Danielle's House 1 Year Later: Living Room

We're back with another installment of transformation pictures from my house. I was kind of holding out until we got our 2nd sofa and a few other odds and ends wrapped up but they stopped selling the sofa we wanted and I haven't lifted a finger in this house in six months, so now is as good a time as any! Plus, the transformation just in the first 6 months really felt like a big enough change towards personalizing it, that however incomplete, is worth sharing.

This series is not a quick and concise visual tour, I'll share our first impressions, the initial plan, the thought process behind each decision and ultimately where we are now and where we still plan to go. Some photos (the good ones, duh! were taken by Suzuran Photography, but a lot of the supplemental (less pretty photos) are just taken by me.

So, without any further ado. This is my living room from the real estate listing to where it is now and where it has been a few stops along the way!


{There's a tiny sneak peek into the "before pics" of the den in a few of the above images, but we'll save the full transformation of that room for another day.}

{There's a tiny sneak peek into the "before pics" of the den in a few of the above images, but we'll save the full transformation of that room for another day.}

We had a 60-day close on our house and so I had 60 days to think about what we wanted to do with the space. I focused all energy on our living room, foyer and dining room as the den would be an easy temporary fix and the kitchen was nearly done and the upstairs (with the exception of Penny's room, could wait). 

I put together an initial mood board for our living room prior to moving in and pretty damn near stuck exactly to it. 


We wanted an almost equal balance of modern and classic elements. To accomplish this, we created a modern shell as we'll describe  below, but wanted furniture that had elements of classic (leather, marble, antique, button-tufted, wing-back,) but done in a modern way (clean-lines, fresh prints or fabrics, light and airy).

So, we were working with a nice bones colonial living room. The room is long and narrow, the fireplace is not centered across from the wall or entry and the doors to the den were giving bad rental vibes due to a million layers of paint. Also, we got the feeling that maybe the previous owners actually must have had colored walls at one point and just painted them in white primer to put it on the market, as every wall down here (except the den) was a white primer finish.

So the list as we saw it upon moving in, was:

  • Paint everything. All trim and chair rail in SW Snowbound (a white) with the surface walls above the chair rail in SW Snowfall, which is pretty much the lightest gray ever. It reads a lot like white but with a touch more depth to it. We love it. The other thing we did to add depth and draw out the historical trim original to the 1928 home, was to paint the wall under the chair rail not in the same color as the wall above the chair rail, but instead in the same white we used for the trim (but in a satin finish as opposed to the semi-gloss we used on the trim).
  • strip all the paint off the den doors and glass (yes, and glass!) and paint black
  • re-orient the furniture arrangement to be centered on the fireplace and conversational. We did not want our tv in this room and could thereby orient furniture without having to take that into consideration.
  • update the polished silver window hardware, take down old blinds and replace curtains.

This photo is early on. We bought the loveseat from the plan. (We had to have a loveseat as there is just not much width in the room if you're centering on the fireplace, which we were determined to for better conversational seating.) A loveseat provided 2-3 seats when guests are over but still left plenty of walkway around the setting. (We have a separate sectional for lounging in the den).

We selected a narrow rectangle coffee table with ample surface area for playing with Penny or entertaining guests. Initially, we didn't want to spend the money on two leather loveseats, so we "temporarily" bought a loveseat and two Ikea wing back chairs. The two chairs felt too contrived and also were too high for the loveseat with both of them there, so we ended up moving one of the chairs to the playroom and instead including a vintage bentwood rocker. We wanted a bentwood rocker really bad (it was in the original mood!) but bought the two ikea chairs because we didn't know when we'd find one and literally within weeks of moving in our next door neighbors (who were moving) put one on their treelawn!

hardware from crate & barrel and curtains from west elm.

hardware from crate & barrel and curtains from west elm.

Anyway, In January, when we decided we were ready to spend the money on another leather sofa, it was too late as the loveseat is apparently discontinued. Undecided about what to do, we just kind of stopped worrying about it, for now and are still living with the loveseat, wingback and rocker. 

Keeping the main setting somewhat smaller in scale gives the allusion of more space, but still provides plenty of functional seating for entertaining.


The photo above is an early version of the other side of the room. This is a great photo to see the ever-so-slight variation in wall color. We wanted white walls but didn't. You know what I mean? We wanted that bright, clean, and modern look that white walls bring but being a colonial, we also wanted a little more warmth and tradition. Having a different color above the chair rail is a nod to the traditional bones and the particular colors feel modern. 

Also, you can see the replacement window hardware in the photo above. The big regret of this room is not installing that hardware all the way up closer to the crown molding. This would give this fairly small room more height. Also, I thought I was ordering one shade lighter of gray velvet curtains, these are just a touch muddier than I wanted. Ultimately these will likely get replaced but with no urgency.

The big win here is the doors to the den. The glass looks a little dirty/cloudy but it's as clean as we've been able to figure out getting them after stripping at least FIVE COATS OF PAINT off of them.

The above two images are looking into the den. We placed our vintage mid century buffet to the left of the den entrance and have since rotated the art and moved the sofa to the opposite side of the fireplace from where it sits here.

Below, is another project we took on for the whole first floor. We replaced all the electrical outlets and plate covers. In the dining and living rooms, we decided to intentionally draw you in by either stripping and polishing the original brass plates or by replacing them with new ones from House of Antique Hardware. We decided that wherever we were using the brass plates, we preferred the black electrical sockets to the white ones which were there. 


This past holiday we bought this huge airplane photo. I absolutely LOVE it. Though I am not one to keep art in the same place for very long, I do think it's a great way to utilize that huge surface wall with otherwise no function. 

We REALLy want to add hard-wired wall sconces to the walls on either side of the entrance to this room. We need better lighting in here and I'm not willing to hardwire a ceiling light but wall sconces would be a great classic addition to this space! I still love the original sconces I put on our mood board above but I'm sure by the time we get around to this project I'll have changed my mind. 

where the artworks and plants remain is still TBD. In the meantime, the plants have doubled in size and themselves believe this corner is their rightful home!

We hit the ground running with the living room, then lost a little steam, gained it back up and promptly lost it again. 

The big item that's outstanding is a second loveseat, which we had planned to get but apparently didn't decide to in time because when we went to buy it after the holidays we discovered it was sold out! 

The things we see as still needing to happen in this room currently include:

  • final lighting solutions
  • a long term mantel solution
  • etegere for corner
  • a second loveseat 
  • additional storage bench potentially

Since we're here, let's just take a quick look at the transformation of our small foyer too! The two images below are the only two images I have of the "before", white paned door, white walls, old tile, flush mount ceiling light.

Being that not a single room in this home is complete, even this tiny foyer is still lacking a replacement flush mount ceiling light and either a mirror or art to put on the main wall in there. That said, we've definitely made big changes in that we've replaced the floor tiles, added a bold paint color and new wall hooks.

SO, there you have it. Not perfect. But we love it just the same! It's always been great for entertaining, reading, playing with Penny in and just all around feeling like 'us'. 

We still have a few more 1 year updates to share (kitchen, powder room, Penny's bedroom, den, stairs and upstairs hallway, upstairs bathroom, master bedroom, upstairs bonus room) and then as any big big changes occur to the rooms we've covered, we'll share those as well. 

I really appreciate your visit today! It's Wednesday, so the week's halfway over! What weekend warrior projects do you have on the list? Let's talk more over on Instagram! 




Material Love: Terrazzo

Listen, I am so in love with Terrazzo right now. I've simply GOT to find a project to use it in.

Maybe it's because it reminds of the mall I grew up going to, built in probably the 50's or 60's, it was dripping in terrazzo (or at least my memory thinks it was). 

I was hoping to use it in a commercial application recently and I reached out to a few of the surface material suppliers I've worked with and they all said the same thing: "We stopped offering terrazzo years ago!" and "I don't know anyone who offers terrazzo!". 

We did work out a solution for that particular commercial client and it's going to be amazing, but, not terrazzo. That's ok. I'll find another use for it yet! 

It's just that terrazzo is rarely used in mainstream design these days. I'm seeing it pop up in European applications regularly but rarely here. 

So, what is terrazzo?

Wikipedia says:  

"Terrazzo is a composite material, poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of chips of marblequartzgraniteglass, or other suitable material, poured with a cementitious binder (for chemical binding), polymeric (for physical binding), or a combination of both. Metal strips divide sections, or changes in color or material in a pattern. Additional chips may be sprinkled atop the mix before it sets. After it is cured it is ground and polished smooth or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface."

