Dark Doors

I have a thing for dark doors.

Some houses call for it, some don't. 

<via Southern Accents>

<Nate Berkus>

When would I recommend painting doors dark?

*When you have a long, uninteresting hallway with lots of doors (and you don't want it to look like The Shining.)

*When you have cheap (stock white) doors. Painting them dark almost always makes them look nicer than they actually are. 

<Todd Romano>

<Jennifer Dyer via Lonny Mag>

*When you are lacking warmth in a room. Warm up the doors.

<Cobb via cottage living; last photograph in post is same house> 

<source unknown>

<Douglas Friedman via House Beautiful>

*When you want to add some GLAM in a room (go with black high gloss)

<via house and home>

* When your front door (from the inside) is uninteresting and disappears. Same thing goes for french doors or accent doors.

<Barbara Westbrook via AHG>

<via Canadian House and Home 2008>

<Barbara Westbrook via House Beautiful>

<via House Beautiful>

Paint colors to try:

If you want a good true black my go to is Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black-

I used it on a recent project paired with Rocky Mountain hardware in the white bronze finish - stunning combo:

If you want more of a dark brown/grey I'd recommend Sherwin Williams Urbane Bronze. I actually painted all of the interior doors in my house this color. I also used it in this kitchen. It's a good one. 

If you want to go a tad lighter than that- try Sherwin Williams Porpoise.

For a good neutral brown (that doesn't go too brown, more of a grey brown) I like Benjamin Moore Fairview Taupe

Other recommendations:

  • Paint the DOOR only. No trim. 
  • Go glossy on the finish. Satin oil or high gloss.
  • Pair it with good hardware.


A great online paint tool...

I want to share with you a helpful online paint tool that I use quite often: Easy RGB.

Let's say you go over to a friend's house and her living room is painted the OLD Porter's Indian Ivory

You come home and realize you only have a Sherwin Williams paint deck...Crap. How can you figure out a close match to Indian Ivory without having to go through Porter??? 

Go to Easy RGB ( and follow these instructions:

From the toolbar at the top click on "From Commercial Tints to RGB"

Type in the original color name you want to match and select its brand from the drop down menu. (see below)

Picture 7 
 Press Start.

Then you should see the name of the paint with a bunch of weird #s below it (unless you typed it in wrong)

Click "Get Commercial Tints"

You should now see a page like this:

Picture 10 

Don't mess with the color numbers that have appeared and ignore the HTML color # part.. just leave that blank
Last step- just select the paint brand you'd like to match your color to. Press Start

Voila! Sherwin's closest matches to Porter's Indian Ivory. 

Picture 9 

Not close enough?

Go back and select another brand to match it to and see how close you can get.

Hope it helps!


window seats and (preferably) window beds

Cottage living window seat 

TTN on window seats:

*If you're going to have one, I recommend making it as deep as a bed. Trust me on this one! Nobody sits on the window seats that are 18" deep. They're just not comfortable! But if you make it a window bed- it'll be the new hot spot in the house.


Window seat hb

Picture 4

*Throw a blanket on your window seat so it'll look comfortable and inviting (even when it's not!)

And while you're at it, put a few books there too.

Domino window seat 

*Provide extra lighting. Swing arm or wall sconces are a great addition to any window nook.
Newlywed diaries cotliving 

Elizabeth dinkil design 

*Add comfortable pillows- some that you can really sink into it. But not too many! Make room for a booty.

Window seat domino
Via decorno 

*Provide storage underneath if you can. I would either choose deep drawers for blankets, etc. or I would leave it open for books like the picture above. 
Remodalista window seat 


IHeart this one. Has a window seat bed ever looked so inviting?


(1) Cottage Living via pure style home (2) Domino Mag (3) House Beautiful (4) via Belgian Pearls (5) via domino mag (6) cottage living via newlywed diaries (7) Elizabeth Dinkil Designs (8) via HGTV (9) domino mag (10) house beautiful (11) via decorno (12) via remodelista (13) cottage living....I miss Cottage Living and Domino! :(

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



Vintage Christmas

One of my favorite boutique stores in Nashville is one called Gilchrist-Gilchrist. I recently went in the store and felt like I walked into a winter wonderland. No joke. But it's always like that- The whimsical cottage feel, beautiful vintage finds, the laid-back vibe, good company, soothing music, ALL result in one charming store. 

