Category Archives: DESIGN DETECTIVE

“Welcome Home, Office.”

Patiently, my client and I waited for the day we could return to her home office and finish what we started.

She called me for some help to make her home office feel more inviting and peaceful.   When you work from home, as I often do, you know it’s important to have a space that adds to your day.  One that encourages happiness, which in turn, produces greater creativity and productivity.   After all, it’s not about decorating stuff.  It’s about finding you.   Your best you.

In this case, we started in a lovely room with high ceilings,  pale blue walls with cream, crown molding in the far corner of her first floor.  Truly it already felt private, but it was lacking that connection you need with a space you spend lots of time in.

And one must be inspired to be productive.  The most important question:  What makes you happy?

You must bring it.

She loves everything about the beach.  The colors, the sounds, the shells, the memories.  The place to go with her husband and daughter.  Years of diligently collecting, organizing and displaying these seashells is a passion they share.   Many a wave was taken for a shell.  And I’ve never seen such beautiful shells of all sizes and shapes.   It was clear that we needed to bring the beach home.  In the office, the place they all like to use.

Your bookshelves are that space for you to tell your story, provide memories and inspirations.  In this redesign, we used everything she already had in her home, with exception of some baskets and magazine holders.  The biggest change is once again…paint color.  Thanks to an amazing job by Juan Jimenez , those shelves are alive and telling lots of stories.

Check out the transformation in this slideshow.

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My client texted me early this morning.  She couldn’t wait to start work today.  ❤

That is music to my ears.



Paint color:  Sherwin Williams, Dove White

The Genius of Josef Frank

“The home must not be a mere efficient machine.  It must offer comfort, rest, and coziness.”

-Josef Frank

One of his many beautiful textiles he created for the Swedish furniture company, Svenskt Tenn.


He didn’t believe in rules and cared more about joy over restraint.  I think that’s quite apparent in his designs.

Josef Frank

Although most of Frank’s  furniture and textiles were designed in the 1930’s-40’s, most are still in production today.

You can check out more at these sites:


I’m thinking about wallpapering my walk-in closet or powder room with one his designs.  Just makes me happy.


Mystery Christmas Present

It arrived on Christmas Eve.   From whom, I do not know.  There is no tag on it.   There is no sales receipt.  It’s a mystery Christmas present…yet to be revealed.

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Is is an apron for baking cookies or something else?

If it’s an apron for baking cookies, my Donna Reed days never happened.

If it’s for something else, I prefer white lace, not red gingham.

Whoever sent it, thanks for the chuckles.

I just don’t know what else to say about.

Does anyone want an apron?

Let There Be Light

That’s what I call a grand entrance in a hotel lobby.

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“15 Ways to Update Your Kitchen on a Dime”

Since I just moved into a new town home, I’m on the lookout for these kinds of lists.  There are some great ideas here from  Laura Gaskill, a Houzz contributor and a woman with a very sharp eye.  Thanks Laura!

Just click the link above the photograph to see all 15 fabulous, clever money-savers.



Decorating Tips from Houzz: Good Stuff

Decorating Tips from Houzz: Good Stuff

Dentists are Making a Killing

My  best friend asked me to pick her up after her root canal today. I feel like I just walked into a swanky New York hotel instead of a dentist’s office.  Or actually a Endodontics office.  Either way, look:

Cary Endodontics waiting room. Snazzy, snazzy.

Dentist offices have really come along way in the last 20 years. I remember going to my dentist in a small business office in New Jersey. It was just the dentist and his secretary.  He gave me laughing gas for anything.  All I had to do was ask.  I asked my current dentist if I could have some before he started drilling and he just laughed at me.

Walking into this kind of atmosphere most certainly takes some of the pressure off though.  Are we really that frightened of the dentist that we require fires, cookies, movies and lattes?  Yes. Yes we are. And they are making the most of it.

Marble floors at Cary Endodontics
I love this waiting room at Cary Endodontics. Must find those blue tables.

It’s no different at the Orthodontist’s office.  Two hours after picking up my friend, I had to take my daughter in for a check-up on her braces.   As usual, just-baked cookies greet us at the reception area:

Snickerdoodles, too.  Someone even sprinkled cinnamon on them.
At Bovenizer Orthodontics: Snickerdoodles! Someone even sprinkled cinnamon on them.

I know we’re paying a fortune for those braces.  So I might eat TWO cookies.

Once again, check out the scene:

Bovenizer Orthodontics, Cary, NC
Bovenizer Orthodontics, Cary, NC

There’s even an area for the younger jet set to play.

Across the parking lot is Cary Endodontics...
Bovenizer Orthodontics. Across the parking lot: Cary Endodontics

If they get bored, they can watch a movie or use an iPad velcroed to the wall. iPad anyone?It takes the sting out of going to the dentist.  I’ll admit I like going to the Orthodontics office.  It feels like I’m walking into a spa or hotel and I’m not the one getting work done on my teeth.  I get 15 or so minutes to eat a cookie and read a People magazine, uninterrupted.    It’s nice.  I’m easily manipulated.

And I get it.  You’re trying to make the visit as painless as possible. Sorry to say though, you still can’t fool us.  We know you’re going to stretch our mouths beyond its natural state and stick us with a huge bill in the end.

That’s why I’ll still avoid you like the plague.