I woke this morning in a total winter funk… typical for this time of year. Not that I can complain – the sun is shining today, and we haven’t had a drop of snow on the ground! But, I’m simply not a winter person. But – c’est la vie. We do have a few more months to get through, and I figure we might as well embrace it, right? Right. 

So I spent the morning culling through some winter street style looks to inspire my wardrobe choices for the coming months… which also goes along with my resolution to make more an effort actually style myself a bit more when leaving the house.

winter street style inspiration - short sleeved sweaters // coco kelley

Inspiration 1: short sleeved sweaters. Or sweater dresses for that matter. I’m taking major note of this easy look for days when I’m already running late for a meeting because I think this falls into the category of big style return for minimal effort.  Thinking this one would do the trick.

winter street style inspiration - pinstripe coats // coco kelley

Inspiration 2: Pinstripe coats. I’m obviously loving me a little menswear style these days, so a navy blue pinstripe coat should be a pretty obvious choice for my wardrobe. I have a feeling I’ll be hunting the vintage stores for something like this asap, but you can also get the coat right here.

winter street style inspiration - lots of layers // coco kelley

Inspiration 3: Crazy Good Layers. I love layering. In fact, our weather kind of requires it all year long, so I’d say I’ve gotten pretty good at it! The trick is not looking like a marshmallow by the end of the process. Maja Wyh is pretty much the queen of this style (on the right) so if you want to know how to it off, look no further than her blog. My first rule of layering? Grab a really great vest.

winter street style inspiration - monocromatic pieces // coco kelley

Inspiration 4: Go Tonal. Another look that’s fairly easy to pull off, the monochromatic scheme is great if you have a signature color in your wardrobe. I have quite a bit of army green myself (and of course tons of black) but maybe I’ll add some pants in a similar hue to top things off… something like these.

winter street style inspiration - plaid on plaid // coco kelley

Inspiration 4: Plaid on Plaid. I mean, as if you needed an excuse to add more to your wardrobe. Whether it’s adding a coat (loving this one), sweater, or scarf to the mix, totally do the plaid on plaid thing. The trick is finding patterns in different scales so as not offend your friends’ or coworkers’ eyeballs.

most images via elle magazine and stockholm street style


    1. Cassandra LaValle Post author

      Thank you for such an awesome compliment! I’m not very good at motivating myself to get into a dress in the middle of winter, and I don’t expect most people are either – I like to keep things real and attainable! So I appreciate you noticing!!! xo

  1. Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's

    I think I could really hop on the short sleeved sweater bandwagon! What I really need to work on is perfecting my layers. I have a bunch of coats, but they aren’t coats that I can wear on top of each other, so I need to work on that aspect of my wardrobe. For now, all I can afford to worry about is which items of clothing will keep me the warmest! I aspire to one day dress as well as these stylish women :P -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

    1. Cassandra LaValle Post author

      well my dear, you can add those but how are you supposed to know what to wear under if i just show a bunch of bundled up girls in each photo!? also, there are those whose ‘winter’ is a balmy 65. so a little of something for everyone, eh?


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Being in Seattle right now is kind of an amazing thing. When I first moved back here from LA (six years ago!) being in this city again was a struggle. I wasn’t excited by many of the offerings we had as far as restaurants and boutiques, and finding fellow creatives to sit down and have conversations with, or to be challenged or inspired by, was rare. Then – suddenly – all that changed.

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

Recently, I’ve seen my city enter into a new period creative growth in every possible way, and for a while now, I’ve been wanting to share some of these awesome companies, creatives, artists, restauranteurs and more with you guys so that you can be as inspired by them as I am!

So, we’re kicking off a new series of studio tours with my friend and fellow entrepreneur, Kate Harmer, founder of Hum Creative – a full-service design studio that happens to be just down the street from my own office.

hum creative studio in seattle - kate harmer // via coco kelley

And yes, her Frenchies make a few cameos too.

When did you start your business, and what was has been your greatest challenge? Your greatest success?

