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Avid DIY'ers, bargain hunters and style gurus bringing you real interior design that is fabulous, functional and frugal.

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    We have had the best time helping clients decorate for Christmas. The one bad part is when we come like elves in the night day and decorate and then we're gone by the time of the big reveal! I guess we'll just have to settle for their profuse compliments.

    A quick garland and a vignette are a perfect way to infuse holiday decor on an entryway table, buffet or family room console. It doesn't take a lot of time or money to implement and can have a big impact. 

    Here are a few we've done this season and in years past:

    Look at this beautiful old, world greenery/ribbon combo. We've added sugared fruit in complementary colors to the garland. And, we've accented with pieces of mercury glass and a lamp. This is a daytime shot of a pre-lit garland. If you add flameless candles on a timer, the whole scene comes to life nightly. 

    Jacki whipped up this teal fabulosity to incorporate our client's new family room decor into her Christmas decorations.

    mantel, garland, christmas decor, teal christmas decor, flocked-pinecones

    I just wasn't feeling traditional red and green in my old dining room:


    So we chose spa blue ribbon with silver ornaments.

    After creating our garden and gun wreath for a local event, Jacki was inspired to incorporate more nature in her Christmas decor this year. I LOVE the sled! How perfect!

    christmas-garland-mantle, garland-mantel, natural-christmas-decorating, burlap-bow-christmas

    PBKids-bunny-woodland-stocking, Pottery-barn-linen-stockings

    natural-burlap-wreath, garden and gun, pottery-barn-birch-candle-hurricane

    The mantel in my last house...

    copper-christmas-garland, christmas decor, mantle-accessories

    Here's the dining room buffet for our teal, loving client. I always tell Jacki she's the MacGyver of home decor. Nothing is off limits for her. She will raid your kitchen cabinets and your kids rooms for props. Here she incorporated a serving piece and family photos for a stunning vignette.

    teal-silver-christmas-decorations, teal-garland, flocked-garland

    mantel, garland, buffet-garland-christmas decor, teal-accessories, teal-christmas garland, christmas ornaments, christmas tree, teal Christmas garland, seasonal decor,

    Jacki added this wreath to her vent hood. Ya know, a little Christmas everywhere never hurt!

    kitchen christmas decor, wreath, copper-range-hood
    Next week we will bring you pics of our first ever, decorated live tree, but here's a sneak peak at some other spots in the house!

    Varying height are key for any display (a food buffet, seasonal decor, etc.). A candlestick (stolen from another part of the home) elevates this driftwood tree to balance jolly, old St. Nick!

    driftwood tree, christmas decor

    I've gotta say, this might be the mac daddy of all garlands!

    christmas-banister-garland, christmas decor, accessories, christmas

    Simple boughs adorned with a beautiful bow bring just the right amount of festivity to these stair railings.

    stair rail christmas decor

    I've saved the best (IMHO) for last. Two areas from my own home:

    First, the entryway buffet. 

    I LOVE the mercury glass trees! For extra awesomeness, I have flameless candles on timers, as well as, a strand of lights on a timer in two of the Christmas trees. At 5 pm every night, this space glows with the warmth of the season. And, at 10 pm, the lights turn off. Honestly, does it get any better than that??


    Stunning right??

    pottery barn mercury glass tree

    And, here's another sweet, Christmas spot in my home:


    Over the years I've had my children's picture taken with Santa Clause...the real Santa. Last year I was fortunate to gather a picture of my husband with a drunk Santa and also one of myself having "a moment" with the big guy!

    I have also been collecting Father Christmas figurines. The two collections look simply amazing. 

    How fun are those? 

    We even have a picture with Santa Cow, one of the Chick-Fil-A mascots.

    I hope we've inspired you to go get some ribbon and finish those last few spaces that haven't yet received their Christmas magic!

    As always, Merry Christmas!

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  • 12/18/13--05:24: Crazy for Plaid: Tartan!
  • There’s nothing quite as cozy or welcoming as a touch of plaid, particularly around the holidays. The season’s favorite pattern reigns supreme in our roundup of tartan spaces!

    Martha Stewart

    Tartans and plaids are historically associated with Scottish clans, particularly the Highlanders during the medieval period. While the terms “tartan” and “plaid” are interchangeable as fabric names today, tartans actually signify a Scottish family’s clan, while plaids are now considered “blankets” or “cloaks” in Scotland that are worn as kilts.


    Rich mahogany, dark finishes, and bold patterns give this bathroom a distinctly masculine feel.

    Jbanks blog

    How about some preppy plaid underfoot via these cute Flor tiles?

    Nothing says Christmas in our house quite as well as plaid jammies! Add the dog? Come on- Cozy!
    LLBean Pajamas

    1 Holiday Plaid Cocktail Napkins, Crate & Barrel, set of 6 $8.95 2 Leather & Tartan Waist Belt, ASOS, $18.18 3 Tommy Hilfiger Bright Tartan Tie, Macy's, $29.75 4 Tartans by Brian Wilton, from $11.98 5 Tartan Stick Umbrella, Target, $19.99 6Repetto Tartan-Plaid Ballet Flats, Saks Fifth Avenue, $184.99 7Tartan Salad/Dessert Plates, Pendleton, set of 4 $52.00 8Tartan Scarf, Old Navy, $8.00 9Tartan Pencil Case, ASOS, $9.09 10Plaid Cashmere Throw, Williams-Sonoma, $199.00 11 Tartan Suitcase, ASOS, $77.27 12 The Cambridge Satchel Leather Satchel, ASOS, $236.34 13Juicy Couture Wool-Blend Tartan Jacket, Net-a-Porter, $330.00 


    Jeffery Banks Coffee Table Book: Romancing the Plaid

    We'd love to see how you've incorporated plaid into your home!

