Ask an Expert

Ask an Expert // Kristen Livigni

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1. Can you tell us about your background and photography business?

Originally from California’s gorgeous Central Coast, I’ve been lucky enough to call Coronado, CA home for the last 9 years. My first career was an ER Nurse. I loved seeing that human connection and vulnerability and have been able to use that same compassion to tell my clients stories through powerful images. When I’m not shooting I love hiking with my kiddos, paddle boarding with my girlfriends, and checking out the latest eateries with my Husband. We love to travel as a family and I am able to offer sessions where we go. It’s a great was to explore a new area and really see the areas that aren’t so popular wherever we go. I started my business shortly after I moved here and have met so many amazing people in Coronado because of it. I feel super lucky to love what I am doing and the opportunity to connect with people on a personal level.

2. What was your first camera?

I was given an M&M 120 film camera in my stocking one year for Christmas and thought it was the best gift ever! I wish I still had it, but after a few moves it disappeared.


3. What is the most rewarding part of your job?

he best part is hearing my clients story. Some are just starting out and have that fire to share their love with the world, some are celebrating a milestone and reconnecting, some have been diagnosed and want people to remember them as they are now and some of them are huge family gatherings at the Hotel Del and they finally have all of their family in one spot. Each and every session is so different because I choose to delve deeper, to connect, to listen. This allows me to truly share who they are and to authentically tell their story.

4. What was the biggest challenge starting your own business?

The hardest part of starting my business was learning how to balance family life and work. As a creative, I love the shooting, editing and styling of my projects, but I don’t care to be on the computer for hours a week updating my website, invoicing, etc. Learning how to market, time manage, edit, and all the aspects of owning my own business was so challenging and I learned early on how to balance it all pretty well.  I take on a few mentorships per year and love teaching a newer photographer the tricks and ways to be successful in all areas of photography. You can have a rad business, AND a great family life.


5. What is your favorite thing to photograph? (Besides Bungalow 56 Projects)

That is one tough question. I would say that families with a few young kids are my favorite currently. They are so playful and full of wonder. They are old enough to take direction and really connect and not too cool to wrap their arms around their Momma’s neck or play tag for fun action shot.

6. Any tips on how to take the perfect iphone photo?

Always search for good light and don’t be afraid to get close, to share the details and really tell a story. (I’m not talking selfies here.) Make it interesting with different lines or change your shooting height too. It creates a new perspective and we can all use a little bit more of that.


7. Do you have any amazing photoshoot outtake stories?

My sessions on the waters edge are always good for some hilarious outtakes! I love the look of water coming up in the edge of my image or enveloping my subjects. The picture I want is perfect, but the ones right after are comedic gold! Salt water up the nose never feels good, right?

Follow Kristen on  Instagram

Follow Kristen on Instagram

Ask an Expert // Frances MacCartee



1. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and real estate business?

My husband and I began flipping homes and doing renovations for family members back in 2009.  I loved walking into a home and trying to imagine what it could look like with some TLC. It was hard work and very stressful at times.  But, when you can see your dream become a realty, it makes it all worth it.  I knew then that I loved real estate.

2. What led you to becoming a realtor?

I had worked with Charlotte Rudowicz as our realtor, as well as our family’s realtor for years.  She was so knowledgeable about real estate in San Diego.  Seeing how happy and successful she was in this industry really helped me to make my decision to get my license and partner with her.  We formed The Bay to Beach Group at Berkshire Hathaway in Coronado.  We love what we do and it shows in our dedication to our clients.

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3. What has been the biggest challenge of starting your own business? 

Creating a brand for yourself that separates you from your competitors.  Being able to explain how you are different and why your brand is better than the 100s of others you are competing against.

4. Any advice on how to manage home life, mom life and business life? 

I wish I knew.  It’s a constant struggle and I sometimes I just feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day.  It's hard and I don't think there is ever really the right way to do everything. But, I wouldn't have it any other way.  It's extremely satisfying being a wife, a mother and a business women.  Exhausting, but satisfying.

5. Do you have any home trends that you are loving right now?

I am loving the black houses!  They look so fresh and clean.

