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. 

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) 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)

I come bearing gifts...

Here comes Christmas...

like a freight train.

My mom keeps calling me "Will you PLEASE just tell me what you want for Christmas?"

I've been avoiding it because my real answer is: NOTHING. I really don't need anything. But I also know that that answer will make any mother go insane 1 week before the holidays. !! <insert train horn>

So, fashionably late, I came up with a few ideas.

(And mom, I do NOT expect any of these to show up under the tree. This is just for fun.:)

1. Honeycomb artwork by my good friend Laura Roebuck

2. Patagonia Pouch

3. Rustic Leather Notebook/{or Diary}-depends on the day

4. Diptyque candle- this scent makes me crazy it's so good

5. Turquoise necklace

6. Foldover clutch

7. Jeffrey Bilhuber's latest book

8. OK I cheated and already got this for myself but the new Black Keys album is amazing. Gold on the ceiling. 

9. Some new jeans from Imogene and Willie- their new Elizabeth cut is higher in the waist and so flattering. These jeans are the real deal- they last forever and keep getting better with every wear. Most of my other jeans live the opposite life. 

10. Shagreen iphone cover

11. The Diana mini-camera- Cuz she's so darn cute. Who wouldn't smile for pictures if they're looking at her?

12. Jewelry travel organizer- (see #5 and #14) 

13. Cognac clogs from the Perfect Pair in Nashville

14. Gold feather ring

15. Cococozy throw blanket- pretty colors and they are really soft!

16.  Stemless wine glasses- handbuilt porcelain pottery from two of my favorite artists and friends- The Cravens out of Foxfire, VA. (I could go on but that's for another blog post) I love these wine glasses and could use a few more to add to my collection! 

Or you can always give back! There's never a better gift. Check out my favorite charities under "Share your nest."

I know the train is around the corner and everyone is frantically trying to pull off Christmas miracles to make everything perfect for the weekend-- but don't forget to love on each other. :)


has caught up with me. 

I tend to stay busy and caught up in my daily hectic routine- we all do. It takes a funeral, a wedding, the birth of a child, to put things in perspective. There have been several of these moments this past month--where I've had to put work on hold and be with loved ones. But it's good for all of us to to be reminded of what is really important. 

One of my best friends in the world lost her dad this past week. I went down to Birmingham to be with her at this huge turning point in her life... It was definitely a reality check. It reminded me of how each day with the people I love is truly a gift. God has bigger plans for us than checking emails all day and worrying about our haunting 'to do' lists. We should do our best to live FULLY as if each day is our last.

Around the same time back in Nashville another close friend gave birth to a perfect baby girl. Her name is Carolyn...

(If the sequence of these events doesn't make you want to hold up a lion cub and belt out Elton's Circle of Life I don't know what does.)

It was beautiful and sad all at the same time. 

A few days later Hoyt and I celebrated our fourth year of marriage. FOUR. It seems weird to say that out loud.. I feel like it was just yesterday I met him in a bar-he was wearing adidas flip flops WITH black socks and his hair was sticking straight up. (True story) Granted, it was after he raced his bike but that's a minor detail. Also the fact that I fell for him in that attire is another minor detail. 

Our wedding was the best day of my life.

And by far the most fun!

My face hurt for weeks after our wedding because I smiled and laughed so much. But more importantly, I married my best friend. 

(I am full of one-liners tonight... just roll with it.) 

 For our anniversary we went on a date and had dinner at Margot, one of my favorite restaurants in Nashville. It reminded me that I need to spend more time doing just that. 

Considering you all are apparently dog lovers I think you need a puppy update.

Finn is growing up!! Y'all wouldn't believe it! (cue lion king, again)

I just looked at the pictures I posted of him a month ago and wanted to cry. 

Remember when I talked about this sad face? 

Same face, 2 months later...

Do kids grow up this fast? Because if so I'm in trouble. 

 Finn has turned out to be one sweet dog. Sure, he completely butchers our hands, feet, and any possession. And we've already had our share of ER vet visits that involved subcutaneous fluids..

(He's okay now.)

But after that vet visit I'm finding it even harder to turn down a face like this in the mornings...That floppy ear does me in. 

So without further ado I'd like to introduce you to RH Design's latest intern...

He is great with construction workers, answering the door, and testing the durability of fabric samples.

(check out the latest from Schumacher! Love.)

While we are on the subject of work...

I got lots of emails and comments asking the details of the last project I posted. I'm so glad you like how the house is turning out! Although I can't share everything (in fairness to my clients) I put alot of details on Pinterest. You can find info in the captions of each picture. Click here to follow "my work" on pinterest. 

I have a few blog posts lined up for this week so don't go too far.

Here's to life, lessons,... and lifting up lion cubs. 

Mr. Finn

Last weekend we made an uexpected trip out to Fayetteville, Tennessee to bring home a member of our family. 

