ORC week 5: The final sprint

AHHHHHH! It is week five of The One Room Challenge, hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. Now it’s serious crunch time, pedal to the metal and no time for indecision, or last minute second guessing. My photographer comes on Monday so I have just 3 days to completely finish my family room makeover. The good news is that things are arriving and the room is slowly falling into place. My new Kravet sofa and reupholstered chairs are now in the room. I don’t want to give too much away until the reveal but here is a little sneak peak.

I just LOVE the new sofa. It is the Pelham sofa from Kravet covered with a very durable Kravet fabric. I decided on a bench cushion simply for practical reasons. Saturday night is often movie night for my husband and I, along with wine, cheese and crackers. I am tired of continually cleaning out stray crumbs (and dog hair) from between the seat cushions so the single cushion will take care of that.


Kravet Pelham sofa

upholstred chairsI am very happy with how my Indonesian chairs chairs turned out, as well as this super comfy 40 year old club chair that belonged to my mom. For this I chose a J.F. Fabric.upholstered chair2Tomorrow I pick up the drapery and pillows and hopefully my custom drapery hardware will be ready on Friday. The coffee table is scheduled to be delivered tomorrow so what is left is installing the window treatments, accessorizing, hanging art work and styling for Monday’s photo shoot.

Speaking of hanging art work. My prints have not yet arrived for my gallery wall and I knew I was cutting it close when I placed the order. Once they do arrive though I am ready to hang. I made a template for all the frames and plates and after tweaking the placement dozens of times I think I am finally set on this arrangement. I have my fingers crossed you won’t see blank paper taped to the wall next Thursday at my room reveal.

wall art planning

My decorating style is that I prefer a well edited room. I can’t stand random clutter and I believe we should only live with those things that bring us joy, are beautiful or serve a function. When it comes to accessorizing my family room here are a few items that are very special to me as well as beautiful that will also be going into the room.

Pamela Copeman

Pamela Copeman

This painting by Boston designer and artist Pamela Copeman.  Even though Pamela and I are both from the Boston area, we didn’t meet and become friends until we went on BlogTour Vegas with Veronika Miller and Modenus. The subject matter of this painting is the interior of a French Hotel and has a very special meaning to me. I was so touched when she gifted this to me.

A second painting from artist Laurie leavitt. Laurie is one of my oldest and best friends as we lived across the street from one another growing up. I was so thrilled when she offered me this painting of birch trees to use in my room. Not only do the colors work beautifully but the birch tree is my favorite tree.

Laurie Leavitt

Laurie Leavitt

This gorgeous hand made trivet given to me by my good friend Susan Siefer (ironically also an artist). She brought this back for me from her recent trip to Morocco. She so thoughtfully chose the color after she saw a sneak peak of my blue lacquered campaign chest that will be in the room.

Trivet from Morocco

Trivet from Morocco

The talented design duo of Lance Jackson and David Ecton (AKA Parker Kennedy) or as I lovingly call them the PK Boys, surprised me with this spectacular antique canton ware covered dish. They too saw a sneak peak of the campaign chest and also my collection of blue and white china. Spectacular yes? How lucky am I to have such special items that are so beautiful and special. Each item will bring me joy everyday I look at them.

PK boys gift

So, be sure to check back next Thursday and see where I place everything and for the full reveal.

Side note: Now that this challenge is close to the end, I have moments when I feel completely in control and then other moments of anxiety when I think about all that is still left to do. Why I chose to take on this challenge right in the middle of treatment for breast cancer is beyond me. I think I was looking for a diversion from all that my body is going through and If nothing else, worrying about the room getting finished is a lot better than worrying about chemo and radiation…right??

You can catch up on the past four weeks of my six week challenge here:

Week One

Week Two

Week Three

Week Four

Also,  follow along with the progress of the other link up participants Here.




ORC week 4: All about the art

Well here it is week four of the One Room Challenge  hosted by Linda of Calling it Home. What had been a ticking clock has now become a booming drum constantly beating in my head. I have less than two weeks to complete my large family room before the photographer arrives on the 9th.

I did make some progress this week as those of you who follow me on Instagram saw. I am super excited about my newly lacquered campaign chest. I purchased it for a song at the Habitat Restore and then had my cabinet maker lacquer it in Sherwin Williams Indigo. It came out spectacular!

Lacquered Campaign chest

Lacquered Campaign chest

I was blown away by how good the refurbished hardware came out. If you saw the hardware “before” in last weeks post you know it was in pretty sad shape.

