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Visiting Catrina’s at the Ranch in Boerne is like going on a treasure hunt – you never know what you’re going to find, but you know it’s going to be well worth the search.


 “There’s an abundance of merchandise,” says Catrina Hoelke, award-winning designer, entrepreneur, and owner of the 6 1/2-acre furniture and design compound that bears her name. “The look in the store changes day by day.”


And what a look it is. Every corner of the 7000-square foot main building is brimming with one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, hand-forged chandeliers, artwork, tableware, tribal rugs, and eye-catching accessories from all over the world.


Hoelke grew up in the furniture business, working as a designer and buyer for stores in Texas and Colorado. It was during her recovery from a broken neck in 1998 that she decided to strike out on her own, opening Catrina’s Closet – a used clothing and furniture store — in Camp Wood, Texas.


“I started with five hundred dollars,” she says, sitting on one of her comfy custom-designed sofas replete with fringed pillows.  “That’s what my husband gave me, jokingly, when I said I wanted to start a business. He said, ‘Here you go, baby. Run with it.’”


She did – from the Camp Wood store to Catrina’s Western Center in Uvalde to a store in Sabinal, eventually finding a small space on Boerne’s Main Street until she found the present property on IH 10 West in 2004. There was one small snag: the building (ironically the former home of the Loft Restaurant, one of Hoelke’s first design jobs 35 years ago)
was condemned. City officials told her it was a scraper – there was no way to fix it. “I told them to hide and watch. I was a determined woman.”


That’s putting it mildly. Hoelke is a whirlwind, dealing with staff, taking calls, showing a visitor through some of the dozen or so display rooms at her showroom, and talking the whole time about the journey that brought her back to Boerne and the passions that fuel her jam-packed life.


“I work seven days a week. That’s what it’s taken to build this business.” She’s drawn as well to charities close to her heart – the new battered women’s shelter being built in Boerne, the American Cancer Society, the Cattle Baron’s Ball, and the San Antonio Zoo.

In addition, there’s a new passion in a new town – San Antonio, to be exact. In October, Hoelke opens her new store, La Catrina, off 1604 and Babcock near The Shops at La Cantera.


“It will have a more European look mixed with contemporary,” says Hoelke, adding that it will be a perfect complement to the Texas Tuscan look of the ranch store.  “La Catrina will give customers a whole new selection and choice.”


La Catrina will also carry on the tradition of providing the ultimate in customer service, especially Hoelke’s signature custom designs that allow clients to help create the perfect look. “They can select their own fabrics and styles so that their choices are unique and
fit their home décor.” They can also take home whatever they see at the store, unlike
some other high-end furniture stores that make you wait six to eight weeks while they order a sofa you saw on the showroom floor. “Anything you see here, you can buy.
We won’t make you wait.”


Others need Hoelke’s expert advice on site. A design call involves a visit to the home or business to photograph the space, then sketching out designs for suggested pieces.
“We price it all out in a list, room by room, so they know exactly what they’re spending.” There no additional charge for custom designs either, whether it’s one piece or a whole room. 


Hoelke is mindful of the rarefied image custom furniture has as being inaccessible to the average consumer. Not true, she says.  “We save money here. Other stores might mark up an item three times with freight. We don’t do that. People love to fix up their homes, but these are hard times and we appreciate that. We give them great value here.”


Hoelke shares the wealth in other ways, never forgetting how she started out and paying
it forward by mentoring other women with business dreams of their own. “I want to be the message to women that they can do it too. Start small and persevere. Find something you enjoy and diligently work at it.  Don’t give up and don’t look back.”



Catrina’s at the Ranch is located at 31300 IH-10 West in Boerne. To learn more about custom furnishings and accessories, and the new La Catrina store opening soon, call 830.755.6355 or visit

By the time Dawn Hearn was a junior in high school, she had already applied for the interior design program at Abilene Christian University (ACU).  “I graduated from ACU with an interior design degree and have been practicing interior design for almost 17 years,” says Dawn. “I love my job! I truly enjoy getting to know my clients. I listen to their wants and needs and learn how they live in their home so that I can design a space that not only functions well for them, but is beautiful too.”

A glance at Dawn’s portfolio lends insight to just how well Dawn listens to her clients’ desires. She has successfully worked with styles from modern to traditional and subdued to eclectic.

