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Rustic, yet Refined Dining Room

We continue our home tour, moving from the ship-lap clad foyer to the dining area. Here’s the space before we began the design process:

Dining Room: Before

The changes to the dining room were simple, but strategic. The paint was refreshed and window sashes were painted a dark charcoal (need new windows but can’t afford them? #protip: consider painting them!). Instead of finding new art, we “shopped the house,” moved things around, and completely changed the feel of the room. New chairs were the biggest investment. The side chars were swapped for modern aged brass and leather ones by SunPan Modern Home, and the host chairs are now a charcoal tweed with nail head trim detail.

Dining Room: After

The real showstopper is the gilded leg on that classic, traditional mid-century line by Hickory Chair. Masculine, curated, and lovely. It’s time for a dinner party!



Mexico-Inspired Family Guest Room

I do love when a fun project turns into another fun project, don’t you? Once upon a time, I designed an industrial (yet inviting!) employee lounge for a corporation located on the Atlanta Beltline. My client loved that space, and decided she wanted to bring Gina Sims Designs home with her. She had a small room, 11 feet by 11 feet to be exact, that housed a queen bed and a lot of junk. It was just that room in your house where all.the.stuff.goes, you know? You’ve totally got that room.
She wanted to add some function, life, and her family to that room. They were in need of a separate space for their 9 year old daughter to play with her friends, a yoga space, and a guest room. Given that my passion is to make spaces beautiful and functional, obviously I was in for the challenge. The design inspiration was rooted in their family’s global identity and heritage. She’s from England, his family is from Mexico, so we started focusing on how to bring the life of bright, Mexican textiles to the room.
I started by painting the room white to allow for brightness and to give the colors full-pop-potential. I also added wall-mounted scones and a new overhead fixture to provide lots of task and general lighting to bring life to the room.
While the brightness of the white paint allowed the room to feel bigger than it really is, it was also important not to fill the room with a large bed. Comfortably hosting overnight guests is simply an occasional pleasure, not something that most families can afford to donate an entire room toward. I selected an extremely comfortable sleeper sofa that provided a living-room type feel and function to the room while freeing up considerable space. An ottoman and side chair provide additional seating, and can be relocated easily when the bed is extended.
Everything that was previously needed in the office space was placed in file boxes, and beloved books are now on display for easy access. I hung curtains to center the window and those helped to provide a bit more symmetry to the odd angles of the room. I displayed Mexican folk art prints and a portrait to provide a bright and crisp interpretation of the family heritage theme. The family found a photo of his grandfather and mom, and a photo taken at Tulum on the couple’s honeymoon: I surprised them by having these reframed for the big reveal. Posters behind the cayenne pepper chair depict the Lake District (in England) and Tulum (Mexico) which are special locations for the family.
Their reaction to the design basically changed my life, but you don’t have take my word for it  #readingrainbow:
“It was dead space before. My husband hasn’t been in this room for 10 years, except maybe to print something. Now it’s been 5 hours since we’ve seen it and we haven’t left! John and I both said it felt like we were in the coolest VRBO! Ha! He loved the pictures of his mom and Grandma and the photo we took on our honeymoon. Make it feel like us! But Cooler. Still don’t know how you made our bookshelves look so cool. So Thankful.”
“I won’t mind so much when there is a tornado warning now!” – 9 year old daughter




5 Years of Gina Sims Designs

As my 5th anniversary of the creation of Gina Sims Designs approached, I knew that I wanted to do something to thank my amazing clients, my family, and vendors who have made this job an absolute joy every day.

The open and bright space of steve mckenzie’s was the perfect setting for the anniversary party. Steve and Jill McKenzie opened their interiors and lifestyle store in September 2012. While we enjoyed drinks, hors d’oeuvres, and macaroons (because that’s how I roll), we were able to enjoy the store and its beautiful selection of home goods, furniture, art, and my personal favorite: textiles designed from the canvases of Steve’s artwork.

Above all, I wanted this evening to be an event where I could express my gratitude to all of those people who invite me into their home: their most sacred space. To be able to partner with such fun, creative, and energy-filled people to recreate spaces that express their personal and family cultures is life-giving to me.

Here’s to many more years of Gina Sims Designs! Thanks, everyone!


Fantastic group of friends, family, and clients that closed out the celebration!

Jenny, my design assistant (without whom I could not survive), and Meredith, my GSD marketing assistant.

My supportive family and parents!







Out of this World Surprise

This little girl was turning 9 and her family wanted to surprise her with a brand new room. As I began the design process with her family, I learned that she loves the color purple and outer space: but I’m not one for theme rooms. Maybe for kids, but even then, theme rooms get old quickly. (My kids change what they like every other week. If I had done that Pokemon room my son wanted, he would be crying that it was “too babyish” right now and I’d be out some serious dough.) Good room decor should last. It should be able to grow with you. I like to use awesome, but not “kid-specific” patterns and colors that can grow with the child but also reflect what he or she loves. I like to do that through accessories – art, an accent pillow, etc.

She likes purple and space? GREAT! Let’s let those themes INSPIRE the design, but not dictate it to the point where there’s a spaceship-shaped bed in her room.

We painted her walls a bright white, the ceiling a fabulous blue and replaced her tired old ceiling fixture with a light and airy celestial looking fixture. Bedding and a rug were where we punched up our color and pattern and crisp white window treatments with a turquoise pompom accent gave the windows new life.

Now let’s take a moment and honor that light fixture of the big dipper on the wall. Moment of silence and mad respect for the good people of West Elm who created that wicked awesome art perfect for this room.

The vanity was a family piece. It was dark and chipped but they still wanted to keep it. We refinished it and painted it with gray chalk paint, swapped out the hardware and now it’s the perfect desk! The cork board will fulfill her constant desire to pin her favorite things all over her walls and we surrounded it with space-inspired art. Another nod to the person who created that cat astronaut (catstronaut?) art.

The bathroom got a coat of lavender paint and a new shower curtain showing the phases of the moon (so cool)!

Oh, and the reveal! She went to school on her 9th birthday without a CLUE that her room was her present. “Go put your backpack away” …..

Happy Birthday, Sweet Girl! You (and your room) are out of this world! It had to be said.




Eclectic Color

Our neighbors moved. They were the kind of neighbors who you passed your kids back and forth over the fence and contemplated just putting in a gate. The kind of neighbors with whom you spent every second of snow days and happy hours and dinners on the regular. When they moved across town I was tickled pink (I’m apparently southern enough to say that now) to be asked to do their house.

They doubled their space so we had a blast starting from scratch on many of the rooms. Like any young family, they were budget conscious and the main objective of the new house was that it be grown up, but not serious. The kind of house that is thoughtful but not too precious to feel anything less than at home.


We pushed the envelope with colors and patterns in different ways in each of the spaces. In the family room, we were all about playful colors – red, navy, gold and teal. We kept the same color palette throughout the house but played them up in different ways. The living room had more grays, with navy and gold as the primary accents.

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The bedroom boasted that amazing navy wall with leather, gray and white linen window treatments and gold with slashes of color in pillows and art. It flows without looking the same. Who says grown up can’t be fun? (Save laundry for another day).


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