Cindy Aplanalp, ASID Allied

School: Kingwood College
Company: Chairma Design Group
16535 Hollister Street
Suite G
Houston, TX 77066 map
Phone: 832-649-8656

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Designer Profile

Cindy Aplanalp-Yates, Owner of Chairma Design Group, has amassed an impressive body of work with her portfolio ranging from new construction to remodel projects that encompasses work in all facets of residential and commercial Interior Design. She focuses on creating highly functioning, eclectic, detailed and sophisticated interiors for residential and commercial clients. For more information see other

Cindy Aplanalp's rare combination of university degrees in interior design and business management give her a powerful competitive advantage in the design industry. Her lifelong passion for exotic travel continues to influence her work and subtly elegant traces of her travels in Europe, Asia, India and Central America are exhibited in her designs.

While influenced by such designers as Suzanne Kasler, Jan Showers and Larry Laslo, Cindy synthesizes her own fusion of an elaborate collection of styles and expertise to create beautiful, balanced and exceptionally functional environments for her clients. Her signature style is a crisp and elegant mix of sophisticated eclectic, with touches of the traditional and a savvy use of materials, textures and technology. Designing from the premise of intention, Cindy places great significance on the inspiration and guidance gained from the idea that each element must offer a personal connection for the user.

Services Offered

Cindy Aplanalp's design services range from conception through installation and include:
-Space planning and technical drawings
-Materials, finishes and furnishings selections
-Custom cabinetry and furniture designs
-Accessory placement and staging

Awards & Publications

Cindy is the winner of numerous Greater Houston Builders Association ‘Houston’s Best’, Prism awards. Her work as graced the cover of national, state-wide and local magazines.

"Best of Houzz" was a title awarded to Cindy in January 2013 & 2014 by The Houzz “Best Of Houzz” award for 2013 is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. This award is chose by over 11 million users that make our the Houzz community. While winning awards is nice -Cindy and her design team gain their greatest satisfaction from providing their clients living spaces tailored specifically to them and a home to create beautiful memories!

To learn more about Cindy Aplanalp Yates and her design philosophy - please visit .

Featured on the cover of Houston Design Resources in 2011 was one of Cindy's bright and refreshing designs.

"Texas' Textured Walls can welcome wall covering- After a step" written by Cindy Aplanalp was published in the Houston Chronicle on April 10, 2011.

"Simply Stunning Sophistication" was a comment made about the cover of the Texas Home and Living magazine in the 2011 edition, featuring a project by Cindy Aplanalp.

"An Exercise in Restraint" written by Jack Frink featuring a recent kitchen design was written in the Sept/Oct. 2010 edition of Texas Home and Living.

Febuary 6, 2011 in the Houston Chronicle was an article written by Cindy Aplanalp called "Let there be light from the beginning".

Texas Home & Living featured Cindy's "Sensuous Master Bathroom Escape" in the The 2011 Bathroom Design Special.

Cindy Aplanalp was featured on HGTV's blog, Design Happens as a feature designer on August 3, 2010.

"Plan Could be Green Element in Remodel" written by Cindy Aplanalp and Erika Barczak was published in the Houston Chronicle on July 23, 2010.

A collaborative design by myself and Peggy Fuller was featured in the Sept/Oct 2009 edition of Houston Home and Living.

A By Design Interiors article, "The Secret Language of Interior Design" by Larissa Caramanid is was featured in the 2009 edition of Houston Design Resources.

An area oil and gas company recently wanted to update their new office space into something a little more contemporary. Space planning, material selections and design, furniture selections and placement all had to be completed within two weeks! My team and the contractor's team worked quickly and tirelessly to create a design that is powerful yet welcoming, and comfortable yet stylish.

The main reception area, break rooms, hallways and bathrooms of the office space were updated with new flooring, wall material, upholstery, rug and accessories which completely changed the look of this space.
Honerable Mention Winner of 2011 ASID Design Award for Commerical under 7,000 square feet.  A local Houston natural energy business wanted a powerful yet comfortable workspace for their newly formed company and driven employees. After working with them for several months, the end design was both visually stimulating and breathtakingly beautiful. 

