Month: September 2015

5 Things Other Designers Don’t Want You to Know

September 30, 2015

You learn a lot when you hire a designer. We’ll teach you about how to make the most of your home, what kind of sofa will fit in your living room, and what countertops will coordinate with your cabinets. We’ve got libraries full of design knowledge that we love to share with our clients, and we love to see your eyes light up when you see your home coming together in ways you never expected. On the whole, designers are a very generous group who want to share what we’ve learned so you can love your home every single day.

But there are five things that a lot of designers won’t tell you.

Sometimes they don’t think these five things are important (they are), and sometimes they think you won’t be interested or that you won’t get it.

I don’t believe any of that nonsense.

I think you know your home best, and I think it’s an honor to be invited in. I love learning exactly what you love about your family home, and I love working with you to transform the things you don’t. I want you to know five things before you hire any professional designer.

1. Not all designers have been trained in color knowledge.


Color training, believe it or not, is not part of the mandated curriculum in design school! If you need help selecting the best paint colors for your home (and everyone does), be sure to ask your designer or decorator right upfront if she or he has taken color courses and has a certification in color expertise. The distinction between a trained color expert and an untrained one is the same as between a trained interior designer and an untrained one!

One pro tip: a good designer knows that a paint color for the walls is one of the last design items that should be chosen.

2. Shop your home FIRST for furniture and accessories.


Designers love to find new things for your home, and you probably do, too. But some can get carried away, and you’ll end up spending much more than you really need to or can even afford. Look around your own home first, and make sure your designer is doing the same. You might have just the perfect chair for the living room corner in another room. Look at home first, and then go out shopping. You’ll save so much money.

3. You can hire by the hour.


You do not have to bring in a designer to complete an entire room for you. You may want to do things yourself, which is great! But sometimes you get stuck on your project, such as choosing a kitchen wall color. You can hire a color expert (like me!) to help you with the things you need a professional eye for, and it doesn’t have to turn into a months-long contract to do everything from top to bottom. Having a designer help you only on certain design elements leaves plenty of room for you to incorporate your own personality and design inspiration into the space.

4. Stick with the classics.


Incorporating classics gives you the foundation to build on with the trendy items and accessories, but some designers aren’t interested in the classics. Sometimes, we can’t help it! We’re immersed in this industry, and we love to see and be part of the next big trends in home design and decor. Some of us want to create rooms full of trends just to try our hand at it, just because it’s fun to stretch ourselves and try something new.

Be wary of a designer who suggests the same trends you see in all the magazines. Your room will look great right now, but it’ll be dated in five years. Instead, stick with the classics, stick with the colors you love, and partner with a designer who does the same.

Those of us with real homes and real budgets can’t afford to be redecorating according to the trends every five years. You’ll be much happier with your home for much longer if you find a designer who respects and can work with classic design.

5. Don’t forget about lighting!


A well-designed room is best appreciated when you can see it, right? Don’t let your designer choose your lighting fixtures based solely on how good-looking they are. They should be attractive and they should align with the overall decor, yes, but they also have a job to do! Lighting fixtures are work horses in a space, and a good designer will create a lighting plan for you that brings entirely new function and love to a space.

Every room should have three layers of lighting: ambient, task, and accent.

Ambient lighting is your overhead stuff: chandeliers, track lighting, etc. It’s what you turn on  by default when you walk into a room.

Task lighting comes into play when you need to complete a specific task. These are the lamps you read by, for example, or the under-cabinet lighting that you use when preparing dinner.

Accent lighting brings the WOW factor. It’s the little lights aimed at your artwork or bookshelf; it’s lighting with personality, because it helps you draw attention to the items and places in your home that are important to you. Don’t make the mistake of skipping out on accent lighting. It’s one of those things that makes your house a home!


This secret post is the first in a series that I’ll share exclusively with newsletter subscribers like you. Have a design question of your own? Email me, and it might show up in a future issue! 

Creating A Cozy Corner

September 27, 2015

Have you found yourself in a nesting mood lately? I have been spending more time indoors and seem to be trying to get things in order before the cold weather comes.

corner clock


One of my favorite projects is creating a cozy reading corner:


If you look around your home, I bet you have an empty corner you can make into your own private reading room:



The key items you need to make a reading space is a comfortable chair, a table,  a bench or ottoman, a blanket or throw, a light and a great book:

2015 corner




Any style chair will work as long as it is comfortable:

cozy corner


reading corner


cozy reading


Of course, these cozy corners are also great for napping!

cozy nap


reading corners


Do you have a cozy reading nook in your home? If you would like to look at more pictures of my favorite corners, you can visit my Pinterest board here.

If you wondered what the answer was on the last post here, it is the front door!

