The Animals Behind the Blog

Happy Friday Lovers!  I hope your week was as great as mine and your weekend plans are even better.  I had a fun post to pull together this week, all about my furry children!  I was asked to take part in an awesome series: Living Pretty with Your Pets.  The series is one of my favorites to check in on and it’s part of a great design and DIY blog Cuckoo 4 Design.  Julia is so wonderful and talented and I am so honored to be part of this fantastic group of bloggers who love design and animals as much as me.  Please pop over to her blog and check out the other bloggers in this series as well as all of Julia’s beautiful projects.

In the meantime, there were just too many great pictures of my babies not to share on my blog too, so here is a modified version of the post for Julia’s blog.

For those of you who follow my blog regularly you know about my life as a furniture designer and have probably seen posts with my labradoodle Tucker.  Well, my life includes A LOT more fur than just Tucker. Let me tell you the story of my crazy little menagerie and how they insert themselves into my designer life.

I guess the easiest introduction is to start with who came first: Hershey.


With everything this cat put me through in the first few years of having her, I’m surprised I took on any more…much less four! I adopted Hershey from the humane society in Savannah GA when I was a junior in college against my parent’s better judgment. LOL She was a kitten and SO ADORABLE! Admittedly I am more of a dog lover than cat, but she became my doggie-fill-in: playing fetch and greeting me at the door with meows and cuddles every time I come home.


As you can see she gets into everything and was a total terror with anything breakable when she was young. She loved pushing picture frames and vases off of shelves and watching them break. I did not find it as amusing as she did.


Luckily that tapered off as she got older, but she is still into everything. She helps with decorating and even comes to work with me on occasion. She rides loose in the car with her harness and leash and mainly lies on my desk next to me while I work.


About a year after I brought Hershey home, Bailey came into my life.



Yes, I promise this is a different cat. They look so much alike (one of the reasons I kept her) We found B, her nickname, in a grocery store parking lot in Savannah. Her back leg had been severed and she was pitiful and adorable. With some guidance from the vet my friends and I took her home and nursed her back to health. We bonded instantly and seeing how much she looked like Hershey, I obviously fell in love with her cross-eyed little face.



She’s missing her back leg but she gets around just fine. She’s very tiny, about 7lbs. We assumed she was a kitten when we found her but she never grew so we joke that she is probably around 150 years old, moving from family to family over the decades.


She’s very timid with strangers but loves the people she knows. She’s a major cuddler, whether you want to cuddle or not. She’s very stealthy, especially for a 3-legged animal; she will climb into your lap without you even realizing it!


Even with all that I have done for her, Bailey still dropped me like a clingy ex-girlfriend when Brian (my now husband) moved in. She adores him and acts like I don’t exist. I’m pretty pissed about it. Brian and I lived together for about a year with just us and the kitties, and we felt pretty content with that.


Then I met Tucker. (my pride and joy…sshhhh don’t tell the others!)



Everyone thought I was crazy when they saw him. Stereotypically, he was not the cutest puppy. But I saw through that and we had an instant bond and I knew he would grow up to be the handsome boy he is today.



Tucker, or TT as we call him, is a labradoodle who is now 8 years old. We adopted Tucker before the whole ‘labradoodle craze’ and I didn’t really know what one was at the time, I just knew I loved that little face.



He never leaves my side and he is definitely a mamma’s boy. He doesn’t mind posing for all my photos as long as he gets lovin’ while we do it.



He goes to my workshop with me and likes to lie in the sawdust while I work. As long as he’s near me he’s happy. You can check out the section on my blog where Tucker posts about my projects from his perspective. (I know, I just took it too far)




Tucker is definitely our baby and is a handful all in himself, but being the gluttons for punishment that we are, Brian and I decided to add one more to the mix after about 3 years.

Meet Phoebe.



Phoebe was two and a half when we met her. We adopted her from the Great Dane Rescue in NC. And no, she’s not a dane. She’s a German or Australian shepherd mixed with a golden retriever, now 6 years old.


She took to us right away and loved the introduction of furniture into her life. This was her the first night we brought her home.



She’s eerily calm and so good with our cats. She and Bailey, B and Phe as we call them, love to cuddle. I think they know each other had a rough life before coming home with us. Now they enjoy the finer things LOL



It took a while, but Tucker and Phoebe bonded. Tucker still likes to think he is an only child, but he loves her.


They both come to work with me (at the office and my workshop) and were even asked to be on my feature for HGTV.



