Dynamic Seattleites: Design Star, Cassandra LaValle

Cassandra LaValle; Photo by Amanda Howse

Trendsetting and trailblazing — this style guru brings accessible design to everyone.

“Life is in the details. Style accordingly.” That’s the philosophy of Cassandra LaValle, founder of coco+kelley, one of the top national interior design blogs and hottest boutique design firms in Seattle. With thousands of loyal followers on her blog, and a successful design boutique with clients across the greater Seattle-Tacoma area, LaValle is one to watch.

Cassandra LaValle; Photo by Amanda Howse

LaValle began coco+kelley in 2007 “as a place for me to collect my sources of inspiration, especially for interior design,” LaValle said. “Over the years it’s turned into something much bigger, including an interiors and styling company!”

A Seattleite of nearly 20 years, and current resident of the Greenlake neighborhood, 30-year-old LaValle is all about using the blog and her company to make design more accessible to her readers and clients through discovery and education, so that they can communicate their personal style.

“I like to see my blog as a constant source for fresh products, styling ideas, and a place where design is made more accessible,” LaValle said. “In my business, I love educating my clients throughout the process so that as they continue to grow into their homes throughout the years, they feel empowered to make smart design decisions.”

Since she began coco+kelley in 2007, the blog has developed into one of the most popular interior design blogs, and has opened the door for LaValle’s lifestyle design company of the same name, launched in October 2008.

The success of LaValle’s company hasn’t hurt the blog, it has only enhanced her realistic approach to design. “While I definitely have a higher taste for style and a dose of girlish glamour in my aesthetic, I like to keep things real,” she said. “My home doesn’t feature pieces that cost $10,000 and my closet is currently Louboutin-less.”

With her taste for upscale design and her mind-set for affordability, her ability to blend both worlds has been noticed by some notable press. LaValle has been featured in Lucky Magazine, The New York Times, Downtown Chic, House Beautiful magazine, and on the Martha Stewart Show.

“I’m a girl on a budget just like most of us, but I don’t let that stop me from seeing the inspiration in high design and finding ways to make it my own!” LaValle said.

Her accessible approach to design has opened a unique place in the world of interior design bloggers because she offers an open perspective to design and how to make your style show in your own home.

LaValle’s tone as both a writer and a designer is also very personal: “I think my voice resonates with my readers and clients because I talk to them like they’re my best friends… and some of them are,” she said.

That’s not to say that being a fashion blogger and designer in today’s tough economy is easy. “With so many blogs out there today, I think the biggest challenge is keeping content fresh and original,” LaValle said.

As many bloggers will agree, with success comes responsibility and a new lesson in balancing that with opportunity.

“The success of coco+kelley has brought me so many amazing opportunities to travel, speak at events, partner with businesses and more,” she said. “All of [those opportunities are] amazing, but it’s hard to keep up with running a business and writing posts twice a day. I’m lucky to have some amazing contributing writers and interns to help me keep it all together.”

Click here to read about other Dynamic Seattleites.