Fruit with Punch- Watermelon Style

Welcome to Round 2 of my Fruit with Punch series. If you are just joining in, you can find my take on pineapple style right here. This series is all about designing a room using fruit as inspiration and this week is all about watermelon style. A girl’s gotta flex her creative muscle every now and then, and since this is Design Dish, it’s only fitting we use food to inspire!

It has been hotter than Hades in So Cal. It seems like summer is not going to give it up to fall without someone getting burned… namely, me. Since I am in desperate need of a cool down, I’ve been craving some refreshing watermelon style! Sure, watermelon takes all of us back to childhood summers spent outdoors with it’s sticky sweetness dribbling down our chins. Watermelon is a summer staple and it’s blushing pink color is always appealing. But have you ever thought of using watermelon as style inspiration for your home? Yeah me neither! That’s why it was a perfect challenge for me and proof that you can take something from fruit to fab. No, I am not talking about a DIY door wreath. Gingham and country kitsch need not apply. With our theme in mind, I decided to push the envelope and go big, go bold, make it fun, feminine and glamtastic.

The obvious choice when you think watermelon is something pink and green. Something girly, fresh and not the slightest bit short on fun…. image001 … like this bike perhaps? Methinks all this image is missing is some pigtailed girls with ice cream cones! Or maybe a mama with a foo-foo drink?? Ok, I’ll split the difference!

This is my literal interpretation of what a watermelon color palette could look like…


…and this room would be the result. Watermelon chic in the form of an airstream living space. image002While I do love tiny houses and all things vintage, this is on the extreme. So the challenge is to find a happy medium. Something that pays tribute to this color palette without feeling theme-y. You can take a theme as inspiration, but definitely push the envelope by doing something unexpected. I think we’re ripe for some boundary testing… who’s ready?

C’mon ladies, don’t play with your food. This is a design challenge, not Naked Chef! Back to work, we have a room to assemble…. image003Here are two inspired looks that watermelon style could look like if this fruit took a seat in your space this summer…. emily-lamarque-design-studio-watermelon-style1 The color palette stays true to the watermelon with black accents taken as inspiration from the seeds. These accents can quickly update and pay homage to your home or wardrobe with true summer glam style. And this “I Carried A Watermelon” sign could very well put Baby in a corner! But what if you are a little swankier, more daring and seeking a full fledge fruit-over? Well, here ya go…. ((drumroll))…. Design Dish is proud to introduce to you, a new trend in fruit inspired design. Introducing…. emily-lamarque-design-studio-watermelon-swank Here we’re using colors derived from watermelon, not the literal fruit, yet the color palette pays homage to our magnificent melon! Using bold graphics and vibrant colored accessories with a pop of pizzaz, you can give your room and instant update with this chic look, which is feminine yet still refined. The lighting fixture reminds me of dripping watermelon seeds.  If you can appreciate the notion of creative storytelling with art, you can see how home decor pieces can also serve a similar purpose. All art forms have something to say, it’s up to us to discover and define their meaning on a personal level. This is where the magic comes in; when you spot something in a room that evokes a mood, an experience, something from nature, or something that makes you stop and think in general, this is what it means to design! So let those walls talk!!

Now that fall is arriving, stay tuned as I’ll be putting together more fruit with punch design inspiration, featuring the hautest of the harvest! For now, I bid you and summer adieu with this tasty boozy beverage featuring our new fruity fave! Click the image for the recipe.





Hawaiian Style- The NewMu

Aloha friends! I’m taking a jolly holiday from Design Dish as I escape to the tropical island of Hawaii. If you’re looking to see what I’m taking on my trip, here is a great recap from my Mexico trip on what’s in my beach bag. This time however, since I had all things Hawaiian on the brain, I started thinking about traditional muumuus and whatever happened to them. Are they still beloved enough by the senior crowd to stay on the shelves of every tourist stop on the island? Perhaps. But then I came across this awesome update from Show Me Your MuMu…. yes, that is the name of this awesome site!

Now this is something I could rock. So note to tourism stores in Hawaii- here ya go… the NewMu

The NewMu

Don’t worry, I will be sharing much more eye candy via Instagram while I’m away. Please follow me @emilylamarquedesign for everything from gorgeous Hawaiian sunsets to my pre-schooler shoving mass quantities of macadamia nuts in his mouth like a squirrel.

Until then, it’s only fitting I leave you with a heart shaped blow hole sending kisses all the way from the islands. Aloha, mahalo and Happy Labor Day!

Heart Shaped Rock-900x900


Image Source





Newport Beach Condo on the Market

So, here is some serious scoop that deserves some dishing…I just found out yesterday that one of my very first interior design projects is officially on the market. The high-rise condo on Lido Island in Newport Beach that I gutted and remodeled for one of my very first clients will be going to a new, and hopefully loving, appreciative owner.

Seeing the real estate listing is a little bittersweet for me. As a designer, I poured blood, sweat, and tears into that project. The full remodel took roughly 2 years. I did all of the cad drawings, obtained permits from the city of Newport Beach, planned, planned, and did more planning to make that 2000 square feet the most elegant, efficient, and luxurious space.

