Hello friends, 

Happy New Year!!!


 has snuck up on us.!! The new year always seems so eager-

doesn't it?

Like it's a pushy little kid in the lunch line bumping his way to the front before the cafeteria is even open.

As I look back on a wonderful but 


 2011 I am amazed by how truly fast life passes us by. 

At the close of this past year I planned to do Christmas cards, a blog post for every holiday, return all my phone calls and emails, finish up my website, and start taking pilates again but have somehow managed to not accomplish any of the above. If only I had more time... that's what I find myself saying.



Like that image from 

my last post

 time is a big ole' freight train barreling around the corner... There's no way you can outrun it- and it's not going to stop for you. But we keep wearing ourselves out trying to catch up with it.

Over the holidays my mom gave me a wonderful book called 

One Thousand Gifts

 by Ann Voskamp-

<oh and i just realized it has nesteggs on it! yippy skippy-I swear I didn't plan that.>

In the book she makes a list of 1,000 gifts- not of gifts she 


 but gifts she already 


. It's a wonderful reminder to 

be present

 and appreciate what we have 


. Gratitude for the seemingly insignificant..

"Do not disdain the small. The whole of life- even the hard- is made up of the minute parts, and if I miss the infinitesmals, I miss the whole. There is a way to live the big of giving thanks in all things. It is 


: to give thanks in this 

one small thing

. The moments will add up."

The other day I was looking through all of my iphone pics, remembering the moments I took them, and smiling. In the spirit of cherishing time and all the little beautiful details along the way here are a few gifts from 2011: 

  •  When you see your puppy on your porch swing. This one needs no further explanation. Kills me!
  • The moments where you think Gosh, I love my neighborhood.  
  • when your {anonymous} client has to crawl through her own doggie door while visiting the jobsite... 

Don't worry, I dove in soon after.

  • or when a client wants a visual of the fabric so she pretends to be the chair next to the lamp.            "Hey, look at me! I'm a chair!"
  • when you visit a new farmhouse jobsite on acres of gorgeous land ...

and the friendly neighbors summon you over to chat:

  • when you get your first signage and you send it to your dad saying "Look, Dad- I'm all growed up!"           
  • when the little girls who live down the street come over to play with Finley and leave drawings like this that melt your heart...
  • or notes like this... 
  • Photo 2
  • when your friend helps you shop at the flea market and you stumble across these chairs as if they've been waiting for you... 
  • When you set up the timer to take a family picture, run back in my seat and yell"Hurry! Everyone act like they're having a good time!!"     *click*

                                            *click* - what is happening?

  • when a light fixture you design turns out better than expected... 
  • IMG_2251
  • or a custom upholstered ottoman bench- sleek and classic: 
  • when you try to make your puppy your "new, funny best friend"...  
    • when you find one million pictures of rusty hardware in your phone because that old crap really does make you happy 
    • when your friend sends you this picture and asks where she can find some platypus babies...
    • getting to spend Thanksgiving in Princeton, NJ
    • when green grows on beautiful old buildings  
    •  when precious nephews love on you and ask if they can "go home with Aunt Rachel... Pleeeease???" 
    • when you take detours to NYC and go for a night on the town with close friends
    •  a flower by my toothbrush in the morning  
    • when a new construction project finally starts to feel lived in...
    •  when you sweet-talk a 200 lb tractor-drivin' workman to Carefully stand on a ladder like a ballerina and hold up a light fixture for you...
    • when you get to spend time with good friends over holiday break  
    • when you realize the gift of blog readers- YOU. All of you who have sent me emails or stopped to introduce yourself- it never ceases to amaze me that people are actually listening to my rambling thoughts. I'm so flattered and humbled... and proud to say I have internet friends.
    • when you begin to measure time by how fast your puppy dog is growing.. :(

    can you believe-

    Here's to a Happy, and present, 2012! 

    p.s. Everyone name a gift in your life (or something seemingly insignificant that you are grateful for), and drop it in my comment box. Just one. Something small. Just do it. :)

    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. :)

    Etsy Treasures

    Etsy continues to be one of my go to resources. Lately I have been narrowing down my search to "Vintage" (from the drop down menu in the search bar) and coming up with some really great finds!

