Monday, January 31, 2011

Maybe This Is Next?

Yes, I said on Friday that my family room bookshelves were...done.  Hmmm.  But into my Inbox pops my weekly ideabook update from Houzz (do you Houzz??) with a potential gamechanger.  What if I were to paint the interior of the bookcase?

This is the color of my family room walls... Porter Paint's Lincoln Home Beige.  I love this color for its neutrality, but it also has a nice punch against my white trim.  At certain times of day, it even takes on a teeny bit of olive, which I adore. 

I'm thinking I may even go a shade lighter to avoid the darkness that I was trying so hard to get rid of.  Or maybe even an accent color?  Celery green?  Blue?  Check out the Ideabook over at Houzz that got my wheels turning and then come back and tell me...

What do you think?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Family Room Bookcase-- Done!

My journey to refresh in our family room continues with our built in bookcases.  Several years ago, I painted all the woodwork in this room white-- best thing I've ever done.  It probably is almost time to repaint but I'm determined to wait a bit longer before taking this on (think dog/kids).  Somewhere along the way, I had filled the shelves with darker items (?)-- lots of wood accents, dark book jackets, pottery pieces, some of my husband's duck decoys-- so I knew much of that would need to go.

I simply took EVERYTHING OFF and gave the entire bookcase a good dusting (I can't blame this on my cleaning lady because I only have her in periodically-- I totally own how horrible this was!).  Then I went through what had previously resided on the shelves and pulled out the handful of lighter pieces and books that could return.  I then visited my spread of freshly polished silver pieces on the dining room table and pulled out a few pieces that I thought might work.  Next up-- shop the house.  I found framed photos in silver tone frames, a framed watercolor by my great-grandmother, and a bit of greenery.

I started with the shelves on the right, because they are in the darkest corner of the room and that is where I wanted the most light reflected.  After a couple of hours of shifting and tweaking, here is the finished product.

You probably recognize my flea market blue decanter (love this piece!).  The tall ship watercolor is by my great-grandmother.  I think it needs a stand to elevate it just a teeny bit.  I kept a few ducks and my husband's humidor but I like them much better where they are now.  The little red urn (a Southern Living at HOME piece) will be made into a lamp this weekend.  There's a plug right behind the abstract print so, yet some more light will be shed on this corner.

You can see where a few of my silver pieces ended up.  This corner was perpetually cluttered and dark, but I love the more open feel and light reflective quality.  You'll notice, too, that in doing so, I could add back in a few of my darker accessories.

Love these silver bowls as bookends.

You might recognize the Willow House Terrace Accent plates here, too.  They come in a set of four and I used two of them on the sconces over my mantle.  I love now having them on the other side of the room, as well.

And again-- the finished (for now) product! 

I say for now, because I've been known to keep tweaking and changing things. :)  The best part about this redo?  It was virtually free.

Do you have bookcases that are in need of a makeover?

Happy Decorating!  Happy Friday!

Willow House and Southern Living at HOME products are available through me.  Visit my website to shop online.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Sofa Re-Do: Lightening Up

This update has made such a difference in brightening up my family room!  And it was simple and inexpensive to do.

Here was my sofa this fall and over the holidays:

You can see-- it's a lovely chocolate suede but... it's A LOT of BROWN.

So I went on a mission for lighter and brighter pillows and throws-- on a budget of course!  And here is the after:

Here's what I did-- swapped out the largest dark brown throw pillows that came with the sofa for these two large (24" x 24") celery green pillows I found at Old Time Pottery.  They are extremely pale-- almost more cream-- and only $9 each!  The pillows from One Kings Lane were $49 for the two of them.  And the lumbar pillow is our Embroidered Scrollwork Pillow from Willow House.  You can purchase this on my website for only $39.96.  {I got it for less as a Design Consultant-- you could, too!}.  The pale green throw is from Target and was only $9.99.

