Rachael Ray Home: Exclusive Q&A with Michael Murray

by Star Furniture on March 31, 2017

I have a VERY special treat in store for y’all today! ;P It has to do with Rachael Ray Home and the team behind the creation of such a stunning collection!

We had a wonderful opportunity to interview Michael Murray, renowned designer and General Manager of Rachael Ray Home!

We are so excited to share this interview where we learned a bit more about Murray, his experience as a designer, and working with Rachael on the collection. We also gained some insight on the creation of their first pop-up boutique, Moxie, featuring Rachael Ray Home and a curated selection of fashion, accessories, and décor in Austin, Texas!

Check out the interview below! 🙂

To start off, I would love to get a little background information about you. Where did you study design, and what inspired you to become an interior designer?

I am a self-taught builder, contractor, and designer. I grew up learning about hard work and craftsmanship from my Irish immigrant grandfather, who was a mason by trade. As the sixth of eight kids, I also learned how to make do with what I got – mostly hand-me-downs and items that were never brand-new. I’d rehab, repurpose, and reimagine them. When I was 18, I started building sets for high-end furniture catalog photo shoots. Over the last 30 years, I’ve developed and refined my craft, inspired by the world around me and the works of visionaries like Mies Van der Rohe and Louis Sullivan.

How would you describe your “preferred style”?

The best way to describe my style is “planned eclecticism.” I’ll mix both expensive and inexpensive items (“high/low” as I like to call it), and mix finishes and textures. A space shouldn’t be too uniform, and it shouldn’t break the bank. It should feel natural and hand-selected, with real livability in mind.

Where do you turn to for design inspiration?

The world is my oyster when it comes to inspiration. Looking back at old photos or dated hotels and restaurants, I like to see what has actually lasted. I grew up poor in a big family, everything always had to last a long time and serve multiple purposes. In my designs, I always aim for an enduring physical and aesthetic result.

What’s your favorite part about being an interior designer?

I don’t consider myself an “interior” designer. That’s too narrow! I’m simply a person who loves to build and design all things.

How would you describe the Rachael Ray Home line?

Rachael always says, “You don’t have to be rich to live a rich life,” and we hold fast to that promise. So many pieces in this collection, would fit comfortably in a high-end showroom. But that doesn’t mean we’re the most expensive or the cheapest – just the best value for your dollar. Rachael Ray Home is very much about approachable luxury, because you’re getting the quality fabrics, construction, form, and function for your investment.

What is one of your biggest challenges on your projects?

Time! Time is always our greatest enemy. We have endless creativity but never enough minutes to match. This holds true for the furniture line, and for our first pop-up boutique, Moxie, in Austin. We turned a shell of a building into a gorgeous shopping space in just 72 hours – it was an insta-vention! By the way, thanks Star for providing the furniture for Moxie. It looked amazing!

How is it working with Rachael Ray? What was the day-to-day process like designing this collection?

Working with Rachael is amazing. When you’re with her, you always need a pen and paper to sketch and note fast. Her ideas and thoughts come quickly, and she never forgets a thing! One of the greatest things about working with Rachael, and one that doesn’t get talked about enough, is how much she wants everyone around her to succeed as well. She is constantly challenging me to go further, and always asking how we can improve our pieces for both design and function.  

What’s your favorite piece?

I love all our babies, but the MurRay Bed is one of my favorites. Rachael and I designed it together (the name is a combination of both our last names). Like many of her designs and ideas, it does more than one thing and solves a problem. It’s incredibly unique, and comfortable to boot.

Can you tell me a little bit more what goes on behind decorating this pop-up boutique you launched during SXSW?

The pop-up boutique, Moxie, which I mentioned a bit earlier, was a brand-new endeavor for us. Rachael got inspired to create something that encompassed her love of Austin and her love of fashion. We found an awesome location on South Congress, but the building was a total shell. Someone said to me, “I can’t believe you transformed this space in three days!” My reply was that it took 8 weeks and 3 days, thanks to our incredible team led by Jennifer Murray. It was a girl-power build-out, and I got to do a lot of the fun finish work. We have a dream team!

Are there any new, upcoming projects you’re excited to be working on?

Yes! We never stop moving. This year, we’re entering brand-new categories: youth furniture, casual dining, outdoor furniture, rugs, and accessories. The response to Rachael Ray Home has simply been unbelievable, and we can’t wait to show you what we’ve got in-store next!   

All Moxie shop images are a courtesy of Charles Reagan Hackleman. Michael Murray and Rachael Ray image a courtesy of Diana Parrish Design & Photography.

