the dish from dalilah

Dalilah. She only wears the monocle when she’s doing computer work.

Meet Dalilah, our four-year-old English Mastiff.

The American Kennel Club describes this breed as “a combination of grandeur and good nature as well as courage and docility – powerful yet gentle and loyal.”

Our girl is all that and more. Dalilah’s got a discerning eye, and she knows her way around a design studio. She’s an invaluable resource at Elizabeth Monical Design, and I’m often tempted to bring her along when I meet with clients for the first time. But her considerable size – coupled with my height – might be a bit too much for someone we’ve never met, so she runs the office while I’m out.

I’ll be turning the blog over to Dalilah on occasion, as she’s great at sniffing out pet-friendly products that are at home in any well-designed environment. You can definitely have great pets and great style – the two are not mutually exclusive.

Dalilah gives Crypton a big paws up.
Dalilah gives Crypton a big paws up.

Her first ‘big paws up” find – Crypton. This line of fabrics, furniture and more is nothing short of amazing. It doesn’t stain, trap smell, break down or hang on to pet hair.

Mind blowing! What’s more, it’s available in modern patterns and solids that come in soft suede and velvet-like textures.

I’ve used this fabric to create cushion covers for my existing sofa. Dalilah says it best: “I can lay on the couch, and Elizabeth doesn’t get mad because it’s not covered in hair. I also enjoy eating treats on the couch, but no one would ever know it by looking at the fabric.”

I mean, what dog doesn’t deserve a Throver?





tile your way to happiness

Carpet tiles are an easy way to give your room a modern update.
Carpet tiles are an easy way to give your room a modern update.

Two words for you: carpet tiles.

I love them. I dream about them. I want everyone to learn of their power and versatility.

To be clear, I’m not talking about a remnant – the kind you took a nap on when you were in kindergarten or that you’ve got near your back door to catch grass, mud and other unsavory items from dirty boots and even dirtier paws.

I’m talking about the modern, multi-purpose carpet tile made accessible to the masses by I’ve used them in oh so many ways:

  • Around beds in a master bedroom
  • In offices
  • In kitchens
  • In dining rooms
  • In the entry ways of client homes
Mia loves the carpet tiles in my office.
Mia loves the carpet tiles in my office.

Carpet tiles are one of the easiest ways to update a room and give it a modern feel. The selection of colors and designs is staggering, they’re easy to install, and they can be replaced if a stain occurs. You can change them out to reflect the seasons, the holidays – even your mood! There are also different types of carpet tile for different applications.

Try them out, and have fun coming up with shapes and designs that suit your taste as well as your space. But be careful – they’re a bit like potato chips. It’s hard to stop at just one room.

Until next time, I’ll be keeping an eye on design for you.


to match or not to match

Hey, all you out there who love good design! It’s time for another first for me – my first blog tip. Here goes…

The dilemma:

When you’re painting a room, should the trim color match the wall color?

My tip:

Trim that contrasts – either by color or stain – draws attention to the lines of your walls and ceiling. Think about this for a moment before you get all excited and run out to buy your supplies. You may not want these lines to be a detail that stands out in your room.

For a clean, modern look, match your trim and wall color.

If you want to create a modern, clean look (which is totally my thing), use the same color for both the trim and walls. I recommend a good satin paint for your walls and a semigloss in the same color for your trim. You can also go a shade lighter or darker with your trim to create another neutral background for the features you want to draw attention to, like your furniture or artwork.

Check out a few examples from the fabulous Houzz that illustrate what I’m talking about:

Bottom line – be brave, be bold, and have fun. If you don’t like the end result, you can always repaint without doing a ton of damage to your wallet.

Until next time, I’ll be keeping an eye on design for you.


welcome to the monocle

Mia and I in my office. I think better with my shoes off.
Mia and I in my office. I think better with my shoes off.

It’s February, and I love what I do so much that I decided blog about it. Welcome to The Monocle: An Eye on Design.

Since this is my first official blog entry, I’m going to start at the beginning – the very beginning – of how EMD (that’s me) came to be. Growing up, I was quite a bit younger than my siblings and spent a lot of time alone. Instead of playing with toys or getting into trouble, I did one of two things – 1) rearrange the location and layout of the clothes and toys in my room, or 2) rearrange the furniture in my room, then proceed to execute #1.

If no one was home, I’d venture outside my room and rearrange another area of the house, like the living room or my parents’ bedroom. To this day, I still prefer to move furniture alone, so don’t take it personally.

When I was around seven, my mom – ever the supportive parent – showed me my first design trick, something her carpenter father had shared with her. Graph paper! She used it to draw the room to scale. We used a separate sheet of paper to draw and cut out each piece of furniture from that room to scale, then played with different configurations to see what would fit where. That was it for me – there was no turning back.

A few years later, I signed up for a program at Omaha’s HDR Inc. where you could go and listen to architects explain what they did for a living. I was one of only a few girls there, but that didn’t bother be a bit. Everything that I’d been thinking about and doing started to make sense. It was exciting, like I had the answer to a puzzle that others were still working on.

Years later, it’s still exciting.

I think there’s beauty in every style – if it’s used in moderation. My personal design aesthetic can be summed up in three words: “clean,” “modern” and “architecture.” I always start with a clean slate by focusing on the bones of the space you want to design. You need to know how the space you’re designing will be used, how it accesses light and how these factors relate to one another before you start experimenting with color and texture and decor. Once the interior architecture of a space is layed out and any built-in details are designated, then you can begin incorporating the stylistic details that most people associate with interior design.

I love simplicity and minimalism. I also love contrasting old and new, particularly if the “old” is beautiful antique furniture with European origins. But what I love the most is designing an environment that will enhance a client’s life, no matter their aesthetic. Each client is different, and I have the ability to read people (sort of like a fortune teller, but better) to determine what they like and what they want, even if they have trouble putting it into words. It’s my job to create an extremely personal interior that speaks to their history and lifestyle.

Take, for example, my own home. It’s a mix of Midwest traditional (for Mike, my husband) and modern elegance (for me). If I lived alone, my home would look much different than it does today. But it’s this personal mix that makes this home ours, not “his” or “mine.”

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So there you have it, the story of EMD. (I also have three kids and two dogs and I’m really tall, but more on all that in future blog posts). I intend to use this space to share information about projects I’m working on, resources I love, tips that can help improve your design goals and more. If you’ve got questions, email them to, and I’ll answer them here.

Until next time, I’ll be keeping an eye on design for you.