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    As promised last week, here's more of one of the homes we decorated for Christmas. Our client is a hard-working mom that entertains throughout the holidays and wanted to add a little more Merry to her Christmas. We were more than happy to oblige!

    In typical Decor You Adore style, we evaluated her current decorations, used those and added a few extra baubles, ribbons and bows to make it all fabulously festive! 

    This was our first time decorating a live Christmas tree and it was an experience! For starters, we were stunned by how perfect the tree is. No fluffing needed here! And the just can't beat the smell of a real your living room!

    Before it all went down...but still pretty impressive!
    The homeowner gave us a key and told us to make some magic. Since her style is traditional and her year-round colors are jewel tones, we used that as a starting point. 

    While the tree is the show stopper, we'll start with the guest's eye view of these swanky digs:

    As you open the front door this beauty greets you in the two story foyer. 


    A formal living room is to your right as you enter the front door. While its year-round decor is "in-progress", we added a few touches for Christmas. 


    Catherine's Note: the homeowner is still looking for accent tables but we needed a home for this Christmas tree. Jacki was pillaging the kids rooms for a side table but I caught her in the nick of time and we used a TV tray we found in the basement instead. If we come to your house and need a prop, no room is off limits for Jacki. If she "needs" it, the Barbie dream house may be flipped on its side and used for staging. I can only do so much. 

    We added this little tree for a simple, vertical element.

    I love this Santa scene on the coffee table. Note the height we created with a few candlesticks from another room. For the record, that was Catherine's idea. She "borrows" from other rooms as well. 


    As you continue to the main area of the first floor, you pass the staircase. Since the railing area was small, we simply added a bough adorned with a bow and ornaments on each side.



    Now, what you've all been waiting for.... the piece de resistance... Yes, the Mac Daddy...

    O' Christmas Tree:


    Here's how things got started:

    A bow up top next to the angel topper. Yes, you can have a topper and a bow! It looks awesome...and dimensional! 

    Side note: this was my 847th bow this season. Not really, but it sure does feel like it. 

    Doesn't this burgundy brocade ribbon from Michael's look amazing??
    Add some ribbon and mesh:

    Weaving the mesh and ribbon in and out. Then picks, picks and more picks. Seriously, live trees eat picks. 

    For a little more merriment, we added this wreath to the stone fireplace. How did we affix it you ask? A nail stuck in a mortar space between rocks. Yes, that is sketchy. Keep your fingers crossed.

    All ready for Christmas morning! That is, minus the Barbie Dream House.


    I hope you enjoy! Our clients sure have! 
    Merry Christmas! Stay tuned for some big changes to our blog in the new year.

    Linking up with:

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    If your tree doesn't look like this and you're scrambling for a gift for the last minute house guest or something for your hostess, we've done the legwork for you. Retire the bottle of wine and stinky candle and get something they might really enjoy. 

    Here are a few of our favorite things:

    You know we love a monogram. And, it makes a more personalized gift of course. 

    At $6.99 on sale at Pottery Barn, get one for yourself while you're there. 

    Mercury votive holder with initial
    What about a cute towel for the powder bath? Places like Marshall's and TJ Maxx are full of them. And at $5-10, it's a gift that won't break the bank!

    A pretty coffee table book is always appreciated:

    When buying, try to keep in mind recipient's interests or something highlighting your local area. Thoughtful gifts are the best!

    Who doesn't love some tasty chocolates?

    Remember to shop local if you can!

    What about a cute 2014 calendar?

    Bonus: They may even be able to frame the pics and make a gallery wall.

    If you know the recipient well, pick up some specialty coffee or tea according to their taste.

    Last but not least...a pretty picture frame is always useful. Target, TJ Maxx, Pottery Barn or your local boutique can hook you right up!

    Pottery Barn
    I hope this helps you get those last minute gifts crossed off your list. 

    From our families to yours, Merry Christmas!

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    As we come to the end of our first year blogging, we look back ever-so-fondly on some of our favorite projects. 

    Bwahahaha! Who am I kidding? Everyone else is doing it and we're new to the game so we figured we would jump on the Best of Bandwagon!

    We'll start with our three most popular posts and then move on to our personal faves...

    Third most popular...

    Ikea Vittsjo Shelf Hack

    ikea vittsjo, diy, shelf style

    And seriously, why not? Everyone digs a good Ikea hack job.

    Our second most popular article was: 

    Bunkbed Designs: How to Pack 'Em In With Style

    end of year, home decor, interior design trends, new year, popular post,

    Don't ask us, we can't explain this one. Apparently people are downsizing their spaces but still want to amp up their style? Whatever the reason, we're happy y'all are here.

    And... our most popular post of 2013: 

    Tips to Sell your Home Fast

    end of year, home decor, interior design trends, new year, popular post,

    With many struggling real estate markets in the United States, it's no wonder people are turning to the experts for some free advice on getting the S-O-L-D on top of the For Sale sign in their front yard. 

    Now, for our our favorite post/project:

    Ruby's Playroom

    end of year, home decor, interior design trends, new year, popular post,

    Come on! You kinda had to know we were gonna pick this one. A super cool hangout for a little girl & her mom--what's not to love?

