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Last Build Date: Mon, 11 Dec 2017 03:09:56 +0000


House Decoration Modern 2012

Sun, 08 Jan 2012 05:06:00 +0000


House Decoration Modern 2012


House Decoration Modern 2012


House Decoration Modern 2012

House Decoration Modern 2012
House Decoration Modern 2012

House Design

Fri, 06 Jan 2012 11:47:00 +0000


How we do Floor Plans

Tue, 28 Jun 2011 13:21:00 +0000

A few of you emailed yesterday asking about how we do our floorplans.  We draw them by hand.  When we're surveying a room, we photograph it and measure it.  Everything is measured & noted: windows, ceiling height, baseboards, electrical, etc.  Back at the office, my design assistant, Meghan, creates a scaled drawing of the room & makes a couple of copies of it.  They're then placed in the client's binder for me to work on.  I'll play around with different furniture arrangements.  Like I mentioned yesterday, some furniture plans are obvious while others have many solutions and can be tricky.I'm not a big tech-lover and am very visual & tactile, so I prefer to move little furniture pieces around & draw on the empty floorplans myself.   One of my favorite tools is  "The Board."   It's a magnetic furniture plan kit.  I attach the floorplan to a magnetic board and the pieces of furniture are magnetic.  Once I've decided upon a furniture arrangement, I trace around the magnets in pencil or draw in the pieces and it goes back into the binder.  I create a list of everything on the floorplan that needs to be found for the room.  Once I have the list & the floorplan, I can start specifiying products for the room.  I like to use a mix of new & vintage or antique pieces in most spaces so it's a time-consuming process.  At this point the floorplan is more of a guidline for what we're looking to do, and as I find the right pieces- in showrooms, shops, online, etc-  the exact dimensions are noted & the "messy" pencil floorplan is edited for the final floorplan.Once I've finalized everything that will go into the room and where it is, Meg draws the final floorplan for the client's presentation.  We give our clients a design folder to keep and everything on the floorplan corresponds with the photos on the design board:As you've probably noticed, much of this could happen in CAD, but for now it's all done by hand here. There's a certain charm to hand-drawn plans that I love.  I'm not sure we'll ever make the switch but if we do, I know I'll still be printing out the floorplans and using the board and drawing on them myself.  It's just part of how I work.Anyway, I'd love to hear about your process for furniture plans & let me know if you have any other questions!!If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Furniture Arrangement Series {Very Irregular of Course!}

Mon, 27 Jun 2011 13:03:00 +0000

Furniture arrangement can be challenging.  There are so many things that need to be taken into account:  traffic patterns, focal points, activities, seating needs, lighting, etc.  The last thing most people want is a crowded room, but it's important to walk the line between having a room with too much stuff in it, and having a room that doesn't have enough furniture/ functions.  Fear of overcrowding often keeps floorplans (and as a results rooms!) a bit dull.  I thought it might be helpful to do a series (irregular of course!- don't want to feel like it's homework ;) of posts with examples & tips on floorplans & furntiure arrangements that work and cases in which the "rules" are beautifully broken. When I walk into a room for a job, I typically mentally begin rearranging it and I have an idea of how I think it will work best, but I still take the measurements back to the office and we draw it out to scale.  Some flooplans are much more obvious than others and are "easy" while others can be seriously tricky.  There are usually mulitple ways to create a good floorplan, and sometimes it seems there's only one right one.  We "play" with different furniture arrangements until we come up with one that will work best for the room & for our clients.   I thought it might be helpful for me (and hopefully you too ;)  to outline some of the thought processes, "rules" and ideas/ tips that are rolling around in my head when I'm working on floorplans.  I'm starting out with walkways/ traffic patterns & then get a teensy bit into seating placement & bookshelves.  (This is by no means comprehensive but I thought it might be fun to share.)1.  Traffic Patterns are important but so is the room's function: I find that I always want just a little more room when working on floorplans.  Living rooms & family rooms are some of my favorite rooms to do but they often have multiple doorways/ trafficways cutting through them which can make furniture arrangement tricky.  The rule of thumb is to allow at least 3 feet for walkways, which can really take off a lot of space in a smaller room.   (Following the rule would often mean not including certain necessary pieces of furniture.)  For example, in the room below, there isn't a clear-cut traffic way through the TV area to get to the {amazing} nook area in the back.  For that traffic lane to be open, they would have to remove the chair in the left, which I think would really take a way from the room.  {I can't remember where I found this image- sorry!}To me, it seems more important to have the chair there rounding out the seating area, than it is to have the pathway open.  When working on floorplans, sometimes you have to choose the lesser of two evils.   When I run into this I often think...  "Should this room be a destination or a pass-through?"  Most homes have rooms that need to function as both (especially homes that have additions) and of course the goal is do do both well.  But the reality is that sometimes you have to lean more towards one or the other.  Whenever possible, I like to lean towards the "destination" end of the spectrum because rooms are enjoyed the most when you're in them.  Of course we notice a room when we're passing through it or entering into it, but the most important thing is what we notice when we're in it, experiencing it.  {I love this room above, but take a look at how much furniture is in it...  It's more than in most houses but look how enjoyable/ cozy that room would be for a  group of people.  The chairs flanking the fireplace foten wouldn't make it into the floorplan but they add interest and additional seating to be pulled into the conversation. Image source: WALDO} 2.  Seatin[...]


