Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Blending Styles

Recently, I had a client who wanted to update their kitchen by adding a backsplash. Before it was merely drywall. They did not want to change their kitchen cabinets and had already installed a granite countertop a few years ago. They preferred to not repaint and try to find something that would update their kitchen but meld all their current decor together. 

My recommendation was to add a stone mosaic backsplash to their kitchen.  Here are the photos.

Belle Maison Interiors LLC

Belle Maison Interiors LLC

The stone works beautifully with the cabinetry and countertop. It blends seamlessly with the colors of both and pulls in the paint colors on the wall. Although the tile is modern, its simple lines works well with the more traditional elements and ties in the stainless steel appliances.

To me it is the perfect match. This tile has the perfect mix of grays and browns to pull the look together without taking away from the other elements of the kitchen. Also, the varying size of the stones give it some interest without being too busy.

While tile backsplashes add interest to a kitchen, they are also functional. Unlike drywall, tile can be easily cleaned and is resistant to heat and water. 

If you are thinking of adding and/or changing a backsplash in your kitchen, try to choose one that pulls the elements of your kitchen together rather than compete with them.  Pick a tile with colors that compliment your existing decor and add some style and function to your space.

You don't have to spend a fortune to make big changes. Simple changes can have big impacts.

Happy decorating!

Sequin Letter- Monogram Home Decor
Shop Laurel Lane

I have caught the annual spruce up bug. At the beginning of every new year I am itching to make changes around my house. One of the first changes I plan to make is to make a custom window treatment for the window over my kitchen sink. Check back with me to see how it comes out.

In addition to the window treatment, I would love to re-do my bedroom decor and add some zing to my family room. Those may have to wait for now, but that does not stop me from cruising the web to find inspiration for my space.  There are plenty of shops to find inspiration and amazing home decor however, one of my favorites is Etsy. If you have not heard of Etsy is it an online shop for crafters selling their wares. You can find one of a kind items and great deals.

I take satisfaction in finding items that are unique and different and Etsy is the place to do that. Additionally, I like supporting small business owners like myself. Here are some of my recent Etsy favorites.

The rustic vibe of this wall clock would make this a fun and stylish addition to any space. The white hands give it a modern touch.

wooden colock.wooden wall clock,art clock,wall clock
Hair Show Show

Scrabble is one of my favorite games. Having these large formate scrabble tiles on my mantle would be just the right touch.

Large Scrabble Tiles - Home Decor
Rustic Refined

This melts my heart. Chalkboard is all the rage right now and having one that marks all the important events in my life just can't be beat.

Faux Chalkboard Home Decor Important Dates Printable Wall Art
Blue Rose Prints

I cannot get enough of the agate trend. These gorgeous coasters take your cup of coffee or tea to a whole new level.

Set of 4 Agate Stone Coasters Home Decor
Jacob Lana

If you are looking for new accent pillows, Etsy is the place to go. You can usually find gorgeous pillows for a fraction of the price.

Decorative Throw Pillow Covers Home Decor Cushion Cover One 20 x 20 Inches - Premier Navy Blue on White Slub Nicole by Premier Prints
Festive Home Decor

You can always count on Etsy for finds that are unique and different. Take these wall vases. The chevron rustic wood back and mason jar vases, would look great in an entry or kitchen.

Individual Hanging Chevron Painted Mason Jar Wall Decor Home Decor bedroom decor kitchen decor
Pineknobs and Crickets

If you are on the lookout for new home accents, take a minute to check out Etsy. You are sure to stumble on some really great finds. But beware, like Pinterest, it can be highly addicting!

Happy decorating!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Closet Makeovers on a Budget

Dream Closet - walk in robe - shoe rack Except I don't have that many shoes
Hooked on Houses

Everyone wishes they had a closet like the one pictured above. Essentially a spare room converted into a dream walk-in closet. However, this is not generally a reality. In my current home, we have the standard 5' reach in closet in every bedroom. When we first moved in, the closets were outfitted with the usual single bar to hang clothes with a wire shelf above to store items. So, to maximize our space we purchased a closet organizer system from a local hardware store and installed it ourselves to maximize the amount of storage in our small closets. In our room we chose a dark espresso color. The system can be customized online to fit your specific space and has numerous options to choose from. We chose a mix of drawers, shelves and hanging space to maximize our closets. Each of our bedrooms is outfitted with them. Although these were not inexpensive, they were certainly more cost effective than a custom closet system.

There are many ways to organize a closet on a budget. Here are some of my favorites.

Use a dresser and inexpensive shelving. Slide a dresser in the closet and hang shelving outfitted with bins above. Use the space on the sides to hang tension rods for hanging clothes.

Life Unexpected

Think outside the closet by utilizing things like bookcases. This makeover involved using IKEA Billy Bookcases placed next to each other and outfitted with baskets to organize items to make them easier to find.  Paired with hanging rods the closet is organized and stylish.


