When I was little, there was a closet under the stairway. At the back of the closet, behind the coats and the vacuum cleaner, behind the wrapping paper and extra dishes, there was a little space just big enough for a seven year old girl. In that little space, I plugged in a lamp, cleared the floor, leaned a picture against the wall, and claimed it for my own.

I guess you could say I’ve always liked little spaces that contained only what I needed and nothing more. I often find myself day dreaming about tiny living in my grown up life. I wonder if the folks from Tumbleweed had little rooms under the stairs long ago?

Tumbleweed Lusby (117 square feet)

Tumbleweed Lusby Interior

Tumbleweed Lusby Loft

Tumbleweed Harbinger (310 square feet)

Tumbleweed Sebastarosa (750 square feet)

Tumbleweed Weller (107 square feet)

Tumbleweed Weebee Interior

Tumbleweed XS House Kitchen

Tumbleweed B-53 (777 square feet)

Tumbleweed Gifford (99 square feet)

Tumbleweed Loring (356 square feet)

Tumbleweed Anderjack (99 square feet)

Tumbleweed Epu Loft

Want more little houses? See these resources:





Hi Everyone!

It’s been a while since my last post but let’s not dwell on that and just dive right in, shall we?

I’ve been obsessed with dining room chairs lately! I’m shopping for a client who has a f-a-b-u-l-o-u-s  Saarinen-like tulip table paired with chairs she got 20 years ago for $40…(or maybe it was 40 years ago for $20?) The table looks like this one by Knoll:

Saarinen Table by Knoll

I told you. It’s fantastic!

I’ve had so much fun searching for possibilities (we’ve got a few on a short list at this point) and I’ve seen so many varieties (some that have nothing to do with the current project) that I thought I would post some pictures. And if by any chance you’ve been looking for new chairs yourself, I’d like to share the most important thing I’ve learned along the way:

Buy the chairs you love. Don’t obsess over matching table and chair sets or even matching chairs to each other if that’s your thing. Traditional table? Yes, you can pair it with modern chairs and vice versa. Modern home? Go for a rustic chair and see how inviting the seating area suddenly becomes.

In other words… ANYTHING GOES.

So whether you’re painting some old chairs or spending top dollar on some new ones, here’s a little inspiration. (all photos from www.housetohome.co.uk )

Here’s something I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while. What do you picture when you think of animal prints?


via eHow-uk

Or maybe this?

I wanted to see if I could change a few minds here today with some updated ways use animal prints.

{House Beautiful - designers DeMattei and Wade}

{via House and Home - designer Tommy Smythe}

{via CocoCozy}

{via CocoCozy - designer Carlos Domenech}

{via House to Home UK}

{Veranda via Cote de Texas}

My advice for trying animal prints?

  • Small doses – the seat of a desk chair, a small ottoman, throw pillows.
  • Take full advantage of all the colors available.
  • Approach it with some whimsy! Use it to make a traditional room more inviting. Send a signal that it’s okay to have fun in the space. Let people know that you have a little sense of humor.

{pillows on white background: Barclay Butera / Pillows on colored background: West Elm}

My father’s decorating style? I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t argue with me when I say he doesn’t have one.

That said, he’s the guy you want around when you start any home improvement project.  He’s my hero in the handyman department. Growing up I took it for granted that when something needed fixing, we didn’t have to call a repair man. Of course now that I have my own house, I often find myself calculating the cost of flying my father in from Vermont vs hiring someone…

Even though my Dad is 796 miles away, he’s often my first line of defense.

He once diagnosed a broken toilet over the phone as I held the receiver above the tank. He’s talked me through a dryer repair long distance. He’s the first one I called when a tree limb crashed through our roof (his advice: “call your insurance company”).

I owe him my courage with tools – he bought me my first tool box and filled it with things I still use in my business every day. He gave me his old drill and showed me how to use it with confidence.

His most recent gift to me was a circular saw. I used it to cut shelves for a gorgeous fixer-upper-cupboard I bought at a local consignment store (another beautiful piece from Classic Treasures!).

Check it out.

Me with my Ryobi 7-1/4 in. Laser Circular Saw

So today, I send this small shout out to my dad:

It’s because of you

that I’m kind of a bad-ass

in my tool belt.

Happy Father’s Day!

I spotted these chairs from Anthropologie months ago and have been dreaming of them ever since…wouldn’t they be perfect in the garden?

Yes, I think so too.