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Magnolia Kids by Joanna Gaines

by Star Furniture on March 14, 2017

Joanna’s back at it again. HGTV’s Fixer Upper star just finished wrapping up her fourth season on the series, and now she’s delivering even more Magnolia loving with a few new additions to her home collection: Magnolia Kids!

If you followed our previous series about the Magnolia Home Collection, you’ll know that this line is super eclectic in nature! Similarly, the new Magnolia Kids line incorporates a variety of amazing styles, from french to farmhouse to boho to primitive – you name it. The only difference is that this line is specifically designed for the kiddos! Leave it to Mrs. Gaines to make sure there’s a little bit of something for everyone. 🙂

Plus, each style blends together so so well.

We definitely get a feel for Magnolia’s staple look – a beloved country chic style – across the entire collection which is completely evident in the Boho Playhouse Canopy Bed:

Available in Jo’s White and Salvage finish, this roof pitch canopy bed is absolutely perfect for any youngster! This sturdy little bed looks like it’s part of a children’s storybook dream, and I have the feeling your little ones will think so too. ;P

A number of youth case pieces effortlessly complement this bed, including the Primitive Classroom Cubby Bookcase or the Primitive Strut End or Night Table:

First, I would like to point out the functionality behind this primitive night table! It’s purposeful, and makes for such a versatile piece that can be placed almost anywhere.

Such an efficient little table. 🙂 Ah, I love it.

Now, onto the primitive cubby bookcase. This piece is an amazinggg addition to your children’s room. Just as every classroom needs a good bookshelf for storage, I think every kid could benefit from having one of these cubby bookcases in their room. Not only does it have ample space for storage, it’s such a great organizer for crafts, books, and the like!

Here are a few more items from the Magnolia Kids line. 😀

One can easily gather from these pieces that Joanna has four kids of her own, and knows exactly what a kid’s room should be; a place made especially with them in mind.

If you’re looking to renew your kids room, come by our showroom and check out more from the Magnolia Kids line! Don’t forget to share this new collection with your friends on social! Until next time lovelies. 🙂

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Trendy Urban Style: Flatbush Avenue

by Star Furniture on February 28, 2017

Industrial. Classic. Urban. Chic.

A few elements that embody an urban vintage design. 🙂 This type of design has been an increasingly stylish trend the past few years, and I can definitely see why. It’s a mix of forged metals and reclaimed wood that really give this look a touch of personality and charm you don’t see in other styles.

One of our newest collections, the Flatbush Avenue furniture collection, truly exemplifies these enticing characteristics. It represents the simple, understated, and never-go-out-of-style collection of furniture.

Bringing warmth with rustic designs, the Flatbush collection combines modern and vintage–creating a utilitarian design aesthetic that won’t go unnoticed. This casually chic look is defined by a combination of three essential characteristics: clean lines, reclaimed wood, and metal accents.

Clean lines

The oversimplified aesthetic of this design is attributed to the clean lines represented in each and every piece from this collection! It gives off a crisp, polished look to contrast with the sturdy, ruggedness of its wooden features.

You always hear people say “less is more,” and in this instance the phrase rings true. 🙂 Clean lines bring out the basic structure of each piece to reflect a simple, uncluttered appearance everyone loves.

Reclaimed Wood

Or the appearance of reclaimed wood. ;P This is one of the biggest components that define this look, and let me tell you, it is on-trend. It provides a desirable, organic feel that’s actually easy to combine with various styles. The natural wood element adds a sense of warmth and relaxation that can help balance a modern, contemporary or transitional design.

Besides, the planked-wood tops bring life to the collection! The Flatbush Avenue collection is crafted of hardwood solids and Hickory veneers, creating the semblance of reclaimed wood to help channel the rustic, unique qualities visible in each piece.  

Metal Accents

Ah, the finishing touch. The metal accents are where the urban meets vintage. Forged metals adorn each piece in such a way that it introduces antiquity and chicness to the design.

So much personality is added with such a small detail! It’s the industrial touch combined with the warmth from the wood that gives this collection it’s charm. 🙂

It’s definitely more enticing in person, so don’t hesitate to come check out this style in our stores! As always, share our blog with your friends on social and keep coming back for more. 🙂

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New Traditional With Mary Strong

by Star Furniture on February 16, 2017

I’m thrilled to share some expert design knowledge and advice from one of our fabulous interior designers today! It’s time to introduce you to a real client project passionately crafted by one of our very own creative minds here at Star. 🙂

Today’s’ client project belongs to our Katy interior designer, Mary Strong, who helped deliver a fresh, traditional look to a family’s new home in Katy, Texas. If you follow our Instagram account, you may already know who Mary Strong is. ;P With over 20 years of experience in the industry, Strong has done it all from residential to commercial interior design. She even specializes in window treatments, which we’ll certainly see throughout her projects!