     When I'm supposed to be coming up with a blog post I am actually just getting lost in the world of etsy...or pinterest. Too many outlets, not enough time.

        I created a few Treasury Lists- a compilation of some of my finds. Considering it's the holiday season (omg.) these are also great gift ideas. 

    So, now it's your turn--get lost!

    'Nestegg treasures' 

    Curtain thoughts

    So before I go into my recent adventures to Chicago, Atlanta, and in bed with the flu- let's talk about what's really important: indecent exposure.

    Apparently the entire neighborhood has been watching me for months now because I have YET to pick out drapery fabric for practically my entire house. And I have refused to put up the old dusty plastic blinds that lived there before we repainted everything. 

    Throughout the house (aside from a few rooms) I painted the walls and trim Benjamin Moore "China White" and the french doors Sherwin Williams "Black Fox".

    Hoyt keeps making fun of me when I'm looking at fabrics in my house (which is NEVER in case you were wondering- unless it's at 10pm crouching around a lamp). He says "Oh- Oh!! Let me guess... WHITE?!"

    But it's true- so far I've painted everything a shade of white and only brings things in with little to no color. I can't tell if it's just that I see samples all day long and I want a blank slate to come home to, or if I am a wimp and won't commit to anything other than white. Maybe it's a little of both but we're not here to analyze that. We are here to make a decision. I need to figure out what to do with our window treatments before the neighbors see me in my underwear.(again) 

    The problem is- I like a lot of different things. I make decisions all day long for my clients but when it comes to my house I freeze. Then quickly put it on the backburner. 

    What I DO know is that I keep coming back to some of my favorite rooms with simple, light curtains that closely resemble the wall.  --- I apologize for any repeats--













    These curtains don't call for drama.

    They are sophisticated, soothing,  and simple. 

    Are they safe???......YES.    -But I'm okay with that. :)

    I was coming to look for some approval from you guys but ended up with Leo's blessing. I guess he trumps all. ??

    Either way- I'm ordering some fabric!

    1. design by Amy Morris, photograph by Emily Followill 2. Tommy Clements via Elle Decor3. Country Home via greige 4. Thomas Obrien via his website 5. Susan Ferrier via House Beautiful 6. via domino magazine 7. source unknown 8. source unknown and 9. Scaglioni, via House Beautiful 10. via Little Green Notebook 11. Source unknown 12. via Amber Interior Design

    *last print by Natural Curiosities

    happy, happy,


    We're all stocked up here- with festive trees, 

    pumpkins and fall flowers,

    and LOTS of candy!! 

    that Hoyt and I have been "testing" to make sure none of it is poisenous. 

    Busted with the skittles.

    Busted spoiling my dog.

    Busted making 2 normal jackolanterns and 1 really creepy/dead corpse one. 

    I put Mr. Jolly in charge of Finley for tomorrow night for when all the kids come a' knockin. Mr. Jolly, meet Finn.

    Finn, Mr. Jolly.

    I'm starting to think I should have a sign outside my door that says "Please say 'trick or T-R-E-A-T (spelled out) else you're going to end up with a hungry puppy pummeling you to the ground."

    Have a great night! Be safe! Eat lots of sugar.  

    Happy Happy.

    I Spy… Mustard


    Top 8- all via pinterest

    via House and Home 2011

    Had enough??

    Lots of people are hatin' on yellow lately but I think this mustard is its own color all together. It's more golden, currey, warm and fuzzy. Makes me want to wrap myself in a wool blanket, start a bonfire, and sleep in the woods. Yup. That mustard just did it to me. The color- not the condiment. 

    Have a great weekend!!


    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. 

    Barn Love

    I'm finally having some of my work photographed.

    If you read this Garden and Gun article you saw a glimpse of Ronnie Dunn's barn. Located right outside of Nashville it sits on a gorgeous plot of land that overlooks a picturesque bluff. Needless to say, it has been a really fun project. I've loved working on the land, working with the Dunns, the boys on the farm, the peaceful porches, the fishing ponds and 4-wheeler trails, clear night skies and baby deer.. You get the point: I got alot o' love for this spot.

