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 Whether it's reupholstering an outdated chair, refinishing a frame, or finding a new use for an old piece- it's the best way to add uniqueness to your home.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!

The BEST before/after Makeover!.. by Eddie Ross

Okay, maybe that's an over statement... BUT I do refer to this 'secretary makeover' ALOT. In fact, I mentioned it today. You may have seen this plenty times before, but regardless- it deserves a little more recognition.

  The extreeeemly talented Eddie Ross really hit a home run with this side project. I'm not a fan of painting EVERYTHING, but there are some pieces that are begging for a makeover. These mass produced 'secretaries', more often than not, take up space and (dare I say) aren't that pretty. 

Oh, just wait.

Before ...


(boring old secretary, see it all the time)



They replaced the glass with mirror...(genius), put it back together, and.... 



Told ya.   Breath of fresh air...

It reminds me a lot of the Hallings Secretary by Hickory Chair- (that I love)-


Eddie and Jaithan are GOOD at what they do. To read the full story and to find out more about their makeover adventures, read the blog- Eddie Ross.


Eddie said of this piece "As a collector, one thing I've learned over the years is to be fearless. Just because something'€™s antique doesn'€™t mean it's precious. Don't be afraid to alter a piece to make it your own. Strip it. Sand it. Recover it in fabric you adore. Like I said, all wood is not created equal. If a chair's lines are good but you're not in love with the finish, paint it another color and you'€™ll probably be much happier with the result. I know I am."

AMEN, Eddie friend.

Now who's going to grab their paint brushes??

or if you're looking for an ugly duckling...

In Birmingham (

In Atlanta (

In Nashville (

Try your city! 


Lifting Up Nashville- A Flood Story

As most of you know Nashville experienced a record-breaking flood back in May. (If you need some background/ or have time- watch this video.)

It truly was a disaster. Some places were hit a lot worse than others. Houses were completely gutted with ruined possessions stacked into a trash pile in their front yard- for weeks, even months.  I wanted to help (in ways other than sending in money), but didn't even know how or where to start. 

The week after the flood I got an email out of the blue from Katie, a loyal blog reader and a recent victim of the flood. She explained her situation... Recently married. Living in their very first home in Bellevue right by the river. The water came through the windows so suddenly that they had minutes (literally) to grab their dogs and run for safety. They were able to make it to a family friend's home and turned on the TV to find the news zoom in on THEIR house. They sat there in shock as they watched their beloved home go under water... 

(their home is the middle one, and this was MID flood)

I find all of this out later but in the initial email Katie basically said, "We lost our home in the flood... and we're trying our best to piece it together. I'm overwhelmed. And was wondering if there was any way you could help me with some design advice- ?"

Are you kidding?- an answered prayer! I called her immediately. 

She told me how scared she was. And how the waters came up above the lower kitchen cabinets, ruining nearly everything on the bottom floor. Once they were finally able to make it back into their home (after the waters receded) they walked into an eerie MUD pit- 


 that didn't feel a bit like home.

Katie kept saying: "I know I'm grateful to own a home, but the thought of moving back into the exact same house where we ran for our lives makes me sick to my stomach." 


Honestly, it made me sick to mine just hearing her shaky voice over the phone. After a long discussion I insisted to meet them at Lowes one day to help knock out the decisions.

And we did. We were running around Lowes making selections right and left! Extreme Makeover- Super Speed Edition. (It was fun!.. right guys??:)

The kitchen used to be really dark so I knew lightening it up would make a huuuge difference. They were able to salvage their granite (yay!) so we picked neutral paint to go with it. Katie also has a great eye for design and she did a lot of this herself, so it was really fun to work with her.

Ok, I'll stop talking. Before & After pictures are much better!



after !!


To save some money, we decided to leave the doors off on one section of the kitchen. I think the open shelving ended up adding a lot to the room.


after !!




(this was all Katie- she picked out those awesome lamps at a flea market. I love them.)

before (master bath)








after !!




Remember the cool posters designed to raise money for the flood? They are perfect for this spot. 


I cannot take credit for putting this home back together. A wonderful team of volunteers worked long hours (of manual labor!) to rebuild it. Not to mention- Katie and Austin (above) poured their hearts into putting comfort and life back into their home.  I just helped with selections, made new friends, and blogged about it. :) 

So, you can join me in saying:   Welcome home, Katie & Austin!!

