Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas & warm Holiday greetings to all blog friends! ..

I’ve always had such a big interest in  decorating,  especially for the holidays. I thoroughly enjoy it,  so when my parents called on me a few days before Christmas to decorate their home for the season. I jumped on it! I decided to make the living room  mantle the focal point of their holiday decor,  it greets visitors,  and is also where our family will gather for the Holidays. 


 Barr holiday mantel 039

Okay now comes the fun part. Yep, I kind of figured you would want to know some of the dets of how I achieved this look.

I used two oversized garlands, one at the top above the mirror and one on the mantle. The next step might make you a little squeamish, to hang the upper garland you will have to use two picture hanger hooks in.  Yep, you will have to make a few small holes in the wall.  The holes will have to be patched after Christmas.  Come on folks you can do it,  that’s what spackle was created. The lower garland you can secure with nails underneath the wooden mantle. That’s one of Mom’s crafty tricks!

The garlands aren't the skimpy kind you see at Target and WalMart, oooh no, these bad boys are densely thick and come with a hefty price tag.  You can purchase them at specialty Christmas stores.  I bought these the day after Christmas for half price,  and have used them many times over the years.  My clients often rent them for the holidays. I used a combination of fresh Noble branches mixed in with the artificial garland.


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She chose a burgundy & gold color palette. I  used this magnificent velvet fabric on both ends of the mantel, I allowed it to cascade to the floor in a puddle. 

Barr holiday mantel 019

I placed this elegant angel mom purchased at Home Goods,  in the center to be the crowning gem. We love Home Goods!!! I placed the angle on a pedestal to make her appear airborne!

Barr holiday mantel 041 

Sorry about the blurry photos folks.

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Barr holiday mantel 026 

I mingled curly willow and birds (mom’s favorite) throughout.  We call all birds rippers,  not sure why,  we just do. lol

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burgundy velvet wired ribbon

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( before)

Barr Thanksgiving centerpiece 052


 Barr holiday mantel 039

Wishing you all a very blessed and Merry Christmas!!  Have a wonderful 
day and enjoy!


Last week while at my niece and nephews Holiday program, they sang about figgy pudding.

It's amazing what the brief mention of this Victorian-era Christmas carol did for me.  Come to find out every year, thousands of people around the world, including myself  become curious about the figgy pudding mentioned in the secular English carol, "We Wish You a Merry Christmas." Apparently, it came from an obscure little dessert.

“Please pass the figgy pudding!”

Figgy Pudding

For design inquiries,  write to Laurie at


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Suburban home: Part three

Get comfortable, curl up,  and enjoy the rest of  this redesign. Missy, a nurse and a dedicated mother of three,  has the perfect family room/ kitchen for a makeover. The walls in this spacious family room were also painted with Restoration Hardware’s  Latte. The worn neutral carpet will be replaced with durable hardwood, the slip covered sofa was donated to our local women's shelter. I plan to work in a L -shaped sectional to be placed where the existing sofa is, and it will wrap around the corner to the right, this will give Missy and her family ample seating, it’s the perfect fit. One half of the sectional will be placed in the existing sofa location under the windows

and …

Missy family room before 001

That means the other half of the new sectional would also run along this wall ( seen below).

Missy family room before 002

Proposed chenille blend fabric for new sectional,  it’s a soft mocha brown, magnified a thousand times.

miss kitchen after 024

To the left of the sofa is the kitchen,  a wonderful dinette area and a dramatic eight foot height slider.  The floral pictures will find a new home on another wall in the family room.

Missy family room before 005

We replaced the existing  wooden drapery rod in need of repair, and we also replaced the floral print drapes and dinette set. This darling breakfast nook lacked charm.

( before)

Missy family room before 004 

The draperies on the sliding glass door are now replaced with two soft silky panels. That slide open and closed for privacy.


miss kitchen after 007


I purchased this hand forged drapery rod and finials at Liz’s Antique Hardware in Los Angeles, CA

miss kitchen after 012

The finials & the brackets are true vintage antiques from an estate in Los Angeles, CA. Aren't they AMAZING?