My cut and bound sea grass rug was also installed this week. I needed something that would wear like iron and handle the wear and tear from our dog.

seagreass rug

As you can see I had it cut out around the fireplace so that it wouldn’t look like a landing strip pad running down the middle of the room. Having a rug that fills the whole room has made such a difference in making the room feel more cohesive as well as cozy. BTW, it’s only curling up on the edge there because I took this photo right after the installer left. It will lay flat within a few days.

Still waiting on my furniture which will arrive hopefully the end of this week into the middle of next week.

So now my thoughts are on to the art for the room. I already own a fabulous oil painting that will be going directly above the campaign chest.

art piece

So the dilemma that had been keeping me up at night was what to do for art on the huge expansive wall above the sofa. It is almost 7′ of wall space! My budget is more than blown so it had to be something very affordable.  I do not like big box store art or what I call “staging art” because I only want to bring things into my home that have meaning or speak to me in some way. I needed to get creative.

My solution? I decided to create a gallery wall that could be ever changing as I find just the right pieces going forward. Since I don’t have the luxury of time, I decided to simply enlarge some of my photography and display some glass trays and blue and white plates that I love.

Here is my initial planning.

Preliminary gallery wall planning

Preliminary gallery wall planning

I purchased about a dozen white frames from Michael’s during a 40% off frame sale and played around with different frame sizes and arrangements on the floor until I found something I liked. I didn’t have much time to decide which images to enlarged as I looked at the lead time for delivery and realized I had about had about ten minutes to make a decision in order for them to arrive on time. I choose some photos from our favorite vacation spot and a few more abstract ones. Just like with the frames I ordered way more images than I need because I want to play around with placement once they arrive.

So all in all, if everything arrives on schedule, I am in fairly good shape. I still have a lot to do but now that I have decided on the art I feel a lot better.

I would love to hear from you. What do you think of my affordable wall art solution?

It has been eye opening following all the other ORC participants as some are doing great, and others have huge challenges to deal with. I feel very fortunate in that I have two friends, Meredith Bohn, and Kelly Rogers also participating in the challenge. When we need a word of encouragement or get stressed we have one another to lean on. This has made such a big difference in my stress level.

Be sure to check out everyone participating here.



ORC Family Room Makeover Week 3

Well week 3 of the One Room Challenge rolled in way too fast and the reality (panic) of this tight timeline is starting to set in. This is what my room looks like as I write this post.

ORC emptyThe room is painted and my husband installed the new ceiling light from Crystorama. I am thrilled that my Jonathan Adler gold bamboo floor lamp (in the right corner) was quick shipped and arrived in 5 days.

The furniture is “expected” to be delivered before the reveal but honestly, it will be very tight. I’ve booked the photographer for the afternoon of the 9th which was his only available date and the coffee table is scheduled to be delivered on the 9th (fingers crossed it’s in the morning).

I am also trying everything to entice the the dog to use to his new Dash and Albert dog bed before the new sofa arrives. He wants no part of it though and keeps wandering around looking for his big dog bed that used to be against the wall where all sat and watched TV. He has now defaulted to his plan B which seems to be our bed.

I am happy you all like my vintage campaign dresser I found at the Habitat Restore. I have big plans for it…hint, lacquer and color! Now my next action item is trying to figure out how to bring these babies back to some kind of glory.

Campaign chest hardware

Campaign chest hardware

They are solid brass and I thought I could clean and polish them myself but no such deal. I spent an entire afternoon researching brass restorers and spoke to multiple companies. Either their price is crazy (as in over a grand to replate them) or their lead time is not going to work (8-10 weeks). I did finally find someone local so fingers crossed they turn out as I envision.

So many of you also said you liked my “plan B” fabric even better than my origional choice and I honestly have to agree. I hadn’t seen this colorway the first time so the back order really was for the best. Here is the fabric for all my upholstered pieces. I know it looks a little boring for someone who LOVES color like myself but I wanted this room to be calming and restful. Fear not though color lovers as I still plan some saturated pops of color in there!

ORC fabrics1

Bottom left: sofa. Top left: small club chair, Middle top: window treatments, Right: Indonesian chairs

So for the time being it is sit and wait for the furniture, window treatments, rug, pillows and my newly upholstered chairs. I also have to decide on and purchase art work, find an ottoman, order drapery hardware and think about accessories. I basically have about two weeks…yikes!!! My room reveal will either be a total win or a complete bust. Let’s hope it’s the former.

