This project leans a little bit more crafty than construction, but it's one that brings me so much joy.
I was originally inspired by a stunning chandelier that my husband and I saw in a Portland, Maine shop. It was huge and raw and organic and captured my heart. Alas, I don't really have the space or budget ($9,000!) to be able to house that particular light, but I knew that I somehow wanted to incorporate oyster shells into my decor.
Fast forward a couple of months and I was visiting with two of my dearest friends at one of their river cottages in the Northern Neck of Virginia. Now these friends go all the way back to middle school, through high school, college, weddings and kids. They are those kind of girlfriends. Although we all live a few hours apart, we try to gather together every couple of months to recharge and reconnect and just be.
As we were sitting on the beach during that visit, I noticed that the shoreline was almost completely covered in shells. Oyster shells. Jackpot! My friend graciously allowed me to collect as many as I wanted and I set to work brainstorming.
While I knew I wanted to make a light of some sort, I wasn't sure what design I wanted to execute. So in the meantime, as I was perusing Pinterest, I found a lovely sphere made of oyster shells. It was a great, quick project to tackle while I continued to figure out the light design. Details on my chandelier to come in a later post!
I washed the shells thoroughly in a mild detergent. I also added a splash of bleach to help kill any tiny sea bugs. After they were dry, I loved the luminescent, almost metallic look that was found on the inside of the shells and I wanted to play that up. So I decided to paint them to make that finish more pronounced.
I mixed together these two craft store acrylic paints from Michael's and tested on one of the shells. Martha Stewart Pearl and DecoArt Champagne Gold did the trick. Initially, I was worried they would be too opaque and hide all the gorgeous shade variations in the shells, but the finish actually went on perfectly. Just sheer enough to add some glam while highlighting the natural beauty.
The next part was easy peasy. Using a hot glue gun, I added glue to the narrow end of each shell and inserted them one at a time into a white styrofoam ball. I tried to keep the pattern somewhat random, while placing them as close together as possible.
The result...a lovely addition to my tablescape and a beautiful reminder of friendships that last, no matter how many decades and miles pass between.
I hope you are inspired to make something to bring a personal touch to your space and remind you of cherished memories with the special people in your life.
Thanks for visiting!
Who doesn't love a great before/after story? This Spring, I have begun work with a wonderful Richmond company called Outdoor Dreams. They are masters of hardscape and landscape design, helping homeowners realize visions of gorgeous and livable exterior retreats.
I recently came on board to do final staging of their completed projects. After the final construction elements are finished and the furnishings are in place, I work with photographer Becky of Becky Rees Creative to bring each space to life. It's truly a dream team!
This first collaboration was a complete renovation of the homeowner's backyard. Outdoor Dreams designed everything for them, from the back of the house to the edge of the property line. The undeveloped lot was transformed to include a versatile Techo-Bloc patio space, custom pavilion, gas fireplace, outdoor television and audio, stepping stone walkway, asphalt driveway, custom shed, water feature, aluminum fence, outdoor lighting and a low maintenance landscape.
Take a look at what the lot looked like before work began.
Fast forward a few months and look at how this gorgeous property is coming together! Who wouldn't love that gas fireplace that comes to life with a touch of a remote? And the outdoor TV and sound system that truly makes this pavilion a living room? I'm not sure if I would ever want to go back inside. So luxurious! Construction was completed last Spring and plantings were then installed, allowing them the year to mature.
The homeowners also worked with Outdoor Dreams to select furnishings designed to perfectly complement their new backyard rooms. The matching couch and loveseat provide plenty of seating and the large dining table comfortably seats 6.
Finally, it was time to apply the finishing touches. I layered on accessories in a palette of whites and soft blues and staged the space for a cozy weekend morning vibe. Becky worked her photography magic and here you go! We are all so pleased with this end result.
I can't tell you know much I am enjoying working with the team at Outdoor Dreams. Greg's creative vision is inspiring and I am so impressed with the professionalism of his entire team. If you are thinking about tricking out your backyard, I strongly encourage you to check out their website, www.outdoordreamsva.com and give them a call. All of these gorgeous after images are Becky's artistry. Reach out to her at http://beckyreescreative.com/ for all your photography needs!
Thanks for popping by!
Here's a recent project that I am rather pleased with. Our powder room was about as dull as they come. Other than tiling the floor when we first moved in, I simply had not put that much effort into it. Which is a shame, because I think powder rooms are one of those spaces where you can go nuts injecting color and personality. If I had the time and money, I would do a bigger reno...tiling the wall, new vanity, etc. We have bigger fish to fry, however, so I decided to put some lipstick on it and call it a day. But, I have to say, I am kind of liking this lipstick.
Up until now, this room was the same beige that was painted by the previous owners and the only decor was a collection of art that we had found in our travels. We had developed a bit of a theme, with streetscape-type art from favorite places. Definitely a personal touch, evoking great memories.
