Magical Moments

The Christmas Star And
Starting a New Holiday Tradition

So the reason for the season is almost upon us and I am still knee deep in storage boxes, greenery and making Christmas cards. Let’s not even talk Christmas Cookies and Parties. I am so behind I will probably still be decorating on Valentine’s Day!

In my defense, I have started a new position and I am still learning the ropes, so it is taking some major brainpower. I’m living in a mess day after day and I try to make headway during the extra hour I have here and there. The long suffering husband just nods and smiles when the chandelier greens get torn down yet again because I can’t seem to get them just right. My chandelier may be greens less this year! Oh well.

When decorating for the holidays, I’ve come to the conclusion that you can’t out do yourself every year, and you shouldn’t expect to. Some years everything I touch turns out and the juices are flowing. I get the vignette done and I stand back to make sure it doesn’t need any tweaking and I clap all by myself. Yup, it’s really good. I just get giddy with joy. Last Christmas was just that way for me. I had a new room to inspire me and everything fell into place. I was so pleased with almost everything I touched. This year not so much! I think I just must be too distracted, so I think that I will focus on the magical moments, of which there are a few. Does this home decorating block ever happen to you? I will keep you posted but I do want to share a magical moment that happened to me just last weekend. Continue reading “Magical Moments”

Tucking in Christmas

With many of us digging into the deepest recesses of our homes to unearth the Christmas decorations the time has come to Tuck in Christmas.

Whimsy and fun Barn Vent Decorated for the Holidays

So the question is how do you decorate for Christmas? Do you sweep the decks and start with a clean slate? Do you go for a different “theme” every year? Or do you tuck Christmas in?

Continue reading “Tucking in Christmas”

All Hollows Eve

This little witch was spotted in a book of antique weather vanes many years ago.  A favorite, she was reproduced and hand carved by my dad.   The littlest witch hangs on my wall thru every season.

Have a happy and safe Halloween everyone

Going Against the Grain

Can good design still be good design if it isn’t the flavor of the moment?

When clients ask me what the current trends are, I really just want to cringe.  The more appropriate question should be, what is currently trending in your home or with your lifestyle?

We are so locked into the flavor of the moment, we forget that we will be living with this “look” for 8-10 years.  For some of us, even longer.  With that consideration, is the “trend” the right one for you?

I’m a firm believer in allowing your personal style to speak to you.  It should be nurtured, and allowed to grow.  Do our tastes change over time?  Certainly.  But does that mean everything we valued from before needs to be chucked, just because it doesn’t work with the new look?  No!

Here are my rules for designing my own home.

  1. Don’t shop where everyone else shops.  I want my home to be unique and reflect my personal style, and I love antiques, things with history. I shop Antique Shows, Estate Sales, and yes, the Antique Mall when nothing else is going on.
  2. Don’t be afraid.  If you see something that catches your eye, and makes your heart pound buy it!  Believe me, I have let a lot of things get away.  Don’t worry about how you will use it, if it’s a great piece it will find it’s way in your home.  I have pieces that are floaters.  I have had them for many years and they still haven’t found the perfect home.  But, they make me smile when I handle them and they look great wherever I put them.  I may know they aren’t in the perfect spot but no one else will, and frankly no one cares.
  3. Start a collection.  Collecting has been one of the greatest joys of my life.  Am I still using the same things that I purchased 40 years ago?  Some of it, absolutely.
  4. One thing isn’t enough to make a statement, but 3 things from the same genre can make a huge impact.  Five things even better.
  5. Know when to say when.  This is very important.  I collect many different things.  A home that is furnished with only one collection is not balanced.  The sum of these various collections has created my own home, my own lifestyle.
  6. Experiment.  “Stuff” is toys for grown-ups.  It shouldn’t be sacred, it should be handled and enjoyed.  For example, I don’t “set a table” I create tablescapes.  I pull accessories from all over the house and play with the table.  I don’t have a huge pantry that is full of “Table Scape Stuff” my stuff is always in use.
    Antique Blue and White Transferware
    18th Century Brides Table

    For me the greatest joy of entertaining isn’t necessarily the food (there is always Taco Bell!)  It’s the table and creating something that is delightful to my eye, and if it pleases one of my guests so much the better.  Move your “stuff” around.

