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! 


Paint Color Investigating

Have you ever looked through a magazine and wondered what paint color is on the walls of the room you're drooling over-- and then quickly flip back to the resources section hoping you'll find the answer there?

Well, I do.

About 20 times per magazine.

There are paint colors that I use over and over again (which I will share with you in a future post soon!) and some of them have come straight from the resources section. 

Here are a few beautiful rooms that had me flipping.... (no pun intended)

Gray cashmere SA 

This is the picture that made me fall in love with Gray Cashmere, by Benjamin Moore. I've used it on several jobs and am pleased with it every time! 

(photo from Southern Accents)  

White dove via habitually chic
White Dove, by Benjamin Moore....another staple of mine.

(designer Jeffrey Bilhuber) 

Disclaimer: Paint colors are tough. They appear one way in the magazine but 95% of the time they will look completely different in your own home. I recommend painting several sample boards and hanging them in different spots around the room before making your decision.

Moving on...

Picture 1
Light Gray by Farrow and Ball 

(Ina Garten's home, via House Beautiful) 

Creekside green amelia handegan HB
 Creekside Green by Benjamin Moore

 (designer Amelia Handegan, from HB)  

Borrowed light hb frankroop 
Borrowed Light by Farrow & Ball

(designer Frank Roop, from HB)   

Picture 2
  Bone White by Benjamin Moore

 (designer Suzanne Kasler, from HB)  

Tudor Brown sandi holland HB

Island and base cabinets are Tudor Brown by Benjamin Moore

 (designer Sandi Holland, from HB)  

 Cabinets and trim color are China White, walls are Indian White by Benjamin Moore

 (designer Jim Howard, from HB)  

Tobacco by Pratt & Lambert

(designer Barbara Westbrook, HB)  

Sag Harbor Gray by Benjamin Moore

(designer Bobby Mcalpine & Susan Ferrier, HB)  

Have a great weekend!


Chateau Love

A friend/reader sent me an email from Houston, Texas letting me know she now works at Chateau Domingue. After looking through the website she clearly meant to say heavenI scrolled through the images sitting alone at my computer and said aloud





Chateau Domingue is known for importing reclaimed materials and unique architectural elements from all over the world! All sorts of flooring, tiles, light fixtures and furniture. They have 15,000 sq. ft. showroom that I am going to need to see sometime very soon! I can't even imagine what beautiful pieces grace the floors.

I thought I'd spread the love before the weekend with some of their images that will make your heart flutter...



drooling yet ???
Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 12.27.20 PM
Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 12.27.32 PM
Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 12.27.49 PM 


Chateau 2
Chateau 3
Chateau1 Chateau 3
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Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 12.28.47 PM Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 12.29.08 PM
Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 12.29.27 PM
Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 12.29.18 PM Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 1.39.50 PM

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Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 1.40.28 PM Screen shot 2010-01-15 at 1.40.38 PM
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Jack's study1

and my personal favorite...
Pick your chin up off the floor....

 and have a good weekend! 

<all images from chateau domingue- go check it out!!! The website a beautiful illustration of their unique vision. >


This little piggy went to market...


And came back with a lot of SWAG.

Michael Scott: "SWAG! ‘Stuff we all get’. I basically decorated my condo for free with all of my SWAG!"

Here are some images, taken via iphone....


stacks of old pottery bowls.... beautiful. 


A huge crown! My client collects crowns so I couldn't resist.  <insert Rachel for scale>

I like how these botanicals are framed with black mats and black frames instead of the usual cream color. The black wall sets them off even more, don't you think?

IMG_0989 IMG_1012 

Trunks covered in vintage flags... pretty cool. 

love these floors


and these pendants,
IMG_1004 IMG_1006 

fun lighting,

IMG_1023 IMG_1043 

pretty mirrors,

IMG_1031 IMG_1027
interesting wicker pieces,

IMG_1039 IMG_1042
great artwork,

beautiful bedding,

and accessories. I love the succulent on the coffee table (next to the feet:)

AND best of all I ran into Brooke Giannetti from one of my very favorite design blogs- Velvet & Linen. Brooke and her super talented (and handsome!) husband, Steve Giannetti (who was featured in this past issue of Veranda) came over from LA to find new items for their store Giannetti Home. Not only are they attractive and talented- they are the nicest couple! I could have chatted with them all day long. Here is their latest project- their very own powder room- that I have been drooling over for weeks:

Giannetti powder room

Isn't it stunning?? Read about the before and after HERE.

