{introducing} | urban matters : a design firm

Drum roll please!! I'm super excited about this introduction. Introducing....Urban Matters Design Lab! A design firm who defines themselves as creative change agents, dedicated to improving the social fabric of cities. WHAT THEY DO : empower communities. WHY THEY DO IT : to build communities.


Meet: Stephanie Houston. Smarty pants, graphic designer, and an uber talented, in-training architect (currently sitting for exams) with a passion in life: building communities. This introduction is special not only because she is my talented twin sister, but because since we were kids, she's aspired to making a change in our world, and she's doing it, in San Francisco. Founder and creative director of Urban Matters Design Lab and Nomad Gardens, Stephanie brings passion to an entirely new level. She truly is an inspiration. Those looking for a designer or looking to be a part Nomad Gardens via the garden, events, creatives or workshop, you should meet. I'm so proud of you sis. I knew you would do it some day. Here's to my biggest fan, dreaming big, and keeping passion alive. Keep rockin' it!

{here we go} | austin--->ALT

I leave for ALT Design Summit tomorrow!! I can't tell you how excited I am to attend this year. I was super bummed last year that I couldn't make it. My kids were just too little. Now, a year later (where does the time go?), here I am packing my bags. Yippee!! I can't wait to share with you everything I learn. 

I'm in LOVE with my new letterpress business cards! Thanks again Sarah! She designed and printed them just in time for ALT. She's amazing!

Come back soon (next week). I promise you are in for a treat!


SF--->AUS | the big move

Last month my husband was given an opportunity he/we couldn't pass up. Opportunity location---Austin, Texas. While San Francisco has provided us a great place to live, is the birthplace of our twins, and has been a great platform to build our careers, we have decided to head back home. It is a bit surreal, I actually thought we might be here forever, so a part of me is very sad, but the majority of me is so excited to be back home, closer to family and great friends.

Image: Courtesy of David Kozlowski's photostream via flickr found via Google Images

We've recently been asked what will we miss most about SF. Here are my top 5.

  1. Walkability Factor - bye,bye walking everywhere and hello car :( Back to my old workout routine.
  2. Weather - 110 temps! - hopefully it was just a bad summer
  3. Beauty - Austin is beautiful, but it's hard to beat the bay!
  4. Entrepreneurial Spirit - I've had the pleasure of meeting so many talented and motivated people.
  5. Friends - Our friends here were our family. We will miss you tons.

Please spread the word! I am heading to Austin and am for hire! In the meantime, we are in the midst of purchasing a home. Yes, that's right...we bought a house and still live in SF. Lets just say, it was meant to be. Take a look at the 102 year old beauty! Don't you LOVE the porch? Yes, that is a swing!


Needless to say, it has been a bit crazy: finishing up projects, flying back and forth to Austin, and managing two-year old twins! We just celebrated their 2nd birthday this past weekend. I'll post a few pics soon of their adorable party!

I hope to continue to inspire you all in Austin! Official Move Date: September 27th.



{wowza wednesday} | 2011 Design SF

My first weekday away from work and kids was delightful! I headed over to the premier annual event at San Francisco's Design Center. I met new faces, old faces, and I was fortunate enough to meet a few very inspirational people. My day began with a ton of laughs listening to Jeff Lewis and Jenni Pulos from the Bravo TV series "Flipping Out". I LOVE this show! My first picture ever with a celebrity. As for content, I couldn't agree more with Sarah Lynch of California Home + Design's article describing the skepticism and interview. He truly was an inspiration. BTW...he has a new line of home goods out. Check it out here.

My next stop was the Robert Allen|Beacon Hill showroom to hear Christaine Lumiex's, founder of DwellStudio (my newest resource for fabrics and wallpaper), presentation on Building a Design Business in the Modern Landscape. Truly an inspirational woman and a wealth of knowledge. She cleared any dismay I had about my decision to stay home from this years Alt Summit. What a delightful and beautiful person. She's so fun, laid back, fashionable, passionate, and truly wants others to have the same success. My kind of lady. Christaine gave us a sneak peek into the DwellStudio furniture line which showcases DwellStudio's fabric line now exclusively available to the trade. I've included a couple fabrics I'm loving below.


