Inspiration People

Designer Spotlight: Serving Up Style and Design for Molly's Fund

This weekend is the Portland Fall Home & Garden Show, which will include a showcase we were lucky to collaborate with one of our trade partners on: Serving up Style, a showcase of Portland-area designers who each create a fantastic dining space in the name of Lupus Awareness. Proceeds go to Molly’s Fund, an organization focused on educating the public and the medical community about lupus, to push for earlier, life-saving diagnoses for those afflicted, and to spur governments and foundations to fund research toward a cure.

So when our friends at Pangaea Interior Design asked if we’d like to work with them on this incredible fundraiser, we jumped at the chance. Pangaea’s team will be one of 24 design teams competing to win over the judges’ panel, which includes HGTV Design Star winner Danielle Colding. Pangaea gave us a rundown of the event and her space, “The Fine Art of Dining”:

Pangea Sketch

Pangaea’s sketch of her entry space at Serving Up Style, titled “The Fine Art of Dining.”

Why did you get involved with Molly’s Fund and the Serving Up Style event?

I saw the very first Serving Up Style 5 years ago and thoroughly enjoyed seeing designers creating dining rooms that were creative, engaging and sometimes more art than functional space. It looked like enormous fun and it was my first exposure to Molly’s Fund. Prior to that I don’t think I had ever heard of Lupus. If I could do something good for a worthy charity and have some fun in the process, it sounded like a win-win proposition to me! Molly’s Fund raises money which goes directly to give much needed assistance to people suffering from Lupus. For more information on what the organization does or just to find out more about Lupus, go to

What’s your favorite part about designing a room like this? What was especially important for this project?

I love that I get to design absolutely anything I want— that is, as long as I can beg, borrow or steal the items needed for the display. It lets me flex my creative muscle and show what I can do when left to my own devices. Don’t get me wrong— I love designing for my clients and making their vision become reality. But every once in awhile, it’s fun to have a completely blank canvas and let the vision be all mine.

This year I wanted to have some architectural interest in my display that would create a dramatic backdrop for the art. My display is titled: “The Fine Art of Dining”, so finding a way to display and highlight art was important. Everything in my display is given plenty of space around it so that each element feels like art, from the sculpture and painting to the lighting elements, and even the accessories.

Sounds perfect! So why should your space win over the judges panel?

Well, my space has all that gold in it, and I think that a gold medal would be perfectly color coordinated. That’s what counts, right?

What’s the importance of a dining room when it comes to home design?

This is the place where families gather for holiday meals and where people entertain in a more formal way. A dining room should be comfortable so that people want to linger over conversation and great food. It should be a memorable space with ambience to rival the best restaurants making dining in this room feel like a truly special occasion.

What are the rewards of a project like this?

Knowing that I am part of an awareness raising event that translates into real and concrete dollars which help people with Lupus is very rewarding. The show receives over 10,000 attendees and it is a great opportunity to help people become aware of what a debilitating disease Lupus is. The show draws people to a Gala evening which is Molly’s Fund’s annual fund raiser. It is also an enjoyable opportunity to meet the public and talk about design and how designers can help clients create a home that lifts their spirit and supports their lifestyle.

Where do you start when designing a room like this, that’s a completely blank slate? Any inspirations?

I always tell my clients to find an inspiration piece and that’s what I do when starting from scratch. You have to start somewhere and that can be just about anything. This past year I found a French line of wall covering by Elitis that I absolutely loved! Believe it or not, my point of inspiration was the metallic gold wall covering in an eel skin leather texture. It is actually a vinyl wall covering and super affordable even though it looks very upscale. From there, I had to have some pretty interesting walls to put it on and I decided to create panels that wrapped the room in overlapping ceilings — all covered in gold. Once I had the backdrop, I brought in the soft blue & metallic gold rug, designed original chairs with gold upholstery and then found art that was just as bold as the room. The lighting needed to feel like fine art too so I chose pieces that are clearly hand-blown glass.

If you could give one piece of advice in design, it would be _________?

Be brave with scale. A few larger objects placed with plenty of breathing space around them will always give you a stronger and more serene look than lots of small objects, which tend to make spaces feel busy.

Stay tuned for an event recap and the reveal of Pangaea’s finished space after this weekend’s event!

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