Friday, November 13, 2009

Pretty Packages

The countdown is on for buying presents, so I wanted to share some unique ideas for spucing up your holiday packaging.  Dressing your gifts beautifully can tie into your deocr style and help enhance the look of your Christmas tree!  Here are some fun ideas on how to make your gifts look like they cost a million bucks:

-Add a small gift or embellishment with the ribbon.   Fruit is a hot trend this year, so buy some faux fruit ornaments and attach them to your ribbon when tieing up your packages.  Or tie on a uniquely shaped cookie cutter.  Maybe a flamingo for the friend who travels to FL often or a baby rattle for someone who is an expectant parent. This extra dimension and added color increase the holiday spirit- not only did you make the gift look amazing, you provided someone with a unique gift tailored to them.

-Use metallic paper.  Nothing brings in more Christmas cheer than the golds, silvers, and bronzes that are so HOT this year!  Imagine how luxurious your gifts will look when you wrap them in these fabulous colors.  Then punch up the present with a bold colored ribbon tied around it (think jeweltones and hot hues).

-Go au naturale. Instead of buying something to enhance the packages, go to your own backyard.  Pine cones, holly berries, fruit, flowers,etc can all be used in cinjuction with ribbon or gift bags to jazz up a gift's look.                                                                

-Coordinate your gifts with your color scheme or design style for the room. If the predominant color on your tree is pink, then reflect that in the gift wrapping.  If your style is more country, then wrap your gifts in materials that compliment that style (flannel fabric pieces, plaid patterned wrapping papers,etc.).  The goal in everyday decorating is always to show off you and your personal taste, why stop at Christmas?!

Happy gift-wrapping!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Decorating Journey: Space Plans

Okay, so I have been working away at my space plan and have also started selecting some of the furniture pieces for the new space.  Here is the layout for the living room:

The space is too large to have only one seating area, so I have broken it into two- one will be for watching tv and the other will be used more for reading/conversation, etc.  Each area is defined by an area rug to serve as an anchor for all the furniture pieces and to add some warmth.  The reading/convo area is situated across from the open kitchen, so it will easily become a gathering place when we are entertaining.  There isn't an overhead light in the main section of the living room, where the tv and sofas will be, so I had to incorporate plenty of task lighting (floor and table lamps) to illuminate the space for the evenings.  The window treatments, and most of the items in the reading area will wait until phase 2, but most everything else will be implemented during phase 1 of this project.

The other room I have focused on is our dining area.  Here is my plan for that space:

This space is fairly simple.  I did the plan to help determine what size rug we will need and to get a feel for the best placement of our larger supplemental pieces (sideboard & china cabinet).  I can't say enough about how much a rug can help define a space!  In this instance, it will help to soften all the hard surfaces in the room (the floor, furniture, and architectural features such as doors,etc).  The rug also serves as a way to incorporate more color into the room, along with a window covering.  I will be using a simple cornice board over, yet another sliding glass door, in this room to bring in additional movement and color.  Since personally, I am not a fan of using OR cleaning table cloths- the window treatment and rug provide an alternative way to make the space more interesting.

As you can imagine (and as many of you have experienced), I ALWAYS use a space plan for my client's projects. Nothing is worse than buying furniture that is too large or too small for a room.  With a space plan, I know exactly what pieces we will need and what size they should be.  A plan isn't set in stone,  it can always be modified if necessary- it just serves as an important starting place for a re-design.

I am working on pulling together all of my textiles for the space and once I finalize those, I will share the color scheme and patterns I am using with you.  Until then, happy space planning...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Decorating Journey...

I thought I would give you a break from the holiday decorating discussion and give you a glimpse into my world.  I try to keep my personal life out of my blog because there is nothing fascinating about me and I don't want to bore you with my mundane day- to- day.  However, I feel like my current situation has the opportunity to be a GREAT illustration of how to implement the tips that I share with you.  I mean, what kind of decorator would I be, if I didn't follow my own advice??!