It goes back to the neolithic period (A LONG TIME AGO, so long in fact that it predates production of fired pottery by a thousand years!).

In recent years, the binding agent has shifted towards epoxy, which offers more of a range of colors and is less susceptible to chipping but can only be used indoors.

Also, one of my favorite ways to see terrazzo done is with brass dividers between sections like this:



There are (as it says below) limitless options of terrazzo and that is perhaps, one of the most exciting aspects of this material. Also, as some of the photos in this post reflect, the material can be used in so many different ways, including: floors, walls, custom molds, furnishings and as counters!

What do you guys think? would you use it in your home anywhere or do you think it should be more for commercial use? I know a few mid century home's I can imagine these puppies in:

Well, there is really endless inspo over on Pinterest. While you're over there, stop by, peruse our boards and give us a follow if you would!

Thanks for stopping by and though we've been slacking on this blog lately, we've got some fun travel/design posts planned coming up! Stay tuned and thanks for visiting!

Two Big Girl Room Mood Boards

It's not time yet for me to start moving Penny into a big girl bed/room, but here at DSI, we have been exploring a few options to share with you. This is for design-minded parents who want their kids to have a kid-friendly and creativity or comfort-inducing room but one which they'd happily spend the money on (read: not a cartoon-themed room).

Our creative juices really got flowing when we feasted our eyes on the Emily & Meritt for Pottery Barn Kids collection. Pink (check!), black & white (check!) and bows (oh my! and check!).


Inspired by these designs, I started to explore potential room designs for Penny's next room. In her short life so far (2 years) she's already had two rooms and both have been based around my fave palette: pink, black and white, magenta and stripes.

Her Current Room


I am not opposed to the next iteration of her room following suit, but I did explore two moods that do try to diverge from this palette. 

So, as I said, Penny isn't quite ready for the transition, but the day will come and I'd like to start shaping that plan. So, we're sharing two mood boards below (and at the end of this email another version with links to all resources we've included).


Now, these may be a little too adult for you. But, I think with a few handmade pieces of your child's art hanging and some shoes kicked off on the floor, it could be feeling like a kid lives in there in no time at all!

How do you guys feel about little kids rooms that aren't too theme-y? Let's continue the conversation over on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you soon!



We wanted to be sure to give you all the sources we've included but didn't want to ruin the above moods with those pesky markers so we've added the moods again below, but with links to sources, for your convenience! 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 /14/ 15 / (unfortunately, I didn't remember to bookmark the "house" bookcase and can't remember where I found it!)

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/ (unfortunately, I didn't remember to bookmark the "house" bookcase and can't remember where I found it!)

0 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 /8/ 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17  (unfortunately, I didn't remember to bookmark the rug and bed and can't remember where I found them though I think the bed had been Ebth.com but is now sold.)

0/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16/17 (unfortunately, I didn't remember to bookmark the rug and bed and can't remember where I found them though I think the bed had been Ebth.com but is now sold.)

Spring is Here But What About Your Outdoor Furniture?

It is the first day of Spring, friends! So, despite the current weather outlook, it's time to design those outdoor patios! 

There are so many great options out there right now. We explored "affordable to mid-range" price points from stores such as: Target, CB2, West Elm, Wayfair, Room + Board, Anthropologie and World Market. We put together just three approaches, though we probably could have done a half-dozen more looks using the abundance of options we found.

{We've linked to all of the items we've included below each board.} 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 /8/ 9 / 10 / 11


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10


Don't these just make you want to grab a good book, a cocktail and turn on some Harry Belafonte's Calypso

We're also sharing these looks over on Instagram. Stop by and tell use what you think!

Danielle's house 1 year later: playroom


We're back with another update on the progress over at Danielle's little colonial. She is going to give us the scoop on what is now her daughter's playroom, starting with the realtor photos then some in between progress up to where it is now. 

Hello! Welcome back to another tour of the progress on my family's colonial. The last few months haven't seen much progress over here with holidays and birthdays and work distractions, but we did do a notable refresh to this one room early on.

A bedroom on our 2nd floor began as my office but as Penny got older and able to play with more types of toys, she needed a dedicated playspace and this room became the solution!

Below are realtor pictures of this room from the house's listing. This room was a cute little boy's bedroom. When we moved in it was empty, except the wood framed gray boxes and the curtains remained.

Initially, I moved all my office stuff in there and worked out of this space for a little while. Talk about UNinspired! I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and something told me that this was not going to remain my office, so I never even started to design this space in my head. In fact, I rarely even used it. I mostly went to coffee shops to work instead of being in this room!


When I knew we were going to make it a playroom, I moved everything out right away. To begin the actual transformation, the curtains and their hardware came down. Then, the wood frames came down and I primered the gray painted boxes bringing the room to a simple whitish empty box.

The Details

As for paint, I wanted it light and bright but not white. I settled on an extremely light lavender color for the upper half of the walls and black chalkboard paint for the entire lower half of all the walls and gave all the trimwork a fresh white coat of paint. 

This room does get blasted with sun but I wanted to also keep it bright. I went with a white linen curtain just to filter out the intensity of the light. I bought inexpensive Ikea panels and then some pom pom trimming, which I sewed on to the panels and the tie backs to give them a little more interest.

Next, I brought in a big neutral gray rug as we'd all be on the floor playing a lot. Comfy adult-sized furniture for the caregivers, shelving for books, TONS of bins and a table for the train and a table for coloring. The rest is just TOYS TOYS TOYS!

Back in November, we posted about this playroom (post found here). But, Christmas and Penny's 2nd birthday have since occurred and suffice it to say, this room is a whole lot more crowded these days. Here are a few more images from November, when it was a bit easier to keep clean and put away toys when not in use.

It has changed a bit since these early shots. I wanted to share a few more images of what it typically looks like day-to-day. So here are a few pics taken on my iPhone recently:


And, just because I like to keep it nice and real around here...The below image is what the room looks like most of the time: MESSY! But better that the mess is contained in here (for the most part, we still keep toys in the den and her bedroom too) thank our main living space.

Thanks again for visiting my home today. It's always a pleasure to have you!




The Counter Culture: weighing counter options


A few weeks ago we talked about kitchen backsplashes and it was among the most popular posts we've ever had. I'd like to continue the kitchen conversation in today's post. I am NOT an expert on stone but I've learned a bit through experience and research and that is the basis for the following information. I also know from conversation with people who have direct experience with the materials discussed and from professionals in the field that there is no one size fits all solution and that a lot of it is subjective. This post aims to mostly look at basic facts and distinctions and are supported anecdotally. 

Many of us out there have coveted those gorgeous all white counters that seemingly every great kitchen on Pinterest and Instagram has. We want white or marble (or marble-looking) backdrops to our photos and the brightening effects they have on a room (and often, our moods!). 

When my husband and I were planning on building our home, I had started the investigation into marble vs. quartz. I've since learned ofa 3rd contender all together: porcelain. 

We have begun to delve more into the facts behind the great debate on whether or not real marble itself was "worth it" if another product could be more durable and/or less expensive. Let's explore those facts (and some opinions) below.


We'll dispell some myths, share some info we've learned and also share our experience living with Carrara marble countertops that are probably 5-7 yrs old now.


Generally, when talking to friends or clients, the conversation is about marble vs. quartz. This conversation is rooted in a mutual agreement that marble is so beautiful, but then it tends to devolve to two particular camps:

People who love the look of marble but won't buy marble.

These people are generally discouraged by one of two reasons:

1. They think quartz is less expensive. This is not necessarily true. The cost of any stone is contingent on the availability of that stone. In fact, in some instances, quartz varieties are more expensive than marble. In many instances, they're comparable and then others, they're less. (More on pricing near end of post).

2. They think that quartz is more durable. It is. No doubt about it. It is not, however, stain or scratch proof, but rather, just resistant. It's important to note that. (Further tips on necessary care, below).

So, at the end of the day, if you boil down their thought process and final decision-  these buyers ultimately want fresh bright white and durable counters more than the marble look, specifically. Engineered quartz products are a great alternative for them. (more on these below).

The second group of people are:

People who cannot turn away from the beauty of marble and must have the real thing, despite the inevitable consequences.