 I love blog friends- they always end up being even more wonderful in person than they are in cyberworld.... Imagine that!!

I had so much fun in Atlanta and feel inspired for this new year! ,

But this little piggy's glad to be home.

{Images from the showrooms of: Bobo, Four Hands, Stray Dog, Blue Ocean Traders, Regina Andrew,Vagabond Vintage, Natural Curiosities, Artesia, Halo Styles, and probably a few more that are escaping me at the moment}



Let's play Rachel

I went over to a clients' house yesterday to go over their new master bedroom plan. This particular client has a house full of excitement- five adorable young kids from the ages of 4-months to 11 years....never a dull moment! I've met at their home several times--- hauling in wallpaper books, carpet samples, fabrics, etc.- the kids always helping me carry things. Within minutes the table is covered with materials as the parents and I discuss their home. The kids come and go- sometimes the girls sit and listen for a minute, others just breeze on by with a posse of neighborhood kids following closely behind.

Today I get an email from the mom. Apparently, early this morning the kids were playing in their room and she heard Lucy (age 7ish) saying to the boys: "OK, now, let's play Rachel."

Mom popped her head in and asked, "What is 'playing Rachel'?"

to which Lucy responds:  "It's where this girl comes and designs a new house for all the playmobil people!"



If you are like Lucy you might think that my daily life is glamorous and fancy-free. If that is the case I have misled you! This blog tends to show the best parts of my job and the little tidbits of my life that are fun and entertaining. Well, let me give you a glimpse of the {ugly} truth: I haven't cooked a meal in months, done laundry, or even unpacked my bag since Rye. I am always at least 10 minutes late, even on my best days. I have rolls of fabric, lamp shades and misc. furniture spilling out of my car at ALL times. I take weeks to call my friends back and even longer to return some emails. I keep forgetting to feed my fish and my precious herbs are beyond dead. I moved my office out of my home so I could keep both of them clean and organized but now instead of one disaster-zone I have TWO. I continue to find myself wearing the wrong outfits to construction sites, lifting furniture that is 4 times my size, spending hours in a small bathroom with a plumber discussing toilet placement, or on the side of the road cursing at my iphone for giving the wrong directions to a meeting that started 10 minutes ago!!  SO, before you opt to play Rachel I would highly consider drinking strong coffee and wearing shin guards.

Playmobil knight 

You'd think I'd choose to unpack my bag before I sit down to blog. I can't really explain it other than blogging is like writing in your diary or scrapbooking, but better. Therapy for me, really. Did I own a diary before blogging? No. Am I still using the analogy as an excuse for not returning emails? Yes.

Trivial complaints aside- I love what I do. God has truly blessed me and continues to open new doors.. I am living out my dream job and for that I am extremely grateful. One reason I enjoy it is because I get a chance to work on all kinds of houses- each client challenging me with a different style.  Every project starts off with a stack of magazine pictures that eventually widdle down to one or two: the ones that either inspire us or just simply capture what the client loves. Here are a few of those images that I refer to often.... (let's play Rachel, shall we?)

TTN: the variety of styles

Spider chandelier brass 

Nathan egan 

Country modern 1 

Susan tully houseb

Sarah room

Bedroom riverside martha

Domino sept 07



Windmark 2

Is there a magazine picture you keep going back to?

Happy Weekend everyone.

And to all my playmobil people... Thank you for being patient with me!

(1) via domino mag (2) Nathan Egan (3) via urban grace (4) Susan Tully (5) source unknown (6) via martha stewart (7) Johnson Hartig via domino (8) Hattie Wolfe (9) via domino mag  (10) Phillip Sides, via Southern Accents....*and all playmobil pictures from their website :)

mary evelyn

I'm in love with this kitchen by Mary Evelyn McKeeIN LOVE:

Picture 1

It's what 90% of us strive for in a kitchen-

open, inviting, family-friendly

and yet she adds a contemporary element by using a bulthaup kitchen right in the middle of a very American cottage.

This is actually her current kitchen.

