Giving Thanks

Each and everyday, I am thankful for:

My precious little family

Good health to witness my children grow and to see the beauty in each new day

A warm home filled with joy, love, and laughter

Growing up with the most dedicated, supportive, and loyal parents

Having the best siblings in this world

Being a lucky aunt three times over

Wonderful friends to share life's moments and adventures

Being able to start anew and do what I am passionate about


The opportunity to inspire and assist YOU to help make your homes uniquely yours!


We Broke the Ground

Most of you are probably getting your homes ready for Thanksgiving.  Since I don't host the holiday, we have this going on around here instead...

No, a major earthquake didn't hit our California neighborhood...

We "broke ground" on our front exterior makeover!!!

A little while ago, I shared our plans to spruce up the front exterior of our house.  Well, those plans were officially put into action.  Last week, our front yard was torn up - literally.  It quickly went from zero curb appeal to negative curb appeal!  Ha!

All of the crumbling, aged-old brick was removed.  The concrete in front of the garage and small portion of the driveway were also removed to make way for a new paver installation.

Concrete Slab in Front of the Garage Pre-Demolition


Here's a shot that includes the small portion of the driveway area that will be paved.

Let me tell you, the demolition process is LOUD.  Luckily, the kids were at school during the noisiest parts.  But they did get to see some of the construction trucks and equipment needed for the job!

The bobcat was their favorite!

This is what we hope to accomplish in this phase of the front exterior makeover:

  • Simplify the entrance and remove the columns that flanked the entry pathway
  • Replace all the old brick with new pavers in the porch, pathways, and steps
  • Install pavers in front of the garage and relevant driveway area
  • Install lighting - steps, porch, and possibly garage
  • Install new mailbox and post
  • Paint over the uneven stucco on front facade (interim solution until stonework is done)
  • Put in some landscaping

More before and after photos from our front exterior makeover are headed your way.  Thanks for following along in our renovation journey!

Creating a Non Walk-In Master Bedroom Closet

If you didn't have the option to have a "walk-in" master bedroom closet, what would you do?  I recently did a design consultation with someone who needed assistance with her master bedroom layout - specifically, where to install a new closet.  This couple recently downsized from a larger home (>3000 sf) in the Midwest to a cozier home (~1600sf) in California due to a work transfer.

They purchased an older home in an established area where closet space is more limited.  Their master bedroom closet is very small, and it is currently located in the adjoining bathroom.  Since the couple plans to remodel the master bath, it will require demolition of the existing closet to maximize bathroom space.

Fortunately, their bedroom area has the space to accommodate a good-sized closet.  A walk-in closet isn't feasible without knocking down walls, so they are opting for a "regular" closet.

This consultation brought a few ideas to mind for creating a successful "non-walk-in" master bedroom closet solution:

#1 Install actual doors instead of sliders.

Doors help give the illusion that you can walk in to a space.  I think regular swing doors look best, but if space is limited, try a barn or modern bi-fold door.

#2 Frame out your closet to create added depth.

If you are "building" a closet, try to recess it into the wall or build it out a little further (if possible) so that you gain some depth.  Although it won't be an actual walk-in, you can fabricate it so that it is a bit deeper than a regular closet.

#3 Consider installing an organization system (DIY or professional) to more efficiently maximize storage.  

At the end of the day, storage space is what matters.  Closet organization systems can be configured to your needs.  Your closet will also look more polished and organized.

#4 If space allows, create two separate closets - a his and hers!

This is a great option if you have the wall space.  You can also break up the closets onto two walls.

I have received a few inquiries about how to maximize storage when designing a room.  I will try to provide you with some insight and solutions in future posts, so stay tuned!  As always, feel free to e-mail me about what you'd like covered on the blog, or if you have specific questions.

Gets worse before it can get better!

This happened yesterday...

I need to remember that it will get worse before it can get better.  It was just a startling sight to come home to!  The front exterior makeover is officially underway.  Come back next week to see the progress.  Have a great weekend everyone!

This & That... House Updates

We have several things happening on the house front, as usual.  Here's another quick update!

For a couple weeks, we've been mulling over options for which pavers to select for the front exterior.  Well, it's decision time...

FYI, we chose a "cobbled" (tumbled texture and rounded edges) version of one of the pavers shown here - but in various sizes to create a random pattern.  Can you guess which one we chose?!

The new laundry space looks more like a home improvement storage site at the moment.  This is real life around here!  Thankfully, the closet doors have been ordered, so we can hide the mess.  Purchasing the new stackable laundry units is also on the horizon...  Crossing our fingers that we score a great deal during Black Friday or after-Christmas!

The main bathroom remodel is done!  I'm waiting on one final item to be installed before I reveal the new space.  You can see some peeks of the room on my Instagram account.

Click here for the latest updates in the guest bathroom.

My handy hubby is working his way through the house replacing the original 1-inch door moldings with wider moldings.  I think we went with 3-inch frames around the doors, but I can't remember. :)  Here's what they look like:

I can't wait for the day until the new floors go in so we can finally install some baseboards too!  We'll hopefully have the budget for new floors next year.  Baseboards are currently non-existent around here since we ripped them all up during the initial renovation (prior to moving in).

