2017 Advisory Board

coco-cozy-461A Los Angeles native, Coco leads a double life: an executive by day and an interior design blogger and home furnishings designer by night.

Coco began blogging in 2008 on COCOCOZY, her interior design blog. Coco’s goal was simple:  provide design and style inspiration with a personal and sometimes humorous approach.  Little did she know COCOCOZY the blog would become so popular.  In addition to the thousands who come to her blog on a daily basis, pop star Katy Perry and interior design guru Jonathan Adler both named COCOCOZY as one of their favorite interior design blogs in InStyle magazine.

On January 31, 2011, less than three years after the launch of the blog, Coco took her passion one step further as she introduced the COCOCOZY textiles collection to the home furnishings market. The collection features luxury pillows, throws, bedding, drapery, and rugs all designed by Coco herself and manufactured (all or partially) in the U.S..   Today, COCOCOZY has also expanded the line to include an assortment of home accessories.

In 2013, just two years after its debut, in an article, Architectural Digest  called the COCOCOZY collection a “line of chic home accessories”.

COCOCOZY has also signed with license partners.  Most notable, COCOCOZY partnered with Tommy Hilfiger for a special summer capsule collection of pillows featured in Tommy’s flagship stores around the country.  COCOCOZY also currently has license deals for bedding, rugs, embroidered pillows and painted wood floor tiles.


Amanda Gates, founder of Gates Interior Design, is a professionally trained Interior Designer, Feng Shui Practitioner, podcaster and award winning blogger. She has been practicing interior design and Feng Shui for over fifteen years. Her blog, started in 2008, has covered topics from green interiors, living a holistic lifestyle, and designing with intention to help create a home that supports her clients’ journey.

Amanda’s style is described as fresh, comfortable and relaxed.  She is best known for classic design with a modern, colorful twist and was selected by Nashville Home and Garden magazine as one of the top designers to watch. In 2015, Amanda was awarded top recognition as the Toast Of Music City, as Best Interior Designer, and placed third in The Nashville Scene for Best Interior Design firm.

She has completed projects locally as well as across the United States, establishing herself as a trusted designer for clients no matter the location. Her holistic designs and educational blog have been featured in numerous publications including People Magazine, Nashville Home and Garden, Williamson Source, At Home Tennessee, Greater Nashville House and Home, The Brentwood Home magazine, and recently Fox News Magazine.  Her driving passion in her work is to help teach others how to create intimate relationships, build memories, foster personal growth, and honor a person’s truest self in a place they call home.

Kyle_HoepnerKyle Hoepner’s engagement with architecture and interiors began at age twelve, when he sketched his first notebook of house plans—a series of suburban ranch designs that would now embarrass him greatly. Presently editor-in-chief of New England Home magazine, Kyle has worked in magazine publishing for over twenty-five years, starting as a typesetter for high-end publications such as The Atlantic Monthly and later as a designer and art director for numerous business, financial, and computing titles such as Fidelity Focus, Inc. Technology, MIT Sloan Management Review, and Better Software. An invitation to join the founding team of New England Home in 2005 provided a welcome opportunity to reconnect professionally with his long-held passions for home and product design. For the past six years he has helped guide the magazine as it rapidly became the preeminent home-design title in the Northeast.

adam_japko-new_266Leading up to founding Esteem Media and its managing investor role in New England Home Magazine, LLC., Adam Japko served as President of DigitalSherpa, a high growth SMB social media and internet discovery business offering content, social media, reputation management, local listings, lead generation, web business intelligence, and other internet marketing programs. The company served over 4,000 SMBs.  These experiences, along with the surprising success of his wine blog, WineZag, reaffirmed a deep belief that community engagement, quality content, and in-person networking are lethal tools for transforming brands and businesses in meaningful ways.

Prior to DigitalSherpa, Adam lead the creation of the largest network of regional luxury shelter media properties for Network Communications, Inc. While President of the NCI Home Design business, he acquired or launched all of the properties that now make up Esteem Media, Inc.’s ongoing investments.

Esteem Media, www.esteemmedia.com, is home to leading national and local media brands in the luxury home design, gardening, and fine wine communities; focused on connecting professionals and consumers around their passions and businesses. Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles, Design Bloggers Conference, Garden Bloggers Conference, WineZag, and New England Home leverage events, print media, social media, blogs, and digital marketing…but overall, community connection as the catalyst for their constituents’ commercial success.

drew-mcgukin-638Drew McGukin tackles the interior design world with a unique level of energy, great pace and integrity. He is known for a touch of the ‘unexpected,’ combined with beautiful textures and bold patterns that vibrate with the perfect amount of sophistication, warmth, innovation, style and approachability.