Tue, 21 Jun 2011 13:58:00 +0000

When I saw this photo of an antique suzani hanging in Lindsay Reid's home featured in House Beautiful's June issue, I thought, 'That's it.  Love."{Lindsay Reid's house featured in House Beautiful Magazine's June issue}First of all, I'm crazy about layering large pieces of artwork/ textiles behind other pieces of furniture.  I love the layering, the overlap, the defiance of rules... And second, I've been collecting pictures of crewel work & suzani for a while now, and I have to admit that they've grown on me in the strangest way.  They were definitely a huge trend and it wasn't love at first sight for me, but definitely intrigue.  The pattens themselves didn't completely float my boat right away, but I did love the handmade nature & detail & colors.   Once I saw this suzani used such a practical & perfect situation, it became love.  (I'm really not very good at paying attention to whether trends are in or out, I end up just liking what I like, not knowing/ wanting to know if it's in or out.)"Suzani is a type of embroidered decorative tribal textile made in certain Central Asian countries.  Suzani comes from the Persian word "suzan" which means needle.  Popular design motifs include sun and moon disks, flowers, leaves and vines, fruits (especially pomegranates), and occasional fish and birds.  The oldest surviving suzanis are from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but it seems likely that they were in use long before that. " (info via wikipedia)  It entails stitching one fabric on top of another groundcloth.I've always been a bit foggy about the difference between suzanis and crewelwork designs so I looked into it.Here's a close-up of a crewelwork pillow used by Peter Dunham:... In this dining area I mentioned last week:{Design by Peter Dunham featured in House Beautiful}Crewelwork is an embroidery technique that is at least a thousand years old and suzanis are just type of textile that are created using crewelwork.  (Other crewelwork textiles include Jacobean embroidery & Quaker Tapestry and the list goes on & on.)Crwelwork runs gamut from Traditional English textiles to Eastern Tribal textiles.Anyway, one of the most common suzani themes is the medallions/ discs...Here's another of my favorite spaces using a suzani layered over a settee paired with a (gorgeous!!) framed antique ikat.  (Again, I love the layering of the piece behind the settee.)  This was the first photo I saw (in March of 2009) that really piqued my interest in suzanis.{Anne Becker's apartment featured in Elle Decor}Here are some rooms featuring suzanis in unique ways.  Here it's used as a room divider:{From Domino via}I love the fresh pink & aqua scheme & it's used as a rug:{Elle Decor}They are particularly gorgeous framed:{IMage via In Every Corner}And I love them layered on beds:{Domino via Little Green Notebook}..And one last picture of a suzani as a hanging tapestry:{Image via Laura U}Hope you're having a great week!  (This is my husband's last week of school- yay!!!)  Also, thanks so much for all of the sweet comments about the Home & Design feature.  I really apreciate it!!For some more posts on suzanis, check out:Cote de Texas- Written in '07 with serious detail & sourcesLittle Green Notebook - has some great framing ideas & sources for purchasingIf you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Home & Design Magazine: Designers to Watch

Fri, 17 Jun 2011 17:57:00 +0000

Home & Design Magazine recently came out with an article on four "Designers to Watch" in the DC area.  Thanks so much to Home & Design Magazine for including me in this group!!    Here's a cell phone picture I took of the article:{Clockwide from left:  Marika Meyer, H.Alex Sanchez, me, and Jason Hodges}We had a GREAT time at the photo shoot for this article last month.  Sharon Dan of Home & Design had champagne & lunch for us and it was honestly hysterical.  I loved meeting these new friends!  Jason & I worked together at the DC Design House and got along really well and Marika & Alex were so much fun too!  (We've since hung out and it's been really great getting to know them!!)   I wish I had some of the outtake photos where we're all just cracking up, but for now, the serious one will have to do.   If you're in the area, check out the July/ August issue to read the full article, which features work from all of us.  Here's another cell phone shot of my page:The photos on this page were by Helen Norman.I thought I'd share the clear photos & some other photos of the project with you that Helen took.  (I've shared photos of this project before but Helen's photos are so much better.)This belongs to the Hart family and I loooooved working with them on home.  The family uses their formal living room as more of a hangout where they can do homework, pay bills, play music and relax:The botanicals in the background are images of leaves that the kids & I found outside in their yard.  I had them blown up onto canvas.I also took photos of the Harts playing outside in the Fall & framed them for a large gallery wall: Here's a shot of the whole room:I lvoe this close-up Helen took of the wheat grass on the coffee table:The dining room is relaxed and natural:I borrowed my grandmother's samovar for the shoot:Anyway, I'm off to work again but have a great weekend!!Thanks again to Home & Design Magazine!!If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Washington Post House Calls

Thu, 16 Jun 2011 13:33:00 +0000

Thanks so much to the team at Washington Post House Calls for inviting me to do a bedroom design for their column this week!  I thought I'd share  it with you.  Here's a photo of the bedroom I was given.  It belongs to Emily & David:Parameters:Budget: $4000 and all of the sources needed to be retailClient needs: keep existing cream carpet, fairly traditional style , like reds, yellows, greens, not really blues, want to wake up the room, fresh it up, warm it up...To start, I suggested that Emily & David paint their fireplace & ceiling beam in a creamy white and paint the walls & ceiling in a warm wheaty cream to lighten & warm up the room.  The thing that's toughest about bedrooms with low slanted ceilings is that the ceiling is too close to where you lay your head, so I went with a bookshalf bed that would extend the place where you lay your head a foot further into the room.  I based the color scheme around a blockprinted quilt that I'd seen (and loved!!) at Pottery Barn, that is full of yellow-greens, yellows & reds with a dark green background.  I spec'd yellow curtains from Ikea and recommended Restoration Hardware's yellow belgian linen as  "splurge" option.   For nightstands, I decided to keep an existing dresser for side and do a skirted burlap table on the other side.So, here's a quick rundown of the plan:"Splurge" Bed:{PB Teen...  they actually have some good-looking beds if you're on a tight budget for an adult room}Blockprinted Bedding:{top one, from Pottery Barn}Burlap Bedskirt:{Ballard Designs}Chaise in cream linen next to the fireplace:{Ballard Designs}Tripod Lamp next to chaise:{Ballard Designs by Suzanne Kasler}Ikat Pillow on Chase:{Etsy}Wooden Sunburst above fireplace:{Anthropologie}Gourd Lamps on Nightstands:{}Set of 6 freamed reproduction botanicals similar to this:  (Vintage would be my first choice) to the left of the fireplace:Pair of garden stools below the prints that can be moved around the room as needed (ie drink table for chaise, etc.):I wasn't able to copy & paste the rendering from the Post, but you can view the link to the article here.  ( I think coloring might be a little off because it's on newsprint so it looks a bit darker/ less warm/ less colorful,  but from the photos above you should get the idea.)  I hope Emily & David are happy with it!Have a great day!! :)  If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Casual-Cool "Love" Rooms

