Halloween Yard Art- Country Style

It’s still October and crazy as it seems, the North East has just gone through the first major snow storm of the season.  Just like thousands of others, we lost power, so this is my first post written by way of a generator. Gotta love living in the Country!

Since tomorrow is Halloween I want to share a few of my favorite local Halloween Yard Art. Besides being different and creative all three homeowners get big kudos for not using a single plastic or inflatable pumpkin, ghost or witch.


Scary Horseman


Standing about 13 feet tall, this skeleton on his three headed horse is positioned just around a bend on a dark winding country road. I met the homeowner while taking this photo and she told me the police have been called twice by passing motorists, who while driving home in the dark, were so startled they complained they almost had a car accident. (Her neighbor told her she should keep it up all year to slow down the cars).


Scarecrow Ghouls


These three ghouls are in a big field and are lit up at night with spot lights…very spooky!


Two witches stirring up a pot of brew

This one is my favorite. My friend’s Step Dad made this. He owns a construction company and for every  Season/Holiday he creates a different yard art… always using tires. He is so creative and never seems to run out of ideas for new displays. This was last years Halloween display.


2010 Halloween


And here is the year before that


2009 Halloween Tire Art


I don’t know if everyone else in town looks as forward to his new creations as I do but with Halloween tomorrow I know it is only a matter of weeks before I see something like this.




2010 Christmas Tire Art





Don’t Make This Mistake When You List Your Home For Sale

When it comes time to sell your home, a common mistake many homeowners make is that they Decorate their home to sell rather than Stage their home to sell. When you decorate your home it is all about you, the homeowner. As lovely as it may be, it is still your taste and your design style. This point was recently made very clear to me when a homeowner turned down my offer to help stage her home because she said it had been professional decorated and was in “show ready” condition. Professionally decorated it was…in a formal French Country style that would appeal to any buyer who also liked formal French Country and had the furniture and accessories to match. Sadly, that professionally decorated home is still on the market 8 months later; even after two price reductions.

French Country by Charles Faudree


When you Stage your home, it is all about the Buyer, and since you don’t know who your Buyer is, it is important to appeal to ALL Buyers and ALL tastes. Maybe you love French Country but maybe your future buyer loves Contemporary, or Early American, or Eclectic or Shabby Chic….you just don’t know. This is why neutral paint colors on the walls, no distracting collectibles, photos, or taste specific decor is the only way to go. Buyers need to imagine their furniture, their photos and their taste specific decor in your home.


staged home


Once staged, you may think your home lacks character and personality…that is exactly the point. Remember, the best way to Stage your home for sale, is to undecorate your home. If you do, it will appeal to more potential buyers and get you a quicker and better dollar offer. Then you are free to move on and decorate to your heart’s content in your new home.


If you would like help Staging your home for sale or undecorating your home, give me a call.











Juan Montoya and Martyn Lawrence Bullard

Design Boston 2011 wrapped up last week at the Boston Design Center and in my previous post I shared wisdom from Candice Olson.  As promised, I wanted to share a little something from the other two Design Super Stars who also spoke; Juan Montoya and Martyn Lawrence Bullard. I will start with Juan Montoya. I can not believe I had actually never heard of him. I learned he is one of the most acclaimed Designers in the world and a true Icon. He shared images from a few of his recent projects as well as introduce his new furniture line for Century Furniture.


Juan Montoya


Based on his talk, he seems to design for gazillionaires. He showed slide after slide of jaw dropping  incredible homes. Many of his interiors have “not your average design elements” such as a “morning kitchen” off the master bedroom suite or sterling silver used as a design feature on the back of a door.


I do love the beautiful leather tiles on the wall in this library.


Don’t you just  love the hits of turquoise and red in this beautifully designed room below.




Martyn Lawrence Bullard was equally as fascinating. He is one of the stars of Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators. Although I have heard about the show,  we do not get Bravo so I unfortunately, I have never seen it. He told some great stories about his life, his travels, and his famous clients.

Martyn Lawrence Bullard


Bullard came to Los Angles from England not be a designer but to be an actor. It was a chance encounter with actress Cheryl Tiegs  at a wedding that launched his entire design career. To this day he credits her for every single job he has done. Recently Bullard  has partnered with Schumacher to design the most beautiful fabrics. The colors and patterns are incredible and many of the fabrics are hand embroidered in India and China. The price point is somewhat high ($98-$200+ a yard) but they really are exquisite.







This blue and white fabric below is one of the hand embroidered ones. Just Imagine the time and labor that goes into creating this.


Check out the combination of colors in this fabric below.



Bullard’s client list reads like a Who’s Who of major Hollywood stars so it’s no surprise to see such a bold use of colour and pattern.  Strong schemes for strong personalities. For the rest of us…we can still dream…and use the fabric.


As always, I would love to hear your thoughts on Juan Montoya, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, or the new fabric for Schumacher.


















Wisdom From Candice Olson

Every October the Boston Design Center hosts a wonderful event called Design Boston. It is 3 days jammed packed with back to back seminars, new product introductions, color forecasts, trends, and always a few Design celebrities. This year the organizers out did themselves and I had the thrill of attending talks by Juan Montoya, Martyn Lawrence Bullard, and the rock star (judging by the long lines to enter)  everyone came to see, Candice Olson.

