August 25, 2015

Deck & Grill Prep Area Makeover - and a deck stain dilemma...


Hey guys, today I thought I'd pop in to share our big ole' backyard deck and grill prep area makeover! 

 This project went well, but not perfect.  Now don't get me wrong, overall this outdoor space is a huge improvement.  Lets just say staining the new deck boards threw me a curve ball ;)

Here's the Before below.  This old deck is original to the house built in 88'.  This Spring we looked at the deck boards and knew they had to go.  They were old, weather beaten and splintered.  So we ripped up the old boards, then we hired a friend and neighbor to lay the new boards.  After that the hubby and I set out to stain this baby.


For this outdoor space I wanted the deck to have a sophisticated and modern look to go with our brick home.  And to flow nicely with our screened porch and dark hardwoods inside the house, so we chose a dark brown stain.

 The problem so far with this project is the deck stain.  At first I loved the new dark stain.  Here it is below after just one coat.  Doesn't it look pretty all dark and shiny? 

 Well it eventually dried and the shine was pouff - gone! 

 Here's the After below all prettied up with pillows and poufs.  The umbrella is from Crate & Barrel and the black and white striped pillows are from Pottery Barn.  I have those on our screened porch too and LOVE them!  The poufs are older from Target and the other two red and orange pillow I scored from Kirkland's.  


So as you can see in this pic above, the deck finish is dry and chalky looking and I am not a fan.  I love the dark color.  But I hate that the wood has no depth or shine.  So I'm on a mission to find a way to make this deck stain work.  Be it another brand of solid stain or maybe an outdoor poly - do they even make an outdoor polyeurethane that stands up to the  outdoor elements?  

Aside from all that, I LOVE our new affordable outdoor Target sectional with it's clean and modern lines!  And seeing all this color when I walk outside makes me smile. I don't use a lot of color inside our home as I'm more of a neutral gal.  But I think it's important to have color somewhere in a home.  And for us, outside is the perfect place!

So the hubby and i have been talking for years about making an area just below our deck into an outdoor grill and prep area.  And a few weeks ago we finally made that happen with simple gravel and metal edging!  We ripped out and relocated a few of the plants, leveled the area, and then laid the edging and gravel.

My son helped too. Although below he seems to be busy texting.  Ahhh the joys of growing up with parents who Diy right?

And here it is mostly finished below.  I still need to put plants in those pots.  But wow, we love this area!  And my hubs found that handmade table just below the deck on craigslist for only $100.  It's the perfect place to set a platter full of burgers or a drink.  LOVE, LOVE!  My hubby rocked this project below.

And there's Bear photobombing this pic.  I'm convinced he likes this space too ;)

Okay guys so that's whats going on around here.  Never a dull moment.  I'll keep you posted with the deck stain because I am on a mission to love this entire space, especially those deck boards.

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August 20, 2015

Mix it up! An Eclectic Design Board, Chairish & More...


Hey guys, today I thought I'd share an Eclectic Design Board that I created several months ago.  What I love about this board is that the look is both eclectic and timeless.  Yes this design would look great today and will still look great in 5,10 or more years!  And that my friends is what I love about timeless design.  It's not trendy.  It's not about what's "hot" or "in style" today.  It just works on so many levels.

I was decided to create a Chinoiserie inspired design board after I first visited the site Chairish several months ago.  At Chairish you can buy and sell vintage furniture, decor, jewelry and accessories on-line.  And surfing through their huge inventory of antique & vintage furniture is so much fun!  

Now if you look at the board above.  There are only three pieces that I sourced from Chairish - the two chinoiserie vases and the Chippendale bamboo chair.  The other furnishings and home accessories are very simple and traditional.  So my point is don't let your home's decor fall flat!  Add a few vintage pieces to the mix for added style and personality! 

Here's what caught my eye on Chairish's site today...

Ahhh, I LOVE these one of a kind pieces!  Especially that vintage bar cabinet.  Yes I could see myself whipping up a dirty martini there on the week-ends ;)

Okay guys look around your home.  Do you own a few one of a kind vintage or antique pieces?  If not check out Chairish.  Or if their price points are too high, check out your local flea markets or consignment shops.  For me, it's all about the mix, eclectic design and surrounding yourself with home furnishings that you LOVE.

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August 12, 2015

Local Marriott Campaign...hashtag your Instagram photos #DesignCharlotte and win!


Hey guys, I'm so excited to be participating in a fun new campaign sponsored by the Marriott Charlotte City Hotel which is currently undergoing a huge renovation.  The idea is simple and fun... share your favorite pictures of our beautiful city including uptown areas & cityscapes, restaurants, parks, businesses etc... on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook with the hash tag #DesignCharlotte

 Your photos could be a street performer, a ballpark, a local craft beer, a museum, or anything else that inspires you!  And for me as a Decorator, I plan to post a few photos showcasing the Charlotte area Interior Design & Decorating scene!  Ahhh yes this is right up my alley.

 Oh and did I mention a Winner will be chosen for a grand prize getaway?  Yes sir.  And if that doesn't inspire you to get your Instagram ON I don't know what will!  Okay today I thought it would be fun to feature several photos that have already been submitted. 

Let's swoon over our fabulous Queen City shall we?

Wow, I LOVE this town!

Okay so if you live in Charlotte, or are visiting... go snap some photos, and share them with the hashtag #DesignCharlotte.  And if you search the hashtag on Instagram, you'll find tons of great restaurants and attractions that are totally worth visiting too from the hippest restaurants in NoDa to the coolest spots Uptown.

