So not much has happened with my master bedroom since the last post. The holidays took us away from home to visit family. However, I did finally purchase the walls sconces and ordered the headboard. Take a look at the sconces. They are the Chelsea Sconces from Pottery Barn. Although these are plug in, we are going to hardwire them.

Master bedroom swing arm wall sconces. They are on their way and I can't wait.

Here is the headboard. It is from Bassett Furniture, one of my favorite furniture manufacturers. I love the shape and style. I actually am purchasing it COM (customer’s own material). I am sending them the same linen fabric that I used in the master bedroom cafe draperies. It will look very similar to the picture below. I love how natural and comfy it looks.

This photo shows the contrast welt but I will not be getting that.

In the next couple of weeks I hope to put together the cornice boards. Also, a couple of colleagues and I will be working on launching our own line of home accessories to include the duvet cover which I plan to use in my bedroom. Keep a lookout for this creative idea in the next few weeks.

So the first steps of my master bedroom suite redo have been completed.  I painted the bedroom and bathroom (in one weekend, boy was I tired).  For the bedroom I chose a favorite neutral of mine, Benjamin Moore’s Shaker Beige.  To contrast in the bathroom I chose Benjamin Moore’s Tranquility.  Honestly, the Tranquility turned out more blue than imagined but I love the way it looks behind the Shaker Beige as you enter the bathroom from the bedroom.  I also love what it does to the accent border tiles.

View entering the bathroom from the bedroom.

In the bedroom we also mounted the flat screen TV on the wall which freed up so much space.  We moved the dresser that was under the TV, to the window wall.  Check out how the shades now pop against the Shaker Beige.

Dresser moved to window wall.

The mirror that is currently on top of the dresser will ultimately go above the new headboard which should arrive in January.  The chair that is currently there is left over from our old house and will be replaced in the near future.  I want to place a full length floor mirror on the wall perpendicular to the window wall and opposite where the chair is now.  Next will be adding the swing arm wall sconces on either side of the bed and I will be making two cornice boards to go over the windows.  The fabric has blues and greens and will help to unify the colors in the bedroom and bathroom.  The new shirred bedskirt, hopefully in January as well will also help to tie the colors together.  New bedding and accent pillows should finish off the fabric scheme.

In the bathroom you see two fretwork mirrored silver wall sconces on the wall.  These are from Bassett Furniture, one of our lines of furniture.  I just love the way they bling and their curves are so romantic.  Eventually I will find the perfect piece of artwork to go between them.  I just love how the new cafe draperies pop against the Tranquility.

larger view of bathroom. Hard to see but the accent tiles really pop with the new wall color.

The bathroom doesn’t require too much more.  New fixtures (towel bars, toilet paper holder, light fixtures, faucets and a few carefully placed accessories and this retreat will be ready for some nice long baths (as if there’s time).

Stay tuned for more to come soon…

The master bedroom is the most important room in the house, in my opinion.  It is also the most often overlooked.  In my last home I left the master bedroom design for last.  In this one, not so much.  Although I’ve moved quite ahead on the kid’s bedrooms and the main level of the home is getting there, I refuse to put the master bedroom last.  Its ahead of the basement family room, the guest room and the office, at least.

The Plan

In the next two months I plan to overhaul the room completely.  The plan is to

-paint the walls

-complete the window treatments by adding cornice boards (which I plan to make myself, I really want to learn how to make them).

-Purchase and install a new custom fabric headboard

-Purchase a new custom made shirred bedskirt

-Add two swing arm wall sconces for task lighting

-Add a new chandelier for overall lighting

-Mount the flat screen on the wall

-Move the furniture to its ideal location

-Create a cozy reading nook with a chair, side table and lamp

-Paint the master bathroom- change the light fixtures and towel bars and add art and accessories

What I’ve done so far… Not much.  Purchased the flat screen and wall mount in November, yes, its still uninstalled (honey d0 isn’t doing).  Purchased the reverse fold roman shades in a green.  I pulled the color from my inspiration fabric which is what will eventually go on a breakfront bench at the foot of the bed.  I also purchased cafe length relax pleated curtains installed inside the window frame.  They allow plenty of light into the room while providing privacy.   In September we upgraded from a queen to a king size bed, we bought a sleep number and I gotta say its every bit as good as they claim!

Not much else, the existing furniture I’ve had and plant to keep the two dressers and nightstands.  Here are the BEFORE pictures.  Embarrasing, I know.  But not for long… 🙂

Sorry about the lighting. Currently we have one little lamp lighting the entire room.

The bedding is remnants from our Queen size bed. Believe it or not it was actually quite beautiful on it. Now its just WAY too small.

The master bathr. The chip on the wall is called Tranquility #AF-490 from Benjamin Moore.

