Important Announcements on My Design Services

I have two exciting announcements this morning…First, The Yellow Cape Cod Design Studio now has openings for new projects! I'm humbled to say that after having been booked solid for two months and then working our way through the waiting list, we are now available to take brand new online design reservations! If you are interested, please click here for more information. 

The second important announcment…The Yellow Cape Cod Design Studio is now offering gift certificates for our online design services. This is a great holiday gift idea.  If you would like to purchase a gift certificate simply follow the instructions to make a reservation here and type "gift certificate" in the notes section during check out. 

I can't wait to share some of the projects we have been working on. Here is a sneak peek at a family room/kitchen design plan that's hot off the press... 

This design was created for a young family in the process of making updates to their gorgeous lakeside home. (All product and image sources are listed at the bottom of this post).

The look we created is slightly rustic, yet sophisticated and refined. With a little nod to the lake-side setting. The home already has many beautiful features like a two-story stone fireplace. We introduced a rich, dark stain on the window trim, interior doors and wood floors. I chose a warm, gray wall color that provides the most amazing contrast to the new dark stain and also plays beautifully with the existing stonework.

The kitchen has been recently renovated and boasts beautiful cream colored cabinetry and warm, neutral, granite in shades of tan and brown. The fabrics and accessories we brought into the adjoining family room and foyer tie the color palette of the entire lower level together, providing seamless flow. This is a big benefit to designing multiple rooms at the same time (please see our design services menu for information on our multi-room discount).


If you would like to get started on a design plan for your home, please visit my design services menu. After an online consultation that includes viewing photos and measurements of your space, we will get to work creating a professional, custom design plan tailored to your style preferences, budget and lifestyle. Your plan may include all new items or we can incorporate existing pieces, whichever you prefer. With each design plan, you will receive an inspiration board (like the example shown in this post), a true to scale floor plan illustration (a birds eye view of your space featuring the items in your plan), a product source list with links to each item shown in your plan, and step by step instructions on how to implement your new design. 

Product/Image Sources:
Drapes~Email theyellowcapecod@yahoo for source

Thanks for stopping by! 

2014 Christmas~Contemporary Cabin

 It's a little early to decorate for Christmas, but it's never too early to plan. Especially if your holidays are busy and you don't have a lot of time to run from store to store. This week I finished planning my Christmas 2014 decor and ordered my supplies online.  I'll have everything ready to go the day after Thanksgiving. Including a new tree, mantle greens, lights, DIY project supplies, ribbon, greeting cards, gift wrap and all other decor. It's one big thing I can already cross off my holiday "To Do" list. 

Here is a sneak peek at my 2014 Christmas Decor Vision...

Creating this design plan for my decor is going to help keep my vision on track.  It will keep me from getting sidetracked by other beautiful decor themes I may bump into on the web. I'll be using a lot of my existing decor items, but I have exciting plans for a new theme. It's inspired by the Holidays we spent at our family cabin in the woods. When our kids were little, we piled in the car every Christmas and headed up to winter wonderland in northern Michigan. This year, my goal is to bring the magic of our Christmas's at the cabin to our home in suburbia. Of course I'll be putting a spin on the cabin theme, adding a modern twist to create a "Contemporary Cabin" Christmas.

Here is a look at my Family Room Design Board next to my Christmas 2014 Design Board:

If you aren't able to create an inspiration board, Pinterest is a great tool for creating a similar visual aid. By creating a board dedicated to your Christmas decor and pinning items that you already have or would like to purchase you can see how everything looks together. As an example, I've created a Pinterest pin board titled "Contemporary Cabin" with all of these items, you can see it here.

If you're inspired by my Contemporary Cabin theme and would like to create something similar in your home, below is a source list for the items shown in my inspiration board. You'll be able to see how I use all of these pieces during my Christmas Home Tour for the Holiday Housewalk the first week of December. 

I'm especially excited about our brand new Christmas tree. I've waited a long time to order a new Christmas tree because I've been holding out for something special. Thanks to Balsam Hill, this is the year. Stay tuned for my Christmas home reveal during the Holiday Housewalk hosted by Jen Rizzo. Every year this week long tour of homes knocks my Christmas socks off. Click here to check out last year's tour. 

Back to the design studio!

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

Historic Building Makeover~Giving Back To Veterans

Disclosure: This post is sponsored by The Home Depot Foundation, but all opinions are my own. Please see below for additional disclosure.

Last Thursday, I had the opportunity to be a part of something really cool.  A huge, vacant, historic building on Detroit's east side was transformed in one day by a sea of volunteers in orange shirts.
That in itself is exciting. But, that is not where the story ends. It's where it begins for more than 40  homeless veterans that will now call this building home. Thanks to the volunteer efforts of Team Depot, The Safe Place Transition Center in Detroit is now ready to open it's doors to welcome veterans in need of a home and assistance re-building their lives. 