I started Hum Creative in 2005, but we’ve changed a lot since then! I began expanding the team into a full fledged studio in 2010. Moving into our new office was definitely a big moment for us. It has been a symbol of exciting times ahead, and has also lit a fire under me. A lease is a wonderful pressure to have.

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

this wall greets guests and sets the tone for Hum’s quirky office decor.

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

Taking the leap from working from home to having a studio isn’t easy – what made it happen for you and what’s been the best part?

Working in a home office for the first few years allowed us to take the risks that made this company great. We nurtured a positive creative culture and focused on clients we truly admire, but the home office limited our community involvement. One day it became clear that we had incubating long enough, and it was time for us to hatch!

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

visitors get the photo added to the wall (do you see me?)

One of the best parts about having a studio space is inviting people to visit. For christmas we hosted a “Toys for Toddies” holiday party for about 160 people, and donated 200 toys to children.

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

What’s your design aesthetic, and how has that played into your space?

In both design and life I value balance, transparency, and fun. Our space is uncluttered but full of character, open and collaborative, and it definitely has a sense of humor.

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

What’s your favorite piece in your studio?

I love the book ledges running across our wall. Everyone in the studio adds to these shelves, so it is a wonderful way to see what is inspiring us as a whole. At any point, I can walk across the office and see little drawings of inside jokes, prints from local artists, beautiful books, and some of our favorite past projects.

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

What’s next for you and Hum?

We’ve been busy rebranding one of Seattle’s biggest summer music festivals, so we’re excited to see that roll out over the next few months. This is such an exciting time of growth for Seattle – there are so many new companies, industries, restaurants, shops, and cultural institutions with big plans this year. We love this city, and are excited to be a part of its future!

hum creative studio in seattle // via coco kelley

Thanks to our friends at Hum for being our first studio tour! I have to say, that if any office space I’ve been in rivals my devout love for our own white brick studio, it’s theirs. The energy is always so great, and the view ain’t so bad either. Hum has become such a great part of the Seattle design community, and I can’t wait to see the cool projects (and parties!) they have for the coming year!

photography by carina skrobecki


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  3. Nichole Dunst

    What a lovely, airy, clean space. I love the juxtaposition of a bright studio with splashes of color (the mustard yellow stools, the greenery) in a city that’s known for being rainy and overcast. That’s a space I would look forward to going to every day to get my creative juices flowing!


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One of the things I started doing last year was this moodboard series on coco+kelley where once a month I went through all my sources of design inspiration and start pulling anything that spoke to me, my mood, my aesthetic – you know, usual moodboard stuff – and put it all in one post. I LOVE DOING THIS. It gives me focus, creativity and inspiration for the month. And since I skipped it in December (thank you holidays) my January one is kind of exploding with ideas…


One of the conversations I’ve been having over and over and OVER again lately is how ubiquitous (and therefore boring) sources of ‘inspiration’ can be these days. All these images that we see on a daily basis over and over on pinterest, blogs, tumblr, wherever, have created this kind of unintentional opposite effect of inspiration.

We see the same trends and we subconsciously adopt them. Your style becomes my style. My style becomes someone else’s style. And before we know it – surprise – we’re all loving white rooms, pineapple motifs, and superfood bowls for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

stellar art palette | via paper fashion studio

So I wanted to push myself with the moodboard this month. And from here on out, really. To throw some things together that maybe don’t totally feel obvious, but still create a cohesive look. And – most importantly – that feel like me. Ie, woo woo crystal energy healing + a blonde Beyonce amongst furs.