Drew graduated from The New York School of Interior Design in May 2010, and kicked off as lead designer in his own New York-based firm in October 2010. He served on the Board of Directors for ASID NY Metro from 2009-2011, while simultaneously sitting on the 2011 Student Advisory Council for ASID National. Soon after graduation, Drew was selected by The New York Design Center as one of 30 founding designers set to launch Access to Design™—a concierge service providing accessibility for consumers to the industry’s top design talents and product offerings through NYDC. The New York Chapter of the International Furnishings and Design Association [IFDA] named Drew a ‘Rising Star’ in 2012; Departures Magazine has included Drew as a member of its Home Design Council since 2014; and Houzz.com, the leading online platform for home remodeling and design, continues to honor Drew with its “Best of Houzz” distinction in design for driving extraordinary online traffic through his online portfolio. Drew McGukin Interiors participated in the “Project Design” collaboration with Kravet Inc. and The Ronald McDonald House of Long Island encompassing a two-phase renovation of the facility from the Spring 2013 to Fall 2014. Most recently, Drew was selected by Sunbrella as one of five designers across the US to design a complete room showcasing the breadth and style of Sunbrella’s interior fabric lines. These designs were unveiled in New York in October 2014, and again Feburary 2015 in Atlanta at the 2015 Design Blogger’s Conference. Drew is one of five notable designers selected to represent Cosentino as a 2015 Silestone Trendsetter.

Drew McGukin Interiors is established as a professional firm delivering a level of expertise that is not only innovative, but also classically trained. His offices are located in Chelsea and the team is currently working on projects in and around Manhattan, the Hamptons, North Carolina and the west coast.

holly-hollingworth-269Holly Hollingsworth Phillips is a residential interior designer and owner of The English Room, which is based out of Charlotte, North Carolina. Holly’s style is elegant, eclectic and colorful. She has completed homes all over the east coast that have ranged from the super modern to very traditional while keeping it true to her style. She loves overseeing the design process from beginning to end. The best part is when your clients really trust you and set you free to do what you do best. Her love of color, pattern and layering of old and new can be seen in all her work. According to Holly, “Color makes people happy!” She loves the mixing the tradition of the past with the modern style of the future.

Holly’s early design experience includes working with Alexandra Stoddard and Sotheby’s – both in New York City. Holly completed a Mint Museum Senior Study and worked at the Atlanta Decorative Arts Center. After College, Holly lived in London while completing Sotheby’s 17th and 18th century decorative arts program. She has also completed The Winter institute at Winterthur, which provided a deep exposure one of the most complete collections of American Antiques in existence. Her first “professional” job was with Travis & Company in Atlanta where she ran the Antiques side of the showroom. In 1999, Holly joined her mother full time at the English Room in Charlotte. Her
educational background includes a degree in Art History from Rollins College and a degree in Interior Design from the American College.

She has been featured in Southern Accents, Southern Living, Charlotte Magazine, Charlotte Urban Home, Southpark Magazine and Better Homes and Gardens Windows and Walls.

elizabeth-ralls-photo-470Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Editor-in-Chief Elizabeth Ralls is a 13-year magazine-industry veteran who has covered the shelter category in the Southeast since she began her career with Southern Accents magazine. The region’s leading design publication since 1983, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles is published monthly, and Ralls has been at its helm for the past three years, where she has spearheaded an overhaul of the magazine’s website and digital platforms as well as debuted a new showhouse platform dedicated to exhibiting the work of the region’s most accomplished design talents with the Southeastern Designer Showhouse & Gardens, which launched in Buckhead earlier this spring. Raised in the Midwest and schooled in the Northeast, Ralls has spent the last 10 years in Atlanta, where she and her family of 5 have planted firm roots.    

mally-skokMally Skok is founder of Mally Skok Design, an interior design firm specializing in private residences and small commercial projects. Based in the town of Lincoln (west of Boston), the firm was started in 1998 by Mally, whose design flair was acquired over many years living in London, Boston and South Africa. Mally’s decorating style is to layer the old with the new, and add the unexpected. She likes to create rooms that are fresh and comfortable. She feels it is important that a room is visually pleasing but still inviting and never pretentious. Appropriate is one of her key words in decorating. Adding accessories and works of art is essential in making a room feel friendly and lived in.

Mally Skok Design Fabrics launched its first collection — The India Collection — early in 2009, followed by the Ikat Crazy in 2010, The Africa Collection in 2011, and the latest Suzani Luv in 2013. Later in 2013 we launched our Brimfield collection of fabric and wallpaper in three colourways. In 2014 we introduced our Istanbul Collection, featuring Sofia, Sofia Minor and a co-ordinating wallpaper. The Istanbul collection also has a small scale Imogen print in three colourways.

clinton-smith-280Clinton Smith is Editor-in-Chief at Veranda magazine. Prior to joiningVeranda, Clinton was editorial director of Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles since April 2008. He rejoined the brand after a period as Senior Editor of Southern Accents, having previously led AH&L from January 2003 to June 2007. Prior to that, Smith was a project coordinator for Apple at the company’s Cupertino, Calif., headquarters. From 2000 to 2001, he was Senior Editor at Wiesner Publishing and began his career as Editorial Director of New South Publishing, Inc.

