Off To NYC to hang with BHG and Nate B!

 Today is a very exciting day.  This small town girl is making her way to The Big Apple to attend the Better Homes and Gardens Exclusive StyleMaker Event!  Tonight I'll be enjoying the NYC night life with some of my favorite bloggers.  Tomorrow will be an all-day workshop filled with incredible classes hosted by the BHG Editorial Team.  The workshop will end with a session lead by a panel of three Stylemakers; Gaby Dalkin of What's Gaby Cooking, Gen Sohr Pencil + Paper Creative Development and Susan Feldman the Co-Founder of One Kings Lane .  The lead host of this session will be the one and only Nate Berkus!  

Yes, Nate Berkus!  Truth be told, I almost fell off my chair when I opened this invitation and saw Nates face.  Topping off this adventure will be a cocktail party at a fabulous NYC luxury hotel to celebrate the September StyleMakers issue. 

While I'm away swooning over Nate, the blog will be closed, however the design studio will still be open for my clients.  I'll be back next week to tell you all about the trip.  In the meantime, check out my facebook page and instagram feed for live updates during this adventure!  

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.

Come To My Live Holiday Decorating Class~Detroit Area Makers and Doers Event

Friends, who wants to join me for a fun weekend in the country on Sept. 27th and 28th?  I'm giving away four free passes to The Makers and Doers Festival where I will be teaching a live holiday decorating class and sharing my secret tips on Decorating For The Holidays Like a Pro.  All you need to do is leave a comment below and/or on my facebook page to be entered to win a pair of passes to the event. 

If you are local (Detroit area) you probably already know all about the "Makers and Doers Festival~A Weekend In The Country" that takes place every year in Michigan.  If your not local, the weekend of September 27th and 28th would be a great time to visit the mitten just to check out this event.  The annual Makers and Doers Festival (formerly titled A Weekend in the Country) will once again bring over 125 juried artisans, crafters, makers and doers with a sprinkle of vintage, entertainment, and food to Oakland County September 27-28, 2014. With over 125 indoor and outdoor booths, on-site appraisals, live cooking demos, Makers and Doers presentations, and more.

This year, I'm excited to be a guest speaker discussing one of my favorite topics…Holiday Decor! My class will include a live demonstration on  "How To Decorate For The Holidays Like A Pro".  My Christmas decor was featured in last years Better Homes and Gardens Christmas Ideas Magazine and I'm going to show you how I put some of it together!  

Decorating for the holidays and getting beautiful results doesn't have to mean spending a lot of money.  Using what you have in new and innovative ways can result in a magical, heartwarming holiday home experience for your family.

Hope to see you there!
Don't forget, for a chance to win a pair of passes please leave a comment below.

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.

From Summer To Fall With Just A Few Changes

Here it is!  The first fall post of the year.  I haven't technically started fall decorating yet, but I've started to think about it.  Warm accent colors, natural textures and cozy layers are in the plan.  When I designed the interior of our home, I used a mainly neutral color scheme that would allow me to change things up with the seasons easily.  Using my family room as an example, I'd like to show how the look can go from summer to fall with just a few tweaks.  

 Here is a design board featuring some of the key pieces in my family room…

For the summer, I kept the look simple and neutral.  As summer winds down, I plan to switch out a few items and add extra layers to cozy up the room for fall and winter.   Warm, spicy, autumnal accent colors could be introduced through a few accessories.  Chunky knit throw blankets and an extra layer of toss pillows would give our sofa a cozy look that even Murphie won't be able to resist.  

  Take a look at how these simple changes would affect the look of the room…

Taking it one step further, incorporating a new, personality filled chair would be a lot of fun.  Accent chairs are an easy way to change up the look of a room.  You can see in this inspiration board that I switched out the zebra chair for a spicy orange accent chair from Chairish.  I love the way a piece like this can break up a matching furniture set and give a room a ton of personality.  (If you are not familiar with Chairish, it's a curator approved online shop where design lovers can buy and sell pre-loved decor to one another.  It's a fantastic resource for finding unique  vintage furniture pieces like this for your home). 

