a little spring to my winter

it is cold!  and boy, oh boy is it grey!!  i haven’t seen legit sunshine in days.  christmas is over and we are all working to put the best foot forward for 2013; yet i find myself with a bit of the winter blues.  i hit up spin class this morning and the endorphins helped a bit.  some coffee got me a little bit further.  it wasn’t until i took a moment to admire my christmas present that i started to really smile.  lulie hit a home run with this one.

Lulie Wallace

commission by lulie wallace….”flowers for amy”

it was then that i remembered exactly why we reached out to lulie to tackle the dining room wall.  i told her that i wanted the piece to exude a little bit of joy and the idea that we are not so very serious around here.  to quote some of my favorite cocktail napkins….

cocktail napkin

what do you think??  does it do the trick??

check back tomorrow for some pointers and thoughts on commissioning art….cheers!  amy

some products from the week

i am busily trying to get some design things wrapped up before christmas!

Tile Selections

thasos or china white marble and ming green mosaic for the floor…..matte glass tile for the shower….how refreshing but classic!

Herringbone Tile

carrara marble in a herringbone for the range wall….just enough pattern to add some interest but sticking with the same material as the counter to keep it sophisticated but simple.

playing with a variety of these options for another bath….a great way to add interest to a bathroom is to use the same tile but in different sizes.

fell in love with this light….the venetian…clean lines, great size, slim lines, love the finish (and its hand rubbed brass finish), don’t get me started on the ceiling plate!

a cool take on the traditional crystal chandelier…the novella has a nice balance of weight and openness…..the glass disks add a welcome layer of accessory and interest.




selected this fabric for a bedskirt….love that it is a free form geometric that gives me some structure without being rigid and linear.

Peacock fabric

shake a tail feather…..with this for the lumbar pillow on the bed!!

yikes! is it almost 8 already?!  must get to the stone yard….cheers and happy wednesday…amy

christmas crazy?!

is anyone else just running around in circles??  i sure am.  to show you just how crazy i feel these days….here are my thoughts in photos….a bit stream of consciousness….

Christmas Presents

traveling this christmas….don’t fight the ribbons….use yarn instead!

yarn is fun and affordable

aren’t these shoes absurd? what a beautiful reminder to spice it up and to not be afraid of a little trimming.

and these are just down right awesome! i wish that i had the gumption and stamina to where this kind of shoe regularly. but i must admit….there is nothing i love more than my sparkle toms, my boots and my wedges.

yum, yum, yummy! will i keep it or pass it on to a client?

remember these?? they found a happy home. just wait until the project is finished.

another cute stool…i love little stools for sitting and for foot propping.

an easy christmas table: a myriad of vases, red roses and christmas bells….now to cut some holly from the yard and it will be complete.

t minus 13 days to christmas!!  cheers and drink some egg nog…amy

a new design challenge

well, i just couldn’t take it anymore; the guest bedroom got the better of me towards the end of last week.  perhaps it’s my inner interior designer rebelling against an unfinished room.  perhaps it’s the excitement of my family coming to visit in january.  who knows?!  what i do know is that my creative juices have been reaching and writhing.

challenge: a blank canvas guest room and no budget for it

solution: get thinking!!

upon purchasing our home, this is what the guest room looked like (furniture not included).  don’t mind the fish eye lens; it has elongated the room and makes it a bit disproportionate.

first step: paint.  i painted the house prior to moving in but did not touch the bathrooms.  the bathrooms were pretty freshly renovated and you have draw the line somewhere.  while they weren’t exactly what i would have chosen, i am not completely footloose and fancy free and decided to work with the bathrooms.  the bathroom finishes are warmer with oil rubbed bronze and off white/golden stripes painted on the walls.  the countertops are busier that i like but again….how often do i really use them?

so for this guest room, i kept it neutral with off white walls.  i wanted to leave my option open for this larger guest room.  i put my color in the other guest room.  (we’ll save that for another day….teaser….nifty turquoise!)

sherwin williams 7566, westhighland white

then came market.  there was a phenomenal market special on this bed and mirror.