For those whose scales tip in favor of the look of marble, they are choosing to endure the wear and tear that comes with lived-in marble and/or accept what price that comes with, too. Because the question isn't whether or not you can avoid wear and tear on your marble it's just a question of when it will begin to happen. I've read food bloggers tales of being a year in to owning new marble counters and examining them to reveal very little wear and this is their endorsement of going for marble. But if there is very little wear after a year's time, they are likely hyper concerned about it and careful. Because commonly even just water is the culprit. Not just the wine or acids that are most notable. So, they are choosing the look of marble but then either accepting the inevitability of distress and not worrying about it or they worry about it quite a bit. 

QUARTZ -natural or engineered?

So, let's take a closer look at quartz/quartzite:

Quartzite is a natural stone and Engineered quartz is not. Quartzite comes in various colors and is (though not always) available in a light/white marble look. It is very dense and durable so it is good in a kitchen application and is becoming more obtainable through discoveries of more quarries. The latter essentially takes actual quartzite and resin/synthetic materials and mixes them together like making a cake...you stir all the ingredients together then place into a big pan and bake. (Thanks, Julie at Mont for the helpful analogy!). The result is a very durable product that can come in lots of different colors.

You need to use a cutting board with either but particularly quartzite as it is prone to scratches. quartzite is more heat resistant. Because there is essentially plastic in quartz you always want to be sure to use hot plates and pot holders underneath anything hot to avoid burning or scorching. Things like coffee, red wine, spaghetti sauce, beet juice etc. could leave a stain on an engineered countertop. You want to make sure you wipe any of those things up right away. Though there are products out there to help lift difficult stains and that plastic ingredient also makes it more durable and less susceptible to chips.

Quartzite would require the sealing and resealing treatments recommended to marble. Engineered quartz does not but it does require your swift removal of the types of staining elements listed above. You essentially still need to be careful and be sure to wipe your counters. 

If you're weighing marble, then the white and gray varieties of quartz would be what you're more commonly looking at. Common examples include:




Below is Carrara marble and below that, a white engineered quartz and below that natural quartzite. There is obviously a difference, but all still lovely.



BUT, the above conversation has mostly left out another contender....


Now, this is a "marble alternative" that I believe looks closer to the character and veining of actual marble. But, perhaps that is just if you prefer the Calacutta gold marble look. Just look at the two images below. The top is porcelain and below it, Calacutta Gold marble. Really quite strikingly close. 

Arabescato porcelain

Arabescato porcelain

Calacutta Gold marble

Calacutta Gold marble

Though a bathroom and not a kitchen, I found this example of porcelain (looking a lot like marble) in a bathroom display over at Mont Granite the other day. It is just a great example of what it can look like in one big slab. Gorgeous, I'd say.

So, why porcelain? How does it stack up?

The pros:

It's a very strong and durable product. 30% stronger than granite. Due to their durability, they last a long time.

They come in a lot of colors and patterns and I love the marble-like options. 

The new standard is 3/16ths thick and subsequently quite light in weight. 

Super low maintenance - These counters are heat resistant, require no sealing and are super easy to clean with just warm water and rag all that is necessary for a clean and hygienic surface. 

So...that's a pretty good "pros" list!

The cons:

Pricey. They can be pricier. But, get them priced before you rule them out. 

Though these are very durable and strong - they can chip and crack but it would take a lot more force and weight than natural stone for that to happen. 

In summary, if you love the look of marble but the durability -not the price- is your hang up, then porcelain may be a good solution for you. It is not so much the product that makes it pricey but the labor. Porcelain as counters has to be applied to a substrate because it's so thin. Also, because it's so thin, the mitering process is very slow and expensive. It's a great backsplash, flooring, wall solution but it does get a bit pricier as countertops. But still worth looking into because it is so low mainentance and beautiful-looking.


CHOOSING MARBLE: polished vs. honed

But, if after all that choice weighing, you know you're still in the marble camp, then you're likely going to weigh whether or not to buy polished or honed marble. I've read that the only way to go was honed and I assumed that it was somehow more durable. Technically it is not about durability but the look. The look of being polished or matte (honed). However, the honed look can have advantages over polished. It is that matte finish that honed provides that makes people mistake it as more "durable". Water, liquids, food etc. cause etching and scratching in the stone. This is really quite unavoidable but it is far less noticeable on a matte finish than a polished one. 


Like others, I wanted the marble look. I didn't have to make a decision though, as the home we purchased had Carrara marble counter tops. By the time we moved in these counters were about 5-6 years old. (Now they are 6-7 yrs old). We essentially bought the house solely based on the kitchen being so close to what we wanted (after looking at dozens of bad kitchens in other homes and facing a remodel, this was a relief). We moved in and LOVED our counters.

Our counters are Carerra marble and the previous owner opted for the lustre of polished over the matte honed option. These counters aren't perfect, far from it. They are etched, they are scratched they even have a few chips in certain places. A perfectionist would have a hard time with them, I suppose. We don't mind it. We got a quote in having the marble repaired and honed on site. It's not cost prohibitive and maybe it would be nice to have a "start fresh". it's on the back end of our home improvement list because it doesn't really bother us. Though, I would prefer honed.

Personally, I think I am the exact right personality for marble. I love the look and am not the type of person who is precious with my belongings or space. I am the type of person who would find the romance in the wear and tear. Like, my family has lived here and this beautiful stone is the evidence. 

So, I am pretty confident that in a kitchen I would definitely go marble again in the future.

Bathrooms, I may try quartz or porcelain just to try something else but if I found an irresistibly pretty marble slab, I might have a hard time not going marble there too.

but back to our existing marble kitchen counters, I've shared images below of a new slab of Carrara, my Carrara at a glance, and some close ups of some etching.

Carrara marble

Carrara marble

When you look at our counters at a glance or as you come into the room you just see pretty Carrara marble. The wear isn't visible until you really hover over it and contort yourself to see it in the right light...


And lastly, a word on pricing. Many wholesalers and suppliers use pricing categories A-Z. A being least expensive and Z being the most. Mont, a local wholesaler I use for example, carries Marble varieties anywhere in the categories D to Z, Engineered Quartz categories range from G-V and the Quartzite ranges from S-Z. Porcelain is priced differently and again, the labor is the issue there.

So, where does that leave you? I think what we've ultimately determined is that there are lots of great options and there is no one size fits all option out there. It's one part subjective, one part financial and another part honesty with yourself about the durability part of it. If you can handle the maintenance or wear and tear or if you really can't. Look at options, get pricing and then make the best decision for YOU!

Thank you for stopping by and let's continue the conversation on Facebook and Instagram!



Cleveland Magazine Love

Cleveland Magazine's March home issue is out and Danielle's home is included! Check it out below! (UPDATE: link is now live here!)


A few months back, Cleveland Magazine asked to do a feature on my home in an upcoming issue. Initially, I wasn't going to do it. I thought that occasional photos on Instagram and our website was one thing but publishing photos of a house so far from "done" in a magazine seemed bad for a design business.

And then I remembered something very important...

I remembered that life is not about the destination, but the journey. And this journey - the journey of furnishing and decorating my family's home - is something relatable to anyone who has recently moved. And though it is fun to see inspiration and aspirational imagery, isn't it also so nice to be able to relate to someone? 

My husband and I are both designers but our home is not perfect. It's not yet met the vision that we have for it, but that's Ok, we're having fun along the way and why not share that! Frankly, it's a hobby. It's a way to sharpen my skills, to test my resources, to experiment. I think I'd be awfully bored if it were "done"?! And we LOVE our home. Even just as it is, unfinished. 

So, Yes! Cleveland Magazine, thank you so much for featuring our home. It's such a special place to us and it means so much to us that you thought it was special enough for your pages!

If you subscribe to Cleveland Magazine, then you've likely already received your March issue. The hard copy should be hitting stores this weekend or soon, I'd imagine. When it's online I'll update the link here. But for now, I'd love to share a little teaser!

So nice to have this to share with our family. It warms my heart that Penny's bedroom is in print! 

So, I won't even muck it up with what isn't finished about any of these spaces, I'll just enjoy this phase exactly as it is! A place I get to share with my two most favorite people in the whole wide world! #home

Thanks for stopping by, friends! Next week I'll have a more productive post for you, promise!



Backsplash Alternatives to Standard White Subway Tile

I said it before, but I think this post warrants repetition: I do NOT hate white subway tiles. I have them in my own kitchen (see below) and bathroom. They are classic, timeless. They are clean, shiny, bright and affordable. So many virtues. But it's also fun to do something a little fresh, unexpected or just simply different than the 3" x 6" white subway tile.