Now, the two smaller dark brown pillows, I ended up swapping out with the khaki ones you see in the Before photo to brighten it up even more.  I bought them at Target a few years back and they've held up well considering the use my sofa gets (think teenagers/young adults).   I'm thrilled with this lighter and brighter look!

What do you think?  What part of your decor would you like to lighten and brighten?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Flea Market Finds... and Other Fun Stuff :)

Last Friday I stepped into the Classy Flea here in Marietta for the first time in a couple of years.  I have never walked out of there empty-handed in the past and Friday was no exception.  Lots of pieces with potential and personality to be found... unfortunately, I walked in without my camera or iPhone (can you believe it?), so I'll just show you what I ended up bringing home.  Hey... it's better than nothing!  I was on a mission for a small piece or two to complete my family room bookcase do-over and I hit the jackpot at the Classy Flea!

The first piece I found is this blue ceramic liquor decanter!  I loved the size of it, the shape, and the bright pop of color.  $4.99, ladies.

Then I found this precious silver plate planter.  Perfect size for my English Ivy plant.  You'll see her again in my post about decorating with your silver pieces later this week. :)  Originally $9.99, marked down to $7.99.
I was feeling like a real bargain-hunter and having fun doing it!

In other exciting news, my pillows arrived from One Kings Lane over the weekend!  They are perfect on my chocolate brown sofa... more details about the other pillows coming soon.  But these Liora Manne pillows are my new loves. :)

Aren't they yummy??

And finally, I wanted to share a really fabulous giveaway over at Tatertots and Jello.  Jen has hooked up with Barn Owl Primitives (check out their Etsy shop!) and two lucky readers will win $50 gift certificates to their Etsy shop!  Fun, fun, fun... visit Jen's blog for details to enter (and while you're there, poke around for some really clever ideas!).  I'm totally in for this one. :)
Check out the entire sofa re-do tomorrow!

Happy Decorating!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Friday Night Hambone Soup

A brief departure from our winter decorating and my redecorranging at home to share this yummy soup with you.  I made it literally on a wing and a prayer, but it turned out so wonderfully I couldn't keep it to myself!  I had a hambone with a little meat left on it leftover from last weekend, so I pulled it out of the freezer and got busy.

Hambone Soup

1 hambone, with some meat left on it
1 carton reduced sodium chicken broth
6 cups of water
1 small onion, coarsely chopped
1 bag of baby spinach
1 can diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cloves of garlic, minced

In large stockpot, bring hambone, chicken broth, and water to boil.  Simmer over low heat for 1 hour.  Remove hambone and chop any ham into bite size pieces.  Add onion, garlic, and tomatoes to soup stock and simmer for 20 minutes over low heat.  Add spinach and chopped ham and simmer over low heat for an additional 30 minutes.

We enjoyed this with cornbread on Friday night, and then with grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch on Saturday.  The hambone adds so much flavor, no salt and pepper necessary.  If you like heartier soups, you could add a can of northern beans, too.


Friday, January 21, 2011

Wake Up Your Winter Decor

I've given some tidbits of my family room refresh lately, so I thought I'd close out the week with a few thoughts on winter decor.  I'm not one that decorates for every holiday.  Honestly, it's too much trouble and too time-consuming. I may give a nod to Halloween or Valentine's Day in little touches, but I mostly decorate by season.  This way I feel like I'm getting a "new" look on a regular basis, even if it's simply changing out my vase fillers and rearranging the family photos.

This winter I undertook a little something bigger in my family room.  For some reason, it's just never felt "finished" to me.  When I'm super busy, it doesn't really bother me.  But when life has slowed a bit, it starts to work on me!  My vision actually germinated even before Christmas.  I'm just now fleshing it out, bit by bit, working with a tight budget to freshen up my decor.  Here's a few tips that I've found are working for me.

Expand your space.  Mirrors are a great way to open up your space and reflect more light into your space. 

Chancellor Mirror from Willow House
Add in some metallic accessories.  Silver balls, a pewter pitcher or picture frame, or mercury glass pieces keep the light moving throughout your space.  Shop around your home and in your kitchen cabinets to see what you already have.