Wed, 15 Jun 2011 13:43:00 +0000

This house stopped my in my tracks when I saw it in Elle Decor.  (Back in March of '09!)  It's a 1927 redone Hollywood house that was once owned by Ingrid Bergman that now belongs to director & producer Brett Ratner. (To read the full article, go here.){Brett Ratner's House in Hollywood, featured in Elle Decor.  Designed by the renowned Waldo Fernandez}The laid-back house hosts great parties & is masculine and natural.  I love its collected feel (this is almost a characteristic in my favorite spaces) and the mix of vintage & traditional pieces.  The house has such a palpable sense of place and some serious vibes.  I'd love to live somewhere like this one day.And I must think about this window at least once a month:{Perfection }I'm working on a project right now & I was thrilled when my client sent over this apartment as inspiration:{Design by Brad Ford I.D. featured in Lonny}There's nothing better when a client pulls inspiration photos from some of your favorite magazine articles.  The ones you've poured over.This kitchen by Peter Dunham fits right in:{by Peter Dunham featured in House Beautiful}I love this shot of the bowl of clementines:{Peter Dunham}And here's another favorite.  I want this:It's such a practical set up with there being two tables and a little space to slide in between so no one has to scoot a mile to get to the center of the other side.  (The eating areas in my home are fairly small and I imagine I'll do something similar to this in our dining room one day to accomodate us a bit better.)I'm so excited about the design I've been working on for this client.  It's a casual-feeling mix of modern & vintage pieces with a scultptural vibe.  The space itself is light & airy & interesting.  I can't wait to see it through!!I'm off to work but have a great day!!If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]


Mon, 13 Jun 2011 12:32:00 +0000

'Tis the season for magnolias and I'm loving it.  {Every once in a while my husband surprises me with one}There's something about magnolia trees that is just completely Southern & romantic.  They transport you somewhere wlse.   (Unless that is, if you're already at a gorgeous Southern antebellum estate.}(image from}According to wikipedia and the University of Florida's website, Magnolia trees are one of the most ancient trees we have today, with fossils dating back to 36-58 million years ago.  They were originally native to the Asias & the Americas (particularly the East Coast) and Europe, but the Ice Age destroyed the ancient European forests.  The American Southern Magnolia was  reintroduced in Europe in 1731 when it was discovered.  They became extremely popular and are now the most commonly planted shrub/ tree around the world.  I wish I had a magnolia tree.  One day.  {photo via}{Steel Magnolias: Shelby "got" magnolias...  she planned to float them in her pool at her "blush and bashful" themed wedding, although I don't quite remember ever seeing the pool at the wedding in the movie.}When I have my hands on a magnolia bloom, I'm weird with it.  I literally just put my face in it & breathe it in.  For a long time.  It's "Heaven" as my 3 (almost 4!) year-old says because he's heard me say it so much. {I even have my husband take pictures of me holding them} I sleep with it mext to my bed and I can smell it all night long when I'm drifting in & out of sleep.  They make me so happy and their smell just sort of makes stress melt away.  This past week was INSANITY.  Work has been really busy for both me & my husband, and we had to take Justin (our 18-month old) to the ER because his fever got so high & he was having mini seizures & vomitting.  (I didn't know that's what was going on, I thought he was having odd twitches as he was trying to sleep in my arms, and although that was scary, I'm so glad I didn't know they were seizures at the time.)  His fever has been up & down all weekend and my parents watched our 3 year-old for us.  During one of the down points Saturday evening when Justin was aleep & we thought he was all better, my husband surprised me with a magnolia bloom.  It hung out with us pretty much all night.  I literally fell asleep smelling it, and I woke up to a completely brown & crunched magnolia underneath of me in bed.   ah vell!  You only get them for a little while.It was for all of these reasons that I wanted to create a magnolia - patterned textile.  The vibe of magnolias is such a free, casual & relaxed elegance and I wanted to make a fabric with that feeling.  It really fits with the setting around here.  (Virginia & DC are filled with magnolia trees.)  I worked with my super-talented my friend,  Kat Wright, who painted this beautiful painting in oil from my very junky sketches:{Isn't she amazing!!?)}It then became this on linen:I played with the colors and created 4 other colorways, including china blue:   I'm working out the final kinks in pricing, fabrics, etc. and am hoping to have the fabrics available to sell in my online store July 15th.  Like I've mentioned before, creating high-quality textiles on linen in small runs is much more expensive than I'd originally guessed it would be.  Prices will be around $90- $115/ yard for linen and I'm looking into cotton options.  Here's a peek at the banner for the new online store:I hope you had a great weekend & if you have a chance, find a magnolia:My husband's taking [...]

Thank yous!

Wed, 08 Jun 2011 23:06:00 +0000

I just wanted to send a little shout-out (oh wow, did I really just say "shout-out??" ) to my mom & my grandmother.  They ("Gramma Donna" and "Gramma Cracker") come over once a week every week to watch our boys.  They bring all sorts of toys & games & activities with them and the kids loooove their grammas.  I work in the office while they play & unfortunately, I don't really get a chance to be with them at all.  But today, when they left, I found this pretty little surprise on the table:

{Hydrangea from the garden; ignore the kid dinner in background}

I'm not sure which of them did it, but I love it.  Especially they way the leaves were wrapped around the stems.  Go Grandmother! (I think it was you who did the leaf thing.)