“One of the greatest things about this career is that every day is different and every client and project is unique,” she says. “I love working with clients on renovating their homes and offices to reflect their own personal styles.”

A member of both the American Society of Interior Designers and the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, Dawn’s design services include consultation, new construction, remodeling, budgeting, space planning, furniture layouts, drafting, purchasing, and seasonal decorating. In addition, Dawn recently earned the distinction of being a Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist (CAPS), a certification that has personal relevance to her. 

“My brother-in-law uses a walker and wheelchair. His struggle with mobility inspires me to make interiors more accessible,” says Dawn. “It is amazing to me that in this day and age we are still building homes with narrow doorways and awkward thresholds that can’t even accommodate a walker.  There are so many things that we can incorporate into renovations that make homes more accessible for all of us and allow us to continue to live and function in our homes, no matter what physical challenges we may face.”

For Dawn, her next challenge is the opening of her new showroom, Whatnots. Whatnots will be located at Austin’s wholesale design center, Back Door To The Trade.

“Whatnots will be home to some amazing lamps, art and accessories for local decorators and designers to use as a resource for their own projects,” says Dawn.

With a passion for design that began as a child, as well as her professional drive, Whatnots is sure to be another success for this Austin interior designer.

Dawn Hearn Interior Design, 512.930.0250,

Designer Top 10:

  1. Period of Style: The clean lines of the Biedermeier period and the organic nature of Art Nouveau
  2. Color: Oranges – from clear and bright to muddy rusts
  3. Architectural Style: Frank Lloyd Wright for his ability to create harmony between his buildings and the natural surroundings
  4. Fabric: Lee Jofa and F. Schumacher large scale and archive prints
  5. Scent: Cashmere Mist by Donna Karen
  6. Treat: Coffee ice cream by Haagen-Dazs
  7. Shopping Website: Ebay
  8. Must Haves Under $50: Time and Again’s Shea Butter products, Starbuck’s Sumatra coffee, ZGallerie’s Chiang Mai Tables
  9. Spa Treatment: Choco-Foot-Love pedicure at Viva Day Spa
  10. Vacation: Italy’s Cinque Terre

Stark announces a new division – Stark Paint, colours by David Oliver. This long-awaited four year collaboration with London based color specialist and designer David Oliver has resulted in an extensive and contemporary designer palette that spans the color spectrum with 240 rich new paint options. We spoke with Ashley Stark and David Oliver about this creative venture.

Why paint?
Ashley: A paint division completes the jigsaw puzzle. Our company has always been a leader in the home furnishings industry, providing outstanding product to designers. We provide carpets, rugs, fabrics, furniture and wallcoverings to our designers. Many of our clients navigate the showroom by color. Often, a desired color initiates the designer’s choices. Paint was a natural progression, and allows us to broaden our spectrum.

Who is David Oliver?
Ashley: David is a published author with Rizzoli, dubbed “the rock star of color” by the New York Times. He is the Design Director of the Paint and Paper Library. He is a leading authority on color and its use in interior decoration.

How did the collaboration between Stark and David Oliver come about?
David: Stark Wallcovering was the North American distributor for the Paint and Paper Library. I had been traveling in the US and visited many of the Stark showrooms while promoting my book. Stark had been in the research and development stages of producing a paint line.
Ashley: When we saw the color palette, we realized David had an extraordinary eye for color. His vision was not to select one color, but rather create a symphony of colors. He created a palette by orchestrating a collection of chromatically arranged colors. They work individually or in succession, to create a coordinated, beautifully simple color scheme. Our discerning clientele would respond to this. His use of color was very different than any American paint manufacturer. His palette creates ease in color selection, and as he says, “eliminating paint analysis paralysis”.

What is VOC FREE? Why is so much emphasis on zero VOC in the base and colorants?
David: Our goal was to make an impact on your walls not the environment. We went through great lengths to find a high quality paint manufacturer that would create a VOC free base that would use organic colorants and natural tints.
Ashley: These ingredients are more expensive than the conventional paint lines that are sold in the “Do It Yourself” stores. Though they may start out zero VOC, once the color is added it is no longer a pure product.