Alas, at $248 each (and another $75 for oversize shipping), there’s no budget left for planting flowers!

Imagine my pleasure when I came across these fun options in the latest issue of Country Living. Adorable and budget friendly versions that beckon to be set in a garden or on a front porch.

Springfield Bistro by kmart (3pc on sale for $199!)

Rock Lake Bench by kmart ($179)

And we certainly can’t leave the table top bare can we?

How about these cheerful plates – perfect on a red table:

Pop Flower Plates (via Crate & Barrel)

And rather than a random collection of plastic cups, how about some sophisticated unbreakables?

Acrylic Barware (via Crate & Barrel)

Even the citronella candles should have a little style.

Citronella Candles (via Crate & Barrel)



My mother’s design style? A cross between the farmer’s house in a Beatrice Potter story and a Victorian sitting room.

As a master gardener and lover of animals (two dogs, a cat, a bazzillion fish, and a horse…currently) her home is filled with hints of the outdoors. Floral wallpapers, animal statues, and flower arrangements in every corner.

She’s very industrious and I’ve seen her polyurethane her floors, strip furniture, stencil walls, and paint everything in between. She and my father have been wallpapering together for thirty-five years. She can not possibly pass up a salvage yard or antique shop and will go to great lengths to bring home something she loves.

Favorite color? Pink. Oh yes.  The more the better.

In honor of mother’s day, I’m dedicating this post to her favorites – the things you see when you visit her home, a turn of the century Victorian built in 1896.  And yes, the house is painted pink.

note: although these pictures were gathered from various and sundry places and are not her actual home, I think they capture the spirit of the things she loves:

Bedrooms: romantic, feminine, and have I mentioned pink?

My mother sets an elegant table for two people or ten, spaghetti or roast. White china, real silver, and flowers can be counted on whether you are family or guest.

Somehow she manages to make stone animals from garden centers fit right in. Bunnies and dogs are the creatures you are most likely to see.

via Wiltsie Bridge Country Store

Orchids and more orchids. I once watched her board a PLANE with a huge potted orchid because it was one she couldn’t find in Vermont. While the rest of us fret over ounces of shampoo, my mother is packing live plants in tissue paper.

via New York Botanical Garden

English porcelain flower pins

via The House of Oliver on Etsy

A vast collection of PoppyTrail used every single day at breakfast in her greenhouse.

And among all of these pretty things, if you so much as whisper the word cookie in her direction, she will whip you up a batch of chocolate chip love in minutes.

NESTLÉ Toll House via http://www.verybestbaking.com

Happy Mother’s Day Mom!  

A quiet moment for a busy lady and her horse.

Durham Shred-A-Thon and Electronics Recycling/Disposal

Sunday, May 1, 2011

I promised I would tell you about these events and look what I found in my inbox this morning! As it turns out, we are having our very own Shred-A-Thon here in Durham this coming Sunday. This event also includes electronics (basically anything with a cord).

Date: Sunday, May 1, from
Time:  12:00 – 5:00 PM
Where: Durham Central Park, located at 502 Foster St. (downtown Durham)


Electronics: Old computers, printers, monitors, televisions, cell phones, and nearly anything else with a cord is accepted for recycling. Exceptions – no large appliances (no washers or bigger items) or items with Freon (no air conditioning units).

Free paper shredding: Provided on site. Paper may contain paper clips and staples; however, hanging file folders will not be accepted. Residents may be present to witness the shredding of their confidential documents.

Hosted by the City of Durham’s Solid Waste Management Department

Please click “Share This” below to send to folks who might be interested.

PS – On an entirely different but more important note, for anyone interested in helping the Red Cross provide food, shelter, relief supplies and emotional support to the people affected by the storms here in the south, you can text the word REDCROSS to 90999. A $10 donation will be added to your next cell phone bill.

Hi Everyone!

Yes – I’m still here. Those of you who have seen me over the past few months know that the spring is my busiest season – and this one was no exception. 🙂

I’ve been out of the blogging loop a bit, but aim to get back to it.

Today, I have an announcement specifically for my Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Hillsborough readers AND state employees (UNC folks). That said, I promise to make similar announcements when they come along for my Durham County and even my out of state readers!

It’s a Shred-A-Thon!

(i.e. professional organizers idea of fun)

Date: Saturday, April 30, 2011
Time: 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM
Cost: Free
Location: Hampton Pointe Shopping Center, Hwy 86, Hillsborough at the 24-hour recycling drop-off site located behind Home Depot.

