Friday, April 5, 2013

Get Organized

     If you are thinking about remodeling a space, one of the first people I would call, after calling a designer (wink wink) is a personal organizer.  When we decided to remodel our kitchen, I discovered that I was more of a fan of "form" than "function."  I wanted it to look pretty.  Since this was my one shot for a new kitchen, I knew I had to get it right.  No regrets!  I began talking to a cabinet maker and we decided on a layout.  During demolition, we took all of the old cabinetry out.  When the upper cabinets were removed, my once dark kitchen all of a sudden was filled with light.  I knew at that point that I would not be putting any upper cabinetry back in.  So, yikes, round two of planning began.  With no uppers, I knew that I would have to make the most of all of the base cabinets.  I started getting a little scared.  The new kitchen had to be more functional than the old one.  The cabinet maker and I quickly worked on the plans--remember, at this point, we had no kitchen!  Once I had a mock-up blueprint for my kitchen I called my good friend Vicki Manning, who just so happens to be a personal organizer, to run things by her.  With the plan in hand, we took stock of my entire kitchen and found a home for everything.  It was then that form and function collided.  We came up with the perfect plan.  We had to tweak a few more things on the blueprint, but what I ended up with is a kitchen that I love.  I wouldn't change anything about it.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


I know that everyone already knows about and loves Etsy, but I  want to talk about it today.  It has been such a valuable resource to me.  What an array of goods and talents are available to purchase and enjoy.  It is like an arts and crafts fair times 1,000 right at your fingertips.  I want to share with you a few things that I have purchased...

I hosted a garden club meeting at my house in the fall.  The meeting was about repurposing things.  Everyone went on a tour of my home looking for the things that were repurposed.  I had labels on each of the items with a description of how they had been "rejuvenated."  I found this pretty little chair when I was looking for a way to make the labels a little more interesting.  I printed it on each label.  I was so happy with the way it turned out.  It would also be great for stationery.

This is the first piece of art that I bought on Etsy.  The artist is Jayme McGowan.  The piece is made out of paper and is 3-D and I love it!  It makes me so happy whenever I see it.  It is called "Carried By Birds."  I liked this artist so much that I purchased a pocket theater that is a smaller printed version of one of her originals called "Night Journey."  You can see more of her art here.

Isn't that whimsical and fun!

I ran across this monogram that I purchased and used for a fundraiser event that I was helping with.  It became the logo for the entire event--programs, posters, etc...They were able to change the color and personalize it for us.  Salama is the organization.  It is a wonderful non-profit serving inner city youth in Nashville. You can find out more about it here.

I even found my blog header on Etsy!  I knew that I wanted to do it all by myself but I did not have the skills or resources to make it look very good.  This company was so easy to work with.   Through this process, I discovered how much I really enjoy creating this blog!

Thanks so much for reading!  

Thursday, March 28, 2013

More Kitchen Love

     I have loved this kitchen for several years now.  I don't know how exactly I ran across it.  I think I was searching for shelving.  This was before Pinterest.  I was recently reunited with this photo.  It was tucked away in an email I sent to myself.  I am so glad I found it.  It makes me happy just looking at all of the different features, especially that window.  So beautiful!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Cozy Nooks

     This is one of my favorite spots in my house.  It is a room right off of our foyer.  It is paneled in oak that had originally turned orangish but a wonderful decorative painter, Marie-Jo Bouffard worked her magic on it and now it is dark and beautiful.  All of the furnishings in this room are very neutral.  I can see the driveway and the comings and goings of our family, but I am just a bit removed.  I love to sit in that chair with a cup of coffee and look through magazines or do a crossword puzzle.   It is a peaceful place.

     This is another place that I love to hang out.  This little nook is in our media/rec room.  It is kid central and not very peaceful!  When we added on to our house, I had them build this for us, knowing that it would get lots of use and it has.  We have a large family and a humongous extended family and when everyone is in town, I love for as many as possible to stay with us! I had two twin mattresses custom made to fit this space.  They are upholstered in a soft, durable fabric.  You can't see it in this picture, but there are four large storage drawers underneath the seating area.  I toyed with the idea of having two pullout beds under there instead of drawers for a total of four beds, but visions of children launching themselves onto them made me reconsider.  I sat right there a few years ago and watched as the creek rose higher and higher during the Nashville flood.  Thankfully, it never reached our house, but it did affect many others.  I am so proud of the way our city pulled together and helped each other during that time.  

     The photos below are from one of my Pinterest boards that I named "Nooks."  Don't they just make you want to curl up with a blanket and a good book.

1. Taken with my iPhone  2.  Ashley Hylbert Photography  3.  Peter Dunham (maybe?)  4.  Can't find the source (sorry!)  5.  Valerie DeRoy Interiors  6.  Nightingale Designs    

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Transformation Tuesday

     I want to show you another one of my favorite before and afters.  I love this one because it was a surprise!  Isn't that fun!  The homeowner wanted this to be a gift for his wife.  She took the children away for a week for spring break, which gave me the perfect opportunity to get to work.  This is an older home and as you know with older homes, the rooms are usually small and the closets are even smaller.  Storage was an issue.  The little door on the right of the after photo was the only closet in their bedroom.  I had the room paneled and painted a creamy white.  I also had a closet system designed for the wall opposite the bed.  (I wish I had a photo of the new built-ins, but I don't.)  I draped the wall behind the bed which adds a little softness to the room.  Sconces eliminated a need for bedside lamps, freeing up space on the bedside table.  It is still a small room, but we maximized on space and charm and now, it feels like a retreat.  