    Here's our favorite switcheroo--an Interior ReDesign to Adore!

    end of year, home decor, interior design trends, new year, popular post,

    And, last but not least...the funniest post. I'm still laughing about Jacki's Craigslist Adventure.

    end of year, home decor, interior design trends, new year, popular post,

    If you haven't read it, you should. It will be the best five minutes of your day.

    I hope you enjoyed this quick scoot down Memory Lane. And seriously, thanks for reading and supporting our little blogging adventure. We really appreciate it and look forward to bringing you some more great stuff that we dream up in 2014!

    Have a Happy New Year filled with good health, prosperity and Decor You Adore!

    Linking up today:

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    As the post-holiday haze clears a bit and you see all that you have to clean up, put away and straighten, here's a bit of a time-killer respite from your chores.

    Since we had a house full over the holiday, I got busy with a project that's been on the list since we moved in August. 
    (Read: Literally as they were pulling up, we were putting the hammer and nails away.)

    Are you inundated (weekly) with your children's masterpieces? Some are round file worthy (bless their precious, little hearts!) and some are truly exceptional!

    children's art, gallery wall, how to camouflage a TV with art, play room decorating, play room wall,
    Monet's Japanese Footbridge as reproduced by a kindergartner!

    Here's the play room/loft area before the kid art wall:

    Dang! Look how clean it is. Of course, it hasn't looked like this since the exact moment this pic was snapped!

    Alas! I wish I had some strategic, step-by-step plan to share with you on how to make the perfect gallery wall, but I don't. Although it didn't take as many tries as Jacki's last gallery wall, I'll admit I did have a few extra nail holes.

    To say I had no strategy is not entirely true. Since the wall is a work in progress (read: school will start again in a week and there will be more masterpieces) I only had four pieces to hang right now. I started with the largest two and hung them opposite each other, catty-corner if you will. 

    I've read about and seen pictures of gallery walls that camouflage an exposed TV but have yet to do it for myself or a client. But with only two pictures hung, the TV seems to be less of an eyesore already.

    Since the other two pics were the same size, my symmetry loving self debated hanging them levelly beside each other to the right of the whale. 

    But, Jacki's mockery gentle guidance rang in my head and I hung them slightly askew. I actually kind of like the off-kilter-ness. It's a lot like my life, a little off balance but really beautifully chaotic.

    Here's what it looks like now, giant robot and all:

    What projects have you tackled lately? What's still on the list?

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    With record low temps in central NC lately, many are left longing for summer days around the campfire. One of our client's decided they couldn't wait for summer to start enjoying their backyard patio space.

    A few years ago, the customer's added this wonderful cut bluestone patio. The pieces of stone are 2' x 3' and the space is charming and functional for grilling and outdoor dining.

    There was just one thing missing; warmth! Typically, you can use your backyard patio at least 10 or 11 months out of the year here in North Carolina. This week is certainly the exception!

    outdoor-stone-fireplace, fireplace-rustic-mantle
    After pouring over photographs, we came up with some great design ideas to incorporate to make the new outdoor fireplace a perfect fit within the existing landscape.

    Must haves:
    1. Large~ 10-12 feet tall
    2. Bluestone or Flagstone that complements the existing patio
    3. Reclaimed, chunky wood mantle
    4. Privacy Redwood screen between their property and their neighbor

    Here are some examples of phenomenal outdoor fireplaces for some inspiration!
    stone-fireplace-seating-wall, bluestone-patio

    "Nice to" haves:
    1. Exterior lighting
    2. Wood storage rack on backside of structure
    3. Built in stone bench for extra seating
    4. Bar area for entertaining

    After approving the sketch, we are ready to get started. Let's hope we can finish this gem before the Super Bowl.

    For added privacy along the side yard we will build a Redwood trellis screen. When incorporated into seating wall, it will be both beautiful and functional.

    Selections at the stone yard were overwhelming. With so many choices, we had to keep our focus and zero in on the most complementary stone for the job. In the mood board we presented to the client, you can see that our choice has just enough rustic charm, with the clean lines they prefer. No mortar joints showing was another personal style decision that is going to bring the focus to the beauty of the stone.

    We'll post photos of the progress; so check back with us in the next few weeks!

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    As I prepare my home to put on the market this spring, I've been taking this organization thing SERIOUSLY. Instead of stripping the Christmas tree and stuffing everything back into the old Hoover vacuum box again, I vowed to give every, single, holiday item a proper home. This was just the beginning of my mission to make every space in my house a functional, organized masterpiece.

    1. You don't really need that college sorority sweatshirt.

    A few years ago, Catherine, who is ruthless when it comes to clutter, came over to "help" me organize. When we got to my closet, she threw away every, single one of my lettered sorority shirts, including my well-loved sweatshirts. I was depressed for days over those sweatshirts, but you know what? I haven't needed them once in three years. We now refer to this as "Operation Sweatshirt".

    If you're sick and tired of your disorganized home, and you've resolved to finally do something about it, the first thing you need to do is PURGE. Take a day (or two) to go through closets, shelves, boxes and overflowing drawers to get rid of items you don't need. Once you get rid of all those useless items, your home will be able to breathe, and so will you.