The goal for this design project was simple: a vibrant style with cheerful colors to reflect this particular client’s Florida roots and large family. The end results are stunning.

Let’s break it down by room:  

The Breakfast Area

A new traditional design really comes into play in this particular space.

The “new traditional” style follows the same general principles that guide a classic traditional look:  familiar forms and symmetrical design. This is especially visible in the structure of the white kitchen table.

The difference here for this “new” traditional look boils down to the lightness in the room. The way light colors add a fresh feel to the space is unmistakable, a complete contrast from the darker tones we tend to associate traditional design with.

Additionally, reupholstered chairs with a colorful, striped pattern certainly add to the vibrant, bright style the client was shooting for. Plus, a gorgeous rug added underneath makes all the difference!

Taking a step back, you’ll notice the lightly, floral-patterned custom window treatments, Strong’s specialty of course! As your eyes glaze over the suspended shades, you’ll notice the large window rests upon a weighty bobbin style bench, the perfect spot for a charming accent piece!

The Study

Here’s another instance where the rug makes a huge difference. It’s the combination between the rug and the fun, bright print of the traditional chairs that add a fresh twist to the traditional decor. Even adding light, bright accessories to the bookcase in the background make the room pop and create more interest!

The Family Room

This room is by far my favorite! It’s the perfect space for gathering with family, with plenty of seating available across the bright green, traditional sectional. 🙂

Custom upholstery options by Huntington House [link] allowed Strong to incorporate a bright, Florida feel to the design. We can see this in the large scale floral print (which the client absolutely loved!) chosen for the winged chairs, whose bright color palette balances magnificently with the sectionals’ accent pillows.

Customer leather cocktail ottomans were used in place of a cocktail table, which is genius. Not only does it allow for extra seating space, but it also allows for more versatility when it comes to placement!  You can push them together, move them around, you name it. This is essential for a space with high traffic, especially when the kids and the grand-kids are over!

One of the most striking elements in this space are the gorgeous custom window treatments attached to the high, majestic ceilings. A lovely raised, embroidered design adds a little bit of texture from afar and a bright, coral color adds a pop of interest overall. <3

Below we shared some more from this client’s new traditionally designed home!

This design is a fresh take on a classic traditional style that truly brightens the space with a sense of cheerfulness. It undoubtedly adds more warmth to a time-honored look. 🙂

Stay tuned for our next piece from our blog, and don’t forget to share the love with all your friends on social! <3

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Auberose: A collection inspired by European architecture

January 17, 2017

It’s the beginning of a new year, yet a traditional artisan style never seems to lose it’s appeal. Our newest collection by Hooker Furniture, Auberose, is a prime example of such a captivating selection of artisan pieces. They are created with a familiar look inspired by the past, described as a “European Country collection infused […]

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Are there harmful chemicals in my mattress?

December 29, 2016

The topic of whether or not your mattress contains harmful chemicals has been tossed around quite a bit lately. While the concern over such an issue is valid (seeing as we spend most of the night on our mattress), we decided to do a little digging to understand what you should and shouldn’t be concerned […]

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Arch. Salvage by A.R.T.

December 7, 2016

Artistic, reflective, and timeless. These words ring true once you’ve laid eyes on the Arch. Salvage Collection by A.R.T. This collection is so artistic, with intricate detailing meticulously placed around even the tiniest knob of a drawer! It’s also characterized by other features, such as the carved corbels on a dresser, intended to reflect neoclassical […]

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Rachael Ray’s Highline Furniture Collection

November 8, 2016

If you love watching the Food Network then you may be familiar with the name Rachael Ray, in which case you’re not going to believe what we have planned today! If this name doesn’t ring a bell, you’re still in for a fabulous treat. 🙂 Just so everyone’s on the same page, the lovely Rachael […]

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Solid Wood Furniture: Kincaid Wildfire

October 25, 2016

We have another beautiful collection on our showroom floors – the Kincaid Wildfire Collection! If you’ve been searching for furniture made of natural, solid wood then this collection may be just what you’ve been looking for. Kincaid furniture is authentic, and they’re 100% dedicated to making wood furniture in it’s most natural form. 🙂 It’s […]

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How to Navigate Your Next Mattress Purchase

October 4, 2016

What’s a girl have to do to get a good night’s sleep? With so many mattress choices available, purchasing one can seem like an overwhelming task. Everyone stumbles upon this issue at one point or another, whether it’s buying a new mattress for your new home or just replacing an old one that’s wayy overdue. […]

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