar Paper

Crys’s Holiday Hack

Keep a ton of good fabric ribbon from PaperSource or Sugar Paper on hand – and some in your car! it turns a simple (and unwrapped) gift or bottle of wine into something special.

Danielle’s Holiday Hack

Every year when my family and I get a Christmas tree, I always look for the extra branches they cut off the trees to use as decoration on the Christmas dining table. Pair that with pinecones and candles and you have a simple and elegant table that smells wonderful.

Emma’s Holiday Hack

Before entertaining, I like to set a simmer pot in the kitchen with cranberries, oranges, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and vanilla bubbling away in a bit of water. It’s a great way to make your house smell just like Christmas.

Try these ideas to have a magical and stress-free holiday season. Merry Christmas!

There’s nothing more inviting than a well-styled bed. You’ve seen them in magazines – the gorgeous looks that you wish you had in your own bedroom. It’s easier than you think to achieve the same perfection. Wouldn’t it be incredible to have an oasis like that at the end of the day? And a fantastic bed in the guest room is also the very best way to welcome guests. So here are my top 5 tips for creating a lovely and well-styled bed in your home.

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

1. Luxe Layers

The most important rule of thumb for a great-looking bed is to buy the best bedding you can afford. Choose the sheets that feel right for you – I love a very soft and tailored cotton sheet. Then layer on a cotton blanket, a big fluffy duvet, and a second blanket either at the end of the bed or on a nearby bench. The more layers, the better. It not only gives you a lot of choices depending on how warm or cool the room is, but it also creates a luxurious look that makes you want to curl up and sleep in.

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

2. Add in Texture

As you’re choosing the layers for your bed, be sure to add items that have different textures. I like to use velvet pillows, a cashmere throw, and a tufted headboard. They create the sumptuous feeling of luxury.

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

3. Don’t Skimp on Pillows

When it comes to pillows, the more the merrier. That doesn’t mean you want to have dozens of small decorative pillows – they should all be useful. Square euro pillows are great if you like to read in bed, and a kidney or roll shaped pillow is perfect for your lower back or to support your arms. Add 3-4 layers of pillows for the most luxe look.

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

4. Use a Throw

Throws are the perfect accessory for a well-dressed bed. They can be wrapped around your shoulders or used as an extra blanket. Having one casually tossed at the end of the bed also gives the room a less formal and more welcoming look.

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

5. Neutrals with a Pop of Color

Neutrals like whites and creams are classic for bed linens, and that palette gives a crisp and tailored look for the bed. I also like to use a pop of color – it doesn’t have to be a bright, though. Choose a complementary color to the room’s decor. It could be a bright pink that acts as a counterpoint, a blue from the center of the pattern on a chair, or increasingly deeper tones of taupe.

Use these tips to create a bed that offers a luxurious boutique hotel look in your own home.

One of the biggest mistakes you can make in a dining room is to use the wrong shape of table. There’s nothing worse than having to squeeze against the wall in a dining room just to seat yourself at the table. The choice of which shape is right is driven by the size and shape of your dining room, how many guests you plan to host, and how often you entertain. Let’s take a look at some of the most popular dining table shapes and where they work best.

Interior by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

1. Round

A round dining table works best in square spaces or a rectangular room that isn’t terribly long. I like this shape because it facilitates conversation between everyone seated, as opposed to just those at your end of the table. You can also always squeeze an extra chair or two around them, so unexpected guests are easily welcomed. It can feel intimate rather than cramped.

Interior by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

2. Rectangle

A rectangular table is perfect for larger rooms and for people who often entertain on a lavish scale. This is the classic dining table shape, unchanged over centuries, so it also feels more formal. And with extra table leaves, you can seat a lot of people around this shape. The only limit to the number of guests and seats is the length of the room. I’ve seen rectangular tables that seat as many as 20. The general rule of thumb is you should be able to have at least 36 inches of space between the table and the wall, so keep that in mind.

Interior by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

3. Oval

An oval table like the one above gives you the best of both worlds between a round table and a rectangle. Oval table shapes have a contemporary look and are great in transitional or modern spaces. They are very versatile, too, giving you plenty of space to squeeze in one more chair when needed.

Interior by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

4. Square

A square table works best where space is limited. You see them in restaurants frequently for that very reason – they make efficient use of space to seat two or four. That’s also the square table’s drawback, the largest one only seats 8. That makes this a great shape for a breakfast nook or small dining room.

Interior by Kriste Michelini. See the full project here.

5. The Rounded Rectangle

Another interesting hybrid shape includes the rounded rectangle – basically a rectangular shape without the sharp corners. This has the same pros and cons as a rectangular table, but the rounded edges make it easy to move around if you’re going to have a tight fit with a lot of guests. It also removes a bit of formality from the design of the table.

Use these ideas to select the perfect table for your dining room. And to see more table designs and dining room ideas, click here.

As we move into the first full week of fall, there’s change in the air. As seasons transition, it’s the perfect time to reevaluate your style, both in fashion and in your home. I’ve had my eye on some gorgeous materials and trends for fall interiors. Let’s take a look:

Gwyneth Boucle Chair from CB2

Boucle

Not only is this fabric incredibly soft and cozy for fall, but it also upholsters beautifully. You’ll see boucle popping everywhere this season.

Interior by Kriste Michelini

Bold Tile Patterns

Prints always seem to be bolder on the runways in the fall, and I’m definitely loving statement-making tile patterns now, too. These looks are perfect in bathrooms and kitchens, on backsplashes and floors.

Bedroom by Amber Interiors

Oversized Tables

Scale is key in interior design, and large headboards are perfectly balanced with custom oversized nightstands and tables. The bonus is that they also provide extra storage for bedrooms.

Kitchen by Valerie Wheeler Interiors

Feminine Colors

Soft blush, dusty pink, and a delicate bronze are some of the feminine colors that are perfect for this season. Just a little goes a long way, with the colors showing up on walls, an artfully draped throw, on an accent pillow, or even just in a floral arrangement.

Bathroom by Studio McGee

Traditional Florals

Continuing that feminine trend, classic floral patterns are back, including chintz and cabbage roses. I like the traditional look reinterpreted in not-so-traditional colors, like black and white.

Interior by Kriste Michelini

Clear Designs

Acrylic furniture is so versatile – I use designs made of acrylic in so many of my projects because they’re visually light and they work well in both traditional and modern rooms.

Dining room by Lark & Linen

Cozy Comfort

Fall brings cooler, crisp nights – it’s the perfect season for cozy comfort. So that means it’s time to bring in a soft and warm rug, or a sumptuous chair that’s perfect for curling up in, or even a deep-seated dining chair for holiday dinners.

Living room by Amber Interiors

Light-Colored Floors

We want to make the most of the light when the days get shorter, and this fall I have my eye on pale-colored floors like light oak. These lighter tones also create a great transition from casual to luxurious without sacrificing comfort.

Pendant from Shades of Light

Natural Designs

I like to design my clients’ spaces with one-of-a-kind and artisanal items, especially those that are created with natural materials like jute, clay, rice paper, and wood. These organically chic items are showing up in fall trend reports from European trade shows, and are au courant for those in the know.

It isn’t only the leaves that change for fall – your decor can, too. Make the most of the season in your home!

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.