ask an expert

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 // Closet Organization



Meet Conni! She is one of our dear friends and an expert in wardrobe styling, closet organization and being amazing. We interviewed her to find out how to organize your closet. Here are her tips!

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

I have a background in education and childhood development.  I taught elementary and middle school for over 8 years in San Diego.   But realized over time that what I really loved was researching the connection between history and fashion and women's connection to style, their bodies, and their shopping habits.  So I started educating myself and women on the intricacies of style.  I went back to school at night to get a fashion merchandising credential. 

Four years ago, I started the blog Art in the Find to share that knowledge and Art in the Find Styling to help women define and refine their style, starting with their closets!  I offer everything from style consultations, where we chat about getting to know your style practices, to personal shopping for specific needs, to closet editing and organization to really hone in on cleansing your wardrobe, starting fresh, and bringing new energy and tips/strategies into your wardrobe.  I also offer online personal styling to give women a chance to get styled without coming into their closets!

2. What is the first step to organizing your closet?

Emotionally, it's being okay with letting things go and being ready to get things cleaned out.  This is often why it helps to hire someone like me because it is more of an emotional process and having someone counseling you through often makes it much easier!  Physically, having the right pieces on hand will help move you in the right direction.  I wrote a couple of articles on my site to help people DIY it themselves!  I love storage baskets both wicker and wire, for kids toys, for shoes/sandals, and clear storage tubs for storing seasonal items away in the closet. 

3. How do you decide what to keep, sell, donate? 

For myself and when working with clients, I have them try everything on.  Through the process of trying things on, you discover how you feel in a piece, whether it makes you feel great or not so great, whether it fits you properly, needs repairs, or is in poor condition.  If pieces are in great shape, fit well, and make you feel good, you keep!   Other items you sell (if in season, on trend, etc (I help clarify that with clients)) or they get donated.  

4. What are your favorite closet organizing products?

I love that we've been in a minimal shift in decor and home because baskets are all the rage!  You can find me geeking out in the container store or target (or Bungalow 56's shop for that matter!), over the array of jute baskets, clothing containers, and cloth garment bags.  I love anything that holds items together in a stylish way.   Neutral fabric garment bags are a favorite for storing/hanging seasonal items. I love shelf dividers for shelving in closets to help organize purses and bags.  I could go on and on...

Some of the links above are affiliate links, this means that at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you make a purchase. 

5. Do you have any rules you live by for closet organization? (when in doubt throw it out? If you haven't worn it in a year it goes?)

Yes, both of those!  Some other 'rules'?

Ask Questions about each piece:  As we go through the process of a closet edit, I always have clients ask themselves, or I ask them, 'when was the last time you wore that?' 'how do you feel when you're wearing it?' If everything is positive, we lean towards keeping items, if not, we get rid of them.  

Move things around/arrange them/pack them up for the seasons: I move things around seasonally, which helps keep a closet refreshed and organized.  I pull out items that aren't wearable for that particular season and put them away in garment bags, storage bins, etc.  Out of sight, out of mind until the next season.  I'd say that we should be doing this 4 times a year (at the approach of each season, even in San Diego!).  

6. What wardrobe basics do you think everyone needs?

Great pieces to layer with!  I just wrote a post about that as well here.  That's always a struggle for women.  It doesn't have to be the same for every women, but every women needs at least two great layering pieces. 

Great undergarments - a well fitting bra for example.  This can make or break the shape of a shirt on you.  Finding comfortable, well fitting bras are often a challenge for women.  But you should go into a shop and get fitted for one good bra.  Then once you know that, you can shop for more elsewhere.  A few brands I've been looking into lately for affordability and comfortability is Wear Lively.

A great pair of dark wash denim - Having at least one pair of dark wash denim in your closet is always to the way to go.  

A few pairs of shoes that are in good condition - Finding great shoes doesn't seem to be a huge focus for women but I think that people notice shoes and it should be.  Wearing a nice pair of shoes helps to really pull an outfit together.  It is that final touch to make an outfit pop, so don't underestimate the power of good shoes!  You can find a great selection on Zappos, Nordstrom, and Shopbop. 

7. What accessories do you think everyone needs? 

I don't think everyone needs the same accessories.  Some women are minimal with their accessories and some like to go all out.  Some women use accessories as a way to express themselves because the rest of their outfit is paired down and I say that's just as great as someone who loves wearing a lot of costume jewelry. It's all about feeling great in it, whether it's a scarf or a colorful handbag, or a fantastic hat or sunglasses.