Time Captured

A home is created over time: layered with stories, precious pieces, memories, and lots of love. 

Oh yeah, and I want you to read this post not like I'm Puff the Magic Dragon feeding you fluffy, poetic thoughts. But like I'm your friend who's letting you in on the biggest decorating secret behind designing a good home. So listen up. 

Too often I see people rushing through buying a home, rushing an architect, builder, designer through the process, filling it up, and not being thoughtful with the design process.. 

We want things instantly. But who can blame us? Siri, find Starbucks...NOW.

We rush to pick paint colors for an entire house on a cloudy day because the contractor hounding us to have them by Monday. We plan a party and then rush to the nearest Pier1 to get dining chairs we don't even like.  I always think of what my grandmother would say in a situation like this and I am pretty sure she would kindly ask her friends if she could borrow their dining chairs for the evenings' events. Somehow in that sentence she turned into a lady of Downton Abbey but nevertheless!! Tis' better to have an empty room than a room that lacks character.

We need to be more patient and thoughtful with our homes. They cannot be instant. For a home to feel lived in it needs to evolve and unfold over time.  Most of these pieces come in the form of details and accessories- artwork, books, photographs, a bowl of seaglass your kids found on the beach one year, that one door you had painted red because you like the unexpected. The house needs to show your sense of humor, what you treasure, a gathering of all things personal. 

In my job, which is very psychological, I try to coax my clients this way and that- helping them create a canvas or a comfortable home where they can express themselves. I help select things that will be dear to them and fit the story of their home. I don't buy things that necessarily fit the mold of what I like- I look at a room full of antiques through the eyes of my client. It's a sixth sense, ok? I see dead people. Big woop.

A friend sent me an article recently that really resonated with me.

A discovered flat in Paris was found, 70 years later, untouched.... 

The owner of this apartment, Mrs. De Florian fleed the city just before the rumblings of World War II broke out in Europe. She closed up her shutters and left for the South of France, never to return to the city again. Seven decades later she passed away at the age of 91. It was only when her heirs enlisted professionals to make an inventory of the Parisian apartment she left behind, that this time capsule was finally unlocked.

"The team that had the honor of opening what must have been a very stiff old lock for the first time in 70 years, likened the experience to ‘stumbling into the castle of sleeping beauty’. The smell of dust, the cobwebs, the silence, was overwhelming; a once in a lifetime experience." *to read the full article from MessyNessyChic click here- it's fascinating

So, here's my challenge for the week. (if you're new here don't be alarmed. I've never used the term challenge and/or watched The Biggest Loser.)

Think of your home as a time capsule. Rooms that are meaningful to you and pieces that are precious to YOU and your family. For whatever reason. Not just something that looks good in a magazine. 

If these parisien time capsule discoverers (with their dashing good looks!) were to come upon your untouched home in 70 years, what would they find? Would it reflect your family and your story? What would you want them to see?


Siri, Chew on that.

*top 3 photographs above were taken by me; personal spaces that have evolved over time and that I have grown to cherish.

* would LOVE any thoughts/ comments below on your time capsule home- I know I will! 

Shiny and New : Take 2

Aaaaand we're back.

If you missed {Take 1} click here. 

New uses, new looks, in with the old and out with the new.... or something. ??

I found these antique doors at Scotts and thought they'd be perfect for solving the #1 Family Room Dilemma. It was a stroke of luck that the client's TV fit snuggly behind them. 

Made New: reupholstered in Jim Thompson's Magilan in celadon;  frame untouched- loved the finish! *the original fabric was cool but it smelled terrible and was falling apart so it had to go. Bye bye.

As you can see I love ottomans with feminine curves and shapely legs. 

Made new: 1st was reupholstered to match client's drapery fabric. Kravet's Water Tint in Heather; 2nd is reupholstered in a stunning Jim Thompson cut velvet. 

Made New: Just some shiny,new legs....

For the brass bar I was inspired by this picture and decided to make this low, brass chest into a bar area (although it's not quite styled for one yet;). We had the base custom made to fit and raised it up to counter level. I love the drama of the skinny legs and the heavy brass.


This (already beautiful) antique chaise got a fancy new outfit.

Made New: Reupholstered in a Holly Hunt/Great Plains leather; Kravet's Hidden Pearl cording; Back of chaise is upholstered in Schumacher's Taza Damask Champagne; custom pillows and bolsters; bedcover by mela & roam!

Here's to a fresh new start!

Give those ugly ottomans a chance in 2013.

