interior design

Fantastic Design In The 2019 HGTV Dream House

Fantastic Design In The 2019 HGTV Dream House

It’s full of ideas, but before we get into it, some housekeeping to give credit where credit is due.

The designer of this year’s HGTV Dream House is Brian Patrick Flynn. Brian did a great job of designing every room to be gorgeous, livable, warm and very, very inviting. The photographer of the fabulous photos in this post is Robert Peterson of Rustic White Photography unless otherwise noted.

Advice from a design pro: Get the right lighting, ditch clutter, be happy!

I haven't posted in such a long time.  It was a whirlwind summer with lots of great projects and family time (the beach was awesome, but remind me to tell you about our visit to Chicago later).  I'm working on getting you caught up with some yummy photos by the end of the week, but for now here's a post that somehow never got published back in May!  


It's always fun to be featured in print and digital media. The News & Observer here in Raleigh, NC, published this article in May - if you would rather see their page,  Here's the link to the article,   Most of the photos here were taken by the talented Marilyn of Style House Photography.

My design signature: I lean toward clean lines and calm interiors. I urge clients to pare down the “stuff” and focus on small details that build continued interest in the room. Contrast welt on upholstery, interesting lampshades and mixing antiques with new furnishings are always present in my work.

Biggest design mistake you see in homes: Nothing is more important than the right lighting, whether it’s for mood, safety or function, yet it’s often completely overlooked.


Easy ways to address that mistake in three quick tips:

1. Replace the big incandescent or CFL bulbs in your recessed cans with Cree’s TW Series LED replacement bulbs for recessed cans. They’re sold at Home Depot and cost about $10. 65-watt equivalents are usually bright enough. Cree is a local company and those bulbs are fantastic (and dimmable).

The right lighting made all the difference in the use of this kitchen.

The right lighting made all the difference in the use of this kitchen.

2. If you’re lucky enough to have 9-foot ceilings or higher in your kitchen plus an island, hang some pretty pendants over it. This will bring light down closer to the surface where meals are being prepared, homework is being done and conversations are happening. A hanging height rule of thumb is for the bottom of your fixture to be 32 to 36 inches from the surface.

3. Scatter light fixtures around the room. Ceiling lights are for navigation, accent light provides a welcoming glow and task lighting lets you read comfortably in your favorite chair. All three need to be in almost every room.

Best design advice you can give: Enjoy your home. Your goal is not to impress anyone with Instagram-worthy décor. Your goal is to smile every time you walk through the door at the end of the day. Add attractive storage to hold stuff that wants to pile up on the counters, put colorful artwork on those neutral walls and display grandma’s treasured china in an old plate rack you find at the Flea Market, SuzAnna’s Antiques or Market Imports.

Gorgeous window treatments warmed this room right up.  Isn't it inviting?

Gorgeous window treatments warmed this room right up.  Isn't it inviting?

Best advice for window treatments: Big, high windows in many Triangle homes are beautiful, but they also make the room feel kind of cold and exposed. Frame your windows – and their lovely views – with drapery panels. They soften the lines, polish up the room and instantly add a note of luxury.

Go-to trim color: Sherwin Williams Alabaster is my favorite white for beautiful moldings – and use a high gloss finish. Light sneaks in from different sources and the lovely sheen of high gloss paint on your trim is a little bit of magic.

Best decorating bang for the buck: Invest in a couple of hours of time with an experienced interior designer. Designers are happy to do consultations and you will get lots of ideas to implement as time and budget allow. The average hourly rate for local designers seems to run between $100 and $175, and many offer a consultation package (2 hours plus some follow-up resources, for example) in the ballpark of $365. Designers can cover a lot of details in one or two rooms in that amount of time and it can easily save homeowners that much in avoided mistakes.

This is the photo they used in the print edition of the newspaper--one of our grand-dogs, enjoying a chair, taken with my iPhone!

This is the photo they used in the print edition of the newspaper--one of our grand-dogs, enjoying a chair, taken with my iPhone!

How to buy the right things when shopping: I always ask my clients to come up with three or four words that describe how they want their rooms to look when they’re finished decorating. The words cannot be “warm, comfortable and inviting” – too generic. Dig a little deeper to find words that are more meaningful and personal. We all like so many things that we see in magazines, in the stores and on TV, so those three words can really drive the bus when deciding what to buy. Does the item match up with your three words? If not, put it down. You can admire it without having to buy it. This works for everything from sofas to accessories.

Do you have a current design challenge in your own home? I just bought two gold candle sconces from Vintage Vault in Durham. They’ve got big faceted glass prisms hanging from every possible point. Quite fussy, fun and fabulous. However, my house is rather tailored – not fussy at all. But I promise I will soon find a place to showcase those two sparkly sconces.

