Category Archives: BEFORE & AFTERS

Before and afters capture the point.

A Playroom Revisited

It’s a common complain among my clients.  They like most of the furniture they purchased, but it doesn’t feel the way they want it to feel.  And it’s making them crazy.

In this particular case, it is the playroom of a sweet eight-year old girl in Cary, North Carolina.

It’s a spacious room.  Pretty wall color, high ceilings, natural light.  Here’s a look before we made any changes from each angle.    IMG_2665That’s what  you see when you enter the room.

This photo below is from the other side.  Lots of potential to make it more inviting.  She has a beautiful pink kitchen in there.


Last angle:  this is the wall between the main entrance to the room and the bathroom. It’s time to roll up the sleeves and move a few things, starting with those big baskets and bookshelf.


I love this part of the redesign.  It suddenly becomes place of movement and laughter.  And lots of lifting, pausing and sometimes moving again.  It’s a process.  And then you just know.  It’s feels different.

Here’s how the room looks now.

IMG_3267By placing the black bookshelf behind the couch,  it doubles as a console and as place to access her books and crafts since it’s in the same area now as her favorite owl beanbag and table for creating stuff.

From another angle:


Now this eight year old can use this area for pretend play, crafting, or even doing homework.


By moving the couch closer to the front of the room, it creates two distinct spaces and purposes.  One is for independent, semi-private play, and the other is for family lounging, playing a game or just hanging out. Adding lamps warms up the space and allows for some cozy evening reading and relaxing, too.  The wicker boxes now serve as storage and end tables.  Add a square tray to place on top and it can holds the drinks and popcorn for movie-time.

The best part about this is we simply used what they already had and didn’t have to spend a dime buying more stuff.   Down the road,  that beautiful back wall could be a built-in window seat with storage and shelving on both sides, but for now, I’m told a certain eight-year old girl loves her playroom.

Less stuff,  more connection.  And hopefully more opportunities for the whole family and friends enjoying time together.

Here’s a last look:






Hawaiian Dreamin’

Decorating or design in a home isn’t just about making things pretty. It’s about creating that space that you connect to. 

The place that makes you feel good. Peaceful. Home. 

This family in Cary North Carolina reached out to me late this summer when they decided that they were ready to bring that sense of peace they loved in Hawaii to their home in North Carolina. It’s an ongoing project, but I’m impatient and just had to share how it’s going.​  I hope you will watch and get inspired. Is there a room in your place that could use a second look? 


How To Make Your Television Almost Disappear

All it takes is a quart of paint.

What is on the wall?   It’s Kendall Charcoal, Historic Collection 166, Benjamin Moore

Fireplace? Edgecomb Gray, HC- 173, Benjamin Moore


Making the Most of Your Space

It’s hard to believe I only took one picture of my balcony, but this is it.  Only the corner.


Not exactly much to look at,  but this little nook tucked away at the end of my  l-shaped terrace had the potential to be the right space for some entertaining, rest and relaxation.

One year later…

img_8762The space was always there.  I just made better use of it.

That is  my goal is for clients. Even if it’s a hallway. When we make the most out of our space, based on what we like, it makes life  a little nicer.

It starts with a vision.  What do you like to do at home? Have you made space for it?   Who says the dining room has to be used just for eating?

Slowly, and little by little, I looked and took from other rooms in the house.

With exception to the $10 satin nickel tension rod (Walmart) and West Elm curtains (on sale, $20/panel)…I already had everything I needed from other rooms in my home.  Since I love to be outside most of the time, it made sense to create an outdoor living area.

At night, I imagine I’m sitting in my private outdoor club.  “Yes, I’ll have a cosmo, please.”   Here’s to a summer of peace and creating enjoyable space in your life. 🙂


Redesign Without Spending a dime

Well I guess you’d have to spend a dime if you hire me, but the point is you don’t need to run back to the store to create a comfortable, beautiful, functional space.  You can use what you have.  It’s just a matter of placement.

$3.99 Side Table Transformation

My son needed a new night table and I needed to keep the cost down.  So I found this little table at Goodwill for $5.  It was the perfect size for his small room, but big enough to store a few things.


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Panelled, but solid. Not my favorite color, but a little color and this table transforms.


After. “Hunter Green” in high gloss. Nice shine and easier to clean up.

I learned how to spray paint by watching a couple of men once spray paint my lockers.  You go steady and overlap just a little.

They did a great job. My lockers still look great.

I bought one can of spray paint from Home Depot.  Rust-Oleum Painter’s Touch 2x Ultra Cover Paint and Primer rocks.  You can spray it on plastic, metal or wood and “more”.

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$3.99. I only used half of the can.

There’s a reason I chose “Hunter Green”.

This fellow loves the Green Bay Packers.

IMG 1006
Aaron Roger’s biggest fan.

If you like those lockers and you live locally, here’s the post I wrote in 2013.  They might have more lockers.

Dining Room Before & After

My client was not having this golden color in the dining room.

IMG 9132

Her style is more modern.  Clean lines, dramatic, simple design.  She found this stunning modern table and felt gold walls weren’t doing it justice.  She was right, although I’ll say the color palette wasn’t bad.  I like that the previous owner chose a darker ceiling color to complements those tan walls.  But it doesn’t work now.

So, without hesitation, I chose a color that ironically reminds us how we’re supposed to behave in the dining room:  “Etiquette” from Benjamin Moore paints.   One must pay attention to one’s manners in the dining room.

The blue rug also helped me figure it out. Etiquette is in there.

Here it is now:

“Etiquette AF-50” :

IMG 9737

The room is part of an open first floor plan, so once again consider how the new paint color will connect to the other rooms.  Beyond the doorway, I chose another Benjamin Moore favorite:  “Thunder”, AF-685“.  I like this transition.  It’s seamless and easy on the eyes.  And Etiquette is so understated.  It’s elegant and doesn’t overpower the space.

Did you notice the chair railing is gone?  It definitely allows the eye to take in  the whole space without being distracted.  Sometimes less is more. I can’t believe I just said that, but in this case, it applies.  We don’t need chair railings just because there’s a dining room.  If you prefer a cleaner, more minimalist design, take them down.

She did it herself.

My kind of client.