"Hosting a Heartwarming Holiday Dinner (In My Living Room)"

As the holidays approach, my excitement over filling my home with friends and family intensifies. This has been a busy year.  I'm ready to slow down and enjoy the company of friends we haven't seen in a while. Imagine my excitement when I found out we are celebrating Turkey Day early this year.

I started preparing my home for Thanksgiving dinner. I moved my sofas into the dining room and brought my table into the living room to create the dining room of my dreams. A crackling fire, and enough space for the whole family to gather in one room to enjoy each other and re-connect.

To keep the focus on the warm fire, family, food, coffee and conversation I kept the tablescape simple.

Here's how it came together...
My daughter and I set out to gather supplies. 
The time we spent having breakfast was also time for her and I to reconnect. We tossed ideas around for the tablescape and created a shopping list.
We headed to the grocery store where we grabbed some fresh artichokes to use as place card holders. After many laughs and awkward moments taking pictures in the produce aisle, we headed home and I got to work.

To get the artichokes to stand up, I used a serrated knife to remove the stems to create a flat base.

I used chalkboard labels (found at my local office supply store) to make a place card for each family member.

I simply stuck the label in the artichoke and placed one at each place setting. 

While we were picking up supplies, I grabbed a bag of whole coffee beans to use as a filler for my candle lanterns. 

Not only does this look pretty, but it smells amazing.

For a quick tablecloth, I used a pretty orange curtain panel folded in half.

Outside of having enough space for everyone and the romantic crackling fire,

Another perk to having Thanksgiving dinner in our family room is being able to take advantage of our occasional tables for serving.

Our family loves coffee and dessert.
The sofa table makes a perfect extra-large coffee bar. 

To create the coffee bar, I removed our everyday vignette, dressed up the table with another curtain panel and added a large white serving tray filled with extra-capacity coffee cups and a carafe waiting to be filled with coffee.

All we need now is the family, the turkey,
and Grandma's pies.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Online Design Services are now available. Please click here for details. 

Sophisticated Family-Friendly Den

Please click here for information on my affordable online design service.  I am now accepting new projects! 

Today's featured online design plan was one of my favorite projects.  This family was looking to redesign their den, taking it from playroom to family hangout.  The kids, 8 and 5 have out grown their toys and are now in need of a family-friendly den/homework area.  

The room is adjacent to the foyer, the main entrance of the elegant traditional style home.  Therefore, it had to make a great first impression.  It also had to appeal to the kiddos, inspiring them to spend time in their new space studying.  

This plan combines sophisticated furnishings and fabrics with bold patterns and whimsical accessories to create a space that the whole family will enjoy.

Thank you, Kerry for inviting me into your home.  

Please Click Here to reserve your custom Online Design Plan. 
Thanks for stopping by.

A Room To Grow In...

Please click here for information on my affordable online design service.  I am now accepting new projects!

Today's featured online design plan is for three year old Levi.  He is getting ready to graduate from his toddler bed to a big boy bed.  The perfect time to redesign his space.

The goal was to give Levi a room that will grow with him through the years.  The artwork and accessories in the space make it fun for a three year old while the natural fiber rug, masculine color palette and rich dark wood furnishings will be appropriate through his teenage years. By simply changing up the accessories as Levi's interests change, his space will mature right along with him. 

Product/Image Sources:

The design plan also includes board and batten style wainscoting.  The image in the inspiration board is from a fabulous tutorial by Decor Chick.  Levi's space will have a lower version of this wall treatment, but this is such a great step by step tutorial I had to share it.  Stop by and check out how she applied this wall treatment in her son's room {click here

Please click here for information on my affordable online design service.  I am now accepting new projects!

New Years Eve Party~Ladera Ranch Magazine

How do you celebrate on New Years Eve?
After years of experimenting, our family has finally decided staying home is our preferred way to ring in the new year.  We are lucky enough to have a fun group of neighbors to celebrate with.  I've already started to plan our 2012 at home New Years Eve party.  I am so looking forward to it. 

When I was asked to be a guest contributor at Ladera Ranch Magazine, I knew right away the topic would be New Years Eve at home.  Ladera Ranch Magazine is a California based, quarterly publication full of lifestyle inspiration for entertaining, fashion, food and home.

Here is a sneak peek at my article in the current issue on entertaining friends and family on New Years Eve...

To get a closer look at the full issue, you can view the digital version, here.  
You can also like them on facebook, or if you enjoy the paper edition, you can subscribe, here

Thank you, Ladera Ranch Magazine for having me.

How do you prefer to ring in the new year, at home or out on the town?

Behind The Scenes: I'm Thankful For My Amazing Support Staff

  This year has been exciting to say the least.  Between the blog, online designing and on-site decorating, it has been a great year.  I've had the privilege of working with many wonderful people behind the scenes.  Today, on this Thanksgiving Day, I'd like to take a moment to introduce you to a few of them and let them know how thankful I am for their hard work, enthusiasm and support .

Beginning from left to right...

Far left, Andrea; Photographer Extraordinaire,  Andrea Walthall Photography.  Andrea has provided in-valuable photography advice and professional head shots.  Not too many people will lug a zebra-striped wing back chair through a cornfield in 90 degree heat in the middle of nowhere to get a good shot. 
 Andrea did that.