This was unplanned on Hoyt's part- totally planned on my part. :) You see, I've been wanting to get a dog for years now and since we finally have a house with a fenced in back yard it is TIME. So I looked for months, even downloaded the Petfinder App! and started my search. 

So Friday night I looked through adoptable pets (like I usually do) and came upon a new entry, a new sweet face. One I've never seen before on petfinder:

(Golden Mix?, 6wks., male) Something in my gut told me that this was our puppy. His little face!! But considering it was 11pm at night when I had this realization no one was too excited. So I called the shelter first thing in the morning and asked if the 2 puppies were still available- (mainly hoping it would be 'now Finn', #100)and she said that "someone had just come in and adopted the last brother" ( I gasped) She continued, "So... #100 IS the only one left!!! And since his brother left, weelll, he lookin' real sad! Like he's gone into a deep depression."

I put the phone down immediately and yelled WE GOTTA BOOK IT! while I raced everyone out the door to go to Fayetteville, an hour and a half away. The whole way there Hoyt is like "WHAT in the WORLD are we doing???" But once we arrived Hoyt saw that little puppy face and fell in love immediately.

I cradled him all the way home...

To think someone could neglect a face like this is beyond me!

But we are just so happy to be able to take him home and share life with us.  Which apparently involves:

Bath time, Finley!

Chew time, always.

Impossible scolding that involves this heart breaking face:

Sleeping on his back, always. 

 Following me around like a shadow. Everytime I move I hear this little scuffle right behind me. 

Not like I can talk! The other morning I found myself sitting on the kitchen floor with Finn teaching him about breakfast.

"This is cereal, Finley! This is what HUmans eat for breakfast. I put blueberries in mine but you can't eat blueberries."  

Look at his face- he's like please. stop. talking.

He has been such a good puppy so far. Sweet as can be...

I can't get enough of him and his precious wittle face and puppy breath!!!! It'll make a grown man cry. 

Needless to say- I'm in love

A BIG THank YOU to Lincoln County Humane Shelter for taking him in and nursing him back to health. To contact them or see what other animals are available click here

Finn, I have SO much to do today but guess what- I'm going to waste about 30 minutes just sitting here staring at you. Ok? Cool. 

France, Part II

So….The Intermission lasted a little longer than expected. I had intended to finish up the second half of my France post but the jet lag threw me. It took me a few days to recover. 

Where was I…?

We were sad to leave Gavarnie, but after my brother convinced me that the hotel reminded him of The Shining I felt better about leaving.

Then we took our traveling circus to the Atlantic coast. First stop...

St. Jean de Luz

a charming fishing port on the Basque coast, near Biarritz.

Les. Pois. Sons, Les Poissons!

After endless amounts of windy mountain roads it was SO nice to see the horizon... against crystal blue water.

Being a fishing village, the markets were full of interesting creatures... 

The streets were very crowded during the day although this picture proves just the opposite.?

It's weird- I came back from France and ended up with pictures of abandoned streets and shrimp. Oh wait, here's one that proves we were around people:

A local festival activity.

Dad even did a little jig in the streets.

We stayed at the the most charming hotel- Hotel Deveniere- it was more like a local bed and breakfast.

Our courtyard out back...

That my mom liked to draw while we sat down there and sipped on wine...

And just so you know this is what my mom's sketchbook/journal looks like. Her way of describing what we ate… Martha S. would be proud, right?. 

Le Deveniere is full of antique furniture and authentic English flair. 

I loved their hardware:

This was our room-

To the left you will notice a uni-pillow. Hoyt and I like to flip our pillows alot in the middle of the night so this quickly became a problem.  We had to coordinate the pillow turns like they were football drills. If you had a tape recorder you would have heard sporadic yelling throughout the night: "… FLIP!!!!…. FLIP!!!!"

Definitely a first time for everything.

Other than the pillows, we loved our room. 

I didn't take great pictures but the rest of the place has such character. Felt like you were visiting a relative… right at home. 

This was definitely the most relaxing part of the trip, which we needed. After a few nights of pillow flipping and dancing in the streets we packed our bags and left the beach...

We hopped on a train and headed North. 

Next thing I knew we were in Paris.!!!

I have never been to Paris and immediately fell in love with the city. 

And that's not easy for me. It usually takes me a while to love big cities.

But Paris has an energy to it that sucked me in- it's elegant and edgy at the same time. 

We stayed in the heart of St. Germain- (at Hotel Millesime)- and I honestly could live in that area in a heartbeat. Such diversity. So much ART!! 

We didn't have much time there so we tried to visit as much as we could. This is also the reason I (regrettably) don't have as many pictures as I would like. OK- and I admit- I wanted to fit in and it's not very Parisian chic to wear a chunky camera around your neck.

Museum D'Orsay… a must see. Period.

The paintings gave me chill bumps. 

Notre Dame… So cool.