If I were to incorporate an accent chair like this in our living room, I could move the zebra chair into my dining room home office.  After the fall/winter season, I could see this piece upstairs in my hallway office nook.  It would bring color and character to an otherwise serious office area.  Since I like to move things around, I keep small plastic furniture sliders on the bottom of my furniture feet.  They make it simple to slide pieces like this from room to room.  

This example shows that changing the look of a room does not always require a complete overhaul.  Just simple changes like a few new accessories and adding a fun personality filled accent chair can make a big difference in the overall look of a space.

Here is a look at last year's fall home tour, if you would like to see some of these ideas in place. 
Enjoy the rest of your summer! 

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.

Create A Home Work Station Using What You Have

Today over at Houzz, I'm sharing a fun back to school project.  I claimed a small, un-used area in our home and repurposed a pile of cast-away furniture to create a quiet study zone for the kids.  The new homework station has already inspired my boys to study and organize their supplies (even though school hasn't started yet).  I was able to create something our home needed (a quiet study area, away from the hustle and bustle) using things we already had (a pile of un-used furniture).  Bringing pieces of old furniture with sentimental value out of storage and putting them to use in our home was the best part of this project.  

(This photo is the space and the pile of furniture BEFORE)

Come on over to Houzz to see the full article, see the AFTER and read my tips on how you could create something similar…

Giveaway~Third Step In A Worry Free Kitchen Makeover

At the end of this post, please leave a comment for a chance to win $100 Visa gift card.
Welcome to part three of my series titled, "Four Steps To a Worry-Free Kitchen Makeover."  As a design professional, I know firsthand that for many homeowners the thought of a kitchen renovation is accompanied by anxiety over all the decisions that need to be made.  I'm teaming up with Sub-Zero and Wolf to share my tips for each stage of a kitchen renovation to help put your worries to rest. 
Here is a look back at the other two posts in this series:
Step One: Define Your Goals. 
 Today's post will address the third step: Executing Your Design Plan.
In my experience the main topics that cause anxiety for homeowners at this stage of the game are; choosing the right professionals, making final decisions, balancing the budget and living through the actual remodel.  The design board shown here is from a client project I'm currently working on.  Using this project as an example, I would like to walk through the process of executing a design plan and offer my advice on each of these anxiety-inducing topics.

1.  Choosing The Right Professionals


The design board shown here is from a client project I'm currently working on.  Using this project as an example, I would like to walk through the process of bringing a kitchen design plan to life.  These particular clients are undergoing a complete kitchen remodel.  They hired a local architect to design the new kitchen layout and a cabinet maker to build new custom cabinetry according to the architect's plans.  They asked me to assist with material selection, finishes, paint colors, hardware, furniture, lighting, etc. 

In Step One and Step Two of the Worry-Free Kitchen RenovationI I mentioned, it's important to have the right professionals involved in your project from the beginning.  In this case the homeowners have had previous experience working with the three of us and knew we were right for their project.  If you are contemplating a remodel and aren't familiar with any local design professionals, trusted resources like Sub-Zero and Wolf's website can help.  Their "Locate a Designer" feature can quickly provide a list of award-winning kitchen designers in your area. 

2.  Making Final Selections

Once the plans from the architect were squared away it was time to start making final selections.  First we met with the cabinet maker to choose the cabinet style and finish.  Then it was time choose their new appliances.  My clients visited our local Sub-Zero and Wolf showroom where they met with a kitchen specialist and selected their brand new rangetop and refrigerators.  Visiting the showroom allowed them to experience and get hands on with Sub-Zero and Wolf appliances in full scale kitchen settings before they prurchased.
Here is a look at their selections…
The refrigerator they chose is the 42" wide Sub-Zero Over-and-Under with French Door.  This particular model has the most interior capacity of any counter-depth French door model.  In addition to a full size refrigerator, they also selected the Sub-Zero UC-24BG Beverage Center.  This beverage center will be perfect for when they are entertaining as well as everyday family life.  It offers built-in refrigeration for their new custom bar area.  For the cooktop, they selected the Wolf 48" Sealed Burner Rangetop.  They love to cook and this gas range offers everything a chef could want including dual stacked sealed gas burners that offer two levels of heat control. 