So, let's just entertain the idea of something else for a fresh new kitchen. It doesn't have to mean a wild departure either. We've rounded up a practical list of alternatives to the white subway tile. Not a list of our favorite tile in general (though that could be a fun future post), but rather, alternatives to the clean, simple, and classic role that white subway tiles play.

We'll also look at subway tiles but in different colors, finishes, patterns and sizes. These differences are a departure from the standard white version while still providing many of it's benefits.

So here are a few jumping off points to consider:

Square. It's the new rectangle. 

It's almost the same but totally not:


The simplicity and solid color are often what make white subway tiles so perfect a choice. Let's look at a few more options that are as simple yet different (and awesome):

All Black Everything

Black is as neutral as white. It is as chic as white and it is less common than white in kitchens. 

Explore different shapes

There are a lot of options out there. And, even different patterns that can be created with those tiles. Options are endless but if you're looking for a subway tile replacement, these options stray just far enough away to serve the same purpose but with so much more style.

Solid Slabs

To be fair, this option may price out of some budgets (though, not necessarily). It's so distinctive looking with one continuous slab, don't you think so?

The NO backsplash alternative!

And indeed a good shaker style kitchen needs no backsplash at all!

A little difference can go a long way

And in the end, if you're still wanting to go subway. Maybe look at a variation on it instead? I am madly in love with glazed tiles. Their shine! Oh my gosh! Handmade tiles? Sooooo good. Their imperfections make them so....so PERFECT! And Pattern. A slight variation in the orientation of even the most basic tile can suddenly surprise and delight! And what about those beveled subway tiles? Subtle yet delightful! Exaggeratingly large or small versions are also a step in the right direction. 

I feel like I could go on, but I won't. Baby steps. I hope this helps whet your whistle for something beyond the 3 x 6 white subway tile.

And of course, if you're interested in a quote for our help redesigning your kitchen, fill out our online form on this page here.

Candle Sconces

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We are enamored with candles sconces lately. I'm often in a Colonial state of mind. Not just because my own home is a colonial built in 1928 but because so many of our clients also reside in colonials.

At DeBoe Studio, we are always striving for balance. When it comes to colonial style homes, we're looking for ways to leverage or play up the beautiful original details so common to the era but also balance those with a fresh approach from the perspective of today. To that end, we often incorporate many clean-lined pieces and modern art but sometimes, we also dip into using more traditional elements. 

Hardwired (or even plug-in) electrical wall sconces are a go-to idea of ours. They are first and foremost functional (and we always start with function then follow with good form). Often times, though, they are cost prohibitive or even just too invasive a process to add where sconces didn't previously exist. In such cases, wall art or shelving can often do the trick but when you really just want the look of a sconce, why not consider a candle sconce instead?!

In my own dining room, I've already wallpapered the entire room and don't really want to go to the lengths needed to add hard-wired sconces (at least not yet, anyway). So, I've turned my attention towards candle sconces and have fallen deeply in love! 

What do you guys think? Do you love? Do you think you would use? Do you already use? Where did you find yours? Where did you put yours? A hallway? A dining room? A bedroom, perhaps? DO TELL over on Instagram!

Built-in Bookcases - humble heroes

Today, we are sharing built-in bookcases that we love. Mostly classic in style, some with a modern touch, others in bold colors, ALL fabulous!

I've been researching bookcases and how they're painted for a recommendation for a client. But, while at it, also for my own home since we'll soon be replacing our current built-ins (not original to our 1928 house) this year.

Built-in bookcases, to me, are the humble heroes of many a room. Humble in that they are simply the guardian of books. They maintain what is for many, a precious collection. They're simply made from wood - a humble enough material, but they are, in my estimation, heroes as well. Heroes, in that these simple structures, once filled with books and collectibles and illuminated by the occasional hard-wired sconce, can provide jaw-dropping impact on an otherwise simple space. They can also be quite fussy with their lacquered paint finishes and sconces but even then, they're still just bookcases, not a velvet sofa or gilded table. Just a vessel for books. Oh how I love them! (books and bookcases, that is!)

For my own home bookcase project, I fear we can never achieve this level of sophistication because our den - where we are replacing the current built-ins - is the room we watch our TV in. Our ginormous TV. So our own bookcases need to accommodate the antithesis of a humble hero...a TV. womp womp. Oh well, Maybe our master bedroom or dining room could get built-ins like these?!?! Until I figure it out, I'll hope for another client to come along who is ready for such an impact in their own home and would like our inspired help! 

Aren't these just gorgeous?!!!! Rhetorical question, of course! because OF COURSE THEY ARE!!!!

And, we'll take one more look at The Makerista's fabulous front room bookshelves, which she had custom made for the space because they're my absolute favorite!!! Such love for this color!

Which is your favorite? Do you have built-ins in your home? Do you want to add them? let's talk about it over on Instagram!

Danielle's house 1 year later: DINING ROOM

{We'll be doing an ongoing series here on the blog to share the evolution of each room in Danielle's house. This is the first post in the series.}

I can hardly believe we've been in our sweet little home for nearly a year! 

A year ago we embarked on our home search. We needed something move-in ready and fast (shout out to our daughter who was 10 months at the time and suddenly started walking - the impetus for the quick move!). 

So, after a couple dozen home tours, two offers lost to all-cash buyers, we awoke one morning to a new listing that we instantly KNEW was the one. By that evening it was ours!

People often say, much like a great love, you just know when you've found your house. Well, I don't know, this was the 3rd home we put an offer on but we did feel really good about the decision. It certainly was a little smaller than the other's we had seen and it had no master suite private bathroom. But, as any homeowner knows, you've typically got to give up something, so you weigh everything out. Our "downsides" really didn't matter that much to either of us and they certainly did not outweigh the real "wins" for us: the nearly perfect kitchen (relatively, we were facing a full-on remodel with every other house we considered), it's great location and community, and the good bones throughout. Nearly a year in, we love our home still so it seems we made a good choice. (Shout out to our awesome real estate agent, Anne Callahan Keller Williams Westlake office).

Though I had thought of doing this series sooner, I was reluctant to share the "before" pictures only because I like the previous homeowners and thought they did a wonderful job on the home (I mean, we bought it the second it went on the market!). I just don't want it to appear that I'm disparaging the way the house was. We loved it. We just wanted to put our stamp on it, naturally. 

Disclaimer: NONE of the rooms are "done". But, they each have been changed a lot through decor since we moved in, and I think we've come far enough to start sharing.

We'll start the series with a look at the DINING ROOM:


OK ,the above pic isn't actually what this room looks like right now. The below pictures is. The above is a quick mock-up I did to visually represent the ideas my husband and I had discussed for the room. Ultimately the "finished" product (I use quotes because I don't think any room is ever really "finished") will be layered and feel old with jolts back to current day through color, pattern and a few modern accessories.

We plan to hang sconces and a LOT of art in this room. Our living room has been about larger-scale art whereas this space is about creating a sense of history and collection. Wes and I each have been toting a number of smaller and vintage pieces of art from place to place for years and we're going to finally get around to planning a dedicated home for those pieces (and more!) in this space. 

table with extension in. ( photo:  )

table with extension in. ( photo:  )

But, we're not there yet and to understand where we're headed you've really got to see where we've been. So let's look at the before pictures.

before pictures from the house listing:


They had done a lot to improve this home and for it, we're grateful. I think they must have had other colors on the walls and/or wallpaper as we realized upon moving in that all these white walls were actually just a primer. Which actually worked out great as it saved our painter a big step. I think we've managed to really change the feel of this space with just a few simple changes.

We always begin with removing the things we know we won't be keeping. In this case, the chandelier and the curtains.

photo taken before we moved in.

photo taken before we moved in.



The next thing we did was to paint the built-in black. Inside and out, and replace it's hardware with simple gold knobs from Anthropologie. 



I had probably 25 samples of very bold wallpaper patterns sent to me to consider for this space. I really thought I wanted to go bold. I try not to be a "safe" designer, especially for my own home, but my style preferences do land somewhere between very classic and somewhat bold. So it's a matter of determining where you're going to go simple and where you'll make your splash. We had a bold rug ordered for our living room which is adjacent and I knew I wanted to do a bold color for the foyer, so in the end, I just determined that classic wallpaper would give the room the overall layered, textured look I was going for and we'll find another way to add our surprise splash.

