Podcast, Ep. 66: architect Andrew Cogar and designer Kristin Kong


Today we welcome Andrew Cogar, architect for Historical Concepts, and interior designer Kristin Kong! We talk to them about designing and building from the ground up, the balance of architecture and design together and the way the two fields complement each other, what to know when finding an architect or interior designer to work on your home, and some smart tips to help navigate this major investment.

What You’ll Hear on This Episode:

  • Taryn’s trial in the eyeglass world, and her triumph in seeing the comedian Celeste Barber live.
  • Yes, you can have Prosecco on tap at your office too.
  • The ongoing saga of Karen’s basement and her husband’s dream bar.
  • Caroline’s Christmas Tree trials and triumph, and how to correctly flock your tree to give it that beautiful snow misted look.
  • How the recession changed the relationship between architects and designers. 
  • The ways architects and designers inspire and complement each other.
  • What Andrew and his team look for in renovations at Historical Concepts, and why one of their core values is to be “appropriate”
  • How Andrew helps steer and educate clients in the direction of quality, skill and proportion.
  • Why seeing is believing holds true for what both Andrew and Kristin do.
  • Andrew and Kristin’s expert tips to add an interior designer early on in the project.
  • The importance of communication and trust in the process of both renovation and design.
  • Why the challenges that arise between architects and designers can actually be an opening for better dialog and a stronger partnership.
  • Personal stories from both Kristin and Andrew on some of the projects they are most proud of.
  • How both Andrew and Kristin weave in trends but still keep the integrity and lifestyle needs of the project.
  • Why it’s important to have a master plan, no matter how small the project is.

Decorating Dilemmas

Hi ladies,

I have been enjoying your podcast for a while now! Thanks. Please help me redo this bathroom & get a start on my daughter’s room (I’m not including a photo of her room since she just graduated from UGA and everything will go when she moves out). For inspiration redoing my daughter’s room, I’m starting with an uber colorful crazy quilt made by my great grandmother.  And I used your room planner to get a sense of the room if I switch to twin beds.  I don’t love loud rooms so I plan to leave the walls (BM Monroe Bisque) and light tan carpet staying mostly neutral/calm letting the quilt be the star.  Any suggestions you have on furniture, bedding, window treatments, color scheme, or a rug to get me beyond the quilt would be great.

This bathroom is a Jack’n Jill and links a blue/yellow guest room with my daughter’s room.  Since both the quilt and the other room have blue I’m going for a simple blue and white/cream color scheme but have picked a really bold blue (BM AF-530 Lucerne from your recent catalog) so that something in addition to the quilt is colorful. 

On a recent podcast y’all joked about an engineer husband who doesn’t want to spend on decorating.  That’s my husband too.  So I’m a DIY, low budget, decorate over time gal.  My ideas for the bathroom so far are: Paint the whole room Lucerne (I love how it makes the red/orange pop in my previously boring set of botanicals).  Make a wood stained frame for the mirror.

Replace the vanity light fixture with a larger one.

Make a relaxed roman shade as a valance with leftover fabric (shown sideways).

I ‘d like to adopt the Southern love of monograms with a monogrammed shower curtain. What do you think?  I love the Amelie Shower curtain, but I don’t think any of the colors look right.  Perhaps navy in the Suzanne Kasler shower curtain?  And what do I do about rugs, towels, and styling the counter?

Thank you, thank you!


We feel like since your tile is tan, you could do the Amelie Shower curtain also in tan. An outdoor rug gives you a lot more options in terms of design, and the ivory Scroll rug in front of the shower and the vanity may work to tie in the tones of the room without competing with the fabric. From an architectural standpoint, Andrew would knock out one of the walls (the door closet to the window) and make it shared closet, but for now we suggest moving the bed over to one of the window walls. Ballard also has some great twin beds, and check out the Regina Headboard to go along with the dark velvety tones of the quilt.



I just found your podcast and love listening to it! I’ve been a Ballard Designs fan for years and it is so fun to hear the inspiration! And if this question gets on the air, I have to say my sister Ashley is the one who told me about it.

My question revolves around my kitchen. And while I know you don’t normally get into kitchens so much, I was wondering if you could help give me some direction. We bought this house three years ago knowing someday we want to do a major overhaul in the kitchen — tear down walls, change the flow in general. However, this past winter I went to part time to be with my kids and so a major renovation is off the table for now. However, I still loathe my kitchen, and want to make some updates that will help us enjoy it for the next several years while we focus our kids. See my pictures below. The cabinets not shown are floor to ceiling cabinets and fridge (that was paneled to look like a cabinet) So I have a few questions…

Would you recommend painting the cabinets? Bummed that they are curvy design,  but can’t afford new ones. I love the trim size but wonder if I should paint that too- and what do you do with the walls then?  Its beautiful wood but just isn’t me really. The room feels pretty dark. You see the outside wall and the other sides goes into our garage, family room and dining so it’s not in direct sunlight for three walls. It just seems to be two colors. Green and brown. Should I keep the brass knobs or go silver?Anything else you’d to bring the kitchen closer to 2018 rather than 1993, when it was last updated?!!  The chandelier is in the center of the ceiling but the table is not so we can use the door. Should I replace with a chandelier or a flush mount? Is it worth investing time and some money now to kind of update it or should we just hold out for the next 15 years??!! 

Thanks for your help,


Do not loathe your kitchen for 15 more years! Andrew recommends taking the doors off the hinges, getting new doors,  and looking at some type of panel detail over the top band. Take out the scroll work above the kitchen sink, and paint the trim lighter. If you have the new doors, you can move where your hardware location is. Our plan would be to paint now, focus on the new countertop in about two years, and then 15 years from now – knock it all down!


Show Notes

Please send in your questions so we can answer them on our next episode! And of course, subscribe to the podcast in iTunes so you never miss an episode. You can always check back here to see new episodes, but if you subscribe, it’ll automatically download to your phone.

Happy Decorating!

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Caroline McDonald

Caroline lives for pairing together patterns, mixing furniture styles, and oogling over our newest furniture pieces. As you can imagine, her little 1920's craftsman is in a constant state of flux. Here on How to Decorate, it's her goal to help you turn your home into your own little slice of paradise.


  1. Reply

    Nelle Somerville

    December 13, 2018

    Hey y’all,
    I’m northern born and southern bred here to share with Caroline that this dimmer switch for her tree is the way to go for her flocked tree. It’s the most fun to pretend with kids that they can blow out the tree by hiding the ornament, counting to three and secretly touching it on the count of three. Magic. https://bit.ly/2PzTAp3 I’ve recently found the blog and am loving the podcast. Keep up the funny banter and great advice. Merry Christmas, Nelle

    • Reply

      Caroline McDonald

      December 14, 2018

      Thank you so much for listening and for coming over here to comment. I actually ordered a dimmer immediately after recording the show! It hadn’t even occurred to me until the girls mentioned it! I love your idea about ‘blowing out the tree’ though.
      Happy holidays to you too!