what a winning combo!  i loved the shape, the scale, the color.  after living with the green for several months, i must admit that it is not my color.  nor was it the color for that guest room.  the green just washed out against my off white walls.  a good little test to see if you would like a color in your house is to see if you have any clothing or accessories in that color.  i own NO lime green.  i love it for others and have even used it to center entire rooms around.  but for me and my warm toned bathroom, the green was just not working.  as of friday afternoon, i stopped fighting the green and went in search of the most brilliant, economical guest room redo i could find.  i didn’t really have a plan but i knew that i would know it when i saw it.  and it struck!!

i found a pair of scarves that i couldn’t live without and i was off to the races.  remember how i spray painted that chandelier in a gloss navy the other week?  wouldn’t that be brilliant with these scarves?  within minutes i had a plan.  use the scarves to recover the window seats.  no more chenille plaid.  wohoo!  the tray will sit on top of the iron and pine console table that is now starting to not feel so heavy for the room.  as i continue to warm things up, my existing pieces are feeling more and more at home.  i don’t feel crazy anymore!  the great little wing chair is also working now.  whew!  as much as i would love to reupholster it in something exciting, that is not in my no budget room redo plan.  however, the bed is!  i took a walk down to the garage to see if i had any kitchen paint left.  by george, i think it’s perfect.  cost for bed redo….1 paint brush…$5ish.

sherwin williams 7602, indigo batik (don’t you just love that name?)

don’t miss those orange lamps…..also an amazing find at tj maxx.  for this room, i am embracing the challenge of budget, budget, budget.  my philosophy being that by embracing budget here, i can flex my budget somewhere else.  there you have it.  weekend one of guest bedroom redo.  i’ve cooked up some more excitement since then but i’m going to have to leave you hanging.  a lakehouse renovation is calling!  cheers, amy



some easy christmas tips….

#1…..try lowes or home depot for your greenery.  my garland was on super sale after thanksgiving at home depot.  beautiful cedar and pine mix at just $5.99/15 feet!  i also got my wreath at home depot and just jazzed it up.

#2…..work with what you have and set your limits.  you can sink a TON of that hard earned $$$ into decorating for christmas.  i recommend deciding up front what spaces or areas you would like to decorate.  you can be quite effective by adorning just a couple of areas thoughtfully verses spreading yourself too thin over the whole house.

#3…..don’t be afraid to take advantage of the christmas candle.  i decided to stick with the silver tinsel tree for one more year but with the amazing christmas candle, the house smells like a christmas tree farm.

#4….think outside the box….use a pashmina for your tree skirt, get out your sparkly accessories and put them front and center (we all have some sparkles that we use year round….just think about them differently.)

and here you have these thoughts in action.


front door wreath….it already had the pine cones and mixtures of greenery. i added the ribbon and the sparkly bird. last year, the ribbon adorned my mantel and the bird was atop the tree. who says that you have to do it the same each year?

sparkly tree

a little greenery goes a long way and works just beautifully with silver tinsel.

garland decor

these gold curly sticks and gold honeycomb thing have been around the block and back. i keep using them from year to year. this year, i used a few of my blown glass ornaments to add some festivity and color to the stairs.

have something that you wanna work with?  shoot me a picture and i’ll help you figure out a great way to use it.  cheers and tgif!  amy

ps…my favorite places to find christmas goodies: tj maxx, target, home depot, lowes, walmart and of course, anthropologie!

find my style results | cultivate

i may be a day late and a dollar short but I happened upon cultivate.com last night.  it is a product of the pottery barn/west elm/etc genius.  much like houzz.com for your house, cultivate is 100% kitchen.  here are some of kitchens that i liked.  (all images are via cultivate.com)

Kitchen, White

i love the giant island, the white cabinets and marble countertops….i might go with some more modern light fixtures if it were for my house.

Sunny Kitchen

i ADORE natural light…and i love this eat in kitchen!

Clean Kitchen

loving the combo of countertops, the cabinets to the ceiling and the simple roman shades in the background…

another sunny kitchen! i love having barstools in a kitchen although i am not wild about this raised bar. don’t be afraid to put color on your cabinets.

All White Kitchen

clean, white, modern. yes, please!

