Simone Howell is an elite designer from Decorist. We’ve been loving her work for its eclectic yet approachable vibe – which is why we were thrilled to be invited into her home to see how this designer really lives.

Located in the north of Dallas, Simone’s apartment has tons of architectural charm – from the high ceilings, to the beams and barrel ceilings in her bedroom. When she moved in, the changes she made were more about the finishes than anything else. Relocating from LA, Simone wanted to bring that Mid-Century California earthy vibe alongside a bit of glam. “I love a dash of playful that gives a well-traveled vibe,” she says. “Approachable and elevated are two words that set the tone for my house.”

The starting point for the apartment’s design was dark moody walls – Simone chose “Kettle Black” by Valspar for both her bedroom and dining room. “I wanted our bedroom to feel cocoon-like; the black walls absorb the darkness at night and reflect light during the day,” she explains. The choice works perfectly to balance out the lilac bedframe she brought with her when she moved in. “I tell my husband that it isn’t lilac, it’s amethyst gray,” she humorously admits. Her style is all about balance: a burl wood dresser is paired with a brass lamp, a quilt behind a modern abstract painting.

Similarly, Simone chose black for the dining room to add a bit of drama. This was a trick of hers to add interest to a room that didn’t stand out architecturally, but as an added bonus, this dramatic choice has become a conversation starter anytime someone new comes over. Many of her vintage finds are from Scout Design Studio, and with just a change of fabric, ended up with a totally different look.

But not everything has to be over the top. Simone advises to play it safe with the large pieces and take risks with smaller accessories or accents. The kitchen, for example, is clean and simple, but she added an artistic tile backsplash — which is actually quite inexpensive, you can get it here — to add a little bit of interest. “In order for interiors to be really inspiring there has to be an element of surprise,” she advises. “Mixing things up and creating contrast makes a space feel lived in.”