Our home office spruce up has taken a back seat to everything else.

We ordered window coverings a few weeks ago.  They are currently being custom-made to size.  Unfortunately, they won't be installed until late December, but our paper shades still have us covered in the meantime!

Lastly, plans are underway for our family room renovation, which I'll document along the way.  We decided to hold off until after the holidays to start demolition.  We didn't want to take chances with rushing the job.  It would also be nice to enjoy the holiday season without contractors coming and going! :)

'Tis the Season for Thanksgiving

The holiday season is officially upon us.  Thanksgiving is just a week away!  This is a very special time of year, as families usually gather together to give thanks for the blessings they have received.  'Tis the season for Thanksgiving!!!

If you happen to host Thanksgiving and need some last minute table decorating ideas, here are some of my favorite tips for a simple tablescape:

Decorate with food

Original source unknown

Brunch at Saks

Keep it natural

Original source unknown

Light it up

Country Living
To simplify this tablescape even more, I would place pillar candles across the table and just wrap a twine bow around each candle (instead of papered letters).  I'd even skip the flower arrangement!

Original source unknown

Tip: Use unscented candles so that they don't compete with the aroma of the food!

Add a touch of sophistication

There is no better time than the holidays to bring out your special plates, cutlery, serving dishes, glassware, etc.  Try to mix in some gold or silver metallic elements (chargers, flatware, candle holders, etc.) and/or add crystal (glasses, stemware, etc.) to bring a touch of elegance and sophistication to your tablescape!

Crate and Barrel
Original source unknown
Tips: Use gold or silver spray paint to do a sophisticated revamp of an everyday item.  Inexpensive gold or silver taper candles can also bring the sparkle to your table!

My Personal Favorite

I like tablescapes that combine simple and organic with a touch of glam.  What's a holiday without a little glam?!  I find such table settings to be casual and welcoming, yet "amped up" for a special occasion.  This tablescape by Sarah Sherman Samuel of Smitten Studio hits the mark:

{Above images by Sarah Sherman}

I love how the "ingredients" to make the centerpiece can all be picked up at your local farmer's market or grocery store!  So awesome.  And I spy some gold flatware that is making me swoon...

A Holiday Jump Start

I typically don't start decorating for Christmas until after Thanksgiving.  However, a little of this happened over the past weekend...

With the exception of the tree (we buy a fresh tree every year), I am getting a jump start on the holiday decorating!  Our family room renovation is scheduled to start right after New Year's, so we want to enjoy the festive holiday decor for as long as possible.  More photos of our holiday home to come!

Guest Bath Vanity Area Update

It's only been ~17 months since we renovated our guest bathroom, but it's already gone through some changes!  One of the changes in this bathroom is that the vanity area got a new light fixture.  I thought I'd share a recent snapshot of the updated vanity area with you.

Guest Bathroom Updated Vanity Area

New light fixture close-up...

The lighting update took the vanity area from more "sleek and modern" to "transitional and industrial".

Next up is installing filament bulbs...

In all fairness, the only reason we replaced the modern vanity light bar that we initially installed was because we "stole" it for the main bathroom remodel.  I can be finicky, but I'm not that finicky.  I love both fixtures, although I must say that I prefer the industrial sconce in the space.

This was the vanity area right after the renovation...

Click here for the "before" and "after" photos from the renovation.

Another slight, but oh so cute "update" in the vanity area was the addition of a soap dispenser!  Ha! The smallest decor elements can make me giddy. :)

There is so much textural beauty wrapped into the simple design.

I love the diagonal checkerboard pattern, and subtle dimensional effect from the crossing lines.  This Raymond Waite soap dispenser was $9.99.  Score!

A full updated tour of the guest bathroom is forthcoming.  I'll show you what's new in the shower area, plus one other change that's scheduled for install in December.  More on that later...  Have a great weekend!

Neutral Living Space Mood Board with Sources

Hi everyone!  Today, I am sharing a mood board for a neutral living space (along with sources) that was pulled together for ~$2k.  I acknowledge that $2k is not a measly amount by any means, but it is realistic.  When you consider the fact that the space requires everything from seating to textiles, that amount is quickly stretched.

Sofa $899.00

Swoop arm chair $378.00 (sale)

Area rug (5x8) $264.99 (sale)

Table lamps $107.39 each (sale)

Nesting tables $99.99 (trade)

I had originally sourced an Ikea sofa that was half the cost of the sofa in the e-design.  That would have significantly brought the total design cost down; however, I felt that investing in a more "quality" sofa was worth the investment.  A DIY fabric installation for artwork was proposed to help keep costs down.

This e-design intentionally started with a neutral foundation so that it can be added to as the budget permits.  The accessory pillows and actual cost of yardage for fabric to do the window treatments (as well as related labor costs) were excluded from the budget.  They are shown to give you an idea of how finishing touches can bring the design to life!