Design // McAlpine

Design // McAlpine

6. What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?

 In real estate: Disclose, disclose, disclose! Never miss a detail.

 In life: You are in control of how you feel.  Feeling sad?  Be happy.  Feeling anxious?  Be calm.  Only you can decide how your day is going to go.

Ask an Expert // Kaylee Moehling



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1. Can you tell us about your background and how you got into the design field?

Initially, I got my Bachelor’s Degree in Communications from UCSB but around my junior year, I just had this gut feeling that I needed to give interior design a shot. It was never the career I thought of myself having, as I never really thought of myself as the “creative type” growing up. I think when I moved out and got my first place on my own and had the chance to really make it mine, I realized how important it is to be in a space that is designed well and reflects your personality. I loved it. Realizing how important the design of my home was to my well being and happiness really made me want to help other people feel great in their spaces as well.

2. How did you know you wanted to work for Bungalow 56?

I have been a long time admirer of Bungalow 56. I have followed them on social media for the past few years and would look at their projects as a source of inspiration when working on my own projects for school! Aesthetically I just felt like we were on very similar pages. So when I saw there was a position open I knew I had to jump at the opportunity and figure out how to make it work! After meeting with Jessica and Karyn, I could just feel that it would be a great fit.

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3. Any advice for design students out there balancing work, school and life?

Oh boy, a lot. First and foremost, remember this is a temporary stage in life. It can get really overwhelming and frustrating sometimes when you feel like you have little to no time for yourself. At the end of the day though, it’s important to remember that it won’t always be this crazy (hopefully!) and working hard now is just setting you up for a better future! 
I’ve found it’s also incredibly important to build in time for yourself in your schedule (easier said than done!). When figuring out my schedule, I always make sure that I have one day off a week, without school or work, that I can either go do something fun or just get all of my chores done! And I try my best to take one weekend off every month or so where I can get away and recharge the ol’ batteries.

4. What is the best advice you ever received?

As cliche as it might sound, the best advice that I’ve received is to not take life too seriously. Of course, there’s a time and a place but at the end of the day, keeping this advice in mind, I’ve learned that everything works out in the end. Rather than stressing and worrying my life away it is so much easier (and more fulfilling) to laugh at the hardships and just enjoy and be grateful for what I have in front of me!

5. How would you describe your design aesthetic? 

I would characterize my design aesthetic as “California Eclectic” (as Amber of Amber Interiors has so perfectly described it). Clean and simple, layering lots of textures, selecting carefully curated pieces that make the space feel special and unique, using mainly neutral colors with pops of (muted) color here and there. Incorporating greenery into a space is also super important for me, it really makes the space come alive and provides a connection to the outdoors. 

6. What are your 3 favorite products in the Bungalow 56 shop right now?

After doing some exploring, my three favorites right now are:
1. Floretine Footed Flower Pot - I mean it’s just so cute! How can you not love it? It reminds me a lot of some pottery that I found when I was in Copenhagen that I loved. Add a cute little succulent and you’re set.
2. Black Currant Skeem Candle - Smells incredible and love the simplicity of the design.
3. Mohair Wool Throw  - I’m a big fan of movie nights and comfy throws. Not to mention it’s super cute too.

Floretine Footed Flower Pot

Floretine Footed Flower Pot

Black Currant Skeem Candle

Black Currant Skeem Candle

Mohair Throw

Mohair Throw

7. What is your favorite thing to do when you aren't at school, doing projects or working? 

Getting out into nature! Whether that’s going on a long hike or just laying at the beach, stepping back and slowing down a bit puts things into perspective for me and eases the stress a ton! 

Ask an Expert // Jessica Nicolls




1. Can you tell us about your background and how you got into the design field?

I grew up with Architects all around me. Every family vacation had an architectural sightseeing tour, a visit to an antique store or just aimlessly driving around looking at houses. My obsession with space planning and decorating began at a very early age. I was OBSESSED with my doll house and use to steal the discontinued carpet samples from my Stepdad's architecture firm to carpet my doll house's rooms. Out of high school I interned with my Stepdad's firm in their Interior Design department and fell in love with the ins and outs of bringing a design to life. 


