Hello Modern Kitchen

We all want to have an updated kitchen, right? Even if we never boil water, we still want that cool pot filler or maybe we feel that sudden urge for a steam oven. It’s no wonder that kitchens are the most popular room to remodel according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). But sometimes you just want an updated look using your existing appliances and footprint. This was the case when I was contacted by a client to update his kitchen to reflect a more modern aesthetic. He requested a bar height counter and a more expansive area filled with natural light, but without changing the current layout of his major appliances.

Showing paned windows

Showing wall between kitchen and dining room

To accommodate the client’s requests, our design solution included removing the wall between his existing kitchen and dining room to capture more light from the three existing dining room windows. I know that moving a wall is a little aggressive, but this provided the space for the bar height counter he requested and opened the space for greater entertaining possibilities. A peninsula with new storage drawers serves to delineate the kitchen area from the eating area and creates a place to watch television while enjoying a morning cup of coffee.

Showing removal of the wall between the kitchen and dining room

New bar height counter

We replaced multipaned French doors with single panels of glass, painted the walls a bright white, and installed glass tiles to reflect light.  Durable finishes, including Dekton and engineered quartz, were specified for the kitchen counters, island, and new peninsula. We updated the lighting, and we removed all electrical outlets from the backsplash and placed them underneath the upper cabinets. We designed new cabinet fronts and painted them a dark gray for contrast. The final touches included adding brushed gold hardware and a new sink and faucet.

The kitchen is now a fresh, contemporary space where the homeowner can spend time with family and entertain friends.

Hello Updated and Modern



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Flowers and Interiors

As many of you know, I am arranging a lot of flowers these days. I find that arranging flowers is very relaxing and I love having a beautiful creation to place in my home or a client’s home when I’m finished. Interiors need flowers! Don’t you just love the scent, colors, and textures of a flower arrangement gracing your dining table, your bedroom, or your entry hall? My arrangements run from avant-garde (think crazy sticks and rusted iron) to more traditional classic designs, but they all work in any home setting.


One of my avant-garde arrangements using dried ginger root

I am currently taking Ikebana lessons and loving the whole “less is more” philosophy. I just adore the sculptural look of a Japanese-inspired design. The clean lines and spare floral material of Ikebana make for an interesting contrast in a traditional interior, but also look great in a more contemporary interior.


Sculptural design by floral designer Keith Stanley


I created this simple design for a modern interior

As much as I gravitate to more modern designs, I recently decided that I should get some additional instruction in classic floral design. So, I traveled to San Francisco to take a floral design class from Kiana Underwood at her studio, Tulipina. Her stunning designs are captivating and beautiful, so I was very excited to learn some new techniques. I have a long way to go before my designs are “Tulipina worthy”, but I sure enjoyed my first attempt.


My traditional flower arrangement created as a dining table centerpiece

When thinking about flower arrangements for your home, look for interesting containers or vessels and unusual plant material. Select plant material that has texture and plant material that has soft delicate blooms. It’s all about the combination of colors and textures that make for a statement piece in your home.


Arrangement designed by Ornamentations showing hard and soft textures

Let us know if you would like to have some floral arrangements custom done for your interiors. They are a design statement that provides so much enjoyment.

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Clearly Cool

I have fallen in love with acrylic and lucite furniture! Well, really I am enamored with anything made of acrylic or lucite. I can’t think of a better way to add a little sparkle and modern glamour to a room. Acrylic pieces look great in traditional rooms and add a punch that freshens up a tired-looking space.

Ornamentations Blog - Jonathon AdlerJonathon Adler

This brass and lucite etagere from Jonathon Adler’s Jacques Collection is a super versatile piece. Wouldn’t it look fabulous in a library, living room, nursery, or kitchen? My mind is racing!

Ornamentations Blog - Audrey CurlOrnamentations Design

In this traditional sunroom, I had a custom-sized cocktail table fabricated in acrylic to blend with the chinoiserie feel of the room. Contact us if you need help designing a special piece…or if you’re just looking for a lucite bargain.