 We hit up Shakespeare and Co.- a little bookstore that's definitely worth a visit. During the 20s and 30s this place was a place of refuge for struggling writers like Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, Scott Fitzgerald, and others; owned by George Whitman. This charming bookstore is definitely worth seeing (across the Seine from the Notre Dame)

Not really sure what's going on with the father/son in the foreground. Hmmm… 

Pretty sure what's going on with father/daughter here.  Father sharing an important history lesson. Daughter nodding along but really paying attention to the wood paneling details behind him. 

St. Chapelle (which many of you recommended!!) was, ofcourse, stunning. 

Why don't we make buildings like this anymore?

Inside the Chapel on the second floor were the most beautiful, intricate windows I've ever seen. 

But I kept finding myself staring at the vibrant patterns on the ceilings and floors, envisioning what textiles I could make out of it.  Go figure...

Then, of course,  


I just had to stop in the fabric showrooms like Nobilis, Pierre Frey, etc. 

I celebrated my 27th birthday here- and toasted with an amazing mojito while overlooking the Louvre. (I think it should be a ritual, don't you?)

I read in SKY magazine (I was desperate) an article about Paris. I thought this quote summed it up beautifully:

In Paris "happiness consists of something intangible and fleeting. That success can't be measured. That your experiences matter above all else…. At the very least, Paris gives charm to life's daily grind. At it's extreme, the city changes you."

(thanks mom and dad)

France, Part I

Bonjour mon amis...

I'm back!!

I have LOTS of pictures to share. And had plenty of time on the plane ride to come up with a post. Whenever journaling, writing or blogging it's best to get it all out before you a) forget the memories and b) find that you don't have time in a week. It's now or never.  So put your reading glasses on folks… and grab a BIG cup of coffee. 

Ahhh…. France. !!

Where. do I. begin  ?

The trip was unbelievable. My family likes to travel a little "off the beaten path" which means there are surprises around every corner. And a very well-rounded itinerary (with some help from Bronwnell Travel).

It started by flying into Barcelona and cramming into a little rental car: 5 humans+ 5 bags +5 carry ons+jetlag= a traveling circus.

This isn't the car but it felt that small so let's just pretend.

(also please note the fact that Hoyt and Cooper are playing with a bunny in the background. He followed them around like a puppy dog. We like to think he has a heavy French accent and goes by the name of Behr'nard De'pardieu


We were unable to spend time in Barcelona- (that's for another trip!) We immediately drove up the beautiful coast of France. Pit stop: Coulier, one of the towns that sits on the Mediterranean, looked like the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat and some fresh air.

Then on to Carcasonne, the walled city- founded in the Golden Age:

What's the Golden Age you might ask?? NO frickin clue. ;)It's just old.  

I won't bore you with a history lesson but it really was fascinating.. I felt a little like Harry Potter. But that could've been the jet lag….

We went to the local market, explored the city, and ate amazing food. (story of the trip)


Inside the walled city was this gorgeous chapel. The architecture!!! 

This group of men stood up and started singing. They sounded like angels.

Everyone silenty sat down and watched in awe...

Beautiful hotel within the walls...

Before dinner that night we walked down to see what was on the other side of the castle. 

(If only we had capes on in this picture…)

And Cooper felt like the third wheel only a few times-

My favorite picture-  it just makes me laugh. Gotcha Pops.

After a nice few days stormin' the castle' we crammed back in our car and played word games, practiced our French, and did sing a longs.

 I'm kidding. 

Think: Griswold family.  Dad trying to translate the French road signs (on volume level 10) accompanied with a familiar British woman's voice saying "recalculating" on repeat, getting stuck at toll booths with a line of angry Europeans honking behind us, siblings in the back flicking and picking on each other, complaining about someone leaving "stinky cheese from the market" in the hot car, telling Dad to please stop swerving Rachel's going to throw up. Mom trying to take photos out a moving vehicle and feed her hungry family by rationing out whatever she has: an old french baguette and a jar of pepper jelly.  Your typical family road trip. 

The next stop was Gavarnie. Good friends of our family recommended it but other than them no one had ever heard of it- not even the locals. We drove into the mountains for what seemed like forever- "recalculating". 

We just kept following the signs, holding on to our stomachs as we hugged ever treacherous turn.  Then finally, we turned one corner and came upon this….

Our mouths dropped in unison. I think my brother's gum fell out.

We stayed a night in this old charming hotel.

The inside really needs updating but when your room has a view like this- who really cares?

My dad corralled his traveling circus and announced we were going on a short hike.


(second favorite pic)

We were all just assuming a stroll down the street' so we didn't really prepare. And by prepare I mean: prepare to hike straight UP the frickin mountain.

Which is why Hoyt is seen wearing his corduroys. And we have two giant cameras and zero water.

We didn't complain (okay- maybe a little) because once we reached the top the views were breathtaking.

The town is pretty busy during the day with hikers, locals, etc. but at night it is eerily quiet.

