A Peek Inside: Morgan of Ampersand Design Studio

Did you guys know that I have a Board of Directors? Well— I’m using that term VERY loosely— but pre-Corona Quarantine, we had our first “meeting”— okay, well it was really just drinks and food and conversation at my house one night, but we did talk business- as it’s always a bit of a blur between personal and not. I’m lucky to have a handful of entrepreneurs here in KC that are not only smart, successful and creative, but also fortunate to call them my friends. We haven’t had a second Board of Directors “meeting” yet— because it’s just not as fun without the food and drinks- but we look forward to doing it as soon as we can. One of my members, Chentell, was my first feature for the Peek Inside series- and it was so fun, we decided to keep it going. This time we have another board member (it makes me laugh just writing that out loud.) So let me introduce my friend Morgan from Ampersand Design Studio and let’s see what makes her house a cozy home.

Morgan, tell me in your words about Ampersand:

Ampersand is an art & design studio obsessed with color & pattern! We want to bring fun, optimistic, unexpected products into your home and life that will hopefully leave you with a smile on your face. We design a bit of everything including stationery & wall art to textiles including fabric by the yard, kitchen accessories, bedding & rugs.

And why do YOU think I (Karrie/Happy Habitat) wanted to interview you?

Well you know i just renovated my kitchen & living room so this is clearly just a ploy to see the finished product. (she’s right BTW).

What object/item (s) do you most like to show off and talk about at your house? (besides your Happy Habitat throws, of course!)

Hopefully I'm not doing too much showing off, but I DO like to talk about certain favorite items in my house and I find that they are the ones created by friends or other artists I admire. And yes, Karrie, of course that includes my Happy Habitat throws, but also paintings, screen prints, ceramics, leather goods, and even puzzles! In a way, I feel like I'm surrounding myself with little pieces of the important things in life and when they're in my home, I get to be constantly reminded of the people that created them.

Speaking of your first favorite item in your house, your Happy Habitat throw (haha, you know I’m kidding)—how and why did you choose the ones you picked?

When I was picking my very first Happy Habitat throw, I probably spent three weeks going back and forth between all of my favorites. It's IMPOSSIBLE to choose because they're all wonderful in their own unique way and I'm not just saying that because this is an interview for your blog! I think it just depends on what I'm craving in my life at the time....if i'm needing some calm in my life, i might lean towards something more subtle... or on the flip side, if I'm feeling like I need to liven things up, I might be craving a huge hit of color and pattern! For my most recent HH throw, I have just renovated my house and the permanent parts of the renovation like walls, cabinets, etc are all very neutral - on purpose - so that I could fill the house with great pops of color and pattern but move them around when and where I want depending on my mood! Right now, I felt like a throw is the perfect home accessory to go big and bold on, so, naturally, I went with the Tatami in Bubble Gum + Gold!

How and where do you use your Happy Habitat throws in your house?

Ok, i'm not sure if everyone reading this understands that HH throws are MACHINE WASHABLE!!!!!!! like, YES, I said that, machine washable! So we use our HH throws for everything! Usually my more high end home accessories I wouldn't dare let the kids play with...but if I walk in the living room and they're using a HH throw for the roof of their couch fort, I get to totally keep my cool, like, "well, that looks GREAT kids" instead of totally losing my mind. That goes for the pets too...a cat or dog sleeping on a HH throw? No problem. I don't have to flip out because I know I can wash all those dirty paw prints right out. So we really do have our throws all over the house: the living room couch... the breakfast nook bench...on the counter stools in the kitchen. One member of the family is wrapped up in a throw for breakfast every morning. And on the rare occasion that I get really fancy and actually make our bed, the end of our bed gets a folded throw.

If you were a throw—which one would you be and why?