Stark Paint, colours by David Oliver is formulated to be earth friendly and ecologically responsible. When completely dry, Stark Paint, colours by David Oliver is safe for children and pets, protecting our environment and your home for years to come. We continue to strive for quality and excellence, a mission that my grandparents started over 65 years ago. We are a great American company committed to providing eco friendly products that are manufactured in the USA.

For more information, contact Stark Carpet at 704-588-8842 or visit

Now that the weather is finally cooling down it is a great time to spend an evening outside by a lovely fireplace.

Fireplaces and firepits make a wonderful place for friends to gather, or just to enjoy a glass of wine after a busy week.

The Stone Man is a specialty stone landscaping company dedicated to providing the highest quality custom stonework for our clients. Projects range from small border walls to full stonescape installations. For stone or paver patios, pathways, walls, outdoor fireplaces, firepits, outdoor living and kitchen areas, or any kind of custom stonework, please give us a call. Our prices are competitive and our quality is second to none.  We also build pergolas, screen porches, sun canopies, and any other kind of custom home additions.

We are on the web at  To contact us, please call 704 616-7948 to talk with George Crump (Master Stone Artisan/Owner) now, or email

1. Thou shalt embrace maximalism.
Thou wilt find minimalism to be something of a bummer in thy abode. Thou wilt grow tired of an endless sea of beige and thou wilt long for a splash of color & a dollop of pattern! Bargello pillows, Furnace bottles, and rustic modern lamps – these shalt be the accessories that add some panache to your pad.

2. Thou shalt not deny thyself hotelish comfort at home.
Thou shalt furnish thy rooms with paw-pampering, hand-loomed llama wool rugs, luxurious lighting and our fabulous furniture.
Thy rooms shalt feel like the most opulent hotel rooms in which thou hast ever stayed.
Thou art worth it.

3. Thou shalt buy an X-Bench.
Then, thou shalt buy another. Thou shalt use them in pairs, perfect under thy console or placed near thy sofa. Thou shalt rest thy feet upon them & so will thy guests. In fact, thy guests might even fight over who gets to rest upon them. Therefore, thou shalt establish house rules about thy X-Benches. Perhaps thou should consider a sign up sheet.

4. If thy nest needeth zest, consider thy crest!
Thou shalt emblazon with thine initials wherever possible.

5. Thou shalt mix fancy with frisky.
Thou shalt not be overly formal, for if thou art, thou will be sad. Conversely, thou shalt not be overly whimsical, for if thou art thou will not feel chic. Therefore, thou shalt embrace a mix, pairing the chic classical foundation – excellent proportions, classic furniture – with a layer of playful punctuation. Then thou shalt rest.

6. Thou shalt honor the funsters of yore.
David Hicks, Alexander Girard, Piero Fornasetti, Bonnie Cashin, Bjorn Wiinblad – if thou dost not knoweth them, thou should. Thou can use Google Images to learn more about them and thou shalt channel their fun, idiosyncratic, playful spirit in thine own interiors. Thy home will be fun, happy, and chic.

7. Thou shalt not commit murder,
…unless thou art murdering for a decorative accessory.
If thou should find thyself at one of our stores and seeth the last bird bowl on our shelf, thou shalt feel free to use whatever means necessary to obtain that special something.

8. Thou shalt not be afraid of orange.
Thou shalt use orange copiously in thy interior, whether it beeth in an orange breakfast room or via the zing of an orange lacquered box. Thou might even consider painting thy front door orange to pique thy neighbor’s curiosity. Thou shalt also covet chocolate brown.

9. Thou shalt play ping pong.
Better still, thou shalt have a ping pong table in thy living room. Then, lo, thou shalt play ping pong with thy spouse rather than sitting around watching thy tv.

10. Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house.
In fact, after following these 10 commandments, thy neighbor might covet thy house. So there.

For more information about current decorating trends and tips please visit our website at

You’re Cordially Invited to our next Seminar:

What’s the best use of space?  Who will help me with design and material selections?  What changes will be needed to my home’s infrastructure? How do I figure out how much to budget?  All these questions and more will be answered live by our team of professionals!

