interior design Raleigh

The Mantel: A Timeless Tip To Decorate It!

I know many people struggle with decorating their mantel.  My advice?  Keep that mantel simple (except during the holidays, when you can do it UP).

This timeless tip requires 3 key items; single stems of seasonal flowers, bud vases and framed photos.  "Timeless" means you don't have to change it out often, which is a huge plus in my book.  Change the flowers when they fade and go on with your day!

Last week's flowers were tulips.  When I buy flowers, I always get a couple extra to use on the mantel. The short glass bowls had candles in them yesterday (Easter), so today I put polished river rocks in them, but they'll get put away soon.  The tulips and framed photos are enough.  Keep It Simple!

This week I stumbled upon these faux tulips.  Faux makes it even easier!

Would you like to hear how you could update other spaces in your house--easily and affordably?  Call DeCocco Design to schedule a 2 hour design consultation.  I'll give you ideas, make recommendations and tell you where to shop and who to call to get it all done.

Update - now it's March of 2018, two years after writing this post.  Guess what's on my mantel right now?  Take a look:


I'm certainly consistent!  The framed photographs haven't been put back up yet, but they will be soon enough.



What Does Your Magic Wand Do?

I'm convinced that everyone has a magic wand.  You might call them your special talents, but the phrase "magic wand" has more sparkle.  My wand transforms tired, embarrassing spaces into beautiful, functional rooms that work for myclients and make them smile, instead of cringe.

The Portfolio page on this website was becoming tired and a little embarrassing.  It wasn't really working for me, but I'm busy and it wasn't high on my list (sound familiar?).

Formal Dining Room, Raleigh interior design
Formal Dining Room, Raleigh interior design

Last week I flagged down my divine Webmaster and requested a change.  His magic wand creates uniquely gorgeous websites.  He waved that wand and gave me a fresh new Gallery page.  Take a look, it is FABULOUS!

I can add or change out photos as they come in, as the mood strikes and at my fancy. This new toy absolutely delights me.  While there are a million things I cannot do on a website, having this page at MY command is completely awesome.   For example, if I want to show you some colorful decor items:



BAM!  Do you see that?  3 neat little photos, nicely lined up.  You can click on each one to view more closely.


Or maybe I want to show you examples of vintage decor:



Sha-zam!  I did it again!  You may be thinking, "she must not get out much."  Mas non, mon ami, I am just thrilled that this space now works for me.  It's the same feeling my clients get when their rooms suddenly function for them.  So today I thank my Webmaster, the Academy and all the people who let me into their homes to wave my magic wand.



About Blogging

What this blog IS:

  • It's me just throwing some ideas or thoughts out there - sometimes I'm in a teaching mood and sometimes I just want to share a little piece of my day.
  • It's a collection of pictures, taken with my iPhone. Imagine me (see photo above) wandering around my home or office, dust cloth in hand, setting up little vignettes to illustrate the topic of the day.  Sometimes I venture into the yard, sometimes they're pics from projects, vacations or shopping trips.
  • It's created in a totally ethical,  sustainable and fair-trade sort of way.  Seems like a no-brainer, but there are other ways to create a blog post and you see them every day.  Which leads me to:

What it's NOT:

  • It's not a place where you will hear about the virtues of spending big money on "curated," "bespoke," or "innovative"  items when they are none of those things.  I'm not into stuff.  I'm into life and creating rooms that make life very pleasant.  I'm not into pretending.  I'm into reality--life is messy and I design with ease of maintenance in mind.
  • It's not a candy store filled with professional photos grabbed off the internet. While I would love to use those fab photos, it requires obtaining written permission for every single one.  Who has time for that?  It's so much harder to write a blog without those gorgeous pictures that I did not take myself, but it's ethical and fair.
  • It's not a monetized blog, although I might head in that direction some day.  I'm not here to sell you anything, but I see no harm in monetized blogs.

So it's not a fancy design blog.  I do just fine by being myself (although maybe at the next photo shoot adding a necklace to my outfit wouldn't hurt).  I'm a formally trained and experienced interior designer and I dabble in blogging.

Welcome to my dabble!



Pillows That Snap, Crackle And Pop!

  Every now and then the iMovie app gets my attention and I have to make a video or two.  They're not flashy nor very professional, but I have fun creating them as a way to talk to you - and isn't that the point?  Yesterday I published the one that's on the Home Page (here's another chance to watch it!).

This morning I made one about accent pillows.  Here it is:

I'd have to give up my day job to make these things smooth and flawless and we can't have that!  Hope your week is a good one.



A Design Consultation Yields Gorgeous Results

  Oh how I wish I could find those darn "Before" photos of this room.  This was one of my 2 hour design consultations. I do a LOT of them and I LOVE doing 'em.  The nicest people hire me to come and look over their tired rooms, listen to their hopes and dreams and pay rapt attention as I reel off my ideas and opinions.  It's heady stuff. I rarely get to see the "After," so it was a thrill when this client emailed and invited me over to see the results.  And here they are:


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Clean lines, comfortable furnishings and a visually light coffee table sit across from the TV wall.  A pretty rug keeps the look soft.  It's a yummy space.


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Here's the other side - you can barely see where the TV sits.  It's a big TV, but not the focal point of the room.  So nice.  My favorite thing is how Savvy Homeowner staged the mantel.  Dramatic yet still easy on the eyes.  So many people put lots of chotchkes up there, trying to make a pleasing arrangement.  In my book, less is more on mantels.  This is a good balance.


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Who wouldn't feel the bliss sitting in this chair?  It's a perfect example of Updated Traditional.  The sloping arms, the nailhead trim detail, the square back.  And that pillow....


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Baby you had me at Pillow!  Custom accent pillows are THE secret weapon of interior design.  I know how dumb that sounds, but I am here to speak truth to power (okay, now that really sounded dumb).  Accent pillows are the diamond studs on your ears.  Home Goods has some nice ones, sometimes, if you really look, and have a lot of time to do things like that.  But a custom pillow just takes money.  Or you can make it yourself, like Savvy Talented Homeowner did!  The right pillow gives a lot of visual pleasure.


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She made this pillow, too.  Oh yeah, the girl knows how to use her sewing machine--and she's got great taste in fabric and she knows the magic of trim.  My second favorite part of this warm and inviting room is the chest of drawers in the corner.  Every Rosamunde Pilcher or Maeve Binchey book I've ever read had chests of drawers in kitchens, hallways and sitting rooms (they're all set in England or Ireland).  They would be frequently polished and hold treasured books, soft lighting and artwork, just like this one.  Those stories, with their loving descriptions of family homes are my comfort food in the book world.


All this loveliness started with a 2 hour design consultation with yours truly.  I'm just sayin.'



Don't let October fly by without looking up!

I love this month.  It's the best, isn't it?  The coolness is finally setting in.  The light is so pretty.  I've got some bulbs and seeds that must go into the ground by this weekend.  

Kasmir fabric, Edgemere trellis, Le Batrie, Colville, Mikla


Am working on some projects at a feverish pace because, in the custom world, the holidays are almost here.  This palette of fabrics above--wanted to use them all, but only the top one made it in.  I'll show you the others another day. All by Kasmir.  It's going to be gorgeous.