Because here’s something else I’ve realized lately – I hate being categorized. People always ask ‘what’s your aesthetic?’ or ‘who’s your favorite designer?’ and these are honestly the hardest questions for me to answer. I bet a lot of you would say I’m glam. Or you see emerald green and think of me. I’m totally cool with that. But I also love me some bohemian vibes (I am a west coast girl after all) and colors other than green (citron! mauve! weird, i know). I’m currently embracing much more of my ‘Northwesty-ness’ (I also like to make up words), but I’m not down with too much wood and industrial stuff (yawn) because I absolutely adore classic, clean design.

swan hat at royal ascot | via vouge

I also like really crazy things like swan hats.

high contrast office with silver ceilings

The shitty thing is this – if you stray too far from ‘your style’, some people look at you like you’ve lost your mind (or, in the case of a blog, leave snarky random comments). Maybe they think you’re suddenly trying to be something you’re not. That you’ve changed. But if you stay stagnant, trying to please everyone else… you’re also bored. And boring. And I certainly don’t want to be that.

So, here’s a piece of happy new year’s advice, people – LET’S EMBRACE IT ALL. I’m going to. In fact, I’m writing this bit of advice as a reminder to myself.

I say all of this because I’m just as guilty of it. All of it. I’m a total pinterest addict, which sometimes serves me well, and sometimes results in things that are pretty, but not necessarily pushing boundaries. Which, is ok. But not amazing. (Amazing is hard to be all the time, by the way. So don’t think that’s realistic either.)

In my personal life, I also feel like I’ve subconsciously separated myself a bit from people who are single-minded in their aesthetic, when it doesn’t match mine. In same cases, it’s because I just don’t feel stimulated by them. In other cases I’ve felt like they’ve put me in a category wherein I’m not ‘cool enough’ for them.  This is ridiculous, because we all have so much to gain by venturing into each other’s worlds – even if it’s not our world.

insane gorgeous gold dress for interview mag // via coco+kelley

an artists room with gorgeous windows at the melnikov house // via coco+kelley


So, I guess you can consider this part one of my New Year’s resolution – Stop Categorizing. And start listening. Listen to what other people are interested in, even if you don’t know what the hell it is they’re talking about. Even if you disagree. Even if it the nerdiest, most cliche thing you’ve ever heard.

And then? Ask questions. One of my favorite quotes is ‘to be interesting… be interested.’ (Or something like that.) This is a skill. And one I don’t typically possess. And one I really admire in others. So, here’s my reminder to myself… and anyone else who needs it.

Don’t be intimidated. Don’t be boring. Be engaged. And thus, engaging. Shove past the mutual love (or distain) of pineapple motifs and all-white rooms. Find something new buried there that you have in common. Or didn’t even know about. Or that you’re uncomfortable with. There you will find new inspiration, new ideas, new things to motivate you.

Overall, my goals for this year have started to form a theme – a theme of being more intentional and thoughtful in everything I do, and also of collaborating with others. That plays out in many different ways, and in many aspects of life – this being one of them.

So, that’s my New Year’s promise to you, and myself. Now… let’s get crazy.

images ::  ebay // vouge // martin lawrence bullard // interview mag // melnikov house

14 responses on “JANUARY MOODBOARD // 15

  1. Rose

    I completely agree with you…and I love the images you put together for this. The crystals feel perfect for this time of year, refreshing and resetting and looking for things that are rough but beautiful!

  2. Isabel

    To be interesting…be interested. A perfect quote! Inspiration comes from within…so be inspired than take action to create! Happy 2015!

  3. Callie

    All of this, so well said. I think we all seek comfort in putting people and ideas into boxes, but change is the constant. We have to make space for growth, to accept that we’ll change our minds, our taste and our outlooks. I love your moodboards because they always share a unique, engaged perspective, and they’re always changing! That’s why I keep showing up here, so please keep on with the experimenting and feeling your way through it! I would love a January that feels like that.

  4. Chloe

    Very well said! I’m at school for graphic design currently, and your ideas resonate with me totally. It’s so easy to find yourself creating the same kind of color schemes or aesthetics, and much harder to push yourself beyond what is comfortable.

    Thanks for the words of inspiration.