Here is a look at some of the beautiful detail of this historic building…

This is what the inside of the building looked like when Team Depot arrived early in the morning (before the makeover)…


And this is what it looked like at the end of the day...


Here is a quick video of events from this day:

In order for The Safe Place Transition Center (SPTC) to begin housing veterans, the building was in need of repairs including 18,000 square feet of paint, supplies, new appliances, doors etc. Also needed was the man power to do the work. Through Team Depot's ongoing effort to address veteran housing challenges and served those who have served us all, they were able to provide this in just one day as part of the Home Depot Foundation's Celebration of Service program.

In just two months, from 9/11 to Veterans Day, Team Depot volunteers will put their talents to work to transform 1,000 homes for veterans during the Celebration of Service Program. Thousands of The Home Depot’s store associates spend their time off volunteering as members of Team Depot in communities across the country. With the power of Team Depot volunteers, The Home Depot has transformed more than 13,000 homes for veterans.  


Last Thursday in Detroit at SPTC, it was more than just one home that Team Depot transformed. It was a gigantic building. The SPTC is one of the largest veteran housing facilities of it's kind. 

Also joining in the group of Team Depot volunteers that day were the members of the SPTC organization, local veterans, community representatives and local dignitaries. There were times during the day where you honestly couldn't tell there was hard work going on, because we were having so much fun working together.  

I wish you could hear the music, laughter and energy that filled this building.  Looking out the window at one point, I think I spotted some orange shirts on the basketball court.

Local veterans stopped by to show their support for the Team Depot efforts at SPTC. The SPTC will change the lives of more than 40 homeless veterans.  In addition to providing safe transitional housing, the organization also offers programs to empower veterans in a supportive environment, including financial literacy counseling, substance abuse prevention education and PTSD and anger management therapy. 

It was an amazing day that I'll never forget. This group of individuals of all ages, from all walks of life came together with one common goal, to give back to the veterans that have served all of us. 

At the end of the day after all the work was complete, everyone gathered outside to present the SPTC with a Home Depot apron signed by all the volunteers as well as a plaque dedicated to Team Depot's support for the organization. 

I'm so thankful to The Home Depot for inviting me to be a part of the Team Depot family. While I have this opportunity, I'd like to give a shout out to the Detroit area Home Depot employees. This group has a really special sense of camaraderie and pride in their work.

Looking back at these photos, I realized this was one of the best makeover's I've ever taken part in. 

Giving back to veterans is personal to The Home Depot, more than 35,000 of their associates are veterans! To learn more about Team Depot please visit the Home Depot Foundation website.  To learn more about The Safe Place Transition Center in Detroit, please click here

The Home Depot Foundation partnered with bloggers such as me for their Celebration of Service program. As part of this program, I received compensation for my time. They did not tell me what to purchase or what to say about any product mentioned in these posts. The Home Depot Foundation believes that consumers and bloggers are free to form their own opinions and share them in their own words. The Home Depot Foundation’s policies align with WOMMA Ethics Code, FTC guidelines and social media engagement recommendations.

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

Busy Ladies' Holiday Decor Guide~Halloween Mantle

This weekend was my youngest son's (Max's) birthday. I only had a short amount of time to prepare for the party due to our hectic schedule. I went with a Halloween theme to kill two birds with one stone. This time of year is always busy for us, but the fact that my design business is booming and my three kids are getting older and more involved in extra circular activities makes every season a "crazy time of year" for us.  

I know what you're thinking, I'm preaching to the choir. Everyone I talk to has the same story. We are all down right busy. Yet, we still want to enjoy the pleasures in life. Like decorating. So many people have said to me, "I wish I could decorate for the holidays like you do, but I just don't have the time". As a matter of fact, someone just said that to me this morning and it inspired me to start a new series titled, "The Busy Ladies' Holiday Decor Guide".  

Throughout this series, I'm going to share quick, simple holiday decorating ideas.  I'm not going to pretend that all of the holiday projects I do in my home should be considered quick and easy. Some projects are a little more elaborate and time consuming due to the nature of my occupation. But, some holiday decor displays at The Yellow Cape Cod (like this Halloween mantle) are put together in a matter of minutes, just before guests arrive. The Busy Girl's Series will be dedicated to projects such as this. 

Here are my tips for creating an impressive Halloween themed mantle in just a few minutes…

Keep Main Everyday Mantle Styling Neutral

The main everyday decor I use over the mantle is a great base for adding seasonal accents. A simple black mirror, pair of chunky candlesticks and the silhouettes of our kids set a neutral backdrop.  It looks great all on it's own for everyday, but with just a few small additions this mantle styling can be transitioned from season to season quickly. 