    2. Add storage solutions for every room in your house

    Once you've purged your unused items, it's time to find storage solutions for items you keep. Time to tidy up the books and magazines piled on desks and the clothing piled on the elliptical machine. It's actually an exercise device rather than a coatrack. Invest in some book shelves for books you want to keep but first ask yourself, "Will I ever read this book again?". If the answer is no, then that book just became clutter. Use decorative baskets, trays and boxes for kitchen, bedroom and bathroom storage.

    3. When space is at a premium, find double duty furniture

    Think about investing in furniture that does double duty as storage. Beds, ottomans, coffee tables that have ample space hidden within will instantly eliminate clutter. This is especially useful if you have young children — just pop the toys into a trunk that doubles as a coffee table to tidy the living room in no time. I'm loving the plans for a storage bed from sawdustgirl.


    4. Use wall space to keep your home tidy

    Maximize vertical space by adding hooks where you can. This will get things off the ground and create more space. Try hooks on the wall for towels in the bathroom and coats in a front entry. A tidier home is the result of getting the clutter off the floor. Try hanging a tension rod under the kitchen sink to hold all the spray bottles and cleaning supplies.

    5. A place for everything and everything in it's place.

    Commit to this New Year's resolution by keeping up your new storage solutions. Instead of throwing your coat on the bed when you walk in the door, get in the habit of hanging it up in the coat closet. Every little bit of consistency will result in a tidy home you will be proud of.

     Ahhhhhhhh. That feels good, right?


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    The holidays had us super busy decorating trees and garlands and vignettes-oh my! Even in the midst of all that glitter, we couldn't help but think of the non-holiday decor at one of our client's homes. 

    You will remember this stunning abode...

    We were there to make Christmas happen. But, we got a bit sidetracked. 

    What we didn't tell you about is this....

    Oh yea, it's exactly as sketchy as it looks.

    We were in our client's formal living room trying to use what we had for a sweet, Christmas scene to greet guests as they came in the front door.

    Here's what the room looked like before we got our mitts on it.

    See this table? It looks innocent enough. 

    It's NOT! It weighs 5,423 pounds (approximately). It is solid marble!!! And, worse than is a family heirloom brought over on great-grandma's back from Belgium (or something like that). So, in other words, it stays. Design around it.

    If you look at the pic closely, you will see that the couch is indeed balanced on the table. That happened right after I put the camera down and rescued Jacki.

    I felt she deserved to be stuck under that couch while I took the pic since I said, and I quote, "I'm usually all for a good, hair-brained idea, but that table is crazy, heavy and this is not going to happen."

    Notes to self: Join weight watchers and never wear horizontal stripes again!
    Famous.Last.Words. I should have known there was no talking Jacki out of it. 

    So, we huffed and puffed and moved the furniture. 

    Then we MacGyver'd an end table for a Christmas tree and here's what we ended up with:

    I love it!

    Does this inspire you to move some furniture around or assure you that those Decor You Adore girls are crazy?

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    Our friends Mary and Bill have a phenomenal mountain home between Boone and Blowing Rock along the Blue Ridge Parkway in beautiful North Carolina.

    green-glass-tile, mission-range-hood

    As Bill gets closer to retirement, Mary wanted their vacation home to become their forever home. She quickly realized that a forever-home must have a dishwasher! 

    Before the renovation the kitchen was charming, quaint and pretty close to perfect (except for the lack of a dishwasher). We all told her she was crazy to take on such a huge renovation when we all loved the cottage as it was.

    But guess what? We aren't the ones living here full time. It's easy for us to say that it's perfect when we are only visiting for a few days. When your nearest store is a half hour down the mountain and you're stuck inside when the weather is bad, you start to dream about what could be.....

    Mary decided that the only option to get the chef's kitchen she dreamed about was to blow out the back wall and create a massive addition. This photo shows the new room framed; just look at that view!

    Mary doesn't have any trouble making decisions, and had a vision of how the space should look and function. Professional appliances and Mission-style cabinetry were tops on her list of must-haves. She jokes with me (at least I think she's joking), that if you have to open a can, it's not really cooking. Well, that rules out everything I make.


    This large bay window is just spectacular. The copper farm sink is anti-bacterial and is a beautiful addition to this mission style kitchen.


    Natural Hickory wood floors are a perfect fit in this mountain abode. The variation of light and dark compliment the darker stain of the craftsman cabinetry.

    green-glass-tile, jade-green-granite

    The glass backsplash provides just the right amount of subtle color to the room and picks up on the wonderful colors of nature.


    The cladding on the backside of the bar peninsula is framed out in a mission or craftsman style to match the feeling of the rest of the kitchen. This adds a certain element of interest when viewed from the family room.

    Mary is always so kind to allow us to bring our children as well as our four-legged friends when we visit. Her dogs, Beau and Lucky are certainly lucky to have this stainless steel custom made feeding station built right in to the cabinetry. No mess on the floor; I love that!

    built-in-cabinetry-dog-feeding-station, stainless-dog-kitchen-feeding

    The pictures aren't the greatest, but you can see the beauty of the Jade Green granite in this photo of the peninsula.


    This image shows the Thermador refrigerator before the custom panels were installed.
    And AFTER:

    built-in-Thermador-refrigerator, Mission-refrigerator-cabinet

    craftsman-kitchen, craftsman-cabinet-hardware

    My son, Nathan, baking an apple pie with Mary. (He rarely wears a shirt.) Isn't that island a great work surface? 

    Mary has been fighting an illness recently...... I sure hope she is back to her spunky self soon.

    If you could have your dream kitchen renovation, what would it look like?

