One with Design

Creating unique spaces for your home

Karla Mireles  is an Interior Designer from Montreal based in Dallas Texas. One with Design, offers unique and personalized spaces for your home or business.

Who said long distance relationships don't work?

I met Jessy through my One with Design Facebook page, a loyal fan she is! She had gotten in touch with me a few times regarding design queries about her home. Although eager to tackle many decor projects in her house, the one that could no longer wait was her young boys shared bedroom.

By the time she contacted me, my family and I were getting ready to move from Montreal to Queretaro Mexico. Shortly after braking the news to her, I thought why not try to work on her boys bedroom from a distance? I could be in touch with her through emails and pictures of the bedroom.

A cozy bedroom for two young boys

A cozy bedroom for two young boys

First, she sent me pictures of the space and explained what I needed to consider to complete the project. I came up with a plan for the boys bedroom and sent her all the attachments, pictures, and info she needed to begin putting the room together.

As she progressed with the tasks in her sons bedroom, she would send me pictures of all the changes she made. It was months of going back and forth between questions, doubts, suggestions, and decisions taken between the two of us.

Somehow, with my ideas and her execution we were able to create an inviting, personalized, cozy, and functional bedroom for her adorable boys. Proving that some long distance relationships CAN work!

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4 things to keep in mind when creating a kid's space

Getting ready to do your first child's nursery or redo your now 6 year old's bedroom? A child's space, whether it be a bedroom or a playroom, can be one of the funnest projects in your house to tackle. I really enjoy creating spaces for kids because it's the perfect place to experiment with textures, colors, wall treatments, and SUBTLE themes...

When meeting with a client for a project that involves a child' space, I always like to meet the kids I'm designing for as well. I try to get a sense of how they use their room, what their interests are, and what colors they're attracted to the most. Ofcourse, the predictable answers are pretty much always the same... Pinks and purples for girls along with princesses and fairies, and for boys it's usually always blues and greens mixed with some mode of transportation or dinosaurs. My job is to try to incorporate the child's likes without allowing it to look like princesses and cars vomited all over the walls, bedding, rugs or window treatments.

One of the first things I look at when undertaking a project of this sort is making sure there is sufficient and functional storage for the kids. I want to make sure every Lego block, Polly Pocket, book, or crayon has a home and is organized accordingly. This allows the child to access his/her belongings more easily, slowly making them more and more autonomous and responsible when it comes to the spaces they use. It also makes cleaning up and picking up a whole lot easier and funner. Best of all keeping mom and dad happy!

IKEA storage solutions

A kid's space is the perfect place to have fun and take chances! You might not be very open to the idea of wallpapering your living room ceiling, but why not do it in your little one's room? As I have said before, I always like to use a "jumping off" reference for any space. There are some great fabric and wallpaper options out there that are sure to inspire even the most doubtful parent (also consider the ones not in the sections geared towards kids). Why not go for something bold and colorful, keeping the safe "go-to" brown and beige for garage storage.

Here, I was inspired by the beautiful colors of the humming bird and the bright shades of the floral cushion

Here, I was inspired by the beautiful colors of the humming bird and the bright shades of the floral cushion

In this nursery, we applied the wallpaper on the inside part of the 1920's original moldings

Now that I've got my room organized and I've chosen a fun jumping off point, I can start thinking about personalizing the space... What will make it different and uniquely his or hers? I always like to incorporate something from the parent's childhood if possible. Be it a pair of toddler skates that belonged to daddy, a printed image of mom's favorite book when she was young, or grandma's knitted blanket passed along from generation to generation. These are the unexpected elements that tell a story and highlight how special this little place is for them.

Displaying the girls colorful art really personalizes their space and gets them involved

A printed copy from a page of mom's favorite book as a child adorns the bookshelf

Lastly, I try to make sure the rooms I design for children are as timeless as possible, allowing the space to grow with them. Lets face it, our little ones grow really fast, and it can be challenging and costly to try and keep up with their ever-changing taste. So instead, I opt to choose all of my "fixed" elements, such as wallpapers, furniture, and window treatments based on how well it will stand the test of time... Ask yourself this, how long is this Lightning McQueen toddler bed going to last before he doesn't like it anymore...  As for paint colors, bedding and accessories, those can easily and inexpensively be changed every few years to adapt to your little ones likes.