    The photographs below are taken by the very talented Caroline Allison. She was extremely pregnant when on this photoshoot but still managed to crawl into tiny corners behind the camera and do a fantastic job.

    These are just a few of my favorites. The rest will be on the website* soon...


    There's something about this place that just makes you want to breathe deep, kick your feet up on the porch swing and never leave. And maybe listen to some country music??? Yup. I think so.

    And if you need some new tunes Ronnie has a new solo album out- get it. It's GOOD. 

    * To contact the photographer, Caroline, click here. And just in case you were wondering, last week she gave birth to a beautiful baby boy. Congrats to the family! And Caroline please hurry up and get back to work. :) 

    * Calling all web designers. I am hiring. If you're interested please email your info and rates to rachelhdesign(at)gmail.com or leave a comment below. Thanks!

    * If you are interested in purchasing a custom swing (like pictured above) email us for pricing and more information. 

    * Ok I think I'm done. Bye bye now.

    With me on a shopping spree

    Went to Scott's Antique Fair in Atlanta last week and found some great things.

    I buy things with a specific client in mind so,  as you can see, I have projects with ALL different tastes.

    But the common thread being that I love every piece I choose to get, for different reasons. And then I come across things that might not have a specific home YET but I just can't go back to Nashville without it.

    Alot of it was not photographed but this is what I took away from the day:

    *hutch piece in background, only 8" deep, perfect for concealing a flatscreen!

    A bust. why not.

    old vintage hardware,  and pillows.

    And my personal favorite:

    Obsessed with this antique mirrored coffee table!! Had to get it. Might need to test it out at my house for a while?? :)

    The girl to the left is one of my best friends- Katie. I stay with her everytime I go to Atlanta and whenever she has days off from work I somehow convince her to follow along as my "assistant" for the day.

    Apparently they were expecting us:

    I texted Hoyt this picture and he responded with: Where are you? A homeless shelter??

    Hmm.. the setting does look questionable. 

    No, just shopping for my clients digging through junk outside of South Building. Apparently it was on the verge of raining so they were covering things up. All these factors making it impossible to find someone to take our picture, and even more impossible to convince Hoyt that I'm actually working, and Katie's actually helping.

     Another whirlwind trip that was fun and successful. But also exhausting. After traveling every single week over the past month I can't tell you how satisfying it was to finally press that beloved button on my GPS- 

    Go HOME.

    And stay a while!

    Hope you had a good weekend.

     (thanks "and friend" for helping me all day. love ya)

    Brass Revival

    I saw this kitchen in the recent Canadian House and Home- The hardware. OMG.

    Stylist Sasha Seymour did the design of her own kitchen. (to see more of the home- click here) The chevron floors, the tile around the fireplace, the glossy white cabinets, the sweet puppy dog, the windows- I love it ALL. Oh yeah, and the cabinets are from IKEA! She just customized her own hardware- apparently "from ebay and misc antique stores." Great- So we can't copy her. :/

    Also, it says that they were planning on doing the open shelves wrapped in brass but decided last minute to instead run it along the toe kick. Genius. !!

    And then a few weeks ago Bill Ingram's charming cottage was featured in House Beautiful. I fell in love with the kitchen island- especially.. the brass hardware.

    I love the juxtaposition of the rustic wood and the shiny brass. Also see how he didn't try to match the faucet with everything? Follow his lead. It's good to mix and match.!

    Another shot of the kitchen...

    One more- A kitchen by Amy Meier...

    And the gorgeous hardware combination...

    What can I say? I'm into inset unlacquered brass hardware these days.

    1. Flush Ring Pull

    2. Card Holder Drawer Pull- by Rejuvenation

    3. Campaign Hardware- by Ansaldi & Sons

    4. Flush Finger Pull- by Rocky Mountain Hardware

    And while we're on the subject... check out this tub fixture from Waterworks Etoile Collection

    Isn't she pretty ?

