The Westerlies Residence Three—Crown moulding throughout adds distinction to any great room.

Set foot inside one of the gorgeous TRI Pointe Homes models, and you can’t help but go gaga for the look. The furnishings interact perfectly with interior elements of the space. That bed wall? To die for! The way a light fixture draws your eye up toward the extra-high ceilings? Inspiring! Nailing aspirational style from head-to-toe and showcasing the latest in design trends is the job of our tireless interior design team, including Lisa Kells of CDC Designs.

This month we spoke with Lisa about some of the hottest trends in millwork and finish carpentry, the flourishes that bring personality to your walls, setting the tone so your personal style can shine. So what’s the latest? Spoiler alert: It’s all about that coveted custom aesthetic—executed beautifully and in moderation. Here’s more of what the maven of modern had to say about millwork and finish carpentry.


Woodson at Playa Vista: A simple batten and board wainscot has traditional roots but can be pulled off in a fresh and modern way.


Lisa advises that homeowners avoid anything too trendy—“It will look dated quickly,” she warns. That being said, shiplap and tongue-and-groove interior siding are all the rage right now (thanks, Chip and Joanna from HGTV!). Added benefit? They’re great examples of a ‘new-old’ trend that has made the leap from timely to timeless. Lisa says, if you’re going to try out the trend, use it consistently throughout your home, and not just in one room—otherwise it can look project-y


Aria Residence Three—The coffered ceiling is a perfect spot for a box beam design.


Is there a secret sauce that helps Lisa and the rest of the design team make every room in every TRI Pointe model look so good? Yup. “Find the focal point,” Lisa says. And here’s a scoop: In some rooms, that can be the ceiling (especially when, as in TRI Pointe homes, those ceilings are at least nine feet, upstairs and down). Bringing the eye up makes rooms feel larger and more livable. And paneling details on the walls can help guide your eye upward. Then, to keep them there, according to Lisa, the new style is to install flush-mounted fixtures and other bits of lighting flair that stay within six inches or less from the ceiling.

Sedona BedWall Photo

Sedona Residence Two—Being set on the diagonal takes shiplap from traditional to contemporary!


Walk into a TRI Pointe model bedroom, and what’s the first thing you notice? The bed. And that’s not because it’s generally the largest piece of furniture in the room, either. It’s because of the bed wall—a trending entry to the design vernacular. What is a bed wall? Simply put, it’s the wall that practically screams, “Put your headboard here!” How? Think room orientation and window placement, plus millwork details, and maybe paneling, wallpaper, or another design element. Incorporating a bed wall into every TRI Pointe home is a strategy you could liken to Design 101: It shows you exactly where to put what, taking the guesswork out of decorating. Or, as Lisa puts it, the bed wall helps you visualize how your furniture will lay out, which is step one in being able to see yourself living—and dreaming—in that room.

TriPointe Varenna, Orchard Hills, CA

Varenna Residence One—Rustic oak beams are balanced by a fresh color palette.


According to Lisa, clean lines and modernized millwork details are high on the list of interior design trends these days. But a little goes a long way! So stick to simple looks. Lisa couldn’t emphasize enough that making a home look modern is about keeping “busyness” to a minimum. So pick a simple look and then stick with it, and use more ornate treatments—like, say, a diagonal panel used as an accent on a bed wall—strategically and sparingly. Her parting advice? To keep this mantra in mind: A modern look maintains its freshness over time.

Do you have a bed wall that is the focal point to your room? A ceiling treatment that that shows off your design sense? Share it with us! Head over to our Facebook page to share your photos. We’d love to see your oh-so-you home design!

Lisa Kells

Lisa Kells-V1

Principal | Vice President of Design

Lisa Kells has over 25 years of experience designing model homes, sales environments and multi-family communities. As Vice President of Design for CDC Designs, Lisa leads the conceptual design process; collaborating with homebuilders, architects and other consultants to develop the unique creative vision for each project. She works closely with the firm’s project management and production teams to consistently deliver a quality product that exceeds expectations while meeting her client’s specific design objectives. Lisa’s enthusiastic spirit and cutting-edge designs make her an invaluable leader in our firm as well as our industry.


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