So I landed on a very affordable ticking stripe from Wayfair and we LOVE it! I know that the next home we live in will be super contemporary, as my husband is a very contemporary architect, so this is my chance to live in a space which embraces my love of history. We've bought new table and chairs and lighting and now I'm looking forward to slowly adding in the special antique and vintage pieces.



In terms of lighting, we know we want a few wall sconces but initially we focused on replacing the chandelier. We bought a beautiful ceiling medallion and had it painted the same color as our trim work and installed it and the modern West Elm chandelier pretty early on. Truth is, I love the idea of this chandelier more than I love the actual chandelier. So who knows, maybe we'll sell it and replace it, but that is certainly not a priority as I like it enough that I could live with it for years.



For our dining table and chairs, went with a black stained extension table from Crate & Barrel (couldn't find a link) with simple clean lines paired with my beloved bentwood-style chairs, also in black. We are on the lookout for some upholstered arm chairs to accompany this setup and to live in the corners of the dining room but haven't yet found the right ones. I like the buffalo check pattern on the side chairs I mocked up for our "goal room" image.

We have a black, gold and marble-topped Baker furniture small buffet table handed down to us from Wes' parents. It's a beautiful piece in beautiful condition and we currently use it as our bar. Down the road though, we plan to buy a larger -and more functional- dining room buffet and then we'll shift this to one of the corner walls of this room as opposed to under the main window where it currently sits, feeling a little too small scale for this space.

The rug was a classic gray-toned braided rug from Rugs USA. My grandma DeBoe (who turns 101 this April!) had several in her house that I remember playing on as a little kid with my brothers and cousins. I have always had a soft spot for braided rugs since and this was the first time I had a room that felt like a good fit for one. The price was right too because a rug under a dining room table - especially one that a toddler eats at - is bound to get stained. We have had ours for 8 months now and honestly, I think it looks like new still. 


I'd like to design some custom dupioni silk drapes for this space and make it more dramatic than it currently is. I am envisioning two-toned tying in the framboise color of our nearby foyer, maybe in a stripe or band at the bottom of each panel. 

Temporarily though, I'm really happy with these linen curtains scored at Homegoods. $50 for four panels! They need to be hemmed, but I keep ignoring that as I hate to spend any amount of time or money on something that is not long-term. Especially since the curtains I've envisioned will be one of our pricier projects. 

living-with-kids-dining-room-cuckoo-clock- stokke-steps-high-chair

So there you have it! Our first room by room before and after tour! I'll definitely be updating the blog and Instagram as we "finish" rooms. Next up we'll look at before pictures and the progress images of our living room.

Thank you for stopping by! 


Going Red For Women

We are an interior design company and our blog typically reflects that. Today, though, I wanted to post about something close to my heart. More specifically, about my actual heart and women's heart health

Today I am sharing some of my favorites in red decor and red interior inspiration to help create awareness for the American Heart Association's initiative GO RED FOR WOMEN.

To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease & stroke as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women, a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.

General statistics

  • Cardiovascular diseases and stroke cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.
  • An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.
  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
  • Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
  • 80% of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education
  • Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
  • The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood – even by some physicians.
  • Women who are involved with the Go Red For Women movement live healthier lives.
  • When you get involved in supporting Go Red For Women by advocating, fundraising and sharing your story, more lives are saved.

Red is not the most popular color for interiors but we think that it does make some of the most beloved spaces. It's a color that lends power and might to mid-century and classic looks as impactfully as it does all out glam looks. Below (and above!) are a few gorgeous uses of red in interior design. It's a strong choice no matter how you use it, do you love it like we do?

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9


A color as strong as RED is the perfect way to represent such a powerful and ambitious initiative such as AHA's GO RED for WOMEN. I say "ambitious" not in a negative way but in that it is indeed an awesome challenge. We all know too well how difficult it is to shift towards healthier lifestyles from one that is well, less so. But many of us also know how much easier it is to maintain once you get there and who could deny the rewards of it being worth the effort when your life is literally at risk if you don't?

As a mother and as a woman who used to be fit and healthy, I found reading through this info to be a great source of inspiration and motivation. 

So how can you support this great initiative? There are a number of ways...

  • FEBRUARY 3rd is NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY (and FEBRUARY is heart health month! So, wear red and post about it using the hashtag  #ClevelandGoesRed.
  • And/Or link to @clevelandaha when wearing red (or exercising or eating healthy this month or any month!)
  •  Support the Go Red For Women Luncheon and Expo on February 10th! (I'll be there, it is going to be super fun!)
  • Take action on your own heart health and spread the word and share your experience through social media!
  • Talk to the women in your own life about this topic. What are they doing? What have you learned that you can share?

Based on AHA's own research, a woman who Goes Red:

  • follows an exercise routine
  • eats a healthier diet
  • visits her doctor for important tests
  • and influences others by talking about heart health.

Listen ladies. Women's health is more important than ever in my estimation...let's do this!



Want Even More Red?! Read the articles from other local bloggers below!

Learn about Protecting Your Heart with Shibani from She In The Cle

for heart healthy tacos with Reena Goodwin

Strike a yoga pose with Alicia Hansen

Go red in Cleveland and cook up some fun with Jen from Why Cle?

More to come! 


{This post was created in Partnership with The American Heart Association to help create awareness for the Go Red for Women initiative. All thoughts and words are my own.}

2017 Trend Report


As 2016 comes to a close and we head into a new year, we find ourselves looking back and looking forward and in doing so, several trends emerge. 

But there is an important point we'd like to highlight before we reveal 2017's trends. 

Trends are simply patterns. NOT rules.

We, like many others of you, find ourselves drawn towards many of the exciting new trends and likewise turned off by those on their way out. BUT, we don't adhere to these as hard and fast rules. We'll continue to use elements on the "out" list and may not embrace all of the "in" trends. It's just fun to take a closer look. It may account for why you're no longer inclined toward one thing or considering another...

First, let's look at what is headed our way...

GREEN GREEN GREEN - So, yes. Green. First of all, Pantone announced their color of the year, "Greenery". I must concede, I'm not entirely sold. Or at least I wasn't sold until I found the below two uses of it to great success. But as far as green goes, It's not just this bright Spring hue that's trending up this year it's also the darker hues. The jewel tones (see below).

Pantone 2017 Color of the year "Greenery" ( left image / right image )

Pantone 2017 Color of the year "Greenery" (left image/right image)

GREENERY/INDOOR PLANTS - in general, this is not a "trend". But certain plants are trending down (see below), while others, like the BLACK OLIVE TREE, are trending up. WAY UP in our books! We're already ordering for our own home and looking at which client projects could benefit from this beautiful tree. I think the continued use of indoor plants/trees and the increase in it is partially in response to the level of stress we're all experiencing related to so much negativity happening in the world right now.

RETREATS/MEDITERRANEAN - Speaking of stress influencing trends (and of olives)...The Mediterranean is a big inspiration this year. Our homes are our sanctuaries more than ever. We'll be seeing that come through in decor this year more than ever, too. Clay, terracotta, indoor plants (hello olive trees!), wood tiles and wicker. it's not quite the bohemian looks we've been seeing, it's a little more authentic feeling in 2017. Like, you're actually on a retreat...in the Mediterranean. I'm on board!


ACRYLIC/LUCITE - All clear everything! I think clear accented with gold is going to be particularly big.  I LOVE it. In July I ordered lucite and brass window hardware. By November, I eventually gave up and had to cancel the order as it continued to be on back order for more months (a nod to the popularity of this trend) and I couldn't wait any longer. But, not just in hardware (though that is going to be more prevalent) but all manner of furniture is being used in some of the most aspirational room designs these days. What do you think?

MOODY BLUES/JEWEL TONES - we've already mentioned jewel tones but it's important enough to give it it's own section. Rich moody blues in the kitchens, in bedrooms, in bathrooms is really increasing in popularity. Additionally, the other jewel tones are continuing into 2017 as well. It's happening and it's everything. We LOVE it! 

and just a few more JEWEL TONE examples...


CORK - Cork is trending...I'm into it but haven't used it myself just yet. I don't know.  Some of the cork furniture I've seen is pretty inspiring, though! Are you into it?

So, again...this is just a fun look at what's happening in design as we head into 2017. Don't be too worried if you're not into a good trend or if you've just invensted on one of those listed below. 

And now, let's look at what is headed out...