Each office was individually designed to suit its employee's needs while collaborative rooms were devised with function in mind. Each employee participated in the design process from helping to select materials and furniture to aiding in the design of custom cabinetry. The calming colors of the walls and furniture were offset with powerful artwork of various mediums. Custom created greeneries add a touch of succulant nature to each space. 

The highlight of the entire space is the exposed conference room. The stone walls and custom wood cabinetry combined with the techy glass conference table remind us that nature and technology go hand-in-hand.
This custom reception desk was designed specifically for the needs of this client incorporating a transaction top, plenty of storage, rich materials and a focal stone wall perfect for art and accessories.
This is a winner for Houston's Best Interior Design Award for master bedroom.  This light and vivid space underwent quite a transformation from its previous dark and heavy character.  The client has an incredibly sophisticated style and wanted her home to remind her of a Parisian salon.  The neutral color palette is soothing as the variety of textures in the upholstery, art and accessories create visual interest.
This elegant and glamorous living room really speaks to the homeowner's sense of style.  She is a modern sophisticated woman who has a very well developed sense of style cultivated from living on both coasts and traveling the world. Her home is very traditional and she has traditional values- a great sense of family, there is always some yummy smell wafting from the kitchen. Very often she’s running her two darling daughters around to their various activities or getting her hands dirty working in her extensive garden. And yet, she longs for a sense of glamour, elegance and to be surrounded by beauty. I think this room really tells her story well. It is completely glamorous, sophisticated, eclectic, comforting, unique, timeless, ageless and beautiful. See this home in Houston Design Resource-July 2011 (the study is on the cover!)
This formal dining room absolutely sparkles with its crystal accented chandelier, gilded dining table and mirrored accessories.  The space appears smaller than it actually is because of its lowered floor level than the rest of the home.  To counteract the darkness of the space, the existing wall mirrors were left intact to make the room feel larger and more open.  Custom fabrics, upholstery and draperies add to the lushness of textural elements of the room.
Framed by a domed gallery entry, the spectacular Mother of Pearl focal wall and surrounding marble listello mosaic adds a touch of shimmer and an earthy, sensuous sophistication. This provides a feeling reminiscent of a stay at a luxury hotel.  The artful variety of tile materials and layout, Montecarlo marble vanities, the topnotch craftsmanship and attention to detail are evident in the stunning tile design and execution. The rich, soothing hand-finished color palette from floor to ceiling comforts the senses.
Winner of 2 Houston's Best Interior Design Awards. This unique bathroom was created from a culmination of ideas; inspiration the clients' presented from worldly vacations they had been on; ideas I gathered throughout my career and the expertise of a great contractor and his crew.  This beach house on the gulf coast went through a dramatic transformation from a bright teal eye-sore to a sophisticated beach house. Inspired by vacations to places around the world, this couple wanted to create a home both comfortable, chic, unique and great for entertaining.

Almost everything about this bathroom changed as it went from an outdated space to stylized one with brand new materials, custom designed plumbing and hardware, faux finishing and some wildly unique aspects such as the shower bench and EcoSmart Fireplace.
Winner of Houston's Best Kitchen Remodel.  This beach house on the gulf coast went through a dramatic transformation from a bright teal eye-sore to a sophisticated beach house. Inspired by vacations to places around the world, this couple wanted to create a home both comfortable, chic, unique and great for entertaining. 

The kitchen kept its same footprint while the cabinets; new granite counter top material, a dazzling glass back splash, and interesting lighting gave this space a much needed update. 

