i’m ready for you, 2017!

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!

how design trends are like the weather

October 14th, 2016

With High Point Market starting next week, I’ve got the latest trends on my brain. Do you read the trend reports that flood the web after High Point Market? I do! It’s always interesting to see what other people chose as the hot “new” looks. Those looks usually overlap with what I’ve noticed, but it’s nice to see the trends through someone else’s eyes. Here I am at April’s market, checking out the new Carina chair from Brentwood Classics. I heart a perfectly scaled chair, and especially one that swivels! What people outside the furniture industry often don’t always understand, however, is that most of these trends are rarely “new.”

Traci at Brentwood Classics in Carina Swivel ChairI liken the trend cycle to a rainstorm. At the very beginning, you see just a dark cloud in the sky and there’s a “mood.” You know, when it just feels like rain. A few scattered drops start to fall from the sky, and you’ll encounter one or two. Pretty soon, however, the rain grows steady and you’re bound to get wet. Are you still with me here? Sometimes the rain (or trend) dries up — but sometimes it becomes a monsoon. Now you are soaked! The trend now appears in every big box store from Target (closer to the beginning of the trend) to off-price retailers (closer to the end of the trend). By this time, however, you can see a glimmer of sunlight. There’s another (and sometimes the opposite) trend on the horizon.

A perfect example from recent years? The continued love affair with all things brass or gold. It’s not a new trend, but it’s not going away any time soon, either. But you know what? Pewter and silver finishes showed up again — when you couldn’t find a cool finish to save your life (or your room) several markets ago. That’s why the best designers are able to mix and match; it keeps your overall look from being stuck in one trend.

Brentwood Classics Bae FabricMy favorite “trends” are the ones that result in functional improvement — furniture that looks just as good (if not better!), but now functions at a higher level than before. Take sustainably harvested hardwoods, for example. Furniture frames made from sustainably harvested hardwood are no different than those frames made from traditionally harvested wood, but with less adverse impact on the Earth. Now that’s a trend I can get behind!

Brentwood Classics Balthazar Chair in Bae PebbleThat’s also why I’m such a fan of the “trend” toward performance fabrics. The look and feel of today’s performance fabrics are light years ahead of what most people expect! The idea of using outdoor fabrics on indoor furniture used to give me the heebie-jeebies, because those fabrics were rough and scratchy. Functional improvement? Well, maybe — but it sacrificed both comfort and appearance. But now?? I am soooooo happy to report that those rough and scratchy days are long gone! I am absolutely bonkers over the new Crypton fabrics. They look and feel amazing. No matter the desired color, pattern, or texture — there’s a perfect Crypton choice for every room. I particularly like the linen texture of Bae, shown above on Brentwood ClassicsBalthazar chair. Bae is one of the new Crypton fabrics that Brentwood Classics added to their stellar lineup of fabrics, and I couldn’t be happier about it!

Brentwood Classics Crypton Home Granbury FabricRounding out the super-versatile Crypton collection for Brentwood Classics are Granbury, an almost-heathered chenille, and Henry, which is velvet. Of course, each of these fabrics is offered in multiple colorways, so you can choose the best look for every project.

Brentwood Classics Henry Fabric Crypton HomeDreamy, right? The real win-win, of course, is when these “trends” are adopted by trusted vendors like Brentwood Classics. That way, you know your purchase is far more than just a passing fad, but instead a high-quality investment that will work beautifully in your home for years to come. Now that’s my kind of trend.

What’s your take on trends?

All photos belong to moi. In Spring 2015, High Point Market paired me with Brentwood Classics as a sponsored blogger; I enjoyed them so much that we’ve worked together ever since!