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?

Friday’s Photo: Turquoise and yellow dining room

Who says dining rooms have to be boring? I’m still thinking about this gorgeous turquoise and yellow dining room from the Lillian August show room at High Point Market.

Lillian August

Lillian August

So fresh and inviting don’t you think?

Have a great weekend everyone.

You may have noticed that I have been a bit remiss with my regular Tuesday posts but please bare with me as I am juggling one too many balls and my blog has had to take a back seat for the moment. I plan to be back on schedule very soon.

Friday’s Photo: RL breaking the rules

In both photography and design school I was told “first you have to learn the rules in order to successfully break the rules”. This image below taken at the Ralph Lauren High Point Showroom is definitely a rule breaker. A giant mirror is oversize for the console table (a mirror should be no more than 1/3 the length of the piece of furniture it is over), a teeny tiny lamp looks way too small for the table (the size of a lamp should be balanced with the size of the table)  and a large framed photo overlaps the mirror (never obstruct a mirror).

Ralph Lauren Show room

Ralph Lauren Show room High Point

Does it work? Absolutely. Every single element is placed perfectly so that the overall vignette is balanced and cohesive. What do you think?

Have a great weekend!

Friday’s Photo: Excitement in the details

One of my favorite things to see at High Point Market is how the experts style the show rooms. Unfortunately, it can be challenging to observe because the rooms are almost always packed with sales reps buzzing about and with designers sitting in the room to test out the furniture or to simply relax for a few minutes.

One lucky afternoon I just happen to get this “person free” image at Wesley Hall.  I had about 5 seconds before someone walked back into the frame and sat down on the chair.

Wesley Hall

Wesley Hall

Just look at how much thought went into styling and decorating this one small space. The green in the art work perfectly coordinates with the green leather sofa. The flowers on the tray which is angled “just so” is a perfect compliment to the floral fabric on the chair. My absolute favorite detail though is the small red crystal on the chandelier that forms a little color triangle with the floral fabric and the red pillow on the sofa.

Call me crazy but it’s these perfectly thought out design details that gets me so excited about design.

Have a great weekend everyone. I think here in New England we are going to have our first absolutely gorgeous weekend.

Dining By Design 2015 room vignettes part 1

Last week I was in New York City to join in the celebration of Modenus’s (Veronika Miller) fifth anniversary as well as to attend the Architectural Digest Home Show. I saw so many new products and met some amazing new artisans and over the next few posts I will be sharing lot’s of inspiring photos and design ideas. Beside’s the Modenus bash (Veronika really knows how to throw a party) a highlight of my trip was attending a very special event called DINING BY DESIGN.

Each year Dining By Design brings together internationally celebrated designers as well as local talent to create dining installations that the public can view to help raise money for DIFFA (Design Industries Fighting Aids). Each dining room is so different and the creativity is off the charts. Some are whimsical while others are elegant and over the top luxurious and some are simply outrageous and fun.

I have already posted a few of my favorite rooms on Instagram but for those of you who don’t follow me or are not on Instagram here are a few more of the rooms. I will reveal more in my following post part two.

Sunbrella fabric sponsored this colorful happy room. I loved all the mix of different colored glasses and the rainbow of fabric swatches tied to the chairs.

Dining By Design Sunbrella :Linda Holt Photo

Dining By Design Sunbrella :Linda Holt Photo

If you are a D.I.Y.’er you could achieve a similar look with colorful ribbon tied to the back of your dining chairs. Mismatched colorful glasses can usually be picked up for a few dollars each at a consignment shop or flea market. I couldn’t get close enough to the “wall paper” but it appeared to be made out of buttons on fabric.

This next dining room is by Corey Damen Jenkins who paired up with Beacon Hill Fabrics. This vignette was one of my favorites. Who says you need a chandelier when two fabulous statement lamps will do the job?

Dining by design table

Corey Damen Jenkins: Linda Holt Photo

I especially loved Corey’s elegant place settings of gold detailed glass plates accented with agate “jewelry” and topped by a single succulent.


Linda Holt Photo

Of course how can you not love Hermes. They could simply put their china on a beat up picnic table and it would be a show stopping table.


Hermes for Dining By Design: Linda Holt Photo

At $350+ for a single plate I tried to do the math in my head of what this elaborate table with place settings for twenty might cost. I stopped adding when I remembered the old saying, “if you have to ask you can’t afford it”. Trust me, it would be a lot!


Hermes IKAT china: Linda Holt Photo

For those of you familiar with the artist Hunt Slonem this will surely delight you. Wouldn’t you just love to be invited to a Spring brunch in a dining room like this?


Hunt Slonem: Linda Holt Photo

Slonem did two tables for dining by design and I could not decide which one I liked better. They both were so colorful, fresh and fun.

Hunt Slonen: Linda Holt Photo

Hunt Slonen: Linda Holt Photo

Take note of the bullion fringe on both tables. I have been seeing this trend a lot lately and although I am not a big fan of it for furniture I love it used here on the table topper.

This last one was titled “getting lost in print”….get it? It was done by Echo and the viewers were encouraged to get in on the party.


My traveling buddy designer Kim Macumber and I were more than willing to get in on the fun.

Echo vignette red

That’s it for part one. Be sure to check out my next post part two for others, some of which were quite outrageous!

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