By enlarging the island, more seating and storage were added to the otherwise small kitchen.
I recently worked on a project where loss had occurred- the loss of my client’s sweet mother and their much-loved family Bassett hound both passed within a very short time of each other.  All this emotional heaviness caused the family to desire a lighter- fresher living space- to lift the mood of their mostly ‘brown and black’ master suite and add a sense of peace and calm. 
The dark tan walls and ceiling received a wonderfully luxurious faux treatment called ‘luster stone’ in a blissful blue-green tone. Keeping all their existing furnishings; only a larger bedside tables graced with updated frames for family pictures, a palette-extending rug under foot, simple window treatments,  and new lamps were added.  I refinished and upholstering their previously big, brown and black bed-to a more comfortable and dreamy-looking bed with a padded head and footboard.  The changes were relatively minor with but added a total freshness and elegance to the space.
The master bath was a complete make over with a crowing jewel – the lovely chandelier which had hung over my client’s mother’s dining table now graces that space and serves to remind that mom is still lighting the way. 
These changes helped to create a relaxing-retreat for this couple and one that soothes the senses.
Remodel of master bath from uninspiring to tranquil and serene. The only instruction given was to design something that will ‘make my wife smile’. Taking a hint from the Thailand destination wedding photos of the couple, I seized the opportunity to craft a warm, earthy, sensuous space for soothing the senses. 

Luxe materials, of stone, glass, and chrome, applied in an uncomplicated way, beckon the soul to a place of peacefulness and create a sanctuary for reconnecting. The wonder of water is experienced with 12 body tiles, 2 rain heads and a significantly increased H2o supply for a lasting experience.
An unused small home office was transformed into haven in a suburban Texas home.

For this space, function came first and the aesthetics were layered in. If a project does not meet its intended purpose, it is not successful. Incorporating the couples love of Argentina, bottle count, display appeal, case storage, and the ability to maintain a 55-degree environment were all design considerations. Specialized craftsman were hired to help with cooling, insulation, placement of the condenser, etc. An expert carpenter contributed his expert skills and knack for creating storage solutions.
A fun and hip teen bathroom combines traditional elements with contemporary ones by contrasting classic black and white tiles, a claw foot tub and pedestal sinks with bright and intense colors. Custom cabinetry built next to pedestal sinks provides adequate storage, plenty of counter space and hides electrical outlets.
The guesthouse and outdoor living areas were designed, and constructed, years after the main house was built. The engagement of their daughter prompted this addition as they wanted to host her wedding reception at their country home. An absolute must with this project was to seamlessly coordinate the new addition with the main structure. The new structure was to include an outdoor kitchen, ample seating for a large number of guests, a 2BR/3BA guesthouse, an indoor kitchen and large great room. To complete this country oasis, a pool, hot-tub, and water feature, were part of the overall landscaping plan that equaled the beautiful natural surroundings of the home.
A powder or pool bath is the perfect place to add a little va-voom to a home. This little pool bathroom makes a huge statement with its blue crackle tile and coordinating deco pieces. With access from both the pool area outside and inside the home, this small space will be used by several family members and lots of guests. 

No detail was left unfinished: an antique mirror was hung above the specially selected wall mounted vanity. American clay finishes the walls above the tile and a tiny close-able window was inserted in the door.
This cozy reading area is the perfect place to take a break and get lost in a book.  The soft textural materials and a warm color palette add to the cozy ambiance.
Rich materials seen through the glass doors and walls give this reception space a wonderful 'wow' factor.  Juxtaposing sleek materials with rough or soft ones creates incredible visual interest.
Mom's need a space of their own to do what mom's do! This niche is the perfect spot for giftwrapping, scrapbooking, blogging or catching up on personal note writting. It was a hit at the recent Southern Living Showcase home.
A mood-altering, stess free bath is the order in this space. The tiled barrel vaulted ceiling, custome wood looking cabinetry, hidden electrical outlets and so much more make this bath a real treat. In fact- it was a guest favorite at the Southern Living Showcase home Fall of 2011. The home sold prior to the show! Thanks to Morningstar Builders for doing such a terrific job!
Dine and Wine! This dining space offers a unique approach to wine storage- and although this is new construction-it would be a great remodeling idea!
Open, warm and welcoming-is this full loaded kitchen. The hand finished walnut bar is a favorite gathering place. Not shown is an attached 'morning room' that is well used for the day's first cup of Joe!
Quaint, charming and loaded are all good words to describe this pool-house remodeled, which originally had a flat roof and absolutely NO redeeming qualities! The only reason it was not a tear down was that the homeowners association would not approve a new structure! See my website for a peek inside- its darling! Complete with antique tile surrounding the fireplace, an antique door and other amities that make a space a home.
Crafting a space that is so indicative of the individual- where it looks and feels like that person is the epitome of good design. This worn out bath’s transformation began by listening to the client to gain a sense of what she valued and what she wanted. A recent widow, she wanted to feel enveloped and warmed, soothed and pampered. This total make- over involved a new electrical plan, layout, new marble flooring, custom designed cabinetry to conceal all the necessities beautifully, wall and ceiling decorative paint treatments, custom hand-made tile, hand-made hardware, and spectacular lighting enhanced by mirrored cabinets. The design was further elevated by incorporating the client’s china cabinet to house toiletries and mementos, a wedding gift from her late husband’s grandmother. Sentimental and charming, this bath is as functional as it is beautiful, and a daily pleasure to the client.
Teen retreat! See full artical in Houston Design Resource mag July 2011 for the whole home!
what girl would not love this bathroom/closet suite!  No matter what her age!
Laundry room should envolk a smile!
Powder bath perfection!
Make an Impression upon entering!
Understated elegance engulfs as you enter this well designed, well appointed space and a sense of comfort, well-being and livable-luxury awaits.  

