By Claire Dickey


There is a good-sized tree directly outside my office window, and as I watch the leaves turn brown and begin to fall it’s obvious that summer is coming to an end. School is back in session, autumn is nearly here, and life is finally reverting to a more structured routine.

Going into this new season, I am beyond excited and grateful. It’s been almost two years since Valerie and I decided to form HESTIA design collective, but this fall will be the first time that both of us are fully dedicated to HESTIA projects, without the distraction of another job or the craziness of children home for the summer. Our clients are also getting back into a focused mindset, and we are starting to push projects forward at an accelerated rate. If things go according to plan, we will complete design on at least four projects in the next month or so, and we’re also kicking off a few new projects–both residential and commercial–that are bigger and more complex than work we’ve done to date. I hope it’s not too braggy to say that I’m immensely proud of what Valerie and I have accomplished together, and that I’m really looking forward to what’s next!

As I sit in the quiet today and reflect on Val’s and my HESTIA adventures, I have to say that one of my favorite things about starting a design practice is being able to spend more time finding inspiration in the world around me. In general I believe that architects are curious people, and I just love poring over case studies of recently completed projects, flipping through brochures of new building products, observing the way my favorite furniture stores style rooms or combine colors, and reading up on emerging design trends. There is so much information and creative eye candy out there to keep me enthused about what I do every day, and it’s been a pleasure to have time and space recently to enjoy it!

Since this post is essentially a random collection of thoughts, I thought it would be nice to share a couple of the things I’ve been looking at over these summer months, and then I’ll close with thoughts about my next DIY project.

A Beautiful Living Room Feature Wall

In residential design, Imagine’s House Caledonia definitely caught my eye when I saw it on archilovers. Specifically, I love this living room feature wall. I’ve had multiple discussions recently about whether or not it’s a good idea to hang a television above the fireplace, so when I saw this project profile I was interested in how they addressed the issue. Obviously plenty of people do stack their television over the fireplace, but I’ve found it can be a challenging arrangement pull off well. Too often the room isn’t long enough, and then people have to crane their necks way back to look up the television. Sitting like that can get uncomfortable quickly!


In these photos, I really admire the way the architect designed a beautiful grouping of materials, patterns, textures, and components that all together feels balanced, while still hanging the television at the right height for people sitting on the sofa. Even better, when the TV is not on it doesn’t visually dominate the space; it simply becomes one element within the larger feature wall design. I love that!

Architect: Imagine, agence design by Mélodie Violet
Location: Montreal, Quebec
General Contractor: L’Ecuyer Redmond
Cabinet Maker: Charlebois Ebenisterie
Photographer: Studio CRBN

A Home We’d All Love to Live In!

Another project that I’ve really appreciated this summer was designed by a college classmate of mine who lives and works in Madison, Wisconsin. Dubbed Modern on the Lake and designed by Meri Tepper with Tepper Architects, this amazing house embodies many of the characteristics that HESTIA’s clients are also looking for: crisp white exteriors with contrasting trim, expansive windows, a harmonious blend of traditional and contemporary architecture, open interiors, and a warm, welcoming feel.



I also love how the architect introduced a few exposed steel accents around the exterior of the home. It’s an unexpected, slightly industrial detail that still fits the classic architectural style. Overall it’s just a really lovely design.

Architect: Tepper Architects
Location: Madison, Wisconsin
Design/Builder: Aldo Partners LLC
Interior Designer: Vault Interior Design Studio
Photographer: Menocal Pictures

My Guest Room Refresh, Coming Soon!

About a month ago I finally caught COVID-19, and so I had to exile myself to the basement guest room for a few days. As I convalesced, I quickly realized what a gloomy and depressing space our guest room is! I haven’t done anything with it since we moved into this house two years ago, and now that my oldest daughter has moved all her stuff out of there, I am ready to start planning a redesign.

In settling on a color palette for the room I was really drawn to warm terra cottas with accents of sage green and slate. Maybe I was subconsciously anticipating fall? At any rate, Crate & Barrel has introduced a new color to their organic cotton bedding line called Brulee, and while it’s not my usual color preference, for this space it will be perfect. The deep, toasty shade reminds me of warmth and richness in the best possible way. My tentative plan is to let the bedding establish the base color of the room, and then everything else will get coordinated to that.

Here are some inspiration photos I’ve been collecting over the last month. I’m still in planning stages, but once I get the room updated I’ll be sure to share photos!