(Bus Driver, Move that Bus !! >?)

Happy weekend,


THE DETAILS: (all from Lowes, who were supporters of the flood, where Home Depot was NOT)

Kitchen cabinet paint color (and trim): Valspar, Del Coronado Taquila

Living Room & Kitchen walls: Valspar Light Raffia 

Bedroom walls: Valspar, Cincinnati Hotel Brigg Beige

Bathroom walls: Valspar, Bay Sands

Bathroom tile: American Olean, white ceramic, 3x6 

Kitchen hardware: Gatehouse bronze cup pulls and knobs 

Kitchen pendants (another one of Katie's fab selections!): Ballard Designs! You can pick a fabric.


Dressed to Renovate

I'm back... and I finally have some recent projects to share with you. 

Today- A kitchen renovation! I especially enjoy these kinds of projects because a) I love kitchens and b) I love knocking out walls. Being able to transform a space by removing/adding walls is fascinating... it keeps me up at night. (in a good way :) ... (if there IS such a thing?)

To hold your attention here's a sneak peek: 


 This particular client is a super talented wardrobe consultant here in Nashville- Tina Adams from Tina & Rebecca. Tina and I love to discuss the parallels in our jobs... we both assist people in makeovers- whether that's your wardrobe or your living room.  She told me in the beginning- "I dress like I decorate my house: mostly whites and caramels  in classic shapes with some subtle modern touches thrown in for good measure.  Pops of color here and there.  Love vintage."

Now, when a client says this to Tina she thinks: "a fitted white blouse with knockout jewelry," and when she said this to me I immediately thought: "Splurge on the marble countertops- then add rich paint colors and interesting lights."

At-white-shirt-604= 865c994113d1

So we did just that.

(Drumroll please..)





after !


(If it came with a sound effect it would be THIS.)

After our first meeting I came up with a rough plan that involved some minor demolition... 

Adams kitchen plan
 <We ended up changing some things that are on this plan but you get the idea>

 The main concept was getting rid of the "breakfast room" attached to the kitchen and expanding into that unused space. 

before (you can see breakfast room in the back)


 after !


Ahhhh.. so much more space!



 after !


I snapped this picture shortly after Tina made me the best slice of sourdough bread I've ever had. Her client from Knoxville has nursed/fed this dough for years! I had it toasted with jelly on it... Amazing. I'm going to need to get in touch with this Knoxville client ASAP.

Anyway, back to the kitchen...


I have to admit- my favorite part of the entire renovation was the jewelry light fixtures. (Shocking, I know- Rachel loves light fixtures!?)


I had seen these lights online (new design by Suzanne Kasler for Visual Comfort) but had not seen them in person. Since they were a Kasler design I knew they had to be fabulous so I bit the bullet and ordered two.  

Tina and I both squealed when we opened up the box. Then squealed again when they were hung, and ... you get the picture. I'm obsessed with these light fixtures. They add so much to the room- like Tina says: "They're the perfect pair of earrings"... or Steeplechase hats?

Tinacrown  Photo
 I couldn't imagine these lights against any old white ceiling... so we had the ceiling painted Sherwin Williams Magnetic Gray in satin oil finish for a soothing backdrop.

We also tied in a vintage look with the hardware. The egg shaped knobs and the pulls are both in antique brass from Restoration Hardware. Not too shiny, not too dull- a great mix.

IMG_8385  IMG_8372


 We used an existing piece (a flea market find by Tina) for the 'kitchen island'... I like how it adds a feminine touch to the kitchen. 


Makeover Complete.

Now it's time for my wardrobe!

 To find out more about Tina & Rebecca Wardrobe Consulting check out there great blog! HERE.

simple is good.

I came across this great before/after that I found to be inspiring. Architectural designer Nancy Fishelson reinvents a 1795 Connecticut house....





Soapstone-Mudroom-Sink-HTOURS0207-de Laundry-Blackboard-HTOURS0207-de 

  So many times I look through magazines and am mesmerized by the glamourous homes that are filled with fine fabrics and exquisite furnishings. Every square inch is decorated to the nines. I close the magazine and immediately start thinking of all the little things I'm missing in my home or my clients' homes.  I even go to the extent of making a list...