Ballard's Designs Silver candlsticks
Keep it light.  Don't forget about glass to keep accessories light and bright.  Pull out your simple glass vases or hurricanes, fill with coffee beans or split peas and a pillar candle or a simple vase filler.  These pieces are easy to refresh for a holiday like Valentine's Day or Easter.

Pottery Barn's Recycled Glass Collection

Swap out pillows and throws for lighter colors.  Even lighter shades of your furniture's colors makes a huge difference.  You can't go wrong with white, cream, or taupe, but don't be afraid to experiment with brighter colors and fresh patterns. 

Ballards Designs Le Poeme pillow

Add some green-- plants!  Pick up a couple of inexpensive low-maintenance plants like a pothos or English ivy.  Pull out your soup tureen or a favorite serving bowl for an interesting container.  Even your silver champagne bucket makes a striking home for some fresh greenery.  If all else fails, invest in a topiary or two or some silk ivy from your local craft store. 

Pier 1's Boxwood Topiaries
Remember to shop in your own home first! You'll be happiest with your refresh project if you spend as little as possible to make it happen.

Coming soon: Family room bookcase makeover.

The Chancellor Mirror is available through me by clicking HERE to shop my e-store.
Happy Decorating!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Mad for Metallics

My quest to lighten and brighten my family room has taken on new lustre.  Metallics have been around for awhile, but lately they are catching my eye more than ever. 

Here's my family room challenge: it's not a very large room with only your average 9 foot ceilings.  It gets nice morning light, but can be quite dim in the afternoon hours.  I have a large chocolate brown suede sofa that is terribly comfortable and cozy, but makes the space seem even darker during our short winter afternoons.  I have several wood pieces as well: coffee table, antique writing desk, media stand.

My solution?  More reflective accessories-- i.e. metallics!

I'm off to a great start with my new Ballards mirror.  It's large for the space, but it catches lots of light and with because it's virtually frameless it seems even more expansive.  I added some silver balls and my sweet little metallic deer.  Love my new mantlescape.

Loved it so much, I thought about incorporating even more metallics in the room.  I don't think I could go this far with a silver table.

Kirsten Grove via

 But I do like this look from One Kings Lane...

Truth be told, I'm not really in the market for a new table in the family room, but I was fascinated by all the options in metallics and how you can mix different metallics within the same room or even the same vignette.  It's the accessories that I need, right?

Like these mercury glass candlesticks from Pottery Barn. *Confession-- I have two on back order*  I got them on sale right after Christmas and will have fun finding a dark little corner for these to brighten.

photo by Erika Powell via

How about this simple idea?  Spray paint an ordinary wreath to have an extraordinary accessory.  This would be just as lovely in front of a powder room mirror as it is over this cooktop or on a front door.  Budget-friendly... I like it!

Even more budget-friendly?  Shop around your home.  When I did, I was amazed at what I found.  I have a sideboard full of silver-- in need of polishing admittedly -- but there for the taking.  Why wasn't I using all these pieces anyway?  I had, for some reason, relegated my silver to the dining room. I probably stored them away, tired of polishing on a semi-annual basis, only to have them sit in our little-used dining room unappreciated. 

My newly inspired self said, "Nonsense!"  and I got busy polishing. My grandmother not only displayed her silver pieces, but she used her silver every day.  I could hear her in my ear: "If you use it everyday, it will never need polishing."  And wouldn't these little-used pieces be the perfect accents for my dim little family room?  I didn't think so before, but I've been... enlightened.

I'll post some pictures in the next few days where my silver pieces have landed.  In the meantime, I drew further inspiration from Joan over at For the Love of a House.  I'm not sure how I found her blog, but her entry way and now her kitchen have drawn me in.  She also has some wonderful posts on her collection of hotel silver.  Click over there and see if you find yourself inspired to pull out your silver. :)

Happy Decorating!

Monday, January 17, 2011

And the Winners Are....