Hoyt and I overlooking the tiny, magical city. Quite the secret. Part of me wants someone to take over the town and put great restaurants and hotels, but then I'm afraid it would lose it's charm.

Either way, if you are ever in that part of France it is definitely worth seeing.

Are you still reading?

Let's break for Intermission.

Tomorrow I'll post the second half of the trip: St. Jean de Luz and my personal favorite- Paris.

*These pictures are taken by myself and ma mere. I have a Canon Rebel XSi and my mom has a Nikon D90. We both don't have any experience other than practicing, take thousands of pictures, and never using flash.

blog makeover, graduation, etc.

Do you like my new banner as much as I do?? 

The very talented Caitlin from Roost put together the perfect new banner for nestegg. I have always admired her work and knew she would be just the right person to help me! And ofcourse- she nailed it on the first draft. If you ever need anyone to help with logos or banners I highly recommend her. And please go look at her photographs on her blog- they are incredible. 

I have other changes I want to make to this ole' webpage... but for now I just wanted to show off my pretty new hat! 

In other news…

Hoyt graduated from Vanderbilt Business School this past Friday. Hooray! I'm so proud of him. He has worked his b*tt off these past 2 years and I probably don't tell him enough how proud I am.

I AM. so proud.

And congratulations to the rest of the class too…

We then took off to our family house in Linville, North Carolina (my favorite place in the world-seriously) for a fun weekend of "Camp Cousins."

Yes, I just said Camp Cousins.

I'll explain it all tomorrow- you can make fun of me then.

And just in case you were wondering: it DOES involve hoola-hooping on a mountain...

Pack. Move. Unpack.

This is what I've been doing.


The bulk of my days have been spent doing the following...

  • Unnecessary trips to Target
  • Necessary trips to Good Will
  • Shifting around boxes instead of unpacking them
  • Make a "fix it" list, that continues to grow
  • Figuring out where switches are and stumbling across dark rooms
  • Sweeping the floors (repeat)
  • Getting to know my neighbors-  Heart They are the type that bring you dinner and wine.. Oh yes, these neighborhoods still exist.
  • Wine drinking (survival)
  • Speaking of survival!: We have NO internet, phone or cable. (OK-we have our cell phones but it just sounded more dramatic) I know some of you might not need these things on a daily basis (if you are one of those people, I salute you. And please speak up.) It scares me how much I depend on these things... What's a girl to do when she's tired of unpacking and can't watch The Bachelor or read blogs????? 

Several things, actually: 

  • act like a 10-year old and find ways to entertain myself. Numerous times I have popped out of big moving boxes and scared the bejesus out of Hoyt. 
  • Then I draw pictures of the re-enactment:

Blog post

  • Then I sketch million-dollar renovation plans for our tiny new home and leave them on Hoyt's bedside table. Hint, Hint.? 
  • Dreaming about all the things I would do if I had a bigger budget. 
  • Thinking of all the things I need to do, and all the emails I need to respond to.
  • Blogging at work.
  • I'll be back soon with something more substantial
  • .... Just wanted to say hey.  



First Home! And Opinion Game-Take 2

Happenings in the Halvorson Household: Hoyt and I bought our first home!!! We are beyond thrilled to be new homeowners. We have lived in 2 rented places over the past 3.5 years. Obviously, we've been comfortable but my heart has never been in either of them, which has driven me  c r a z y. (Good thing I can take my creative energy out on everyone else!!) But I knew that God had a plan for us and so we waited patiently until the time was right. A few weeks ago a tiny, old Tudor home in a fantastic neighborhood became available so we jumped. I walked in and immediately had that good feeling (which I believe goes a long way in home buying!) We are currently refinishing floors and painting everything so we can have a clean slate to move into in a few weeks. There's a LOT more to do- the old house needs work!- but I PROMISE I'll post before/after pictures as soon as the paint is done. Y'all will probably want me to shutup about my little cottage by the end of it. (click to unsubscribe?)

Anyway, all that to say- we are SO EXCITED and can't wait to share the process with you! In the mean time, I've realized that Hoyt and I have never really made many joint "design' decisions together. As visions of Jill Brinson's house dance in my head, I have to remember that only numbers are jumping around in Hoyts. So I thought I'd bring back the Opinion Game, a game I invented to help me figure out what my husband likes and dislikes. And apparently it was a hit- or so some of you say! (if you missed out on the first one: Opinion Game 1)

Here we go.
(I'm in PINK)  (Hoyt's in BLUE)

Hoyt, do you like this room? (I hold the computer in front of his face)

Atl hms

That's awesome. Nothing bad to say about that…

I take that back- The goose over the table is a little weird.

It's ART.

What about this room?

Via elle decor

Absolutely not.

Really?? ! I like it.

Looks like a hotel room in Vegas.-Wait, are you making me play that blog game again?


What about this?

That's awesome.