Every aspect of this home, right down to the smallest details was executed with the utmost care. For instance, the layout sizes and dimensions of the tile and grout lines were carefully calculated prior to installation so that the wall tiles throughout could be installed without the tile having any cuts.  CRAZY right? This kind of painstaking detail is almost unheard of these days. The contractors that I worked with on that job were truly the BEST artisans and craftsmen, and I look forward to working with them again. It is truly one of a kind, and I know my clients have thoroughly enjoyed it there. I’m thrilled!

Let’s rewind the clock and see how this transformation happened…


This place was a not so groovy 70’s abode frozen in time. It featured a sunken living room, floor to ceiling mirrors and glossy white floor tiles. The floors were so slick, they would have been the perfect slip and slide for adventurers seeking a neck break… I’m not even kidding. “Slippery floors, what a novel idea,” said no one, ever.


Fabulous views out all of the windows to the harbor made this place worth the investment. Cha-ching.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-living-1emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-living

Behind that wall was a very, very dated kitchen. We took out the wall and opened that room right up. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-dining

The theater lighting on the ceiling says it all. Cue the circus music….emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-kitchen

I do have to admit that the disco child in me digs this groovy wallpaper a little bit. Not so much the rest of the bath.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-powder

Nothing says luxury like wall-to-wall carpeting that pours into your master bath which comes complete with a sauna, but no shower…. nada. Which leaves me wondering that the homeowners must have liked to sweat and not rinse?? Ok I digress…. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bedroomemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bedroom-viewemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bath

There she is, the beloved sauna! I love a good shvitz as much as the next girl, but not in place of a shower. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-master-bath-saunaemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-guest-2 emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-guest-1

And the guest bedroom and bath. Nothin’ too special goin’ on here, except the view! Bay and boats for days. emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-before-guest-bath

PS, is the wallpaper sea urchins or deranged chrysanthemums? I dunno, but it’s as good as gone!


This is my favorite part (what, you thought I was going to say “watching the paint dry”?). This is the reward that you can literally SEE and TOUCH after all that painstaking work! Check it.

The entry, complete with a swanked out bar is perfect for entertaining. Those are actual amethyst gems twinkling on these incredible pendants by Fuse Lighting. The pictures can’t possibly do them justice.  And the chiseled limestone feature wall is absolutely stunning in person.


The new living room. No more sunken life-threatening hole here. I loved designing the entertainment cabinet. One of my favorite ways to do cabinets, bars, and bookcases – the doors slide outwards to cover the bookshelves perfectly and reveal the inside space.


Can I just tell you how much I LOVE Holly Hunt furnishings?!? Tailored, refined, chic, elegant, with the most striking lines and structure. Drool…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-living


Fabulous Tracery rug by Kelly Wearstler via The Rug Company, one of my fave go-to rug sources.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-kitchenemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-kitchenemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-kitchenSemi-precious concetto countertops by Caesarstone are INCREDIBLE. Total splurge, but hey, they don’t stain!


Exotic sapele wood floors compliment the wenge throughout…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-powder-glass-wallsemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-powder-room

Gorgeous glass and limestone tile on all the walls. Faucet is by THG, one of my absolute FAVE plumbing fixture companies. THG is jewelry for your bath. You can’t go wrong.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-door-hardware

Stainless steel contemporary door hardware. Mmmm.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bedroomemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bedroom

Velvet, mohair, silk in the master bedroom. Need I say more? Total luxury.emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bathroom

This is one of my favorite two bathrooms I have ever done. It’s not huge but it’s perfect. The calcatta floor was cut from slabs that were each chosen individually. And the best part – the shower has no curb so the bathroom looks even bigger. No wait, the best part is that there IS a shower! At long last!emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bath-vanity

Crystals dress up the bath…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bath-vanityemily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-master-bath-vanity And let’s not leave out my other favorite plumbing fixture company – Dornbracht. Love, love, love. The epitome of the ultra-modern faucet.


The elegant master closet…emily-lamarque-design-studio-lido-island-newport-beach-after-guest

And finally, the cozy guest bedroom.

I hope you dug this little look-back as much as I did. And the coolest part is that you can now enjoy it yourself for the asking price of …

What? You thought I was gonna give it away? Hardly! But you can see for yourself at Take a looksy!



Our Home: Interior Finishes

If you’re just joining us, this is the third installment on our home remodel. If you’re interested in playing catch up, you can read all about the process and how our home was selected as part of the Pasadena Kitchen & Home Tour right here. If you’ve been happily reading along (thank you bunches), we just finished demo and now we’re moving onto the incredible task of selecting interior finishes to complete our happy home.

I speak as both a homeowner and as a designer when I say this– I don’t think there is anything more challenging than designing your own home. At least for me! I know what you’re thinking. I am a designer, this is what I do, it should be a no brainer, right? Think again. Show me 100 different fabrics for a client and I can narrow them down to a handful in matter of minutes, but when picking something for myself, it’s only a matter of time before I over-think everything and short-circuit! I see SO many different fabrics, finishes, furniture, etc. every single day, so to actually settle on one thing and decide that I am going to love living with it for an extended period of time…..well, I get commitment-phobic!