Check out the window treatments!

The other side of the bathroom.

By next week the goal is to have the bedroom painted, the tv mounted and the existing furniture in its new location.  After that, I plan to paint and accessorize the bathroom (before New YEars).  The new light fixtures, headboard and bedskirt should come after the Holidays and then its time to pull it all together with accessories and artwork.  Wish me luck and stay tuned.

Check out our latest installation of beautiful custom window treatments.  The clients purchased a  beautiful bungalow style home in Alexandria.  The house has a lot of charm and they love the mission style.  We worked to create window treatments that give off a casual yet romantic flare and that are clean lined and elegant.  For function we purchased some beautiful wood blinds in a medium tone and added a decorative gold leaf pattern banding.  We then used a beautiful linen as our foundation throughout but changed up a bit with our banding.  In the living room, dining room and library (all open to each other) we did a vertical and horizontal banding in a golden textured fabric.  In the family room, we used the same linen but used a blue, gold, green and brown fabric for our vertical on both edges and horizontal banding below.

On the stairs we used the same golden fabric from the living room/dining room treatments to create some grand empire valances to accentuate the height of the ceilings and the size of the windows.  The treatments do a great job of drawing the eyes up and continue the casual yet romantic feel.

In the master bedroom we changed things up a bit.  We used the same wrought iron rods but changed up the finials.  We did a very romantic, bunchy tab top drapery in a greenish/brown linen over a simple roman shade in green linen.  Over the bed we trick the eye by using a shade wider than the window and put a simple tab top valance in the same style as the draperies to frame the bed.  Check out the results.

Family room panels with horizontal and vertical banding.Dining room head on.

The living room, dining room and study drapery panels.

Stairs from below.

Stairs from above.

Master bedroom.

More master bedroom.

We would love to hear your thoughts…

When Joanne and Rod Willis came to me for help with the windows in their amazing new home, I was excited and nervous by the challenge.  They wanted to start in their family room, breakfast area and kitchen.  They have a open floor plan space so that all of the spaces spill into one another, creative a big, airy, comfortable feel.  They had selected their paint colors and furnishings which are all very warm and inviting.  My challenge was to bring those humongous windows in their family room down to scale and to integrate the gorgeous view of their wooded backyard.  Check out the tremendous results:

View from below of the Willis' family room windows. I chose to do floor to ceiling panels to accentuate the height and size of the windows but also to soften the space with fabric.

View of one panel with their existing furniture. The blue green was pulled from the blue green sofa. The red banding ties the other colors in the room together.

One window in the breakfast area. We did the same blue green silk look without the banding.

Another view of the breakfast room.

In the kitchen we added the banding into the swags and bottoms of cascades.

View of kitchen and breakfast area together.

I am an avid consignment and antique shopper.  For me there is nothing like finding that uniquely perfect treasure for the perfect spot in my home.  Its like a treasure hunt.  I love the idea that I’m also giving an old piece a new lease on life, thus recycling it and helping to keep it out of the landfill.

Recycling high quality older pieces is a fantastic way to low cost decorate, to give a great piece a new life and to add unique and one of a kind pieces to your home décor.  However, there are some simple strategies to effectively maneuvering the consignment shops so that you are getting the most for you money and time.

*When it comes to consignment shopping, not all shops are created equal.  Look for shops that discriminate.  Good consignment shops will only accept pieces that are in good shape and that have good potential for someone else.  Ask the store owner what their policy is for accepting consignment items.

* Keep an open mind. When shopping a consignment  shop, try to think beyond what a piece is to what it could be.   An old lamp can be given new life with a new shade.  Curtain panels could be converted to valances or accent pillows.  Focus on the potential of a piece versus its current state.  Can it use some paint, a new shade, a light sanding?  How can you transform that piece into something spectacular?

Believe it or not, this is an antique sewer grate mold that we found in the basement of Fairmont Avenue Antiques in West Virginia. I think it will make incredible wall art.

The lamp was purchased at Stuff Consignments in Gainesville. The shade was purchased at The sculpture on the table is actually a pair of wall sconces standing upside down. They were purchased at The Very Thing in Haymarket.

My daughter's night stand lamps were purchased with different shades at The Very Thing for about $12 each. I changed the shades to add a pop of pattern against pattern.

*Let your creative juices flow and don’t be afraid to try something new.  Consignment shopping provides an opportunity for trying out new decorating techniques and ideas.  Since you are typically paying lower prices for these pieces, it would not be so painful if something went wrong with your creative project.

Wall cabinet purchased at The Very Thing in Haymarket. I added the fabric panels using a tension rod and some hot glue, to hide the "not so nice" bathroom necessities.

Dresser with distressed paint finish found at antique shop in West Virginia. We use it to store our dining linens in our dining room.

