It’s full of unexpected twists and turns with new surprises around every bend. You birth this tiny human with absolutely no clue what kind of person he/she will turn out to be. You then have the ultimate responsibility of helping to shape their story and play a supporting role. It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but you know, actually REAL and with no alternative endings!
With each spring, my motivation kicks into turbo charge and I take on the challenge of a home decor refresh.
Clutter gets eliminated, furniture gets moved around and small tweaks are made throughout my living spaces — swapping textiles and throws, the addition of a new statement piece, switching art prints, etc. None of this is overly difficult or expensive, but the end result is always a breath of fresh air.
Man, January seems to be the month of the Great Purge.
Throughout the year, the needs of my clients shift. There’s always a natural ebb and flow between the shopping/styling requests and the cleansing/reorganization requests and currently, we’re leaning heavy into the latter.
I kept reminding myself of that fact as I circled my soggy yard and stalked my street looking for my missing garbage can that had blown away in the cold, gale force wind. No garbage can, but I did find 4 different recycling bins, a milk container, 2 pizza boxes, and assorted magazines belonging to neighbors. Oh, and the forecast now calls for snow on Sunday.
Although it may not always feel like spring outside, there is no reason why your home shouldn’t get a taste of spring fever. One of the easiest ways to add a dash of seasonal flair is with a throw pillow refresh. Throw pillows are inexpensive accents that draw in color and pattern in what can be an otherwise pretty neutral space. Those little squares have the ability to give your space depth, visual interest and an entirely new look in a matter of minutes.
Just like the clothing on our body, throw pillows are a great way to layer pattern and texture. Don’t be afraid to mix and match to create a unique look that will have you feeling the spring in no time!
• When it comes to pillows I like to mix a large scale pattern with a small one — it looks great and keeps the pillows from visually competing with each other. A no fail throw pillow combo is: a geometric, a floral and a solid, textural option.
• Select throw pillows with down/feather inserts — unless you’re allergic, of course. In that case, you do you! The down/feather insert might be slightly more expensive than the polyester fill alternatives, but they look so much nicer and “full” as the pillow gets used. Equally as important, a down/feather insert can be removed and/or reused with a new case which can save you a bit of cash and headache down the line.
• Take your throws to the floor! Have you considered using a leather or upholstered pouf? I’ve had a cobalt blue, leather, Moroccan pouf in my family room for a few years now and it’s held up beautifully as an ottoman, an extra casual seating option, a platform for my kids to jump off of and a small stage for impromptu kid speeches and performances. A great investment, if I say so myself.
• Get creative with your resources — look for pillows at some of your favorite women’s wear retailers!H&MandZARAboth have under-the-radar home sections on their e-commerce sites containing really stylish and inexpensive home decor options.
• If all else fails, go custom. A throw pillow is perhaps one of the easiest DIY sewing projects we can take on. All it takes is a trip to your local craft or fabric store, a pillow insert and a sewing machine. If this DIY take is not for you,ETSYis an amazing destination for inexpensive and practically-custom throw pillow options. Don’t see exactly what you’re looking for from a seller? Message them directly and inquire! Many times Etsy sellers can custom create whatever size or pattern you are looking for even if it’s not listed on their site!
When it comes to home design, one of the things that can make or break your interior decor is art.
As a stylist, I’ve learned that regardless of your personal tastes (contemporary, transitional, mid-century, traditional, etc.) art can be your best friend… and your worst enemy. With all of the choices out there it’s almost an impossible task to find reasonably priced art to fit the scale of your space, the color palette of your home AND your own design preferences without busting the budget.
When creating E-DESIGN packages for clients, MINTED is one of my favorite resources for reasonably priced and customizable art prints. Minted aggregates thousands of works of art from independent artists all over the world and makes them available to regular ‘ole folks like us. In addition to high quality, archival prints, MINTED also offers custom framing for your selections. Ranging from clean lined brass, to actual repurposed barn wood, you can select from a number of frames to best suit your specific art selection and taste.
If you’ve ever been inclined to create a gallery wall, MINTED is the ideal art retailer to assist. I personally love to use theCOLOR PLAY feature which will sort their vast inventory of art by color and allow you to put together a grouping of art based on your color scheme.