Does it remind you of anything? Any.. STORE?

… Nope.

It's a Restoration Hardware room. You really don't even glance at the catalogs- do you?..

Do you WANT me to??

Moving along.

Everything is great, except those chandeliers. I just don't like chandeliers.

Yeeaaahhh….. that's going to be a problem.


I LOVE chandeliers. We WILL have them in our home.

Ugh...I just don't like them. They make me think I'm old.

I'll make you change your mind- just wait.

Vincent wolfe via rue
Love that. That's really neat.

I'm not surprised you like it. A man designed this room. Do you want to guess his first name?

Mikel?-- I don't know... somebody Polish.

Vincente Wolf- he's genius.

Of course. Vincente would have been my second guess.

She's pretty hot.

I'm talking about the floors.

I actually think that's really cool.

Still talking about the floors….

OK, yeah- I like the floors.

Umm, I REALLY like that room. -Hoyt

It's pretty masculine, but a gorgeous room. -me

I love books… I mean, I LOVE books. They're the easiest decorating pieces-… right?

Riiight. (may or may not have rolled my eyes)

You like this kitchen?



Do you like the hardware?

Not particularly.

I like the simple, sheer roman shade….

(silence from Hoyt's end)

Do you know what a roman shade is??

Yes..A shade from Rome.

Ha! I love you.

.. But we're getting nowhere with this game.

Domino Oct 2006
Is it a bedroom?? I mean, WHAT room is that?? I'm so confused.

Babe, it's a den.

A den?!!!….I don't get it. It's a BED covered in painter's cloth.

You're right- it might be a bed.

These people need to make up their mind. Is it a bedroom or is it a den?? (clearly flustered)

*Note to self: Don't let our bedroom look like a den, or our den look like a bedroom. Husband. might. fall off his rocker.


I like this kitchen- you have an island and a table all in one spot. -me

Yup- that's awesome- Wait,.. is THAT a "chandelier"??? (points to the light above the island)


LOVE that!!! So.. I DO love chandeliers!! -Hoyt

I'm sorry, could you repeat that? I couldn't hear you.


Aaaaaand my work here is done. :)


 (1) Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles (2) via Elle Decor (3) via Restoration Hardware (4) Vincente Wolf via Rue (5) Tory Burch Home (6) via Saladino (7) via House Beautiful (8) via domino mag (9) AHL via delight by design 


Happy Thanksgiving

I'm heading out to our farm for Thanksgiving with the family. I can assure you there will be: lots of eating, lots of napping, lots of football, and lots of fishing.

(flashback 20 years)

Oh yes. I could catch a mean fish with that (dirty) outfit. I know y'all want those boots but unfortunately I don't think they sell them online anymore. Or anywhere, for that matter.

I'm looking forward to spending time with loved ones and taking a breather. It seems that time is flying by lately and before we know it another year will be behind us.

This year I have a lot to be thankful for. And I felt like making a list. So here goes… (in no particular order)

  1. My parents. Blog words cannot express how thankful I am for these two.BHwed078 
  2. My best friend. Happens to be good looking and really funny.


3.Boots. All shapes and sizes.

4. A good cup of coffee.

5. Sweet animals… who love you even when you torture them.


*We lost Hobbes (our orange kitty) this past summer. :( I guess I haven’t wanted to admit it on the blog. But I am thankful for Hobbes- thankful that he was our ‘little buddy’ for 3 years. He will be missed.

6. Sleep. Gotta love it.

7. Iphones. Sometimes I curse the day they were invented but I have to admit- they do make life/work a lot easier.

8. My younger brother, Cooper. We used to fight like cats and dogs when we were younger- now we compete together for our parents attention. Us vs the cats and dogs. 

Linville August 2006 075
9. The little things in nature that are so beautiful I have to stop and take a picture.


 10. Music!

11. My friends (old and new). I don’t know where I would be without you guys. This picture is from our wedding and although it doesn’t include everyone I think it accurately illustrates my friendships.

Wedding professional pics 361_2

 12. Hoyt’s side of the family. My in-laws, his brothers and their wives, his sweet grandparents… I couldn’t have asked for a better bunch. And we miss you all this Thanksgiving!

13. This includes my painfully cute nephews and nieces. This pic was a while ago (and it's only half of them!) but I love it. 


14. Fabric samples that show up at my doorstep. And when I find the downtime to sift through them, oooing and ahhing.

15. Help. I’m thankful for Amy who works her boots off in the office and is my right brain. And Leslie who is my part of the brain that I think I was born without- the accounting and bookkeeping part. Thank the Lord for them!

16. My clients! I’m thankful that doing what I love results in lasting friendships. It makes everything worthwhile.

17. A booked schedule.  Although at times it’s overwhelming, I’m thankful for work.

18. Funny youtube videos that have me in tears from laughing.

19. Photo Booth, Yearbook Yourself, FatBooth (Ohhh the tears.)

Photo on 2010-11-24 at 15.41
(anonymous freak)

20. A comfortable bed.

21. My only living grandparent- Elsie Lee, aka “Mimi”. She’s adorable and hilarious. She inspires me to stay young at heart, and I’m thankful for that.