*Look for quality. Just because the piece is being consigned doesn’t mean it should be sturdy, of good quality and safe. Be cautious of peeling paint or rusting nails and screws.  Just like if you were shopping for new items, consider the quality of piece being purchased.

*Don’t be afraid to negotiate.  Some consignment shops will keep items for only thirty days.  After fifteen days, the price is usually dropped and the consignment shops and consigners are typically more willing to negotiate the price of an item.  I always say, if you don’t ask you won’t know.  See if the shop would be willing to reduce the price or sell a combination of items for lower price.

*Get to know the shop owners or staff.  Getting to know the store staff will allow them to get to know you and your tastes.  Perhaps the next time something that would appeal to you comes in, they will contact you directly to let you have first dibs.  Or perhaps you are looking for something specific, if you know the staff you can ask them to keep an eye out for this item on your behalf.

*Drop by your favorite shops often.  As I mentioned before, good consignment shops will keep items on display for about thirty days, which means there will be a lot of rotation and fresh items coming into the shop weekly.    By stopping by often you reduce the risk of missing out on that perfect items you’ve been looking for.

*Consider consigning your older, good quality pieces.  You can make some money towards your your items and will give someone an opportunity to give your great piece a new life.  Be sure to think about the minimum you are willing to accept for the item and speak with the shop owner or staff to make sure you can get that for your item.  Also, if you want your items returned if they do not sell, you must make arrangements to return and pick them up at the end of our consigning period.  Make sure they make a note of it and make sure you keep track or your consignment timeline.

Consignment shopping is a fantastic way to add unique, one of a kind pieces to your home décor.  I hope you find these tips useful for effectively shopping your local consignment shops.  Good luck and happy hunting!

Gone are the days of the standard flat white ceiling. Today’s homeowners are realizing that their ceiling paint color can add interest and needs to be considered when choosing the perfect paint colors for their space. However, painting ceilings anything other than white can be tricky. Below are some tips to help homeowners choose the perfect shade every time:

* Consider lighter or cooler colors for lower ceilings – if you have eight foot ceilings, chances are your space is already feeling a little cramped and the ceiling is already feeling low. A darker or warmer shade will only accentuate a low ceiling and can make the space feel cave like. Consider paint colors that are lighter, like an off whites and creams.

*Color paint colors will also help raise the ceiling and make it feel like its moving away from you. Choose a cooler off white, that has blue or green undertones.

*Consider painting the ceiling one to two shades lighter than the wall color. This is particularly useful if you have crown molding. A bright white crown molding in semi-gloss will pop if the ceiling is painted a slightly lighter shade than the wall color.

*If the ceilings are really high, as is the case in many two story family rooms and entryways these days, consider painting the ceiling a darker, warmer color. This will help to bring the ceiling in a bit and will make the space feel less stark and cold. A dark chocolate on a two story ceiling can have an amazing impact on a room.

*For vaulted ceilings, consider bringing the paint color up the side ceilings and painting the top ceiling a darker or lighter shade of the wall color. Again, this can accentuate the architectural detail while avoiding the look of uneven paint lines.

*Always paint around and under soffits and low vaulted ceilings (i.e. sunrooms and bay windows) the same color as the walls. When these are painted the ceiling color, white or otherwise, it causes a break in the eye. Painting these areas the same color as the walls will cause continuity and flow, which is the essence of any good paint color scheme.

It is important to consider your ceiling paint color when choosing a color scheme for your home. This way you will be sure to get a perfect color scheme that is congruent with your personal style and the architecture of your home.

A while back I talked about creative ideas for what to do with tray ceilings.  I wasn’t sure which way I would go in my dining room.  Well, it done.  I chose a beautiful metallic damask wallpaper from Thibaut called Symphony Damask.  Go to and look at the Damask Resource book for details on this beautiful paper.

It was difficult to paper the tray (yes, I did it myself).  The most difficult aspect was getting the paper to go up straight by myself.  I drew a reference line to get my first piece up.  I had to do one piece at a time, I couldn’t paste ahead, to be sure I could put them up as straight as I could.  It took me about 4 hours total to get everything up straight.  I recommend that if you are papering for the first time, you don’t start with the tray.

Close up of my newly papered tray ceiling.

The dining area.

Here are some other creative ideas for tray ceilings:

Choose a paint color that is three or four step darker than the wall color. Choose a color that is two to three steps lighter than the paint color for the lower ceiling and walls of the tray.

Faux finish, like this sky painting:

Check out thumbnail 8 out of 9.

I often have clients ask me for creative solutions for storage in smaller bathrooms and powder rooms.  It seems that more and more builders and homeowners are moving away from under sink storage, particularly in smaller bathroom and powder rooms.  So what then do you do with all the necessary “bathroom” stuff that needs to be stored and that you may not want everyone looking at.  Here are few creative solutions.