Here are a few pieces of art that have caught my eye and just may have ended up in the homes of some of my clients!
While it seems like everyone else’s holiday stress is gearing up, I feel as though I can breathe a sigh of relief…
The past few weeks were a frenzy of home decor brainstorming, shopping and staging for the 2015 Rocky River Designer Holiday Home Tour. This was my second year (you can check out last year’s home HERE) participating as designer for one of 6 beautiful Rocky River homes selected for the tour and I wish I could say it was less stressful on the second go-around!
As every home and homeowner is different, finding a balance between the architecture/style of the home, the homeowner’s needs/desires AND your vision of what the space should look like is perhaps one of the hardest challenges as a stylist. Throw in 4 young children and a recent move (the homeowners only recently moved in) into the mix, and you just upped the difficulty level to 10!
This year’s home was a brand new construction with blonde hardwoods, modern design and streamlined finishes. The overall aesthetic was minimalist and contemporary and I wanted the holiday decor to seamlessly integrate into the existing look. More importantly, I wanted to holiday home to be an extension of the family and how they live on a day-to-day basis.
What did I come up with?
Well, I guess you can call it a designer (child-friendly) mash up of “Scandinavian Minimalist” and “Organic Nature Enthusiast!” We opted to keep the color palette a tight collection of tans, whites, creams, black and green — with a sprinkle of metallic. Textures were where we put our effort (and budget), investing in soft textiles, rugs, pillows, throws that provided a coziness and warmth that a modern space might otherwise lack.
Thank goodness for my design spirit animal, Stacy George and her textile business called, THE HUNTED. She generously loaned some of her inventory for the home tour and without her impeccable taste and curated collection of textiles and home furnishings, well… let’s just say, my home decor vision would never have come to fruition. If you haven’t checked out her online WEBSITE or INSTAGRAM, I warn you… it’s addictive!
Since open concept floor plans are becoming more and more common, let’s chat a bit about some styling tips for this kind of modern space:
• Focus on bringing in bold accessories and decor that can make an impact and will avoid looking lost in the vast scale of the space.
While holiday decor is often small and clustered, this house called for grander, oversized features — a large tree, oversized pillows, large scale arrangements, etc. Cathedral ceilings practically beg for design with height and one of my favorite design elements of the house — the family room centerpiece — really delivered with its tall silver branches.
I need to give major kudos to my florist — Mary Katherine Greve of Flowers, Etc. (email@example.com or 216-469-3216). She took my bare bones ideas and ran with them, creating really unique and original floral arrangements that perfectly suited the home. Tight combinations of ferns, succulents, pinecones, berries and birch kept the floral design as contemporary as the home itself.
• As in fashion, it’s best to contrast streamlined lines and hard edges with softness and texture which bring the eye in and keep the home feeling cozy and welcoming.
The most cost efficient way to get this effect is through natural greenery and organic decor. I splurged on over 75 yards of cedar garland that is this beautiful vibrant green with drippy, droopy foliage that can softly define any stair rail or entry way and just happens to smell divine.
• Repetition is important to gaining maximum design impact…
… Especially when working on a budget! When we selected our colors and themes for this house I bought supplies and accessories that could be used over and over again throughout the home. If you look closely, you’ll see the same ribbon from the garland winding around the Christmas tree… or the same touch of black and white flannel from the table runners make another appearance under the coffee table arrangement. Pom-poms were also a big theme running through the house. From the pillows, to the throw blankets, tree skirt and stockings, pom-poms finished off each item and added more cohesion to our decor.
• Keep it personal — get the whole family involved!
Even though I was a stranger decorating someone else’s home, I wanted the family’s personality to show through. One of the ways I got the whole crew involved was with black chalk painted ornaments. I left a bag of chalk ornaments for the children with the only instruction being: go wild! From snowmen, to stars and even some scribbles, the kids did not hold back. The black chalk themed place settings were also decorated by the kids — each setting was given a silly holiday themed name and made a formal dining space a bit more lighthearted and fun.
• Get creative to make the most out of what you’ve got.