So, the answer is NO!  Good design can still be good design if it is not the “flavor” of the moment.  Give yourself a break and be true to yourself.



Falling Into Place or Seizing the Day Part ll

If you are sitting down to read this for the first time be sure to read Part l first.

After allowing the door to stare at me for a couple of weeks it was time. With great enthusiasm, paint stripper, gloves and putty knife in hand I began pouring stripper on this door.

Scruffy Antique Victorian Door

(Remember lead paint.) After a 20 year hiatus from paint stripping I was certain that new technology would win the day, and this door would be stripped in no time. Ah, no such luck!

Continue reading “Falling Into Place or Seizing the Day Part ll”

Falling Into Place

Falling Into Place or Seizing the Day

Part 1

Every once in a while things do fall into place. Sometimes it may take a couple of years to get the last exclamation point on a room. I can be patient.

After 30 years in our home my husband and I decided to improve upon a built in wall unit we had built when we first moved into this house. At the time we were armed with very little budget, absolutely no skill, a hammer, a circular saw, and a borrowed level.  I had a vision.   Continue reading “Falling Into Place”

The Evolution of Country Style

So don’t go running for the hills! As a designer, I always hesitate to put a label on personal style. Is it French Country, Cottage, Farmhouse Style, Industrial or just plain Country. Is it Contemporary or Mid-Century Mod, Old World European or Boho Chic. A person can go crazy just trying to put a label on their style. For now let’s just talk about Country.

Country Style scares most people if they grew up in the 80’s and 90’s. All they see are those horrible borders that marched around their mother’s kitchen and the over all state of too much stuff!

Continue reading “The Evolution of Country Style”

Working with Smalls

Accessorizing for the “Normal” Size Home

Not everyone has a huge home with 10-12’ ceilings or lofty 20’ tall great room. I am the master of working with smalls.

There are all kinds of collectors.

  • Those who collect the flavor of the moment
  • Those who collect for collecting sake and then dump it for the new and improved collection
  • Those who inherit and don’t have a clue what to do with this stuff they’ve just acquired
  • Those who just don’t know when to say when
  • Those who are passionate about the things they collect & study what they collect. These are the satisfied collectors.

Whether you are the first type or the last, it is important to know how to incorporate accessories into your home.

Continue reading “Working with Smalls”

Last Breath of Summer or Best Laid Plans!

Sometimes you can’t make a nickel.  My oldest daughters birthday was Friday and we decided to have a birthday party on Sunday.  I’ve been planning this party all week, kind of a bon voyage’ to summer.  Dining El Fresco on the deck.  I really wanted this to be special for her, she turned 41.

Days before I headed out to the nurseries looking for just the right pumpkins for the centerpiece and concocted what I would pull from my stash to go with these magical pumpkins I had purchased,  What to do for dishes and tablecloth etc.  Continue reading “Last Breath of Summer or Best Laid Plans!”

How to Shop an Antique Show

There are many types of antique shows.  There are the very fine vetted shows like the Lauritzen Gardens Antique Show, there are the “regular” antique shows, flea markets, and the ever popular Junk Stock type shows.  I approach all of them the same way.

Antique Shows can be so overwhelming if you have never been before.  There is the crush of people and all that eye candy, or not.  How do you navigate?  Sometimes a good strategy is to start at the end and work your way forward.  The crush of people will be less, and you will have a bit more quiet time.

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For the Love of Old: A Well Collected Life


I was fortunate, I grew up in a home with two very talented parents who loved their home, and loved surrounding themselves with beautiful things; their period was 18th Century.

My parents didn’t have deep pockets. My dad was a traveling chemical salesman, my mom stayed home. They didn’t live in a large or unique home. They lived in a middle class suburban neighborhood developed in the 1960’s.

Continue reading “For the Love of Old: A Well Collected Life”