In the LAST issue (*sniff) of Southern Accents there's a Molly Pastor writes a lovely article about Mary Evelyn. At one point she reveals how to achieve a modern- but not cold!- kitchen:

Kitchens that invite cooking together seem to have more celebration about them. All of our boys cook, and we like to cook as a family, so in my kitchen I want plenty of air and multiple workstations so everyone can pitch in. For floors, I favor wood (Amen!!). For countertops I like natural stone, such as marble or limestone, or a combination of teak, stainless steel and stone. It gives the space a contemporary edge. As for my backsplash- stainless steel or tile with contrast grout that is hand-hewn.

I used to work for Mary Evelyn in Birmingham and feel that it was such a stepping stone in my career path. She is like a walking art history class- always tying in the story behind a particular fabric or an architectural element. It was fascinating to be around, and inspiring to say the least.

You've got to go get the lastest AND LAST Southern Accents- not only to read more from this article but because it also includes her favorite paint colors, fabrics, and a chart titled "In Mary Evelyn's Opinion". I want to share this with you because trust me- You want to know this woman's opinion.

(and it helps that I agree with almost everything she says)

In Mary Evelyn's Opinion...


Love it: A One Color House     Leave it: Unbalanced color intensity

Picture 11


Love it: Conte crayon drawings Leave it: Excessive personal photographs

Picture 9 


Love it: Wide-plank wood  Leave it: Composite; man-made



Love it: Dish pantries  Leave it: islands that are too large

Picture 2


Love it: Simplicity of Line  Leave it: ruching or frills

Picture 10


Love it: LEDs; dimmers  Leave it: too many recessed cans and ceiling fans

Picture 12

If you are ever in Birmingham you should definitely go by her beautiful interiors shop...

Picture 13

Click here for more information on Mary Evelyn.


<all images from her website>


Here's the deal- I have so many pictures (scanned/saved/etc) sitting in folders on my tiny macbook- I mean TONS. It's gotten out of control. I stumbled upon one of my folders titled "twins" with almost 100 pictures of fraternal twins I have found on the internet.


"Twins" meaning rooms with twin beds-- and I haven't shared any of them with you!! I am guilty of hoarding and I apologize.


To mend this problem I will slowly begin to share all of my folders with you. So please enjoy some twenty-eight pictures of twin bedrooms that have appealed to me over the years. I omitted a good bit of them and was going to get rid of more but then I asked myself: Why? This is good for me and for you. (1) Whenever you need a resource for how you want your twin bedroom to look you can come here. And (2) I can finally "relocate" all of my pictures that are slowing down this computer.

So, please cast your votes for your favorite twin bedroom! 

And like this previous post you voted on, I will piece together the winning bedroom on a budget! So make sure you vote. (Even if you have never commented before! I welcome my shy readers--you can put an anonymous name if you wish.)

Warning: You will love so many of these rooms that trying to keep track of which one is your favorite will exhaust you. Just give me your gut fave- or jot some down on a piece of paper as you scroll down.


Girl meets glamour

Designer: Katie Ridder, via Elle Decor


Guest bedroom SA Mali Azima

Designer: Jacquelynne P. Lanham, via Southern Accents


Spotted via simply seleta

via Martha Stewart Living 



Designer: Lucy Allen Gillis, via design sponge


House beautiful steven gambrel
Designer: Steven Gambrel, Domino or House Beautiful? Can't remember.


Amy Lau, katy elliot

Designer: Amy Lau, via katy elliot


Little girls room pink

Designer: Tom Scheerer


HB John Willey

Designer: John Willey, via House Beautiful

nine. and ten.

SA amelia handeganAtlanta home liz williams

(9) Amelia Handegan, via Southern Accents (10) Liz Williams, via Atlanta Home


 elle decor arabesque

via Elle Decor


Bed twins domino4

via Domino mag

thirteen. and fourteen.

HB Tom StringerCottage living es

(13) Tom Stringer, via House Beautiful (14) via Cottage Living


Amanda nisbet an

Designer: Amanda Nisbet, via Blueprint Bliss


SA phillip sides

Designer Phillip Sides, via Southern Accents


HB- Scheerer

Tom Scheerer, via House Beautiful


Bed twins katy elliott

via katy elliot


Coco cozy jeff andrews design

Designer: Jeff Andrews, via cococozy



via Domino

twenty one.

ED Kristin Buckingham

Designer: Kristen Buckingham, via Elle Decor

twenty two.

Velvet:linen brooke gianetti

Designer: Brooke Gianetti, via Velvet & Linen

twenty three. and four.

Domino twinsPhillip Gorrivan

(23) via Domino (24) Designer: Phillip Gorrivan

twenty five.