22. FOOD!!! Good, good food.

23. Running Water. (I just asked Hoyt to insert one and this was his.)

24. Marrying a utilitarian. :)

25. Good wine, good conversation.


26. Scrabble with Friends (the real life version). Ok, and Words with Friends (I’m addicted.)


27. Shelter magazines and design blogs.

28. YOU. Seriously… thank you for reading. And for always being encouraging!

29. God’s grace. (See evidence: #1-28)

  Wedding professional pics 629 

Happy Thanksgiving! 





Tops, Tunes, and Everything in between...

The following post is all over the place- clothes, music, shoes, and other randoms. Welcome to my scattered, bouncing brain. I'll start with a pretty room that has been in my thoughts lately...

Vouge living 07 7 

 <Vogue Living/via greige>

Next topic: Clothes.

Since the Garden & Gun issue came out I have received a lot of emails/comments asking what I wore in the magazine spread. I'm flattered you asked! As I described before, this photo shoot was a not a big production- it was very laid back and casual, which I loved. (I'm acting like I have had a lot of photo shoots to compare them to.. Ha! Not.) The jeans and cowboy boots were a no-brainer so I dragged them out of the closet wore them like I do everyday

Thankfully, I had the help of a Nashville wardrobe stylist Tina Adams from Tina & Rebecca! (You've seen her kitchen renovation here.) I helped Tina renovate her kitchen while she helped me complete several 'looks' for the photo shoot. She was gracious enough to let me raid her closet and jewelry box- and thankfully I was able to walk away with the perfect options for this last minute photo shoot. She did a great job of picking the right tops and accessories that were a perfect mix of casual, professional, and "me." Don't you think?  {for a wardrobe consultation with Tina & Rebecca, click here!}

The Boots

  I went to college at The University of Georgia- did you know that? Anyway, I had been eyeing these boots in the window of a store called McColly's in downtown Athens. Hoyt and I had just started dating and he surprised me one day with this pair of cowboy boots. Swoon. Little did I know that my feet would be glued to them for the next 6+ years of my life. (And I'd be glued to Hoyt for the next 60+! He's a keeper.)


 These particular boots are Penny Loves Kenny. And after that long and pointless story I regret to inform you that I cannot find them anywhere. They are tan, a little pointier in the toe (which makes them feel more feminine), and they turn slightly green every year. Yikes. But I love them.

If you'd like a pair that are great quality and have the same look- go for Old Gringo. They're awesome and you'll have them Go to (or call) The Perfect Pair in Nashville. My friends, Whitney and Casey, will hook you up with the best pair of cowboy boots you'll ever own. Last fall I decided that Kenny & Penny needed some friends in my closet, so I got a pair of these (in brown)... LOVE.

Screen shot 2010-08-30 at 10.26.19 PM  Screen shot 2010-08-31 at 10.25.08 PM 

{from P.Pair- click here to contact}
 If you don't own a great pair of boots- go get some. You deserve it. 

The Jeans

I am wearing my old Seven jeans in the cover picture (they literally have a gaping hole in the knee), and Paige jeans in the inside picture. Both are bootcut. Another one of my favorite jean brands is J Brand. Good jeans come with a price tag but in my opinion it's definitely worth it.

Screen shot 2010-08-29 at 5.55.16 PM  Screen shot 2010-08-29 at 5.57.37 PM 

The Shirts

On the cover I am wearing a henley tee from J Crew. I think this one is from a few years ago but J Crew carries so many versions of these tees year round. The main thing I love about this shirt is the color- it's a pretty blush/soft pink/peach. (I refuse to say salmon)

 Here are some J Crew lookalikes...(I would recommend going to the nearest store because there are many shades of this color- some are pinker than others.)

Paris pink  Erez 

Also, Banana Republic is currently carrying some great shirts and sweaters in this same color.

The peasant top

I have had a LOT of inquiries about this lovely tunic below because let's be honest- it's comfortable and stylish. Winning combo! (Thanks to Tina:)


{photo taken by Hollis Bennett}

Tina said she bought it at a boutique in Nashville called Blush but unfortunately they don't carry it anymore. Being my stubborn self I decided to look around for something similar on the internet. I typed in some key words, and came upon the top on a random website.!!

 Y'all. This is SO weird.

Peasant top 

Please LOOK at the name of the shirt!!!...

Screen shot 2010-08-29 at 6.11.11 PM

Seriously??? !!

So weird. But great price. {from Ruche}

The Swing

It makes me SO happy that you all love porch swings as much as I do. I am currently working on pricing and details for different size swings so that they can be available to you. If you have emailed me already I apologize for the delay but more info is coming soon.