Shiny and New

In honor of the New Year I'm dedicating this post to making things new. Whether it's reupholstering an outdated chair, refinishing a frame, or finding a new use for an old piece- it's the best way to add uniqueness to your home. I find it much more exciting than purchasing from a catalog. There are so many I want to share that I had to divide it up into 2 posts. So check back for Part 2. 

Hopefully this will inspire you to go in your attic, find that old grandma chair and look at it a little differently.Go and brush your shoulders off. 

Here's to new beginnings! 

Made New: reupholstered in Schumacher's Gainsborough velvet in Lake

Made New: reupholstered in Kravet's Poetical color 110, frame untouched

Made New: frame repainted antique white; reupholstered with Robert Allen's velvet in Portabello, seat fabric in Schumacher's Maya Ikat Print in greige. *The majority of my re-upholstered pieces are for one particular client- the chair model diva pictured above. She can scout a makeover from a mile away. And always sees past the heinous fabrics with me to create one of a kind pieces. She is smart with color and pushes me to include more bold fabrics, which has been a challenge for me- but one that I have loved! You can probably guess which pieces belong to her... 

Made New: reupholstered in Quadrille fabric: Henriot Floral, Lilacs on Ecru; contrast welt and arm pads in C&C Milano fabric; frame left unfinished. I have to say I love how this one turned out- so pretty in person. Same goes for baby. Mother responsible for intoxication may or may not be pictured above. 

Made Foolproof: We shipped the bolt of fabric to be treated at Nanotex before recovering the chair. We use this often for clients because it provides long lasting protection by resisting spills and stains on any fabric. Look into it if you have drunken elves or like to drink red wine. 

Misc chairs

Made New: 1st chair- recovered in a Sanderson check; 2nd chair- seat recovered in Hable Construction print through Hickory Chair ; both frames untouched.

 If you've been in my office over the past year you may have seen this next beauty (and a few other ugly ducklings) sitting in the corner. It's funny because I've watched everyone do a double take as they spy it on their way out the door. They raise their eyebrows and look back at me with skepticism. Pfft-interior designer.

Made New: spray painted with black lacquer; reupholstered in Designer's Guild Aranjasa weaves in olive; welt in Osborne and Little's Taisho Velvet Cord

Lastly, even old fireplaces get new homes...

My client found this old fireplace surround at Preservation Station. Like most old pieces this required a lot of extra work and dedication (building around it, refinishing, etc.) But I'm so glad we stuck with it because it is perfect in its new home. Made new: tile surround in Ann Sack's metallic Savoy tiles; accessorized with a bust I found at Scotts

Most of these pieces I find (or my clients do) in flea markets, antique malls, etc.- where it usually requires digging to get to.  I always pay attention to the frame shape, the finish, and if the condition is worth the price. You can find great deals this way. If you have the patience and vision to reuse something old you will wind up with a one of a kind piece that nobody else has. AND it's great for our environment. That's right- I'm pulling out the earth card. Like I do at the start of every year in an attempt to make myself feel better for all the bottled water I have rolling around my car. ;/

*Stay Tuned later this week for Part II*

Happy Shiny New Year!

In Their Stockings

This holiday season I am so very grateful for the hard working team I have at my office. It's amazing the amount of time you spend with the people you work with- and I'm just lucky to have these bright women in my life. I haven't introduced them on the blog yet so I thought I'd include fun facts about each of them as well as things they would like to find in their stocking this year. 

And it just so happens you can tell alot about someone by looking in their stockings...

1. the book 2. the clarisonic-i'd like to clarify to anyone that may be stuffing her stocking:  she only needs replacement brushes. 3.the socks 4.the candle 5. random glitter owl 6. iphone charger 

1. the book 2. the coffee mug 3. hair ties 4.  the candle 5. the nano 6. the calendarthe ornament

We also have Leslie, my fabulous accountant who spends a couple days/month with us and Katherine who just started interning some afternoons. Needless to say it's a full house. And I don't know where I'd be without their hard work and support. 

Thanks to Sarah, Mary and Marguerite for helping me with this post.... and with everything else.

Oh,  and one more thing girls-

Screen Shot 2012-12-12 at 9.36.47 PM

Cousin Eddie called..... he wants his christmas ornaments back.

Trad Home / My Nashville Tour

Recently TradHome asked for me to be their tour guide through Nashville for a day highlighting my favorite local shops, venues and artisans. After five years of living here I have fallen in love with this city and have found some truly special spots. I was thrilled to get the chance to show them off.