The owner, Genia Gilchrist, takes shabby chic to a new level. I knew she had style but THEN I saw her house in Southern Living... MAJOR style. Good thing she shared some of her Christmas decorating tips!!.. Here are a few:


Welcome guests with festive porch planters. {These are filled with small spruce trees and filled with magnolia leaves.} Keep it simple, keep it green. (that's my input. Ok, now my input is in green)

That's Genia! She's sweet as pie. And check out her boots! :) 


Indulge your senses- and put a jar in the family room full of Christmas cookies. {Yup. Ours cookies would be gone within a day.}

When it comes to decorating your Christmas tree- MORE is better.


Sneak in Sentimental pieces. Her tree skirt is made out of an old petticoat- a gift from her friend. She took the skirt apart at the seam and laid it around the tree base. ....{ I want one!!}

Set the mood with mercury glass.


Genia is a big fan of mercury glass- and how can you argue with her looking at these gorgeous pictures?? Click here for her very helpful tips on buying mercury glass.

Tie it together with One Color. 

Each year Genia picks a color and buys different types and textures of ribbon in those colors. She ties them to all of her wreaths and even wraps her Christmas presents in them that year! (see picture above of the gift under the tree- Such a good idea! )


Use clear glass to serve as a subtle back drop when displaying Christmas decor.

Hang garlands in unexpected spaces. Don't limit them to front doors and banisters... For fresh garland she recommends The Garland Farm. (Love this image)


Wreaths of three unify a space.

Another one of her style secrets: Stack a few wrapped presents in unconventional spaces to add pops of color in any room!


Group heirlooms or collectibles together to make an impact. (Looks a lot better than having them scattered throughout the house, doesn't it?)

Dress up great finds like this vintage window frame! And mix metallics with fresh evergreens. 

Embellish what you already have. 

Genia incorporates vintage bottlebrush trees and reindeer into her year-round mercury glass collection. She then adds sprigs of greenery and seeded eucalyptus for accents.(this pretty picture reminds me a lot of her store)

To read Southern Accent's full article click here.

And if you are ever in Nashville you must stop by Gilchrist-Gilchrist. Genia's home is just a glimpse into the unique pieces you'll find in her store. Not to mention the friendly little butler that greets you at the door. (Click here to see him)

 And the bedding!!  Oh, the bedding. Which reminds me- I ordered a gorgeous pillow and have been meaning to pick it up from her for weeks. Genia, if you're reading- I promise I haven't forgotten! But I think it'd be best if we met at your house. OKOk, cool.   :)


All photos through Southern Accents by Laurey W. Glenn


This Thanksgiving- Branching Out

This Thanksgiving Hoyt and I are branching out,

and hosting his parents in Nashville. !

This Thanksgiving I can barely remember to feed my cat,

so the turkey is coming from Whole Foods. :)

This Thanksgiving I truly have A LOT to be thankul for!!

But not a lot of time to decorate...

So, If you're like me and you're looking for an inexpensive and quick way to spruce up your home for Thanksgiving try taking a look in your own backyard (or your neighbors! :). I am always inspired by the rooms that have branches (dead or alive) as their main source of decoration. 

Pottery barn branches 

via pottery barn


via house beautiful

Birch indoors 

source unknown

Bhg branches 2

 via bhg

Branches stevengambrel
steven gambrel, via habitually chic


Bhg branches 

 via bhg


 via martha stewart

*I realize some of these branches are not 'in season' but you get the idea...

Maple centerpiece
 via martha stewart

via restoration hardware

Domino mag branches 2 

 via domino mag
Methome branches
via met home

via hgtv

Elle decor branches
via elle decor

via restoration hardware


via house beautiful
**fig branches (Where can I find these?! If you live in Nashville and have these in your backyard- call me! I'll gladly swap decorating advice for a few figs)


 This Thanksgiving I plan to get out my pruning sheers and get creative.

and by 'get out my pruning sheers' I mean: Go to Target and buy some. 


Hanging Advice

Sorry for the lack of posts lately. I saw this picture in the most recent anthropologie catalog and thought it captured my excuse quite well:

<except that I don't look near as cute as that little precious>

Switching gears....I've been wanting some sort of change in my home and this usually results in me rearranging artwork and pictures. Why? Because it very often requires no money, it is instant gratification, and it always makes each room feel brand new. It does not have to be artwork- it can be anything that hangs on a wall: mirrors, photographs, sketches, pictures, quilts, you name it. Here are a few things to keep in mind when hanging artwork or picture walls:

1. *One of the biggest mistakes people make is hanging artwork too high or too low. The center of the piece  should be 66" from floor. So basically it is hanging at eye level (on an average person).. if you are taller than the average person, hang it a touch higher. You're the one who will enjoy it every day so hang accordingly. 

Elements of style art 

via elements of style

2. Try to avoid hanging photographs (or anything with glass) in spots that get direct sunlight. You'll end up seeing GLARE more than anything...