My husband and I are in the process of purchasing a new condo and we were lucky to find a place that suits our needs and does not require anything but minor cosmetic work.  So, naturally I immediately began the planning for the new space- selecting paint colors, doing a space plan, the list goes on and on!  And my thought was-how great would it be to share with my readers my journey through the redesign process?!   I am just like you and will be doing all of the things I recommend for you to do (working in phases, starting with a budget, and making sure that the space meets our personal tastes and lifestyle).

Each week I will discuss a different aspect of our first phase which will include everything from drywall repair and painting to reworking or bringing in new furniture and area rugs.  Since I am a firm believer in promoting those who do good work for you, I will even highlight some AMAZING local vendors along the way :) I truly hope you enjoy reading my chronicles of this decorating journey and that you are able to find a tidbit of decorating advice that you can apply to your own space!

Please become a follower and spread the word to your friends and family.  Leave me comments along the way to let me know your thoughts, because I love getting feedback (I started this business and have been successful thus far because I listened to YOU and I don't plan on stopping now)!

Happy reading everyone!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Here Comes Santa Claus...

As annoying as it can be to have the retail stores shove Christmas down our throat starting in early October, the truth is Christmas is swiftly approaching whether we are ready or not!  Since we have no choice in the matter, we might as well be ready for the holiday.  Christmas decorating can be tricky- you want to make your space welcoming and festive but you don't want to go overboard with themed items.  Then you add the stress of volunteering to host that office party or family gathering and suddenly the decorating becomes an integral part of the event that you don't have time to do.  Here are a few tips for this year's holiday decorating:

- Get started!- Don't wait until the last minute to get the decorations up.  When you have some spare time during a weeknight or on Saturday afternoon, pull out those boxes and start tackling the space.  It won't hurt anything if you have to spread the job over a few days.  Before you know it, it will be over.

- Don't forget the outdoors- Spread some of that holiday cheer to the exterior of your home.  This will set the stage for what guests should expect once inside (however, I don't suggest going Griswold style). There are some great people who can help you if you aren't so keen on climbing the ladder to hang the wreath over the garage.  In Lexington, Eddie McNeal owns Just a Twinkle for the Season and the business exists solely to decorate homes and offices for Christmas.  (I can give you his number of you want to get in touch with him.  Just shoot me an email).

- Jazz up your color scheme- Bust away from the traditional red and green.  Bold jewel tones and warm earth tones are the HOT items this year.  Pair some bronze ornaments with your traditional green decorations or keep your trusty red ornaments and throw in a bold blue hue to the decorations.

- Get creative- Re purpose ornaments by using them in a hurricane to make an interesting tabletop accessory (see picture below).  Lay your wreath around a collection of varying height candles and place in the center of the dining table to create an unusual centerpiece.

Above all, remember if the task of decorating for the holidays is overwhelming- get help.  The season should be exciting and fun for you not stressful.  If that means putting aside a little extra money (hiring help can cost around a couple hundred dollars) to get some help then do it, it can be your gift to yourself :)

*For more info and useful tips on holiday decorating, come by 2331 Fortune Dr Tuesday night at 6:30 pm.  I will be speaking to a lovely group of ladies on this topic and attendance is open. I would love to see you there!*

Happy holiday decorating!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


This is the last installment from the "Tips to Transform Your Space" segment. Indulging doesn't have to mean  over the top or breaking the bank.  You can provide yourself little luxuries in your space that make it the place you want most to be.  For example, your master suite is your personal haven, so treat it that way. Splurge on beautiful tiles, massaging showerheads and luxurious linens (for some this means paying more 9.99 for a set of sheets, for others is means silk sheets).  Another example is wall mounting a tv and adding surround sound in the family room.  The list of ideas could go on and on.  Everyone's tastes are different.  Just remember that whatever you decide to splurge on, always be sure it makes sense for your home and for you.

Happy Indulging!