Add A Seasonal Accent Color 

By adding a spicy orange accent color the look became very Halloween-esque. I introduced orange with three things; a toss pillow, a simple pre-made orange wreath (HomeGoods) and orange mats to frame our silhouettes. One trick that I use to make switching up the silhouette mats fast and easy, is to store different color mats right inside the frames. I have several mats painted in different accent colors tucked inside the frames. As the seasons change, all I do is flip them over, and swap the mat for whatever color meets my needs. 

Spell It Out With A Banner

Cute banners, like this trick or treat banner (HomeGoods) are a great way to give your mantle a theme, quick. HomeGoods always has a great selection of holiday banners, or if you would like something handmade, check out Etsy. Storing a banner for each holiday right in the living room (in an end table drawer or a cute storage basket) will eliminate the need to dig through storage boxes when it comes time to decorate.

Bigger is Better & Less is More

Using just a few large scaled items to decorate your mantle as opposed to a lot of little things can speed up the process. It means less fussing around with the arrangement. Not to mention I like the dramatic look of large decor items. To finish off display, I added a giant spider that I found at a thrift store a few years ago, and a few black birds from the dollar store. I use these items year after year, they are fun elements that the kids enjoy. 

In just a few minutes my mantle was ready for the Halloween season. 
Stay tuned for more posts in "The Busy Ladies' Holiday Decor Guide".  This year, my holiday calendar already looks busy, I'll be doing a lot of quick, simple projects that I can't wait to share with you! 

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.
All photos credit to Sarah Macklem of The Yellow Cape Cod. 

Pre-Made Wreath Becomes A Gorgeous, Large Scale Centerpiece

If you are hosting a holiday dinner this year and want to set a beautiful, impressive table, but your short on time, this post is for you.  This is the easiest centerpiece ever, and it gets a lot of attention.  It's large in scale, colorful, smells delicious and sets a festive mood.  The other major benefit to this centerpiece is that it will last the entire season and can be used year after year.  I have shared this project in the past, but it makes an appearance every fall.  This is a great alternative to the fresh flower centerpiece I shared the other day.  

The biggest plus, is that anyone can put this together in less than 5 seconds.  Even those of us who don't consider ourselves crafty, this project is (for lack of a better term) 100% fool proof.  Actually, I hate to even refer to it as a "project" because all it required were three simple things…

A beautiful, large scale fall pre-made wreath... 

A clear glass canister from the kitchen...

And a yummy fall scented candle (unscented works too)…

All you need to do is lay the wreath on the table, place the jar inside the hole in the wreath and stick the candle inside the jar.  Voila...

Okay, I lied.  There were actually four things used in this project.  After I initially assembled the centerpiece I decided I wanted my candle to stand up higher so I set the jar on top of a can of tuna. 

This particular wreath is from Sams Club.  I like to shop there for pre-made holiday decor items because they are typically larger in scale.  Since Sams Club sells commercial grade products, they are usually bigger than decor items made for residential use.  I have also found some beautiful pre-made wreaths this year at Michael's and Hobby Lobby if you don't have a Sams Club nearby.  

Thanks for stopping by.  Back to work!

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.
All photos credit to Sarah Macklem of The Yellow Cape Cod. 

High Impact, 5 Minute Fall Centerpiece In a Tote~Tutorial

Now that things have settled down (a little) I'm excited to share some of the fun "projects" I've been working on. To start, I spent a weekend in Davisburg, Michigan for The Makers and Doers Festival (formally called A Weekend In The Country).  I held a series of live workshops, including one dedicated to creating simple, budget friendly, fall centerpieces.  Each centerpiece was made of produce/flowers from the grocery store, clippings from the yard and things most of us already have laying around the house. 

My "Five Minute Fall Centerpiece-in-a-Tote", was the most popular among the attendees. It's very easy to put together and makes a big statement.  Especially if you make two.  Using grocery store flowers and a basket or tote you already have around the house makes it inexpensive enough that even making a pair is still easy on the wallet. Since it was such a hit at the festival, I thought I'd share the tutorial here as well.  

What you will need:
-A small, inexpensive vase
-An attractive storage tote or basket (my striped storage tote came from Hobby Lobby)
 -A dinner plate 
-A large bouquet (or two small bouquets) of grocery store flowers 
-Curly willow branches or branches from your backyard
-A handful of plastic grocery bags

The simple steps:
1. The first step is to place the dinner plate in the bottom of the basket or tote.  This provides a nice sturdy, level base for the centerpiece and will also catch any incidental water drips.

2.  Next, fill your vase with water (and any vitamins included in your flower bouquet).  Then place inside the tote, resting it on top of the dinner plate.  

3. To help keep the vase from tipping over and to keep the tote looking full and plump, plastic grocery bags tucked in around the vase will do the trick. 