    N.O. shopping excursion

    Just got back from meeting my client in New Orleans for a quick shopping trip- it was fast and furious. And of course, fabulous!

    We made our way down Magazine Street, hitting up every shop we could!

    I'll just unload my iphone pictures and let them do the talking...

    But first- to prove I was really there- 

    Gotta love roaches the size of birds.

    Love these painted floors...

    The Leontine Linens showroom was so pretty and serene...

    Shower curtains...

    I'm not a huge monogram person but I think their designs are classic and beautiful. They would work in any home.

    I love this one (and the color scheme):

    I was also diggin' their coffee table in the middle of the showroom-

    Then we went to Tara Shaw, which I was really excited about.

    We saw this original antique and decided it was perfect for my client's living room- (the sideboard in background) 

    Then we turned around and saw Tara Shaw's reproduction of the piece... 

    Beautiful job! Looks exactly like the antique. Her reproductions are all through her line Tara Shaw Maison

    Many beautiful antique stores...

    with impressive employees...

    One of my favorite stops of the trip... Julie Neill.

    We got these two pretties...

    So much character.

    So much history.

    So glad I went.

    Laundry, Laundry

    I have to do laundry.

    And I'm dreading it this week. 

    If only it didn't take so long... or require my attention. 

    OR if I could do laundry in a well-designed, fully functional room designated for cleaning clothes only. Ahhh, one day.

    If you don't have a designated room for laundry you have to be creative about how to disguise those 2 big loud machines. 

    Fabric is an easy choice- (probably the least expensive too)-

    Or you could have doors built to hide them:

    Or if you're going to show them off, make them a design feature:

    Or make them go away...

    Nice details/ideas I've seen...

    Love the idea of somewhere to put baskets!! 90% of the time they are just left on countertops or sitting on floor. This way they are out of sight!

    And a few other laundry rooms I just like:

    (via martha stewart)

    (via Urban Grace) 

    This one is the size of my kitchen. 

    (via southern living)

    In this laundry room I like how they are using concrete planters and basins to hold detergents, etc.

    (via two ellie)

    (via southern living)

    This laundry room was treated like an actual room- with a unique light fixture, wallpaper, chicken wire mesh cabinetry, etc. Love it.

    Life is good.

    But a nice laundry room would make it just a little bit better.

    I'm just sayin'... 

    (all images via pinterest)

    Starting to feel like home...

    Progress has been  s l o w  at my house.

    We feel like we are running in a hampster wheel- sometimes even running backwards in a hampster wheel. Maybe it's because we had to rip out our entire ceiling for insulation- meaning all the boxes and clutter we put upstairs are now back in our living room. I'm going to be honest, it's been a hard few months. (minus France, ofcourse) (Hmm…that didn't make it convincing). I'll rephrase that- it's been a challenging project.  Hoyt and I are learning alot by mistakes and as much as I want to pull my hair out after 120+ days of living in construction we are very grateful for our little cottage in progress.  

    But there's one thing that has just recently changed… and has made me remember why I talked Hoyt into this house. 

    Here's a sneak peak:



    It makes me smile when I drive in the driveway…

    Because although there are many other things on our punch list, it's finally beginning to feel like home.

    YAY for paint!

    (Paint details saga to come)

    oh and HELP! I can't do window boxes. Those are just plopped in there- not even planted. I got overheated and gave up. Suggestions, recommendations, criticism, comments, gardening chatter, are welcome.

    France Answers (Franswers)

    The title of this post explains a lot about me.

    a) I think it's funny.

    b) I talk really fast- so in real life it probablydoes sound like Franswers.

    c) The thoughts in my head run together, often merging and creating NEW thoughts.

    d) I entertain myself with these things and quickly deRAIL. 

    Where was I?

    France Answers:

    Thank you so much for your kind comments! Keeping honest- When I share a lot on the blog I sometimes wake up feeling.. sheepish. Like- oh no, maybe I shouldn't have included my dad doing a JIG. But your comments remind me that y'all actually like reading my weird commentary… and that makes it all worth while. So thank you for your feedback- it means a lot. 

    I thought I'd answer a few frequently asked questions. 