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  • 01/28/14--13:27: Design Trend: Herringbone
  • As you know, I can't leave well enough alone...... AND today's a snow day without a single flake of snow (as of yet). Since I'm forced to stay at home and stay off the roads (since I might slip on that one flake), I've been dreaming of a room to re-do. 

    The candidate: My oldest son's room!

     He just turned 14 and even though he doesn't care one bit, I'd love to get him a queen-sized bed and some furniture that wasn't found at the flea market. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!)

    You know how some people (ahem, Catherine) have a pillow problem, or a magazine problem? Well, I wouldn't classify it as a problem as of yet, but I am seriously obsessed with herringbone. And brick herringbone? I adore it!

    Almost in the way Catherine loves chevron, I've decided that somewhere in my house, I need some herringbone. I think it would look great in Jack's room.
    A Mommy's Life with a Touch of Yellow
    Imagine my delight when I ran across this blog with all sorts of herringbone projects!

    Vintage herringbone quilt
    What? WHERE did you find that quilt? Oh, your Great Grandma quilted it for your Grandma in 1923? Oh, so it's an heirloom? Oh, so I can't have it? Ohhhhh, Kaaaaay. Plan B: FIND herringbone bedding. So far no luck.
    Google Images: Marble Herringbone Tile
    Well, clearly, I'm going to have to renovate the bathroom too so I can have matching marble tile. Fortunately, my clients building a house nearby in Cary let me toss in a little bit of herringbone into their new kitchen. Nice, huh?

    Think this is good? Wait til you see it with grout....
    Uh huh. See? Are you feeling the herringbone love with me?
    Serena and Lily Ochre Throw
    Ok, maybe this could be a good starting point.
    House Beautiful Sisal Runner

    Lucite Tray

    Source: Traditional Home Magazine
    People tend to freak out around here when they hear the "S" word, and still not one flake. As I sit, cozy by my fireplace, I'll be dreaming up herringbone duvets and coverlets that somehow don't yet exist on the internet. What will you dream up?

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    Well, almost a year after starting our blog, I've finally gotten my house tour together! I hope you'll enjoy a glimpse into my home.

    Here's our wonderful curb appeal~


    Patrick, a General Contractor, built our home in 2008 and we've had five and a half wonderful years here. It's a Frank Betz floor plan, called Souders Pointe; a great, family-friendly layout.


    I do love the triple front doors. I think it adds a bit of drama to the front porch, don't you?


    Come on in and stay awhile! Our foyer is a bit grand (some say bowling alley) but I've tried to soften it with cozy fabrics and an ever-changing selection of rugs!

    Dining Room:

    You know my thoughts on formal dining rooms...So it's no wonder we put a pool table in ours! The paint color is Sherwin Williams Mannered Gold. The trim throughout the house is SW Ivory Lace.


    Looking into the foyer....
    Paint color in the foyer is Benjamin Moore Stonehouse.

    Family Room:

    One of my favorite things about the family room is this coffered ceiling. It adds so much character and warmth to an enormous space. The color on the ceiling is Benjamin Moore Quiet Moments.

    Here's that gallery wall I obsessed over  had a hard time getting right.
    gallery-wall, benjamin-moore-stone-house

    Check out my Pottery Barn leather ottoman I scored on Craigslist and my goodwill chair. I saw the EXACT chair in Better Homes and Gardens the month after I paid $35 for it!

    Home Decorators Impression Rug  
    Pottery Barn Sullivan Leather Ottoman


    Some people may consider two refrigerators overkill but with three growing boys (and their friends), I consider it necessity! We drink six gallons of milk a week. Yes, you read that right, six.


    copper-farm-sink, pull-out-step-under-sink

    My boys are as big as I am now, but when we first moved in, my little cooks needed a step up to wash their hands. I love this little extra touch the cabinet maker did for us.



    inset-cabinet-doors, maple-glazed-cabinetry

    You can read about the construction of the beautiful Farm Table Here.
    Keeping room off the kitchen.

    Home Decorators Indoor/Outdoor Saddlestitch Rug

    This is the Keeping Room off the kitchen. I call it my office.

    The master bathroom is really quite a retreat. The tub has heated air bubbles instead of jets. Heaven!



    The shower has separate shower heads on either side and a rain head in the center. Patrick jokes that you can take a warm shower in a cold rain. 

    The master bedroom features beautiful vaulted ceilings. The giant chandelier was ordered from Ebay. I can't imagine anything smaller working quite as well. 


    If you haven't laughed today, be sure to read the story of how I almost had to murder some pycho-craigslist dude with a spork to get this settee for my bedroom. 


    My oldest son's room.

    My middle son's room.

    My youngest son's room. Isn't his bed cute? My mom got this bed in several pieces after it had been dropped on delivery. We glued it back together, painted and distressed it. I love the hand-painted sailboat and nautical rope. Paint colors are Benjamin Moore Stonehouse and Mars Red.

    If you like this view of my toilet, you'll be surprised to know that the post on how to add wall art inexpensively by creating a gallery wall has been our MOST VIEWED POST of all time! Who knew?
    Paint color is called Woodlawn 156-F by Ace Hardware.

    Don't you love a good Habitat score? You can read about my cool STAIRWELL 
    light by following the link.

    My VERY messy Craft Room..... Would you respect me as an artist if it were neat? No! You wouldn't. 

    Make an awesome gallery wall like mine! Trust me, you'll love it!