I didn't want to replace that collection, but I also didn't like having those pieces randomly placed on the wall. So, I decided to group them on picture ledges, making them easy to add to or switch out if I felt inspired. These ledges needed to fit the space and I wanted a particular finish, so I decided to make them so I could customize them to my needs.
These were really quite easy to build. I used premium pine lumber to limit the number of knots and imperfections.
Here's the supply list:
- (2) 6' lengths of 1x2 Select Pine boards
- (2) 6' lengths of 1x3 Select Pine boards
- (2) 6' lengths of 1x4 Select Pine boards
- Fine grit sandpaper
- Wood glue
- Circular saw
- Nail gun
- Minwax Stain in Provincial
- Clean rag and gloves
When you are purchasing your lumber, make sure the boards are cut straight and not warped. Just place one end on the floor and one at eye level. Turn the board vertically and look down the length of board to make sure it's straight. If it's not, choose another one until you find a good one.
Cut your boards to your desired length and then sand the ends. I made my shelves 32" long, so I was able to get 2 shelves from the lumber that I purchased.
Then arrange them as shown. The 4" board is the back, the 3" is the bottom and the 2" is the lip.
Apply a thin line of wood glue to join the boards and then secure them with the nail gun. Try not to get any glue on the outer surfaces of the wood as it will interfere with a smooth stain application.
I love the Provincial finish of stain. It's a neutral medium brown. Not too dark, not too red. I just used a rag to lightly rub an even coat of the stain onto the wood.
You have a couple of options for hanging. I have seen some picture ledges screwed directly into the drywall. I think is a good option if you have a longer ledge and you can hit the studs for a secure mount.
I elected to use a cleat-type hanger. These come in different lengths and have a level built in so they are quite easy to install. Available at Lowe's and Home Depot. This type of installation does not guarantee a completely flush mount to the wall, but it's strong and the slight tilt does not bother me.
,Other additions to this room include:
- Fresh paint. Sherwin Williams Anew Grey on 3 walls and my fave, Sherwin Williams Seaworthy, on the focal wall.
- Champagne Gold-framed round mirror (Lowe's)
- Champagne Gold knobs (Target), toilet paper holder and towel holder (Amazon)
- Tassel hanging that I made with a twig, yarn and wood beads. I love adding something textural and organic to a room.
- And my favorite addition, my ultra glamorous light (Wayfair). Every powder room needs a little bit of bling!
I added a few geometric prints from IKEA to balance out the other art. The black frames unify everything. I'm still in search of the final touch for this room...removable wallpaper for the ceiling. Trying to decide on a color/design. When it comes to powder rooms - have no fear!
I'm in the process of making more ledges, which I will hang in the upstairs hallway to house family photos. I like keeping photos gathered in one space and on ledges so I can mix them up and easily add new ones. Again, I like to put them all in black frames for a more cohesive look. Keeping them centralized also opens up space for art and accessories elsewhere in the house, which are usually the real workhorses in pulling a room's design together.
Thanks for visiting!
I have a friend who used to call me Crafty Cathy. It's simply rare that I meet a project I don't like. And I tackle all sorts of things... to save money and flex some design muscles, but also to learn new skills. Tiling, carpentry, flooring, upholstery and tons of art and decor techniques have all been crossed off the list.
Those who know me well know that my house is a product of DIY projects, hacks, and arts and crafts and I absolutely love sharing how I made these things.
So, I'm creating a new series I like to call "Hammer Time" (insert groan here;) to show you all how easy it is to elevate your decor into something really personal and special. And save tons of money in the process.
First up is my take on a favorite IKEA hack. This is the RAST dresser. It's a very affordable $39.99 and is solid pine. However, out of the box, it's a pretty nondescript piece.
My mission was to create a statement piece for my entryway. As you walk in my front door, the facing wall is fairly narrow, so I was having trouble finding something to fit. And I wanted something colorful to draw people in and introduce the palette. I knew that, with a few changes, I could make this into a modern and functional piece.
As I was brainstorming this piece, I was also working on refining an accent color palette to carry through the house. I knew I wanted a deep teal blue - a favorite of mine since childhood. So I took some cues from a recent art purchase and landed on Sherwin Williams Seaworthy (7620). The print is by a local artist named Holly Markhoff and it reminds me of all of the amazing sister-friends that I am so blessed to have. Love it!
Next step was figuring out how to make the bottom of the chest flush and how to attach legs to make it taller. All I had to do was cut a 1x4 to size for the front and secure a couple of 1x2s on the underside to provide a way to anchor the leg brackets.
The legs were from Home Depot. Unfinished wood with silver bottoms, which I spray painted gold. Once assembly and painting were complete, I finished it off with these handles from Wayfair (12 5/8" center bar pull in Golden Champagne). Before painting, I had to patch the existing knob holes and drill new ones, but that was pretty painless.