P.S.- Stop by the Signature Club tomorrow night for the PWF Networking and Business Showcase.  5-7 pm.  $20 includes admission, food and drink.  Lots of prizes given away.  Attendess can take advantage of my discount on holiday decorating and custom painted gift items.  You don't want to miss this event!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Spruce Up Your Deck or Patio

I almost feel guilty covering this topic now, in the midst of fall weather moving into KY. However, a little inspiration now can provide proper planning for how to make the extension of our home more enjoyable once spring rolls around again.

Outdoor kitchens are a major trend right now. Depending on your budget, you can go from simple (a brick grill surround and outdoor fireplace) all the way to elaborate (concrete countertops, stainless refrigerator, sink, all the bells & whistles). Not only are outdoor kitchens enjoyable, but they often raise the value of a home and make the property more appealing to potential buyers when selling.

If you don't want to add an additional kitchen to your backyard, let's focus on something simpler- the patio furniture. We have moved way beyond plastic stackable chairs and tables. Wrought iron and teak furniture are classic staples that can be dressed up with seat cushions and an outdoor umbrella. Another great option is an outdoor love seat or two. If you have a large space that can support two seat groupings, one area can provide a place for a meal and another area can become the outdoor family room with the love seats. There are some fabulous wicker love seats available. Who knows, maybe you'll run across an end of season sale and snag a great deal on some patio furniture.

Bringing the indoors out provides additional space to relax outside the confines of your walls. Plus, you're friends and neighbors will be jealous of your gorgeous backyard oasis. Happy Sprucing!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Re-Purpose Your Space

If you find yourself never using a space, give it a new purpose. The builder’s floorplan may name the room one thing but it’s your house, so use it the way you want!

For example, the basement often is an unused abyss of space that we don't utilize because we aren't sure what to do with it. We never go down there except to store unwanted furniture pieces or boxes of the kid's old toys and clothes. A recent trend is converting a basement (or a section of it) into a home theater or game room. This allows the family to have a gathering place and provides a way to maximize their home's square footage. This especially holds true right now with everyone watching their pennies, people are entertaining in the home more than planning nights out on the town.

Another example of unused space is the formal living. Admit it, this space has died out. Gone are the days when we sit with our company in the front room on the good sofa that we forbid the children to touch! For modern families, this room is rarely used and often houses our old furniture that we aren't sure how to use in the rest of the home. So, re-purpose the space! What do you need it to be? What are you missing in the house? Many people turn these rooms into a home office. You can even add french doors to enclose the space if privacy is necessary. The same can be true for formal dining rooms (if you have an eat-in kitchen), spare guest rooms, etc (you see where I am going with this).

My only word of caution is: be mindful of the re-sale value of your home and be sure any changes you make stay in line with the rest of your neighborhood in terms of cost. Nothing is worse than sinking money into making drastic and beautiful changes that you won't earn your money back on.

But overall remember this- transform the house to fit you, don't conform to the house.

Happy re-purposing!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Magic Carpets

Area rugs are one of my favorite components in a room! Rugs add warmth to a space and look nice layered on any flooring type, even wall to wall carpeting.

A common mistake is to "float" a rug in the room, meaning the rug doesn't touch any furniture pieces it is just placed in the middle of the floor between all the furniture- see the first photo above. This typically happens because a rug is too small for the space, and as a result is improperly placed. The goal for an area rug is to have it placed among a furniture grouping to define the seating area. This is done best when ALL the furniture legs can rest upon the rug, or at the very least, the front legs should rest on the rug- see the second picture above. This ensures a cohesive look to the space, as the rug serves to pull all the pieces together (figuratively).

Keep in mind that area rugs really are appropriate over every type of flooring, including wall to wall carpeting. Layering with a rug adds a feeling of warmth and welcome to a space. Rugs can also serve as protection for flooring (for example, I have a rug beneath my dining room table to protect my light colored carpeting from the threat of food and drink that can stain). It is often more cost effective to replace a rug than it is to replace a section of the floor! Additionally, rugs allow an extra outlet for a person to express their personality or design style.