     I love your boots! Where did you get them?

    Thanks. I love them too. And I'm about to give you an answer that is just as annoying as "I got them abroad."… They're vintage. 

    But the good news is: they are from Imogene and Willie in Nashville.

    If you've never been to their store, you need to go. They are friends of mine- (actually I've had a crush on them since the moment I walked in and then I just forced them into being our friends. It worked.) But seriously, it's one of the coolest stores in Nashville… and home of hundreds of vintage boots and jeans. A few months back I did a last minute photo shoot with them, sporting their Chambray dress. They put me in some of their vintage boots they had lying around and I would not. could not. take them off. 

    So they went home with me. 

    They have plenty of vintage ones- all shapes and sizes. Give them a ring and they'll hook you up. 

    Where did you get your green shirt?

    Get ready…..


    Mossimo Military Tunic in "seaweed". Nothing special.. but it's super comfortable and I liked the color. (and yes I like that y'all notice my Target shirt while I'm on the coast of the Mediterranean) 

    Is your brother single?

    Yes, he is.

    Will he kill you for sharing that?

    Yes, he will.

    Can you share more of your mom's sketches?

    This one she did of Shakespeare and Co.- 

    She's good.  I'm going to convince her to open at etsy shop.  If it follows through y'all will be the first to know!

    In other news...

    When we got back from France we had a lot going on with our own house, I was playing catch up from all the work I missed, and Hoyt had one week of freedom before starting his job. One morning he asks "How can I help?" To which I spout out a million things that are running through my head, things that I expect to be written down but not necessarily executed in the way I delivered them (girls at the office call it my "word vomit"--- it's a daily thing.) 

    I actually didn't think he was listening… but I found his little working "to do" list later that day: 

    Hmmm.. Not sure what to think about the fact that the two NOT crossed off are still pending completion. But really- it's the list listening that counts.

    We didn't have plans for the 4th but ended up sitting in a field with some friends watching the U2 concert in the Vanderbilt stadium. We could hear it perfectly and practically see everything. It was great...

    It was a pretty laid back weekend which we both enjoyed thoroughly. (And for the record, we did kill the house spiders… and somewhat clean.)

    Last week highlights in design world:

    Wallpaper was installed in a clients house...

    Love. Phillip Jeffries grasscloth is always so handsome.

    That little side table to the right I actually spotted in an antique store in Birmingham- for a steal!

    I thought the top was interesting but the legs were a little too traditional. So I had my wood guy make a more modern base that fits the style of the room much better.

    AND these amazing counter stools I ordered for my client finally came in last week: 

    Casamidy's Varenne Counter Stools in Perennials Pygmy Stripe Fabric. 

    I'm obsessed.

    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.

    You might work too much/ need a vacation IF:

    You have more food in your office fridge than in your home fridge. 

    More furniture in there too...

    The UPS delivery guy honks you down on the highway, rolls down the window waving, and yells HEY GIRL, SEE YOU TOMORROW!

    You're talking to your mom about landscaping tips for the new house and she asks you "Where does the sun shine during the day?" 

    Uhhhh……..  I. don't. know

    You catch yourself talking to your husband as if he's another subcontractor: "I need it to get done before Friday. Period."

    "Excuse me?"-Hoyt

    "Oh.. I mean….. Pleeeease?? (sweet smile)??"

    You pinterest all night and your husband tells you to stop working. "It's not work!! Ok, maybe a little. But I. can't. stop."

    Your friends and blog readers start to worry when you haven't blogged in a week- that must mean she's REALLY busy. No chance I'd actually take a long vacation?? No. Just overworking myself as usual.

    Well, this time I'm taking one.... I leave today for a family vacation to France!!(actually by the time this posts I will be there)

    I've never been to this country… can't even tell you how excited I am!!

    Flying into Barcelona…. then traveling up to:



    Saint Jean de Luz

    and ending in Paris! 

    Ever been?? Would love any recommendations…?

    Although I'm definitely going to explore these wonderful cities I can assure you I'll take time to relax, drink wine, eat good food, and take lots of pictures! 

    Be back soon.

    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.