What is Tradhome?: TradHome is the fairly new online magazine that is a collaboration between Traditional Home and Lonny. If you like this blog you will love this magazine- trust me. 

They sent over photographer Colleen Duffley, (that has shot for every cool magazine you can think of!) to follow me around Nashville for a day. And I mean one FULL day. We hit it off immediately and had the best time running around town in her assistant Kevin's pickup truck. Colleen is so talented- as you flip through this entire issue you'll see what I mean. 

We went by my favorite spots including Peter Nappi, The Perfect Pair, Imogene and Willie, Preservation Station, Burger Up, etc. This city has so much to offer it was hard to narrow it down!

Sign of a good photographer...

I know, I may have you intrigued with the popsicles and the antelope. Read all about it in the new TradHome magazine:


10 pages full of pictures and the adventures of our day (my hit list) can be found on page 164. Followed by two local homes by the talented architect Bobby Mcalpine and designer Ray Booth. As always they do not dissapoint. And I am beyond honored to represent Nashville with these two. 

The magazine also highlights San Antonio, Washington DC, and Scottsdale- with gorgeous homes by David Michael Miller, Mary Douglas Drysdale, and more. 

This issue is really good. 

Check it out.

...And I hope you enjoy my favorite Nashville spots!

Y'all come back now,

All photographs by Colleen Duffley Photography. She's also in charge of studio b.- a creative venue that brings together the best of the best and the up and coming in the fields of photography, art, design, literature, food, and wine. Brilliant idea. 

Inspired in New Mexico...

Work life vs Real life. 

The line tends to get blurry when you love what you do, and you seek that sort of beauty in everyday things. It's why my iphone is a curse. Because I'll find myself editing a picture of pumpkins while walking through the airport. It's obsessive. 

I get writers block on the blog because I am inspired by so many things I don't know where to begin. Babies being born, weddings,..- ofcourse those are all special. But in terms of design, my passion, I am truly inspired when I travel. 

This particular weekend the stars aligned and not only did I get to celebrate the marriage of close friends, but it was in New Mexico... in the oldest chapel in the country.... Under the endless, stunning Santa Fe sky.

I can't get enough of the rich colors and textures that are so indigenous to Santa Fe. And how they played into the details of the wedding evening. The flowers, the table setting, the place cards, the pumpkins.... it was beautiful. 

And it feels good to be inspired again.

Iphone pics from our trip... starting with Hoyt renting a ridiculous red mustang convertible-

but I'm not going to lie I enjoyed it...

I'll let the rest of the pictures tell the story...

Thanks for a special weekend, W&B. Love ya.

Painting My House

So when we first bought our little cottage I knew a lot of paint would completely restore the curb appeal. 

Don't get me wrong- some brick is beautiful and I would never paint it. But for me, this brick made the entire yard look dark and bleek. And the contrast of the white trim was taking away from what I loved most about this Tudor style house: the steeply pitched roof, the arched enclosed entry, etc.  I wanted to give it a fresh look while still staying true to this 100 year old cottage.

So we did just that.



I'm not gonna lie- I had a hard time figuring out the perfect paint color. Exterior paint is really tricky. Before committing you really have to guess and check, apply samples on all sides of the house, see it in different lights/ different times of day, after a few drinks, etc. 

It will make you go a little crazy. (as you can see below:)

 I say this because I learned the hard way. I felt confident in my decision of Benjamin Moore's Tapestry Beige until I pulled into the driveway after work one day and half of my house was painted yellow.

I panicked.  And told everyone to stop while I ran to the paint store to get more samples. 


Hoyt was up on the ladder kindly painting swatches trying to convince me that it "wasn't yellow" while meanwhile one of the painters is yelling from the street "I LIKE the yellow!"

"See Hoyt- He's saying it's YEL-LOW."-me

"Probably because you are calling it yellow."-H

"Because IT IS!!"

This goes on until a random neighbor walks by and confirms that it's "a bit yellow."

(see. it was totally yellow.)

After hacking away at the formula- taking out black, red, who knows what- we ended up with...Benjamin Moore OC-30 "Gray Mist".

My initial plan was to paint the window trim a contrast darker color to match the front door. 

But after everything else was painted light I felt like the windows disappeared. So I had them paint one side with gray mist windows, and all of a sudden they came to life. (see difference between left and right window) 

I was also planning on putting shutters back up but once the paint was done I felt it looked nice as is. We can always add them later. (Changing my mind-Strike 3.) 

It's amazing how changing the paint color made our house finally feel like home...

Other notes:

-We had long window boxes built to span the width of the windows. 