To see the progress of all the other link up participants from Calling it Home ORC challenge click here. Also, don’t miss the twenty main bloggers who post on Wednesday’s.

Also, If you want to catch up with the past two weeks the links are below.

ORC week one

ORC week two

Friday’s Photo: Tribal inspired

One of the biggest trends for Fall in both fashion and interiors is tribal inspired. So many of us are traveling or dreaming of traveling to far off exotic places and what better souvenir to bring home than a decorative memory from our trip.

While visiting the Boston Magazine Design Home last week I noticed that the designer had incorporated a few tribal accents into the living room.

Boston Magazine Design Home

Boston Magazine Design Home

The John Robshaw elephant fabric on the chaise and the two African figures brings in just enough tribal reference without it becoming over done.

What do you think? Are you a fan of this trend?

Have a great weekend everyone. I will be working on our family room for the One Room Challenge I am participating in. We are already into week two and I have SO much more to do!

ORC: Family Room makeover week one

It’s go time! Today is day one, week one, of the now famous One Room Challenge. Hosted by Linda of the popular blog Calling It Home, participants have six weeks to transform a room from start to finish. The twenty invited bloggers started yesterday and the link up participants start today.

ORC Guest Gold

I have chosen to makeover our family room. Since I turned our living room into my studio/office last Winter, the family room is now the only room in the house to sit, read, watch TV and entertain guests. It’s a big room and a crazy tight deadline but I think baring it all might be the only way I will ever get this room decorated. Accountability baby!

As I had mentioned in my last blog we gave most of the original furniture in the room to my son when he moved into his new apartment with ambitious plans to completely redo the room. Then life got in the way. I was busy with client projects and then was diagnosed with breast cancer (that’s a story for another day). It’s now been over a year and we haven’t done a single thing except drag some old furniture up from the basement so we at least have a place to sit.


yes, I know, I know it’s a hot mess!

view out to deck

Look at the pathetic table we have been using for a coffee table. It basically holds the TV remotes and that’s about it. Not that long ago we also had a rug. Sadly, an elderly dog and then an incident involving a large platter of bright red sweet and sour chicken took care of eliminating that.

antique corner cabinet is staying

I cringe every time I look at that French country pine bench shoved up next to the early American corner cabinet. It’s only there because we needed extra seating one night and I was too lazy to move it back to the basement.

Since I plan to put a big part of my budget toward custom drapery and a high quality sofa, some of the furniture you see must stay. I plan to reupholster a comfy green chair and two Indonesian wood chairs. An antique Korean chest and cherry corner cabinet will also remain as they are sentimental pieces from my husband’s family. I inherited a ton of blue and white china (seriously, over a hundred pieces!) that will need to tie in color wise along with the 90’s forest green serpentine fireplace surround.


Everything that is staying in the room

Definitely a mishmash of items but here is my design board to tie everything together and create a functional and comfortable family room.

ORC inspiration board

ORC inspiration board

OH! I forgot to mention that I have a lovable although crazy rescue dog who loves to dig holes, roll in smelly dead things and thinks of the sofa as his own personal dog bed. I have to design with him in mind as well. Don’t let his cute face deceive you, he is like the character Pigpen in Charlie Brown. Everywhere he goes he leaves a trail of dirt and dog hair.

Mr. T. Nevers… AKA Boo

The clock is ticking so off I go. Be sure to come back next Thursday to see my progress and updates. Also, be sure to check out the twenty designers who started yesterday as well and the link up participants who started today. It’s inspiration to the max!

For sneak peaks during the week be sure to follow me on Instagram and Facebook too.






The One Room Challenge

I first heard of the One Room Challenge over a year ago when several of my designer friends were participating. For those of you who haven’t heard of it, The One Room Challenge was started by Linda of the popular blog Calling it Home. Twice a year she asks twenty top design bloggers to make over a room of their choice in six short weeks (well actually five because week six is the reveal).

Anyone with a blog is also welcome to link up to the One Room Challenge and take part in the fun. Next Wednesday Oct 7th is the start date for the twenty chosen designers and each Wednesday they will blog and chronicle their room progress until the big reveal November 11th. Starting Thursday the 8th, everyone else who is participating in the link up does the same. It seems fun as well as potentially stressful but at the end of six weeks the reward is a newly decorated room.

