Friday, December 16, 2011

And the winner is...

Congratulations Andrew Shirley! Thanks for your response and filling out your sheet. Your prize is a $25 gift card to the place of your choice! Congrats!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

How to deck your halls with style!

Oh I love this time of the year! With all the lights, sweet smells, delicious food, shopping, gift giving, wrapping and of course decorating!
It's a great feeling to get out those red and green decoration totes and dress up the house for the holidays.
I wanted to share some fun tips and ideas for your holiday decor…

*Stay within one color palette and theme*

This will not only give your decor a more cohesive, put together look but it will also give your home a "professionally finished" look. 

Color schemes you could try are:
Red or Green & White
Blue & Silver
Brown, Gold & Red
Silver & White

*Spread the cheer throughout your home*

Don't only decorate the living room, kitchen & dining room. Spread the cheer to all the rooms in your house! Try adding a simple candle dressed with garland on your bathroom countertop or hang a Christmas print in your child's room.

*Don't be afraid to go BIG!*
This is the one time of the year where the "less is more" rule does not need to apply. Have fun with it! Whether its inside or outside I believe that the best Christmas decor lies at two ends of the spectrum:  Christmas should be an awesome display of fun, gorgeous holiday decor or a crazy Christmas explosion of lights and Santas on the roof for a National Lampoons Christmas Vacation homage.  Either way its totally entertaining and brings the holiday cheer.  So let your inner child loose and go big or go home.

*Let your home smell like the holidays*
The smells of pine trees, sugar cookies, and cinnamon are wonderful this time of year! You can bring smells in by getting a real christmas tree, making homemade potpourri, or baking homemade cookies before guests arrive. Another great way to fill your home with great scents are candles, besides their wonderful smells, lit candles also provide a sense of warmth to the space. Its hard to go wrong with a scented candle this time of year.

*Give your home a new look*
Try rearranging your furniture to make your fireplace, tree, or stocking the new focal point of the room. It  helps to showcase those pieces and will help give the room a new look. Don't be afraid to add a seasonal throw or decorative pillow to the furniture to dress them up as well.

*Bring the outside in*
 If you don't have a real tree, it's okay! You can bring other elements of nature by filling up a jar with pine cones and cranberries, using cinnamon sticks to line candles or as a tree decorations. Buy a beautiful poinsettia, just take it out of that foil lined pot it comes with and set it into a pretty festive pot. And remember poinsettia's are actually poisonous so please make sure it's in a safe place where a small child or pet won't accidentally eat it.

*Showcase cards and children's Christmas craft projects*
Dedicate a wall, bookcase, or fireplace to creatively display your holiday cards and if you have children, they're school art projects they made that year.
This adds a beautiful, personal touch to your decor.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A Cottage Makeover: Part 2 Kitchen & Dining Room

Alright here we go, for the second part of our Cottage Makeover we're showing the kitchen and dining room.

Close up of the adorable table centerpiece.
We kept our cheery cottage theme in these spaces by continuing the buttery-tan hue on the walls and adding in pops of blue and green. We brought in a brand new farm styled parawood dining table and mixed in french country style side chairs. I selected a gorgeous brown glaze for the table top and a distressed antique white paint for the apron, legs, and side chairs.  With the durability and hardness of parawood it was the perfect choice of wood for this family of five's dining table.  To complete the cottage style I specified new white wood casings for the dining windows and installed dark woven wood shades.

For the kitchen we rearranged her old accessories and added in new ones to the top of her cabinets and wall shelf in her dining room.  I made her a beautiful table centerpiece by mixing fun cottage treasures into a long basket; allowing for easy removal when mealtime arrives. We finished it off with a dainty lemon tree, which I think always adds a touch of class.

All of the rooms were cohesive and created a beautiful harmony within the home.  Our client was ecstatic with the results and couldn't believe the transformation.  And we're happy that she's happy!

Kitchen - Before

Kitchen - After
Dining - Before

Mixing two different finishes on one piece of furniture adds interest and longevity to the piece. 

Kitchen Upper Accessories. Here's one of the few ways to tastefully use a word sign.  It works because it's one: not in your face, and two: it's not labeling the room, but it's something you would say to your guests: Bon Appetit!

New accessories to adorn our clients shelf,
 complete with a great little gardening basket.