After checking appliances off the list, it was time for the three of us to start shopping for materials.  The photos used throughout this post were taken during our shopping trips to local tile and granite suppliers Ciot and Gennesse Cut Stone.  The first selection we made was the granite. Choosing an important, main element like countertop material first can help make all the other selections easier. 
   Using the granite as our color guide, we were able to narrow down our backsplash options. 

3.  Balancing The Budget
Since countertop material was one of the biggest expenses, choosing the granite right away gave us a place to start the budget management process.  If sticking to a budget is a priority in your kitchen makeover, having your project managed by a kitchen design professional from the early stages will help keep you on track.   


Balancing the budget in a remodel is all about give and take.  If you find a slab of granite that you are in love with, but it's pricier than your original granite allowance, you may be able to make up the difference in other areas.  For instance, using budget friendly, off the shelf hardware as opposed to custom order could save enough money to make up for that more expensive granite.  If making decisions like this on your own has you worried that your end result won't be the same, a kitchen design professional will know how and where to make appropriate budget friendly substitutions within the design.
It's important to remember when you're planning a remodel that one change can sometimes lead to another.  It's a good idea to leave room in the budget plan for unexpected expenses and/or add-ons.   For example, while shopping for granite and backsplash tile for the new kitchen, we came across some beautiful tile flooring options for the adjacent pantry and mudroom.  The materials we found really complement the new kitchen design and got us thinking about adding on to our project.   
4.  Living Through The Re-model Process 

Once all the design decisions have been made and materials have been selected, it's time for the work to begin.  Whether you are living in your home through the remodel process or staying somewhere else, expect to be met with some inconveniences.  In this case, my clients are living in their home through the entire process.  They are prepared to deal with a mess for a few weeks knowing the reward will be a beautiful kitchen they will enjoy for years.  Residential interior websites like are a great support center and resource for homeowners.  There are many articles, like this one, related to living through a kitchen remodel that offer a ton of great tips and advice to make things a little easier

No matter how much planning goes into a remodel project, it's always best to expect something unexpected.  As long as you go into your kitchen remodel project with realistic expectations and an open mind, the process will be much less stressful.  If you are managing your own project, be prepared for the possibility of things like contractor delays or product backorders.  If you are enlisting a kitchen design professional to oversee your project, they will help manage events like this.

Stay tuned for the fourth and final post in this series.

Join in the conversation and follow Sub-Zero and Wolf on Facebook. For more information on their appliances, visit Sub-Zero or Wolf online.

How would you design your dream kitchen with Sub-Zero and Wolf? Let me know in the comments below for a chance to win a $100 Visa gift card!

Sweepstakes Rules:

No duplicate comments.

You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:

1.     Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post

2.     Tweet (public message) about this promotion; including exactly the following unique term in your tweet message: “#SweepstakesEntry”; and leave the URL to that tweet in a comment on this post

3.     Blog about this promotion, including a disclosure that you are receiving a sweepstakes entry in exchange for writing the blog post, and leave the URL to that post in a comment on this post

4.     For those with no Twitter or blog, read the official rules to learn about an alternate form of entry.

This giveaway is open to US Residents age 18 or older. Winners will be selected via random draw, and will be notified by e-mail. The notification email will come directly from BlogHer via the sweeps@blogher email address. You will have 72 hours to respond; otherwise a new winner will be selected.

The Official Rules are available here.

This sweepstakes runs from 8/19-9/16.

Be sure to visit the Sub-Zero and Wolf  brand page on where you can read other bloggers’ posts.