For a really inexpensive makeover simply hang fabric storage hangers from the existing rod. Folding items rather than hanging them makes the most use of your existing space.

Land of Nod

Use storage cubes to create additional storage. Standard stackable storage cubes found at your local home store are versatile and add a significant amount of storage. They can be configured to suit your space and needs.

DIY Custom Closet Makeover |
Cape 27

No matter the size of your closet, add some details like paint or a glamorous light fixture to give it some style.

Gorgeous DIY closet with a million ideas you can use in your own space! Beautify your closet on a real budget!
View Along the Way

Give your closet a custom look with these simple changes. You don't have to spend a small fortune to make big changes. As with any organizing project decide what you are keeping and what you are getting rid of before starting the project. Take inventory of what you will hang and what you will fold so you know what items you need before you begin. Creating an organized closet does more than make it stylish, it also makes getting out the door a whole lot easier.

Happy organizing.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Ring in the New Year

New year printable and some festive decoration ideas!
lil mrs tori

Christmas is over. Time to focus on ringing in the New Year. Do you have plans for New Years Eve? Whether you are staying in, hosting a party or planning to attend one I have compiled some pretty amazing ideas to make ringing in the New Year a real treat.

Treat your guests or wow your hostess with these delectable fortune cookies. Painted with edible gold dust they look festive and elegant. Besides, who doesn't want to know their fortune for the coming year?

Cake Appreciation Society

Skip the glass charms and never lose your bubbly again by giving inexpensive wine or champagne glasses a stylish update. Give each glass a different saying or decoration with a gold or silver sharpie. Click on link below for instructions.

Or you can skip the glass altogether and serve these gorgeous champagne jello shots. Their icy blue color and sparkling sprinkles are perfect for heralding in the new year.

1finecookie champagne jello shots Recipe: Champagne Jello Shots
1 Fine Cookie

Add sparkle to your decor. A shimmering tablecloth and silver plate chargers elevate ordinary white plates to a grand affair. Simple white flowers and glass ornaments hung from the light fixture create a stunning display.

27 New Year's Eve Party Decorating Dos (& NO Don'ts ;-) | Source: Style Me Pretty
Carla Aston

Dress up even ordinary appetizers like chips and dip by placing them in festive containers like a plastic hat and martini glass.

Chips and Dips are always a great way to celebrate - 25 Party Dip Recipes!
Caramel Potatoes

Celebrate at midnight with confetti bags. Take waxed paper, glue sides, insert confetti and staple shut with a cute homemade tag.

Carolyns Homework

Dress up yourself as well as your house with statement jewelry. Add a bold necklace, earrings or shoes to a simple black dress or blouse for a fabulous new look.

New Year's Eve Outfit Ideas
Blog Lovin

Take your New Years celebrations to the next level with these great ideas. Even if you stay in you can make your party a success.

Happy 2015!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Count the Days

2015 is fast approaching. Time for cleaning house, organizing and making New Year's resolutions. I, for one, intend to get more organized this year. Although, truth be told, I say this every year. I truly do start out each new year with the intent of doing away with all the clutter that clogs up my house and find a better organizing system.

I don't know about you but, one of my biggest organizing challenges is organizing our household schedule. As with most families, we are over scheduled. Softball, basketball, art, language school, cub scouts, dentist and doctor appointments become an insane mis mash of places to be and go. A master calendar is a must in our house. I use a dry erase board calendar with different colored markers for each person in the family so I can know who needs to be where and when. I also use a separate dry erase board for random activities that pop up each week so they don't get lost in the shuffle. While both are functional, I must admit they are not very pretty or appealing. For once, I would like to be able to use a calendar that adds some style to my home. Here are some I adore.

Not only does this calendar keep you up to date, it also can be used as gift wrap once the month is complete.

Brit + Co

This calendar features a different adorable bird every month. I love the simplicity and colors of its design.

Jolie Jolie Design

Now this is a calendar that may be big enough for me to use. The 24 x 19 size can be used on a desk or on the wall. The craft paper background works well with the bold colors. The note section on the side is an added plus.


Customize your calendar with these beautiful calendar cards. Send 12 photos and they will create your personalized set. Choose from either a gold tone or wood grain stand to display them.

2015 Custom Photo Desk Calendar

Touies Design

Like to mix things up? Try this calendar that lets you display it in multiple ways. In the stand, accordion style or like a cube.

Paper Source

Keep track of time and add style with these gorgeous calendar blocks. Create your own design with these colorful beauties.


I realize that many of these are not practical for my organizing needs but they sure are pretty. Maybe one day I will be able to choose form over function. Or maybe I will forego function for once and choose one of these.