  5. Kali

    Cassandra, I totally agree. So much of the blogging/Instagram/Pinterest world is starting to feel regurgitated and like no one has an original voice anymore. Let’s embrace it all and celebrate differences and abnormalities! :)

  6. kate Zucconi

    You are so right, it’s hard to step out of our comfort zone, but it’s essential to grow and meet new challenges. I must try to implement some of this too!
    Thanks for sharing these words of wisdom!!
    Heres to a more interesting and brave 2015.

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While I realize that my design aesthetic tends to lean a bit more towards the feminine (hi, have you met me?) I do like to keep my interiors balanced with a few ‘masculine’ touches when I can, and I’m particularly fond of using menswear-inspired home decor in doing so…

cozy cabin nook with checks and plaids // coco kelley via the design files

Plus, winter calls for that cozy cabin feel when you’re stuck inside too many days. I really love the way this couple incorporated a few plaids into their living space – it feels fresh and cozy at the same time…

modern sofa with menswear/plaid fabric in all white room

I hate when people call darker rooms (or anything leather) masculine. Why does that have to be the case? This all-white, airy space proves otherwise. As does this one…

chic bedroom with masculine touches // douglas friedman

With herringbone in the headboard and a houndstooth throw add some menswear-inspired masculinity, yes, but let’s just balance that right out with some high-shine nickel and a crystal chandelier.

cozy plaid chair + campaign dresser. nice mix of masculine and feminine // emily henderson

Or perhaps a campaign dresser is more your style? Because I find that any kind of metallic accents really let those plaids, herringbones, stripes and houndstooths shine…

menswear inspired home decor // coco kelley

1. plaid throw // 2. nickel sconce // 3. houndstooth and plaid pillows // 4. herringbone mirror // 5. striped linen coasters // 6. sutton sofette // 7. windowpane plaid wingback chair // 8. gold sconce

As for me, well…

feminine with a touch of masculine // bedroom via coco kelley

This is how I’ve been doing things lately. Gold polka dot pillows combine with black and white plaid just swell, dontcha think?  Doing things a little differently is also my style. Who says you can’t have a sense of humor in the bedroom?

images :: the design files // emily henderson // douglas friedman // my instagram


  1. Tanawat

    I was just looking for ideas for my bachelor pad yesterday, and then your post comes today on man’s style rooms! Wow! My favorite bachelor pad so far is from a young designer Megan Stone. http://thrdesignstudio.com/high-rise-home/ You can see how she uses boomboxes on the wall, flashy metal “skulls,” and inspiration from nightclubs for the bar (not the dull, traditional bar of your parents). The above designs are not masculine enough for my Thai tastes.

  2. Erika

    I love the menswear influence too! It can be so beautiful in anchoring a soft pallet. Thanks for sharing this. Love the blog!!!

  3. franki

    Oh, oh…am I “feeling” a trend here….I just covered two “easy chairs” with men’s suiting fabric (b/w) and tartan pillows… Have a leather sofa….covering two lumbar pillows with…antique rugs…and… franki

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It’s funny how when you’re in the thick of things, you can really see the why or how of it all. 2104 was a year in which every month I wondered, how could things be going so quickly? Looking back at it all, scrolling through my instagram feed and revisiting old posts, I realized why it felt that way.

It was a year full of changes, of stretching myself into new territory in pretty much every way possible, and tackling new projects. Which made it a year of major growth for me – a lot of which I’m still learning from and adapting to.

So before I go jumping into resolutions, I thought it might be good to revisit some of the highlights … sometimes we have to look backwards at where we’ve been and what we’ve learned before we can move forward…

1. In February I moved from my sweet little apartment in Green Lake…

instagram via @casslavalle

loft life // instagram via @casslavalle

To a large loft in Pioneer Square, just a few blocks from my office. The result? I absolutely love my new neighborhood. Seeing this area transform over the past year has been amazing and has given me a revitalized love for Seattle in general. It’s also been a new design challenge, and you can expect the full ‘house’ tour up on the blog this spring!

supper club dinner party // instagram via @casslavalle

2. In April, we launched our Supper Club series, which has been absolutely amazing. My friend and talented chef JJ Proville has been the best partner in this endeavor. And it’s been so fun to meet the adventurous people who are willing to dive into a dinner party with strangers. I hope some of you will join us in 2015! (You can get on the mailing list here.)