Bedroom Makeover~Before and After~A Design Plan Comes To Life

One of my absolute favorite things is receiving "after" pictures in my email inbox.  Today, I'm going to share some that were just sent in by my e-design client, Barbara.  We recently had the opportunity to provide Barbara with an online design plan for her master bedroom.  After Barbara completed our project questionnaire, she returned it along with measurements and photos of her space.  Then, we got busy creating a custom design plan that gave Barbara specific product recommendations and instructions on how to implement a professional custom design in her master bedroom. 

Here is a look at the room before the design consultation…



Barbara wanted her bedroom to be high in style but still relaxed and comfortable.  Most of the rest of her home is decorated in neutrals, so color was a welcome addition in this space.  As you can see, she already had some great furnishings and wanted us to keep some of her current pieces in the design.  One of the things Barbara mentioned in her consultation questionnaire was that it was important for us to incorporate a piece of art that has special meaning to her.  It's a needlepoint angle that her mother made and you will see in the "after" pictures below how that piece is now the focal point of the space.  

Here is a look at the design plan we created for Barbara...

After we delivered this plan, Barbara got to work implementing her custom design.  She made a few substitutions, but used this plan as her general guide.  For instance, she chose a chair that had a similar look to the chair we suggested, but was more tailored to her personal comfort needs.  It is the same style and color.  Another example of a substitution she made are the mercury glass lamps.  The lamps she chose are very similar to the lamps we put in her design plan. Barbara also decided not to incorporate a TV into the new design and replaced it with a mirror. 

Are you ready to see what the room looks like now?  
Take a look…

What I love most about this space, is how her special needlepoint angel is now the focal point of the room.  Barbara did an amazing job following our plan, tweaking it to meet her personal needs and implementing the new design.  I also have to point out that this real-life makeover with real-life photography is a great example of the results our online design plan service provides.

Thank you Barbara for allowing me to share your project.  We really enjoyed working with you and hope you are enjoying your new bedroom!


For information on my affordable online design service please click here.
Source List

Blue, Beige and Charcoal Family Room

Today's featured design plan is one of two rooms we designed for Ashley and her young family.  We created a look that is classic, yet young and current. The color combination of blue, beige and charcoal gray is timeless and striking.  This living room design is high in style and in family friendliness.  
Take a look...

(*All product sources are listed at the very end of the post)

  For Ashley's Living Room wall color, we recommended a color like Kilim Beige by Sherwin Williams (the color shown below, all the way to the right).  This fantastic neutral color will look great with her white trim, baseboards and window casings.  Also shown here are two other accent colors that could be used with this design.  

For drapes, we chose these eye catching charcoal gray cheveron panels from Ballard Design.  These have a casual feel while the large graphic pattern will set off the large windows in Ashley's home. 

Ashley already has a great loveseat that she would like to keep in the space.  For additional seating, we introduced a pair of neutral colored wing back chairs.  These particular chairs have a nice contemporary shape which keeps them feeling young. 

For color, pattern and interest, we created a custom mix of toss pillows.  This collection of fabrics will look great mixed together on the loveseat and wing back chairs. 

Ashley has a young family that wants to be able to use this space comfortably everyday.  This coffee table is a perfect solution.  These beautiful storage baskets not only provide a place to keep toys, but they also bring gorgeous natural texture that compliments the design.  

This amazing area rug was chosen for it's striking color combination and bold pattern.  It is traditional in style, yet the contrasting color palette makes it an eye catching addition to the space.  

With the addition of this bold, colorful rug and striking cheveron drapes we kept the rest of the design simple.  These beautiful glass lamps from Ballard Design are simply stated, yet interesting and elegant.

All together this design feels young and fresh, yet classic at the same time. 

Here is the true to scale floorplan we provided to Ashley that illustrates the furniture placement we suggest for her space...

As with all of our online design plans, Ashley received a complete product source list, a true to scale floor-plan illustration and instructions on how to implement her new design. 
Thank you for giving us the opportunity to design for you, Ashley.  


For information on my affordable online design service please click here.

*Product Sources:

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