Via simply seleta, domino

via Simply Seleta

twenty six.

Apt therapy via apartment therapy

twenty seven.

Kay Douglass- Coastal LivingDesigner: Kay Douglass via Coastal Living

aaaaand twenty eight.

Suzanne kasler veranda

Designer: Suzanne Kaslervia Veranda

I wish I had the time and energy* to point out why I like each room. I saved them all for a reason...but I still have a favorite :) 

Okay, maybe a few.

 I'll vote below- you should too.

I rhyme in my sleep- really, I do.


Ode to Southern Accents

So have you heard the news?

Southern Accents is closing its doors. :(

I will no longer check my mailbox to find the latest S.A. issue and say aloud "YESSSSSSSS"- then practically fall flat on my face as I head to my front door...walking-while-flipping, flipping-while-tripping.

So today I am posting an ode to Southern Accents with some pictures from their ever popular showhouses

*if you click on each showhouse title it will take you to the main article that includes all of the key players in creating each house. From there you can click to the virtual tours which will show you every nook and cranny-- Enjoy!

Dallas Showhouse, 2003

Dallas showhouse exterior

Picture 10

Dallas showhouse 2

Dallas showhouse 3

Dallas showhouse 4

Picture 13

Picture 11
Suzanne Kasler at her best...
Watersound 6
Watersound susane kasler 

Old Dominion Showhouse, 2005
Remember Liza from Style Blueprint? She has always said if she built a house she would build it like this one. I might have to fight her for it-
Old dominion 1
Old dominion 2
Old dominion 3
To see more of these pictures see Liza's post here.

Hampton Island Showhouse, 2006
Hampton island
Hampton island 2
Hampton island 3Hampton island 4
Hampton island bathHampton island living

Homestead Preserve Showhouse, 2007
Gotta love Barry Dixon.
Homestead bedroom
Homestead laundryHomestead boys-bedroom-s
Homestead dining
Homestead preserve

Reynolds 2
Reynolds plantation 1
Reynolds plantation 3 
Mystery Showhouse, 2009
I was sent a link to this post----here---- about the 8500 sq. ft. 2009 showhouse in Fort Worth...??
Keep your fingers crossed it will be in their last issue!

Dearest Southern Accents,
Thank you for providing such joy every month when I check the mailbox. I don't know where I'd be without magazines like you. You (and your fabulous showhouses) will be profoundly missed. 

**If you feel strongly about this magazine you can add on to this letter in the comments section. I'll copy/paste them in a big email to the editor- so she'll know how much we've appreciated the inspiration over the years!


Modern and Rural

I have a client that lives in the city with her husband and 3 kids. Although they love their house and neighborhood, they lack one major element: a backyard. They need a place where they can let the kids run around, play sports, have people over for cookouts, and most of all: some room to breathe.

They are looking at farm land to buy for a 'getaway' retreat... so naturally we've already started brainstorming. Their style is


, funky, and fun! (Atleast it's fun for



After our talk last week I wanted to send her some pictures that I thought were inspiring, but hey- why not share them with you too?


Find inspiration...



I am


this simple kitchen. I thought I was over my concrete phase but my heart skipped a beat when I saw this picture---- I guess that means I relapsed.


images via






Cabin635style files
Cabin635style files

images via s


Carina schott domino
Carina schott domino
Carinna schott
Carinna schott

images of Carina Schott's home featured in

domino mag

Modern nick noyes
Modern nick noyes
Nick noyes
Nick noyes

images via


 magazine, architect 

Nick Noyes


Sunset Magazine

's Lake Tahoe Idea House

Arthur cassas
Arthur cassas
Arthur casas
Arthur casas
Arthur casas 3
Arthur casas 3
Arthur casas 4
Arthur casas 4
Roy mcmakin 1
Roy mcmakin 1
Roy mcmakin 2
Roy mcmakin 2
Roy mcmakin 3
Roy mcmakin 3
Roy mcmakin 4
Roy mcmakin 4
Roy mcmakin 5
Roy mcmakin 5
Roy mcmakin 6
Roy mcmakin 6
Roy mcmakin 7
Roy mcmakin 7


Roy McMakin


apartment therapy

After scrolling through all of these pictures I found myself taking a deep, long breath.

I guess that means we've successfully found our inspiration.

(You should try it too)

Happy Tuesday.