-We replaced the roof with Landmark"weathered wood" architectural shingles. A favorite.

-kept the original clay roof caps and put them on the new roof to give it back it's old feel. 

-painted the entire house, trim and all- Benjamin Moore's Gray Mist. 

-replaced the gutters with 1/4 round/ "musket brown" finish. 

-painted the door Sherwin Williams "Black Fox".

-replaced the light fixtures with these copper ones by Visual Comfort 

-And we did a little landscaping, but that's for another post. 

*see if you can spot Finley in one of these pictures. 1,2,3.go.

Cece and Elle's Room

One of my first experiences with long distance clients (true E-design/ without ever seeing the space in person) was a bedroom for twins girls. After having everything delivered and installed a while back I have been anxiously awaiting pictures. 

Last week this little gem popped up in my inbox:

First we should introduce you to the owners of this sweet room... Meet Cece and Elle (the most adorable twin girls I've seen since Mary Kate and Ashley. For reals.)

Seriously?? I know you're looking at the headboard...

For long distance clients the process is a little different. The client does a little more leg work on the front end- sending pictures, measurements, and inspiration images. 

With that information I come up with an initial floor plan and a presentation board that looks a little something like this...

I then mail samples, memos to the client to finalize colors, fabrics, bedding, etc. 

Obviously some things change from the initial plan once we get started. I always like to include atleast a few old, unique pieces and those require some searching. For example, I found these cute antique chairs at Scotts that I wanted to use in front of the window.

Perks of being a long distance client? You receive "insert Rachel for scale" pictures. Where you can really see the scale of the furniture-.... I'm basically a virtual Vanna White.

See.?? The chairs are small. Kid size.

And perfect for bla-bla dolls....

*custom game table painted "Borrowed Light" by Farrow and Ball 

*is anyone impressed that I know what a bla-bla is. 

*Headboards from Hickory Chair- available through RH, bedding by Serena and Lily, bedside table by Bungalow 5, lamp from Arteriors- both available through RH

*light from Ikea!

*view from the room- can't help you there* 

*Vintage suitcases from various different sellers on etsy. We had a mirrored top made for it. 

We are still working on this side of the room, but waiting on the right piece of artwork is never a bad thing. Chest by Bungalow 5 through RH; custom made bookcase tower, artwork through etsy; lamp base from Pottery Barn, lamp shade through etsy seller. 

I always say to keep kids rooms simple. Sure your kids will cry for a cobalt blue room and accuse you of trying to ruin their life... but that's besides the point. Think about the tone, the mood you want to set for the room. 

While the twin's room still feels young and full of life, it is also very serene and peaceful. Which is exactly what you want to encourage in a bedroom with two 4 year olds. If you took out the artwork, and a few accessories you'd still have a neutral palette to work with. And when they come in with their hot pink superman capes and polka dot beach balls?? There's your pop of color.

Ok, one more.. because they are just that cute. And so happy in their new room! :)

(Thanks to Fireflies 3 photography for sharing most of these images; and to my clients for giving me permission to show off their beautiful girls!

Virtual Vanna- don't wear it out. 

Stray Dogs... and kittens

A while back Stray Dog Designs interviewed me about design, dogs, and other random things. 

stray dog interview
stray dog interview

...continue reading the interview.

I have always loved Stray Dog products- and the wonderful company behind it. 

I recently used a few pieces in a client's playroom/landing area- aka "the happy room". The cow head and the lamps were bought previously by the owner so I gladly worked them into the room. 

Their lamps look perfect on the custom side tables I had made with Kelly Wearstler's Katana fabric

next to a fun Mally Skok drapery fabric-

Their lamps and accessories add a touch of playfulness that I always find refreshing. I guess because it's not too serious, and who likes a serious room?

(pictured above)

Speaking of strays... Hoyt almost ran over a kitten in the road last week. So he somehow caught it and brought it home. I have been fostering this wild thing and I'm pretty sure we're the first humans he has ever been in contact with.

People always recommend easing into the cat/dog introduction- especially when dealing with a feral kitten and a highly energized 1-yr-old retriever. But I decided to do it the old fashioned way and just throw them together, see what happens... 

At first they stared and pawed...

And now they're the best of friends.

His name is Little Larry.... and I guess this means we're keeping him. 

Scotts, Market, Lake Rats and Bee Stings

When I write a blog post I always enter the title last. Because even if I have intentions to write about a certain subject you really never know what's going to come out. 

Looks like we have some hot topics today!

Let's start with Scotts Antique Show in Atlanta.