Candice Olson

To answer the question everyone asked, yes…she is tall… 6’2″ to be exact (plus she was wearing heals). In person, she is JUST like she comes across on TV. She is funny, down to earth and very gracious. She showed lots of her interiors and told a few funny stories of getting started in the business. The big take away lesson is to treat every client the same no matter what their budget. Candice shared that she just signed the biggest contract of her career which came from a referral from one of her very first clients who had close to a zero budget for a kitchen redo. Candice ended up painting their kitchen cabinets herself , doing a little staging and the clients were thrilled. Today those same clients own 3 different homes all over the world and she has designed every one of them.

Candice said the most important element in all her room designs is lighting. In her words, she “hates, hates, hates, hates, hates, the single light fixture in the center of ceiling that all builders put into rooms.” When she designs, she focuses on lighting objects and things, not spaces. She likes scrims of lights running down drapery fabric, spot lights on tablescapes, hanging pendants above conversation areas, and scones on the wall. She stressed that without thoughtful lighting, rooms just don’t come to life and said that all her room lighting plans look like Swiss cheese.

Master bedroom by Candice Olson


Just look at all this different lighting in this master bedroom above; or in this basement make over below.


basement by Candice Olson

I have to laugh because in my own home most of the rooms don’t even have the center ceiling light. I always assumed our builder was too cheap to install lights but maybe he was just waiting for Candice :).

Lastly, I also give Candice extra props for patiently standing for several hours while all her fans took photos with her….somewhat embarrassed to admit…myself included.

I also have some great things to share from both Juan Montoya and Bravo TV star Martyn Lawrence Bullard. Stay tuned for post two later this week.

In the meantime, If you would like some help with choosing the right Color, Redesign or Staging, give me a call.

Chalk it Up Baby! Before and After

There is a new furniture paint bursting onto the design scene called Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. It truly is an amazing paint because it goes over anything and there is absolutely no prep work involved. No stripping, no sanding, nada! All you have to do is paint and then seal the chalk paint with your choice of either a light or dark wax (also sold by Annie Sloan).The paint covers like magic and since painted furniture is a huge trend, it is super easy to paint your own piece and give it an updated new look. Super easy that is…except getting your hands on the paint. The paint is from England and there are currently only a limited number of US distributors that sell the paint. I have to believe this will change soon as more people hear about and want to try out the paint.

I first heard about the paint through my good friend  Susan Siefer who is a super talented decorative painter and the owner of  Mad Patter Art Design.  Susan originally drove to Rhode Island to bring home samples of the paint to experiment with. She raved about it and then together we drove out to the Brimfield Antique Show to buy even more. Not only did we buy the paint but we saw a lot of chalk painted furniture. We have since collaborated on a few pieces and I want to show you a few before and after’s.

The first piece we painted was a very sad small console table that I had bought for $1.00 at an auction. It had been painted multiple times and the top was covered with contact paper. Here is the table before:

$1.00 table before


Here is a close up of the top with multiple layers of paint and contact paper.


many layers of paint


This is the table after one coat of the Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. Paris Gray is on the top and Paris Gray mixed with Original (white) is on the bottom.



We then waxed it and could have declared it finished, as it looked great.

light colored wax to seal the paint


BUT….Remember I said Susan is a super talented decorative painter… so this was just our starting point. We painted the top again with the Duck Egg Blue, distressed a little by lightly sanding so a little of the gray would show through, rewaxed with the light wax and then set up a stencil design for the top.


Annie Sloan Deck Egg Blue with stencil


We used Arles (yellow) for the stencil


Arles (yellow) for the stencil


We distressed the top again with a little more light sanding and then decided to paint the legs Arles and distress them as well. We finished the entire piece with a good covering of the dark wax.

Here is the finished piece.  (The photo was taken just before dark so the color is a little off but you get the idea).

console table AFTER



We were now hooked; both on the paint and on how much fun and how easy it was to turn trash to treasure. We started gathering as many pieces of furniture as we could and went to work turning them into little masterpieces. Here are a few more we did the same week.


A little side table painted Duck Egg Blue and Paris Gray with a silver stencil design.


Duck Egg Blue and Paris Gray


A stool painted in Emperor’s Silk Red and then covered in vintage red silk fabric (that was originally curtains) that Susan found at the Habitat For Humanity Restore.


Emperor's Silk Red



Most exciting is that the owner of  the store  Soiree,  saw one of our pieces on Susan’s iphone and asked if she could put them in her store……well…YEEESS!!!

Here are the painted pieces together when we dropped them off.  I don’t have a photo of the gray and silver stenciled one in the back but the owner put that one  in the store window (how incredibly exciting!)



We have since collected 3-4 more pieces to paint plus an old mirror and a vintage lamp. Now we just need to make another road trip down to Rhode Island or pay for shipping to get more paint.

I would love to hear feed back, and if you have used the paint, I would love to hear about that as well.

Give me a call if you would like to incorporate an Annie Sloan custom painted piece in your home.
















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