Whether you’re a designer or not, the promise of a clean space that you can have your way with starts out very exhilarating, full of potential, and then it can become completely nerve wracking. But at the end of the day, I had to move forward making decisions, selections, and choices for my own home. Since this is Design Dish after all, here is another taste of yummy goodness from my own home. So let’s serve up the finishes!



Finishes are tricky – they can be completely stunning or downright fugly. It either works beautifully or it misses the mark entirely. Even worse are finishes that are beyond boring. Blah? We’ll pass. They can be intimidating to commit to because the vast majority of finishes are permanent (think tile, counters, flooring, etc.) and don’t move easily once they are installed, so they need to make a statement and look incredible. And since they are pretty ‘permanent’, that means they are more costly – you have both the material cost and labor to install them. I myself had a l-o-o-o-n-g laundry list of requirements for the finishes I picked for my own home. So how did I narrow it down?

First and foremost, I had to love them! Obvi! I didn’t want to install something only to hate it two weeks later. Plus, the finishes had to be light, bright, airy, and cheerful. While I love a sophisticated dark room, I just don’t want to live in one at the moment. Also, kid and pet friendly – they needed to withstand the abuse of an active three year old who has a penchant for launching hot wheels at the walls as target practice. We are total animal lovers and since the fur-babes are family too, our selections needed to be easy to keep clean, as in no super dark finishes that show adorable, but obviously dirty, paw tracks! So to recap – cheerful, super-durable, youthful with a chic twist, unique, bold, colorful, timeless, slightly mid-century vibe, and of course, within budget. Seriously, that’s a darn tall order. But like any good designer, I worked it out!

So now that you’ve seen my selections, here’s a peek at how they all work together in my efficient mid-century ranch…


emily-lamarque-design-studio-graphic-wallpaper I selected graphic wallpaper and patterns that were neutral but had a matte shimmer to make the patterns pop without interfering with my growing collection of wall art. But since I had to indulge my color obsession, I also selected this fab peacock paper for the powder room and kept the look clean and period-esque by incorporating the terrazzo tile.


Next up- colorful glass tile.  Part retro and part spa- like, this tile is fun and reminds me of a gorgeously tiled swimming pool! It was a bold color risk, but it is the statement piece for our bathroom and I am all about making a statement!



Lastly, ma-ma-marble! It’s ma fave. It’s clean, timeless and elegant, and something we can all commit to. But since I wanted to add visual interest, I mixed tile patterns as seen in the fretwork mosaic and a small trim of metallic glass square tiles on our backsplash to pick up the glistening speckles in the quartz counter top. Subtle bling!



Please keep tuning in for the next phase of our home remodel. There is so much more to cover. Design delights guaranteed!



Fruit with Punch- Pineapple Style

You don’t have to live near a pineapple plantation (like the one in Hawaii I’m daydreaming about) to know that pineapples are popping up everywhere this summer. Pineapples are packing some major punch in both the fashion and interior design world. While tropical style has been around forever, the pineapple style trend is a fresh updated take on traditional tropical influences. We’re not talking about flamingo pinks, frumpy wicker, or a bamboo explosion flanking a lava rock mantel adorned with tikis.  I’m not particularly fond of themes or mega-kitsch. We keep it clean, chic, and delectable over here at Design Dish! A bite size of fun goes a long way.

So why do I covet the piña? Well, for one it’s deliciously sweet, reminiscent, fun and fresh. The taste, smell and appeal of them immediately transport you somewhere tropical, so why not bring some vacation ambience to your home! Here are a few pieces I’ve been eyeing, pulled together in a sweet little spread.  Come take a trip with me as we tropic like it’s hot!



1. Handwoven Chair// 2. Brass Pineapples // 3. Crystal Pendant Light // 4. Pineapple Wallpaper // 5. Pineapple Print // 6. Mirrored Console //  7. Pineapple Bangle Set // 8. Navy Wool Rug // 9. Pineapple Pillow // 10. Sun Pillow

To compliment our beloved pineapples, I’ve rounded out much of the design with inspired elements such as the woven chair, geometric patterns that echo the fruit itself and lastly, some bling in the lighting fixtures, media console mirrors and brass accessories. Now all that’s left is that perfect sweet treat that pays homage to this tasty fruit! This is Design Dish after all…. we are all about full sensory experiences here! What good is it if I just dish on design and don’t satisfy that sweet tooth?

Since I am all about eye candy, say hello to the hummingbird cupcake!


This sweet southern treat I found on She Makes & Bakes and it certainly delivers both the wow factor in it’s presentation and taste! I can’t wait to try these out. They are topped with thinly sliced pineapple which get their flower shape by baking them in muffin cups at a very low temperature. Amazing right?! If you want to try it yourself, here is a tutorial.

Stay tuned as I dig into more delicious delights turned into design as part of our Fruit with Punch series. What fruit do you think I’m eyeing next?


PS- who knew fruit could be trendy?!