Here are some of my finds...

I love a good pile of babydoll heads in the morning. 

Next day: Market

Quick trip, but I took a bunch of pictures so I could remember what I saw. 

Nancy Price/ Design Legacy showroom...

Blue Ocean Traders...

BoBo's Intriguing Objects (always a favorite):

Then I headed down to Lake Martin for a much needed girls weekend. Felt good to be a lake rat. 

Oh, and I was excited to finally eat brunch at Spring House- the new(ish) restaurant that people have been raving about. If chef Chris Hastings has anything to do with the food I'm there!Tracery Interiors also did such a great job with the furnishings and details. 

I loved the plank walls...

and the rock garden...

To see more pictures of the restaurant (I was clearly too busy stuffing my face) visit their portfolio here

Last Topic:

My dad has recently become a beekeeper, which I find really cool. (Yes Dad you read that correctly) It's such an intricate, fascinating process.

So despite my minor fear of bees, I got all strapped in, zipped up and ready to enter their busy territory.

"They won't bother you, Rachel."

Riiiight... Honey badger don't care. 

I learned the hard way that bees don't mind stinging you through custom fitted skinny jeans. Ouch. 

Note to self:Don't try to be a hipster while harvesting honey. You already lost the battle when you put kitchen gloves on.

Bar Hopping

Today I'm over at Interior Canvas- a new Nashville blog that showcases interior designers and provides insight from many local design professionals. I'm truly honored to be a part of it! I am a guest blogger today providing tips on how to create a bar in your own home. (Highly recommended.)

I must have been feeling inspired (or thirsty) because shortly after writing this post I found an old cart at one of my favorite local stores- Preservation Station.  

It was a steal so I snagged it "for somebody!"

But this weekend it ended up finding a home in the corner of our dining room...

I realize we need to stock the bar- Hoyt gladly offered to help- but the liquor stores were closed yesterday. So please excuse the dusty bottles of God-knows-what. 

I also realize that if a handful of kids runs through here I'll have to take every single thing off the cart and set up my bar some place else.... But for now it'll stay put. 

To read my Top 10 Tips to creating your own wet bar at home click here. 

Thank you Interior Canvas!

My Bathroom

When we bought this little cottage we knew bathrooms would be an issue. We chose neighborhood over square footage and other amenities. So basically everything is tiny. I know it won't be long before we outgrow this but I love living small. It's the ultimate challenge- trying to make the most of every square inch. 

So we started with the bathroom...

The main floor bathroom was... not pretty. It was definitely liveable but the textured yellow wall tiles made me cringe every time I went in there.

I was planning on having someone come reglaze the tile (more cost effective) when all of a sudden- OOPS- sledge hammer to the wall. 

And then OOPS, it fell on the floor! Only to find yet another layer of textured tile underneath. 

So I picked out some pretty marble basketweave tile for the floors, white subway tile for the tub surround and put the tile guys to work. 

The old tub wasn't in great condition but there's something about old cast iron tubs... to me they are so much more comfortable and solid than new ones. I didn't want to get rid of it. Even when the workers told me I was crazy and could get a new one for the same price. (Helpful construction tip: DONT listen to everyone's opinion. That's for another blog post.)

but DO reglaze old tubs...

As you can see one of the very first things I did was change the lighting- because it's always the most crucial! I had the overhead light moved and installed double sconces instead.

TIP: When the space allows always put sconces on the sides of your vanity- 66" off of the floor. It provides much more flattering light.

I then drew up something for my cabinet guy to build, found a calcutta gold remnant (I couldn't resist), and ordered polished nickel fixtures. 

I wanted to dress up the vanity with some funky mismatched jewelry so I found some oversized brass pulls from Liz's Antique Hardware

The mirror is from Ballard Designs. I love it. 

See shower behind me: I hung a shower curtain liner at regular height on a tension rod. I then installed a drapery rod up really high and got (3) white linen curtain panels from West Elm that ended up matching the wall color. Since this is the bathroom guests will most likely use when we are entertaining I wanted to be able to cover up the bathtub completely. We don't always close it but when we do it instantly makes the room feel cleaner and more elegant. 

Oh and just recently I put up some cafe curtains for privacy. 