3. Ornamentations Blog - High Fashion Home
High Fashion Home

This bench from High Fashion Home is just $469.00. If you’re not a fan of the gray velvet, have it recovered! It works as a coffee table, bench at the end of a bed, or extra seating in a living room.

Ornamentations Blog -

Talk about cool! I love the sophisticated design of this table. It’s like acrylic legos for designers. Hmmm…maybe I am onto something.

Ornamentations Design - Audrey CurlOrnamentations Design

Lastly, one of my favorite ways to use acrylic is as a riser for accessories. In this photo, I used risers under the potted plant sitting on the stack of books and under the celadon Chinese porcelain vases. I have these in several sizes and regularly bring them to photo shoots and clients’ homes when we are arranging accessories. They come in very handy and can be easily fabricated. So start today by adding a simple riser to a collection of accessories and who knows what clearly cool piece you will want next!

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Tray Chic

When did trays become so hip? I mean it used to be that a tray was something from a cafeteria that helped you carry your food to the table or even worse, something the dentist used to line up his tools as you sat in the chair! Now, trays are all the rage. They are making appearances in libraries, kitchens, and bathrooms…they’re all over the place.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations Design J. Randall Powers in Architectural Digest

I have to admit that trays can be very handy when decorating. If you have a group of accessories that you want to feature, then put them on a tray. This is also a great way to unite a lot of small items that might look lost by themselves, like a tray of seashells. Or try using a tray to unify a color scheme for other accessories on your coffee table. This bold orange, white, and black tray ties all the accessories together for an impactful, interesting design.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations DesignImage from Lonny

This subtle tray with marbleized paper was used by Thom Filicia in the 2015 Kips Bay Showhouse. I’m telling you they are hot, hot, hot.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations DesignThom Filicia via Design Chic

Sometimes you need more than one tray to get it just right and everyone knows that two hot pink trays are better than one!

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations Design Image from

Here are my top five favorite trays.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations DesignImage from Urban Retreat Furniture

1. A white plastic tray makes accessories pop and it’s easy to clean if you use it for serving.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations DesignTory Burch

2. An acrylic tray is elegant and looks great in either modern or traditional interiors.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations DesignWest Elm


3. A mirrored tray reflects light and colors from around the room…always a pretty choice.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations DesignImage from

4. A lacquered tray is attractive and of course, a monogram makes it all the better. Did you notice the tray within a tray? They’re multiplying.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations DesignOne Kings Lane

5. A gold tray is striking and looks great with books, glassware, or a pretty flower arrangement. I love the faux skin on this one.

Don’t you want one of each? They really are très chic!


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A Mantel for All Seasons

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations Design - MantelIs your fireplace mantel the focal point in your room? It usually does take center stage. I like to decorate my mantel for each season, but I have a very narrow one, so finding appropriately-sized items can be challenging. In the spring, I place branches of forsythia in Chinese vases.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations Design - Mantel2When summer comes along, I place orchids in the vases and add seashells collected from vacations. I also like to change the pillows on the settee in front of the fireplace to a sea blue. Why keep everything the same all the time?

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations Design - Mantel3Fall is a season that I absolutely love and pumpkins can be found all over my house including the mantel. I like to add gourds, an arrangement of seeded eucalyptus, and my collection of pheasants to create a subtle palette reminiscent of fall’s fading colors.

Audrey Curl - Ornamentations Design - Mantel4At Christmastime, the mantel becomes a sea of silver with a collection of mercury glass ornaments and vases. Silver and gold Christmas trees add height and ceramic angels add a touch of whimsy. Did you notice that I changed the pillows on the settee?

Redecorating the mantel with each new season keeps the room feeling fresh and new. Give it a try!