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August 4, 2015

Client Project...Family Room - maximizing space in a long, narrow room.


Hey guys, today I'm sharing my latest  client project and Design Board.

I have a client right now who is in the process of giving her Charlotte area home a fresh new look.  She started with a kitchen remodel that looks great complete with new cherry cabinetry and stainless steel appliances.  She then plans to add stacked stone to her brick fireplace for a clean and modern look.  And her existing built in bookcases that flank the fireplace will get a fresh coat of white paint to keep this space looking light and bright.
Next on the list is to give her family room a whole new look focusing on comfort and style.  And to maximize the space of this long and narrow room that is 14 ft. long x 10 ft. wide.

We plan to make the most of this space by placing a large sectional sofa against the long wall to maximize seating.  Because with a 10 ft. wide space their isn't room for both a sofa and love seat or even club chair.  Yes, a great sectional is the way to go!  This one above is from Bassett.  it's the Beckham sectional and it is Awesome!  Look how comfortable this sectional looks below with it's deep seating, yet it has clean and modern lines, I love that!

 I also love that 6 custom throw pillows come with this sofa in any of Bassett's huge fabric selection.  The client and I chose a fun gray Ikat, a brown greek key and a solid neutral with loads of texture.  I love the mix of patterns here next to the subtle pattern on the West Elm window panels.  And a textured shag rug will be soft under foot.

I appreciate it when a client likes to take their time during an Interior Room Design.  After all choosing the right sectional sofa, especially for a smaller space, is an important decision.  We want it to fit the scale of the room and maximize seating, but also offer style and comfort as well.

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July 24, 2015

Pendant Light Love!


I sourced a few mini pendant light options for a friend and client this morning and thought I'd share!  I know when it comes to updating lighting, things can get expensive quick!  And lately instead of 3 pendant lights above a kitchen island, I've been seeing two large pendants.  And I absolutely LOVE the look!  

But not the price because removing 3 lights and centering two new lights above a kitchen island, for most people, requires an electrician and suddenly this project just got really expensive!  So I say save your money and simply switch out those 3 dated pendant lights with fabulous new lights.  And there are some fun new style options available today in modern, vintage and industrial styles.  Here are a few favorites that caught my eye...

Brushed Nickel Emery Light - lighting   $169

ORB Urban Renewel -   $88

Castle Apothecary Pendant - Pottery Barn   $79

Antique Saddle Galeana Pendant Light -   $143

Single Light Mini Pendant w/ fabric drum shade - lighting   $44

Paxton Glass Single Pendants - Pottery Barn   $99

Okay so if your pendant lights are looking tired and dated, think about switching them out.  With these stylish lights your kitchen can have a fresh new look -  without breaking the bank!

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July 1, 2015

Fabulous Houseplants - Ferns!


Hey guys!  Today I'm sharing several inspiration photos with one of my all time favorite plants...ferns!  We use potted ferns to flank two separate entrances of our home - the side and back entrance to our screened porch and really love this shade loving plant.

However these photos below feature ferns used inside the home.  Yes they make great houseplants so bring them inside and watch your space come to life!

  All photos sourced from my favorite on-line design rescource...Houzz.

Ferns thrive inside because they love shade and don't do well in direct sunlight.

These ferns above look Amazing in this large mid century modern brick planter.  They really make a statement in this minimally decorated space.

This large fern above brings the outside in and adds softness to the clean, mid century modern lines in this kitchen.

This type fern above is called a Maidenhair.  I've read they can be difficult to maintain but love warm and humid environments, so they are perfect in bathrooms.

I love this idea!  If you have a fireplace that doesn't work or isn't used.  Place a potted fern directly in front.

This is pretty for an entryway.  Place a fern on the edge of a bench or table.  I love simple decorating ideas like this!

Ahhh, another Maidenhair fern!  I love their soft and delicate foliage.

Finally, ferns make great vase filler!  For an affordable decorating idea skip the expensive store bought flowers and use fern clippings from your yard.  I love this look above!  Okay guys, ferns...they're not just for outside the home.  Bring them inside because in the right spot, they make excellent houseplants!

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June 19, 2015

Add Curb Appeal w/ a Front Door Refresh!


Hey guys, wow the first weeks of Summer are flying by!  Between my son's travel baseball and my daughter's diving team...we've been non stop.

Well I'm very excited to be a contributor for another article in the Charlotte Observer tomorrow in their Home Design section!  And the subject is - Front Door Curb Appeal!  So today I thought I'd share our front door refresh!

The easiest way to make a front entrance more welcoming is by giving your front door a fresh coat of paint.  Thankfully our black painted door cleaned up nice so that will be another project for another year ;)

I did however plant new plants in our urns.  I used sweet potato vine and red petunias.  However this vine grows so fast, it's taken over and now the flowers are hardly visible.  What I need are colorful flowers that are tall and that will be visible above the vine -  so this week-end I'm on the hunt for those.

A few months ago we added new carriage style lights to our brick colonial home (in three separate entrances) and are loving this classic look.  I also hung a very large American flag by our front door.  I like how the large scale of the flag adds balance and proportion to our tall portico.  And of course I love supporting our Troops!  #USA #Proud

Because flags and door mats fade over time, to save money I usually purchase these at either Lowe's or even Target and switch them out every year or two.  So with just a few new outdoor accessories our front entrance is now warm and welcoming for our family, friends and neighbors! 

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