Welcome to The Monocle

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.”

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 em@elizabethmonicaldesign.com, and I’ll answer them here.

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