Since there was an abundance of colorful toys in the home, I decided to just go with it! Instead of storing the kid items away in a box or behind a closet door, I selectively arranged them and incorporated this family’s “stuff” into the mix! A wooden train set was on full display in a rec room/guest room, while holiday sheet music, blocks and more trains were tucked into the corner of the family room. Books from the family’s collection were artfully arranged on the landing shelves to complete the look.
By the way… if you take a close look at the image above, you can see an illuminated little nook under the bookshelves. That’s a secret craft room designed by the homeowners and their architect to allow access from their daughter’s bedroom closet and a hidden door under the shelves into a well-lit, private space perfect for creativity!
Speaking of the lucky little girl with the craft room… she specifically requested a tree for her bedroom and I hope she loves this pretty little beauty as much as I do! A $3 white tree from a craft store was bedazzled with pink LED lights, candy inspired ornaments and a little disco glam. A bit of sass and flash in an otherwise muted home!
I hope these images and design tips gave you the inspiration and fresh ideas you need to make your own home designer home tour worthy! Remember, it’s just decor when it’s on the store shelves… style is what you do with that decor once you take it home.
One of the best parts of running The Heart’s Delight (THD), is the relationships I’ve made with other creative and entrepreneurial women. From fashion to interior design, there have been so many talented people that I’ve crossed paths with who are taking on the world in their own unique and inspiring ways.
From my own selfish viewpoint, it’s also nice to have an arsenal of “experts” at my fingertips whenever I’m creatively stumped, looking for a sounding board, or just need some outside counsel over coffee or a glass of wine! Which needless to say, is quite often…
My gal pal, Megan DiVincenzo is one of these special people in my life who left behind her successful law career to pursue her dream of owning her own business. She and her sister are the talented duo behind the contemporary accessory brand, THE SIS KISS. Somehow, Megan also manages to squeeze in a second day job as an interior designer AND balances her household, family and 2 dogs without batting an impeccably curled eyelash.
Yeah… the b*tch.
Most importantly, Megan was the perfect person to help me out with a design dilemma involving some of my interior styling clients who love the glam holiday look, but don’t want to splurge on expensive decor. While my own personal style is a bit more rustic and minimal, Megan incorporates her love for baubles and bling (check out THE SIS KISS and you’ll understand!) into her home decor and the results are spectacular — and budget friendly.
Don’t think it can be done?
Take it away, Megan…
Its hard to miss all the sparkle and sequins that has been emerging lately for the holidays! If you are anything like me, the more sequins the better; especially this time of year.
But how expensive does it have to be?
I’m here to tell you, a glam and haute holiday home doesn’t have to break the bank! The key to decorating success is getting creative to score that glam look on a budget and utilizing décor you already own. For instance, a pack of goldSPARKLE SNOWFLAKE ORNAMENTS from TARGETcoupled with a strand ofGOLD GLITTER FERN makes for a gorgeous glam chandelier!
Your home’s fireplace is also another amazing focal point for the holidays — but it doesnt’t have to be expensive, difficult or stressful to glam up. What’s better than adding just a gold boa (or two!) to your mantel and an array of sparkle Christmas trees to accent your FAUX FUR STOCKINGS?!
Need more bling?
Add a rhinestone, angel or meaningful brooch that you already own to your stockings. And of course, no Haute Holiday fireplace is complete without a painted and framed FAUX DEER HEAD; with DIY glitter antlers… obviously.
… and let’s not forget to “dress up” our furniture. There is no easier or more affordable way to make a Haute Holiday impact than with pillows, pillows and MORE pillows. Pillows are easily my favorite accessory. Do not be afraid to mix patterns, styles, or fabrics — throw it all together, literally! Fur, sequins, studs, floral, plaid… OH MY! Never underestimate the power of a good throw pillow.
Does decorating your foyer table or coffee table overwhelm you? This is my most favorite surface to decorate! Need fake snow? No problem! I found aFAUX SHEEPSKIN RUG (mine is from HOME GOODS!), folded it in half and voila… snow!
Your kitchen is one of the best resources when looking for home decor items and inspiration. I added further dimension and height to my foyer table décor by incorporating aCRYSTAL CAKE PLATE I already had in my kitchen and putting a smallFAUX CHRISTMAS TREEon top!