Picture wall ED031 

via Elle Decor

3. When you are hanging mirrors on a wall make sure they are positioned in a way that does not reflect the ceiling... Who wants to see the ceiling??

Picture wall Domino025

4. Position them on the floor in front of the wall before you hang!! This is where most of the rearranging happens. When it comes time to hang I usually start with a middle piece and work out from there. For a quick tutorial on how to do it the right way: click here.

1miles redd
miles redd

5. Use a leveling device*- your eyes will undoubtedly play tricks on you. Which brings up my next tip- as much as hanging pictures makes you want to drink alcohol and curse at anyone who offers help, keep away from the glass of wine. There's nothing worse than tipsy pictures :)

6. Use picture frame bumpers to prevent your frames from sliding around every time someone slams the door or sneezes.  They are right next to the picture hooks at Target. You put two at the bottom 2 corners of each picture frame- (i like the clear ones)


7. Most importantly***- Find the style you like. There are many more tips when it comes to hanging pictures and artwork but it depends on the look you are going after.

Do you like this look?


Design esquire 

or this look?

Picture wall domino035 

 Lana beale designer 

(1) Erin Martin (2) Steven Gambrel (3) via domino mag (4) source unknown

Let's do that again. 

Do you like this look?

Style court 


or this look?

Dominomag blue room
Picture wall SA028 

(1) via style court (2) via velvet & linen (3) via domino mag (4) via Southern Accents

To be honest I usually opt for the 'mix it up' walls... but this week I am really liking the more structured hanging style. There's something about that simple continuity that is speaking to me. 

So, what picture wall style do you prefer?

Martha stewart 

image via martha stewart


Decorating Mistakes

Liza and Elizabeth from Style Blueprint (our favorite Nashville style blog!) asked for me to share a few mistakes people make when decorating their home...

Before you click over to read- I thought of another mistake that I often see in homes:

People tend to OVER decorate. Don't mess with a good thing.

Our tendency to over decorate always reminds me of a funny story about my niece, Whitman.

(This isn't the last time you'll hear about my highly entertaining nieces and nephews)

About a year ago Whitman came home from Mother's Day Out pretty upset. It was festival day and the face painting lady did NOT decorate her face the way she wanted.

"Well, what did you want?" her mother asked as sweet Whitman stared up at her with a butterfly and heart on each cheek. 

"I wanted a snake on my forehead!" 

Whitman 1

Hmmm.. can't imagine why the face-painting-lady refused that one.

So her mother kindly drew a green snake across her forehead and called it a day.

You would think that the story ends here... Wrong. 

The very next day Whitman decided to decorate her face the way SHE wanted.....

Whitman 2

I repeat: Don't mess with a good thing.

Thanks Liza & Elizabeth! 

And Whitman, when you get older and realize I have put these pictures of you on the internet you might not be pleased with me. If this is the case you have my permission to paint my face however you want.
Me and whit


I. Heart. Home.

Damommy and me 

Meet my grandmother: Murray Berry. And that little squirt she's holding? ME.

In my life Murray Berry was known as "Damommy" (Yes, it's true. Feel free to comment on this name at the end of the post).

In my twenties I find myself asking the same old question: How did I get here? Where did I get this itch to design homes? And in each year that passes the more all signs point to...


 Aside from the life lessons Damommy taught me (including: travel, love well, comb your hair before pictures, follow your heart, dinner before dessert (never the opposite!), no sniveling, and always help people who are less fortunate,.. the list goes on)  I feel that she instilled in me a strong sense of "home."  You walked into her front door and it wasn't just a roof over your head- you were stepping into her world. Everything that she represented was wrapped up in 4,000 warm & cozy square feet.

Home has always been like that for me. And yes, you could definitely say I'm a homebody. I think that's why I love what I do... to help someone else make their home a true reflection of them, somewhere that is a safe haven for their family, a place that provides contentment... Whether it is a client that wants it all with frilly fringe or one who prefers the modern, minimal approach- the second I walk in the front door I enter their world. 

I'm just here to help.

With that being said, Damommy could always count on her fingers the things every home needs. So get out your notebooks:

1. Every House Needs.... A Bookworm

In other words: Display those books! Nothing gives a more lived-in, comfy feel to a house than a stack of hardcover books. In any room...