Closet Built-in Drawing     

Monday, March 25, 2013

My coffee pot died

     I am sad to tell you that the coffee maker we have had for 12 years died a few weeks ago.  I am so desperate for coffee that I made myself a cup of instant Starbucks this morning.  It wasn't bad, but it is time to find a new one!   We had a Krups and it was wonderful, easy to use, and lasted for a long time.  We definitely got our moneys worth out of it.  I don't know if I should stick with what I know or try something different.  A lot has changed in twelve years.  There are so many options.  Should we get one that brews a whole pot or one that brews by the cup, or does it all?   I think there are pros and cons to all of the different kinds.  What to do?  Do you love your coffee maker?  Can you recommend one?  Here is what I am finding...

Somewhat normal, moderately priced...

One cup at a time...

Keurig Platinum Plus Brewing System

All the bells and whistles...

Krups XP2280 Programmable Coffee and Espresso Machine

DeLonghi - Cappuccino, Espresso Maker/10-Cup Coffeemaker - Black

I need to make a decision soon.  This driving to get my morning coffee is getting old.

Saturday, March 23, 2013


     I love traveling!  Especially when, from time to time, my husband's business takes us to some fabulous hotel.   I really LOVE it when that happens!!  I want to share two of my very favorite places with you.   These two hotels launched remodeling projects in our own home.   I love to be in a place that inspires me creatively.  I think it may also be the simplicity that makes me feel so good.  I have always said that I wish my house could feel like a vacation home.  Simple, clean, beautiful, with just the necessities--What a way to live!


First~ is the Bowery Hotel in New York City.  

I fell in love with this spot on Bowery Street that is just off the beaten path.  It is warm and welcoming and I hardly want to leave it once I am there.  Just look at how you are first greeted!

The lobby of the Bowery Hotel.

Second~ The Breakers in Palm Beach

     Walking into our hotel room at The Breakers is a memory I will never forget.  The room was gorgeous but it was the view that stole the show.  The ocean was a little rough that day and the waves were crashing against the breakers.  It was such a beautiful contrast of wild unrestrained nature literally bumping up against the lovely refinement of our room.

First impression of The Breakers!

 The lobby of The Breakers.


Saturday, March 16, 2013

Kitchen Love

     Did anyone see the advertisement for Bilotta Kitchens in the latest edition of Traditional Home?  I was thumbing through my magazine while I was getting my hair cut and this kitchen ad really caught my eye.  I kept turning back to it again and again, noticing more detail each time.  The quality of this photo is not the best, but I want you to notice all of the amazing things this kitchen has to offer.  Here is what stands out to me:  
1.  The fabulous green stove  2.  The beautiful painted hardwood floors  3.  The skirted sink  4.  The crisp white wall of cabinetry  5.  The reclaimed style island and sink.
     This kitchen is such a great example of why opposites attract.   It is a harmonious marriage of light and dark, soft and hard, old and new...A real treat for the eyes!

(There is also a wonderful article on a great Nashville family, Jeff and Lori Orr.  Their house is beautiful!)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Gerrie Bremermann

     Gerrie Bremermann is one of my favorite designers.  She has had an influence in shaping how I feel and think about design.  I first discovered her in that amazing magazine I miss so much, Southern Accents, where she was often featured.

     In New Orleans Living Magazine, there is a wonderful article about her that you can find here.  Her thoughts about decorating are very similar to mine.  Here are a few highlights from that article... 

     “With a decorator, you make a plan that may happen in a year or over many years. If you incorporate things dear to you and buy the very best furniture, accessories and art, you will not tire of them. They will make a statement about your taste for a long time,” said Bremermann. 

Hallmarks in a Gerrie Bremermann project include:
• Comfortable furniture. “I always say: ‘Have furniture you, your family and guests can actually sit in and on. No little chairs one has to perch on!’ Even my small tables are weighted, stable and not something that will go over with a swat.”
(Make sure you are using every square inch of your house!)
• Modern art. “I love contemporary art mixed with antiques. … I believe in supporting local artists; we have so much talent in this city.”     (I feel the same way!  I love our local artists!)

• Mirrors, chandeliers and candlelight; elements that add glitter, glow and soften a room.  (Every room needs a little sparkle!)

• Collections that appear to have been gathered over many years of interesting travel.  (Yes!!  Purchase things you love and will enjoy for years to come.)

• Scented candles. Nothing overwhelming; a pleasant fragrance that calms and soothes.  (I agree--My favorite candle right now is  from LAFCO .  The scents are amazing.  They are fairly pricey, but I love that you can reuse the beautiful containers for glassware.  Great colors.  Perfect for margaritas!)

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Transformation Tuesday

       It's Tuesday and you know what that means.  Inspiration!  I love this particular transformation.  It shows how you can take a house that was built more for function (large and without much character) and inject the right amount of interesting details to create a unique environment that speaks to you.  These clients were looking for a house in a particular school district, but could not find one they loved.  They decided that the amount space in this house was perfect--plenty of room to grow.  The location was great, excellent schools.   It had a big, flat yard as well.  The only problem was that it lacked detail.  But, my client had vision and knew that it had potential.  I was thrilled to be a part of this project!





 A house became a home.