Happy Summer Everybody!  I took a mini-hiatus from my social media responsibilities…..I hope you’ll forgive my short absence.  I’ve been out and about looking for new inspiration for client projects and custom furniture designs.  And now, I am in the throes of new bathrooms and kitchens amongst other refreshers and remodels.  I’m having lots of fun!  Curiously, one question I get asked so often from clients is “will this _____ be in style in ___many years?”

Avocado-green-appliancesLet’s chat for a moment about what style really means and its significance.  Perfect example: the color avocado….people say it was “in style” in the 70’s and “recently” made a comeback to be found in homes, furnishings and fabrics.  Let me make a very bold political statement here: if you like the color avocado, then you should design with avocado.
KachinaInterior4The Southwestern style with its white washed furniture, peach and sea foam green tones complete with dead animal skulls was all the rage in the 80’s.  If you love Navajo rugs and painted sunsets, then we will find a way to incorporate those elements into your environment.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 11.54.57 PMToday, industrial design is big in residential and commercial interiors.  You’ll find exposed brick, lots of concrete, steel beams and open ducting, and fantastic light fittings.  If you like your Edison bulbs exposed, then we will find a way to show them off!  Plain and simple!
People…style is what you like, not what others tell you works  Now, if you doubt your style or don’t believe you have any at all (and that is common enough) then that’s a horse of another color.  That’s why you consult a professional like me to advise and guide you. Interior design is about building a space that creates your desired set of emotions.  Be inspired by places you’ve been, people you’ve met and objects you love.  We define who we are in many ways and one of them is by the fabulous way we each contribute to the living environment we inhabit.  We don’t just have to stay within the confines of someone else’s box of what is “in style.”  To this day, I’ve always found a way to incorporate my client’s taste and passion for a fabric, piece of furniture or other object even when I don’t love it in the grand scheme.  At the end of the day, my clients live and work in their spaces after I go home at night.

So I say, fly your flag and don’t be bound by what’s in style and what’s not.  If you loved oil rubbed bronze and your neighbor, co-worker or friend tells you stain nickel is really what’s going on, you stick to your guns on the metal of your choice.  That’s why I define my design style when asked as eclectic because I love to incorporate so many styles without rules. And might I add for all you avocado lovers out there, go any week of the year to your local flea market and guess what you’ll see everywhere?
A V O C A D O! 
Don’t forget to bring your weighted change purse so you can afford to pay for it too!

Spruce Up for Summer

Summer is just about here…the weather is slowly heating up, the kids are out of school and the traffic…well…in LA, there is always traffic!  Just like the notion of decorating for fall holidays or spring cleaning, summertime is a terrific opportunity for refreshing your home, garden and office with some new pieces that reflects this relaxed time of the year. You don’t have to spend a fortune to switch up your space.  Here are E I G H T (8) ideas to give you some inspiration for a season of fun, frolic and enjoyment for those long summer days and nights!


Orange is a fabulous color to add to your scheme in a kitchen or communal space.  I love to mix it with chocolate brown, navy or icy blue, red or pink.  If you have a neutral color couch or chair, these could be a great pop.  If they are made with indoor/outdoor fabric like Sunbrella, throw them on your favorite Adirondack chair on the deck or grass.

image006Speaking of long summer nights, why not add a glow to your deck, patio or estate with some unusual rattan ball string lights?  You can wrap them around your umbrella, string them through your ficus trees or tuck them under the eaves on your home.  Whatever way you use them you’ll love the added light and the shadows they create against any surface.  Why should they only be for a special event?  I keep them up year round!

Ever wonder what to do with glass jars from jam, mustard or Tequila?  Reuse, repurpose and recycle!  I love the idea of taking Kerr canning jars or something like the ones to the left and applying summer color paint and a sealer.  Voila…you have great vases for cut flowers from your garden or a friendly neighbor’s discards!  You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to create these great pieces…really!  Contact me and I’ll tell you how!