 Then I see an article like this and I'm reminded that the simple homes are very often the most beautiful. And the glam homes are probably over decorated. Then I immediately start thinking of all the things I need to get rid of... or give away.

Please excuse me while I go make a list...


If you feel inspired, comment below with 2 things you will get rid of and take to Good Will this weekend (or next). Purging!! That way you'll be committed to it if it's in writing. And if I ever walk in your house and see that clunky TV you promised to give away... well, I'll just have to rat you out on the blog. :)

 all images via country living


A Bookcase Facelift

Over Christmas I was able to relax at my parent's house in Birmingham. Sitting in their peaceful library with a dog at my feet and a cup of coffee is one of my favorite things to do. So while I was there my mom bribed me into I got the *delightful opportunity to rearrange her library bookcases!!

A lot of people struggle to find books, pictures, etc. to fill their bookcases with. My parents have quite the opposite problem: They have TOO many books in their bookcases.. and other random clutter. As my mom likes to say "Toooo  MUCH'A  STUFF!" 

When I remembered to take the 'before' picture we had already taken out a bookshelf on the lower right hand corner so just picture more books there. For the record- and to give my mom some credit- the BEFORE picture is not bad!!  (In fact, the AFTER picture is not a dramatic difference. Just small changes that lighten up the mood.)


Bookcase before



 Before: It was just a little too crowded and dark. (The crowding making the darkness worse... as does the fact that it was night time- my bad.)

After: a fresher, brighter look that makes the room feel more alive without sacrificing the home's specific personality (a face lift indeed :)

some tips...

* Shed some light on your books! If you are having trouble with lighting and don't want to pay to add recessed cans or sconces consider putting a small lamp for additional light. In this case I added one of my mom's favorite little lamps to temporarily fix the darkness. 

*A while back I posted some bookcase tips my grandmother taught me. (Click HERE to check out even more tips than the ones below.) In this post I said it's important to mix books, artwork and accessories. In my opinion it would be to mix 70% books, 15% framed artwork or photographs, 15% accessories (I prefer pottery)

* Take that 15% and find some of your favorite pottery and/or sentimental pieces. But narrow it down!

   .....before.......   ....after......

Bookcase before_2 Closeupaf
 *Stack books in both directions.

*Layer photographs or pictures. Don't just stack them in front of books. Try placing them behind a horizontal stack of books.

*Pull all of your books to the front! This is one of the first things I notice when I go into a room with bookcases. So if you are planning on having me over don't be offended if you catch me sticking my arm behind your books and pulling them forward. :) No judgement here, just a nervous tick.

*Most bookcases are installed where the adjustable shelves form a perfect grid. And most people just leave it like that. But just because 10 shelves were made doesn't mean you have to use all 10.  I recommend taking out a shelf in spots, moving them around, or shifting them a bit so that it's not so gridlike. (see pic below)
*On the other side of my parent's library there is a TV and clunky components. If you style it right all those things begin to disappear...

* I don't always recommend hanging pictures on the front of bookcases but in this particular library I thought it be a good addition. What do you think? Keep it or leave it?

*Add organic materials- like wheat or soy beans... just kidding. Are you still reading?  But seriously- organic as in plants, flowers, twigs, bowl of fruit, etc.

 *Try using accessories as book ends. 


*Or if you have a lot of small collectibles group them close together instead of spreading them out across the bookcases. Like in this picture, on the bottom left shelf you will find 3 small picture frames sitting on a stack of books. (click to enlarge) **shoot, I just realized one of the frames must have fallen down. oops**

Don't ignore your bookcases. In most rooms they have SO much potential to make a space look GREAT!

* Have fun with it. Put what you love in your bookcases... and if I'm ever in your library feed me strong coffee and bribe me with Christmas presents.

 Facelift complete.

p.s. thank you so much for your votes and sweet comments yesterday! Meant the world to me. Y'all are the best cyber friends I've ever had!!! xoxo



Chairs and a little Windsor

I've been under the weather around here lately. Haven't been into the office this week YET, meaning- I have been laying around my house all day surrounded by kleenex. And not responding to emails (sorry guys!) When I'm not blowing my nose, watching Oprah, or sleeping I've been laying on the couch staring at ways we could change our place. Hmm.. I should hang out here more often.

I also realized that I haven't shared my chair story. It's recent too.