Friday, December 19, 2014

Bathrooms for Every Style

Exceptional Bathrooms Benjamin Moore

CNB Homes

With the New Year comes tips on organizing, decluttering and remodeling. Just like New Year's resolutions, many vow to get organized, live simpler and start over. I know I would like to remodel our bathrooms. Both were updated when the prior owners sold the house but  they are still the builder grade bathrooms from twenty plus years ago.

This got me thinking that there may be others of you who are considering doing the same. There is a style to suit every taste. So, if you are considering remodeling your bathroom here are some examples of differing styles to spark your inspiration.

If you are looking for something really different, break out of the traditional with a fun wallpaper pattern. This one in pink and brown is unique and stylish. Keeping all the other elements white allow you to change things up without having to redo the entire space. Afraid of wallpaper? Try stenciling the walls instead.

HGTV Magazine

Want a spa-like space? Go with travertine tiles and woods in browns and espresso. Choose clean lines and keep things visually open (achieved here by the glass shower enclosure). Add greenery and keep clutter to a minimum. Also, keep the colors uniform for a restful space.

spa like bathroom pictures

Home Ideas Finder

If you bridge between styles, transitional is for you. Here a faucet and vanity that stray on the traditional side meld beautifully with a more modern tile. Gray is "on trend" and, I believe, is here to stay. The mix of different tiles, a mirror in a different hue and modern lighting over the more traditional vanity, are key elements to this design style.

Top Home Designz

If traditional is more your style, go with more detailed cabinetry and a unified color palette. Putty colored cabinetry paired with ornate hardware, marble counters, jewel like mosaic tile and nickel faucets all add up to a traditional space. Smoky glass cabinet doors and a vanity paired with a cushy chair complete the look. Moulding on the walls and cabinets really bring the traditional style home.

Traditional Bathrooms - Bilotta

Rustic more your style? Then natural stone and reclaimed wood are your go to materials. Keep the other elements white so the natural elements stand out. Accents of copper or metals also compliment this style well.

Digs Digs

Do you like shabby chic? Stick with mostly whites dotted with soft colors. Distressed wood, claw foot tubs, chrome hardware and small hexagonal tile floors. Vanities with glass knobs and traditional detailing add to the design. Crystal chandeliers add the final touch.

Smashing #shabby #white #nathroom
Info Home Decor

Modern more your stye? This space is a classic example of modern style. Loads of glass, floating vanities, vessel sinks, wall mounted faucets and glass tile are hallmarks of this style. A simple color palette completes the look.

Modern Spa Style Bathroom Plan Taken From Elements Of Fashionable ...

Diary of a Pit

Love coastal style? Use colors found at the beach.  A palette of soft blues and greens, along with sand and white all combine to create a beachy feel. Accents of driftwood, beadboard and chrome help round out the decor.

A dose of teal on the vanity and mirror break up the white beadboard in this coastal bath. | Photo: Michael J. Lee |
This Old House

If a remodel is in your future, first choose the style that best matches the look you are attempting to achieve. Create an overall plan that includes your layout as well as materials to round out your design. Sticking to the key elements of your chosen design will ensure you achieve the look you are going for. Finally, choose a style that compliments your overall house design (unless you plan on taking your entire home in a new direction). That way your new design will blend in seamlessly.

This will be it for me for a few days, but I will be back soon with more great decorating and design tips.

Happy Holidays from my house to yours.

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tips of the Trade

Love the Decor

I have written before about what makes a room look like a "designer" room. Essentially it is a few simple things that help create that designer feeling. Stick to these and you will end up with a room that should be in the pages of a magazine.

Here are the key ingredients to a "designer" room.

1.  Mix it up. Whether it is a dining room (like the one above), living room, bedroom, etc. don't go for matching pieces. Here there are two different styles of chairs around this table. It creates interest and makes the table and the chairs pop. If they were all the same style and color they would make the room heavy and uninteresting. The same is true for a bedroom where it is better to mix and match furniture than buy a bedroom set. In a living room avoid buying a matching coffee and end tables and instead choose individual pieces. Also vary the color and style for real impact.

2.  Choose light and dark. Work both light and dark hues into the room so it doesn't feel to light or too heavy. Here the dark table, chairs and buffet are contrasted by the light chairs and rug. In a bedroom, mix light and dark bedding. For a living room mix dark and light furnishings and decorative accents to keep things interesting.

3.  Add texture and/or pattern. In the dining room above texture is added in the subtle pattern in the rug, the grasscloth wallpaper, the intricate mirror, curtains and even the flowers. The room would be beautiful but would not look the same simply painted in a similar hue. It is the texture the wallpaper brings that adds that designer touch. Bedding in different fabrics, patterns or colors can do the same. In a living room a patterned rug, textured pillows or mixing solid and patterned furnishings can accomplish the same goal.

4.  Sprinkle color around the room. It is not necessary to add tons of color to a space to achieve that designer look. Just adding the blue vases in this example gives the room a pop of color but still keeps things intereting.

