Podcast, Ep. 139: designer Alexandra Kaehler

Chicago interior designer Alexandra Kaehler joins the podcast to talk editing, art, and her love of wallpaper


This week we welcome Chicago interior designer Alexandra Kaehler. We talk editing, when to know when a room is done, and how to use a meaningful antique in a way that feels chic. Alexandra also talks about her love of sourcing art, and how we can use art and wallpaper together in a way that works with the scale and intention of a room.

What You’ll Hear On This Episode:

  • Trials and triumphs including the obvious of working at home with young children, painting projects, outdoor lighting, and some moss-some yardwork.
  • Alexandra talks about her own home being featured in Luxe Magazine, and how she went into it knowing that she had to take on her own space with the same detail oriented nature in which she works with her clients.
  • Ways in which we can use traditional pieces mixed with the modern and chic to create a beautifully edited space.
  • How Alexandra knows when the space she is working on is ready to be done, and why we can always go in and add more or change things around as time goes on. 
  • Alexandra sees less edited collections when working with her younger clients, however, creating a tradition of collecting a certain thing over a long period of time can be fun and add to the meaning of the decor.
  • Ideas for taking an heirloom or antique and repurposing it make it feel chic and contemporary.
  • Tips for working with brown furniture to make it feel chic and not outdated, and incorporating multiple wood finishes in one room.
  • What to know when working with wallpaper according to the scale of the room.
  • Alexandra loves the “grandma look” but mixes it with contemporary to make it feel fresh and clean.
  • How Alexandra shops for her art and mixes it together in a room, and some suggestions on where to find great art that won’t break the bank.
  • Using pillows for color and pattern in a room is an inexpensive way to add fun and experiment with different looks.

Decorating Dilemma:

Hi Karen, Taryn, and Caroline!
I LOVE your podcast, and I’ve listened to every single episode, but I’m just now getting around to sending my own decorating dilemma in!

So we just bought our first home and I’m struggling on how to set up our awkward den / tv room. For reference, the pictures listed below are from before we bought the house, so none of that furniture is ours. Since the pictures, the walls and ceiling have been painted white and the beams have been painted a dark grey-ish black. (I know Karen is going to describe the room since that is her thing!! 🙂

My issue: I can’t figure out how set up the furniture in the room. I have the couch we just purchased attached below, but besides that we don’t have any ideas of furniture for the room so I am up for any ideas on rug colors and chairs! This is the couch & the other two items are just ideas of what I like!

Thanks in advance ladies!

By moving the sofa to a different area in the room you can open things up a lot. Alexandra envisions putting the sofa on the right side of the room up against the window and a pair of chairs on the other side with a bench for more seating. If you put your TV across from the couch, it will be off-center but will create a nice flow in the space. Adding some nice drapes could bring in more warmth and texture, and if you don’t use the blinds we suggest getting rid of them!  It looks like your vibe is modern and simple so it could be an opportunity to add some color or black and white photography, but not pack the walls and overwhelm the already beautiful light space. 

Mentioned In This Episode:

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.