Some of the topics we’ll discuss:

*  Kitchen and bath design trends
*The three levels of remodeling to fit all budgets
*Timeframes for project completions
*Living through a remodeling project
*Realistic budgets for each room

Sat., Nov 13th, 10:00 – 11:30 AM
at  The Tile Shop
Nations Ford Road and I-77 South
(I-77 Exit 4)

Seating is limited!
Call 704-759-3920 or e-mail to RSVP

Educate yourself before spending a dime on your kitchen or bath remodel!


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There are the superstars of home improvement—the flashy granite counters, lavish floor coverings and elegant custom cabinetry—that typically earn top billing on the remodeling charts.

With obvious benefits and the hefty price tags that go along with them, they tend to steal the show when it comes to renovation wants and desires.

But what about homeowners without a razzle-dazzle budget who still want to add pizzazz and character to their home? Fortunately, the experts say, there are still plenty of home improvement opportunities waiting to be discovered that can lend both substance and style.

“In today’s market, it’s time to get creative and think beyond the large-scale remodel to smaller improvements that will still have a significant impact. The beauty of these projects is that they are relatively affordable and easy to accomplish,” said Danny Lipford, home improvement expert and host of the Today’s Homeowner television show.

Neglect Case #1: Doors of shame

Doors are a prominent feature in nearly every room of a home, and many rooms contain more than just one. Entry, passageway and closet doors take up a large amount of space. The National Home Builders Association estimates that there is an average of 19 doors in today’s home and yet, interior doors are often overlooked as an opportunity to make a major difference in a home’s overall look and feel.

In fact, in a recent survey of interior designers conducted by JELD-WEN, less than 35 percent said they would expect that replacing interior doors would improve the look of a client’s home. However, after seeing pictures of the before-and-after difference an interior door upgrade made,
98 percent said that it had a positive effect and they would definitely consider interior door replacement for future projects.

Many JELD-WEN® interior doors are available for $100–$200, and the styles and options are nearly endless. With Santa Fe southwest styles, American traditional flat panel looks, cottage motifs with intricate detailing or Craftsman classics, choosing the right interior door style can immediately accentuate great architectural design and serve as an impressive focal point without changing anything else in a room. For homeowners who complain about dark and dated interiors, crisp white interior door finishes can have a dramatic impact on brightening and refreshing the home’s overall interior design. So why do they continue to be neglected?

“Our studies show that a lot of people would like to replace their interior doors, but they don’t know how to go about it, they’ve never taken the time to evaluate the options available or they can’t find the right contractor to do the job,” said John Downs, JELD-WEN product marketing manager. “We hear it all the time—homeowners who update their doors can’t believe the positive difference it makes, and wonder why they didn’t do it sooner.”

Neglect case #2: Not-so-neat-and-trim

Another interior feature of the home that is nearly universal is trim work. Windows, doors, floorboards, ceilings, trim can make the difference between homes that look finished, well-cared for and contain lots of character, and those that don’t.

Like interior doors, endless trim styles, finishes and patterns are available, and trim is typically inexpensive and fairly easy to install with the right tools and know-how. Details such as crown molding can add a rich look while wainscoting can create a custom style that adds tremendous interior design value. Floorboards that are spotless and free of dings and scratches call attention to beautiful flooring and highlight wall colors.

“It seems like a small touch, but it can make all the difference in the world in a room,” said Lipford.

Neglect case #3: Hardware horrors

In kitchens and baths, hardware receives top billing, as it typically is used as a jewel to accent great cabinetry, but that same sensibility isn’t always carried out in the rest of the home. Experts suggest making sure hardware is coordinated throughout—in a finish and style that’ll match the home’s architectural character.

Hardware immediately updates a home, and the reverse is also true. Chipped, discolored or outdated styles date a home and can seem like relics from another time. And don’t just consider handles and knobs—hinges, doorstops, locks and other hardware accents should match and represent the same style.

“There’s a big difference between charmingly historic and simply out of date,” said Downs.
“Typically, you can’t go wrong by making sure your finishes match and the styles you select are true to the architectural design of the home.”

Neglect case #4: Storage shortage

It may not be considered interior design by definition, but storage is definitely a desirable attribute for today’s homeowner. Editors of Meredith Publishing state that a top trend for 2010 is the desire for more storage. Evaluate your home and get creative. Adding storage in laundry rooms, attics or basements, closets and the garage doesn’t have to be expensive and will pay off in terms of the overall comfort and resale value of the home.