Paint Color: Walls and Trim are Benjamin Moore's White Dove, custom vanity is Benjamin Moore's Fieldstone

Floor Tile: white marble basketweave with Delorean Gray grout 

Wall Tile: 3x6 gloss white subway with bright white grout

*all available through my friend Mary Elizabeth at Mission Stone and Tile

Countertop: Honed Calcutta Gold remnant from Werthan Granite

Faucets: California Faucets Salina Series polished nickel; through Kenny and Company

Cafe Curtain Fabric: Amy Karyn; curtain hardware- custom- both available through us

Bath accessories/towel bars: Restoration Hardware, Vintage Collection, polished nickel

Sconces: Visual Comfort, double sconces, polished nickel- available through us

Vanity Hardware: Large Ring Pulls in Satin Brass; available through Liz's Antique Hardware

Mirror: Ballard Designs- This mirror is not on website anymore? but this one is similar

Screen shot 2012-05-01 at 12.14.30 AM

-Never skimp on tile installer- go with a great one even if they are more expensive

- Always put all lights on dimmers- yes, even in bathrooms.

- When it comes to subs don't settle for the answer: "It's just an old house". That is sometimes just an excuse. 

- Install can fans- recessed cans with exhaust fans built into them. You won't even be able to hear the fan it's so silent. This is sadly one of Hoyt's favorite things about the house. We'll have people over and I'll find him harrassing someone in the bathroom flipping on and off the switch going "Hear it? Hear it now?? wait, hold on.. NOW??!.. ITS AMAZING!!!'

-bathroom renovations take a lot longer than you expect- if they say 3-4 weeks that's a lie. 

- Don't use tension rods. Go ahead and get one permanently installed to the tile. 

- Don't have your husband or brother install your toilet paper holder on a newly painted wall- because they'll probably install it crooked and leave pencil marks that you stare at every day. 

-Think through where you want your shower cubby/nook for shampoos, etc. well before construction- and if you want a built in medicine cabinet

- Check to make sure your faucet spout doesn't come too far out into the sink- or you'll hit your head when washing your face. 

- Main Thing: Try to get it as close to perfect as possible- everything from the paint touch ups to the grout to that one discolored tile that always bugs you... Your bathroom is the one place you spend the most time sitting and noticing these little details. (it's true.)

- Oh and that air register cover in picture below? That little detail makes me happy.These random vents in old houses will make you crazy- until you realize that instead of trying to cover it up with plastic you should just Own it and do something decorative. Restoration Hardware's register cover in satin nickel. 

- Despite what anyone says... If your dog insists on resting under your feet everytime you're in the bathroom it's NOT because of the cold tile- it's because he loves you!

What valuable lessons have you learned through renovating bathrooms? small spaces? Would love to hear. 

Running with Cookies

First of all, thank you for sending in your resumes! I have been reading through them and interviewing like a mad woman and am happy to say that the position has been filled. I have found someone that I think will be a great fit! More later. But I can't thank you enough for your interest- it means so much to see people excited at the thought of joining our little team. I'll hang on to the resumes I received and keep you guys posted if anything opens up in the future.

In other news.....So Instagram sold to facebook for 1 billion dollars... Which leads me to believe that people really DO just want to see pretty pictures. Pinterest? Fasting growing website EVER?! Pretty pictures.

Pretty pictures + personal pictures. 

Which all happen to be on our phone. My phone pictures fall in these categories: Finley, orders that come in damaged, furniture finds, my clients kids, concerts, food, and trees. The billion dollar industry at it's best...

You know you live around great people when you try to go for a run and you end up outside your down-the-street neighbors house with a bag of homemade Snickerdoodles.

Crap, now I'm the girl that runs with cookies. 

I found this old front door for a job just outside of town...

I took Finley with me to see the progress...

He did not last long...

Why doesn't he get tired of digging a hole to China Murphy,the lab next door? 

Speaking of a minor disaster...A little rearranging in the office...

A tornado-warning-turned-hail storm while stuck at a client's house...

And then I furberized my puppy... and pretended we had created a new friend for Finn. He was not into it... AT all!! I guess it would be like if your hairdresser swept up all of your hair after a big haircut, put the hair in a bag, and continued to show you how to play peakaboo with your mound of old, wet hair. 

Yuuuup. I deserve this look...  

Oh, this is when I go shopping at Scotts in Atlanta alone and feel sorry for myself. I send pictures of the moon at 5am to Hoyt. 

I end up having a foggy recollection of what I buy this early in the morning. Like these chairs for example... 

Don't be fooled. This is my golden hour!! I have high hopes for these two. 

Went up to NYC and Brooklyn...

Got to spend quality time with best friends I haven't seen in years,

and go to our friends "gig" at Madison Square Garden... (which was amazing!)

After a weekend of partying with the rock stars I found myself in the middle seat on the airplane staring at this SkyMall man with envy. To heck with the tool belt, I'll take a SkyRest thanks.