Congrats to Tracy Suzanne, CT Mom, and Dee!!  Check your email for instructions regarding winning our new Hawthorne Hurricane.

Thanks to all who entered and welcome to our new followers!  This is just the first of several giveaways coming your way in 2011.  I appreciate your readership and thoughtful comments more than you know!

Enjoy, ladies!

Color it Winter!

Settling into our winter decorating mode got me thinking about color-- the muted, peaceful colors of winter. has highlighted some of color trends for this winter and I agree!  How fresh are these?

Charcoal and aubergine

Gold and celadon

Eggplant and gray


Icy Blue and white





These are only some of the cool winter color schemes they feature at  Check the rest of them out and then come back and let me know your favorite.

Inspired yet?

all photos via

Friday, January 14, 2011

Winter Mantle Tweaking...

Because sometimes I'm just not finished...  I was packing away the Christmas decorations from my dining room yesterday (YES, was the "final frontier") and I just couldn't bear to put away these little metallic deer.  Part of it was that I bought them shortly before Christmas as Casabella's here in Marietta (a very dangerous place!) and I just hadn't enjoyed them long enough.  But part of it was that I'm trying to bring more metallic surfaces into my family room to help brighten it up.  So, lo and behold, I popped them up onto my freshly done mantle and ... Voila!

I think they add the pefect touch, don't you?

Here they are in their respective groupings... right at home.  I'm looking forward to enjoying these little "dears" for a while longer.

Incidentally, if you're in the Atlanta area, be sure to visit Casabella'a for decor, gifts, and furnishings.  They are located at 4400 Roswell Road in Marietta, GA, 30062.  You're sure to find something!

Happy Decorating and Happy Friday!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Refreshing the Family Room Update

You've already peeked at my mantle makeover, so here's a sneak peek at what else is in the works!  I scored both the rug and these pillows at One Kings Lane this week.  I can't tell you how many wonderful deals they feature and they change frequently so there's always fresh finds available.  The rug in a 5'x8' size (I layer it over a larger flat jute rug) was only $49 and pulls in more of the green I've been looking for.  I love the modern design! The pillows were $59 for the pair of 20"x20".  I've already snagged some with more color (coming soon), so I think these will be the perfect complements on my dark brown sofa.

More to come!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Winter Mantle Makeover

I've mentioned here my desire to freshen up, lighten up my own decor this year and (lucky you) you get to ride along with me!  When I saw that Beth over at The Stories A to Z was hosting a Winter Mantle Linky Party, it was just the kick I needed to get started!

So here is what I ended up with and I love it!  I picked up the mirror last week at Ballard's Backroom here in Roswell (outlet for the incredible catalog).  It has a teeny scratch on the outer edge, but I've had my eye on this one for quite some time and last week was an additional 30% off wall art and mirrors.  'Nuff said.  The sconces are Willow House Cordova Sconces and to brighten them up, I added two of our Terrace Appetizer Plates behind the tapers. 

They make a great combo, don't you think?

This little vignette keeps sticking around because I love it so!  The antique books belonged to my grandmother (I actually read these when I used to visit her as a child!) and the shepherd and sheep are part of my (now retired) Southern Living at HOME nativity.  They're so sweet they stay out year round here.  Always a reminder of who my Shepherd is. :)

Spheres are perfect in any decor and here I grouped three of different sizes and textures.  The birch candle is another fave of mine during the winter months.  Bring nature inside!

The hurricane is my Willow House large Galveston Footed Hurricane.  I love that the iron echoes my sconces (and my firescreen), but the glass keeps it visually light.  I added more spheres here mixed in with a few pinecones and artichokes.  The silver spheres I picked up at Target the other day-- perfect for adding another reflective surface and once again mixing textures.

Another view of the variety.  Keep it interesting without being distracting!

I kept the color palette to a minimum: greens, browns, silver, and a touch of red.  I love this fresh new look!  Let me know what you think, and then head over to Beth's blog to see other inspirational mantles.

All the Willow House products I mentioned can be purchased directly online by clicking HERE.

Happy Decorating!