Neglect case #5: Left in the dark
Most interior design experts agree: the right lighting can truly change a home’s overall look, feel and mood. Adding a few inexpensive overhead lights and lamps to help brighten dim rooms increases their use and value. Consider selecting new interior doors with glass panels to allow light to filter from room to room. When remodeling, consider adding larger windows, French doors or skylights to further open up and expand a space.

Above all, experts say, think outside the box when it comes to improvements.

“Doing smaller, overlooked improvements and projects can make as big of a difference as the major ones,” said Lipford. “The best tool to figure out the potential opportunities to refresh your home and add character is your imagination.”

Energy efficient and stylish windows and doors are currently available through The Design Center, a completely new retail concept in the Ballantyne Area outside of Charlotte offering JELD-WEN windows, doors, garage doors as well as professional installation services all in one showroom.
The Design Center is located at 9484 Old Bailes Road, Fort Mill, SC, 29707. The phone number is 800-276-0411. For further information please visit our website at

Home design experts recommend making time to prepare yourself and your home for seasonal entertaining, drop-in guests and overnight visitors. Simple decorations and quick prep work can afford you the time to enjoy your family and guests without wearing yourself out. Remember—you are part of the holiday celebrations, too!

Urban Home asked several of Charlotte’s well known designers – Wendy Yeakley, owner of Homestyles by Wendy; Brittany Raines and Lindsay Sartorio, Homestyles by Wendy; Beth Keim, owner of Lucy and Company; Rodney Hines, designer, owner of The Furniture Connector and Monica Setzer, A Christmas Shop at Porches and Yards.

The general consensus was that holidays do not have to be a time of stress and confusion with decorating— keep it simple was the mantra of the group.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more.

Quality cabinetry isn’t an item someone should sell you. It’s an investment you should choose after educating yourself. As an educated homeowner you can end up actually spending less—often far less—for the quality and design you want, by reviewing the details of the perceived high end estimate. Do not assume the lowest estimate is your best deal.

I remember a recent case where a homeowner got two estimates for new kitchen cabinets. Sometime later he called me because the door style he wanted wasn’t included in the lower estimate— and he’d been told by his vendor these doors would add $7,000 to a $24,000 job.

Most cabinet companies will provide you a set of standard options for doors, drawers, hardware, and molding—and anything else is an upgrade. So to avoid the most common pitfalls of the cabinet design process, let me suggest four questions you should ask:

Are all the door styles the same price? Certain styles are more in demand so vendors charge more. It’s the same reason that blue jeans with holes cost more money, because they’re the current fashion. Ninety percent of cabinet companies buy doors from someone else. So by the time the doors get into your kitchen, you may be paying for the profit and overhead of two or more middlemen. At Old River Cabinets we manufacture our own doors. It doesn’t matter what style you choose since the prices are all the same.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more.

To find out how Old River Cabinets can design beautiful cabinets with smart storage solutions for your home, call Aaron or his staff at 704-831-6267 or visit the showroom at 10235 Perimeter Parkway, in Charlotte or on the web at

In my business I believe a nursery is all about Mom. It’s a room women dream of creating to welcome their new baby. It’s a
beautiful space to soak in some quite time while a baby is being rocked to sleep or a place to simply to gaze at while checking
in on a baby during nap time. Nurseries are an exciting thing to create in anticipation. Nurseries should transition easily into
a little person’s room. Roll in the bed and bide your time.

The teen room is generally the next, well, expense, or should I say long awaited dream – depending on who you ask. By the age of 13, I feel personalities should be expressed and function should rule. Mom appreciates the organization and their daughter’s feel a sense of expression and ownership.

Recently, I was asked to help in the completion of a ten-year-old preteen room. I was handed three things, brown walls, a fuchsia headboard and a bunch of trophies – my starting point. Emma and her mom, Stacy, were enthusiastic clients and every designer’s dream–they had trust in my skills and wanted to be surprised, so I was free to pull it all together.

Click here to view the entire article or visit Urban Home Magazine’s website to learn more.

Beth Keim is the owner of Lucy and Company, a full-service interior design firm located at 1009 East Boulevard in Charlotte. They can be reached at 704-342-6655 or at

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