I'm just going to give these one photo and a quick list. 

  • MARBLE - again, it's not that it's not a nice choice. It's beautiful. I will personally never, not love it. I like dramatic and rich interiors and marble is all that and then some. But, once everything you see is being sold in marble (toothbrush holders to vases to furniture to art depicting marble to more classic uses in the kitchen and bath) it's simply, everywhere! Design-forward (read trend-setting) businesses and purveyors are just naturally going to pull back from using too much of it.
  • SUBWAY TILES - I know. you just added them! Don't rip them down. They are classic. They have been around forever and will be around forever. But, we all must recognize that they are utterly ubiquitous at this point. Every new restaurant uses them. Every kitchen and bath remodel for the last several years highlighted it. I will always love it and still regret not getting an opportunity to use it with black grout in any personal projects (my own kitchen came with white tile/white grout), but for most new projects moving forward, I'll likely look for alternatives. (but WILL still use it, too because again, no rules)
  • COPPER/ROSE GOLD - look, gold - gold is sticking around, we're all safe there. But....copper and rose gold came up in a furry and will go down the same way. It's over. move on. It's totally fine...we've still got gold.
  • FIDDLE LEAF FIGS - This one, mostly just because it too is so ubiquitous at this point. Green and greenery and plants are not just here to stay but stay in a big way. This particular variety may be a touch over-used. Good news, though! There are some exciting alternatives on the other side of this trend report. 
  • SOFT PASTELS - While moody and jewel tones are everything, there are some still lighter colors making a strong stand in 2017 but the lithe sweet softest of them, not as much. They feel a little unrealistic. A little too sweet right now. Maybe it doesn't fit the mood of the world as well as "moody" tones do.
  • ALL WHITE ROOMS - If you're in Scandinavia and or a Paris loft, I think you'll get a pass. But otherwise, all white rooms tend to just lack depth. More and more people are choosing (again) those rich jewel tones and blues. If you are using all white backdrop, be sure to add lots of layers (wall art, throws, baskets, plants) to give the space more texture.

So there it is, folks! Don't take it too seriously, it's all just for fun anyway!


Wishing you all a very happy holiday, We'll be back in the New Year!

My best,


Barstool round up: 8 we are loving right now

So, I was careful not to say "our favorite" barstools right now, because there are too many to limit or prioritize. But these 8 barstools have either gone into some of our client design plans recently or I'm looking forward to using them. You can find them here: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

Also, if you're not already following us over on Pinterest. Check us out! We've been organizing our boards to be great reference tools for you, too!

Happy Wednesday!

My best,


Mantel updates at Avalon House


When we first moved into our Avalon home, we focused on furniture. The big ticket items. We were coming from loft living and though this home is not big, it was awfully empty.

Nearly a year later, we're getting around to the business of art and details. These things, are not selections I like to rush through. I'd prefer if, instead, we slowly acquired art from trips and outings and could then associate a good memory, or vacation or supporting a local artist with it. We've found a few things over the last year that way but not nearly enough. So we're going to move that process along a little bit with an intentional search for mantel artwork. We'll still look to acquire the decorative items more slowly and should we stumble upon a unique piece of art we love at a gallery or on a trip, nothing here is set in stone, so we'll still buy as we find things. 

One of the key placements for art is a fireplace mantel. Initially, we filled our mantel with artwork we already owned (see top photo for our first go at the mantel). Though we love those pieces of art, purchased from a very talented friend and Anthropologie, we have other locations in the house for those and we've decided to decorate the mantel starting from scratch. This exercise of mocking up options has been very helpful in understanding how the mood of the artwork changes the entire mood of the space. Our mantel is currently decorated for the holidays, so we're hoping to settle on a new plan soon!

This is the mantel, empty. (obviously!) We've recently replaced these iron fireplace tools that came with the home, with a beautiful and sturdy old set bought through  Everything But the House . I am NOT too eager to nail anything in above this mantel as I tend to like to change things frequently. Most of the options, then, are leaning art.

This is the mantel, empty. (obviously!) We've recently replaced these iron fireplace tools that came with the home, with a beautiful and sturdy old set bought through Everything But the House. I am NOT too eager to nail anything in above this mantel as I tend to like to change things frequently. Most of the options, then, are leaning art.

If you remember my post about wall art awhile back, then you'll recall I have a handful of "go-to" sources when selecting wall art for clients. Over the many trips to these websites, while searching on behalf of clients, I've bookmarked (or pinned) items which I think could work for our home. 

We have gone through a couple dozen options and narrowed down the top 9 scenarios we considered for our mantel update. 

What is the starting point? What colors or themes are we considering for this project? Black, gold and jewel tones would be the starting point for colors (but we're open minded on that) and there is no theme that we feel especially beholden to. We love imagery of architecture, imagery that transports or reminds us of a place we've been or would like to go to and abstracts in colors that inspire. We do want something decidedly more modern or contemporary as opposed to antiques or vintage.

We haven't made our final decision on which direction we're going. We both are drawn to more than a few of these options. I am leaning towards the Parisian rooftop option and he the white architectural photo but we're waiting until another piece of art we bought for the opposing wall shows up next week so we can better understand what impact that will be having on the room as well. That piece is nearly 5' wide so it's definitely going to have an impact.

Alas....the options. These are in NO PARTICULAR ORDER. I've added thumbnails for an at-a-glance view of them all first. Then added each image with text explaining why it's an option for us and resources to purchase yourself. Unfortunately, I can't make the comments section work but visit our Instagram and tell us which you like! 

So, I selected these two images as their warm golds and greens and burgundy tie back other to existing elements within the space. Also, I like the juxtaposition of the contemporary blurred city imagery contained in a fussy gold frame while the abstract print is contained in a clean-lined frame. Urban and architectural imagery delights both my husband (an architect) and myself. He is less into the abstract image, though. The gold decorative element found  here . The abstract print found  here   and the blurred photo found  here . 

So, I selected these two images as their warm golds and greens and burgundy tie back other to existing elements within the space. Also, I like the juxtaposition of the contemporary blurred city imagery contained in a fussy gold frame while the abstract print is contained in a clean-lined frame. Urban and architectural imagery delights both my husband (an architect) and myself. He is less into the abstract image, though. The gold decorative element found here. The abstract print found here  and the blurred photo found here

So, Wes and I both love this option so it's a top contender. I am a huge Francophile but typically don't use overtly "Frenchy" imagery around the house (save for the baby's room because it's the perfect foil for my deep desire to clad my home in all French imagery). BUT I feel like this stunning and striking image is just so INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL and fits so well with everything else in the space. Paired with the  candlesticks  and a beautiful  vase  ,  this could be a winner.

So, Wes and I both love this option so it's a top contender. I am a huge Francophile but typically don't use overtly "Frenchy" imagery around the house (save for the baby's room because it's the perfect foil for my deep desire to clad my home in all French imagery). BUT I feel like this stunning and striking image is just so INCREDIBLY BEAUTIFUL and fits so well with everything else in the space. Paired with the candlesticks and a beautiful vase, this could be a winner.

I'm often attracted to large scale photography making a single statement. This photo would draw you in immediately upon entering the room. I think it would also make me VERY happy to see this image on a daily basis. I think maybe I should put this above our bed in our master bedroom instead, however. Snorkeling photo found  here .

I'm often attracted to large scale photography making a single statement. This photo would draw you in immediately upon entering the room. I think it would also make me VERY happy to see this image on a daily basis. I think maybe I should put this above our bed in our master bedroom instead, however. Snorkeling photo found here.

Here is a more subdued monochromatic approach. It still balances high/low contemporary/antique and appeals to my architect husband and romantic me. I'm a little bored by it though. bust found here. gold decorative item   here , planter  here  and building photo found  here .

Here is a more subdued monochromatic approach. It still balances high/low contemporary/antique and appeals to my architect husband and romantic me. I'm a little bored by it though. bust found here. gold decorative item  here, planter here and building photo found here.

swooooooooooon. I LOVE this. I am currently determined to get back to the Grand Canyon. I am strategizing a 40th birthday trip there this year. My soul literally craves it. Also, I think a daily reminder the world is much much bigger than us would be a good counter balance to the natural tendency to get caught up in our own worlds.  The wall sconce candlesticks are heart-stoppingly beautiful in my estimation, as well. This would be in my top 3. Wes hasn't seen this option yet, I think he'll like it though. Image found  here . candle sconce set found  here .

swooooooooooon. I LOVE this. I am currently determined to get back to the Grand Canyon. I am strategizing a 40th birthday trip there this year. My soul literally craves it. Also, I think a daily reminder the world is much much bigger than us would be a good counter balance to the natural tendency to get caught up in our own worlds.  The wall sconce candlesticks are heart-stoppingly beautiful in my estimation, as well. This would be in my top 3. Wes hasn't seen this option yet, I think he'll like it though. Image found here. candle sconce set found here.