This 4 year old will be able to enjoy his room for years to come. All the "fixed" elements in this space (wallpaper, antique bed, bean bag, window treatment, rug, and side table) will surely stand the test of time.

A paradise that inspires

My family and I recently moved to Mexico for my husband's work. My Canadians friends back in Montreal would probably say I chose the best winter to escape from...

Aside from great weather conditions all year long, this gorgeous country has given us the opportunity to savor a unique culture, delicious food, colorful markets, and beautiful architecture. And best of all, there is inspiration at every corner.

Pinatas at the local market

When working on a project, I always like to start off with a "jumping-off" point, something I can turn to when choosing fabrics, furniture, accents, and overall feel for the room. This "jumping-off" element can come in many different forms; such as a colorful fabric, an object my clients want me incorporate into their space, a photograph, a painting...

As a designer I'm always looking to be inspired. I let my eyes wonder while walking through the streets of Mexico, allowing my senses to take in snapshots of what surrounds me. Inspiration can come from anywhere; from an assortment of flowers at the market, from a gorgeous building facade, from an intricate tile mosaic, or from a combination of colors and textures found in textile.

Casa Luna in San Miguel de Allende

Here, the combination of the warm and gorgeous red tone of this facade against the colder grey of the stone around the windows and flooring creates a perfect harmonious balance. This could easily be translated into any space, by doing an accent wall in this same deep red and leaving everything else in neutral grey. Or perhaps, having the walls painted in the same tones found in the stone flooring and accenting the neutral scheme with pops of the red and black colors in cushions, rug or art.

Taking a minute to tare your eyes off your cell phones and portable devices can prove to be one of the most gratifying and inspiring things you can do... If I hadn't done so myself, I would have missed the opportunity to take this picture.

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It's all in the details...

Focusing on the details when finalizing a space is everything. Dressing up your bookshelves, creating a special vignette with a treasured collection, or personalizing a gallery wall with relics from your own childhood are all elements that make your space unique.

Daddy's toddler skates and a tiger to represent his son's Chinese sign

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When creating a vignette, always consider layering your pieces and objects in order to give your display visual depth and interest. And when you can afford to do so, include fresh flowers!

Layering a display

Playing with the height and sizes of the items you're displaying is a must. Here, we have the graphic wallpaper in white and blue, a colorful book cover, smaller books stacked in order to prop up one of the lamps, and two different sized Buddhas... Every chosen object plays a role in this display, some more subtle than others, but all of equal importance.

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Who knew books weren't just for reading! Yes, I have been guilty of buying books regardless of their content or subject... Sometimes I'm drawn into a book because of the color or detail of its cover. I particularly enjoy using vintage hard cover books for their uniqueness, enhancing any vignette or bookshelves. You can usually find a wide selection of vintage treasures at second hand stores for about 1$ to 3$ a book, depending on the size. Just as I would with any other element of a display, I like to layer my books and stack them horizontally or vertically. Stacking them horizontally allows me to prop up an item or a small collection that I want to further showcase. Once I've selected all my books, frames, and decorative objects, I take the time to group and organize them by color, size or subject. So the next time you hit that bookstore, do judge a book by its cover.

Before and after kitchen makeover

When we moved into our 1940's house, it had already undergone some renovations to update its functionality. However, when it came to the kitchen it seemed like the previous owners had forgotten all about the aesthetics aspect of the update. Instead, we were left with faux wood finish melamine cabinets, a horrible pinkish marble inspired counter and backs-plash combo, outdated and boring hardware... Basically, it was really ugly!

Considering the budget was tight, we needed to be stupid and keep things simple... So none of the electrical or plumbing was moved or modified, instead we opted to work with what we had. We rolled up our sleeves and painted all the melamine cabinets and the doors in a semi-gloss white. We ripped out the old unsightly counter and back-splash 2 for 1 and replaced it with a butcher- block light wood counter top. As for the back-splash it was replaced by a fresh and clean looking white subway tile applied in a brick pattern. According to me you can never go wrong with black, so we used it as an accent color in the new dome ceiling pendant, in the sexy black faucet, in the new exhaust fan over the range, and in all of the handles and hardware for the cabinets.

I wanted this kitchen to feel unique, so I opted to remove one of the cabinet doors and wallpaper the back of the cabinet to let the nicer glassware and china shine on its shelves. Of course, we couldn't overlook the brown door leading to the powder room, so we splurged on a new white door and black vintage door knob... As I always like to say: It's all in the details...