I know I don't get nearly enough time with either of you or get to say it much, but if you're reading this, thank you for all that you do and I love you.

Summer is almost really here and we've been crazy-busy with some exciting new projects at work.  Meghan, my design assistant, has been amazing & just turned 23 yesterday!!  (Happy Birthday Megs!!)  And my best friend, Frammy, just turned 29 this week too!!  (Happy birthday Cheese if you're reading!! I love you!!)

Also, thanks so much to Linda Merrill for the mention in her online magazine, which you can read here:

And finally, thank YOU so much for reading. 
I truly appreciate it and I look forward coming here because of you.


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

New Irregular Blog Series: "Love" Houses

Mon, 06 Jun 2011 14:01:00 +0000

If you've been following this blog for a while, you might have picked up that I'm not very good with doing regular blog series.  (And if you're new, well, I'm not good with doing regular blog series.)  I like to write about what floats my boat on any given day, so I'm better with irregular posts.  BUT in my mind I like to have some sort of organization so one of the new irregular series I'll be doing around here will be "Love" Houses.  These are the houses that have been featured in magazines or online that I just can't get over.  The articles I go back to for staring at time and time again.  The ones that I feel disappointed about when the text runs out.  The ones that get me dreaming & excited.  Some are old, some are new, but these houses are my favorite and go in the "love" pile and I thought it might be fun to share some of them on the blog.My first favorite house/ estate is called Cherryfilelds (yes, it has a name :)  and belongs to John Dransfield and Geoffrey Ross (of Dransfield & Ross) and was featured in Elle Decor's July/ August 2010 issue.  Text is by Peter Tersian.  Photography is by Simon Upton & it was styled by Carlos Mota.{I dream of having a massive living toom large enough for multiple interesting groupings.}Dranfield & Ross actually traded for this house with its owner, Nancy Pine AKA "Princess" (an "outrageous" fabulous widow in her 80s.)   They foudn the house but it wasn't on the market.  They would stalk the house until they finally made an appointment to meet with Princess.  "They made a deal on the spot" and just needed to wait until Princess could find a house to move to.  They waited months while she searched and finally she asked them what type of house they had.  It was an 1806 farmhouse and they ended up swapping houses.  They think of her as their Auntie Mame and she visits when they're out, leaving notes.   My favorite part is that Princess says "The best time to visit someone is when they're not at home."   "The building is long & rambling but it's only one room deep, so all the major rooms have light on both north and south sides."---- ummm, a-mazing.  {You know I loooove these pools}I love the conservatory-feel in some of the rooms:{love their pup!}...And find myself more & more drawn to black.Light & airy yet dramatic at the same time:I love that the house has a combination of airy rooms & moodier rooms.  The kitchen is so charming.  Again, it's got that fresh-deep thing going on that I love.I love this shot of the butler's pantry: {Heaven}Everything feels so authentic & collected.  It feels carefree & relaxed yet elegant.  It's a laid-back formality that's really refreshing.  I just want to be there when Iook at the pictures.You can view the article online at Elle Decor here and I'll be posting more "Love" houses every now & then!I'm off for the day, but hope you had a great weekend!!  Only a couple more weeks until school's out for the summer & I can't wait!!! (my husband's a teacher)  I have the window open right now & have to be honest that I'm finding it harder & harder to buckle down in the office.  Outside's calling!!  eeeeeeeeeeekIf you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Easy Crab Feast

Thu, 02 Jun 2011 12:42:00 +0000

Last weekend we had a little crab feast with some of our friends.  At our house (probably like at most houses) we like to use parties as an excuse to tie up all of those loose ends around the house.  (see my last 2 posts ;)  We finally had an excuse to mulch our gardens & break out all of that wedding drinkware.  We strung up hanging lanterns & set out a couple of folding tables in the grass.  Here's a pre-party pic:For a quick & summery arrangements, I filled old ironstone pieces with sunflowers for the tables:We packed the kids off to visit "Gramma" and their playhouse shed turned into the bar:I loved having this massive drink dispenser for the margaritas:(I'm kicking myself for taking this pic before I'd set out the rock salt and hid the tequila to make it look pretty but oh well ;)I made a couple of different salads including my chick pea one.  (recipe here) We covered the tables in newspaper & topped with sunflowers & crabs:My husband steamed the crabs in the oven using a roasting pan and they were easy & awesome.  I loooove Old Bay seasoning and sprinkled it on top and then we served the crabs melted butter, extra old bay & lemons.It was soooooooooo yummy and I want to do it again right now.  I love how the lanterns looked at night, lighting the patio for games:I really loved having this party because getting it together was actually pretty easy.  It was a lot of effort but it was pretty planned out, which made it simple.  Food & friends  is always a good time, especially when the weather's perfect & you're outside.    Of course I forgot to get pics of us.  (Fellow bloggers, I know you understand.)...And I definitely did something to my hip dancing.  I think it was the kip-ups.xoxo,laurenIf you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Back to the old curtains