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Trending: Pop-Up Stores

Pop-up stores are the latest retail trend and they provide a unique shopping experience for the customer. One day you can’t find a Hermes scarf to save your life and the next day a whole store of the silk beauties pops-up.

Image via Fernando Gros

A pop-up store only exists for a short amount of time (so act fast) and in many instances offers an exclusive or unusual product. One such store creating a buzz in San Antonio right now is Blue Print.

Blue Print is a beautiful shop in Dallas that offers custom upholstery, antiques, lighting, art and accessories, BUT… starting today, October 23 and going through Friday, October 25, we can all shop at Blue Print AND we don’t need an airline ticket to do it!! This exciting collection of interior furnishings is waiting for you at 306 Pearl Parkway, Suite 110. So head on over!

I had a sneak peek of the shop last night and wanted to move right in to this setting. I love the Lucite chairs and the fun pops of color. Blue Print is known for their young, fresh approach to decorating and that was evident throughout the store.

This Lucite etagere with brass accents would look great in a dining room, library, living room, etc.

Great artwork and accessories are also available

 Are you ready to pop-on over to Blue Print for some great inspiration and that special piece that you have “just got to have”? Let’s hope that more pop-up stores will start popping up all over San Antonio!

Blue Print in San Antonio 306 Pearl Parkway Suite 110, October 23-24 10-5 and October 25 10-1

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Confessions of an Interior Designer

I think I have a problem. Yes, I admit, I can’t control my creative compulsions. Design ideas constantly haunt my mind and appear everywhere, even when I am trying to relax. Take watching a movie for example– this is difficult for me. I can’t focus on the plot because my mind is focused on the interiors. I am constantly admiring or evaluating the interior and thinking, “Oh, now, that was a good idea” or “Oh, my, that needs to be redone.” I have been known to DVR or rent a movie just so that I can stop and replay a captivating interior scene. I told you I have a problem! But, honestly, who can resist this living room from the movie, Something’s Gotta Give? I love everything about it…nothing needs to be redone.

Images from

My problem extends to shopping as well. I have set out so many times to find a specific piece of furniture, only to lose course and obsess over something that is completely not what I am looking for. The other day, I was shopping for lamps and sofas and this beautiful polished nickel bar cart stopped me in my tracks. I mean, I couldn’t move. I just kept thinking…which of my clients needs this bar cart? Someone has to have this bar cart!


Look at the mirrored top, the beautiful black shelves, the fretwork details on the sides. Ahhh, and it’s so functional. It would look great in a living room stocked as a bar, or in a kitchen with a collection of antique tureens, or in a library loaded with books and collectibles. Can’t you see it? Don’t you want it? I almost walked out the door with this because I had an entire room designed around it in my mind.

This has happened on other occasions as well. My husband and I set off for a long weekend to the W Hotel in Austin, Texas and I could not stop drooling over the dreamy interiors. The design aesthetics of the bars (yes, they have several) and restaurants are so hip!

Image from

I just cannot sit in this bar and focus on anything but the fabulous ceiling, the bold artwork, and the chic decorating. Apologies to my husband!

Image from

Now here’s the restaurant. Don’t you love the velvet upholstered booths, the stylish light fixture, the mirrored panels and the modern wallpaper?

Image from

Unfortunately, I was as equally amused upstairs in the guest rooms as I was downstairs. I actually had my camera and tape measure out! I mean how hip are this chair and side table, and look at the embroidered design on the edge of these draperies. So many distracting details!

I guess it’s a good thing that I am an interior designer and can channel my creative impulses. Well, at least, I try!

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Pillow Talk

Decorative pillows add such a finishing touch to a room. They are the icing on the cake. This is where you can splurge on that oh-so-pricey fabric and trim and not feel too guilty. Your sofa and chairs will thank you for gracing them with that special little pillow or two!

Vintage ribbon from France was used to make the rosette on the striped pillow.