I'm helping my good friend, Catherine, with her living room. I wanted her to put a wing chair in the corner because the room needed some height. But we are working with a tight budget so we decided to stick with the existing chair and wait to get what we really wanted. (Which I recommend in most situations!) But as luck would have it- we struck gold... early. 

Where?     Craigslist, my friends. Yes, It is a hit or miss- much like flea markets and junk stores. But this one particular day I found a post titled: 2 wing chairs for sale, mint condition, $350 for the pair

 Picture looked vague, boring, but it had me intrigued. I called Catherine and said "Let's just go look at them- it's worth a shot." 

We roll up to the house in a pick-up truck, ready to talk business. (Husbands, no snide comments here please.) 


The chairs looked pretty nice up close- Score!... so I flipped up the cushion to see the brand:

H chair 1

(gasp!!) Hickory Chair?!

Catherine gave me the cut-your-throat hand gesture while I scrambled to compose myself: 

"We'll take them... but the fabric is faded in the back-....We'll only pay $300." 


So, as I promised- I took one and Catherine took the other. We rode off in our pick-up truck all excited that we scored a Hickory Chair wingback (retails up to 2K) for $150. Pretty darn good.

 For me- I wanted to dress it up and make it a little more feminine. Believe me, our place needs a little femininininity. Casual, slipcovered, relaxed.  I was inspired by Windsor Smith's home featured in House Beautiful several months ago- let's just say the woman is not afraid to go bold or feminine. I wanted this chair to have a pleated skirt that puddled ever-so-slightly- like these:


And have the simplicity of this:


And I wanted it slipcovered in light sunbrella fabric so I could use it anywhere and get away with white.

Thanks to my slipcover lady I got myself a Windsor inspired chair. Isn't she cute?...




The back is my favorite part. It was a last minute decision and I love how it turned out. And guess what? I can rip it off and throw it in the washing machine. Nothing better than that!


Voila! My little craigslist chair got a facelift. And a sex change (?)... It's possible.

I'll post pictures of Catherine's chair soon. I can hear the Oprah episode now: "Twin chairs separated in childhood, one went through sex change, the other did not. Their FIRST interview together- NEXT Oprah."

Just in case you haven't seen the rest of Windsor Smith's fabulous house, here it is:

















My next step (after taking a long nap) is going to be: find tall black boots... and something orange.

What do you feel inspired to do?


<pictures via House Beautiful>

little paint, long way

A little paint goes a long way. I am a HUGE fan of paint- it is HANDS DOWN the most inexpensive way to spruce up your house.

One of my clients, Liza (from Style Blueprint), posted about her front porch yesterday. She hired me a while back to help fix up her house to sell and one of the first things I told her to do was to paint the porch furniture. This is one of the few places where I almost always advise to go dark (borderline black, if not black itself). As the economy LUCK would have it, she decided to stay in Nashville-! Yea! And just to celebrate we had the furniture painted anyway. 


Liza porch 1

A few cans of black paint and some reupholstered cushions later...


Liza porch 2

Voila! A new front porch... Has more of a pop to it, right?

Click here to read more about the porch and for the magic paint color!

You don't always have to go dark. In fact, in my initial meetings with new clients there is a common saying when we enter a room:

"I just want it to be lighter.. more open."

Most of these people are MOMS and let's be honest- spending all day in a dreary kitchen will start to wear on you. 

I'll give you an example.

When my parents moved into their current house the kitchen looked like this: (keep your eyes on those green windows)


Kitchen before


Kitchen now

Ahhh.. much better.

Cabinet and wall color: Benjamin Moore- Manchester Tan

Moral of the story is:



*If you need HELP with paint colors email me. Unfortunately I don't design for free, as paint color selection is part of my real job- but if you want to hire someone and avoid the headache you know where to find me.

*Happy Birthday Mom! Love you.

Stool Makeover


Let's back up... because you can do this too!

I found this little beauty for $25 at a flea market.. oooh la la, right?

Yikes! Even Hobbes took one little sniff and bolted (see tail in left corner)
A bottle of white spray paint
and some Kravet contemporary fabric later...
Kravet's Windsor Smith Collection: Continuum in turquoise

really ghetto, i know. All you need is a staple gun and some arm strength

*add a small pillow for comfort-

I think it would be cute in a bathroom as a vanity chair or in a kid's room...

but for now I'll use it as a desk chair-
Happy Monday!