 And a teepee in my backyard...

On the way to Easter in Birmingham I crammed my car full of things to take down to Alabama for delivery. 

Finley was pushed to the front seat where he quickly realized he is too big to curl up anywhere so he began to bob in and out of sleep looking exactly like an uncomfortable human on an airplane. "I've been there, I told him. Trust me- I took pictures of the SkyRest and am now blogging about it. Try pushing your face on the glass."

While taking this packed SUV down to Montgomery I made a pit stop in Birmingham to see my family... who welcomed me with LOSER signs on their foreheads.. how nice.

Over Easter break I did a lot of... laying around with dogs. My work weeks are overwhelmingly busy so it's nice to go home to my parents house and be able to REST, eat healthy and recharge. Which is exactly what I did...

Then I went on to Montgomery, where my newly pregnant client thinks it's appropriate to sit on the toilets in the Fergusons showroom and read the news. Anyone want to tell her she can't sit there? ... didn't think so.

I wore a Brazilian headdress and did my neighbors zipline upside-down this week. Chicken with its head cut off? The girl that runs with cookies?

Might be best to stick to blogging.

But before you go....

I stumbled upon this in my photo library- it has been making me laugh for weeks.

A self portrait of the Finn man himself: 

Hmmm... a mystery how he managed to hold the camera out in front of him with muddy claws and no opposable thumbs. But nevertheless, the best picture in my phone. 

**to follow me on instagram

for all of you who have emailed or called recently- thank you for bearing with us. We are working hard to get to everyone. We have been transitioning email accounts so if you haven't heard a response please try re-emailing us at mary(at)rachelhalvorson.com. Thank you!


This week in Nashville we are celebrating... Fashion Week 

And I have been asked to be on a panel this year. Me??? Fashion and public speaking?!! I had the same reaction.

But really- I'm quite honored that I was asked. 

I will be debating the importance of social media in developing a brand. Don't get me wrong- I'm a little nervous. I'll be discussing this topic with 4 industry PROS including Mike Wolfe from American Pickers and Susie Crippen, cofounder of JBrand jeans. (Seriously, putting me next to Mike Wolfe is like putting a 4th grader next to Oprah. I'm getting flashbacks of my high school drama teacher: "Rachel, make eye contact, articulate, and try not to say "Uhhh" or "like" so much." )

But the beauty of this discussion is that my story is simple: my brand created itself. It's true. In fact, it's hard to even call it a brand because it's just me. By simply sharing my passion through this blog and staying true to myself I have gotten to where I am now. And, of course, the amazing support and encouragement I've had along the way. I am truly humbled.

That's what I plan on saying anyway.

And this is what I plan on wearing: 

Oh wait, it's what I wear pretty much every day.

1. The Elizabeth high waist jeans from Imogene + Willie... Love.

2. Aviators from Urban Outfitters (because I am rough with my sunglasses- these are only like* $15.) 

3. Clarks Water Row Ankle Boots... I've worn these to death this year. Super comfortable.

4. Burt's Bees "Peony"- a staple for sure

5. I wear this little gold necklace every day. I love how simple it is. I got it at The Perfect Pair here in Nashville....and I have no idea who makes it. They'll know- contact PP if you're interested. It looks great with any other necklace but most of the time I wear it by itself. 

5. The cuff in my picture is also from Urban Outfitters. I couldn't find it online but they always have inexpensive, funky jewelry. This turquoise cuff looked similar. I think I might need one.

6. My purse- chock full of non-stylish things like* receipts and broken finials. Available through The Perfect Pair

7. Imogene + Willie's new "Jeanne" blouse... The material is perfection. Feels like* you're wearing a top that has been washed and worn thousands of times.  It's actually longer and hits across the hips but I tucked mine in to my high-waist jeans... Because, Uhhh, I'm stylish like* that. ;) The Jeanne is coming soon to I+W store and website. Call ahead for pricing and details. 

*** If you're interested in coming to these discussions it's not too late! Click here for easy registration. Panel Discussions start at 10am and run throughout the day. All panels are free to attend and those who attend have unlimited access to galleries for the day. All the info can be found on Nashville Fashion Week's website. If you do attend feel free to make funny faces at me, shout about nesteggs, and tally up the amount of times I say LIKE*(-4)

Flush Mounts

There are thousands of fabulous lights out there right now. You flip through the catalog and get excited about a fixture and then realize Oh, it's WAY too big for my house. So I keep running into the same issue with clients: why can't these fixtures just be shorter??