Tue, 31 May 2011 13:47:00 +0000

If you didn't read my previous post about having a party and going all crazy last-minute to fix my family room/ basement, well, that pretty much sums it up.  I've always wanted to replace my ikea curtains with doublewidth panels and tried out the Peytons from Pottery Barn because there was no time for custom curtains.  When I put them up, they completely changed the look of the room.  I figured I could repaint another time and switched up my rug and accessories for a quick change:BUT it was completely the wrong feeling.  I loooove that rug but not in my family room.  I wanted fresh & fun & happy (we hang with the kids here a lot) and the rug & curtains were taking the room into a more serious, richer place.  Not okay.  So, I tried out the PB peytons in french ivory and with the lining and double panels, they still felt to "decorated" for me so up went my old cotton Ikea curtains.  I added additional rings so they wouldn't sag as much and am totally fine with them now after my fiasco.  (Just need to hem them! ;){The two men in the photographs are my dad (top) and my husband's dad (bottom) waaaay back when.  We have very odd wood work going on in our old 70s house so for now I'm just forgetting about it.}I also switched up the art & accessories, FINALLY pulling in the green I was craving.  My basement was bothering me because it was so unrelated to the rest of my house but now with the added green, I'm loving the flow.  I had this old dinosaur chart and added the Peter Dunham pillows and a Dash & Albert rug we had:{ignore the messy blanket and toys & books- sorry no time for pretty!}And here's a pic of the natural woven shades we put up:I'm ordering another set for the large window by the sofa to replace the white roman shade there, which will add the texture that's missing for me over there.  And here's a quick pic from the party:I'll share pics from the party in my next post.  It was a ton of fun and took place almost entirely oustide.  I'm pretty sure no one even noticed my curtains.  (Except for those who'd read my whacky post before coming!)  Ah vell.  I do have to say though, I live for this stuff.  xoxo,laurenIf you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Family Room Curtains Indecision

Sat, 28 May 2011 11:52:00 +0000

We decided we'd have a little party this weekend to kick off summer.  Well, our "little" party grew - which is always good- and yesterday I started looking around at our basement family room, tearing it apart mentally.  (Do you do that??)  Some of our friends coming over are designers and, although all of them are supersweet & would never judge, I couldn't help but want to fix it up before tonight.  (I had a client over to the office last week for a presentation and used areas of my home for "what not to do" and why we'd be doing what we were doing. hahaha ) I bought custom bamboo shades for the DC showhouse and sized them so that they could also work in my office once the showhouse was over.  As some of you know, my family room/downsairs has been irking me for a while.  I have to admit that I love the feeling down there- light, airy, fresh & happy- and I like working in it, but I've always felt like it just doesn't jive with the rest of my house.  Well, of course when the shades and some of my pillows came home from the showhouse, I started envisioning a new color palette for the space, using what I had.  Our basement is very coastal feeling and while I love it, it just doesn't make sense here.  (My dad lives on a lake and wants some of our paintings so I think eventually I'll give in because they'd be a better fit with him.) {greeeeeeen}Anyway- besides the coastal vibe- the main thing that really bothers me about my house/ basement is the curtains. I made some myself and did Ikea for the rest, planning to upgrade later. I used only single panels on the door and large window. where I should have at least used double. Curtains are one of those elements that I notice when I'm in people's homes and they can really take a room up or down a notch. SO... Since there was no time to have any custom ones made the day before the party or change the color scheme too much, and I had the day off with my 3-year-old, we headed to Pottery Barn for some last-minute curtains. I like their linen "Peyton Drapes" which are lined and hung by drapery hooks so I bought a bunch in "blue smoke."Here's a picture of the curtains that drive me craaaaaazy:{oh so bad}And here's a pic of the Pottery Barn Peytons (not hemmed to the proper height but that will have to wait for another day){oh yeah, I switched the rug with another one I had too.  I have plans to sell it but am having toruble parting with it.  I have a problem.}I'm much happier with the width and quality of the panels and loved the color with the rug.. buuuuut....  I'm losing the vibe I want down there even more.  It took a turn in another direction I'm just not after.  (Although am now dying to do in a room "for real.")   The rug is insanely gorgeous in person and its vibe is just a little too warm/ rich/ formal for what I'm after.  We use the areas as the kids play space, and while I don't want it junky, I want it to feel a bit more effortless.  (ironic isn't it??  All this effort for "effortless?"){So although the vibe's off, I'm much happier with the drapery hooks being hung nicely on the curtain rings...  my unlined ikea curtains were not thick enough up top to properly support the drapery hooks I'd used, so they sagged and flopped too much. And I'm also loving the doublewidths.}BUT... they had to go because I can't justify them if they not where I'm trying to go.  I returned them last night & picked up some new ones in french ivory.  I also restrained myself from using the pretty rug and it's all safely packed away again.  (Who does this?!!!  I know I have problems.)  SO...  now I[...]

Client's Bungalow Living Room Plan

Wed, 25 May 2011 11:32:00 +0000

I stopped over to check in on a client's in-progress project yesterday & just had to share with you.  My client is young & creative and when we first met had literally just moved into her adorable bungalow:The bungalow had been lovingly restored to certain point, but we're tailoring it to perfectly fit her lifestyle.  She had everything out & ready to show me & we assessed what she'd keep and what we'd replace.  {The house is really beautiful.  Love the doors!!}She was ready to upgrade her Pottery Barn-type pieces for a more sophisticated yet still casual look. My client entertains often & knows how to throw a good party.  I noticed that she was really drawn to blues & aquas and a classic-vintage look in her inspiration photos.  The rooms she loved all had a touch of old-fashioned charm yet still felt fresh & updated.  The living room isn't large but is just what she needed to for a cozy 4-chair furniture arrangement by the fireplace.The spaces my client loves also feel open & airy yet still have a warm to them.  Many of her inspiration photos had shutters instead of curtains.  We decided to keep her existing shutters and warm up the cool-feeling space with grasscloth on the walls.  I stopped in yesterday & got a peek:{Grasscloth by Thibaut}Our installer, Michael DiGuiseppe, who also did the DC Showhouse room, is soooo good & incredibly fast.  By the time I was finished with our two hour meeting, he'd almost finished the living room. {Thanks Michael!}Last night, my client snapped a shot of some of the furnishings in place & emailed it over:{Completely unstyled, but you get the idea}I'm loving the blue against the grasscloth and can't wait until everything else arrives!!  We're waiting on the upholstery and are working on a gallery wall full of personal paintings & prints.  Will keep you posted!!If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Bridal Shower & Weekend