Home Construction Project Update

September 24, 2015

I traveled to Chicago over this past weekend for my sister’s wedding. I had such a wonderful time being with my family! While I was gone, a few readers wrote to ask how my new construction project was going so I thought I would give you an update. Here is a picture from today:

ray foundation 2

The builder hopes to begin framing within the next couple weeks. I can’t wait! My client and I have chosen the exterior stone here, then the siding color that will coordinate and also the roofing shingles:

ray exterior

The stone is called Desert Creek Mosaic. I love all the different colors you can see. The siding color is Flagstaff which is a gray with blue undertones, (can you see them?) I also showed him a charcoal gray that also could work but the owner is crazy for the Flagstaff sample. The roof shingles is from a new product line. It is variegated and look how perfectly it works with the stone!

I am having such a good time on this project! There is one more important item to select for the exterior. Can you guess what it is?

Thanks everyone!

Online Color Consultation

September 16, 2015

I was recently contacted by a gentleman in Dallas, Texas. He wondered if I could help him choose colors for the first floor of his large open concept home:


He was great at giving me details:

* Our new home is predominately painted in warm neutral colors – brown, gold, cream.
* The current color of all trim (base/crown/doors/windows and Kitchen) is Huntington Beige.
* My goal is really to just update the colors in the home. While I like the existing colors – I would like to move away from the golds and browns and move towards a “newer” color pallet.
* Thus far, I have the intention of painting the formal dining room chelsea gray since it is a warmer gray.
* I would really like to focus on the living room, foyer, and kitchen – since they all connect with one another.
* The kitchen cabinets are also painted in Huntington Beige, but were glazed with what appears to be light brown.

bryan kitchen2

bryan room

So we have two major items to consider when choosing a paint color for this space which is the green undertones of the Huntington Beige trim and the stone fireplace.

bryn room

The first color I thought of was Grant Beige HC-83. It may be a little boring for a color, but it is just beautiful on the walls! Plus, it will work well with both the trim and the stone in fireplace:


via Ben Moore’s Grant Beige

Another color I suggested he sample is Sandyhook Gray HC-108. It would be a little more dramatic than the Grant Beige and just as gorgeous:

sandy hook gray room

via  Ben Moore’s Sandyhook Gray

My thinking behind my choices are that they are both great ‘updated’ neutrals  and both get away from the golds and browns. The Grant Beige and the Sandyhook Gray also have the same undertones as the trim and the stone which will work perfect!

He also stated that he would like to paint the dining room with Chelsea Gray HC-168 which will also work well with either the Grant Beige or Sandyhook Gray.

bryan dining

Both colors can be used with greens, blues, turquoise, grays and many more in accessories and fabric.

He is now looking at my suggestions and going to sample both. I will let you know what he chooses. Hopefully I can ask him to send after photos! What do you think of these color selections?

I am getting on a plane again tomorrow for the next week. I am going to Chicago for my sister’s wedding and the whole family is going! So excited!

Have a great week everyone!

Signs Of Autumn

September 13, 2015



Hard to believe, but the calendar says Fall is coming. The leaves are starting to turn and my local farm stand has decorated their huts:



I am not quite ready to let go of the Summer yet, but I do love looking at inspirational photos to get myself ready:

white p


pump flower




fall centerpiece


house number pumpkins


white pumpkin


Look how easy and cute this idea is for flowerboxes:

little pumpkins






Isn’t this basket beautiful?:

fall basket




This was my Fall decorated porch last year:


my porch

I better start planning for this year. I have found that is the key for the best arrangements- planning it out first.



This has been my number one pin this Autumn so far:



If you would like to look at more Fall photos, visit my Pinterest board here. You do have to admit that Autumn is the prettiest Season of all:

fall glory




Happy Autumn My Decorating Friends!

Finishing Touches On Bath Update

September 8, 2015

Did you all have a nice long Holiday weekend? Any projects completed? I finished up in my master bath with all the fun details and accessories:

new bath

Remember that little brown table in the room?:


Well I had fun painting it with Chalk Paint® . I do not think I will ever go through all the work again, with only so-so results by using regular paint to paint furniture. Chalk Paint® is so easy and the finish is suburb.



After painting with three coats of Pure White and two coats of Provence on the drawers. Then a coat of clear wax and that’s it!:


No priming or sanding involved when using chalk paint. I did have to refresh myself back to my post on instructions here, using the Chalk Paint® . After you paint, (letting dry approximately one hour between coats) you then apply the wax. I used the clear wax for this project. Then after waiting 24 hours to dry, I polished and buffed for a beautiful finish:

new table

I really love how it came out! (except for the crooked toilet paper photobomb)

I knew the room was going to be a challenge because of the existing tub and tile that could not be changed at this time. By painting the walls a color that worked with the tub and then adding splashes of a bold, modern color, (turquoise), the room has a more updated and beautiful look:


I think it came out so well it should be named ‘Bath Of The Month’. What do you think House Beautiful Magazine? 🙂


Don’t give up hope on those existing items you can not change. Work with them and it will all work out beautifully.

I even changed the knobs from Target, for only $40.00 total. I love the way they change color in the light. Before:

drawers before

After with new hardware:

after drawers

close up

If you need help updating your bath, contact me today!