The calming influence of symmetry adds to the order and comforts of this room- the French doors align the view of the tiled barrel arch, elegant soaking tub and lovely chandelier. The room feels good and is very visually appealing.
Classic and timeless finishes such a hand-made, antique looking wainscot of subway tile encircles the room.  The walls, ceiling and cabinetry are aglow with a light-handed faux treatment that adds subtle charm and the feeling of comfort. The limestone counter-tops were hand selected for the quartz crystals and shell formations embedded in the stone. The smooth, honed finish shows little wear and will provide a lifetime of beauty and a strong connection to nature. The glass and stone mosaic tile in the large barrel vaulted ceiling set the stage for the spectacular chandelier.  Custom vanities with a hint of tradition are a welcome addition. The framed vanity mirrors and hand selected lighting and plumbing features all help create a bath that will be as lovely and pleasing in 20 years as it is today.
I start with lighting because it keeps the space on point and true to design style. The completely fabulous metal pendent in this room exudes ‘Livable Luxe with a modern edge!’ It is stunning and completely unexpected. This piece is the anchor of my design. Featuring my lighting story, the 2 –story fireplace is enhanced with coordinating face mounted sconces, repeating the same pierced metal design that allows pin-dots of light to shine through.   Recessed lighting is also used to illuminate the space.  Tabletop and floor lamps further the lighting story.

An easy-going comfortable attitude is related in the fabrics, rug, pillows, art and accessories.  I chose warm, tactical fabrics that have high durability while still feeling great to the touch. No leather in here; the seating has a softer hand to entice guests to sit and lounge. The furnishings consist of a sofa, cocktail table, two side chair and accompanying ottoman, side tables and lamps. The rug anchors the space and adds a pop of color. The easy care of hardwood flooring will look great for years to come.  The entertainment center is the largest piece in the room; it’s hinged doors hide the TV when not in use.
The kitchen is part of the family space and shares the same wall color as the family room.  The perimeter cabinets are in a rich spicy stain while the island looks like a piece of furniture in a deep teal with a dark walnut rub through treatment.  I wanted to add some variety and drama in the kitchen; calling out the island is a great way to add color-zest while taming it a bit with a glaze adds to the richness. I also embellished the island a bit with added trims and moldings. 

The counters are high-end granite in a brushed finish that I just can’t keep my hands off of! The earthy tones are carried forward in the glossy, matte glass and stone mosaic tile that covers the back splash.  This too features the color story in a low-key but intensely rich way.  The under cab lighting will show off this beautiful element well!  Three bar stools hangout under the bar and serve as easy seating for family and guests.

