Traci Zeller Designs

inspiration à la française, y’all

Tuesday, October 17th, 2017

Villandry France July 2017Bonjour, style lovers! If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that I spent most of the summer in France — and managed to squeeze in a quick trip at the end of September.

Glossy Parisian DoorI truly don’t think I’ll ever get tired of wandering through Paris discovering charming shops, unbelievable gardens, buildings with the most incredible architectural details … and don’t even get me started on the Parisians’ fondness for boldly painted, gorgeously glossy front doors!
Traci Zeller Dallas Showhouse RenderingYou may also have seen snippets of the guest bedroom I designed in Traditional Home magazine’s 2017 Dallas Showhouse. When I was asked to design a bedroom, I knew immediately that I would draw upon French influences for the room’s design. In keeping with everything I love most about French culture, I wanted my design to land right at the intersection of fashion, art, and design – all of which unapologetically celebrate “beauty for beauty’s sake.”

John Galliano for DiorIn the end, my goal was to use traditional silhouettes and patterns in a modern, fashion-forward way with amazing artistry and craftsmanship. The end result would then be a classically French couture-inspired interpretation of nature. As a lifelong fan of French haute couture, I can’t help but be influenced by the unmatched workmanship and inventiveness it embodies.

Christian Dior Exhibit Musee des Arts DecoratifsI especially love the way Parisian couturiers translate the timeless themes of birds and flowers into modern fashion. Can you blame me, then, for being heavily influenced by the recent Christian Dior collections by fabulous designer Maria Grazia Chiuri? I mean, what style loving girl wouldn’t fall in love with her almost fairytale-like interpretations of chic floral themes?!

As Christian Dior himself said, “True luxury needs good materials and good workmanship; it will never succeed unless its roots are profoundly embedded in sober influences and honest traditions.” While I always build my clients’ designs on those foundational elements, I think they’re making a particularly distinct appearance in the showhouse space.

Plaster MirrorsMany of the items I’ve included in the design – like the handmade plaster mirrors and a rare collection of vintage lace samplers I unearthed at the Paris flea markets – are utterly French, both in their perfectly executed complexity, as well as their actual origin. The room’s color palette is centered around black, white and green in shades that range from jade to loden, with hints of flax and gold. The high-contrast colors lend it an air of French drama.

Of Rare Origin Lovebird Earrings Green WhiteThe absolute chicest, most stunning pair of Of Rare Origin’s aviary earrings is what first inspired me to incorporate deep greens, not to mention the nature theme. The earrings’ designers say they approach jewelry as “wearable poetry.” Such a French notion!

Canopy Designs Branches A ChandelierYou can definitely see the influence of the earrings in the room’s chandelier, don’t you think?
Stephen Wilson Gucci Tropical ParadiseEver since I found artist Stephen Wilson’s Luxury Series, I’ve been dying to use a piece of his drop-dead gorgeous art in one of my designs. His process is absolutely fascinating. Stephen uses the packaging employed by couture houses as his base and, through embroidery, laser cutting, and appliqué techniques, creates a unique piece of art. The results are nothing short of divine (and the fact that Stephen’s studio is right here in Charlotte is a total bonus for this local-business-loving girl!). How incredible is the one-of-a-kind green and black Gucci piece I used above the dresser? Pictures simply can’t do this beauty justice!

Are you feeling très inspired yet? Are you ready to see my French inspiration come to life deep in the heart of Texas? The showhouse closes on Sunday, October 22, 2017, so the clock is ticking. If you just can’t make it to “the Big D” to see the showhouse in person, no worries. Traditional Home will be publishing pictures of the whole home at some point, so keep up with the magazine each month.

Au revoir, y’all!

All photos by moi, except product photos via Of Rare Origin, Canopy Designs and Stephen Wilson. 



i’m ready for you, 2017!

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Ahem. Is this thing on?!?! {throat clearing} Testing 1-2-3, testing 1-2-3.

Y’all, I really miss blogging. I know it doesn’t look that way, given my lack of posts, but truly there’s no other creative outlet quite like this one. J’adore Instagram — follow me over there, s’il vous plaît? — but it’s not the same as being able to explore a topic in greater detail here. My 2017 goal is to post more often. I’m thinking at least once a month, but I’d love to make it once a week. Fingers and toes crossed.

Zeller Holiday Card 2016To fill you in on my personal life, thankfully things have stabilized with my mom. My sister and I still bear significant responsibility for her care, but we have moved her into a community where she is safe and more of her needs are met. I am very grateful for the progress we made in a short period of time. It wasn’t easy, but it’s done.

Bubbles and Jingles Playing CardsMy kiddos are still growing up way too fast, and we enjoyed another (last?) magical Christmas. Our elves Bubbles and Jingles were quite entertaining!

Sheikh Zayed Grande Mosque Marble Inlaid FlooringOur November trip to Dubai and Abu Dhabi was *ah-may-zing.* I hope you heard that in my “I’m talking to friends from home” deepest Southern accent. I was blown away by so much of what I saw, but hands down, the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is the most incredible thing I’ve ever seen in my whole life. The mosque has the level of craftsmanship you see in the oldest European buildings but with added benefit of modern knowledge. Look at those marble inlaid floors!

Should I start a #tracitravels blog series? There’s so much more I’d love to share about the United Arab Emirates, so I suppose I could start with a throwback post or two! In the meantime, I highly recommend you follow @laura_of_arabia on Instagram. She’s an interior designer and native Canadian who makes her home in Dubai — and getting the inside scoop from her was HUGE. Hello, she’s a former Middle East Young Designer of the Year, so you know her eye is impeccable. Merci mille fois, Laura!

Gracias MadreIn January, I’ve already been in southern California for a bit of business and a bit of fun. Hello, vegan lunches and cannabis cocktails. Seriously. For the record, I stuck with sparkling water. #goodytwoshoesalert #andproudofit

Union Station Architectural DetailI took the train from Union Station, which happened to be (a) super convenient and (b) right up my alley, considering that it is on the National Register of Historic Places. Built in the 1930s, Union Station has been called the “Last of the Great Railway Stations.” Gosh, and it is a great railway station. The building combines elements of the Art Deco, Mission Revival and Streamline Moderne architectural styles — which meant I was in heaven. Just look at the feet on this schedule board, not to mention the tile behind it! Hmmmm, perhaps I should put an architectural spin on those #tracitravels posts?

Traci Zeller Designs Living Room 2 RenderingOf course, the real reason you are reading this post is our shared passion for interior design … and I think you’ll love my latest projects! Here’s a sneak peek of what I’ve dubbed #BallantyneInspired. Our delightful client plans to invest in an original Anne Nielson angel painting, which inspired the somewhat ethereal feel of this room.

Skyecroft New ConstructionI’m also knee-deep in new construction, which is fun, fun and more fun. I’m super pumped about what’s in store for this gorgeous Skyecroft home we have underway! It’s such a privilege to be able to shape a home from the ground up. When the architect, interior designer and homeowners work as a team, the results are phenomenal! I feel strongly about the connection between the architecture and the interiors. I love collaborating with talented architects, and I view my job as helping them realize the full vision for the homes they’ve created.

Neel Reid Gastonia StairwellIn my book, it’s the same for historic buildings. The architect’s original vision is still there, and now my job is to help new homeowners interpret that vision in a way that works for modern lives. I worked with a young family on a gorgeous 1920s Neel Reid estate, and let me just say — I see this staircase In. My. Dreams. If they ever sell that house, you’ll have to hold me back!

Whew. Should I keep going? There’s so much more to talk about! After seven (!!) years of blogging, I guess I still have a lot to say. À bientôt!