And voila! My new, one-of-a-kind entry chest went from dorm room drab to delightfully me! I may play around with adding some trim to the drawers...just to give it some dimension. But, I love it for now and it's a great source of storage. Candles, linens and seasonal goodies all now have a home. Helpful tip: In a small area, I always recommend that furnishings have a function as well as beauty. It's a win-win.
Thanks for visiting!
There are few things that influence emotional state like color. When you are surrounded by a decor palette that works and that you love, other things fall into place just a little easier. But when a home paint and decor scheme is disjointed or disharmonious, adding expensive furniture and accessories is throwing good money after bad. Not to mention, it's just hard to relax when your colors are not in sync.
But how do you know what works when there are so many choices? Well, there's a science to choosing colors that work together.
Here's the stuff that's boring, but that has to be taken into account:
- All paint contains Titanium Dioxide, which is a white pigment that reflects light. It tends to reflect light toward the blue spectrum, which is why pure whites can look slightly blue in tone.
- Neutrals have undertones (the base color to which the grey or beige is added) and not all undertones play well together. Be careful which undertones you choose and combine.
- Lighting is a crucial element when choosing a color. Make sure to test paint at different times of day and lighting conditions.
This stuff can make anyone's head spin, so I wanted to find a proven system for choosing color that makes the process easier to understand and implement. While I have been helping friends with color and decor choices for years, I decided to complete training as a Certified Color Expert last year in order to help clients with a fully-developed color palette selection process.
Here's how it works.
START WITH WHITES
In Richmond, we love our white trims and crown moldings. But if you have tried to choose white paint, you know that all shades are NOT created equally.
There are 4 main types of white:
Within those categories are thousands of shades. But there are a few solid go-to whites that provide a gorgeous frame for your neutral and color hues. The important thing is to figure out which one works best with your existing finishes and then be consistent with your whites. Mixing shades of white can make a home look off before you even get to the fun part.
NEUTRALS ARE NEXT
Neutrals are currently having their day in the sun as designers on Pinterest, Instagram and HGTV are showcasing home after home bathed in the lightest of beiges, greys, greiges and whites. And many of you want that look in your own home.
There are two types of base neutrals:
Sounds easy enough, right? Well, each of these has a million different shades and, as I mentioned, all of these have colors as an undertone. And to confuse matters even more, now we have Greige, which combines the two and also has undertones.
The trick is figuring out what undertones existing finishes in your home dictate and using that to choose your neutrals. Think about elements that are likely not changing, like expensive tile, stone or brick.
If you love color, however, don't be afraid of neutrals. For instance, if you love purple, you can choose a grey that has a slight purple undertone and satisfy your love of lavender while still providing a pleasing backdrop upon which to layer other hues.
ADD COLORS THAT MAKE YOUR HEART SING
This is the fun part. But it comes with a warning. Our favorite stores make lots and lots of money by featuring new collections in the latest trending color schemes. And it's so easy to get sucked in and end up with a trunk full of bags and a whale of a credit card bill. The problem is, if you don't truly love those new colors, you will tire of them quickly and be tempted to buy more the next time a new collection hits the shelves.
Instead, you want to dig deep and ask yourself "what colors have I loved my whole life"? Is there a fabric, artwork/photo, decorative item that combines those colors beautifully? Chances are, if you listen to those color cues and let them inspire your palette, you will end up with a color story that you adore. You can then use different combinations of those colors throughout your home - and even add a trending pop of color every once in awhile to keep things fresh. Once you know your formula, you can carry it through the whole house in a beautiful and pleasing way.
If you would like help figuring out your perfect color palette, drop me a line. A color consultation costs under $200...far less than the cost of repainting and decorating with items that you don't love. Let's show your beloved home in its BEST LIGHT!
I have been chomping at the bit to share this project with you. Before I launch in with all the juicy details, let me just say that if you are thinking about selling and know that you have a little fixing up to do beforehand, read on! This process is the one you want to follow.
This seller came to me, through her Agent, last fall. She knew she was not planning to sell until this Spring, but she wanted to re-fresh the home a bit first so that she could compete with the updated homes in her area. I LOVE that she had the foresight to start early. It gave her time to establish a task calendar, get the extra help that she needed and allow for hiccups and delays. Smart.
We started with a Staging Consultation, spending about 3 hours going through the entire interior and exterior of the home and coming up with a plan for everything that needed to be put on the to-do list. Her house is inhabited by more than just her...also her father, son, a dog and a cat...so we knew we needed to start with editing and pre-packing so that we could make room for the updates. While this 80's cottage had great bones and gorgeous wood floors, the kitchen and baths needed a facelift and most of the house needed to be lightened up and cleared out so buyers would be able to see all the great features.