And last, but definitely not least, while picking up fabric and wallpaper samples for a project at the Lee Jofa showroom, I was thrilled to introduce myself to Carrie Miller of Massucco Warner Miller. I featured the firm on my blog months ago, as my first choice of firms to work for if I ever was to head back to the corporate world. She was so sweet, and might I say, a stunningly beautiful lady. PS..they just started an a la carte offering as well as launched a pillow line! I'm in LOVE!

I'm feeling so inspired these days, thanks to all the blogs and tweets I follow. Who do you follow, what inspires you!? I'd love to hear! 

Headed to see my friend Crystal speak tomorrow AM at the Design Center and then off to Tahoe with the family and friends! Can't wait for Everett and Amelia to see their first snow! 

Back soon!!

{Do you Rue?} | Issue 3 is LIVE!

It's official, my new favorite and go to magazine is Rue! If you are at all interested in design, this months issue [Issue 3] is a must see. Way to go Crystal, can't wait until you are here in SF! The girl and her team are rockin it! I'm in LOVE with the shopping cart pages, which I've included a screen shot of below. All my favorite colors!

Also, if you haven't heard of 20x200, which most of you probably have by now, you should definitely check it out. A new go to art source for all my client projects. Jen Bekman, the founder of 20x200, is the guest curator for RUE's issue this month and has picked out some great colorful prints ready to make an impact on anyone's wall. I LOVE every single one of them.

If you want a cowboy themed kids room, head on over to Modern Kids Blog for some great inspiration and resources! And if you are in the mood to shop, check out EmersonMade, my newest and favorite clothing line for 2011!

Happy Friday everyone! Happy decorating or getting inspired to decorate weekend!

{To Do} | Elle Decor's first-ever showhouse

Elle Decor's first-ever showhouse is open for viewing and the best news, it's here in SF!! I was so excited to attend a private viewing Wednesday night, thanks to AKDO. If you have yet to go, and you live in the bay area, it's a MUST see event. It's going on now through November 21st. 

Can you spot the Restoration Hardware pieces in the living room images below?. It was great to see a retail brand have presence at the showhouse. Their new design direction has my head spinning, in a good way. I've been loving everything they have to offer these days. Gary Spain, House Beautiful's top 20 designers to watch and also creative director at Restoration Hardware, was the living room designer for the showhouse.  His living room was spectacular, especially his use of paint, lighting placement and larger than life art selections. RH just opened the first-ever showroom in the SF Design center. This should change things up a bit. 

I was obsessed with the amount of lighting, oversized art/objects,and  the overall graphic play and texture incorporated into each of the spaces. A good project consists of all of these. :] It was also exciting to see that most light fixtures were selected from my favorite, go-to stores. Circa Lighting, Urban Electric Co., and Hinkley Lighting. And it's always fun to see products you've pinned away in your "things I love" file, displayed delicately or obnoxiously. :]  

Superbly done by all the designers. It was amazing how cohesive the entire house was, even though each designer was in charge of their designated rooms. I was delighted to spend a few minutes with Elizabeth Martin. She was so sweet and her bedroom design really spoke to my personal style, color selection and rustic embellishments. Thanks Beth for your time! You can check out all the designers at Elle Decor's meet the designer page here.

What a great evening. Thanks again AKDO, for the invitation! Your tile work was amazing! All photos courtesy of my iphone. :]

Oh, and just thumbed through the first issue of the Anthology Magazine. It's a gonna be a good one! I'm loving the paper they are using, as well as the way it's bound. It feels more like a book. Sarah and I headed over the Bay Bridge to the launch party at the West Elm in Emmeryville last night. Thanks again Sarah for the invite!

Rue Magazine is headed to SF!!

Crystal Gentilello, a friend I met while my husband attended business school at Kellogg, followed her dream and started her own online magazine! The design industry also knows her for her wonderful blog Plush Palate. I'm so excited to hear that she is moving Rue's headquarters to San Francisco!  If you haven't already heard of the online magazine, check it out here