You can see my furry babies run my life, but they make it fun and keep me on my toes! All of my design decisions are based around them and what they may or may not destroy. I put products to the test for sure and share that here on the blog from time to time.


Again, thank you Julia for asking me to be a part of this awesome series, I’m honored!

Julia@Cuckoo4Design - Such a great story and loved having it on my blog. Have a great weekend.

Diamond Shag Rug – Love it or over it?


Photo – Style by Emily Henderson Blog

Every now and then, a trend or product comes along that everyone gets excited about and splashes it all over their pinterest boards.  Well, this product has not just splashed, it has cannon-balled into people’s homes and taken over almost every decor blog and shelter magazine I read!  The Diamond Patterned Shag Rug.  Don’t get me wrong, I do love the look of this chic little guy, but jesus, I’m on overload right now.

I get it, it makes a great neutral base to build just about any room design around, but can we not mix it up a bit?!  I literally chose the images in this post out of the 50+ I pulled and I know there are a lot more out there.  I love the look of all these rooms, but I do find it entertaining when you can plainly see a product take hold of an industry and quietly sneak its way into every major designer’s library of products for the past year.  What do you guys think?  Still love it, or are you over it?


Photo – Just Jacket Attic Blog


Photo – Jonathan Adler


Photo – Setting for Four Blog


Photo – HomeDSGN


Photo – Home Polish


Photo – Lay Baby Lay


Photo – A House in the Hill


Photo – Popsugar


Photo – HomeDSGN


Photo – Barrie Benson


Photo – Desire to Inspire Blog


Photo – Home Polish


Photo – Dar Amina Blog

Samantha-Pattillo-heelsandahammer-Get-the-Look1. West Elm | 8’x10′ | $899

2. Rugs USA | 8’x10′ | $1,518

3. Restoration Hardware | 8’x10′ | $3,995

Jillian - Personally, I love the way these look. I ordered one for our living room during Rugs USA’s Black Friday sale and got a 9×12 synthetic version for around $300. So glad I went this route instead of ordering the super expensive real wool version I was also considering. We’ve had it for a few months now, and our dogs have thrown up on it three times. Not fun. It’s also looking pretty gray in the areas we walk on most. I don’t think I would recommend one to anyone with kids or dogs. Maybe a bedroom would be a better application.

Coffee Talk with Trey Jones Studio


I am so excited to get to share this tour with you today!  When I first saw the shots of this space I was blown away and had to jump on the chance to feature the makeover on my blog.  So here we are!

First, I want to introduce a very good friend of mine, Trey Jones.  Trey is the (very handsome) man behind this beautiful cafe you are about to feast your eyes on. He’s also the talent behind Trey Jones Studio based in Seattle WA.   The studio, a full service design house, has worked with furniture and lighting manufacturers as well as commercial and residential clients over the past seven years, making quite a name for themselves in the home decor space. Trey founded his studio in 2007 after graduating with a BFA in Furniture Design from the Savannah College of Art and Design…and that’s where we met…


“It was a beautiful spring day in the historical streets of Savannah when I first laid eyes on Trey”… well, not really.  It was more like “it was a sticky, humid day at a woodshop in Savannah, when I looked up from my lathe to see a kid with a mohawk setting up a project in the paint booth I had just reserved for my last shot at finishing my final project for Cabinet Class”… love at first sight obviously.  :)

Maybe not love, but definitely fast friends.  Trey is married to Melissa, one of the most amazing women I know.  The best part of traveling to Seattle (I go for work quite often) is getting to see my favorite couple in the whole wide world.  All three of us majored in Furniture at SCAD, bonding over beer, bad hair, and beautiful design.


I can’t help myself because they are just such a gorgeous couple, check out the shots of them below.  Even in college they were a match from the beginning in his and her leather jackets.  Awesomeness.

Okay, enough about me secretly wanting to be Melissa’s sister-wife and let’s get to the design porn shall we?


Broadcast Coffee Roasters was expanding with a third coffee shop in Seattle. They hired Trey Jones Studio to help freshen their brand with a new and contemporary cafe. Trey used a combination of materials and textures to create a warm and bright space to enjoy a delicious cup of coffee on a cold grey Seattle day.

The coffee shop was completed earlier this year in May.  You can see the blank canvas they started with below.


Trey’s primary role for the cafe was designer, but being the SCAD grad that he is, he couldn’t keep his hands out of it and did some of the woodwork himself.


The main bar looks absolutely amazing.  I love the mix of materials used: white ash, brushed brass, Caesarstone, and black accents. Keeps it light and bright without being boring.