Tamara MTamara Stephensonatthews-Stephenson is a NYC residential interior designer, freelance writer, author of popular design blog Nest by Tamara and co-owner and product designer of home fabric company, Root Cellar Designs.

After receiving a baccalaureate degree from Castleton University in Vermont with a major in English, then a certificate in interior design from Parsons School of Design, Tamara landed a job in 1993 with Barbara Southerland Interior Design in their North Carolina and New York City offices. Tamara learned the professional interior design business at BSID while coordinating all aspects of high-end residential projects from conception to installation until she launched her own interior design firm in 1999.  Since that time she has been busy decorating homes wielding a “sophisticated cottage” style.  Tamara utilizes her astute sense of color, education and creativity to decorate homes often with a classic foundation, but well edited, quirky, with a layered sophistication, and  feel decidedly “lived in”.

Since 2008, Tamara has penned popular lifestyle blog Nest by Tamara where she writes stories about interior design, entertaining, travel and cooking.  Nest by Tamara was voted #1 design blog by Modenus’ Top 100 design blogs.  Additionally, Tamara is invited regularly on press junkets around the world to cover the latest in design. In addition to managing her design business and writing her daily blog, she also regularly contributes editorials to a variety of publications on the same subjects.  She has written for Dan’s Papers magazine, NYC&G, Traditional Home, The Daily Front Row, New York Spaces, Today’s Equestrian, Venu and more.

In the spring of 2015, Tamara and fashion designer Susan Young launched home fabric company, Root Cellar Designs.  Inspired by decorative art history, the design duo custom design unique patterns with a commitment to” Made in America” and using all natural materials, and all with a modern feel.  Root Cellar Design fabrics are offered by the yard to the design trade through Bradley USA showrooms in Atlanta, Chicago and soon New York City, as well as through Ken Kehoe showroom in Houston, Texas.  Root Cellar Design’s pillows and table linens are sold in specialty boutique home stores as well as online.

james-swam-300x300James Swan is an award-winning interior designer, author and renowned podcaster, Million Dollar Decorating. He has spent the past 18 years, crafting classically influenced interiors for homes, restaurants, hotels and retail stores. His work has been featured in House & Garden, House Beautiful, The Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe and The Chicago Tribune and his book “101 Things I Hate About Your House” won the 2011 American Bookseller’s Award.

Podcast Vision: To entertain, educate and inspire. As the first podcast devoted to the worlds of design, decorating and beautiful living we feature interviews with the world’s leading designers, decorators, architects and artisans.  Life-style leaders engage in unguarded conversation, reveal behind-the-scenes sources of inspiration and share stories that inspire and motivate homemakers around the world to make their home more beautiful.

barbara-vitieri-375For over twenty years, Barbara Viteri has helped propel interior design professionals throughout the nation to the forefront of their industry. With a broad based knowledge of the design industry and superior business management skills, Barbara has worked with both large firms and sole proprietors to develop new or streamline existing business systems. This enables the designer to focus on what they do best; design.

Establishing Viteri Style Management™, LLC in 2012, Barbara combines her innate understanding of office organization and functionality with tech savvy software. She has worked with the design industry’s leading experts to develop secure reporting tools that allow the designer to track orders, manage projects, and simplify accounting to be accessible remotely from any mobile device. This translates into optimum efficiency and an increase in the designer’s market visibility, which ultimately leads to a boost in profitability.

She is a mother, wife, entrepreneur, writer, brand campaigner, creator of Designerlebrity™ & the |POTENTIALS|™.  A native New Yorker, Barbara’s talent for developing practical business management solutions for boutique interior design firms coupled with her no-nonsense personality has led her to become a top adviser in the industry.

In 2014, Barbara seized the opportunity to launch her brand, Designerlebrity™. As Creative Director, she is cultivating an innovative digital platform spotlighting celebrity interior designers, products and events. She partnered with The Design Network (2014) as the creator, executive producer, and Host ofDesignerlebrity™ Talk with Barbara Viteri, a cutting edge talk show introducing celebrity interior designers online and on syndicated television.

Expanding her brand into editorial, Barbara became the contributing interior design editor for The Typical Female Magazine (2015). Her columns granted an all access pass to Designerlebrities and started a new platform focusing on up and coming designers she appropriately labeled; the |POTENTIALS|™. Her features have been acknowledged by PopSugar and HGTV.

Besides her roles as CEO and Founder of VSM and building her brands, Designerlebrity™ & the |POTENTIALS|™, Barbara conducts and develops speaking engagements for prominent industry events. She has graced the covers of RISE, W2W and Self Confidence first female cover magazines. She is continuously featured in trade publications and television segments.

Barbara lives in New York with her husband and two children. She is actively involved with several charities.


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