Home Q+A With My Interior Designer

I could discuss all things interior design for days. As many of you know, we are in the final stages of our home build. You’ve been along for the process, and I’ve shared bits and pieces of the design. There is one amazing woman who has helped me every step of the way: my interior designer, Holly Bell (find Holly HERE). My first meetings with Holly were to share my vision and style; Holly captured it instantly and from there, she helped me make decisions that would create that overall look in my own home.


Home Questions + Answers with my Interior Designer, Holly

I posted a question bubble on Instagram for you to ask both Holly and myself home questions. Here are some of the top questions answered.



Top Questions for Holly…

A little introduction for my interior designer, Holly. I followed Holly on Instagram (@hollybelldesignand loved her work before I even realized she was here in Houston, TX. When we started building, I reached out for her expertise. She does amazing work and I am LOVING how everything is coming together so far. If you enjoy amazing home inspo, check out her portfolios here.

Below are answered to the top questions she received and answered.

Thoughts on Painting Kitchen Cabinets?

Depending on the type of wood, I recommend painting as it sets the design foundation for a typically large space in the home. We spend more time in the kitchen than other spaces and it should exude happiness, whatever paint color that may be for you. My biggest recommendation is to enlist a trade painter or someone with a lot of patience. There’s a lot of work involved before a drop of paint is even applied. Don’t be scared, it will be worth it.

Favorite Paint Colors for Cabinets?

Benjamin Moore: White Dove
Sherwin Williams: Pure White, Snowbound, Eider White, Greek Villa.
Just remember, Paint is like lipstick, you must try it on. A paint that worked well in another kitchen doesn’t necessarily mean it will go well in yours. Many factors to consider: room direction, natural light, proximal spaces, room volume (ceiling height and square footage), and planned lighting & hardware fixtures.

Tips For Filling A Blank Wall With Floating Shelves?

Floating shelves are great for a blank wall but blocking (adhering them to studs for reinforcement) for them can be tough and require some help. A gallery wall is also very attractive. Our eyes are attracted to symmetry so most find gallery walls very pleasing and, can be done with economical framing from Target or IKEA. Easy DIY installation.

How to Spruce Up A Plain House?

A paint refresh or changing out decorative lighting fixtures can really give a space character. Oftentimes, this change can be made spending $150-300 on a fixture plus the cost of the electrician. You’ll get a better rate if you have several items for the electrician to work on.

A Fun Design Trend You Would Suggest/Try Right Now?

Brass. Simple touches of brass hardware can bring dimension and warmth to a room.

If You Had $5,000 To Upgrade/Renovate, Where Would You Spend It?

Anything to do with your kitchen. I say this for 2 reasons: resale value and that’s really where we spend so much of our time. I was listening to a podcast and they said it perfectly: today, the kitchen is essentially a living room that we eat in. Think about how much goes on in your kitchen. You’ll be happiest spending it there where you & your family can enjoy it.

Things to update, not necessarily all at once: paint cabinets, light fixtures, countertop refresh, hardware update.

Light Fixtures You Love/Suggest?

I am a huge fan of Circa Lighting fixtures and Hudson Valley. Circa is always ahead of the market and their fixtures often balance trends with a hint of understated glam.

For example, this new fixture is one I’m using my my dressing room/master closet. It has so many characteristics wrapped into one: antique glass giving off cool & warm vibes, handsome brass rod, tapered shape and it is see through which doesn’t “stop” the eye and feels airy. And The shape of the glass plates is a nod to mid-century modern. Very unique but not overdone.

Wayfair is also a great place for light fixtures. If you search on Pinterest for light fixtures, there are links to some great pieces.

Holly Bell Design

Budget Friendly Home Decor Stores?

Target has paired up with some amazing designers to bring you curated items at realistic prices.

Home Goods. Some of the top designers, including Marie Flanagan shop here. There is some labor with the hunt but victory is so sweet when you find that perfect piece. I got one of my fav area rugs here and for less than $100!

Home Accessories from Anthropologie give you a traveled feel with moderate price tags. Just little pops of charm here & there are all you need. You don’t want to overdo accessories.

What are the best white paint colors for walls?

  • SW Pure White: nice true white that is not cold; calming and neutral
  • SW Greek Villa: rich, warm and elegant white that doesn’t lean too yellow
  • SW Alabaster: great deep white but can be tricky or yellow in certain lighting; it’s a SW favorite
  • SW Snowbound: an amazing modern white with hint of gray undertones

Lauren: “Holly’s recommendations for whites were amazing! We went with SW Pure White in our home and couldn’t be happier with the fresh, bright look that feels like a true white without being stark.”

best white paint color
snowbound walls/pure white cabinetry
alabaster, exterior
greek villa, exterior
pure white, interior

Top Questions I Received…

What color paint is on your walls?

We went with Sherwin Williams Pure White on both the walls and trim (one of Holly’s recommended whites). We wanted a very light and bright white without being stark and cold.

We wanted to do the same color on the trim and the difference in material provides a beautiful, subtle contrast.

What color paint was used on your cabinets?

Our cabinets are a dovetail gray. We LOVE it! I feel like it gives such a warm, rich elegance especially paired with the white walls and countertops.

How did you get started with the process of finding a designer?

I actually followed Holly on Instagram before I was even buying/building a new house. I loved her work, so when we started building, I reached out to her. Word of mouth recommendations and social media are two places I would begin. Searching #HoustonDesigner would probably have given me some great options. 


Do you feel like a designer was helpful to have even though the design center provides a design consultant?

The way spec homes work by me: you buy a house/lot with a builder. The builder arranges for you to go to their design center where you can pick from a large variety of options for finishes for your home. When you go to your design meetings, you’re meeting with a designer there. Those designers do an amazing job, and they’re familiar with your builder, so they point out things you never thought about.

Holly and I had many calls prior to this stage. She reviewed my Pinterest boards to understand my style and capture my vision. She knew the exact look I was going for. I was incredibly overwhelmed at the designer center and she helped me make decisions knowing what it took to achieve my goal. 

Also, there’s a misconception that designers are just an added expense. Holly has actually helped me save money by knowing how to achieve the look for less. She knows exactly where to put money and what option to pick that will have the same look of marble but for a fraction of the cost. 

Does your designer give you recommendations for contractors?

Most designers have been in this business for awhile, so they have great contractors to recommend but you can also choose to use your own. 

Will you be putting in a pool?

If you asked me 3 months ago, the answer would have been yes, immediately. The closer we get to putting in a pool, the more apprehensive I get about doing so with a 1 and 3 year old. We will either put a pool in this spring or wait a year until we feel more comfortable with our the boys’ swimming skills.


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