Wallpaper: Thumbs Up Or Down?

The first house my husband and I bought had 7 rooms of dated, hideously ugly wallpaper. Every room was covered in a busy print of  flowers, birds, or fruit. It took weeks and weeks of labor (steaming, scoring, scraping) to get it off. I still remember the agony and saying at least a hundred times how I would never, ever, have wallpaper again.

Well……fast forward 17 years….I recently found myself flipping through a few wallpaper books and I didn’t see a single Rooster, Cherry or tiny Floral pattern in the book. What I did see was fabulous colors and patterns.  It was a far cry from what I stripped off all those years back. Although I am still not ready to pull the trigger and wallpaper an entire room, I must admit, I have had moments of weakness. I continue to see wallpaper showing up in design magazines and I must say I have become a little more open minded.

It got me thinking… maybe I will use a little wallpaper and line a china cabinet.



I love this painted side board lined with this black and turquoise wallpaper.


I’m not a fan of an entire room covered in wallpaper unless the paper is very subtle or textured such as a grass cloth.




I do like the look of bright and colorful wallpaper when used as an accent.


Notice the same paper used as the art on either side of the panel.

This red paper accent wall adds a nice pop of color to brighten up this bed room.



I love this black and white graphic used as an accent wall in this dining room.



Another fun idea is wallpaper on the ceiling. Although I couldn’t imagine the labor getting this off  when you tire of the look.



I think this blank frame wallpaper by Graham and Brown is genius…your child can color right on the wallpaper. My kids would have LOVED this when they were little.



I absolutely adore the hand painted wallpapers from Black Crow Studios. This one would look so beautiful in my dining room or in my entrance way…just beautiful!  Not only do I love the colors but I love the whole watery feel.


hand painted wallpaper by Black Crow


Then problem with wallpaper is that just like fabric, it is such a personal choice. What I love, you may not; and since we plan to sell our house and downsize sometime within the next 5-7 years I think of the pain of taking it off. But then again…

So what is your vote on wallpaper?  Thumbs Up or Down?


If you would like some help with decorating, staging or color, give me a call.


Do Your Home’s Colors Support Your Body Type?

Okay, I know it sounds crazy but hear me out. The American Formulating and Manufacturing Co (AFM) has introduced a new line of no-VOC, toxic free paint based on the East Indian alternative medicine of Ayurveda . Ayurveda, which means longevity in Sanskrit, divides people up into three different body types, or doshas; the Vata, the Pitta, and the Kapha. You can be all of one, or a combination of two or all three.


The is an easy test you can take here to determine your type. I found out I was a combination Pitta/Vata. In the practice of Ayurveda, your body type determines the optimal food, exercise and medicine that is best for you and your health. AFM’s new line is called Ayurveda Essence . The colors are divided into three mood enhancing sets of 36 colors that represent each of the three body types. If you go to the AMF website you can see all the colors that are optimal for your specific dosha.

According to the principles, if you are a Vata, your health and well being is best supported by deeper, darker colors.

Christopher Peacock


Pitta’s are best supported by cool, moderate, colors.

Mitchell Gold, Bob Williams


For the  Kapha body type, midtones and pastels create the best color schemes.


The funny thing is, even before I knew anything of these Ayurveda principles,  I painted a couple rooms in my own home darker, richer colors (Vata) and painted other rooms cooler colors (Pitta). I don’t know if it was intuitive or just random but I do find it interesting.

Those that follow Feng Shui  have a totally different set of color principles they follow, and then there are those of us who  just want to get the undertones right.

For those of you who took the test, do your colors support your body type?

How do you choose color?

If you would like help choosing color for your home give me a call.



Saturday Morning Inspiration with Holly Becker of Decor8

This past Saturday I was one of the lucky dozens who had the opportunity to meet Holly Becker at Anthrolpogie in Boston. Holly is the founder of the widely popular blog Decor8 and the author of the best selling book Decorate. She currently lives in Germany and is on a US book tour and chose Boston as her first stop. Holly lived in Boston for 20 years and told us she considers Boston her home and wanted to start her tour here. It was such a treat to meet her as I have been reading her blog for years and following her in the virtual world. Holly is just as authentic as her blog and could not have been more gracious. Those of us that registered early had the added treat of a wonderful breakfast with Mimosas (thanks  Anthropologie)  as well as a presentation by Holly on creating a Mood board.

Yummy breakfast!


Don’t you just love those plates?

Holly shared some great tips, my favorite being; use a small photo album to store all your room elements  such as color samples, fabric swatches and measurements. Keep this in your purse and then when you are out and see something that might work you’ll have all your samples and measurements to refer to. Here is Holly showing off her own mini sample book.


Holly and her mini sample album


Of course the big treat of the day was getting my book signed. The signing was open to the public and poor Holly must have signed a thousand books. The line was never ending but it just goes to show you how many Boston fans love her, her blog and her book.


me with Holly


I know I look a little like a crazy stalker in this picture but I am not so comfortable being on the other side of the camera. Good luck on your next stop Holly!

Don’t make these 3 mistakes when Staging your own home

Most sellers today realize the imporatance of preparing their home for the market or what we call Staging. I see a lot of homes for sale and more often than not, I  see three mistakes that sellers continue to make.


1. Assuming buyers won’t notice something.

Sloppy D.I.Y. paint jobs, a sticking basement door, a small stain on the carpet, a broken fence post, etc. You may have lived with it for years and think it is just a minor inconvenience but Buyers have laser vision when it comes to spotting any imperfection with your home. Address the problem before you list your home and Buyers will have less downward negotiating power if everything is perfect.


