Kandrac & Kole Interior Designs, Inc.

Kandrac & Kole Returns from Guatemala

As usual, I’m having a hard time with the reentry to the U.S. after being in Guatemala for a week. There’s nothing more revitalizing than unplugging, focusing on a cause completely outside the bubble of my daily life in the U.S. and spending quality time with great people absorbing another culture. I’m already planning my next trip back.

Our donors this year topped the charts. We raised over $4,000 which allowed us to build a home that included a new stove and a water purification system for a single mom with 5 kids, purchase additional stoves for the village, purchase bags of quality food and baby products for the children of God Bless the Children orphanage along with two other needy families, purchase back braces and support hose for the village clinic and shoes for a deserving family. Joann and I were also able to sponsor one of our team members who otherwise would have never been able to join us on this bucket list trip.


Many of our donors specifically asked that their money go towards a new stove. I wanted to share photos of this incredible gift.

Here is the stove that our mother of five (named Maria) USED to cook on (fyi the fumes and smoke just about killed us all when Maria made tortillas the first day).


Here is her new ONIL stove which vents out the top of the roof of their original little shed they called home. No more open flames near small children’s hands, no more breathing in toxic fumes, no more safety issues.

new stove

Many of you sent in money that we used to build this sweet family a 3 room house. When we arrived at the location on Day 1, our sponsor, Catalyst Resources International had already prepared the site and poured (by hand) the foundation.


In THREE days, our mighty team built this:

new house

The entire family of six used to sleep on this single mattress on a dirt floor under a leaky tin roof:


Now this is what they sleep in (we put four beds in their new home):

new beds

Of course our project was the talk of the village and incredible entertainment for all!




On the morning of Day 2, I took a walk up a very familiar path to visit a family near and dear to my heart that I helped build a house for two years ago.


I came bearing gifts of food, shoes and money. They knew I was coming and this is what welcomed me and my team (tissues please).

P.S. Bienvenidos means welcome in spanish.


It was a bitter sweet reunion because since we last saw each, their two-year old daughter Paola had died of Leukemia.


My heart was very full that day.

I have so many images from my trip that make my heart sing.

Like this little boy that would not let his puppy go for love or money. I love his dirty face and the fact that his puppy is perfectly happy to hang in limbo.


My daughter Riley found her friend Leti for the third year in a row.


A mariachi band sang to my friend Jen (my college roomie sophomore year) on her birthday.


The t-shirts and pants carefully and lovingly stacked at the God Bless the Children orphanage remind me that people really DO care and want to help.


Beauty really was everywhere….


On Thursday night, we had a fun worship service at CRI where Rene Marroquin sang live for us. He sang one of my favorite songs called Beautiful Things.

Here is a part of the lyrics:

All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

So very appropriate….

I will be leading another team next summer.  If you’d like information on how to join me, please email me at kelly@kandrac-kole.com.

If you’d like to learn more about our sponsor, Catalyst Resources International, click HERE.

A big thanks to my dear friends Paula and Fontaine Greene for making my team feel extra special.  The bus rides blasting tunes, the great food and the trip to Pana, Cayala and “O” will never be forgotten!

God Bless,


June 24, 2014   3 Comments

Top Images from our Guatemala Mission Trip

I don’t believe words can convey the feeling of my mission trip to Guatemala.  Here are my top favorite images that hopefully “speak” volumes of our work there!

Guatemalan Family -  Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

This is the family we built the home for.  A single mother with 5 children whose husband went to the United States 7 years ago to help the family financially and never returned.

House Building -  Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

Here is some of our 13 member team that constructed the entire house in just 3 days.

Group with kids -  Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

Some worked on measuring and cutting wood, others hammering and some others entertained and played with the children.

 Pamela Copeman, an interior designer and artist brought paper and watercolors that the kids thoroughly enjoyed.

Kids Coloring -  Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

Boys Praying - Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

We spent another day at a school bringing supplies and games along with feeding lunch to the children.

We also visited Catalyst Resources International , House of Hope and God Bless the Children orphanages.