2. How did you come to start Bungalow 56?

Karyn and I had been talking about starting our own business since working together in the fashion industry for 5 years. We both ended up in the interior design field and knew that we needed to combine our talents. I came down to San Diego to finish design school and would send her pictures of the beach while she was back in Tahoe shoveling snow in her driveway. Needless to say I won and she finally moved down south and the rest is history. 

3. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I love layered neutrals with pops of wood tones and vintage pieces. I have a slight obsession with vintage rugs and try to put one in every kitchen and bathroom we design. It is hard to narrow down a specific style because I can envision my perfect Tahoe cabin, my cozy beach cottage, my retro palm springs house and my modern meets Spanish country home. I just need one of each. 

4. What has been the biggest challenge of starting your own business?

I would say the biggest challenge of owning your own business is wearing multiple hats. At the beginning you are the secretary, the accountant, the photographer, the marketing manager, the boss and somewhere in there an interior designer. Once our business started to take off it was so nice to be able to out source some of those jobs. It has been such a wild ride and I wouldn't change a thing. P.S. I would make an awful accountant. 


5. Where do you see yourself and Bungalow 56 in 5 years? 

I am so excited for the future of Bungalow 56! I definitely see us with a larger design studio and an expanded shop with some of our own furniture, textile and pottery designs. 

6. What is your favorite thing to do when you aren't working?

I love spending time with my husband and three children out in the California sunshine. You can also find me obsessively shopping online for vintage rugs or reading. 

7. If you weren't an interior designer what would be your dream job?

I have always had a passion for graphic design but I also think I would have made an amazing paint color namer. 

8. What are your three favorite products in the B56 Shop right now?

I just LOVE our new Coronado bags. They are perfect to take to the beach or the grocery store. My second favorite are the new bath rugs we just got into the shop. The third would be the gorgeous wall basket we just used in our Aruba Bend project

Ask an Expert // Karyn Frazier



Meet Karyn. She is part owner and principal designer at Bungalow 56. Read below to hear how Bungalow 56 got started, Karyn's design style and what she would be doing if she wasn't an interior designer. 


1. Can you tell us about your background and how you got into the design field?

I started out helping some friends who had a construction company select materials, paint colors, lighting, fixtures etc. The home sold before it was finished for over the asking price and I really enjoyed the process so I thought I would get a job in the design field. I was hired at a high end design firm as an intern and quickly worked my way up the ladder learning all aspects of the company. I ended up running the company within a year and half. I then went on to a different company to test my knowledge and increased their sales by 30%. 

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2. How did you come to start Bungalow 56?

My best friend and now business partner talked me into moving to Coronado from Truckee to start Bungalow 56 about 6 years ago. Haven't looked back since...

3. How would you describe your design aesthetic?

I would describe my style as slightly eclectic. The Modern farmhouse movement really speaks to me.  I love clean lined designs mixed with different textured materials. Like ship lap and concrete, but I am also a creature that seeks comfort in a home. I am a sucker for a down stuffed oversized sofa and white down comforters. Mix those elements in with some vintage rugs and antiques and you've nailed my esthetic. 

4. What has been the biggest challenge of starting your own business?

Keeping all the balls in the air and cash flow. Managing the day to day operations while trying to market your business and keep all the parts moving is a daily challenge that gets a little easier every year. 

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5. Where do you see yourself and Bungalow 56 in 5 years?

I would love to have a larger space so we can bring in more furniture lines in the shop. I would also love to design our own line of furniture or design a line for Target.  Move over Joanna! 

6. What is your favorite thing to do when you aren't working?

I love to cook, read books and magazines. You can also find me making flower arrangements or planning some sort of party. 

7. If you weren't an interior designer what would be your dream job?

I would own a floral shop. Or a cooking school. Or both! Or be retired on a farm with all sorts of gardens and animals.

8. What are your three favorite products in the B56 Shop right now?

That's easy! I love the Murchison Hume fig hand soap and lotion. They are my go to gift for friends and family too. I also love the new pillows and throws we just got into the shop. 

Ask an Expert // a. Naber Design



Meet Abbie. She creates the most gorgeous pillows, blankets, baby blankets and interiors you have ever seen. Read below to hear her story and find out how she balances being a mom, a designer and a business owner. 

