Designers Reveal What Signature Items Make a Project Theirs

Just like filmmakers, interior designers love to include Easter eggs in their projects. After spying unique personal touches in their work, we sat down with the stealthiest pros we know to learn more about how they leave their mark on different interiors.

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July 27, 2017
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Beloved Fur Babies

Anyone who follows designer Brian Patrick Flynn knows that he can't resist showing off his rescues, Gidget and Linus. These precious pups make frequent cameos in Brian's Instagram stories (@bpatrickflynn), keep his crew company on photo shoots and sometimes even pose for projects around our site, like HGTV's Holiday House. Here's Gidget now!

Their Ultra-Cute Kiddos

They might look like professional models, but more often than not, the little ones you see in photos are actually the kids of our designers. "I love spending my work day with my daughter," says interior designer Alexis Lundberg. "Whether we're staging or designing, she loves to explore my clients' spaces. She is especially helpful at unpacking our staging bins and plants are her accessory of choice!"

Official Company Gear

Company bags and laptop cases, too, have a way of sneaking into photo shoots. Look closely at this coastal kitchen and you may spy one now. On the counter, a casual tote marked KMID nods to designer Kate Maloney Albiani's firm and makes this serene space feel comfortable and lived-in.

Handcrafted Pottery

Talk about a personal touch. Artist and designer Barbara Vail often adds a piece of handcrafted pottery to her clients' homes, like this small blue planter on an end table. "I usually select from my own pottery collection because the light glazes and soft finishes complement my aesthetic," she explains. "I feel so connected to each space I design, and incorporating a piece I've made allows me to leave a little part of myself behind."

Original Artwork

Before you ask designer Joanna Gick of J&J Design Group where she finds all those cute watercolor decals, string art pieces and custom letters in her kids' rooms, there's something you should know: she makes them herself! "I love to add at least one handmade item to each of my kids' room designs," Gick says. "It gives the space a little personal touch, and my clients love to have a one of a kind item for their child. I made this tape letter as a throw back to my teen years!"

Scottie Dog Statues

Take a look at spaces designed by Ghislaine Vinas, and you're bound to spot small animal statues somewhere in each room, a cheeky nod to her signature style. "My home is filled with all sorts of them -- it's a 'design zoo,' and I like to draw on that quirky element when styling my clients' spaces," she reveals. "For example, there's a black scottie dog figure of mine that has made his way into several photo shoots."

Porcelain Ponies

Designer Noz Nozawa knows a thing or two about animal figurines, too. "In all of my photo shoots, some of my personal decor pieces will sneak into a client's bookshelf or onto a coffee table -- but two separate clients actually fell in love with my porcelain cerulean Bitossi horse and had me find the same piece for them," she says. "So the irony is that they're all different horses that my clients love as much as I do!"

Vintage Cameras

And what's designer Jordan Iverson's special signature, you ask? Give this nook another look, and you may just find out. "I always try to include one of my antique cameras in each shoot," Iverson admits. "You'll find them staged in various places throughout each home."

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