    I picked up all of the framed movie posters at a yard sale for $10. Over the years, I've replaced the movie posters with ones that are relevant to our family.

    If you've ever had the dilemma of curtains that are too short, you can read how I remedied that situation in my home theater room, here. 

    This is one of my favorite things Patrick has ever made. I'll be super-sad to leave this gorgeous arbor behind.



    This cool water feature was made by selecting a boulder from the stone yard and then very patiently, boring a big hole all the way through it. The pump and re-circulation pond is underneath the river rock bed. LOVE this!

    A few from our construction days.......


    So that's the grand tour. The house is now on the market as we look for land to build our next home. You can read all about it here:

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    Have a cramped dining space? A banquette can be your space savvy solution! It can be used as a casual dining spot, homework station, or a resting spot for reading the paper while sipping your morning coffee.

    From Pinterest

    When there's limited space to move a chair in and out, a stationary seat is the better option. This banquette fits snugly here, but doesn't  appear cramped, as chairs most certainly would.


    I have an old headboard in my garage that I've been debating turning into a bench for my farm table. I love this one that I found on the Freddy and Petunia blog



    I especially like the look of a corner seating area with a round table. How cozy!

    This was the inspiration for Catherine's kitchen nook:


    And this is how it turned out:

    In case you can't commit to a true built in piece, there are other options. Like this curved, free standing piece from Overcourt.

    World Market also has a nice option; the Hayden bench:

    Whatever your size parameters, a built in banquette can be the answer to your decorating dilemma. 

    From: Style Carrot
    Hooking up with:

    The Girl Creative
    The Girl Creative

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    There are 78.2 million pet dogs in the United States. One of the sweetest lives at my house. Unless, that is, you are a UPS driver. For whatever reason, Georgia detests our UPS guy. She hears him coming from a mile away and barks until he tosses my Amazon package on to the porch and runs away in fear for his life. 

    Georgia, dreaming about a peanut-butter-covered UPS driver for lunch.

    The actual odds of a dog attack are in fact 1 in 9,953,955 per year, but people are irrational. My son Ben is afraid of mountain lions and other big cats. He has nightmares that one is going to sneak in his window and eat him in the night. See? Irrational. As if a mountain lion had opposable thumbs and could unlatch a window.

    So, here's a little tip for my UPS driver:


    Yeah, that's right, the FedEx guy gets it. But anyway, on to my blog post about having your house on the market with pets in the home......


    Out of sight. Out of mind.

    Irrational or not, if at all possible, keep your pet out of the house when you have a showing. Nobody wants an over-eager dog jumping on them when they walk in the door of a home. If your pet must be home, put him away in a crate or closed off area and make sure the showing instructions are clear about his whereabouts. 

    Cynophobia: The irrational fear of dogs.

    Get Fresh.

    People are really sensitive about pets and even the biggest pet lover doesn't want to walk into your home and see or smell your pet. Off-putting pet "aromas" are a darn good reason to turn around and walk right out. So clean the litter box, crate Kujo, clean up poop in the yard and remove all evidence of Fifi's existence. 

    Consider hiding the litter box in an out of the way place.

    Fur Be Gone.

    You spent hours de-cluttering and staging your home, but did you forget abut the pet hair? If you have carpeting that traps pet hair and odors, invest in a good carpet cleaning and have them clean any upholstery too. Vacuuming isn't enough. 


    Make sure any gnawed woodwork, scratched hardwoods or hole-y weather stripping has been repaired or replaced. Even small areas of disrepair can leave a potential buyer wondering what else has been neglected?

    My Swiffer refills are due to arrive today at 11 via UPS. Maybe Georgia and I will wait for him on the front porch. 

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    You may remember our attempt to gain some counter space in our TINY cottage kitchen at Oak Island.

    Weeeeellllllllll, as usual, that wasn't enough.

    A: I couldn't leave well enough alone.
    B: I wasn't satisfied.
    C: I am a nut case who is looking for a project.
    D: All of the above.

    As much as I hate to admit it, if you answered D, you'd be right. 

    Cottage Kitchen: Before

    Believe it or not, it was actually worse than this originally. The refrigerator died and we found a replacement with an icemaker at a local second-hand place. That was the beginning of the snowball effect. 

    Removing the weird laundry sink proved to be a major improvement. Bringing the refrigerator out so it opens into the living room opened up the galley style kitchen considerably. 

    Ann-Sacks-twighlight-gloss-subway-tile, Edsvik-Ikea-sink

    And the countertops..... Can we talk about the counter space? Ahhhh. SO much better. 
    I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with the demo. 

    It's always fun to take down walls and find that the wall that holds the wall-mounted bathroom sink was eaten alive by termites. 

    That, my friends is a chewed up piece of wood. Termite damage is no joke. Luckily, all the little boogers were dead and gone; eradicated by the last people who "renovated". 

    New framing. New plumbing. New wiring. 

    Our pooch, Georgia, did not like the vacuum. But she's going to love all the new space in the cottage.

    Me: Can you just move the sink over a bit?

    Patrick: You mean, move the plumbing?

    Me: Well, yeah, that's not a big deal, right?

    Patrick: (mean face)

    Fast forward a few days and these two butts are under the cottage running pipes, electrical and other various ugly things that I don't care about. 

    I'll make a (not) quick road trip to Charlotte to get the fun stuff. 