1. Can you tell us a little bit about your background and business?

I graduated with a Fine Arts Degree and then attended Fashion School at FIDM in Los Angeles studying Fashion Design. I've always had a love for textiles, fabrics, and design. This past year, after having my daughter, I changed career paths and decided that I was going to pursue my long time passion for all things design. I wanted the flexibility of being able to work from home while maintaining an outlet for my creativity. What came of it was the start of a pillow and blanket business that's been up and running since November. I love hunting down vintage as well as global fabrics, designing each pillow in a unique way, and seeing my vision come to fruition. Each pillow/blanket is one of a kind and thoughtfully constructed. 

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2. How do you find your inspiration for the items that you make?

Travel is a main passion of mine, and I think that this rubs off on my design choices. I get inspired by seeing the colors of buildings and patterns on objects and clothing when I'm visiting foreign countries. Travel always has a way of stirring the creative process for me. Sometimes you have to remove yourself from your daily bubble to get re-inspired. Other times,  it's as simple as finding a fabric that I speaks to me. I often think of the design itself after I've found the fabric. With vintage textiles, you can keep the pillow concept pretty simple. The fabric speaks for itself. I love to go to the flea market with an open mind and allow fabric to pop out. Once I've found my fabric, I play around with pattern, layout, and adding trim. 

3. When did you know you wanted to make your talent a small business and what were your biggest challenges getting started?

After about a year of staying home post-birth, I was getting stir crazy. My previous job was creative, but it was long hours on my feet and very active. My body hurt, and I knew I couldn't handle the work load anymore. I wanted to tap into a passion of mine that I had never pursued as a profession. With the push from my husband, I started up in November and haven't looked back since. There have been many challenges, but I love being able to work from home and work when my daughter is napping or asleep for the night. That way, I don't feel like I'm missing out on the important parts of her first years. Growing a business has been hard, frustrating, and tiring, but there's growth when we push ourselves into an uncomfortable place. It's so much easier to stay stagnant in what you are doing, but where's the growth in that? For my business in particular, the major challenges have been trying to find more time to work (when I can't always do that) and learning how to promote my brand and get my product seen by  a larger audience. 

4. We love your "staged" vs "real life" posts. How do you manage home life, mom life and business life?

Hah! Some days I'm successful and other days I feel like the biggest failure. I feel like it's a constant check and balance type of thing. If you're killing the game in two or three areas, the fourth area probably suffers. So, I may have a day where I crushed the business  life, but my home is probably a mess and I didn't cook dinner. Other days, I may not touch work, but I was able to have a great day with my family and have time for some self-care. It really varies day to day. I need to continue to not be so hard on myself. It helps repeating out loud, "I'm doing the best I can!" Another thing that helps is that I am an uber planner. I still have a written day planner, no joke. I'm able to plan my week ahead and have an idea of what tasks I need to accomplish each day.


5. What is your most favorite thing you have created?

I do love the African Baule and Sherpa stroller blankets that I've made. Those are so unique to the baby market. I like them because they aren't so "baby" if that makes sense? I like toting around things that don't scream "BABY", and these are one of those items. In fact, they're a really good travel blanket for adults because of the size. I call them lap blankets for travel because they aren't so large that they'll hit the ground on a flight. I also love the last run of pillows that I made. They are made from neutral African mud cloth and a gorgeous textile called African wool Fulani. I'm a neutral girl at heart, and these are the perfect match of pattern and neutral.

6. Any new products you have that everyone needs?

People have been asking about larger throws, so I'm testing out a new batch of larger sized blankets for the house. I'm really excited about these. I'm also in the early stages for prototypes of small clutches and even floor poufs... all made from African textiles and vegan leather!

7. What is the best piece of advice you received?

I would have to say I get: "Don't be so hard on yourself" quite often. I'm a Type A by nature, but I'm working on that. From a more creative standpoint, I would have to say, "Stay true to your vision." I re-visit that thought a lot in a world where so much influence is out on social media. It's so easy to see images and want to do what other people are doing etc. I try and stay away from textiles that are too overdone or too popular and just gravitate towards what I find interesting and special.