What’s a Shred-A-Thon you ask? Residents are invited to bring up to 10 bankers boxes of documents to be shredded and recycled for free. The events are held in an effort to crack down on identity theft and keep these reams of paper out of the landfill.
Got alot of old paperwork dragging you down? Well grab a few boxes and start purging. This Shred-A-Thon is the answer you’ve been waiting for. It couldn’t be easier.
The Details
The event is held in conjunction with the Orange County Sheriff’s Dept. Limit of ten banker-size boxes or large bags. Remove any non-paper materials, including folders, binders, computer disks and laminated paper (a few staples or paper clips are okay). Shredding will take place on-site in full view while you watch (instant satisfaction!).  The events are limited to Orange County residents, residents who live in the part of Chapel Hill located in Durham County, or those working for the County or Towns of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough.
Am I weird because I think this sounds like a fantastic way to spend a Saturday morning?
Please consider clicking the  “Share This” button below if you know someone who would be interested in this event!

I just returned from a fantastic trip to the Spring Market in High Point. For those of you who are unfamiliar, this event is the largest home furnishings industry trade show in the world, “bringing together over 85,000 people from 110 countries”. This was my third show and I still find myself absolutely breathless as I walk the showrooms filled with some of the most beautiful and cutting edge design – the furnishings and decor that we’ll start seeing in magazines in the coming months.

For many, the show is a place to buy inventory for their retail stores. It’s also a place for small designers to source furniture and decor for their clients from vendors who don’t require minimum orders (i.e. you can buy one lamp or one sofa, and don’t need to stock several items to have an account). Whether you are large or small however, it’s definitely the place to spot new trends…and share them with your loyal blog followers!!!

Here are a few of the latest that caught my eye.


The most important trend to note is one that actually builds on what I saw at the Fall show: Color is making it’s way back. With the rough economy, it seemed like everything went towards safe neutrals. Color started creeping back in with subtle nods in the fall, but this spring they are getting more and more bold.  The showroom floor for C.R. Laine was a perfect example.


This pattern appears to make a comeback every 20-30 years but usually in the fashion industry (think Chanel). In an IDS lecture I attended, Leah Guttersen, Director of Product for Greenhouse Fabrics said this pretty check will be making an appearance this spring. Expect to see it in fun color combos and unusual fabrics. I wish I had taken a picture of the pink and purple silk houndstooth pillow I saw! Lesson learned for Fall Market – when they allow it, take lots of photos.

Via DecorPad by Gina Kates

Small Chairs

I love this trend. As the owner of a S-M-A-L-L living room (16′ x 14′ which also includes the entryway), I dream of traditional furniture that has been scaled down to fit my space. I want club chairs and wing-backs too! This week I felt like Goldilocks sitting down in her “just right” chair.  These are going to be great for the bedroom too, where space is often limited. Hickory Chair and Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams had my favorite examples – but no photography allowed. No worries, look for photos on this blog as I start seeing them come out in the shelter magazines and websites.


Everywhere and on everything…

I loved this peacock pillow!

Upholstery Nails

Of course these have been in style for a long time but now we’re seeing them used slightly differently. Larger sizes seem to be the trend.

And always in style? A picture of yourself with someone you admire.

Me with author/designer Thomas Jayne

Want to see what books I bought while I was there? See Bedside Reading here.

It’s staging season for me and that means helping people find ways to make their houses as appealing as possible to the largest number of potential buyers.

Updates come in many forms depending on the home and the listing price. One thing that frequently makes the update list is interior hardware, specifically, door knobs. Yep – did you know that updating door knobs is often at the top of the to-do list?

For the most part, this means very simple knobs in an updated finish. For example, many homes built over the past 30-40 years came with door knobs in a bright brass finish which might be showing their age by now.

(see Thrifty Decor Chick to see how to change a doorknob)

Fast forward to 2011 and buyers are looking for brushed nickel or dark bronze. Nothing fancy – just simple and updated:

That said, around mid-March, I usually find myself dreaming of knobs that have a little more to say for themselves. Knobs that are gorgeous, bling-y, show-stoppers. Knobs that say:

I am not an update. I am sculpture.

Have you ever been captivated by a doorknob? I have.


Standard bronze, and nickel knobs via Lowes.com

All gorgeous, bling-y, show-stoppers via rockymountainhardware.com