Enjoy your magic carpet ride!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Dress Your Naked Windows

Do you ever walk into a room and think there is something missing? Check out the windows. Chances are, that's where the problem lies. Too often we focus all our attention (and budget) on the furniture, which causes us to forget about the windows. This is a HUGE mistake!!There are a host of reasons why you should dress them- light control, privacy, to protect the pieces in the room from being faded by sunlight, to soften the architectural features, and to tie the windows into the decor of the rest of the space.

Blinds, roller shades, honeycomb shades, etc all provide light control, privacy and they protect your space from the harsh rays of the sun. Fabric treatments like valances, draperies and sheers serve to soften the windows harsh features and provide a way to incorporate the windows into the room's design. Some fabric treatments, such as roman shades, sheers and draperies, can do all of the functions listed previously.

So how do you know what works best for YOUR window?? It really depends on your lifestyle, design style preference, the amount of natural light you receive, as well as how much privacy you need. Window treatment styles and the fabric used to make them will dictate whether they evoke a formal feel or a more casual, relaxed environment. The photos above show different window treatments, both used in living rooms. Which appears more formal to you and which has a more relaxed look?

Your windows should be a reflection of the space, so dress them appropriately ;)

Friday, September 11, 2009

Extra Touches

Items such as throw pillows, vases, chargers and other accessories are an inexpensive way to buy into a current trend or design theme.

If you are trying to watch your dollars, you should purchase your major pieces of furniture in a color and fabric that will stand the test of time and coordinate well with the changing trends. Make sure the pieces are of good quality, as well, because you get what you pay for when it comes to furniture!

Take for example, the photos above (these happen to be extreme examples of what I am talking about but they do a good job of illustrating the concept). Each room begins with soft, linen colored furniture (this color is not a fad). From there, boldly colored accessories are brought in- everything from throw blankets to pillows and glassware. If the homeowner ever tires of these bold colors, they can simply remove them and bring in new items in another color scheme.

Since most of us don't have an endless budget, these tips help create a space that you won't have to re-do every 3 years. If you decide to get design help with a space, make sure the overall design suits YOU, your personal taste and lifestyle. You don't have to overindulge in a design trend, you can sprinkle it in and enjoy it just the same! Remember classic design can hold up through time and won't make you look back and ask "what was I thinking?".

Happy Accessorizing!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Splash Of Color

It is amazing what a little paint can do for a space! Last week, I completed a faux finish that completely transformed the room (of course, I forgot to take pics). The room was a soft off-white when I first met the client, but he wanted an old world look that involved warmth and varying shades to create an uneven look on the walls. The space is large, so we used Sherwin Williams Compatible Cream for the base coat and for the glaze we were able to go a little darker with Sherwin Williams Golden Fleece. Now when you look into the hallway, which still has the off-white color on its walls, you realize what a cool (in temperature) shade that was. It didn't help evoke the old world feel that the client wanted.

My point is that paint is the simplest and least expensive way to dramatically change the overall appearance of a space. Look at the photos above, the change of color in each space completely transforms the feel you get about the room. Typically when I see a white wall I think about rental spaces- unwelcoming, cold and sterile. Greens and blues, by definition are good colors to use in bathrooms to produce a spa-like feel. But remember, color means something different to everyone. There are the cliche meanings for every color, but it doesn't always mean that is how YOU will feel about it. Keep that in mind when selecting a color- it needs to suit you, your space and your lighting (if you don't get a lot of natural light, be careful not to go too dark).

If you don't feel comfortable selecting the color yourself, get some professional advice. I have a great paint deck that I work with on EVERY color consult I do. I have it broken down according to the color wheel and can easily coordinate a paint color with other items in a client's space. (Notice I said coordinate, not MATCH. Everything in the room does not have to match exactly).