Mon, 23 May 2011 11:25:00 +0000

My cousin, Jen, is getting married this summer so my mom & I had a shower for her this weekend.  The invitations (above) were from Target and I have to tell you how easy they were to do.  They came as blank cards and I followed the link on the back of the package to an online template that I filled out with our information and printed them out at home.  I truly am not tech-savvy and it was a breeze.  (Except for the fact that I printed them all out with the wrong date the first time- eeek!!  Thank goodness the back of the cards was blue too.)  {Jen is third from the left and she's standing next to our other cousin, Shelly}My Aunt Allison made the most amazing bread:{Seriously???  I want to do this!}The wedding is in Puerto Rico so my family whipped up some authentic Puerto Rican dishes:{I can't remember the name but really yummy seafood stew}...And you poured the stew over these potato balls:{Again, I forget the name!!}And seafood salad:And I not-so-authentically picked up a bunch of sausage-egg breakfast burritoes from Anita's:For flowers, I filled a few different milk glass urns with pinky-peach roses, tulips, perivian lilies and fresh white freesia:{smell so goooood}Jen's colors for the wedding are coral & aqua.  {loved this "mr and mrs" paper}Here's a picture of the ladies in my family:{My Grandmother is in the center with her 3 daughters & all of the granddaughters}And I loved this cup tower my cousin made.  I did knock it halfway over but she doesn't know that:{I put it back, don't worry, I'm not evil.}And my mom baked a rum pansy cake:{Soooo good and too pretty to eat, but we did anyway.}Anyway, the shower was great & we headed out that night for her bachelorette party.  I don't have any pictures of that as they were confiscated.  (haha no, totally kidding, I just didn't bring my camera.)The DC Design House final party was also Saturday evening before the bachelorette and it was at Skip & Debbie Singleton's home in DC.  I am kicking myself for not getting any photos because their back yard is my dream yard:  Pool set right into the grass with some checkerboard slate in areas arround it.  HEAVEN.  I'm so glad to have gotten the chance to be a part of the showhouse and to have met so many great new friends.  update-  got a pic!! :{See?!}And my little sister was confirmed on Sunday!!  I can't believe how old she's getting!! (which means I'm getting even older!  We're 15 years apart.)  I was her sponsor and the Mass was beautiful.  Congrats Morgan if you're reading!!I'm off to start the day -kids still haven't woken up & how amazing is that?!! ;)  Hope your weekend was great!!If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Signing Off Early

Fri, 20 May 2011 17:28:00 +0000

I've cleared my desk off for the weekend and it feels soooo good.  I'm home with my boys and just picked a couple of fresh yellow roses (well, one's sort of on its way out) and popped them in my favorite orange vase.  (a wedding gift.)

I've been keeping my little "One Line a Day" memory book - which I bought as a prop for the showhouse- on my desk this week and have been writing in it.

We told Christian about the tooth fairy the other day for the first time:

{He was in utter shock that a fairy comes into kids rooms at nights and leaves them money.}

This weekend I'm hosting my cousin's bridal shower with mom and her bachelorette party Saturday night with the other bridesmaids.  Should be a good time & I'll share pics next week.  She & her fiance are such a perfect match and I'm so happy for them. 

Have a great weekend!!! :)


ps- I'd love to do a room with that aqua, orange & yellow color palette!! 

If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

The Arbor!

Thu, 19 May 2011 14:39:00 +0000

We finally got our arbor up!!  The wisteria was already waiting for it since I'm an impatient crazy person and put it in last year.The front of the house looks better too.  We added in more shrubs & hydrangea.Before:Now:Please ignore the toys everywhere, but here's a pic of the arbor leadinginto our back yard:I'm off for a crazy day but hope you're having a great week!!  Thanks so much for the kind words about the fabrics.  I'll let you know as soona s they're for sale.If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

A peek at my new fabrics

Tue, 17 May 2011 14:35:00 +0000

I am almost ready to get my fabrics up in my online store!!  They haven't yet been photographed but I thought I'd share the quick pics I took of them with you.  I am obessed with fabrics and working on these designs has been such a fun experience.   They are all on heavy duty linen and will be sold for around $100/ yard and I am working on finding the perfect cotton groundcloth for those who are looking to spend less.  When I first started getting into fabric designing I was a bit surprised at the pricing, but as I've learned a bit more about it & what's available in the marketplace, I've realized all that it entails and understand why high-quality textiiles & linens costs what they do.  When textiles are printed in smaller runs for boutique companies, it's not the same as mass-produced  fabrics, and there's a cost associated with that.  (This is why I sometimes use the most expensive fabric in a room on pillows! ;)So anyway, I tossed the linens on the floor & took some pics in groupings.  Not all of them are pictured and they are all available in several colorways.    {Wild Chicory in black & oatmeal , Magnolia in China Blue, and Happikat in sky blue}I drew wild chicory originally as the logo for my business cards and was ended up really loving it so I did it in an overscale woodcut-esque fabric.  My friend Kat Wright painted the magnolias and she is soooo insanely talented.  She also worked up Happikat for me on the computer from sketches.  {Magnolia in yellow, Happikat in cocoa on oatmeal} Here's the olive-based collection:{Happikat in Olive, Magnoilia in funky green on oatmeal, Chicory in Olive and and Large "Squircles" in green & aqua.}Here are some more saturated versions in pinks & blues:{Magnolia in Pink, Happikat in Navy/ Pink, Happikat in Coral/ Aqua and Large Squicles in Pink on oatmeal}I love me some green so here's another green collecion:{Magnolia in True, Happikat in Kelly Green, Wild Chicory in Spring Green, and Wild Chociry in Black on Oatmeal}Here's some more black & white:{Happikat in Black & White, Magnolia in Grayscale, and a little peek at Magnolia in Orange}Here's a picture of Happikat on the curtains in the DC Design House: I recently did Happikat in Navy & Green for a client's living room design:And here is a photo of the "Squircles" Design (Square and Circle):{Black& White, Green on Aqua, Pink on Oatmeal and Sky Blue}They are also available in a square version which I originally designed for a client's round ottoman:{Squircles in B&W}Anyway, there are many more coming and I'm working on some "inside out" versions where the patterns are paler & barely there.  I will let you know as soon as I get them up online.  I haven't been able to devote as much time to the fabrics as I'd like to have lately, but it's on my list for this next month.I can't wait to share more with you!!  :)If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