2. Not checking out the competition.


Buyers are not only looking at your home, but the one for sale down the street, the one around the corner and the dozens of others around town that are in the same price range. If you don’t know what buyers are seeing, how do you know how to make your home stand out and look the best? Let’s face it, the Real Estate market is not that much different than a beauty contest. The “prettiest” house gets the Buyer. Check out some competing Open Houses and make note of what those homes have that might appeal to buyers over your home. Challenge yourself to make your home look just a little better. If the other homes are not well staged and yours is, then lucky you, the competition is just helping you sell yours.


3. Not being objective.

When it comes to our own home it is very challeging to be objective. We think our home is lovely and perfectly staged and yet no offers come in. The trick I like to use to help with this problem is to stand in the doorway and take a photo of the room.  Do this for every room in your house. Upload them to your computer and then look at them as critically as possible. Notice where your eye goes;  does the room look like there is too much furniture? Does it appear cluttered? Too dark? Too busy?  Graphic wallpaper, bright colors, and busy fabrics have a tenancy to be magnified when seen online which is why professional Stagers will always stress neutral colors and use very little pattern in a room.  Have a (brutally honest) friend take a look as well and get their opinion.

Remember, Buyers first see your home in photos on the MLS listings and not in the flesh. How a room appears when we are standing in it can be quite different than what a Buyer might see online. Make sure the rooms look as spacious, neutral and uncluttered as possible so that the buyers will not immediately move on to the next listing.

If you would like some help Staging your home or just need an honest opinion of the job you have done, give me a call!

What gets me up at 5am on Sunday

Not too far from where I live is a Sunday morning secret that everyone, yet no one, seems to know about. Most of my friends have never heard of it (even the ones who live nearby) yet it is always crowded. I forget how I first heard about it but I have been going on and off for over 20 years.  The secret is that every Sunday there is a mini version of  Brimfield in Rowley Mass. For years I just called it Rowley but I have since learned that most people call it Todd Farm; which is the name of the Farm the Flea market is located on.

vendors setting up at Todd Farm

Todd Farm is owned equally by two brothers who are is some sort of huge feud and haven’t spoken to one another in over 30 years. No one I have asked actually knows what the feud is about but many of the old time Dealers side with either one brother or the other one. This past year the feud got so ugly that the two brothers actually built a fence right down the middle of the land. Now you have to walk almost all the way out to the street to go around the fence to get to the other half of the tables. It seems completely crazy but everyone seems to have adapted to the inconvenience just fine.


Todd farm vendors


After years of going as a buyer, I talked my good friend Elise into coming with me to sell.  We have set up and sold now 4 or 5 times; making some money but even better, having an absolute blast. We have meet some of the regulars, learned a ton about Flea Market culture and seen more weird things and people than I can count. Let me give you a quick run down of how it all unfolds.

If you are selling, you need to get there no later than 4am or all the vendor spots will be gone. It is a free for all so the earlier you get there the better spot you get. The lot opens at midnight and most of the Dealers who make their living selling,  get there shortly after that.

If you are a serious Flea Marketer,  buyer or collector, 5am is the absolute latest you want to arrive or much of the “good stuff” will be gone. The true die-hards (dealers and true collectors) get there as early as 3am then run from table to table with flashlights, buying before the sun comes up.

The Designers (I can spot them from 50 feet away) arrive around 6am with their Starbucks in hand and rolling carts in tow. They are always on a mission, never stroll or poke around, and usually have an assistant following behind.

The last to arrive are the general public. They come around 8am-9am with their kids and dogs and are usually just looking for a fun morning activity. They are the ones who stroll slowly and poke around.

Like all good Flea Markets there is a mix of  high end stuff, low end stuff, crazy stuff and just plain junk. Here are a few of my favorite things I saw on my last visit.

Head Vases

The woman that was selling these Head Vases had hundreds of them. Her father-in-law was a Head Vase collector and had recently passed away. I had never seen or heard of Head Vases but she said they were popular in the 40’s-60’s.

Quilts are becoming very hot again even in modern interiors and this one was a beauty.


I love antique bottles and this seller had thousands more at home so he told me. He dug most of them up himself and has traveled all over the country on bottle digs. He has been a bottle collector since he was 6 years old.

antique bottles


Obviously you couldn’t actually sit in this chair but the amount of work  and time that went  into making this is amazing.

Shell Chair

I wanted to buy all these spindles but heard my dear husband’s disapproving voice in my head if I brought home one more “project thing” to go into the garage, so I resisted.



Don’t you just love these wooden figures and hands?  Wouldn’t they look great painted black standing on a mantle against a white wall?


Flea Markets are such a great place to find inexpensive items that speak to us and add character to our home. When we collect what we love our home becomes all that more rich and meaningful.  Whether it is vintage furniture, glass bottles, Head Vases, or wooden figures, collected items speak of who we are and gives our home a soul.

This is what I have been collecting this Summer at Todd Farm.


vintage science glassware


Why did I collect this?  I majored in science in college, worked in a lab for two years after college and have always had a “thing” for beakers,  test tubes and lab glass. The  bottles and beakers  ranged in price form .50 cents to $5.00 for the large flask. A very small investment for an interesting vignette that brings me joy every time I look at it.

What do you like to collect?    And on another note…anyone free at 5am on Sunday?


If you would like some help styling or building a collection for your home, give me a call.



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