Trey Jones Studio also designed the brass geometric lights featured throughout the space.  (no kidding, full service!) Dia, the light’s name, was inspired by the unique, skewed shadows cast by light coming through a window. When you flip the switch, the glow of brass and light emerges at each convergence of planes.  Dia comes in brushed brass or a hand applied patina.  Grab one at


I love how the geometry of the Dia light compliments the Real Good Counterstools from BluDot.  All of the wood used in the space balances the harsh angles of the lights and barstools, giving the cafe a modern edge while still feeling warm and inviting. A difficult combination.


Notice the attention to all of the small details.


This is probably my favorite shot on the left.  All the light flooding into the space, I could sit at that window counter for hours blogging away all hopped-up on double espresso shots…


(The ball pendants are by Schoolhouse Electric)


From the mouth of a designer – “The pattern and texture of the wood wall was inspired by quilting. The intention was to create the appearance of softness with wood.”


Trey designed and built custom planters for the coffee shop as well.  The frames are solid ash surrounding a classic terra cotta pot.  The Frame Planters will be for sale in the future on the studio’s website.


And of course, like most wives, Melissa has influence over everything Trey does…including this project.  (but if I had a wife as hot as Melissa I would listen to whatever she told me to do too)  Melissa hooked it up with those fabulous Salt Chairs from DWR.  Did I mention that she works for Design Within Reach?…whole package people, she’s the whole package.


The lamp tables were custom made from ash and powder coated steel.  You can see the tabletops being built in Trey’s workshop below.


I hope you guys love this space as much as I do, and next time you are in Seattle please stop by for a coffee and tell them what a great job Trey did.  Show him some love and follow him on Instagram: TREYJONES_STUDIO and Pinterest.  Tell him I sent you!

Broadcast Coffee Roasters‘ Roosevelt Location: 6515 Roosevelt Way NE, Seattle, WA

{All professional photography by Jennifer Chong – check her out at}

Tour Through Blogland

I am so excited to be part of the Tour Through Blogland this year.  The idea of the tour is to give readers of both our own blogs and those who are visiting from other blogs a glimpse inside what we do, why we do it, and how we do it.  I was invited by the super sweet Kirsten of Sweet Tea and Saving Grace blog.  I’ll admit, I am new to Kirsten’s blog.  I was introduced to her a few weeks ago at an event my Atlanta Area blogger’s group had.  She asked me to be a part of this little virtual block party and I jumped on board.  As a voyeur myself I love these sorts of things – letting you see behind the scenes of how each of us works through our process of blogging, designing, building, and crafting.  So fun!  So thanks Kirsten, make sure you go check her blog out after you read my little tour below. :)

Here are the 4 questions I am supposed to answer:

What am I working on?

What am I NOT working on is an easier question right now.  Jeez!  I’ll admit, I am actually writing this blog post sitting in the airport in Amsterdam waiting to catch my flight to Cologne, Germany for a trade show I’m attending for Indoor/Outdoor Furniture and Décor.  And in a few days I’ll hop over to Paris for another show.  Lately I feel like all I do is travel (and if you follow me on social media you would probably agree)

When I am actually in the US, my biggest projects right now are wrapping up my first season on my outdoor furniture line we launched earlier this year and kicking off the new line for next year.  From the time I started designing the collections, to traveling overseas for factory visits, to shipping the samples here for photography, to actually convincing the top US retailers to sell our amazing furniture (it wasn’t that hard ;) it has been about a year and a half long process.  It is amazing to see my designs on the webpages of Home Depot, Lowe’s, Target, Sam’s Club, Amazon, and Wayfair.  If you are in need of some fashionable outdoor furniture I would love for you to stop by our website and see if anything strikes your fancy.  If it doesn’t, you obviously have bad taste.


Unfortunately I can’t show you any of the new designs I am working on for next season, all of the retailers require confidentiality.  But I can show you what a hot mess my office is as I pull fabric and materials together for the new designs.  It’s messy, but totally the most fun part.


How does my blog differ from others of its genre?

I think it’s different because it’s from a furniture designer’s perspective.  I do the usual DIY project and occasional interior design job, but the meat of my blog is showcasing my process when I design furniture: my sketching, inspiration boards, how I render designs for presentations, behind the scenes at the factories I work with for manufacturing, prototyping, product failures and fixes, and really the truth behind this industry.  Furniture doesn’t just magically end up on a showroom floor, a designer and team of skilled people work hard for about 2 years before that design ever hits the retail floor. I like the idea that there aren’t a lot (if any) furniture designers lifting the curtail and showing you the whole product design process from start to finish with all of the dirty details in-between.