PICTURES….when is the last time you downloaded a photo off your camera or iPad and printed it out?  Most people don’t keep physical photo albums anymore but have them digitally on their hand held devices or computer.  I still love to walk into someone’s home or office and glance at their collection of memories whether it is on a wall, a desk or any other surface.  Aaron Bros is having their One Cent frame sale this week…..now is a perfect time to refresh or update photos of your favorite people, vacation or pet.  If framed pictures aren’t your thing, a carosel that holds photos, postcards or other pieces of ephemera is a fantastic way to display what makes you smile!

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Plates are something that I love……..I collect sets of them and nothing speaks more to me than a fabulous John Derian plate!  I’ve been doing decoupage myself for so many years but master of all beautiful things in this art form is John Derian (johnderian.com). Drink a few less lattes for a month and treat yourself to one of his pieces.  It will look stunning on a bookshelf, table top or mantel, not to mention bedside, desk or kitchen counter.  While he is my all-time favorite artist of this genre, there are many other people that do beautiful work as well.  If you want to run the DIY route, I can help you there too.  Just reach out and I’ll gladly point you in that direction.

Curb appeal is an important factor in home appreciation whether you want someone else to love it or it’s for your own enjoyment.  A great way to add something different to the front of your home is your street address numbers.  There are many clever ways to make this simple change but here are just a few!

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I don’t know about you but my hands are always dry.  I touch so many surfaces each day and wash them frequently so I am always looking for something to soothe and moisturize them after each wash.  Rubbing oil on them is great but then I’m greasy for a spell…that’s not a winning solution.  So, I have found a few terrific creams and lotions which I apply generously all the time!  Place a great looking duo like one of these next to your kitchen sink and your counter will be happy and so will your hands!

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image051Last, but certainly not least, some eye candy.  No, I’m not speaking of a full size poster of your favorite movie star.  I mean something that speaks to you and creates an emotional response.  Art comes in many forms and is available at all budget levels. So what if you can’t afford a Monet, Picasso or Agam? Seek out one of the many talented artists that create beautiful work in many styles.  You can purchase a small 8 x 10” print to a 30 x 40” unframed canvas.  Why not look at abstracts, pen & ink, acrylic landscapes, black & white photography, water colors & more.  I love supporting the community of talented folks on Etsy (etsy.com) and have been quite successful in finding striking pieces for our home, my office and that of my clients and friends.

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You can follow me on Pinterest anytime to get inspiration of beautiful things and ways to rethink your space.  Of course, I am happy to help you with a few hours of refreshing to find ways to use what you have and maybe rethink something old into something new again.

Happy beginning of summer to all!



Welcome to what I hope is the new and improved website for Elle Ryan Design.  I wish I could keep up with photos of my great clients and their beautiful homes, gardens and offices but a girl has to do her day job too, right?  The plan is to blog more regularly about all things design related…that could include current or past projects, new trends on the marketplace, hot products or just random things of beauty!


I want to start with lighting….and more specifically…what are we going to do now that incandescent bulbs are going the way of the past?  If you haven’t heard, let me give you the Reader’s Digest version.  Back in 2007, the federal government (in its spare time) deemed the generic light bulb with its yellowed, warm glow to be the enemy of energy conservation.  As lighting industry standards were rewritten, the first phase began in 2012 as we said good-bye to 100-watt bulbs.  Last year, 75-watt bulbs and as of the first of this new year, the 40 and 60-watt are now a thing of the past as well.  Gone means no longer manufactured in the United States.  They can still be bought in stores as long as they can be found but the shelves have filled up quickly with more energy saving options that will replace them.

So…what are these options and how can we tell what will work best in our environments?  I will spend the next few blog posts talking about the options and how you can still have the kind of lighting you desire with less heat and ultimately more savings in your pocket.

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Honestly, technology is an amazing thing and with lighting sources, it is no exception.  Only a few years ago, the price for alternative lamping was pretty steep but prices have fallen quite well for CFLs, LEDs and halogen sources.  Even the incandescent bulbs that are around are more efficient and not quite as warm in a space.  The good news is that our own homes and offices will benefit from this technology in more ways that one! Next…we’ll discuss the difference between the three main other options discussed above.  In the mean time, if you aren’t in the room, turn off the light!