My back patio garden

Thu, 12 May 2011 11:30:00 +0000

I've never been quite happy with my garden until now.  It still has a loooong way to go but I finally feel like it's going in the direction I want it to be going in:  structured yet a little wild.  {We recently removed a bunch of daisies from the side area - transplanting them to the cutting garden along the fence- and put roses, peonies & foxglove in their place.}When we first bought our house -in the Spring two years ago- we were looking at this:...And I can't find a photo of it from the first year but I added a bunch of zinnias & random flowers that I was given by family & friends.  I loooved having these free-flowing/ wild-looking  flowers but they didn't quite work around the patio.  Last Fall we added dwarf holly around the patio for that structure I was craving and we moved all of the flowers to a new side cutting garden along our fence.  (And now I'll feel no guilt when I bring them inside!) And here is is now:{It still has a lot of growing in to do- and mulching!- but it's finally getting to feel a bit like I've always wanted it to feel.  And yes, my child is pantsless.  It's how we roll around here early AMs and more than I'd like to admit!}This morning my three year-old is sleeping in so Justin (my 17 month old) and I took a little stroll and he helped me take pictures:We looooove smelling these roses.  This is a Chicago Peace rose.  I kill plants, but at my old townhome I did manage to keep a few roses alove, so fingers crossed for this beauty!Love the small of the yellow ones.  I already forgot their name though:Hard-to-kill succulents usually work well for me:And I've put out some of my magnolia pillows.  They're not outdoor fabrics ( they're linen) so I'll have to be sure to pull them in before it rains.  {I am hoping to get my online store up within a month for the fabrics!!  They're being photographed in late May.  It's been a little nutty lately so the fabric line has taken a bit of a backseat.}And we added a vegetable garden around the side of our house.  Loooove having lettuce!!{Before you think I'm good at gardening I have to tell you that I bought it this way.  Yes, I know, it's ready to eat & doesn't have much more growing to do but picking lettuce from my garden makes me happy :)mm mm good! And the tomaters should be good this year!!I planted lavendar around the drawf holly bushes.  I'm hoping it will do well but I've heard it's tempermental around here.{Smells so good!!}And finally, I'd like to thank my stylist, Justin Liess, pictured here:{He knows just where those boots ("shoes!" as he calls them) need to go!}I love you my little "Tunia:"My kids get new nicknames almost weekly:For a while he was "Petunia" .. don't ask, I don't know whyThen it became "Tunia"Sometimes "Tunes"And now the poor little guy is getting called "Tootaline"I hope the scarring isn't permanent ;) ;)If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]

Better Homes & Gardens Shoot

Tue, 10 May 2011 14:38:00 +0000

Yesterday a team from Better Homes & Gardens Magazine photographed my DC Design House room for an upcoming issue!  Art director Shelley Caldwell flew into DC to direct the shoot done by photographer Helen Norman & her assistant F.J. Hughes for the day.

{Shelley & FJ}

Like all good photoshoots, props were brought in to make the room feel more lived-in.  They brought in some things that I would have loooved to have taken home with me incuding some cute bags.  :)

They took my picture in one of the madhatter wing Chairs & it was pretty hysterical because my man hands kept getting in the way. 

Dave (my husband) came to help me undo the room after the photoshoot and it was crazy to see the showhouse room almost empty again.  We loaded most of the room back into our cars and headed home.  Very bittersweet, but onto the next thing!  :)


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

Last Weekend for Showhouse!

Sat, 07 May 2011 14:03:00 +0000

For anyone in the DC area who was interested in going to the DC Design House to support Children's Hospital, this is the last weekend to do it!{the desk view of room I designed.  Painting in the photo by John Matthew Moore, desk by Edelman Leather, Chair from John Rosselli Antiques, lamp by Stray Dog Designs, sisal rug by Stark, and grasscloth wallpaper by Seabrooke.}I've had such an amazing time getting to know the other designers & the supporters of Children's Hospital,  making some wonderful new friends!  I'll never forget this experience.  The stories I've heard about children whose lives have been saved by Children's Hospital are incredible & moving.  So if you do have the chance today or tomorrow, head on over!!I won't be there today (I have pink eye from my 3 year old- arrggg!!) but am hoping it clears up by tomorrow so that I can be there on the final day.Also,  Better Homes & Gardens Magazine is coming to shoot the room on Monday!  I'll be sure to take some behind-the-scenes pictures to post this week.  If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.Again, thank you to the amazing team of people who donated their services to help create the showroom: I use these businesses & people on most of my projects and stand by their work & appreciate being able to do business with them. I cannot say enough good things. They're THE BEST so if you need any local recommendations, here are mine:Carpet Installation & Custom Carpet fabrication: The Carpet Customizer: (410)299-4380 They can really do anything & are adept with installing/ working with natural fiber rugs & do beautiful seagrass installations. They are on top of their jobs, are super-friendly, and keep in great contact with you.Workroom for curtains & pillows & other soft goods: Paul David DesignsPaul & Nancy will take care of you and are amazing to work with. Their work is beautiful & fast.Builder/ Contractor/ Electrical: CarrMichael Construction: They do it all from building beautiful homes to managing smaller projects & electrical work. Mike at CarrMichael Construction is friendly, dependable, organized and does exactly what he says he will do. Wallpaper Installation: Michael DiGuiseppe. Everyone says he's the best in the area and after this insane segrass install, I definitely agree!Painters: Blue Door Painters They're on-time, dependable and fair. (And I went to high school with the owner! :)[...]