Have a summer lantern? Great! Spray paint it silver or gold to finish off your Christmas look. A $6 can of SPRAY PAINTcan go a very long way. No need to buy new décor when you can make it your own with a just little bit of paint! I also use the same spray paint on branches actually found outside to complete my wintery scene.
My existing bar area was given a quick facelift using with a few strategically placed wrapped gifts. One of the simplest ways to create a holiday scene is using some empty boxes and extra wrapping paper found in your home. Get creative with your wrapping and incorporate colors and elements that coordinate with the rest of your Haute Holiday Home for the most impact!
When Megan sent me the image of the bar above I had to ask her about the artwork hanging front and center. She explained that she likes to find local talent in her area and commission them to create custom pieces for her home. In this case, the tree art was created by a woman named Debra Darnall — for inquiries please contact: Debradarnall@gmail.com.
Speaking of bars… I’m not going to lie — that bar is looking fantastic right about now. Got any champagne Megan? I just might be dropping by…
Oh, and if you’re in the NE Ohio/Cleveland area and are in desperate need of glam (or just a professional interior design consultation!), Megan is your girl. You can find her on FACEBOOK or INSTAGRAM, as well as via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
My house is generally in a state of organized chaos.
The organization side of things is generally all me and my husband — hey, I give credit where it’s due. The chaos piece is courtesy of a very handsome 7 year old boy and a feisty, little 4 year old girl.
As much as I stage, tidy and clean it’s only a matter of minutes before Barbie decides to have a fashion show, or Jake and the Neverland Pirates enter into an epic battle with Hook directly in the middle of my living room. A stray Lego (or 3) underfoot is practically a guarantee.
For the next 10-15 years, that’s just the way things will be (although the nature of the mess may change) and I’ve resolved to make the best of the situation. That’s life. At least MY life. Nothing in my house is too precious or delicate and nothing is off limits to my children. This is their home, too.
As such, I’ve made design choices that specifically cater to my un-perfect home and the presence of young children. None more strategic than the pouf! Perfect for climbing, jumping and injecting a fun pop of color into my mostly neutral living space, my leather moroccan pouf is a home decor purchase that 2+ years later, I’m still patting myself on the back for.
From formal living space to nursery, a pouf can lend an air of playfulness as well as additional texture and color to complete a space. Just take a look at some of the rooms below to get inspired by the pouf!
This past week a critical point in my home-ownership was reached — we’ve been in our Cleveland home longer than any other apartment or dwelling!
4 whole years.
It’s amazing how quickly time flies, no?! Here we are 4 years later and for the past 3.999 years my home decor efforts have been at an almost total and complete standstill. I gather the motivation to make a small tweak, then realize that with an open loft design, any small change inevitably becomes a big change as I then have to make sure that everything else on the first floor of my home works with my new decor.
Small tweak = big effort and even bigger budget! Frustrating, I know.
So where does all of this leave me? Well, with a 1/2 decorated home.
One of my biggest complaints about the interior of my home is that nothing feels quite finished. The basic layer of design is there, but the add-ons that make a space feel warm, comfortable and lived-in are still very much missing.
The last two weeks I spent thinking about what I wanted my finished product to look like and made a list of the crucial steps and pieces required to get there. Like building a cohesive and functional wardrobe, decorating a home is all about building layers and texture in order to make a space look and feel finished. I want my home to feel warm, inviting, but with a graphic and modern edge. Not exactly the easiest combination of styles.
The only thing I am certain of is that I definitely want shades of moody blues involved. None of that pastel-ly soft stuff. I think I want a balls-to-the-wall bold navy! With high ceilings, large walls of windows and tons of white woodwork accents, I think the navy will help ground the space and make it feel less vast and cold. Accented with neutrals in rich textures like jute, natural grasscloth, sheepskin and soft woolen rugs, I’m excited to finally feel at home in my own home.
In addition to the images posted above, here’s my inspiration board that I’ve been referencing throughout this process:
(Click the images for shopping details!)
When creating an inspiration board such as this, all of a sudden a huge project seems much more doable and realistic. Referencing this image also helps keep me on track when it comes to selecting colors, prints and any other add-ons that I may come across over time.