Vintage ribbon from France was used to make the rosette on the striped pillow.  

Vintage braid from France is hand-sewn on this simple silk pillow.

Vintage braid from France is hand-sewn on this simple silk pillow.

As a designer, I love to create custom pillows. I always start with a down pillow form. I consider this a must. Think outside the box–the size of your form does not have to be standard. Many work rooms will create down pillow forms to any dimension. Once the fabric is selected, I then begin to look through my collection of vintage textiles and decorative trims. I am a textiles and trim hoarder! I have pieces that I found everywhere from Round Top, Texas to Paris, France. I’m always looking for vintage ribbon, trim, pieces of needlepoint, and old silk velvets. With fabric and trim in hand, I am ready to make a sketch for the workroom showing all the details. Then I eagerly await the arrival of my little creation.

Some of the antique trim that I have collected from near and far.

Some of the antique trim that I have collected from near and far. 

Outlining the details for the creation of a pillow.

Outlining the details for the creation of a pillow.

This sketch outlines the details for the creation of a pillow using an antique piece of needlepoint found in a Paris flea market. It is important to relay as many details as you can to the work room. More details equal a more successful design.

Special, one-of-a-kind pillows by Ornamentations Design.

The finished pillow is special and one-of-a-kind. See more custom creations below using decorative fabrics available through design showrooms. You will notice that I have a thing for braid!

Special, custom pillows by Ornamentations Design.

Special, custom pillows by Ornamentations Design.

Why not start throwing around some ideas for your own creations?

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Monte Vista Makeover

Monte Vista is a historical district located in San Antonio, filled with beautiful homes built from 1890 – 1930. The area officially became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. This eclectic neighborhood is filled with homes ranging in architectural styles from Queen Anne and Georgian, to Moorish and Victorian. I had the privilege of working on one of these grand homes built in 1929 by the architectural firm of Adams and Adams. The home is of the Spanish Eclectic architectural style and is filled with outstanding ceiling, tile, and ironwork details, just to mention a few of the unique features.

When the owner of this historic home contacted me, she wanted to redo a garden room at the far end of the home. She envisioned a light and airy room where she could read and have her morning coffee. The room had three pairs of French doors leading to the garden as well as four traditional casement windows with charming round windows above each one. Needless to say, the room was flooded with light. Of particular interest was the 14 foot barrel-vaulted ceiling with ornate plaster detail. I could not wait to start this project!

Here is a photo of the room before we started. It was painted a light peach color and one of the windows had been boarded over by the previous owner. You can see the start of repair work to the window on the left.

Monte Vista - Before

First, I designed a furniture plan. The client did not have any furniture that she wanted to use, so new furniture was selected. Next, my assistant and I selected several rugs and brought them to the space for my client’s approval. We then chose the fabrics, furniture, artwork, and lighting. We replaced the chandelier with a beautiful rock crystal chandelier that had a much more open feel than the existing chandelier.

Monte Vista - Chandelier

Next, I designed several options for the window treatments. On a whim, I drew an elevation showing an oriental-inspired cornice and recommended simply using bamboo woven wood blinds on the other windows. To my surprise, this was the drawing my client selected. I was thrilled because I knew that the cornice would add drama and height to the window. Below is a photo taken right after the installation.

Monte Vista - Window

Electrical and carpentry work were done and the room was painted a soft white. Scaffolding was brought in to install the 70 pound chandelier and to paint the ceiling. See the “after” photo below.

Monte Vista - After

It was such a pleasure to work on this magnificent old home. The Monte Vista neighborhood is a true San Antonio treasure!

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Flower Power

Okay, I have such a weakness for fresh flowers and flower arranging. I have to have orchids on my living room coffee table and seasonal flowers in the window at my kitchen sink year round. It’s so easy to purchase potted plants from the grocery store or nursery and they last such a long time. You can’t go wrong with these traditional, fresh plants throughout your home. So, just say “no” to silk flowers!

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