Green Eggs, No Ham

Thu, 05 May 2011 02:45:00 +0000

Green Eggs & Ham is one of my favorite children's books.  For years I've been meaning to do a green eggs & ham breakfast, but have never gotten around to it.  (I wanted to do this even before I had kids... I know, I have issues.)  I imagined putting a few drops of green food coloring into the eggs until I had THE BEST green eggs & ham at the Hyatt.  They used pesto in the eggs for the green & it was Heaven!!

A week or two ago we decided to try our own minus the ham.  (Because we didn't have any.)  My three year old Christian got the book out to read it & enjoyed helping me make the pesto.  I didn't add enough pesto to really get them as green as I wanted, but they were green.  We used them for hair on Christian's face plate:

{I know how gross the eggs look in this pic, but I promise they were good.}

I love making food from kids' stories because the little guys just get so excited.  They help and they eat every last bite. 

My dad watched this whole situation take place and when I broke the camera out & said I might end up putting it on the blog, he said "wow, you must be strapped for ideas."
hahahaha  ah vell, I guess it doesn't float everyone's boat. 

...Now that I'm looking at the picture in the book above, I wonder how you'd get the ham green???


If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.

The Learning Curve

Mon, 02 May 2011 12:08:00 +0000

Experience is one of those extremely valuable intangibles in life.  People are like sponges soaking up everything they're going through,  learning from it & becoming better.  This of course applies to interior designers & the knowledge required for each project is incredible.  I learn something with every new project I take on, with every client I meet and with almost every book or article or blogpost I read and every picture I study.  We constantly educate ourselves.  We could read a book a day for the rest of our lives and still not know everything.{image via Delight by Design}And I think this is what keeps things exciting.  When I realized that my husband was someone I could keep getting to know for the rest of my life - that he had so much depth & I find him so interesting and feel like there's always more to know- I knew he was the one for me.  And that's also how design is.  {He will so hate me comparing him to interior design- sorry now Dav if you're reading this!!}{Kitchen by Victoira Hagan via Things That Inspire}But I think we're excited by what's to come:  What we are in the process of learning or understanding or creating.  When I'm in the midst of a project, I'm crazy about it.  Once it's finished, it's like a present you're giving to someone else & then they get to enjoy it.  But my enjoyment comes from picking out that perfect gift & giving it to them...  Once it's been given & they like it, I pretty much stop thinking about it.  (We don't sit around for weeks, years, or months to come thinking about how much a friend must be enjoying our gift;  we move on and think about the next birthday, the next gift.){image via Cote de Texas}I was rereading The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous & Broke by Suze Orman yesterday and I really love what she says about being in a career you love.  The sooner, you make steps toward that career, the happier you will be.  The younger you are, the better.  But I also think being new in any career means you lack experience.  The more experience you gain, the more full you are.  There are pros and cons.  New people in a field often look at it with fresh eyes.  They may be less jaded and possibly more excited.  The best are those in the field who have both experience & excitement.  {House Beautiful via decor pad}And I think that what keeps experienced people excited & impassioned, is the learning curve.  Even those who've been in the field for 50 years are still learning and most will readily admit it.  There's so much to know that it can be mind boggling sometimes, but once you go after what you want to know, it's yours if you care to keep it.  For the past few years I've been really being blown away by all there is to know and I've found myself writing lists of the people I want to learn about & research in design- both in the past & present...  Lists of artists to look up {trips to the museum send me home with so more reasearch & homework than I can handle!}  Business practices, books, magazines & blogs to read,  and photos of rooms to analyze...  and then there's the stuff that I know I should know & have forgotten or stopped attempting to finds about about.  {Ie the NEWS.  I'm horrible with c[...]

Baby Girl's Nursery Design

Tue, 26 Apr 2011 14:06:00 +0000

I'm living vicariously through a client of mine:  She's having a baby girl and I designed her nursery!  I'm doing the final installation today with my assistant, Meghan, and we're so excited!!My client was looking for a fun, sophisticated nursery.  {When I walked into her living room for the first time, it looked like it had been done professionally, although she did it herself, so she has an amazing sense of style.}  She wanted fresh & happy and not over-the-top girly.  She's drawn to paisley and florals.  I thought I'd share our plans with you, so here's the floorplan we created for her:And here's a quick peek at the pieces selected:{The mobile (top left) has been custom made in our colors from Pink Perch on etsy.   We've done curtains out of the Schumacher floral (top right) and used the paisley blockprinted crib bedding, lamp, chair & table pictured.}Here's a close-up of the Schumacher fabric:It's wild & fun & not your typical girly floral.  We mixed a few Pottery Barn kids pieces with a custom green viney chandelier by Stray Dog Designs  (one of my new favorites for lighting!) and an overscale seaweed print that we'll be tacking up with nailhead.  The "LILY" drawing on the right is a mock-up of a framed fabric panel with wooden beads & letters draped over it for the room.  The green polka-dotted fabric at bottom right is the fabric we used.Here's a pic of the project {mid-stage} to give you an idea of what it actually looks like:We're leaving in a couple of hours & I cna't wait to share 'after' pics with you!!Even if I never have a little girl of my own (fingers still crossed though!) at least I got this chance to do little sweetie Lily's nursery!!  She's due in May and we're so happy for our clients!!  If you'd like help creating a home you absolutely love, contact me about our design services.[...]