Middle, bottom, Laura; Laura has provided general assistance and entertainment.  She makes me laugh, hard, every day.  She is a wonderful sounding board and she has saved me a ton of cash on professional therapy.


Middle, top, Alissa;  Alissa has provided general on-site job assistance. She is not only sweet and pretty to look at but, she is multi-talented.  Her and I have been known to wrestle a 300 lb wool rug around like nobody's business.


Far right, that's me.

Then there is Marnie....
Marnie has provided hands-on project assistance.  She always has a fresh perspective on everything {it may actually be due to a slight obsession with Pinterest but please don't tell her I said that}. I love having her around.  These photos were taken recently at Marnie's wedding.


This year, I am especially thankful for these girls,  fabulous clients and everyone that visits this blog.  

Happy Thanksgiving!
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Mixing Materials in The Kitchen

Please click here for information on my affordable online design service.  I am now accepting new projects!

Today's featured design plan is for a fabulous kitchen looking to become even more fabulous. This large, open space has a wonderful layout, great cabinetry, shiny new appliances,  sunny windows and a large center island just waiting to become a major focal point in the home.  

The design plan includes small changes that will have big impact on the space overall.  A fresh new coat of paint on the cabinets along with the addition of thick moldings will give the kitchen a high end, custom look.  

Here is a post all about adding moldings to the top of your builder grade cabinets 

A mix of materials and finishes takes the new custom look a step further.  Using travertine and granite on the main countertops and dark wood on the island allows it to become a centerpiece.  Almost like a beautiful piece of furniture, the island is now the main focal point.  

The bright white cabinetry and ceramic tile floors are balanced by the dark wood center island, antique bronze hardware and dark pendant light fixtures.  Natural woven bar stools add warmth and texture to the new heart of their home.

Please click here for information on my affordable online design service.  I'm now accepting new projects!

Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery~The Prettiest Desk Ever

For your chance to win a $100 gift card to Staples please tell me how you are preparing your home for the holidays at the end of this post.

This product review opportunity could not have come at a better time. Last week I started to prepare my home for the holidays. We don't have a designated guest room. This means my daughters room doubles as our guest space. This can be tricky because I want the space to look nice for holiday guests but let's be honest, she's a teenager. She has a lot of stuff. Her desk is hardworking and can quickly become a messy "catch all".

Here we are in front of her desk the day we revealed her newly decorated room.  You can see her nice, clean, pretty desk top in the background...

That clean desk was short lived.
Recently, I was asked to participate in a review of a new line of home office products: Martha Stewart Home Office™ with Avery™.
My holiday home-spiffing dreams came true when the box showed up at my door. It was almost as if they knew my daughters desk needed serious help.

The products inside the box were the most beautiful Shagreen material in a soft turquoise color.
I started the desk makeover with the Stack+Fit™ system. Each piece of this system is customizable. It allowed me to stack the items in the perfect configuration. We are using it for corralling pens, pencils, paper clips, stapler and other office supplies. Since we are getting ready for Christmas, I went ahead and filled it up with gift wrapping supplies (which I'll get to in a minute).

The system includes Vertical File Folders in fun, coordinating patterns. They are perfect for organizing everyday paperwork, and they fit perfectly in the Standing Magazine File.
We used the erasable, removable, adorable Chalkboard Labels to help her organize her important papers. These can also be used to personalize household storage containers.

Here are some of the other gorgeous pieces in this collection ...
An Accordion File for sorting and filing, coordinating binders and file folder labels, a wall pocket that includes matching push pins and removable adhesive to hang pockets either directly on the wall or on a cork board.

Each piece coordinates beautifully.
When my daughter came home to this beautiful desk space, you would have thought it was Christmas morning. This system is simple enough for her to maintain.

I'm equally as excited about her new "office space".
Isn't it gorgeous?!

Also included in my package from Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery was a fabulous collection of Christmas gift wrapping and Holiday Shipping supplies.

These supplies are durable enough to mail and pretty enough to leave out on her desk, just waiting to be used. The festive shipping paper, tape, padded envelopes and printable mailing labels do not require any bland shipping wrap. They are available for purchase in-store at Staples.

Not only was I able to organize her cluttered desk with this collection of products but her desk became a beautiful feature in the room. Pretty enough for the holidays and simple enough to keep organized long after the guests are gone.

This collection is available exclusively at Staples. You can check it out the details at the Avery website and you can buy the products at Staples.
Like Avery on Facebook to follow news about the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery collection and their other great products.

Now, it wouldn't be very nice of me to brag about our beautiful new desk without giving you a chance to have one. So, for a chance to win a $100 gift card to Staples, tell me, how you are preparing your home for the holidays?
No duplicate comments.
You may receive (2) total entries by selecting from the following entry methods:
a) Leave a comment in response to the sweepstakes prompt on this post
b) 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
c) 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
d) 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. You have 72 hours to get back to me, otherwise a new winner will be selected.
The Official Rules are available here.
This sweepstakes runs from 11/14/12-12/14/12.
Be sure to visit the Martha Stewart Home Office with Avery page on BlogHer.com where you can read other bloggers’ reviews and find more chances to win!

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