Tell a story by gathering fun little items like this.
Don't you feel like grabbing that cute wire basket going out to harvest from your garden.

Monday, November 28, 2011

A Cottage Makeover: Part 1 Living Room

Recently here at The Design House I had the privilege of designing a living, dining, and kitchen area.  The room was previously designed with a neutral palette with red accents.  With the transformation finished walking into the room now feels like a breath of fresh air.
The Complete Look - After

  My client wanted a well designed updated space reflecting the cottage style that she loves.  After getting to know her I wanted to design a friendly, cheery space for her and her family because it would be a perfect reflection of her fun personality and as she is home frequently due to an illness it would help her through the bad times. I gave her the soft blend of blue and green which are very livable, happy colors and is a complete 180 degree flip from the red accent she previously had.  I chose this color palete because when designing a "healing" kind of environment I love using soothing colors and elements that you find in nature.

To help keep the budget lower we kept her existing sofas and rocking chair and entertainment center.  We brought in new drapes, rug, coffee table, some art, and most of the accessories. The walls were painted a nice yellow-tan color to add to the cheery atmosphere and we re-arranged the previously displayed art and photo's to better showcase them.
Fireplace and Accessories on Entertainment Center

Also look at the adorable "cottage chic" coffee table we added!

Fireplace Before
Fireplace After

Sheers Before
Sheers After
We made a double rod curtain with sheers mixed
with the curtain panels
We completly changed the look of the living room! Also note the
change of the photo wall to better showcase them.

Here is a close up of our coffee table accessories!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Dressing Your Table for Thanksgiving

Still need a centerpiece for your Thanksgiving Day dinner? Look no further. I love to showcase beautiful, simple table centerpieces for this time of the year. Thanks to the fact that it is Autumn we have a lot of nice natural products to create the most beautiful table ever. To decorate your holiday table for the upcoming Thanksgiving Dinner you could use flowers, colorful leaves, vegetables, fruits and lovely candles and jars you probably already have.

Here are a some inspiration pictures for other table decor ideas!

What I love about this table setting are the leaves scattered across the table active as a "table runner", but in the candle holders are leaves and berries floating in the water below the candle.
Another simple but elegant arrangement!

This table setting pulls in color with the table cloth and place mats. But the beautiful pair of pumpkin floral arrangements bring the pizzaz to the table. This setting also has the scattered leaves which are simple and easy to have. What I like about this table is that there is still plenty of space in the middle for all the delicious Thanksgiving food to come!

Sorry, not the best picture as it was taken with my cell phone for another purpose:)  I'll have after shots of this room soon on the portfolio.

The other night I was at a clients house and noticed their holiday table decor (above) they had put up since I had last been there designing the room. He took a few elements of what I had designed for the "year round" centerpiece and included them for the Autumn centerpiece. I loved not only the simpleness of it but the creativity of it as well. He had filled the large glass cylinders with real berries from a tree in their yard and the small pumpkin shaped pieces scattered along the runner are dried tomatoes. Mixed with the pinecone trees it makes for a fresh, elegant centerpiece decoration.

Now what I love love love about these last few pictures is that fact that they are using food for the decor with the candles.

Using the vegetables for candle holders is unique and genius. The nuts and dried beans/vegetables shown below are more lasting to keep on your table or even other places in your home like your fireplace mantle throughout the season.

Very beautiful and festive!

Keep in mind if you have a large centerpiece that might block peoples view during the big dinner you can scale it back while leaving a few design elements out or combine some of the above like small candle votives and leaves etc. to accomodate the food and still keep a beautiful tablescape.  With this inspiration there's no reason to not have a gorgeous table during this season. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

"The Tiny House Movement"

In a 2011 edition of House Beautiful they focused on Living Large in Small Spaces. In a note from Newell Turner, Editor in Chief for the magazine, he says, 
"most of us are intrigued by small spaces, even though we have a tendency to think bigger is better…home is really what you make of it...The charm, the beauty of small [spaces] is in the creative and stylish ways we decorate them and make them work."

The article I want to showcase is "The Tiny House Movement" by Shax Riegler; he pulls together a charming portfolio of small homes and space designs from the past. 

