Meet New Sponsor Tiffany McKinzie!

Portrait by AMWZ Photography sponsor Tiffany McKinzie might be under the radar, but she's no upstart. In the past seven years she's designed more than 45 houses, many from the ground up. She's an interior designer/project manager rolled into one. "My husband and I built three custom homes, and each time we noticed the shortcomings of the industry," says Tiffany. "It was frustrating. The building process can overwhelming for homeowners, so I decided to focus on construction design. Ultimately it's a good thing to have a niche. Not everyone can read a set of plans and interpret them."

Many of Tiffany's projects have been in Colleyville, South Lake, and Fort Worth, but this lovely house is located in University Park. Her clients were two young doctors with a baby on the way, and they wanted a soft contemporary look.

"We didn't have a lot of room in the breakfast nook, so I wanted a table that was open to keep things nice and light," says Tiffany, who found the ideal table in espresso by Adriana Hoyos at McGannon Showrooms. The openwork iron pendant by Corbett has a linen drum shade inside, and helps keep things on the airy side (she found it at Ferguson's). A trio of framed metal reliefs are from Hickory Chair. The gray-blue color is Benjamin Moore's Northern Air.

Design Tip: "Using different kinds of chairs at the table makes it look more acquired and custom," says Tiffany, who bought two different sets of chairs from Hickory Chair and upholstered them in complementary colors from Kravet -- a small blue/gray pattern and flax linen. Be careful to find chairs with similar legs and seat backs that are the same height for a unified look.

The house was already built when Tiffany came on board, and even though it was a fairly new house, the kitchen had to be completely gutted to achieve the softer look the clients wanted. (The tufted buttery soft leather sofa is from Leslie Taylor Showroom. The disc sculpture is from Mecox, and the pair of alabaster lamps are from Hickory Chair.)

"In the family room, we didn't want a predominance of blue," says Tiffany. "We wanted to warm it up a bit and contrast the dark stained floors with a lighter palette, and I knew the nutmeg color of the sofa would be perfect. And I love the cinnamon teddy mohair ottoman (from Kravet) because it's super lush, more so than regular mohair. I'm having a head board made for the master bedroom in the same fabric."

The beautiful kitchen is a showpiece, with smoky glass tiles and honed black granite countertops from Walker Zanger. "The granite is a satin or leather finish, which gives it a dull appearance that even feels like leather," says Tiffany. The stunning ventilated hood is actually paper, hand painted
by Annie Omar at Dallas Faux,
to look like black croc patent leather.

Design Tip: "When a backsplash is monochromatic like this one, create a focal point over the oven by either changing the scale of the tiles or with different shaped tiles," says Tiffany.

Design Tip: This backsplash is made of aluminum subway tiles set vertically to create a herringbone effect.

Love this large scale wall art by Christopher Guy in the entry. "A table and mirror would have been the expected thing to do for the entry," says Tiffany. "I wanted to do something sculptural and dramatic, something unexpected."

Design Tip: A large, dramatic piece like this one helps distract your eye from the pillar, which couldn't be removed because it's structural.

Kitchen from the set of It's Complicated

Houses Gardens People:What inspires you?
Tiffany McKinzie: I often get inspiration from clients. The goal is to bring their personality into a space. I loved the set of It's Complicated because I felt drawn into the main character's home. I could sense what it would be like to live there; daydream about lounging on the sofa, or cooking in the kitchen. It's an admirable skill to be able to create such emotion in a one-dimensional reality.

Room by Charlotte Moss

TM: I love Charlotte Moss. She captures the emotion of a home, which I find so important. I like her sense of balance, and the combination of colors and textures she uses in a space. She is inherently traditional, but has a flair for mixing it up and making it interesting.

HGP: What are you obsessed with at the moment?
TM: Wall coverings and fabrics! I love Innovations, Schumacher, and Phillip Jeffries.

Photo by Peter Vitale
Grasscloth wallpaper by Phillip Jeffries

HGP: What books are you reading now?
TM: The Intention Experiment, The Healing Light, The Dancing Wu Li Masters, and The Big Rich. I'm a voracious reader of science, physics, and autobiographies.

HGP: The actress most likely to play you in the movie about your life?
TM: The late Audrey Hepburn. Her liveliness and spunk were palpable. She was such a wonderful humanitarian as well.

TM: I'm very involved in charities that provide microloans in under-developed countries and have adopted 9 children through Compassion International. My hope is to one day have my own orphanage!