The Livable Luxe theme is continued with a high-end espresso/coffee machine on the counter, a few well-placed accessories and some chef inspired utensils will give the feel that this home knows how to ‘live well’!
I installed a built-in, upholstered banquette in the existing arched niche. The bench and pull-up seating around the skirted table comfortably sit 4 or 5 people.  This is where ottomans on casters come in handy to add more seating! The lighting is a lovely silk shaded drum fixture. I used incredibly durable Sunbrella fabrics to handle the day-to-day use of this charming, well-done eating area. Art, florals and a coordinating roman shade for the door make this space a welcomed participant the in over arching scheme and function of this multi-purpose open area.
‘Fun-N-Games’ is my design inspiration for this area.  You know by now that lighting is my jumping off point… in this case, I want the lighting to be adjustable so 2, 2-track lighting systems are prescribed. This allows for total control and the ability to focus light on art and décor.  For example, artwork placed on either side of the TV can be illuminated while the TV is not.  Track lighting is one of my favorites because of the flexibility and the modern look it offers.   

The room plays host to three distinct functions-
a reading nook with cozy chair, table reading lamp, the game table area perfect for scrap booking, puzzles, and games and finally the TV viewing area with a sectional, coffee table and side tables. 
I used a brick veneer to cover the TV wall to add to the ‘loft’ feel.  Plus, light glazing brick is magic! To end the brick I used a technique that makes the material appear to have ‘fallen off’ over time. 

Since the space is on the small side, I opted to not do the ‘study area’ near the railing to keep it open to enjoy the light from the clestory windows in the family room.  Oak and iron railings are used to define this area. My window treatment is an old map made into a roller shade. The art and accessories are well placed, interesting and unexpected. This room will be a favorite for kids and adults alike!
The overarching color palette of the home is continued in the master bedroom in a more intense hue.  The earthy rust wall color is consistent with the energy of deep love and connection.  By carrying the wall color onto the ceiling, the funky angles of the ceiling become less apparent.  The walls and ceiling are further warmed by adding a luster stone faux-finish over the base paint. This faux-finish warms the space and makes the walls ‘glow’ like candlelight, which is a great look for a bedroom!

The dramatic, over scale pendant style beaded chandelier is a favorite of mine and will help the high ceiling connect with the floor.  High ceilings in a bedroom take away from the cozy, nestled feeling that the room should have.  The oversized light fixture and painted ceiling will help make this room feel more comfortable and relaxing.

The furnishings include, a queen bed, two un-matching bedside tables, two bedside lamps, a rug under the bed, armoire for TV, chair and ½ with ottoman, floor lamp and small table. The bedding is an earthy mix of the colors consistent in the home – russets, teals, greens, browns, and taupe.  Very clean-lined trim pillows, and luxurious bedding and sheeting would entice anyone to curl up for the night.
Dining rooms tend to be some of the most unused spaces in a home 364 days a year! Why not better use is space to support a life-style of gathering?  I’ve transformed the typical dining room into a wine-tasting room complete with four comfy chairs set in a radial pattern, center cocktail table, hide rug and a built-in wine bar complete with chiller, bottle storage and an uncorking station. 

This room is sure to evoke a smile and be a favorite place where friends gather and linger.  Meant to foster conversation, this is a real hangout space, purposefully uninterrupted with TV or other distractions.  A place for a couple to talk over a glass of wine at the end of the day or a quiet place to enjoy a novel while still in ear shot of the family.  It will be a very well used space.
Soaring ceilings particularly in a master can feel oppressively open and over scale. This room suffered from a lack of attention to detail and creature comforts that warm a master. Walls were faux painted in a rich European styled plaster adding character and texture. Ceiling beams were placed, expanding on the European B&B feel. (I want this room to feel like a ‘destination’ – think- best hotel room ever!) The one of a kind antique iron gates accompanied with antique mirror backing and mounted sconces flanking the bed add a touch of sparkle and charm. The custom, hidden fan inside the ‘chandelier or rather ‘chandel-air’ solved the design dilemma of both function and beauty! The built in entertainment center serves several purposes: a home for the TV and components, the false depth offers space for the wine cabinet in the next room and it is also a built in kennel for their precious doggies! This omitted the need for an exposed dog crate in the room!