Once pre-packing was under way, I put together a complete list of every item that I recommended for her home. This included new countertops for the kitchen and flooring for the kitchen and baths. I worked with my account rep at ProSource to find high quality, but affordable options for her home that would deliver a strong ROI. This home is moderately valued, so we didn't want to overspend on premium products.
I also made mood boards for her so she could see how all of the pieces would work together. Her time was scarce, so I assisted her with ordering everything online and having it delivered to her house. All she had to do was schedule the installers.
For the kitchen, we elected to paint out the walls (SW Repose Grey) and wood cabinets (SW Pure White), add granite that looks like a more expensive quartz (Luna Pearl) and install water-resistant Core-Tec luxury vinyl tile that looks like ceramic tile, clicks in place and installs directly over the existing sheet vinyl (no thinset or grout!). She was planning to buy new appliances anyway, so with the addition of some inexpensive, but stylish, lighting, the room was completely transformed. A new buyer can come in and simply customize to their taste with some window treatments and accessories.
In order to maximize first impressions, I knew that it was important to make the front two rooms, the living and dining, light, open and spacious. After alot of pre-packing, fresh Sherwin Williams Repose Grey paint and new dining room lighting, some impactful staging established the tone for the rest of the home. All of the furnishings are the owners and she rented artwork and accessories from my inventory. The dining side-by-side shots are above. I love how these rooms turned out!
All 3 bathrooms received Sherwin Williams Pure White on the cabinets, Sea Salt on the walls, the same Core-Tec luxury vinyl tile on the floors, new lighting, mirrors, faucets, shower curtains and towel racks. They are all adorably industrial-farmhouse chic.
This project was long-term, but the overall re-design was transformative. Every item was carefully chosen to blend with the cottage design of the house and to be extremely cost-effective and high-return.
I'm thrilled that this home sold so quickly (in the 1st weekend!) and I am so thankful for the time and trust that the owner allowed me during this process!
I had an amazing time this past week, learning all about what color palettes we can expect to see trending in the coming year.
As a part of my CCE (Certified Color Expert) designation, I was invited to the annual Sherwin Williams Colormix Forecast 2019 event. This was a luncheon presentation that was held at the Richmond, VA Ethan Allen showroom and boy did they pull out all the stops!
Look at all the goodies that I came home with. Tons of tools and inspiration.
The District Manager of SW gave a magnificent multi-media presentation that outlined how SW spots color trends and combinations that they think may make their way into the world around us over the coming year. Think about how, each season, we see a new palette of cool design products on the shelves of Crate & Barrel and Target. This is where all of that starts!
The SW designers began in February, examining trends in fashion, pop culture, art exhibits and travel destinations such as new hotels and restaurants. They then used these images to inspire 6 different color profiles - each with their own distinct personality. The process was fascinating and I am sure that several of these hues and combinations will eventually find their way into more mainstream design and retail.
Here's a sneak peak:
A couple of the specific personalities included:
Shapeshifter - This one speaks to big dreams and looking to the future. Deep blue, surrounded by wisps of galactic and iridescent hues. Think electric cars, Bowie, spirituality and Alexander McQueen.
Wanderer - Inspired by the American Southwest; journey, adventure, sun-washed and warm. Think rural lifestyle, modern cowgirl, Georgia O'Keefe and Ralph Lauren. This style is the evolution of farmhouse design.
Not only were we stimulated by images and sound, but also by taste as our host, Donna, had custom desserts made for each of the different color profiles. The whole event was a real treat.
Finally, one of the biggest surprises was the reveal of the 2019 Color of the Year. This is quite a departure from the greys, greiges and blues that have overtaken design palettes in recent years. Could we be seeing a shift back to earthier tones? Time will tell!
If you would like to see more about what is trending, drop me a line. I would be glad to share all of the juicy details surrounding this cool event and where we see color trends heading!
Did you know that painting rooms the wrong color can cost you big money when it's time to sell? According to a recent Zillow analysis of over 32,000 photos from homes sold across the country, certain colors are big winners with buyers, and others lose sellers thousands of dollars!
When selling to today's design-savvy buyers, red can lose you upwards of $2,000, while greys and grey/blues can make you $1,900+!
Why leave all that money on the table when painting is such an easy fix? Click below for a free cheatsheet of some of the best and worst paint colors for resale in Richmond and sleep easy knowing your home will show in its best light!
Thanks so much for popping by. The purpose of this section is to enrich your knowledge regarding Home Staging and give you resources to help a listing sell.
I'll be offering regularly updated statistics on the effectiveness of Home Staging, as well as Staging tips and ROI data for specific improvement tasks.
In the meantime, if you are looking for a Stager or just want more information, please give me ring!
This area is designed to house a treasure trove of helpful information. I'll include timely staging and decor tips, and industry data that will help sell houses!