Modern Kitchen

perhaps my favorite thus far…i am head over heals for the tiled wall…bring on some herringbone!

of course, i began by taking the kitchen style survey.  you chose between two kitchen images and after 10 rounds of selections, cultivate defines your kitchen style.  mine was transitional: “timeless, refined and sophisticated, this style is for those who are more daring than traditional design but still love a good nod to the past.  a harmonious blend of simple, modern lines with classic elements, this style often attracts people who love serene settings with a tailored does of style.”

well said!!!  but what i found interesting is that i kind of think that this definition has some relevance to the rest of the house.  except for the serene part.  then again, it all depends on your definition of serene.  many define serene as soft and quite spaces with muted colors.  for me, serenity at home comes from order.  everything has its place.  spaces aren’t over furnished and over decorated.  surfaces aren’t over accessorized.  the design scheme is coherent and speaks throughout the house.  basically, the house’s rooms speak to each other nicely and i can flow about and not feel jarred as i move from room to room.

for our house, i selected a few colors that carry through the house: grey, yellow, purple and turquoise.  i also carry a few styles through the house: vintage modern, new modern, more traditional case goods, stellar lighting and delicious rugs.

our kitchen…(or at least half of it as the other half contains the kitchen table/my office and it is a MESS)

Luff kitchen

i contrasted the peninsula, wainscoting and window trim with sherwin williams’ indigo batik. it makes for a dynamite combo with the honed carrara marble and white cabinets.

Luff Kitchen Close Up

marble, white, inky blue and chrome….one of my favorite decisions was painting the window trim, too.

more thoughts on the design approach that i took for our house…..another day….time to cook up some dinner.  but before i hit the cooktop, here’s my question for the week….to be or not to be….a rug under the kitchen table??  i am thinking of taking the plunge to soften all of the strength of the kitchen and its hard surfaces…..my flor samples just arrived….yay!  cheers, amy

back in action

so, i officially checked out around 3 pm on wednesday and just let myself enjoy the holiday weekend and time at home.  working from home, you REALLY have to make yourself stop.  with the help of the man and lots of cheery nieces and nephews, we successfully made the most of each minute.  giant s’mores…check.  marathon board games…check.  football….check.  lots of yummy food…check.  now, it’s back to the real world and an update on what went down the past week or so.  a picture is worth a thousand words when it comes to conveying things!  and much more fun as well.

an exciting new project….new paint colors are a must!  wouldn’t you love to have all those rugs at your disposal?

nothing like construction to get a designer’s juices flowing…

cooking up something creative for the fireplace

soon to be….a kitchen!

new romo fabrics…..it was like christmas opening up the boxes….just wait for fabric schemes later in the week…..

and when the work was done for the week and the thanksgiving turkey was finished, i jumped head first into christmas carols and decorating!  i had to buy a couple of new christmas albums to set the mood: lady antebellum christmas and the iTunes holidays rule.

i decided to go with the tinsel tree for one more year.  our christmas season is crazy and we are here, there and everywhere!  the plan is to buy a bunch of ornaments on sale after the holidays so that i can do a stellar tree next year!  these are just a few close ups of the first operation christmas here in bristol, va.

for me, christmas is about the meaning….it’s not all designer decorations and perfect sparkly balls. here, i placed a vintage ball from my mother-in-law in a bowl of popcorn. (that was the man’s idea!) also, working with my year round decor of vases of gold….not against them….helps to create a fuller arrangement. i hope to find some more of the sparkly cone christmas trees this year that you can see popping over there on the right.

who says that the stockings have to hang on the fireplace?! i feel pretty great about them here on the bookcase. and i don’t have to worry about them overheating.

what’s not to love about a silver tinsel tree with this anthropologie cardboard fish ornament?!

more decorating tonight….while sipping on my new holiday favorite….coffee with a splash of peppermint mocha creamer.  i’m not a creamer BUT this stuff is delicious!

it’s a big week of meetings, decisions, brainstorming….i’ll be in touch.  cheers!  amy


sending you warm thanksgiving wishes…

the zebra and i wish you a happy thanksgiving!  light a fire.  roast some s’mores.  eat some chili.  be thankful.  cheers…amy

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