I want to take people along for the ride – I travel all over the world attending trade shows, presenting to buyers at all the top US retailers, and visiting my factories to make sure my designs are being manufactured like I intended.  Good design takes a lot of babysitting.


Why do I write/create what I do?

Honestly, I started my blog in response to so many people showing interest when they find out what I do for a living.  People are so fascinated to hear about my travel, see my designs, watch me sketch, hear me speak about trends, I figured, if all of these people close to me are that interested there must be other people out there too.  So, in a slightly narcissistic fashion, I decided to tell people about me, the uber fascinating and mysterious furniture designer…ooohhh ahhhhh.


Now that’s why I decided to start my blog, but the reason I do what I dooo is the reward of the feedback.  I love designing and building things to give to others that I care about.  Seeing their faces when you give them something that fits their style and makes their life better through design, or at the very least makes their home more fashionable.

These are a few of those ‘gift’ projects from this past year.


The other feedback that I am enjoying is from new customers that bought my outdoor furniture –  sending in photos of their spaces using the new furniture with wonderful compliments  about how much they love it and how it fits their style and their home perfectly.  There is not better payment for a designer than that.  Well, cash I guess…that is better.  But compliments are a very close second.

Here are a few that were recently posted to our social media.


How does your writing/creating process work?

A lot of people ask me that, where does my inspiration come from?  That’s a hard one to answer.  Honesty it’s part science, part organic. I work alongside my sales partner to analyze numbers, but design requires you to step outside of spreadsheets and look at the world around you.  I am constantly shooting pictures of things that interest me: activities, colors, patterns, people, and architecture.  When I go back through photos I never know what might spark something.  I don’t get my inspiration from just one place, and it is hard to force inspiration, though my job tries to everyday.  Ha!  Usually my best designs come to me naturally, I just start sketching and see what happens.  It sounds cheesy, but my pen guides me a lot of the time.  I like starting with one idea in mind and finding myself in a completely different place in the end.  I surprise myself sometimes.

That was specifically vague huh?  Sorry, that’s just a hard question to answer.  And I can’t really tell you where I get all my good ideas, can I?!  I have to keep some advantage here.

Well, I hope you enjoyed my little tour.  I am totally lame and I did not recruit 3 additional bloggers to pass you to like we are supposed to.  With all of my recent travel I dropped the ball.  Sadly, my blog suffers when I have too much going on.  So please, type in Tour Through Blogland into Google and check out the other bloggers who have participated.  Thanks guys, see you back in the USA soon!

AE Outdoor-The Dawson Collection

It has been forever since my last post! But I have good reason, I promise.  You know that little thing called money that we use to buy things like food and electricity?…well, I have been working my tail off making some of this so-called-cash.  Many of you know my company, no, not my blog or design business, my outdoor furniture company AE Outdoor.  I own this company with my amazing business partner Eric and together we are taking over the outdoor furniture world!  Check out our website if you want some more info on us, but for now I was going to give you a little behind-the-scenes look at one of our 2014 collections that is out on right now.

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-Alt-ArrangeSee, Eric and I have a great working relationship.  He handles all of the financial analysis, sales rigamarole, import/export logistics, and the general crap-piles that come with owning a business.  And I get to design pretty things all day!  See, a perfect balance, even steven. (read more about our roles here)

Since Eric’s part of the job isn’t über exciting or very visually stimulating, lets stick with my portion.  Below is a quick look at my sketching process when I started laying out the design for the Dawson Sectional.

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-sketch process-Samantha PattilloI gave up drawing on paper a long time ago.  Now I draw on my Wacom.  I literally could not live without it.  I’ve talked about it before in other posts, but it’s so true.  So much so that now I have the Cintiq 22 HD for my office AND the Cintiq 13 HD for when I travel.  And no, they are not paying me to write about them, but god knows I would whore myself out for another one of these for my home – they cost a ton!

It’s just like drawing on paper, but it’s all digital using photoshop and the paintbrush tool.  Check out the final rendering below.  Free-hand bitches!

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-final renderingThese were quick iPhone shots I took while pulling ideas together for fabrics and wickers.  You can see there are always tweaks along the way, and I like where we ended up with the blue-er cushion color and lighter wicker in the final photos. You?

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-fabric swatchesThe sectional is huge and super comfy, great for a little afternoon nap-time in the sun.

AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-Main-1AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-BackAE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-Pillow-DetailAE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-WeavePull out the separate chair pieces and you can make a mini sectional with chairs for more ‘conversational’ seating.  Yes, brilliant, I know.AE Outdoor-Dawson Patio Collection-Main-AltHead on over to and get yours before we sell out!!

Joyce Glynn - I love you blue wicker patio furniture. I am in the process of having a round fire pit patio area in my backyard. Do you have a round-style type furniture – on the same idea as the blue wicker patio furniture on this website – that I can check out. Thanks.


Samantha Pattillo - Hi Joyce! Thanks for reaching out. Sadly, we don’t have any of that type of chair in the blue fabric, but we have great swivel round chairs in a red fabric. Feel free to see our whole line at Hopefully we have some other designs you will love! :)

Scott - Hello Samantha
I purchased this Dawson 7 piece patio set earlier this year and absolutely love it. I live outside of Cleveland so the winter weather is quickly approaching and due to the size of this furniture being a bit deeper and wider than most I’m having trouble finding covers to keep it in great shape. Can you recommend any or are there some available for this patio set? thanks

Samantha Pattillo - Hi Scott, thank you so much for purchasing the Dawson Set, it’s a good one ;) At present AE Outdoor does not sell covers for the furniture, but we are looking into it for the future. Right now, we suggest They have a large variety of sizes that should work for any and all furniture. Happy hunting!!

Reupholstery – How Many Yards Does It Take?

When I saw this quick little cheat sheet posted on my Instagram feed I just had to share!!  One of my fav bloggers and part of my ‘insta-family’, Cheryl of the blog Dwell by Cheryl, posted this after seeing her go-to upholstery guy getting fed up answering this over-asked question- “How many yards will it take to recover this chair?…”

Samantha Pattillo-How Many Yards to Reupholster

Isn’t it great!?! I now have this baby saved to my phone so I can get a quick understanding on cost when I’m thrifting at my favorite vintage stores.  Thanks for sharing Cheryl!

As always, no post should go without some eye candy, so here are a few fun reupholstery before and afters:

Samantha Pattillo-Chairloom 3 before-afterSamantha Pattillo-Chairloom 1 before-afterSamantha Pattillo-Chairloom 2 before-afterThese are all from the amazing designers at Chairloom.  Check them out for more cool reupholstery projects.

Samantha Pattillo-apartment therapy before-afterThis funky gem is from my always favorite before/after posts by apartment therapy.

Samantha Pattillo-Craftnik before-afterYou know I love me an Eames era chair…though this is not a real one.  Still cute though with its sassy denim chevron from the blog crafnik.

Samantha Pattillo-Just About Home before-afterThis little guy is so classic with its clean lines and turned legs, I love the graphic pattern Peg and Liz from Just About Home blog used to recover the chair.  This would add some punch to any room without being overwhelming.

Emily Hendersen for Oh-Joy-Studio-Chairs1I couldn’t find the before shot of this cute pair, but I still had to share these groovy office chairs.  Emily Henderson is one of my favorite designers, these are vintage chairs she found and recovered for her color savvy client Oh Joy Studio.  The combo tweed/plaid with the solid is so fun!

Happy hunting and reupholstering guys!

What’s Your Angle? – Pattern Inspiration

Lawdy, lawdy, lawd…are you all as busy as me?!  I feel like I can’t catch my breath I have so much going on.  My blogging has suffered, it gets pushed to the bottom of the list, after all the other things that help me get paid.  LOL  I guess thats how it should be though.  At least that’s what my animals think since my paycheck helps to feed them and buy them fashionable pets beds and fancy collars. ;)

Just to get back in the groove, here is the an easy ‘inspiration’ post for you.  I got such a fabulous response to my credenza upcycle post a few weeks ago that I thought it would be cool to show some other product on the market doing a similar angle theme.

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-5Angular and/or triangle patterns are most popular on softgoods right now, they are everywhere!  I love this pillow featured on HGTV and this wood-cut blanket-TO.DIE.FOR.  Check out Elisa Strozyk’s rugs and textiles, there are too many amazing ones to feature here.

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-2I love this little console table from West Elm and this outdoor furniture is interesting…not my style, but still cool.

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-4This origami inspired lighting is amazing.  The pendant makes he think of a crumpled piece of paper. :)  And that lamp needs to go in my office!

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-1Wrap your walls in geos too with this shelf, wall clock, and even this statement wallpaper.

Samantha Pattillo-Angular Inspiration-3And you know a trend has some staying power when it’s incorporated into architecture.  This funky window gives a modern home some pizzaz and this shade structure by designer Jamie Durie got lots of attention when it was featured on HGTV.