I could go on for days about this one, but I won't. Happy Painting!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Tips for Decorating: How to Transform Your Space

I feel like I have slacked on the semi-weekly blog posts. So, I am double timing it today :) Over the next few weeks, I am going to share some basic tips you can apply to your own space to give it the look you want. I already addressed Framed Beauty today, so we will move down the list from there.

• Framed Beauty- A great single piece or collection of art can transform the feel of a room instantly.

• Splash of Color- The simplest way to freshen a room is to coat the walls with a great color. If you are afraid of color, try an accent wall to punch things up.

• Extra Touches- Throw pillows, vases, chargers, etc are a less expensive way to buy into a current trend.

• Dress your naked windows- Layering a light-controlling treatment (like blinds) with a decorative fabric treatment (like draperies) gives the windows a finished look that ties into the room’s decor.

• Magic Carpets- Place an area rug among a furniture grouping to define the seating area. Rugs add warmth to a space and look nice layered on any flooring type, even wall to wall carpeting.

• Re-purpose the space- If you find yourself never using a space, give it a new purpose. The builder’s floorplan may name the room one thing but it’s your house, so use it the way you want! Home theaters and game rooms are gaining in popularity.

• Spruce up your deck or patio- These days we spend as much time entertaining outside as we do inside. Outdoor kitchens are becoming an extension of our homes.

• Indulge- Your master suite is your personal haven, so treat it that way. Splurge on beautiful tiles, massaging showerheads and luxurious linens.


During my time in a waiting room yesterday, I peered around the room noticing the soothing paint color, the beautiful seat fabrics and the thoughtful children's play area in the corner. But amid all that beauty was a glaring flaw- the art was a hodge-podge of prints and their scale (overall size) didn't work in the room. This mistake gave me the desire to share with you some helpful hints on art selection and placement. We all have a variety of prints (mostly horse themed, specifically Keeneland if you live in KY), family photos and even some paintings. But how do we find the right balance when using them in our space?

When trying to fill wall space in one particular room always keep in mind:

1.Every wall doesn't require something hanging on it.

2.Don't use the same type of art on EVERY wall. Use a mix of mirrors, prints, photos and decorative metal art. (for example- On one wall, you may hang a beautiful print above the mantle, on another wall- a mirror above the sofa and a grouping of family photos above the side chairs and table on yet a different wall.)

3.When hanging a grouping of photos, prints, or anything be sure there is a commonality between each piece. This ensures that they look like they are supposed to hang together. (for example- they all have the same color frames)

4. Make sure the art fits the style of the room.

5. Mat to the picture, frame to the room. The mat serves as a way to highlight the print/picture/etc. The frame should tie that print/picture/etc into the style of the room where it will be placed. But also know that, not every piece requires a mat.

6. Remember to accessorize around the piece. I am not talking about placing sconces on either side like your grandmother did. I am talking about placing a table below the art and adding a lamp or some greenery, etc to make what you've hung on the wall belong to the rest of the room.

The pictures I have included showcase some good examples of the things I mentioned. Happy framing!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Kid's Rooms

Last night's episode of Design Star got me thinking- so many of us ignore our children's rooms. Kids are messy and outgrow things quickly but they still deserve a great space of their own. There are SO many ways to create a beautiful space for them that won't break the bank.

My suggestion is to select classic styles and finishes for your larger, more expensive pieces (ie- furniture). If you are beginning with baby furniture, select a bed that converts from crib to toddler bed to twin bed. That one piece can see the child from diapers through high school. Keep in mind that styles get discontinued so it is wise to purchase all the conversion pieces when you buy the crib, otherwise you may be back at square one in a few years.