So this option visually connects the space but also adds some whimsy or humor to it. Which I am a fan of. Never want to take a space too seriously! I am totally obsessed with the  Hahahah  print, but likely won't use it here. I have already found an alternative location for it. The geometric print makes my eyeballs so happy and ties directly back to my foyer floor tiles. The fingers crossed  print  is hopeful and I like that, while the little hand sign sculptures tie in thematically and also make me smile.  peace  and  love .

So this option visually connects the space but also adds some whimsy or humor to it. Which I am a fan of. Never want to take a space too seriously! I am totally obsessed with the Hahahah print, but likely won't use it here. I have already found an alternative location for it. The geometric print makes my eyeballs so happy and ties directly back to my foyer floor tiles. The fingers crossed print is hopeful and I like that, while the little hand sign sculptures tie in thematically and also make me smile. peace and love.

Now, Wes has already said he doesn't like this sculpture image enough. Meanwhile I am fairly obsessed with it. It is so so good! At first blush, it's a serious sculpture but then that had plugging it's nose!! I die! I love it. I will probably buy it for my office though, not here. I also have to admit the vase is just a filler item. I don't even know where I found this image and I concede it's not me at all.   Gold wall decor ,   geometric   print  and amazing  sculpture image .

Now, Wes has already said he doesn't like this sculpture image enough. Meanwhile I am fairly obsessed with it. It is so so good! At first blush, it's a serious sculpture but then that had plugging it's nose!! I die! I love it. I will probably buy it for my office though, not here. I also have to admit the vase is just a filler item. I don't even know where I found this image and I concede it's not me at all.  Gold wall decor,  geometric print and amazing sculpture image.

Obviously more on the feminine side, this is not really an option but just wanted to mock up a version with some of the pieces I liked but don't really have a place for. Once again the  hand signs  make me smile and that    ferris   wheel  with a little lady in front fills me with excitement for the future with Penny. That  lady  image is just so so beautiful and that perfect  pink brush stroke  in a fussy gold frame will likely find it's way into my home via the dining room.

Obviously more on the feminine side, this is not really an option but just wanted to mock up a version with some of the pieces I liked but don't really have a place for. Once again the hand signs make me smile and that ferris wheel with a little lady in front fills me with excitement for the future with Penny. That lady image is just so so beautiful and that perfect pink brush stroke in a fussy gold frame will likely find it's way into my home via the dining room.

Last, but not least. The romantic mantel. I love how this iteration of the mantel just slows me down instantly. It's for moments of repose. Sit, and read in front of this mantel. Jane Austen preferably but whatever you fancy!  Floral image , map,  sculpture ,  vase ,  photo .

Last, but not least. The romantic mantel. I love how this iteration of the mantel just slows me down instantly. It's for moments of repose. Sit, and read in front of this mantel. Jane Austen preferably but whatever you fancy! Floral image, map, sculpture, vase, photo.

I loved mocking these up. I could have made a dozen more (actually, I DID make about a half-dozen more that didn't make the cut!).

If you would like to get some help figuring out the right solution for your mantel, let us know! You would send us images of the room (all perspectives) and separate images of any art you want us to include, and we will come up with 3 mock-ups for you...$195 flat fee for our time.

Speaking of time, thank you for taking yours to visit. We appreciate it.

My best,


Decision and Inspiration Fatigue


Decision fatigue. 

Pinterest fatigue.

We get it. 

What's most frustrating about it, especially if you've just moved into a new home, is how darn unrelenting all those decisions are! Am I right?!! You think you've made progress with a few key decisions only to realize that there are literally hundreds still to make! 

Colors, furniture, lighting, fabrics...solid? pattern? sectional or two sofas??!?! gahh!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Listen, we understand. We are here, we can help. Lots of our clients LOVE designing their homes and are really good at it, themselves. But decision fatigue sets in because they just think about their one house all the time and get overwhelmed with indecision. 

E-design is a great service for clients who can do it themselves but just want someone to expedite the process. We can come in, with fresh eyes and tap into what you're hoping for but perhaps, more importantly, cut out all the superfluous options and zero in on the right look for you and your space. 

“ Thank you! Thank you! You pushed things in a playful way that I wouldn’t have thought to but it totally makes sense for our family and our art. You have great taste and you have a great read on people!....Good Luck as you start your online practice.

with thanks and admiration,


(an e-design client from Connecticut)

fabrics, furniture, magazines, pinterest, catalogs...it can all get pretty overwhelming don't you think?

If you'd like to learn more and receive a custom quote, visit our services page and fill out our online form.

We really appreciate your stopping by today. Visit us over on Instagram and Facebook until next week!

My best,


Holiday Decorating Favorites

Good morning! Happy Wednesday cum Friday! We're actually out of the office until Tuesday to spend time with family but wanted to share a quick post with you in case you'll be shopping on (the real) Friday or this weekend. 

Black Friday obviously presents all manner of sales and promotions but SO MANY of the items in the below boards are already on sale. I linked to each suggested item and in doing so threw so many of these items in my own shopping cart! 

That beautiful pink feathered bird below on the "luxe board" is only $11 now! Got to love a good sale!!!

The boards below are broken up into 3 varying styles: The Great Outdoors, Luxe and Traditional Christmas. The items within these 3 boards can definitely all be mixed and matched which is (no surprise here) our favorite holiday style.

Happy holiday decorating!

The Great Outdoors


sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 78, 9

Luxe Holiday


sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Traditional Christmas


sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7

We'll be back next week, in the meantime have a wonderful holiday tomorrow and long chilly weekend!

With love,


Thanksgiving Tablescapes


Are you hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? If so, you've probably spent a little time thinking about your tablescape. If you haven't yet, then this post may be just what you need!

This year, for the first time in my life, we are hosting Thanksgiving at our house! I am so excited about it and really looking forward to it. Also, I haven't prepped one.single.thing. I have no idea what I am making vs. what my guests are bringing and am so busy trying to balance general household maintenance, work, family time and now the holidays...I really don't know when I will have the time for designing a tablescape.  


So, I decided that this year I am not going to stress about it. 

I have determined a fool-proof way to make my table look stunning and WITH NO EXTRA EFFORT on my part!! Brilliant, right?

So what is this magical solution? 

F L O W E R S.....arranged by someone else!!!

To share this idea with you, we worked with the ladies over at Lush & Lovely Floristry to create a moody centerpiece which reflected the holiday season. It's as simple as calling them up and placing the order. A centerpiece big enough to make the impact we're striving for is $100-$200 depending on size...But I don't have to go shopping, I don't have to spend money buying stuff I'd likely only use for this occasion and I don't have to do anything.

Sometimes, making your life just a little bit prettier is also making it just a little bit easier. 

With a centerpiece like this, you don't need much else! Below are a few of my other "go-to" tricks that I am relying upon this year. 

Tips for creating a low-stress but high-impact tablescape:

  • Create a "bar". Use a sideboard or other occasional table if you don't already own a bar cart and create a space dedicated to your holiday spirits. This is both festive looking and totally useful as it is so accessible.
  • Use your food as your supplemental table decor. AM I RIGHT?!! I mean, pies are beautiful! don't hide them in the kitchen waiting for that special time to come out later. Use them in your tablescape. They are festive, beautiful, appropriate and smell delightful too!
  • Along the same lines as using food like pies, is using other food as decor. Such as bowls of cranberries as shown above. I also love kumquats or oranges and definitely a bowl of nuts. Again, they are festive-looking and season-appropriate.
  • If you offer your guests "favors" include them on the table before hand for a little added whimsy. Also, don't drive yourself crazy thinking up the most charming favor or baking individual little cookies for everyone. I know we'll be having pie for dessert but I like the packaging (and price!) of these little seasonally-flavored candy bars. It's just a little something.
  • Bust out all of your fave glassware! That stuff you received for your wedding but generally lives in a cupboard? Liberate it and use it for your Thanksgiving table but also throughout the entire season!
  • Save money and use your year-round linens. I say, let the flowers and home made desserts be the stars of your table. In the photos shown here, I'm just using my own natural linen napkins and runner with my hand-woven round wicker placemats.

