Monday, April 1, 2024

In the Mood

Mood board in teals and tans

One of the many advantages in hiring an interior designer is their skill and training to select just the right materials from a veritable sea of choices. This month, we asked designers to share a flat lay “Mood Board” illustrating one of their recent projects and to share their thought processes behind them.

Debi Hollis mood board

Available at MDC: Rita O’Brien Interiors fabrics, Pindler fabrics and trim, Beaver Tile and Stone tile, EW Kitchens cabinetry, Lighting Resource Studio gold accessory and metal finish.

“This project is a kitchen and family room renovation. I knew that the client gravitated toward neutrals, so I encouraged them to include some patterns and colors as accents. The interplay between these two elements will help make this project unique. As illustrated in the flat lay, we will utilize gold hardware, and a navy-blue island will stand out among white cabinets. The patterned fabrics will be introduced in the family room as pillows or ottomans, creating a visually interesting space, yet one that still leans more toward a subtle aesthetic overall—honoring the client wishes.” – Debi Hollis, Interior Lifestyles


  • Don't be afraid of color. Even if it’s only used as an accent, it uplifts any room.
  • Blending a dramatic pattern with one that is quieter will provide visual balance. Be open to the benefit patterns bring into your home.
  • A space like this comes together through a thoughtful process of combining the necessary elements of tile, fabric, cabinetry, and metal finishes. Working with a design professional that listens to what you want, while encouraging you to be creative, will help you arrive at a place that you couldn't have imagined!
Jennifer Kasselmann mood board

Available at MDC: Kravet/Lee Jofa/ Brunschwig & Fils multi-brown houndstooth window panel fabric, Designer Furniture Services window treatment hardware, CAI Designs cocktail, end tables, drink tables, chandelier, oyster-colored microfiber ottomans, tufted sofa, two-tone brown leather and textured cream chair, and flame-stitch pattern pillow fabric.

“The client wants to create a living room that seamlessly complements his beautiful outdoor view and makes him feel at one with nature. To help bring the outdoors in and keep your eye moving upwards in the room, I decided we should take the fireplace to the ceiling using hand-cut stone pieces and a rustic custom mantle. A large open chandelier will help to illuminate the space by casting a soft glow on the leather upholstery and warm-toned wood furniture. And, a mix of dark, steel-leg bases, along with metal light fixtures, produces interesting contrast in the space.” – Jennifer Kasselmann, Art by Design Interiors


  • Develop layers of lighting in a space to set the mood by using ceiling fixtures, as well as table and floor lamps. Also, place dimmers on your lighting to enjoy multiple mood settings and uses within the space.
  • Use texture to create appeal and keep the eye moving throughout the space. For my client’s space, we are using wood, stone, metal, leather, hide, and fabric.
  • If you install classic side panel window coverings, make sure you select the right length—they should go all the way to the floor. If custom drapery isn’t in the budget, make sure to buy the next size up, and have the panels hemmed to work in your space.
Sherry Tattrie mood board

Available at MDC: Rozmallin wallcoverings and dining banquette accent pillow fabric, Ann Sacks kitchen backsplash tile, The Ghiordes Knot area rugs, Pindler window cornice fabrics, Tennant & Associates banquette seating fabric, Beaver Tile & Stone powder room tile.

“These materials are for a second home that I designed for Bloomfield Hills homeowners. The clients are drawn to color and wanted a contemporary design to replace the previously transitional residence. We updated the kitchen, living room, dining room, primary bedroom, and powder room. There weren’t any concerns with animals or children to contend with, so when it came to materials, I had a lot of freedom. The clients have a beautiful view from their condo, therefore, we kept the wall coverings neutral, so we didn’t compete with the scenery. I chose materials with splashes of color as well as interesting powder room tile that would be impactful. In a nod to nature, there is a thread of green represented throughout their home. Geometry and texture are also important elements.” – Sherry Tattrie, Sherry Tattrie Interiors


  • Be aware of your surroundings. If you have a beautiful view, use a variety of textures and colors that complement the outdoors.
  • When designing a second home, sometimes there isn’t as great a concern about durability because of infrequent use. This opens material choices to use some “precious” materials that you may not install in a primary home.
Linda Shears mood board

Available at MDC: CAI Designs sofa, swivel chairs, ottoman, drink table, kitchen counter bench, and stools, Pindler sofa fabric, kitchen stool fabric, Rozmallin swivel chairs and ottoman fabric, Lighting Resource Studio kitchen island pendant lights.

“My clients were excited to finally build their dream home on a forested lot that they purchased in a rural area of Brighton. The fireplace stone mimics the stacked stone detail from the exterior of the home, and a reclaimed wood mantel and live-edge foyer bench also echo the exterior setting. To complement these elements of nature and reflect a warm, inviting atmosphere, we used earthy colors and fabrics that hug you when you arrive, and encourage you to stay and relax. We achieved this using terracotta and taupe tones in conjunction with chenille and Ultrasuede fabrics that have such a wonderful tactile hand.” – Linda Shears, Linda Shears Designs


  • Because of the generous size of the kitchen island, we used four stools and a counter bench. I think it adds more interest, and the clients can sit together on the bench at mealtime.
  • To evoke the feeling of nature without the interior space appearing too rustic, include clean-lined furniture, earthy colors, and textures.
  • To create a sense of continuity in the home that directs your eye from one area to an adjoining space—especially with an open floor plan—I employed a technique called color mapping. We did this by repeating the terracotta color used in the great room swivel chairs and ottoman, and again as a secondary fabric on the counter bench and stools in the kitchen.
Lois Haron mood board

Available at MDC: CAI Designs sofa and host chair fabric, side chair vinyl, and dining table finish.

“I’m working on an open dining/living room for a client with four small children under the age of nine. In the dining area, we’ve selected a distressed chestnut dining table and a small buffet because the table will be used for meals and projects, therefore it will get a lot of use. For the kids, we have matching wood side chairs in brown vinyl for easy clean up. The two matching host chairs with arms are brown, cinnamon, gray, and an off-white pattern that is upholstered with performance fabric. In the living room area, we’ve selected two small sofas in a textured beige pattern in a performance fabric too. These materials are ideal for a young family. ” – Lois Haron, Lois Haron Designs


  • Because this area will be used all the time, it’s important to have performance fabrics or fabrics that have Krypton in them. This will keep any spills from penetrating the material and can be easily maintained.
  • When you’re designing a family kitchen space, be sure the chairs you select are sturdy and don’t tip easily. Kids will inevitably climb and squirm around on them.
  • Instead of natural wood, I’m using luxury vinyl flooring from The Ghiordes Knot. This will help with messes and will be easy to maintain.