5.  Have a focal point. The large chandelier in this space creates a real "wow" factor. The wall sconces and mirror mimic the look without being identical so each can stand out. Try the same in other rooms. If you have a fireplace make that the focal point and add decor to highlight it. Or, choose artwork in a bedroom to create a focal point.

6. Keep it simple. Less is more. The dining room above has a lot of detail, but there is plenty of space for the eye to rest. Steer clear of over decorating. Not every inch of space needs to have an object on it. Large urns on the table in white, are unified by color and style, but their scale makes an impact without creating business. The blue vases on the buffet bring in color and texture but are enough on their own. Keeping the rug solid, with a subtle pattern, allows the ornate chairs and chandelier to take center stage.

Look around your space to see how you can change things up. It is not always necessary to scrap everything and start again. Sometimes swapping out a few elements is all it takes to achieve that designer look.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Holiday Greetings

Don't want to send holiday cards this year? Here are ten good reasons why you should.

Each day I go to my mailbox and find new holiday cards from family and friends. I always like to see what cards people have chosen. Photo cards are in vogue these days, and I have sent them myself. It is great that I can keep my family and friends up to date on our family's comings and goings over the past year. However, as the years go by it seems like the traditional holiday card is disappearing from view. Although photo cards are great, not everyone wants to undergo the sometimes arduous task of putting a photo card together. Traditional holiday cards may not give a glimpse into your life but they can be like receiving a present in the mail when a beautiful card arrives. 

The past two years we have opted to make cards from my daughter's artwork. She is 10 and truly talented. I cannot wait to see what she does with this as she gets older. Here is this years' card. I am a very proud mama. I uploaded her artwork to and created a folded 5x7 card on quality paper. There are many other great sites that allow you to do the same and I would recommend it as they really look amazing.

Home Chic Home

If you don't have any art to upload but still want something other than a photo card, try one of these cards on for size.

Keep your card holiday neutral like this one. The bold colors invoke a jolly and joyful feeling.

Paper Source

Go for cute. I love snowman, as you can see from our holiday card. These made from buttons are adorable.

Handmade Button Snowman Price $19.95


If you celebrate Christmas and want something more traditional these invoke the feeling of Christmas in a festive way.

Merry Christmas Boxed Greeting Cards

Standout with die-cut cards in three dimension. There are some really beautiful ones to choose from. The wood textured back on this card just adds to the overall appeal.

Reindeer Wreath Boxed Cards

Don't have time to write out all those cards? Or, you would rather spend your money on gifts instead of cards? Try They have many free designs that can be emailed to whomever you choose. For an upgrade, you can have it delivered via email in an envelope that the recipient can open, or you can buy them and have them mailed the old fashioned way.

Paperless Post

If you would rather wait until after the the hustle and bustle of the holidays are over, there are some amazing New Year cards that will do the trick.

Turquoise Year -
Simply to Impress

Whether you prefer homemade, traditional or something unique I hope I have inspired you to send out greetings of the season. Someone may be waiting at their mailbox for your holiday cheer!

Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Gifts for your Girlfriends under $20

The Student Gift-Giving Guide

Fast Web

Last week I wrote about gift ideas to give to a host/hostess for under $20. Now, I have found some great gifts to give to your girlfriends for under $20 as well. The coffee shop gift card is always a good "go to" gift, but if you want something different stick around for some great ideas that won't break the bank.

Have some fun with a gift that says what she means to you. Not to mention, at this price you could throw in the coffee shop gift card too so you can meet to discuss your next adventure.

Best Friends Partners in Crime, Purple cord and Silver Handcuffs Charm Friendship Bracelet in Gift Box

Etsy, Partner in Crime Bracelet $6.25

Break out of the boring candle mode and give her a candle that is luxurious in its appearance and scent.

Anthropolgie, Voluspa Maison Jardin Candle $16

Anthropologie, Voluspa Maison Jardin Candle $16

Give the friend who loves having pictures of her children on her fridge an arty way to display them with these adorable magnetic frames. At this price she can have an entire gallery.

mini magnetic frames
CB2, Mini Magnetic Frames $1.95 (ea.)

Does your friend love to entertain? These gorgeous salad servers add a pop of color and style to any party.

For the fitness lover, this water bottle with built in juicer makes her ordinary water taste a whole lot more interesting.

Zinganything - Citrus Zinger
Zing Anything, Citrus Zinger $15.99

Bring out the fashionista in her with essie's Encrusted Treasures Nail Collection. For less than $9 each you can buy two.

For the letter writer. Give her a set (or two) of gorgeous notecards for her to express herself.

Paper Source, Pool Dome Gold Foil Stationary $9.00 (pack of 10)

Ideas like these will make your holiday gift giving a breeze. Not to mention giving your wallet a break.

Happy shopping!