Backyard Parties

Most people are pushing for summer barbecues, but my favorite time of year for an outdoor party is the fall. Typically the fall means cooler days, cooler evenings, less pollen and less bugs.  Plus the weather is much more conducive to enjoying a fire pit.

Check out this fun article on how to create a great outdoor space for entertaining:

 

Inviting friends and family is the easy part so take a little time to figure out the details. Think about the flow of the space, add extra seating groups and make sure you have good lighting. Food and drinks are important but don’t forget about the music – Spotify has lots of great playlists. Definitely add in a s’mores moment if there are kids involved. Although adults will love this, too.

Your guests will be delighted and hopefully be inspired to host a backyard party of their own and invite you!

I Want That

I love everything about this kitchen…literally everything! Look at the “before photo” and see where this room started. The transformation is beautiful and inspiring which all design should be (in my humble opinion).

Houzz does such a great job of exposing us to excellent design and ideas from around the world.

These homeowners in Atlanta, GA re-purposed some space to add concentrated storage areas and more windows. The vintage vibe of the tile mixed with the rustic woods adds warmth to the room. The lighting is a special surprise – swing-arm sconces in a kitchen? What? The custom hood pulls everything together on the focal wall.

This kitchen is a lovely gathering space for family and friends!

Guest Rooms They’ll Never Want To Leave

Okay, maybe that’s not actually a good thing! My uncle once told me that 3 days should be your max stay when visiting someone. “Company is like fish. After 3 days they start to stink.” So if that’s your philosophy, then you don’t need to bother with this article.

Personally, I love to make sure my guests feel comfortable and welcome. Probably because this is how I want to feel when staying away from home. I also hate to bother my hosts with little needs like a fan or a hair dryer or an extra blanket. Makes me seem high-maintenance, which I might be, but nobody else needs to know that!

My favorite takeaway from this article in Houzz is the carafe of water! I’m always dehydrated from travel and this is such a thoughtful touch. And the full-length mirror would be super helpful. I’d suggest some fresh flowers to brighten the room, too. Check out some of the other great ideas that will make your guests feel well taken care of…

 

What Is A Vignette?

And No, it’s not something you put on salad… A vignette is just a fancy term for what I like to call a “Moment”. I’m sure that really clears things up! As I walk through a client’s house I’m always quick to say “I love this moment you’ve created here” as I wave my hand over some table or mantle or chair. They typically look very confused. I assure them it’s a compliment.

A vignette is a variety of items placed together to create a focal point or an area of visual interest. The items are different in nature and size and scale and texture and purpose. But when put together in a grouping they compliment each other to create an interesting visual moment. There’s that word again…

If you’re interested in creating a vignette in your own space, check out this article with the ABC’s of how to pull it off.

Nursery Ideas

This article from HGTV is full of the best, most calming nursery designs. I’ve always thought it strange to have a nursery made to be so girl or boy specific. What if you have more than one pregnancy? What if the ultrasound technician was wrong? What if you have twins or triplets?

I’ve always been a fan of the more neutral nursery…the grays, the khakis, the whites, the creams…such soothing palettes. Most time spent in a nursery is relaxing, napping, nursing, sleeping, reading, rocking or sleeping time for a baby. Active play areas can have more vibrant and excitable colors.

Whether you’re intentionally trying to create a gender-neutral space or a simply tranquil room, your baby (or babies) will enjoy a calming nursery design! Check out some of these nursery inspirations

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A Healthy Lifestyle

The #1 resolution at the beginning of a New Year is always health related. I want to eat better, lose a few pounds, workout more, etc.  The question is: How will I set myself up for success? Personally, I’d like to hire a nutritionist, a chef, a trainer and a house-keeper as long as we’re dreaming!

Being a realist, I’d say let’s start with the resolution that will have the best impact…exercising. If we can get exercise into our daily/weekly life, then we will also mentally feel better. And that will encourage us to eat a more healthy diet. Soon we’ll be feeling so good that the motivation to maintain this healthier lifestyle will come much more easily. Once we have a new way of living our New Year Resolutions can modify to something really fun…like traveling more!

Now that you’re ready to workout regularly,  set-up a space in your home dedicated to exercising. This article is great for thinking through what your home gym should look like based on how you enjoy working out. Give yourself room to move around, mirrors, plenty of light and a view, TV or stereo to keep yourself entertained.

 

Outstanding White Tile

Clients often get nervous when it comes to selecting tile. It’s much more permanent than paint or lighting or furniture. When the stakes feel high people often opt for the more neutral choice. They typically ask for a white tile. The good news is that there are so many fabulous white tiles out there that offer texture, dimension or pattern. That’s how I help my clients keep their designs interesting.

I love the tiles and their applications in this article! So much design inspiration here…

 

Dorm Room Contests

Wait…is this really a thing??? Had I known there was potentially prize money and bragging rights, I would have pushed my daughter to take her dorm room design to the next level!

Some of the ideas in this article are very creative and inspiring. While other ideas make no sense to me. Why would I put astro-turf on the wall next to my bed? Ouch! Some of the rooms had me wondering whether or not these people had a roommate to blend their style with.

While sharing a small room with another person is challenging, you also need to make sure there’s a place for all of your stuff. Then an even bigger challenge is having appropriate storage that keeps all functional items out of sight. This becomes essential when you have a student trying to create a calm, relaxing, zen-like space. Clutter becomes chaos pretty quickly especially in a dorm room that functions as your bedroom, living room, dining room, study room and closet all-in-one!

While there’s a lot of hoopla surrounding decked out dorm rooms, the most important factor is that your student feels comfortable. I tried to steer my daughter away from an all white comforter, but that was the crisp, clean vibe she was going for. The good news is that she knows how to use a laundry machine.

Cheers to a great school year! Go Dukes!

 

Appearing Bigger is always Better

Quite often a challenge arises when a room is much smaller than the client’s vision for the space. A client sees enough comfortable seating for visiting family and friends while a designer sees all the physical parameters including window walls, a fireplace, 2 doorways entering the room, etc.  This is where the right furniture and finishes make a huge difference in helping a room feel larger than it is.

Designers use lots of “tricks” to achieve certain goals within a space. This article gives some great suggestions to keep in mind if you’ve got a tight space you’re working with.

Along with painting ceilings Bright White, I use #5 and #10 regularly. These are some of my best kept secrets!

 

Transformation of the Week

Now this is how you transform a bathroom!

If you have a good bathroom layout, then one of the most cost-effective tricks is to not move any of the plumbing. The new cabinetry around the toilet is a great use of space adding tons of extra storage. The large frameless walk-in shower expands the visual size of the room dramatically.

This bathroom gets an A+.