The Tunes

I love good design (that's a given), but I equally love good music.

Garden and Gun asked me to be part of their Tastes & Tunes newsletter for the month-  an email newsletter for club members where they feature a recipe from one of their favorite chefs followed by a playlist from one of their favorite tastemakers. They chose ME for the playlist portion. <insert squeal!>

"Just send us 12 of your favorite songs!" they requested. 

I was like a giddy schoolgirl making a mix tape for her new boyfriend. I immediately started to make my list and realized at song #36: Hmm...this is going to be extremely difficult. I love way too many genres of music to narrow it down to 12. I admit- I bust a move to Beyonce just as often as I blare Neil Young on road trips. So I chose to narrow it down and choose some appropriate tunes for the setting... 

Please enjoy my "Porch Swingin' Playlist"... (and a cocktail)

Tastes and Tunes
Click here to see (and download) my Porch Swingin' Playlist on iTunes!


For more information on the G&G Club (and to sign up for the Tastes & Tunes monthly newsletter!), visit  


Garden & Gun

Remember when I posted about the barn swing being the highlight of my year? Well apparently it's the gift that keeps on giving. 
Little did I know that this special swing would find its way to the cover of a magazine. .!!?

GG Cover
From the second I got the news I have been speechless since.  I am beyond honored to be a part of this awesome magazine and among the list of talented southern designers and artisans. (Including my friends, Matt & Carrie, from the hippest store in Nashville- Imogene and Willie.)

Really... Speechless.


Full of soul and Southern charm, Garden & Gun has become one of my very favorite magazines. It's not just for Southerners! Once you pick up a copy you'll see-  It's effortlessly cool. Their writing, photography and approach to stories is so down to earth and REAL. No bells and whistles. No team of stylists. What you see is what you get.

Haskell Harris, the {effortlessly cool} associate editor, called and said "OK, we're sending a photographer over in one week to photograph you at Ronnie's barn."

I panicked.   "But.. what do I wear?!!"

 "Well... what do you usually wear when you go out there?" she asked.

"Uhhh....jeans and my cowboy boots." 



*Thanks to all of you who have sent me sweet, encouraging emails and comments. I am so very grateful.

 Garden & Gun, August/September Issue 

Go getcha' one!!


*Special thanks* to Haskell (read her stylin' blog!) , Ingrid, and the G&G team- y'all rock! *to Tina Adams for helping me put those jeans and cowboy boots with the right tops and accessories:),* to Hollis Bennett- the incredibly talented photographer that is responsible for these pictures, *to my encouraging and patient husband, Hoyt- for sitting there at the shoot and telling me when my hair was stuck to my lip gloss * to RD and Janine- for letting me take over your swing, and for challenging me to be the most creative I can be.  *Thanks y'all*


A few weeks ago my client handed me these pictures out of her 'inspiration file' and I gasped. 

Love it. 

The rustic, the antique, the elegant, the modern, the classical, and the drama of mixing it all...


Picture 1 

Isn't it awesome?!

Speaking of drama... While Hoyt and I were at the beach we saw a beautiful sunset and the photograph turned out to be quite dramatic...

And then I got bored with my magazines and picked up.... Twilight. 

(dum dum dum DUM)


Gotta go back to it. Can't help myself...


 *the first three photos are from Connecticut Home & Garden--I think?? The designer is Gretchen Mann*


Bo Berry Art

A while back I promised you all that I would share my secret resources and introduce an artist every month. Well, if you're keeping up with my promises I obviously skipped October. And you've also probably found that I have skipped 2 notes to months. Ahhhhh just give me some time- I'll catch up. 

This November I'd like to introduce you to another artist, one of my very favorites, and she just so happens to be... My mom.

Bo Berry

Mom Shapeimage_1 

Born and raised on a farm in a small town outside of Greensboro, Alabama my mom began to paint the beautiful, rural scenery around her... And it stuck. Growing up I used to tell my friends: "My mom? She paints farm animals." 

 Drawn to the simplicity of that country life  her oil paintings reflect "the beauty of rural scenes, the farm animals and the bounty of the good earth."
I asked this talented-mother-of-mine some questions:

To get to the other side 

to get to the other side

 What is your favorite luxury in life? 

    Only one? There are lots of mini- luxuries that I appreciate more and more everyday... like summer tomatoes, heated car seats (she's being polite here- we like to call them 'butt warmers'), walks, thunderstorms, driving down a country road, working in my garden, coffee in the morning with my husband, my devotional and a dog or two at my feet. 

Rainy day at home 

(She isn't lying here, folks. Cats, dogs, everywhere!! Each with their own bed!)

But if I have to say one, it would be the freedom we have to enjoy all of the above and more.


Picture 2


Something to squawk about 

remember seeing this chicken in this room: ??


   What has inspired your artistic style?

