Founder's Favorite Picks


Decorating a home is a fun and slightly challenging endeavor. We all want that Pinterest home but the question is, how do we make it both the look we love and authentic How can our home reflect who we are, what we value, the places we’ve been, and things that are important to us? How can our homes be both beautiful and comfortable?

I believe in quality over quantity. I define quality as meaningful, ethically made, and durable enough to last a lifetime. Whether you have a classic, modern, or bohemian chic home, the pieces you use to fill it should be significant to you, reflecting the life you live, and the things that just make you happy.

For my family, and I the challenge is getting pieces from Uganda and Ethiopia, Thailand and Indonesia, Texas and California to work together without looking like a thrift store. As I set up our new home in Austin this summer, I kept our space neutral with crisp white, warm wood, and brass accents so I could focus on mixing and matching textures, patterns, and colors without it feeling cluttered.

Our home was built in a modern industrial style so all the textiles helped warm up our home as a relaxing place to work, host, and rest. (Our pup, River, spends about 22 hours a day sleeping so the resting part was especially important!) Here’s a peak into our home and how I styled some of my favorite Ara Collective pieces in it...


Gray is getting some serious traction in home decor lately. From marble counter tops to exterior and interior walls to home textiles, light and dark shades are mixed and matched to create a soothing and sophisticated environment.

I love how grays are beautiful yet masculine, and how the intricate Cardinal Points Pillow captures both of those so perfectly. I decorated our rooftop terrace in grays and whites (and a bazillion plants), a relaxed yet lovely environment to host friends as the days cool off.

In continuation of my ode to gray, this throw is just so beautiful I can’t figure out where to put it because I want to look at it all the time. As with most good designs, this was actually a mistake. I was trying to make our Taupe San Cristobal Throw but, when the warp and weft threads were inverted (my design specs mistake), the white and taupe somehow create this perfect gray color.

This throw was also just featured on Style Me Pretty Living ( pieces-that-look-good-and-do-good/) as a Fair Trade Pick!

The moment I saw this rug a shop in Teotilán del Valle, Oaxaca I was in love. This small town has streets with back-to-back rug shops so choosing my favorites is really difficult. But this one was a clear choice.

I love the series of Zapotec designs in hues of indigo, teal, and pale blue. I tend towards decorating bright and airy neutral spaces so this saturated rug brings the perfect pop of color to my dining room. (And the wool gets softer with each wash!)

I’m deep into black + white decor right now. I love how the Chiapas Throw has that classic color palette but is still has distinct exotic feel with the Chiapas designs. I use this throw for everything from a picnic blanket to a towel to a light blanket tossed over the side of my couch.

Also, the Beige Chiapas Throw is my close second fave in this design. The colors are soft and sophisticated, making it the perfect feminine addition to my husband’s favorite leather couch.” #MarriageWin

Styled in the corner nook of my in-home studio, the colors in this pillow remind me of Guatemala – lush forests and deep lakes. The Nahuala Pillow, named after the village it comes from, is so complex that even when I see it woven in person I can’t understand how they’re doing it. Truly the work of masters.

It’s rich with Mayan symbolism but also has a slight Oriental feel to me, which reminds me of my childhood in Indonesia. This pillow is a favorite among interior designers and you’ll be seeing more designs from Nahuala in the future!

I decorated our new bedroom in warm neutrals & layers upon layers of indigo. While living in Guatemala, I learned a lot about the fascinating indigo dyeing process. To my surprise, the thread comes out of the dye a yellow color! As it’s moved around in oxygen it turns the indigo hue we know.

Depending on the difference of just a few seconds, indigo can be a gray aegean, bright cerulean, or deep imperial blue. This Chinimaya Blanket is one of my favorite indigo pieces from this collection because of it has a modern look but was made using that age-old dyeing and weaving process

I was gushing over this pillow as I styled our roof for a dinner with friends on Sunday night. This is my favorite design in the entire collection, based on a hüipil (blouse) design from Chichicastenango – a must- visit if you’re ever visiting Guatemala! Originally, this is a bright, colorful design on black but I love this muted version that pairs beautifully with both my beige and gray spaces.

I’m going to sneak a non-home goods item in here because this bag is my everything bag. Carry on, overnighter, gym bag, big purse for a busy day (let’s be real, ladies)... It has oversized leather tassels to keep me happy and the leather and hardware are sturdy enough to handle anything.

I love the Guatemalan twist on these classic stripes and that this color palette goes with anything I’m wearing. The light beige stripes are made with a really interesting thread mixing technique unique to San Juan La Laguna village on Lake Atitlán. If you have a bag or pillow in this textile, look closely to see the detail.

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Design, Style EditSam Fleming