    The Ikea Numerar Beech Butcherblock Countertop was actually IN stock. Everytime I check, it's out of stock, so there must be a lot of these counters in North Carolina. I am SO curious what everyone used to seal them. 

     Ikea Edsvik Faucet. How cute is this little guy? He's so retro and vintage and charming all wrapped up into one inexpensive faucet. 

    Ikea Fyndig Stainless Sink with Drainboard. No, there's no dishwasher in the cottage. The green side of me hates using paper products, so I figured I'd get a drainboard to encourage hand-washing. 


    Remember the score of the century, the gigantic lantern light fixture from the Durham Habitat store? And the Cheetah captain's chairs?
    Well, this glossy subway tile has moved into first place in the category of awesome Habitat finds!

     $0.18 a piece. $9.00 a box


    This image is on the Ann Sacks website but it does not do this tile justice. 

    In some lights it looks gray, and in some a little green, or even aqua. Depending on where you stand in the room and the light coming in, it reads blue-gray-white-green-aqua. Amazing tile! 

    I hope Patrick bought enough for the downstairs beach bathroom. Even if we have to order some more at full price, it will be worth it~
    I want this tile everywhere! 



    After reading and re-reading many, many blog posts about how to seal the beech Ikea Numerar butcherblock counters, we decided to use Waterlox. I think Patrick put on a total of five coats, letting each dry thoroughly in between. 
    It was not a fast process, but we rent the cottage in the summer and I wanted these countertops to LAST, without having to worry about oiling and re-oiling. 


    Finally, I have a fun surprise! Patrick set up the GoPro camera and did a time-lapse video of the entire project. In just a few minutes, you can see how the whole thing went down. Just push the play button and enjoy. I love it!

    Cottage Kitchen Update on Youtube

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    I'm sitting here in the ice contemplating yet another #snowday with the kids and dreaming of sunny days on the beach. In the midst of refereeing, I'm working on a project for a client.   

    This family has a bonus room over their three car garage. It needs to grow with them and evolve as the children get older. They didn't want it to be too juvenile, because the adults in the family want to spend some time here too. First things first...paint.

    We'll start with a wonderful green/gray paint color called Cashmere Grey by Benjamin Moore. 


    Let's go through each task of this hard-working room.

    Homework & Study Area:

    180 nights a year (give or take) there will be butts in a seat doing homework. While this sweet set-up looks fantastic, I actually HAVE three kids. I know good and well that they can NOT sit next to one another during homework time. Nope, even if they don't throw punches like my boys, we'll put these girls on opposite sides of the room.

    Each girl will have her own craft and art area in the room with pegboard storage. You might remember we did something like this for another lucky little girl


    Homework Desks: Ikea Torsby tables, glossy white with chrome legs.


    Play Space:

    After all that homework, the girls will need somewhere to play. My suggestion is to build a little nook like this one under the eave. 

    The back of the door makes a nice place to store Barbies. 

    Now for some grown-up fun! 

    This wall is reserved for the 12 foot media screen. It's the perfect place in the house for the Home Theater. 

    Of course budget played a key factor in furnishing the room. Regardless of popular marketing strategies, you don't have to spend a fortune and it CAN be decent quality. One of the benefits of hiring a designer, is the guidance of when to SAVE when to SPLURGE. 

    This media console definitely falls in the splurge category at $600. But, it's modern lines and chalky grey color make it a perfect candidate for behind the sofa. The board games and puzzles will have a nicely contained home in this versatile piece. 

    Bonus: we can put lamps on it.

    One of the (most important) ways this room will function is as a media room after the addition of a projector. Therefore, comfortable seating is a must have. Believe it or not, this is actually where the "save" comes into play. 

    Would you believe I found this sectional at Big Lots? 

    I am not above taking the cushions off and getting "all up in there" to inspect the construction of a piece of furniture. I hate when arms are insufficiently padded, or when the cushions are crap that will break down two months after you bring it home. 

    This one passed my five-year-test. (Read: a fair-priced piece of furniture needs to have a life of about five years and then still be worth something on Craigslist.) Now, if this were my main family room, we'd be talking a quality sofa with real longevity, but this is a room that will be used by children. I get that; my kids have jelly hands too!

    It's made by Simmons and at $700, it's a great choice for a young family who may not want to invest in their forever pieces just yet. 
    With a reversible chaise option, the ottoman can slide to either end making it very versatile. 

    More Saves! These custom made pillows are made from an adorable dandelion print and cost just $20 each on Etsy. 

    To define the room, I like to use an area rug on top of wall to wall carpet. This can freak budget-minded people out a little bit when I try to convince them to put a carpet on a carpet. Trust me, I say! You will find it worth every penny. It's like choosing paint colors. It's my gift. (I have earned these bragging rights).


    I'm not usually a huge fan of grommet topped panels, but I think the value outweighed my dislike of the grommets in this case. These are blackout lined 96" panels for $35 each. Since we need four for fullness (two on each side), these are winners!


    The two single windows will get some sort of Roman Shades which have yet to be selected.

    To cozy up with the people on the sectional, this club chair from Home Decorators will be a nice addition.

    Home decorators has a lot of good options for accent seating. Just make sure you read the reviews when you order online.

    I put the "safe" choice in here as a neutral colored chair and ottoman, but what I really want to use in this fun play space is the Chloe chair from Macy's. If you can't have some fun in a rec room; then where can you?


     The Arhaus Holden Coffee Table:

    Is it worth it?

    The bluestone top lends timeless quality that your children won't can't destroy.