So, I did not buy seasonal linens. I did not buy candle sticks and/or new vases. I did not buy new holiday-themed plates. I did not buy special cake stands or any other decorative elements. Just flowers. Just food. paired with everyday stuff.

all photos by: Suzuran Photography


Thank you for stopping by and visiting. We're always so glad you did! Till next Wednesday, enjoy your week and weekend and be sure to visit our Instagram and Pinterest in the meantime!

My best,


{The concept and sentiments behind this post are our own. We received the floral arrangements as part of the marketing efforts of Lush & Lovely Floristry, which is a business we love and support.}

Living with littles: PLAYROOMS tips + tricks


Good morning. Danielle here. We usually post our weekly blog post on Wednesday's, but yesterday was a rough day and work, or design or playrooms were the last things on our minds. But, alas "We still have work to do!" ...and indeed we do. 

So, with that, let's talk playrooms!

When Wes and I moved into our home, we actually thought we could keep Penny's toys contained within chic little baskets on our main living level. It did not take long to realize how naive that thought was and soon, I was giving up my (3rd bedroom) home office for a tiny 6'x9' "bonus" room home office (we have a guest suite on the 3rd floor that I considered off limits to my office or a playroom - though I don't know why because we never have overnight guests! haha!).

My not even 2-year-old daughter now claimed two full sized rooms in this house! 

"Why not move her toys into her bedroom?" I was asked. The answer was simply that I did not want our good sleeper suddenly distracted by all of these toys in her room. She'll still have baskets of toys all over the house but now we have one main space where the bulk of it, or at least the big stuff, can live

After a few months with this new space in use, I can tell you, it's been a HUGE success and now that the holidays are around the corner and we know of a few big gifts this kiddo will be receiving, this playroom is going to prove imperative!



  • As per all our design advice, work big to small. Consider the big picture things first (colors, furniture then work to the details, art, shelving, fixtures). 
  • Consider a theme or inspiration for your design. For example, our entire space was inspired by the Alice in Wonderland re-designed book by Rifle Paper Co. The advantage of this approach is that it tends to decrease the chances of inadvertently having a more cluttered space because the base and it's decor and furniture are all a random assortment of individually cute choices that amount to a cluttered mess when used together. For our playroom, we chose our theme, then mostly played it out in wall art. 
  • Select colors which tie into the rest of your home's design. You have to live in this space too! It doesn't have to be boring. But aim to strike a balance. We selected the lightest lilac ever for the top color and we opted for a black chalkboard wall on the entire lower half of the room. The black ties into the accent of the entire home and pale tones are right at home here. We tie them together in a playful way later on with art and accessories (and toys!). Speaking of toys: keep in mind that the toys (and books and stuffed animals) are presumably going to be adding a lot of color on their own. Often a nice subtle color balances it out.
  • Consider the activities of the room and make furniture and design decisions around those. For example, We suspected the primary activities of the room (for now anyway) would be coloring (chalk, crayons etc.), building blocks and other floor toys and games, playing with trains, reading books and watching TV. To accommodate these activities we bought a big plush comfortable rug with a good rug pad, we bought a kids activity table and chairs for 4. We bought a television, and shelves and bins for toys and books. 
  • Consider the adults that will need to spend time in the space. To accommodate an adult when not playing with Penny, we added a nice comfortable adult-sized upholstered chair. We also bought (for $35 on amazon) a simple black adjustable height laptop table that can nestle up next to the chair and allows me to work sometimes when Penny is just watching a show. 
  • Ensure good, even lighting throughout. This time of year it gets dark hours before Penny's bedtime. This means the playroom will be dark. She'll likely want to sit at her table and color during this time, or across the room color on her chalkboard wall or play with toys in the middle of the room. All areas need to be well-lit to accommodate all areas of play.
  • Keep as much as possible accessible to little ones. We keep the TV and remotes out of Penny's reach but everything else we have designed for her to be able to do without our help. Her bookshelves are hung low. Her toys are in bins and baskets at her height, the closet (used for additional toys organizes everything within her reach), the chalkboard wall is lower half of walls and her table and chairs are all kid-sized (kid height). This instills confidence in her and provides autonomy. It's fun to play with her and we certainly do but it's equally important for her to learn to play on her own.
  • Use bins. Galore. We use a lot of bins because this allows us to put toys away in a somewhat organized way. All the blocks go into one big bin dedicated to holding just the blocks. It is easy for her to learn to put them away in this bin and it's always the same bin so she already understands it. We put things away and clean up the room at the end of every day. It helps maintain our sanity and it's like she starts from scratch at the beginning of each day. The room never seems to be used (and abused!) in the same way twice. It's fun to watch! 
  • Create a space to hang kid art. Keep in mind you're child is going to create art and you're going to think it's amazing and want to hang it. I keep a wall area dedicated to her displaying her art. It can change regularly but knowing you'll want to put it somewhere, this is a logical home for it.
  • Room to grow! We didn't design to fill every inch of this space. In fact, we designed to include jut the fundamentals (sitting for adults, sitting and workspace for kids, a few shelves, bins and tv and that was it). Now, months later as we head into the holidays I've still got room for new toys. The space has got to grow with your child(ren).
  • Don't be too precious with the space. We don't want Penny to go to other people's homes or public spaces and think it's ok to draw with marker all over their walls or furniture. So she's not allowed to do it at home. She is learning there is a difference with chalk from crayon and marker and where/how she's allowed to use these things. She is smart enough to understand (or will be over time!) and it's important to teach it. However, at the same time, she's a kid. Hell, she's a baby still! She definitely does NOT color within the lines and this playroom is used - truly used- every day. It (and we!) need to be tough. Or at least not too precious with it. 
all photos by:  Suzuran Photography

all photos by: Suzuran Photography

So there you have it! Head over to our instagram and leave a comment with your own tips and tricks for playrooms! Thank you again for stopping by. We love when you visit and hope you'll stop back next week or visit our Instagram in the meantime. 

If you'd like to find out more information about working with us to help you design a playroom for your little, let us know!

My best,


All White Everything? Maybe not.


A case can be made (and won!) for the predominant and monochromatic use of white in interiors (particularly in the right Parisian or Scandinavian home it seems). I've been a long time proponent of it from the yellow-y "neutral" walls of my various rented loft apartments where I longed for clean white whites. 

But once we moved into a home with my dream all-white kitchen (white walls and trim, white subway tiles, white farmhouse sink, white carrara marble counters and white cabinets) I was itching to change it. It was the single-most defining reason why we bought our home, we compromised on other items on the wish list (including size of home) for this single room, and here, I wanted to change it!

Thankfully, I didn't want (or need, thank you previous awesome owner!) to change much - just the color of the cabinets. 

We still wanted an airy and light-filled room but we wanted a little more contrast. My feeling was the carrara marble countertops, the subway tiles and the white farmhouse sink were all simply disappearing into one big wall of white. I wanted those items to be more noticeable and to stand out a little more. 

We used a very very light gray (SW Snowfall)  - almost white but not - on the walls in our living room and hallways and ended up carrying that over into the little paintable wall space we had in our kitchen. This proved enough to pop the subway tiles. Then we chose a slightly darker, but still quite light gray (SW GRAY CLOUDS) for the cabinets and that is what really did the trick. Suddenly the white details (counters, sink, tile) stood out but we successfully maintained the airy and bright feeling we thought we would get from the white. The new kitchen feels both cozy and bright and modern.  


We made a controversial decision to use satin finish instead of semi-gloss on the cabinets. The primary reason to go with semi in the kitchen is cleanability. We took a gamble on satin (still cleanable but less so) to achieve a more matte or flat look that we desired. 

It is so far proving a good choice. The luster of the counter, sink and tiles really come to life against these cabinets. We couldn't be happier with the result visually. Our kitchen is cleaned regularly and the cabinets get a wipe down every couple weeks and so far all is well with the satin finish. But, I'll report back next Summer after a year with a toddler.

As is the case with all the main living areas of this home, wall art is still needed but we couldn't be happier with this room. We are using the color green in this space as well. We included decorative plates and live plants, along with some delicate green fleur-de-lys glasses from Anthropologie,  which has all helped to make this the hub of our house.

all photos by Suzuran Photography