Now truth be told,  I have been planning to make over our family room for over four years now and it still hasn’t happened. Lot’s of reasons why but mainly because I am busy with client work so my own home takes a back seat.  Also, I have a common affliction that many designers have when it comes to decorating their own home, called “analysis paralysis”.  There are so many colors and styles I like that I find it challenging to make a decision.

Well fast forward and I get a life changing diagnosis of breast cancer. I end up spending the majority of the Summer laying on a 25+ year old uncomfortable sofa recovering from the side effects of chemotherapy, staring at a mostly empty room. Depressing to say the least.

Why was the room empty you wonder? Well over a year ago we gave almost all our family room furniture to my son when he moved into his Boston apartment. The furniture was dated, no longer our style and I thought if I gave everything away it would prompt me to get moving on redoing the room. Well it still hasn’t happened and the furniture that is in the family room are basement relics that are soon to be donated or ditched. Embarrassing for sure but hey, it’s life.

SO, I have decided to participate in the One Room Challenge link up. I’m going public with my makeover so there is no turning back. In order to get my family room completed in six weeks decisions need to be made and fast! Everyone will be watching (OMG and judging??) so it is intimidating but also the kick in the butt I need to finally decorate this depressing sad room.

So I hope you follow along all the featured designers starting Wednesday the 7th and all the link up participants, like myself, the follow day Thursday the 8th.

I know it’s Friday and and since Friday is usually reserved for Friday’s Photo, here it is, my One Room Challenge makeover inspiration.

ORC inspiration

One Room Challenge color inspiration: green, cream and taupe

I also have a large collection of blue and white china that I somehow have to incorporate into the room design.  be sure to check back next Thursday to see my plan.

Have a great weekend everyone and hopefully we will not be hit by Hurricane Joaquin.

Mally Skok fabric crush

I assume I am among the majority of decorators and designers when I say, I LOVE fabric. I mean I seriously LOVE fabric. Even as a kid, I remember being in heaven while my mother browsed at our local fabric store. I would wander the isles checking out all the different patterns, colors and textures and I would fantasize about all the things I would make and with which fabric.

Back then our local fabric store had a giant barrel by the register filled with left over samples. You could get a sample for a quarter. It was so difficult to choose just two pieces which was what I was allowed to bring home. Had my mother or the store allowed it I would have dumped the entire barrel onto the floor and spend the whole day deciding which two were “the ones”.

All these years later and I haven’t changed one bit. Even though I was about to start chemo and had no idea how I would be feeling, I jumped at the change to meet up with Boston Designer Mally Skok and check out her beautiful fabrics and coordinating wallpapers. Luckily I felt good that day and just as when I was a kid I could have stayed all day.

Skok's fabric room

Skok’s fabric room

One of the things I like best about Mally’s fabrics and wallpapers are that they are locally made right here in Mass. The bolts are then shipped to her studio. This allows Mally and her staff to keep quality in check by inspecting, cutting and shipping all orders themselves.

Although Mally is now a Bostonian she is originally from South Africa (by way of London) and many of her fabrics reflect her international sensibilities.

Tribal ethnic fabrics

Mally Skok bolts of fabric

Mally has six different collections and each one is quite different yet all reflect Mally’s love and expertise with color and pattern. You can check them all out here. What was most fun besides seeing her operation was getting a tour of her home and seeing some of her fabrics and wallpapers in use.


Mewar pink on walls, India Stripe on chair, Rohet Flora multi on pillow

I discovered Mally and I share a love a pink which is reflected in a couple of the bedrooms.


Brimfield on walls and chair in Petunia Pink

This wallpaper called Botswana Trees is from her Africa collection and is one of my favorites.


Botswana trees peridot

What dog lover could possibly resist this this adorable doggy wallpaper?


All of Mally’s designs are just so happy and welcoming.


Suzani Luv Blue on White


Rohet Flora Multi on chair seat

Doesn’t this guest bedroom make you feel like you are in some cute little Parisian bed and breakfast? If I was her guest I would not want to leave.


Brimfield Petunia Pink

Mally sent me home with a big bag of one swatch of each piece in her collection. I was so excited about my bag of treasures. I am somewhat embarrassed to share this (so don’t judge) but as soon as I got home I sat on the floor with all the samples spread out in front of me. It was just like my dream had come true from when I was a kid. I had dumped out the swatch barrel and was taking my time “playing with” and falling in love with all the fabrics.

I can’t wait to use some in a project. I already have chosen “the ones”.

Do you feel this way about fabric too?

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