Expat design with international flair

By Published On: March 19th, 2010

Today, readers, you are in for a treat. I’m excited […]

Today, readers, you are in for a treat. I’m excited to introduce you to a fabulous designer and personal friend, Caitlin Wilson of Caitlin Wilson Design. She has an established design career in the United States, authors a popular design blog, Style Files, and is now currently living in Dubai, very close to me! I’m very lucky to have been able to personally visit her beautiful home here in the UAE. She has collected numerous pieces from around the world, and each space is fresh and modern. One of my favorite rooms in her home is her daughter Olivia’s nursery, which I am featuring today.

If those images don’t make you want to have a girl, I don’t know what will! Caitlin sat down for a little interview with me, for those of you who are dying to know more about this beautiful lady. She gives some great tips on how to design with children, and how to score a gorgeous nursery like Olivia’s.
When did you know you wanted to be a designer?
Sophomore year in college, I went on a study abroad to Paris and was so inspired by the architecture, art, and design. Every day we wandered the city, explored churches, estate homes, chateaus and beautiful shops. The excitement I had felt for art as a little girl reignited and a passion for interior design was born … I’ve never been the same.
What is your education background?
Bachelors degree from Brigham Young University in Home & Family Life, emphasis in Interior Design & minor in Art History. After graduation, I went to an intensive summer course in Interior Design at Parsons Design School in New York City.
Who has been the biggest influence in your design style?
Probably Kelly Wearstler. Years ago, one of my best friends gave me her book Modern Glamour and I fell in love. I used to watch Top Design just to hear her commentary (and see her bazaar outfits). There is no one else in the industry like her … so unique, so eclectic, the epitome of avant garde. I’m fascinated by the evolution of her style and her ability to transform a space so dramatically.
How would you describe your style?
Eclectic, modern, fresh.
What are a few tips for decorating a room?
1. Always have contrast. You want to be able to see the items in your room, so whether it’s with paint, patterns or textures, always make sure something POPS in the room.
2. Display essentials in a stylish way. Face it~ bookshelves are supposed to be functional (I have to remind myself of this) so display books and other items in a creative way. Coordinate your books by color, cover them with pretty papers or fabrics, or even turn them backwards so you can see the pages! Put your pens or colored pencils in a clear glass vase, stack your bowls next to some books, and use frames and fun accessories as bookends. Even necessities can look good!
What are some tips for decorating with children?
Generally, I would suggest using wipeable materials like leather for the most used furniture. Use colorful, busy patterns for upholstery so when drips & drools happen they won’t show up. I also recommend not using ALL designer fabrics for pillows. For example, on your sofa, have a few designer pillows and at least one store bought pillow from Target or Crate & Barrel. I always use the store bought pillows for my baby and leave the others for show.
While a nursery or kid’s room is supposed to be “their” room, it’s actually an extension of you! Blend your style with theirs by incorporating certain design elements from the rest of your home~ this will create a cohesive relationship between the rooms. But it’s also a chance to use use fun colors and whimsical accessories, so be brave! Look for quirky items when you’re traveling or shopping that will be unique and interesting in the space. Use meaningful items such as baby announcements, monograms or heirlooms to make it “their” own.
What has been your favorite design project to date?
So hard to choose~ all of my projects have been so different and exciting that it’s hard to compare them. I haven’t had a single client with the same style as another … so every project is my favorite! The San Francisco apartment that I recently remodeled was fun because it was an old home with great bones and loads of charm. It was the perfect size and had just the right amount of challenges. I did dark floors, grey walls, white moldings, calcutta marble tile, lots of wallpaper, gorgeous fabrics, and glamorous furniture … it’s a dream home!
What gives you the biggest satisfaction as a designer?
When my clients love their home. When I come back to visit them and everything is just as I left it, I know they’re happy and that I’ve done my job well.
Thank you, Caitlin! For more information on Caitlin and her design services, please check out her site.