 I have always been inspired by artists who have strong use of light in their paintings like Edward Hopper, some of Fairfield Porters works and many Russian artists in the last century. Of course, the masters inspire us all. I particularly like the rich colors of Pierre Bonnard. 

Goose necks 

Goose Necks

Picture 3

Dont Cry for Me Vidalia

Who would you most like to collaborate with on a project

   I have collaborated with my sister in law, Murray Johnston, who is a wonderfully talented textile artist. She creates contemporary art quilts that are stunning. (that's for another month!) For our collaborations she will prepare a piece of canvas, I paint on it leaving a border of a few inches and then she quilts the border incorporating fabrics that blend with the painting. We appreciate each others work and have had a couple of "sister shows" together.


"Cowlaboration"- *double click on it for the full effect- you can see the perimeter is quilted on and the middle section is painted. Stunning in person!


What books are currently on your bedside table?

   I have a couple of stacks in different places but to name a few.. The Art of Racing in the RainThe Story of Edgar Sawtelle, The Ragamuffin Gospel, Driftless, To Kill a Mockingbird...

Quality time 

Quality Time

What inspires your creativity and designs?

   Usually I am inspired when I see the subject and I visualize it on a canvas. It can happen when I am driving on a rural road (like I mentioned above) and I see a clothesline moving in the breeze or cows grazing in the late afternoon light. I love walking through the Farmers' Market surrounded by a plethora of colors and shapes.


Carrots and raddishes 

Picture 5

Of all of your paintings which one is your personal favorite and why?

  I don't think I have a single one.. there have been lots of favorites over the years. Some of them have 

sentimental value and there are a few that come under the "wish I hadn't sold that one" category. I am not a hugely prolific painter so each one is significant and if I can't keep it, I want it to have a good home. :)



Unsold cat   Unsold chicks

Unsold sheep 

Since you've always painted out of your home have you ever run into any problems with that? 

Picture 4
 I have done pen and ink renderings of homes for many years. If is very detailed and tedious work. (see above) Years ago when our children were small I worked in our dining room. This one particular day I had been working long hours on a drawing and leaned it on the hutch to go into the kitchen. My son who was about 4 at the time was charging around the house in his red cape (his wardrobe staple for most of that year)...

Cooper cape And as he swept through the dining room with his sword in hand (a magic marker) he took a swipe at the drawing leaving what looked like a Zorro mark straight across the middle. Luckily Dad was at home and stood between me and my son- who knew by the color of my face that he was in deep trouble.  Bless his heart! Lesson learned for both of us. 

Just in case you don't believe her- here's a picture of me and my brother Zorro at that age:


(Another one of our fine Halloween moments... do we look drugged or what?!) *And if you're wondering where I come up with these old pictures so fast- it's because most of them were used for our wedding video and thanks to my mother-in-law they are now on my computer!)


What is your most unusual request?

  I had a young woman ask me to paint her father's favorite pet...his chicken. She said she would take some pictures and send them to me.  Of course I expected to get pictures of her in the chicken yard but instead I get ones of the chicken sitting on the sofa eating spaghetti off her Dad's plate!  

(Mom, that's so weird. Please send pictures...)

Picture 6


Lastly, what are the things in life you cannot live without

 My faith, my family, my friends and the critters. 

Dogs Linville August 2006 076
And yet another one from our wedding slideshow (for kicks):

Whoa, Watch out for those cheeks!    Now if only I could only get Mom to find the picture of a chicken eating spaghetti...


Although many of the paintings above are sold works, some are unsold. {Contact her for more info}

To visit the Bo Berry Art website click here.

You can also email her at bo.berry(at)


Feeling like Fall

Fall is my favorite time of year. 

These images always conjure up those 'fall' feelings- the crisp outside air and the warm, coziness of home... makes you want to grab one of those cashmere blankets, right?

Simon upton elle decor 

via elle decor, photographer simon upton

Apt therapy 

via apartment therapy

Dale saylor elle decor
dale saylor, elle decor

Martha stewart
via martha stewart

via domino

Veranda fall
via veranda

Southern accents mountain porch
southern accents.... I want to go to there.

Some other things that come to mind when it starts feeling like FALL: 

1. Hot apple cider

Hot apple cider

2. Bedknobs and Broomsticks (I dont know why)


3. The brilliant colors that about make me wreck when I'm driving down the street...


4. the ESPN sportscenter tune 


 5. This little halloween dog costume I saw the other week. Makes me laugh every time. Look at the expression on his face... 

Dog costume
"I. am. miserable."

6. Candy Corn,.... massive amounts of candy corn.

Candy corn 

7. And lastly, that one Halloween I dressed up as an old lady.


It was a exceptionally great costume. DIY, I might add. (thanks mom)


*Did my new face in the sidebar scare you??! Hope so. 

**If you are new to reading nestegg and are wondering what kind of freak you have stumbled upon, WELCOME. And I'm actually a dracula- thank you for asking. :)

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 :)