Using design to solve a dilemma, I ‘cheated’ into the master bedroom space making a way to add a full feathered wine cabinet in the adjoining grand entry hallway. The client’s love for fine wines demanded a space to show, store, and enjoy wine with friends. The master suite provided the necessary space with no down side to the function or elegance of the room.
Just beyond the city lights sits a country estate on the rolling landscape of Magnolia, Texas. This estate styled home is witness to a long–term dream realized. The acreage was purchased years prior before a job transfer took them to London for several years. The longing for home became even stronger when they learned they’d soon be grandparents for the first time! A real family home where generations gather was the heart’s desire of this undertaking.
The client wanted a space where old world charm meets new world luxury.  A soothing color palette contributes to the relaxing feeling of this master suite and dressing area.  Luxurious materials were used, including exquisite tile – both natural and manmade such as hand done porcelain tile, a quartzite harlequin mosaic, crema marfil, and a custom mixed glass tile.  Strong attention to detail was given to the design including custom his and her vanities, his and her toilets, a free standing tub, and dual shower heads.   The sparkle of unusual lighting sets an elegant mood.  Her dressing suite is reminiscent of a Parisian salon including her mirrored dressing table and antique lace window treatments.  Symmetry, balance, and harmony work together to create this luxurious and relaxing master suite.
With the intention of creating a place for connections to be fostered, this large space is split into two distinctive seating arrangements: a family /TV area and a wine/conversation area.  In the wine area, I did a radial patterned grouping, with four comfy chairs.  These chairs beg you to kick up your feet and linger. Hand made rugs, art, original and produced by homeowner, and interesting accessories from around the globe are all perfectly placed to add intrigue and wonder. Antique linen upholstery adorns two very sassy benches. Simple window treatments frame the endless landscape view. The stone fireplace, hand selected lighting and a TV well hidden behind a custom made and painted stylized case-piece speak the language of family, connection and hospitality.
The 3-story cone shaped ceiling was originally plain sheet rock. By installing plywood paneling faux painted to look like rich wood we added interest and architectural detail. The massive chandelier is stunning and clearly the star of the room. To par down the ‘formal-ness’ of this fixture, custom antler sconces were added creating the sense of a European hunting lodge. 
The twin chilled wine cabinets and well embellished fireplace surround make a stunning and practical statement. The lighted and refrigerated cabinets house 600 bottles, and an uncorking station. The rich detailing and old world faux finish add old world flair.
Imagine a vibrant teen girl with a zest for life, passion for friends, and love of classic, vintage and modern design!  What kind of teen-haven would fire on all cylinders for this youthful client?? I designed this energetic space with boldness and function in mind. The upholstered bed inset is unexpected, in its metallic tufted glory! New recessed reading lights for function and dually play up the zesty, hot-pink flocked wall covering that accents the focal wall. Her antique bed and night stands- both passed down from her grandmother- seem just right in this hip space- adding a touch of nostalgia and a strong connection to the past. These pieces offer a fun contrast to the modern classic forms (Barcelona chairs, Greek Key table) in the adjoining seating area. The seating areas arrangement makes for easy conversation for a group of friends and a comfy place just to lounge and read a good book! The custom metal chain curtain solved the privacy issue between her bedroom and dressing area. It is fun, retro, and one of a kind. Fresh and chic, this well-planned space is the perfect teen girl haven!
This family is full of life and vigor, but the home showed none of their personality. This soon changed by adding colorful, hand crafted tile to the kitchen and up dating the color scheme from beige, beige and more beige to a warm, lively color pallet of teals, russets, umber and greens.
Too often people with great views resist window treatments, because they are afraid it will limit their view. But as you can see, these well done window treatments 'frame' the pool and golf course view, making it even more inviting. Good window treatments are the most significant element of an interior.
This fun powder room serves the pool and tennis court, so why not make it creative and interesting. The whole room turned into a cabana tent complete with long time, family pet, Casey!
The horizontal Crema Marfil striped pattern is enhanced by the romantic tile border and mosaic. The wall tile layout maximizes luxury by expanding the tile pattern in all of the wet areas of the bath. We enlarged and centered the window over the tub for symmetry. The tile was meticulously planned and installed using a mix of honed and polished finishes, the room is visually expanded by the use of similar materials applied in a well planned and thought out way.