    In any bonus room there are 8 miles of wall to fill. Luckily the projector will take care of a huge chunk of space but what about the rest? Artwork!

    Vintage travel posters make great artwork.

    Another secret decorating genius?

    A calendar!

    The frames may cost you some money but the result is semi-custom, inexpensive art that can fill a large wall in high style.

    One of the great things about our Some like it Haute package is that we give you the roadmap and you can implement the plan in stages or all at once-HGTV style! This allows you to go at your own pace as time and budget allow. 

    I'm looking forward to presenting this one to my clients. Everyone needs a room like this. Fabulous. Functional. Frugal. Yes!

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    Where can you find two 98" crisp, white curtain panels for $10? Ikea of course. If you want to jazz them up a little while still staying within a budget, try adding ribbon. 

    Vivan Curtains

    You may remember we used the Vivan curtains in Catherine's daughter's new "tween" room. They look great without embellishment too. 

    Again, a great look alone, but if you want a little extra umph........

    If you aren't a fan of pulling out the sewing machine, ribbon can be glued on or ironed on with hem tape. Now, come on, you CAN do that. You have to iron the Vivan curtains anyway when you pull them out of the package. You might as well add a little embellishment. 


    Here you can just catch a glimpse of the sweet pom, pom trim on Catherine's daughter's curtains. 


    The look doesn't have to be juvenile. This sharp black on white ribbon trim bumps up the sophistication in this room.

    Good tutorial on "little black door" blog.

    So if you are looking for a fresh new look for spring, try adding some ribbon to dress up you curtains.

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  • 03/19/14--07:13: What is Faux Bois?

  • Bring a rustic, earthy wood grain look into your home using Faux Bois. French for "False Wood", Faux Bois items appear woodsy and rustic, but are often cast from cement, plaster, or resin. No bugs or fire hazards here, faux bois items can bring a rustic-chic vibe to any home.

    faux bois wool rug

    faux bois kitchen canister

    Michael Miller Les Amis Faux Bois Stripes Tan Fabric

    Faux bois modern leather chair

    Feeling creative? 
    Try this Faux Bois technique from

    teal faux bois stool

    faux bois rustic wallpaper

    These are some of my favorites; what do you think about faux bois? Do you have a project you've done using this technique? Do share!

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    You'd have to be crazy (like certifiable!) not to covet this sanctuary. And, if the post title didn't tip you off, it would've taken you a hot minute to notice that these nightstands don't match.

    Right now, I'm working with clients that are really into symmetry. Trying to convince them that their nightstands don't have to match has 

    I love a little dimension in my decor. My first "student" was Catherine. When we met, she was a newlywed in her first home, trying to nest, while using her new hubby's bachelor pad decor and a few pieces she had acquired...on a limited budget. Dang! I'm good but a miracle worker? While I don't have pics of her first attempts at asymmetrical symmetry, here's where she is now:

    Nicely done!

    If you're struggling with a few pieces that don't match (yea!), here are some tips for pulling it all together...stylishly.

    Pair similar styles

    Similar doesn't mean same. The nightstands can relate to each other in some way to create a sense of cohesion. 

    Perhaps one is a mirrored piece and the other has mirrored hardware. One may be a laquered chest with brass hardware and the other a traditional chest, also with brass hardware. Another safe bet is to choose pieces from the same manufacturer line. Often furniture companies will offer an open leg-style nightstand, and also a sturdy chest. This option offers similar style details without being matchy-matchy while adding depth of design (read: a more polished, designer look). 

    Utility vs. Style

    Another part of the decision is the functionality of the room. If you need storage, you're not going to want to do a leggy desk and a skirted table.

    Now, that you've found your two pieces of furniture, how do you make it look like they were meant to flank your bed?

    Here are a couple of tips (I said tips, not RULES):
    • Height Symmetry
      Make sure the two pieces are roughly the same height
    • Match your lamps
    This isn't a hard and fast rule, but if you are trying to tie your nightstands together with the room, a matching pair of lamps is a safe bet. If the lamps are a similar style but not exact, you can try matching the shades.
    • Match the art over the nightstands
    To enhance height (ALWAYS a good idea) and visually balance the wall, this picture shows a mirror over the nightstand. Not only does it add another layer or dimension, it bounces light around the room.

    House Beautiful

    Got just one?

    If you have one piece you love and you're distraught because you can't find its "match", try a skirted table like this one from Ballard Designs:

    Their Terrific Trio (table, skirt and piece of glass) offers an affordable option to another piece of wooden furniture. Their skirts come in every color under the sun. We suggest a solid skirt and then adding a topper (54" piece of square fabric) for a soft, layered look.

    I hope these simple suggestions have given you just enough motivation to look around your home and repurpose a piece you never really liked in the living room anyway. If you can't bring yourself to go asymmetrical in the Master bedroom, try it in your guest room first. Good luck!

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  • 04/15/14--03:44: Ghost Chairs? Yes, please!

  • Tiffany Leigh Interior Design

    How cool are these chairs? Inspired by the classic Louis Chair, these affordable knockoffs are popping up everywhere!

    They're stackable and come in a variety of hues.

    They are perfect for smaller spaces because they take up almost no visual space AND provide extra seating.
    They are a great way to add some texture and interest to a room by adding a pillow or small throw.

    I added one next to my stairs for all these practical reasons.

    It sure did come in handy for all the guests we had over Christmas!

    What do you think of this trend?

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