House of Hope - Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

Riley - Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

Kelly’s daughter Riley

Debbie - Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

Our friend, Debbie.

We ended our trip spending the last day at Lake Atitlan and Pana Jachel, a couple hours from Guatemala City.

Lake Atitlan - Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

Lake Atitlan 2 - Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

This was a trip filled with several meaningful memories.  It broke my attachment to emails, texts and phone calls and opened my eyes to the abundance we have in our country and what little other countries have.   I witnessed the good of many people and it didn’t matter what anyone was wearing, what they owned or what they did for a living – we were all there to do good.  I am thankful to Kelly Kole for including me on this journey and her courage to step out of her comfort zone and making me step out of mine.


Joann - Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole

Joann & Kelly - Guatemala Mission Trip - Kandrac & Kole


June 23, 2014   1 Comment

How to Choose Pendant Lights for your Kitchen Island

Choosing the right pendants for your kitchen island can be a challenge.  The island is the central hub of the kitchen and making the right choice is key.


1.  Opt for direct lighting for food preparation.

2.  Don’t go with the builder grade or pendants from the “big box” stores.  Here is your chance to  make a big impact.

3.  Mount each one so that the bottom of the shade is approximately 66″ above the floor so it is possible to look across the room below the pendants.  Make sure to plan for the height of the people that are in the space to avoid light glaring in their eyes.

4.  The fixtures should have the same finish/feel of the rest of the kitchen.

5.  Choose the best you can afford.  Pendant lighting is the “jewelry” of the kitchen!

Brizo-Kitchen - Kandrac & Kole Blog

This is a rendering done by Joan of Art  that Kelly designed for Brizo’s new launch of the Artesso faucet. As you can see, these pendants are a focal point of the room and really make a statement!!

Here are some of my favorites!

Kitchen Lab Design - Kandrac & Kole Blog

Rebeka Zaveloff – Kitchen Lab Design

Postcard from Paris - Kandrac & Kole Blog

Linda McDougald Design – Postcard from Paris Home

Witt Construction - Kandrac & Kole Blog

Witt Construction

Sarah Richardson - Kandrac & Kole Blog

Sarah Richardson Design  of HGTV photography by Stacey Brandford

Beckwith Interiors - Kandrac & Kole Blog

Beckwith Interiors

As you can see, pendants are beefier and more substantial than they used to be.  Don’t be afraid of going too large.  This is one of the biggest mistakes I see not only in lighting, but in many aspects of design.

If you need more ideas, the best place to search is Houzz.  You will find an array of styles, shapes, finishes and price points.  We are proud to be Visual Comfort,  Currey and Company and Robert Abbey dealers and would be glad to help with your lighting needs!!


June 13, 2014   2 Comments

Kandrac and Kole Goes to Guatemala

This Sunday Kandrac & Kole goes to Guatemala for our long awaited annual trip to work for Catalyst Resources International!  This is my fifth trip and Joann’s first to Guatemala as I lead a team of thirteen including college friends, designer colleagues and family members to live for a week in Guatemala City and work in the outlaying village of Labor de Falla.

 I’m so excited because it’s not only a time for us to unplug and to serve the Lord, but it’s a time for me to bond with my daughter Riley before she goes off to her first year of college, to reunite with my college roommate Jen and her daughter Elise who live in Philadelphia, to hug my BFF Debbie and her daughter Callie who I haven’t seen in 4 years and live in Virginia, to laugh with my awesome designer friend Pamela Copeman from Boston who joined me last year, and to catch up with my niece Julie from N.J. who I haven’t seen in 6 years. I could go on and on about our amazing team.

Screen Shot 2014-06-10 at 9.25.52 PM

Photo courtesy of Catalyst Resources International 

I’m looking forward to building a small three bedroom home for a deserving family who has never had a proper home with windows, a roof and a door that locks.


 I’m looking forward to building ONIL stoves with the generous donations given to us by Rebecca Reynolds and the Kitchen Design Network and my college roommates Jennifer Bastian and Sarah Dale.