From my own home:

For my powder room I found a cute, funky open wall cabinet at one of my favorite places in the whole world, “The Very Thing” in Haymarket.  The cabinet had no enclosed storage so I got creative with a glue gun and some striped cotton fabric and created a small curtain to hide the not so pretty bathroom necessities like toilet paper.  The open shelves serve to display nice objects (yes, you can and should decorate your bathroom spaces too).  I have placed a Moroccan vase that matches the other colors in the space.  The idea is to one day paint the cabinet a fun color but these days I don’t have much time for painting.  I may even wallpaper the back of the cabinet with some fun wallpaper to coordinate with the colors and fabrics.  Take a look:

Small cabinet purchased at The Very Thing, a local consignment shop in Haymarket. I made a small curtain with some fabric, fabric glue and a tension rod to hide all of the not so pretty bathroom stuff.

Another creative solution is to add a decorative skirt to your pedestal sink.  This is particularly useful in really tight spaces where storage in general is limited.  You can use baskets or small shelves to hidden underneath the curtain.  You don’t even need to sew.  Use fabric glue and velcro to create a custom look.

Open shelving can also be useful, even for the not so pretty bathroom necessities.  Use baskets and containers to hide the not so pretty and use the open shelving and hanging racks for the pretty stuff.

Baskets and bins can serve to hold toilet paper, towels, magazines, etc.  Tuck them in a corner or under the sink to keep them out of the way.  Be sure to place the items inside neatly so that they look decorative.

Floor cabinets can also be useful if you have the space.  There are some beautiful, off the rack floor cabinets that can serve to hide the clutter.  Check out this one from Bed, Bath and Beyond:

Use old barn ladders and plant trellises to hang things like towels, and to sit a roll of toilet paper and decorative soaps.  This can be a creative and fun way to create storage.  You can nail hooks into them and hang them from the wall or simply sit them on the floor and lean them against the wall.  One piece of advice, tie the ladder into the wall so that it doesn’t fall on people as they are trying to remove towels or other items.

Check out more creative bathroom storage photos at

One of my favorite parts of my job is combining and coordinating fabrics and textiles.  When you see a perfectly designed room in a magazine, you often fine combinations of fabrics, patterns, textures and colors that you probably wouldn’t have thought to put together yourself, yet they look so perfectly executed within the design.  There is an art to combining fabrics and textiles to get a beautiful, cohesive, well-designed look.  But it doesn’t have to be so difficult.  Here are a few simple rules I use to help me perfectly combine fabric and textiles in my designs.

* Find a unifying color – you can easily combine different patterns of fabrics and textiles if you choose one unifying color among all of them to tie them together.  For example, in my family room I have chosen blue-green as my unifying color.  I have successfully been able to combine a small Ikat print in small accent pillows, with a slightly larger geometric in the draperies, a solid silk accent pillow and a floral metallic wallpaper in the back of the built-in, using the blue green as the unifier.  The sofa is a darker blue and the rich dark woods around the room help to ground it all.

*Choose one fabric and pull your other colors from that one fabric.  It should be a bolder fabric and should be the used as the highlight or centerpiece of your design.  For my master bedroom I have selected several beautiful fabrics from Thibaut for my upcoming redo.  In this case, I fell in love with the bold floral print.  I pulled the blue out again in the fabric for the soft shades.  The green Ikat will either be cornices above the shades or accent pillows and the solid blue will likely be the custom uphosltered headboard.  The large print floral that I fell in love with will be the new upholstery on a new pair of chairs I have yet to find.

Fabric selections for my upcoming master bedroom redo.

*Don’t forget about texture.  Varying your texture can help to add depth to your design.  Even if you are using the same color or a more monochromatic color scheme, varying the textures can help give life and depth to the design of the room.  Consider combining a chenille with a woven with a wool and add a bit of silk for glamour.

*Use textured solids or tone on tone, large scaled patterns on the large pieces and add punches of busier pattern and textures in your smaller pieces.  By using textured solids or tone on tone on your larger pieces you are keeping them more neutral, making it easy to change out your accents later on.  If you put a large, heavy or busy print on a larger piece (such as a sofa), it can limit you if you choose to change your decor down the road.

My living room sofa with a tone on tone damask fabric.

A textured neutral on the sofa and tone on tone modern metallic fabric on the chairs allows us to play with other patterns throughout the room in this Alexandria home.

Selecting fabric patterns and textures can be a lot of fun and can really help to pull together the design of your room.  Don’t be afraid to try unique and unusual combinations of fabric patters and colors.  You just might surprise yourself at the cool new look you might create.

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