If you would like assistance in pulling a room together, contact me for a complimentary design consultation.  The e-design (virtual interior design) process allows me to assist you with your design or decorating needs no matter where you live.  Take advantage of this limited time e-design offer!

Bedroom Retreat

Happy Monday!  Hope you feel relaxed and rejuvenated from the weekend.  Today, I'm sharing a recent bedroom e-design that can be described as just that.  The goal was to design a tonal and textural bedroom retreat that promotes relaxation and rejuvenation.  In order to achieve that, I incorporated soft hues, texture, dimension, and pattern without jarring contrasts in color.

This bedroom design has a soft sophistication, but it is also relaxed and approachable due to the injection of wood tones and unstructured mix of fabrics and patterns.  My favorite aspect of this design is actually the lighting.  All three fixtures incorporate different aesthetics: "mother-of-pearl" table lamp, "waterfall" glass chandelier, and antique brass traditional wall sconce.  Each bring their own whimsy, yet they all work harmoniously together due to their common neutral palette.  Can you envision this bedroom retreat in your own home?!  To see other e-design boards, click here.

If you need assistance in pulling a room together, contact me for a complimentary design consultation.  The e-design process (virtual interior design) allows me to assist you no matter where you live.  Remember, for a limited time, I am offering 40% off all pre-booked e-design packages for 2015!

Follow Along

Can you believe there are only a few weeks left until the holidays officially roll around?!  It's unbelievable how quickly time really does fly!

I just started pinning "simple-to-do" ideas for Christmas, so make sure you follow me on Pinterest - as well as other social media sites.

In case you missed it, I'm offering a HUGE DISCOUNT on pre-booked 2015 e-design services.  Take advantage of this special promotion that runs until 11/30/2014.  Feel free to pass along the special offer to friends and family!

E-design (virtual interior design) is a budget-friendly alternative to onsite interior design.  Receive a complete room design while having the ability to purchase products and implement the design plan as your budget permits!  Feel free to contact me for information.

For the win on window treatments...

Just over a month ago, I had written a post about covering up our windows, which you can read about here.  I am particularly concentrating on the windows that run along the front side of our house - the side facing the street and front exterior.  Well, we finally made a decision...

But first, to review, the choices were ultimately narrowed down to four options.  I included some new visual images so you can better understand my thinking...

Layered Window Treatments
(My Favorite)

Southern Living

Natural Woven Roman Shades
(Love the Texture)


(Love Fabrics & Patterns)

Meredith Heron

(Love the Simplicity & Functionality)


As I had mentioned, I would prefer all the window coverings along the front side of the house to be consistent since they are all visible from the street/front exterior.  Well, function ultimately won out... we're having shutters installed!

We loved having shutters in our last house.  Shutters offer complete privacy and light control at all times - day or night.  They will also add some dimension and architectural interest to our simple windows.  When it came to selling our last house, shutters also proved to be a great marketing tool and home improvement that paid off.  Bonus.  We are not planning to sell our home, but it's always good to consider resale when investing in any home improvement.  As always, you can count on me to add some pretty fabric for softness, pattern, and texture down the road.  Shutters alone work perfectly fine, but can you imagine them as part of a layered window treatment?!

A "Wicked Good Time"

Wasn't it great that Halloween fell on a Friday this year?!  We had the entire weekend to recover from our sugar "highs".  My hubby and I are not adverse to stealing raiding our kids' treats!  I especially have a weakness for chocolate... and boy, did the kids haul in the chocolate this year!

I crammed all the chocolate into this jar.  Excuse the "frost".  We like our chocolate cold, so we store it in the refrigerator.  My hand has been in this jar way too many times.  SOS!

A Wicked Good Time

This is our second holiday season since moving into the area.  We once again attended our annual neighborhood Halloween block party.  We had a "Wicked Good Time", which was the theme of this year's event!  The neighbors who spearheaded this year's festivities did such a great job preparing all the food and games.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures of all the action.  But here are shots of the kids at the event.

My little football player (who was cold), and skeleton (who glowed in the dark)!

Lucas added the "vampire fangs" to his costume with a game prize...

... and so did Ryan!

We then took the kids soliciting "trick-or-treating" around the neighborhood with our immediate neighbors.  Same as last year... :)

I blurred out the kids' faces for privacy.  This year, Darth Vader, Batman, and the cutest little peacock you'll ever encounter strolled the streets with us!

Wasn't the youngest of the group just the cutest?!  Her costume was the perfect nod to the real peacocks that live in our area!  She was a total trooper the entire night.

Our neighborhood is a mix of retired empty nesters, families with grown or college-aged kids, and younger families like us.  Rather than attending the block party, the families with the "grown" kids have their own little party.  We ended the night with a refreshment pit stop at the house that hosted this shindig. :) That's a wrap on Halloween 2014!

We have a very long way to go with our home renovation, but the journey to making this house our home has been worth it.  We feel very blessed to be part of such a wonderful neighborhood and community!