Bookcase domino simon upton
Image from Domino magazine, RIP :(
Bedroom bookcase martha

Bookcases domino

Bookcases domino roman barrett 
above 2 images from Domino Magazine

My grandmother would always say it's not only important to display your books, but it is how you display them as well. The key here is: Don't think about it too hard. Be flexible!  If you aren't you will end up with a bookcase that looks programmed and stiff. Put them in all different directions, take off the ugly jackets that aren't working with your scheme (no offense Tom Clancy), put your all time favorite books in a prime location, mix the colors up, grab a stack of larger books and place them somewhere else in the room (see picture above).
*One trick Damommy taught me was: When you're filling a bookcase up with rows upon rows of books be sure to have one or two books pulled out and placed on top of the others... like you had just used it. It loosens things up, AND you look smarter. :)
*And another trick (I'm throwing these freebies out, catch 'em while they're hot!): It looks nice to have a good mix of books, artwork and accessories. If you're a numbers person let's say: 70% books, 15% small framed artwork or photographs, 15% accessories (Damommy would say *pottery only)
*And the most important trick!!**: Pull the books to the very front of the bookcase. No shoving them in the back! It makes the biggest difference, I promise.

Bookcase martha

2. Every Home Needs... Fresh Flowers
Enough said.

image from House Beautiful

Houseplants martha

3. Every Home Needs.... Art

I think the moment I really realized my grandmother (drastically) rubbed off on my 'nesting' style was shortly after I got married. We settled into a cute, old house in Nashville and within days I had every wall covered in artwork... and 3 pieces of furniture to speak of. I joked with my friends: "I'd love for you to come over to our new house- We can all sit on bean bags and look at our pretty walls!" 
In other words: BYOC.
Bring your own chair.
We are fortunate to have artistic friends and family (hence the wedding gift wall decor)- and I still have trouble choosing an ottoman over a beautiful framed b/w photograph. 
The point is: start collecting! There is nothing better than artwork.

Artwork urbane martha

Artwork susan lyne martha
Image from Southern Accents magazine

Pink painting

4. Every House Needs.... Good Lighting!

This topic deserves a post of it's own so I won't go into too much detail. But if there is one thing that my grandmother and I both put emphasis on it's LIGHTING. It can make or break a house. Here a few helpful hints from Damommy herself:

*Use pink light bulbs.... it makes everyone (including yourself) look better.


*Turn all the lamps on when you are expecting guests. EVEN WHEN IT'S DAYLIGHT.

Vc lamp1


*All lamps from Visual Comfort

This (is completely unrelated but) goes hand in hand with one of my best friend Katie's advice about how to make your day better: Open your windows. Turn on every light in your room. And make your bed.
... and no, katie is not 4 years old.

*Avoid overhead lights whenever possible. This does not necessarily apply to chandeliers or sconces... I'm talking fluorescents, surface mounts, ceiling fans with light kits, or any other light that frequently catches the silhouette of a dead bug, casting a dark shadow into the room. (You know exactly what I"m talking about)

5. Every House Needs... A Welcoming Entry

Damommy would probably say that the most important part of the house is the entry. Whether that be your foyer, stair hall, courtyard or front porch- do not neglect this spot.

Entry hall-HB Suzanne Kasler
image in House Beautiful, design by Suzanne Kasler

Entry HB j randall powers
Image from House Beautiful, design by J. Randall Powers

Ways to spruce up your entry may include:
*Sweeping the front porch!!
*Replacing out-dated lighting with something that is more your style- a fresher look
*Put your favorite rug in the entry hall
*Take care of the landscaping around the entry
*Grab a handful of gardenias and place them in a vase by the entry door (my favorite smell*)
*Hire an acapella group to sit on your front stoop and sing "Bright Side of the Road" to anyone passing by.... Why not?
A few more beautiful, welcoming foyers:
Entry SA mary evelyn
Image in Southern Accents, design by Mary Evelyn McKee

Porch river martha

6. (Last but Least $)
Every House Needs.... A Mouse

This is a family saying. I can't explain it. Other than the fact that in every one of our homes there is some thing that resembles a mouse. It might be a good luck charm- keeping away the real things. For instance, when my aunt and uncle built their house they surprisingly came upon a corner of their granite kitchen countertops that looked exactly like a mouse! (I'll get her to send a picture for proof)

Start Looking, you'll find one.
And odds are if you don't find a fake one, you might want to call Cooks Pest Control. Or buy one of your own.
To purchase this little guy for your house:


Damommy passed away in August of 2003, shortly after my grandfather's death. We think she died of a broken heart. Perhaps that same roof over her head didn't feel like "home" without him in it.
But she left lifelong lessons with each of her kids and grandkids- mine just happens to be about design. And thankfully it helps me understand who I am and what I'm doing. I think she's looking down from her new Home now- proud that I am sharing her love of all things beautiful...
Although I think if I mentioned that I had a "blog" she would hand me a tissue and send me to bed.

xo RH