Most of my clients (including myself) have 9' ceilings so unless we're hanging something over a table the fixture shouldn't be over 24" high. Ideally you need something around 10-20" high. Which leaves us with... the flush mount category. I bet for most of you when you think of flush mounts this image pops into your head: 

Which we like to call "the boob light." I'm sorry but it's true. 

There are better options out there... Here are a few of my favorites:

(Basil Flushmount; available through circa lighting; pictured in 1st photo- via things that inspire; photo by Emily Followil) 

Classic schoolhouse flush mount- circa lighting

Rustic flushmount @ Solaria Lighting, available through RH Designs

Ralph Lauren's cage light, @ Circa Lighting

star flush mount; available through circa lighting

Federal ceiling light; @ Shades of Light

One of my favorites.. Soleil flush mount, circa lighting

Satellite 3 @ Schoolhouse Electric

A little glam? Robert Abbey's Bling Flushmount @Lamps Plus

Gear Mount @Shades of Light.. would look cute in kids room/bathroom

small sienna flush mount; circa lighting

Chisolm Passage @ Urban Electric (available in all Benjamin Moore colors)- see in room: 

Capiz Shell flush mount- @ Worlds Away. Teenage girls love this light! Available through RH Designs

Brass Tiered Pendant @Urban Outfitters for $64! - I haven't seen it in person but from the room picture it looks pretty cool-

Simple. linen drum shade @ Shades of Light

Classic Semi-flush Bell Jar, circa lighting

Clark Ceiling Light , circa lighting

I put these in my own house down our hallway. When we moved in there was a track light that drove me crazy so we took out the track...

 and installed 2 flush mounts...

Oh, look who it is. :)

Finley says hi.

Tool Belts

Almost daily I find myself at construction sites saying things like "Where did I put my phone? Did someone take my tape measure? Can I borrow a piece of paper? Please excuse me while I dig through the dark corners of my bag to find my pencil.

It's annoying. If everything were in hand's reach I would save hours* a day!               *slight exaggeration

So I've been thinking.... 

Sister needs a tool belt. 

And not just your regular one..

I have to alternate colors a lot. It makes my day better.

The architect scale: for figuring out the dimensions of the plan drawings while on site. You can also use it as a weapon. It really came in handy when we were swarmed with cicadas.. like batting practice. 

The 7" hammer: (for effect)

A client gave this to me as a gift- isn't it the prettiest hammer you've ever seen? I've never actually used it but that's beside the point. It looks good and it plays the part for our stylish tool belt. You can get them here

A notebook: These hold up best. I prefer graph paper. 

Heavy Duty Tape Measure: If you ever find yourself on a jobsite trying to balance a cutesy tape measure 11 ft in the air while everyone stands around watching you're history. Believe me, I've been there. Get one that works...

Fat Max is your friend.

The chocolate: For your 3pm meetings...

This local treat is my current favorite. 

Burt's Bees: A must have. Do not offer it to workmen.

So there you have it- The Lady's Tool Belt.

Who's in?


First things first-

The comments from my last post were so refreshing and honest- As I read through them all I laughed and cried. Thanks for taking the time to share the little snippets of your life that make you happy. Seriously... I am going to make y'all talk more often. 

On a totally separate note- I've been working on several bunk rooms and have been searching for inspirational images.

I'm referring to a bunk room as a room with multiple built in beds- they don't have to necessarily be stacked on top of one another. I guess I shouldn't call it a bunk if it's not stacked...OK now I'm curious...

Ahhh yes, a tier of berths. Thank you for clearing that up, Merriam

Anyway, you get the point. Maximizing the space to sleep as many children or traveling musicians as possible. Kids LOVE them.

If your budget allows I think building them out is the best solution for both function and overall aesthetic. 

Here are a few...

{above 6} purmamasquarespace.com; justine hugh jones; domino magazine; suzanne kasler; via material's girl; alys beach bunks via wide open spaces

{above 5}  via cottage living; via dwell; via elle decor; via flickriver/ pinterest, via swish and swanky

{above 5} giannetti via velvet and linen; bunks by Kelly Harmon; bunks by Steven Gambrel; Studio ohm via remodelista; bunks by Suzanne Kasler

{above 4} Tracery Interiors; Turner Davis Interiors; via pinterest; via nooshkids

{above 7} via marie claire maison; BPC architecture; via pinterest; Kristen Panich Interiors via twoellie; via the zhush;  Tracery Interiors; via Apt Therapy

(Bottom bunker 4 life)