UPDATE!  I hung the sconces on an accent wall in our Living Room.  New LED candles are on their way as I type.  Yes!  Projects in designer's homes can stretch on for a very long time!  LOL!

UPDATE!  I hung the sconces on an accent wall in our Living Room.  New LED candles are on their way as I type.  Yes!  Projects in designer's homes can stretch on for a very long time!  LOL!



8 Model Home Design Ideas

Model Home Design Idea #1 - siting the house well.

Never underestimate curb appeal.  The landscaping and siting of this home is awesome--very homey and modest but deluxe at the same time (there's a small lake in the backyard, which is pretty deluxe to me!).

Model Home Design Idea #2 - a great garage door detail.

Pay attention to the garage. This one's got it goin' on.  Love the barn door style and LOVE the transoms.  




Model Home Design Idea #3 - pay attention to the hallways.

It's all about having a pleasant view, no matter where you are in the house.  Large scale artwork, a bench that feels sculptural and a pretty textile dressed up as a pillow creates a very nice place to perch!


Model Home Design Idea #4 - bring back charm.

When I entered the foyer and turned to the right, this room knocked my socks off. The colors are lovely, the sunshine is pouring in, the chandelier that adds sparkle--but really  because of the built in china cabinet.  I thought to myself, "yes! That charming, wonderful, old-fashioned detail is finally coming back!"  Later, when looking at the photo, I spotted that silly swan at the top.  Hey!  It's not a built-in china cabinet, it's a slide in china cabinet that's not nearly tall enough, so leaves this big gaping hole that someone felt had to be filled with that dopey swan.  I'm sorry, you know I don't usually complain like this, but I was really disappointed.  Those old built-ins really need to come back into favor.  They were brilliant.  But the width of the piece is lovely.


Model Home Design Idea #5 - include pets in the design.

A mudroom equipped for dogs is a brilliant idea!  Here in North Carolina, our soil tends to be clay.  Clay is a devil to get out of carpeting, so getting it off the paws is a priority after walks and romps.  This home really gave the pooches their own pads.  A place for a shower, hooks for leashes and even dining facilities were included.


Model Home Design Idea #6 - a spacious pantry.

Oh baby, I really loved this one.  Instead of a wide, shallow closet in the kitchen, as many pantries tend to be, this one is a long, think room.  WITH A WINDOW!  All kinds of shelves!  There was also a little nook over there to the right, but I can't remember anything about it.  I think more shelves.  I would love to have a pantry like this.  Even if you don't cook much, it would be Entertainment Supply Central!

Model Home Design Idea #7 - clean lines paired with glamorous finishes.

I'm not a fancy girl, but I love the small details that add up in this bathroom.  The white cabinets are almost Shaker, but have a little more flair (I am tired of Shaker cabinets--they're often too darn flimsy).   The hardware has a bit of pattern on it, the rounded edge of the granite counters feels yummy and the antiqued silver finish on the  mirrors is just perfect.  

Same goes for this master bathroom.  Gray has been done to death, but this room shows how timeless it can be.  I'm a fan of the cabinet on top of the counter, dividing the two sinks.   Same mirrors - great proportions.

And I'm crazy for these door pulls.  Yes, I'm always crazy for anything acrylic.  Need to find these and hope they come with more of a pewter accent--but I'll take the chrome quite happily if need be.


Model Home Design Ideas #8 - views.

This should go with #1 (siting the house well).  Looking out at trees and water from the back made this gorgeous home a showstopper.  Nothing lowers the blood pressure, calms the frazzled or puts life in perspective like looking at Mother Earth doing her thing.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!



Merging Differing Decor Styles Brilliantly!

My interior design clients are busy people.  They've got jobs, homes, pets, kids and interests other than shopping for furniture.  They know what they want and what they like, but finding the time to hunt it all down just isn't happening.  

Designers often have to select furnishings that incorporate different decor styles.  Client A likes one style and Client B likes another.  And they live together.  Not a problem.  In the case of this lovely chair, the first thing both partners loved was the accent pillow.  So we found a great chair that coordinated with the pillow!  The chair was discovered at a local store, the fabric at another and I arranged a happy merger.

I'll show you the finished room soon.  It's gorgeous!.



Painting flowers. Who knew?






spray paint flowers, fast easy decorating

The weather here in NC has been wonderful, so I needed to take advantage of the sunshine and move forward with a crafty project.  I cut a bunch of hydrangeas at different times in their drying stage to see what would happen to them.  Mine are Annabelle hydrangeas-a creamy white at peak.  But then they turn a lovely green hue and finally an ugly brown.  Spray painting them white or cream was not a success, so I tried blue.  Love it!