4. The next step is to add your flowers.  I simply unwrap the flowers, trim them to the height of my vase and set them into the vase.  If you would like to take the bouquet and re-arrange the flowers, you could, but most of the time I find it's not necessary.  Sometimes, if the bouquet is on the small side I will use two bouquets.   

5.  The last step is to add a little height to the arrangement.  I used curly willow branches that I found in my grocery store floral dept.  These can be used over and over again.  If you can't find curly willow branches at your grocery store, branches from a tree or bush in your backyard could work also.  

What makes this arrangement such a high impact element is the size and height of the arrangement, the eye-catching, black and white stripes and the interesting texture of the canvas tote.  If you don't have a canvas tote, you could use woven basket (like I did with this centerpiece).  Baskets are also a great way to create an eye-catching piece, and most of us have one available. 

Taking advantage of the grocery store floral department is a convenient and budget friendly way to incorporate fresh flowers in your home. Whether your entertaining, decorating for the seasons or just need a little visual pick-me-up.  Last year, I made a large fall centerpiece using a similar approach with flowers from the front yard (click here for details).  

Better get back to the design studio.  Thanks for stopping by!

For information on my affordable online design service please click here.
All photos credit to Sarah Macklem of The Yellow Cape Cod, unless otherwise marked. 

Better Homes and Gardens, Nate Berkus, NYC and Me

Hi there.  I've missed you guys.  It's been a little crazy around here.  Crazy in a good way.  I can't wait to share all the exciting things that have been going on.  First, let me start with an adventure I went on 10 days ago.  Here is a little teaser...

Photo courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

 I hopped on a plane and flew to NYC for the Better Homes and Gardens (BHG) Stylemaker Event.  I was invited along with 69 other bloggers to attend an exclusive all-day workshop at the BHG New York offices with the BHG team of editors ending with a fabulous party.

I landed in NYC and took a crazy cab ride into Manhattan to my hotel where I hooked up with my friend and roommate, Laura Trevey.   

After exploring the city, we met up with a fun group of bloggers for dinner.  We had a great time getting to know each other and talking shop.  


The next day we woke up and headed to the Meredith (BHG) offices.  We spent the day hanging on to the words and advice of the BHG editorial team, enjoying some pretty amazing food and getting to know fellow bloggers.   

(A huge thank you to Minted for creating a gorgeous piece of customized art for every blogger in attendance using photos found on our Instagram Feeds). 

From there we went to a private Stylemaker session. Well, as private as something can be in a room full of bloggers…ha!

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

The session was hosted by Nate Berkus and panel of Stylemakers from the September issue of BHG; Gaby Dalkin of What's Gaby CookingGen Sohr Pencil + Paper Creative Development and Susan Feldman the Co-Founder of One Kings Lane.

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

It was so much fun hearing what they each had to say about personal style.  I snapped the photo below just after Nate discussed the hot button topic of painting wood…he agrees that it's okay.  By the way, you know how Nate appears to be this sweet, down to earth, charming, like-able guy on TV?  Well guess what?  He is. 


After the stylemaker discussion we headed over to the top of the Gansevoort Park Hotel where the party took place.  

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

Also joining us was one of my very favorite HGTV personalities; Designer and Host Monica Pedersen and the uber inspiring BHG Editor-in-Chief; Gayle Butler.

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

The food was fabulous, drinks were incredible…

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

 and the guest list was pretty darn cool.  

(The gorgeous Monica Pedersen, myself, and dapper Peter Julian from Scalamandre).

Did I mention how charming Nate is?

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

Oh my gosh, how could I almost forget to tell you about the furniture!  This chic living room set up overlooking the city was styled by Pier One.    

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

The furniture provided swanky and comfortable conversation area as well as a gorgeous backdrop for pictures.  Below is the Lee Jeans chick (who seemed kinda quiet), myself and my best girl Stacey who had the opportunity to participate in the BHG Makeover Challenge .

Photos courtesy of © Avi Gerver Photography

Speaking of pictures, the photo booth was very entertaining…

(myself, Sue, Elizabeth, and Laura)

(Kim, Cyndy, myself and Beth)

Thank you, Better Homes and Gardens for the hospitality!  Thank you Lee, Pier 1 Imports, Vanity Fair, Oh Snap Smile and all the other sponsors for the fantastic swag.  You guys know how to throw a party.  To see more photos from this event, please click here. 

 I learned so much from this experience. It was so much more than an exciting trip to the city, a fun day at the BHG offices and a party with awesome people.  It was an incredible, priceless learning experience. I'm always looking for ways to improve my blog content to make it a better experience for my visitors (you).  Because without you, this blog would not exist and that trip would never have been possible.  So, thank you. 

Back to work!  I currently have a few openings for new online design projects and after this trip, I'm feeling pretty inspired!

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

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