Once you have the staples, it's very inexpensive to change the paint color every few years if desired. The finishing touches can be a number of things- custom murals, bold and graphic fabrics to bring out their personality, vivid paint colors, personalized items (monogrammed linens, name canvases, etc.). Personally, I like to give clients a mix of custom and store bought items. This allows me to give them a few unique/ big impact features that may cost a little more but then complete the space with some less expensive (but not less fabulous) items. For example, if I am painting an in-depth mural in the room we may bring in ready-made window treatments that look great but are more cost-effective than custom ones since most of the budget went into the mural as the "wow" factor. Another example- if I bring in really fun bedding for the child and window treatments that cost a little more, I will select a simple, cost effective rug like a fun shag to round out the look.

The possibilities really are endless AND attainable for any budget. So don't neglect the kids in your life!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Tile Savers

A few weeks back, I went to an event at Mee's Marble & Tile that focused on tile trends. Wow, was I impressed! The product that had the most impact on me was the Tuscan Leveling System by Pearl Abrasives. Having installed a tile backsplash and floor in my own kitchen, I know the effort it takes to ensure the tile is level and that the grout lines are small and evenly spaced.

I was amazed by the demonstration and recommend that clients ask their tile installer if they use the product. This system creates thin grout lines without the use of those pesky spacers, and it eliminates lippage between tiles (you know you have lippage when you run your hand across the tile and some corners are higher than others, creating an uneven surface). The coolest feature of all, was that you can use it on floors, walls or ceilings (helpful when tiling a shower).

If you want more info, you can check out their website:

Happy tiling!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Bookcases: Friend or Foe?

Over the past few months, I have become keenly aware of the trouble that built-ins, armoires and other shelving units can cause a client. It's great to have these pieces for storage and display reasons, but the problem comes when trying to balance those two purposes. When we cram all of our books, papers and trophies onto the shelves for storage, it becomes distracting and unsettling to the eye. So then we try to "show-off" some accessories and cool knick-knacks, but if we display too many things, our space starts to look like Cracker Barrel with items covering every square inch. On the flipside, if we leave too few items on the shelf, our space looks unfinished.

So, we need to find that perfect balance of function and beauty. Don't think it's possible? There is life between show-house and mad-house! Take a look at these "before" and "after" pictures. (Before pictures are found on the left and the top respectively)

Neither picture is an example of the extreme cases I have written about today, but they do exemplify how to functionally accessorize a space that real people live in. With a little rearranging and clustering you can have a shelving unit you are no longer embarrassed for your friends to see. Better yet, you can have it at an affordable price!!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Business has really picked up which is fabulous and as a result the blogging came to a halt!

Baby Name canvases are the latest item to be offered from Polka Dots & Rosebuds. They are so fun to do and completely customizable- every one has a different color scheme and design theme to it. They are great for baby shower gifts, Christmas or Birthday presents. They aren't just for babies, either- kids of all ages enjoy a little personalization in their room. They are sold in sizes 8x10 or 11x14, and with or without ribbon hanger.

I project these items to be HOT during the holiday season and will be showcased at some upcoming events (list of events and dates to follow). Orders will be taken and delivered to clients within 3 weeks. If you can't make it out to an event, individual orders are always an option, just give me a call!

I have exciting things to share so look for more posts to come...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

As promised, here are some pictures of the faux finish project I did last week. I used the combing effect which turned out very cool- it looked like striated wallpaper. The owners chose a very beachy color scheme (pale yellow and a relaxing blue) to go with their collection of seashells. The pictures don't do it justice, though.

Here is a picture of a project from last week where I painted giraffe print on a bookcase at the Jessamine County Head Start.

I spent most of today painting the bathroom at Two Chicks & Company (a local boutique on Southland Dr). It was a fun & simple project- I left the wall colors the same and decided to go with a colorful & whimsical design. I painted multi-colored polka dot above the chair-rail and various designs of flip-flops below it. As you can see, the owners display a fair amount of merchandise in the room, so I didn't want to paint something too large that would be covered by furniture or pictures. Tomorrow I go back to paint a zebra print on the outside of the door. I love painting animal prints!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

New to Blogging

I finally bit the bullet and explored this blogging thing. I am sure I will quickly get hooked, just as I did with Facebook. I look forward to this new experience!