cave b // instagram via @casslavalle

3. I met this guy, and we did fun things. Like our first little getaway, and many other adventures. He took me to Michigan to meet his parents, and I gotta say, their lakes certainly rival ours. Our next adventure? Living together. I’m leaving (sob!) my loft for his house and I’m fairly certain you will be seeing a lot of it on here as we tackle everything from his & her decorating to some major remodels.

nyc // instagram via @casslavalle

okanagan valley // instagram via @casslavalle

4. Last year, travel was at an all time low for me – which isn’t to say I didn’t hop on a plane more than a few times, but I definitely lowered the mileage in 2014. Intentionally. I wanted to focus more on growing my presence and connections here in Seattle, so what seemed like monthly trips to NYC and LA were cut to just a few. I miss them. But the best trip I had was one I haven’t even shared with you yet – a visit to the Okanagan Valley in B.C. Canada. Stay tuned for that blog post. You’re gonna want to add this place to your must-see list.

party // instagram via @casslavalle

5. Professionally, there were quite a few big moments for me in 2014, but this partnership with Starbucks may have been my most proud moment. What you didn’t really see was how, in a matter of three weeks, we pulled together about 20 pieces of content for them to use in a site they created for the launch of their fall product. That project knocked me on my ass, but it has also inspired me to reach for more of these types of partnerships. It also made me insanely grateful for the photographers and interns I had working with me to make it all happen.

dinner party // instagram via @casslavalle

6. One of my personal goals for 2014 was to get people to pay me to throw parties in our space. Bing did, and it was awesome(No literally, that was the theme of the party. To be awesome.) I made the theme a little jungle-inspired and did a tabletop workshop, and we had a blast. More of this in 2015 please.

rooftop in seattle // instagram via @casslavalle

seattle rooftop // instagram via @casslavalle

7. We made ‘rooftopping’ a hashtag. Have I mentioned how much I’m going to miss my loft? But seriously, it was one of the best summers we’ve had in Seattle – so much sunshine – so it had to be acknowledged. I was a very happy girl.

the emerald studio // instagram via @casslavalle

8.  One major moment for me, and something I haven’t really dove into yet, was the launch of our new company The Emerald Studio. What is it? We’re still defining that a bit, actually, but basically it’s everything we do in the studio, including offering interior design services, events, brand collaborations and more. You can expect to hear about this a LOT more in 2015!

calligraphy workshop // instagram via @casslavalle

9. Oh, and then, there were workshops! Calligraphy, wreath design, food styling … we did a little of everything. And this year, I’m hoping to host them at least once a month. (If you want to get on that mailing list, sign up here!) I’ve been wanting to have classes in our studio ever since we moved in – they bring such great, inspired energy to the space, and I love meeting new locals. This was kind of a bonus to 2014, but something I’m going to be more intentional about in the coming year.

interior design // instagram via @emerald_studio_

10. And last but not least… designing again. This blog was founded on my love of interior design – a career that I attempted for a while, but paused while I focused on coco+kelley. At the time, the blog was the most important and creative outlet I had in my life, and it still is. But, the creation of The Emerald Studio has allowed me to partner with my friend Sara to start designing again, and I have to say, I’m insanely happy about it. Above is one of our current projects, and I can’t wait to show you more.

And in case you managed to miss all of these happenings because your’e not following me on instagram yet – get to it! In the meantime, I’m working on my goals for 2015. Mapping out the months ahead and making them focused, realistic, and doing things a little differently than I have before… !


  1. erica

    i love that i got to spend so much of this year with you… (clank) here’s to 2015 and many many more memories (and cameo appearances) love you!!

    1. Cassandra LaValle Post author

      Thank you Rebekah! Looking back on the year made me realize how much HAD been achieved, which is a great feeling after all that work. Hope 2015 is wonderful for you as well!



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