Note: It is common for families to burn trash or whatever they can find to build an open fire on dirt floors to cook their food inside their small homes where there is zero ventilation.  This causes families to inhale dangerous fumes causing acute respiratory infections. An ONIL stove contains the fire in a clay-fired firebox in an insulated, durable stove thats sits off the floor and minimizes the risk of burns to small children. The best part? These ONIL stoves only cost $150!


I can’t wait to give out shoes to a family near and dear to my heart that we built a home for three years ago.


I know my daughter Riley and the other teens on our trip will have a blast playing with the kids in the village (it’s amazing the fun you can have with lumber scraps!)


The positive support, uplifting messages, heartfelt prayers and financial donations from our friends, families and colleagues have made this trip possible.

A BIG THANK YOU and A HUGE HUG to everyone for their donations so that we could purchase all of the materials to build a house and to purchase stoves, water purification systems, shoes, food and needed medical supplies.

We had an amazing show of support from our interior design network including love from Rebecca Reynolds (The Kitchen Design Network), Holly Blalock (C.R. Laine), Jeffrey Johnson,  Julianne Taylor (Taylor Burke Home), Andrew Joseph (Andrew Joseph PR), Leslie Carothers (The Kaleidoscope Partnership), Mitzi Beach, Ivy deLeon, Jennifer Meditash (Dec-a-Porter),  Jackie VonTobel, Linda Holt, Cindy Hughes (Jeremiah Consulting), Amanda Kinney (Antique and Design Center of HighpointD), Sharon Hindson, Emily Followill, Kimberley Seldon, Dale Contant (Atlanta Design Build), Insidesign, Kelli Ellis and Lori Dennis (Design Camp), Kelly Kardian (Spiffy Stuff), Lisa Mowry, Mary Ann DiMarzio (Mimi & Emma’s), Vicki Bolick (The Ace of Space) and Caren Danneman.

If you would like to donate to our team efforts, you can still do so. Please donate directly to CRI HERE and mention “Kelly Kole’s Team” in the description of your donation. 


Catalyst Resources International

We obviously have a lot of work to do and a lot to look forward to next week!

Stay tuned for updates and photos!

God Bless!

Kelly and Joann 

June 11, 2014   1 Comment

Dorm Room Decor

I survived move in day at UGA with my oldest daughter. Two years later I’m doing it again with my other daughter Riley at Ole Miss. Oh the pressure – there’s even a Pinterest Board for the dorms at Ole Miss!  Are you kidding me? I was excited when my dorm room at the University of Richmond had a Van Gogh watercolor print and a live plant in the window for God’s sake!

Well, if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em as they say. So here we go!


Photo courtesy of Etsy

Riley and her roommate Lauren found a website they love for bedding called Decor-2-ur-door.com.

They decided on the Coral and Aqua combo.


I haven’t put my ever critical designer hawk eye to this bedding yet (we just ordered it), but there are several clever things I already like about Decor-2-ur-door.

A) the bedskirts have a drop of 32″ which is exactly what Riley needs for her room in Crosby Hall as her bed is half lofted.

B) I can order a pair of panels (with black out lining for good sleeping) at a standard length of 72″ which is also exactly what I need to mount the panels at the ceiling and have them come to the window sill.

Hey – this company is making it REALLY EASY for me.

I LOVED this combo but I got out voted.


I will always be a fan of pink.


Another company that we considered was one that we found out about from my designer friend Holly Hollingsworth Phillips of The English Room called LeighDeux Dorm.


Mothers and founders of Leigh Deux Dorm – Leigh Goodwyn and Leigh-ann Sprock of Charlotte, NC. 

This one from the Carson Cloud collection is  H-A-P-P-Y


Photo courtesy of LeighDeux Dorm 

How great are these headboard pillows?


Now that we have Riley’s bedding figured out, we can work on a few more details like a rug, table and lamps. This was the hardest part, so I am THRILLED that the girls have made a decision and are happy.

More updates to come from this mom of two college girls.

Go Dawgs AND Rebels!


June 9, 2014   1 Comment