As I mentioned, picking a throw is not easy for me, but for some reason, this came to me right away. I'd be the Quarter Circles in Daffodil, Flame & Petal. I'm a summer birthday girl and I thrive on all things sunny and warm. That also means I'm a Leo and I don't shy away from being bold. So that simple, graphic sunshiney yellow, orange and pink in a large scale pattern is speaking my language! Crazy enough, I don't own that one that one, so it's now next on my list!

Throws: folded or…thrown?

Although I just LOVE how some of the patterns seem to beg to be perfectly folded, we are very casual around here and they are usually thrown! 


How do you add warmth into your space? is it something you even think of? and how do you incorporate warmth into your personal self?  OR tell us about something in your home that soothes your soul.

To me, warmth is when a house feels like a home. Personal touches. Things that have been collected. Personal photos or mementos. Art and home accessories that truly reflect the personality of the people who live there. I also think warmth can come from the layering of materials and textures. After recently renovating our kitchen and living room, I'm slowly adding our favorite items back in but I think it takes time to make it feel like "home" again.

If you had to describe your design style in terms of food/drink— what would it be? and why?

Ooh, I LOVE this question. I think my design style is a Mango Habanero Margarita! It's an unexpected combination...a little sweet, a little spicy, gorgeous color and it's got a surprise kick that you don't expect! And hell, it's also just super fun!

You’ve got 2 (cute as can be!) young boys- how do you design with them in mind?

Well, first of all,  thank you! (I think they're pretty cute too). As far as designing my home, truly, I don't know how to design WITHOUT them in mind. They are forever intertwined in my thoughts so it's completely subconscious at this point. I have two boys, ages 9 and 5, and they basically use the house like an obstacle course (lots of forts and "floor is lava" activities on the daily). So I'd love to have the house be indestructible but seeing how that is impossible, I do fall in love with great quality home decor that can withstand some wear and tear. Delicate, fragile objects tend to not have a place in our home these days.

What are you most embarrassed about in your house? It’s okay, come clean here, it will feel good, we all have something.

Oh--our bedroom for sure! I feel like we have given some solid effort to every other room in the house except for the poor "master" bedroom. We have redone the kitchen, living room, kids' room, office, you name it....but our bedroom has gotten no attention. We have the same cheaply made bed frame and dresser that we bought when we first started dating and we've been married for 13 years!! Poor, neglected master bedroom.

Got any hacks for us? 

I always have internal issues with televisions in living spaces--the way they look and what they do to the social dynamic. I don't want tv to be a central part of a room as I feel like conversation and human interaction are always more important, yet, we DO enjoy watching movies and shows together as a family from time to time. From a design standpoint, I also struggle with the tv being the central focus of the room and I hate the big black shiny rectangle on the wall when it's not in use. So my design hack is that we invested in one of those Samsung Frame tvs that displays art when you're not watching tv and it's such a welcome change from having a big black box in the room at all times!

Do you have a signature design quirk?

You know what? i have noticed myself sneaking in hints of pink, blush, or magenta colors everywhere I can. Whether it's just a touch on a throw pillow or blanket or whether it's a large area in a piece of art.  My subconscious  must be needing a feminine touch since I live with all boys!

Make the bed every day? Or only when people are gonna see it?

Aw man. I WISH i were a make-the-bed-every-day person, but I suppose it's time that I admit that I'm not.

Kid ‘art’ on the fridge. Kid ’sculpture’ for the living room. Cheap gifts bought by the little broke bastards who then expect you to display them on the mantel. What are your rules?

Hahaha!! I'll casually toss those cheap gifts (shhhhhh!!! don't tell the kids) but I LOVE kid art!!! Kids don't overthink their art creation. It's all so carefree and fun. I'm envious of that complete lack of fear of the white canvas that so many of us get as we get older. Kids' color combinations are so unique. They love playing with different mediums. I'm inspired by it all! We have a whole little gallery wall of kid art in the bedroom hallway that I try to rotate out every few months.

A BIG thank you to Morgan and her beautiful family for sharing their inviting home and stories!

Stay cozy my friends!

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