English Banqueting Houses
During the late 16th century the banquet became a popular form of entertainment among the nobility in England. "Imagine the delight of guests climbing a spiraling staircase…to find themselves in a tiny, whimsically decorated bower filled with extravagant displays of sweets, fruits and spiced wine."-Riegler
The octagonal banqueting house was hosted by Queen Elizabeth herself in 1578
The South Pavilion
"I have here but one room, which like the cobbler's, serves me for parlor and for kitchen and hall. I may add, for bed chamber and study, too." - Thomas Jefferson
This two-story building was the home for Thomas Jefferson, his wife and their six children.
This was the original dwelling for the future president!
There were many more small spaces of the past that Riegler mentions:

The Walden Cottage 
"I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society…"
-Henry David Thoreu

Cape Code Dune Shacks
They have long been summer retreats for writers, artists and others seeking seclusion

French Pleasure Pavilions
These were built as retreats to escape the stifling atmosphere of court life at Versailles, these petits chateaux of the 18th century were where French aristocrats would escape to play cards, pursue love affairs, and "air out their wigs".

Garden Sheds Reimagined
Grown-ups longing for their own playhouses have started transforming garden sheds into hideaways, offices, craft rooms, dining spaces, guesthouses and reading retreats.

If you want to read up more on this idea Sarah Susanka's "The Not So Big House" is a great example to bring this idea of Living Large in Small Spaces to reality. Her manifesto: "Rather than spend our budget on square footage we wouldn't use, we decided to put the money toward making the house an expression of our personalities"

By thinking smaller you and afford the more custom details that make your home or space more you!

I think this is a great trend thats coming into vogue! The feeling of home should be more about quality than quantity, and it just goes to prove that you can have a spectacular space without having the spectacular square footage!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Metal Fabric

Have you ever thought about using metal fabric?  Yes, you heard me right; metal fabric.  While it may not be the comfiest product to reupholster your lazy boy recliner in, it definintely makes a fabulous room divider.  A little while ago I had the opportunity to attend a designer trade show and among the different companies and products represented there one in particular has stuck out to me. I spoke with Scott Hinton from Modern Architectural Systems and he introduced me to
GKD Metal Fabrics, an amazing company! Their metal fabrics have been specified by architects and designers worldwide for the beauty and practicality this product provides. Whether exterior or interior, large or small spaces, metal fabrics add drama and sophistication to the built environment.

Here are a couple of examples of the types of patterns they can provide:
Pattern: Square 25

Pattern: Lago PC

Pattern: Capella

Pattern: Capella

These metal fabrics have numerous possibilites for their use! They can be ceiling tiles, draped ceilings, wall partitions, room dividers, building facades, balustrades, railing insets, columns, etc. They can be framed, draped, freestanding or tension mounted; they can also be etched, illuminated, colored, and used for media screens and accoustics. Like I said the possibilities are endless!

Here are some examples of design that used GKD Metal Fabrics:
Charles Schwab & Co.
GKD Metal Fabrics are used to define the space where the reception area ends and the office space begins.
The reflective and airy panels, framed and suspended, create a classy backdrop and ideal branding location.
Location: Richfield, OH

Yankee Stadium Railing Infills
GKD Metal Fabrics were used for this project for toughness, cleanability, functionality
and for a great looking material.
Location: New York, NY

Beijing National Opera
The remarkable aesthetic properties of the material were the initial reason for GKD Metal Fabrics
to be chosen for this design. The panels totaling over 54,000 sq.ft. act as a veil for the building, but it
also serves as a fireproof safety wall that reduces drafts and noise!
Location: Beijing, China
Here is a close up of the attachment of the  GKD Metal Fabric veiling the Beijing National Opera.

You can find more images and information at: and at
This is truly an amazing product!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

How Haunted is your House?

So I can't believe it but Halloween is right around the corner!
If you haven't decked your halls with ghosts and ghouls yet you are running out of time, but to those who have creatively taken the initiative to transform their house into the haunted mansion on the street...Kudos to you!
As I was driving the other day I came across this awesome house which inspired this blog. I love the attention to detail from the wooden fence, the hearses, and overall theme!

For your enjoyment and maybe inspiration for next year, here are some "Haunted Houses" that are absolutely spook-tacular! :)

This idea is so ingenious and totally CREEPY! The huge spiders and their web cover this entire building!

"Nature is a Haunted House - 
but Art - a House that tries to be haunted."