  The rod was handcrafted at Liz’s, to match the patina and the shape of the finials.  This is one of the many unique services offered at Liz’s. (It’s one of Rachel Ashwell’s favorite places.)                                 

miss kitchen after 011

( before)

Missy family room before 004 


miss kitchen after 002

Missy’s new dark espresso dinette was custom  made.  It’s 48” round and is supported by a  oversized pedestal, and pairs beautifully with the casual rattan chairs. I purchased the chairs for Missy at Home Goods. I suggested she  fashion the table surface with a glass top,  for a kid friendly surface. This rich dinette makes a huge statement in this breakfast nook. Isn’t it dreamy? I think so.  Notice how the tones in the drapery repeat the color palette of the wood tones.

miss kitchen after 003 

With the holidays just a few days away, I decided to surprise my BFF with a little holiday vignette in her newly remodeled  breakfast room. She almost always has fresh flowers around the house, so I snagged a few and had some fun. She had this magnificent amaryllis, that I wanted to steal and take home with me. lol  But instead I just admired it’s beauty and adorned it with a burlap sack.  I love to infuse a bit of color around the holidays.

missy holiday kitchen 006

I placed a vintage inspired clock inside the lantern and made a unique bow from an old tea stained ruffle I had, I love it’s crinkly texture.


xmzs vinette 004


I dug out this cute black / white image of my mother in law. It’s hard to see the image, but she is wearing a trendy polka dot gingham dress with ruffle detail around the sleeves and white bobby socks with pumps!!!

xmzs vinette 003

I found the old wooden box ( to the left) with it’s dovetail corners in my closet.. It was a garage sale find.

Merry Christmas Missy!!!

I hope you like your breakfast nook all “fancied up” as you would say.

missy holiday kitchen 003

I hope you folks found this post inspiring.

Coming up soon, I will rework this family room wall, stick around.

Missy family room before 002


Thank you for being such a humble wonderful friend by allowing me to share your newly redesigned home for the world to see.  I am truly grateful.

Happy Holidays to all! xoxo


Monday, December 13, 2010

Suburban home: Part two

I typically encourage my clients to spend their moola on a few timeless antique pieces. The niche seen below is brilliantly located,  it can be seen from several rooms in this house. My design concept was to utilize this niche with a large console or built – in.  As you folks know a built–in means custom,  and that comes with a fat price tag.  We chose  to bring in a console with a thick glass top 60” wide. As you can see the niche jogs out quite a bit more on the right,  than it does on the left. 

Missy was fortunate in that the previous homeowner had installed upgraded lighting throughout the house. Seen below the recessed lighting splendidly placed washes the niche walls.


Missy niche (3)

Missy’s new console being installed, we’re so excited!

Missy niche (2)

  Rustic corbels from Restoration Hardware's 20th – Century collection. Aren't they massive???? They are elaborately hand–carved of reclaimed teak. 

 Missy niche (5)

The mirror was a garage sale find. ( yay!)

 christmas tree skirt 005


By turning up the scale – literally – this console brings much warmth into this room. 

christmas tree skirt 006 

Behold  the striking console in it’s new home ( YAY!) 

missy dining-niche 011

Missy styled this stunning dreamy holiday vignette, no doubt she’s having fun playing with this new toy! We love the sparkling mercury glass.

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Give your home a completely fresh new look.

I invite you to join me for Part three,  coming up soon.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Suburban home gets a prescription for change

  For fun be sure to read my original story, click here

I left off in June 2009,  after undergoing several months of interior design talk, I walked to my friend (neighbor’s) home,  just a few short steps away. I really love this job, How lucky can you get? I adore Missy and her family, I’m really enjoying helping tap into her amazing creative side. It’s something I cherish. I began to introduce Melissa to a few of my favorite go to colors.  I presented  her with a color scheme of neutral tones and not so neutral tones.  She chose the neutral tones, a magnificent choice!  I’ll get back to the paint later in the post,  I promise.

While Missy didn’t mind stepping over the toys and other kid stuff that littered her formal dining room ( to the back of this photo),  she would love a dining room and living room that is stylish,  relaxing and --  best of all-- grown-up.  The house was suffering from “ boring-itis”. I recommended moving the children’s play area to her upstairs bonus room.

She will order a custom new slipcovered sofa and loveseat later when she saves some more moola. I’ll get back to the living room later.


  emi 375

(Living room/Dining - before)


I got to work right away looking for a  budget-friendly dining table. First stop Bungalow Antiques, a wonderful antique mall close to home.  With a plethora of amazing things to feast your eyes on. I strolled around a bit,  and stumbled upon this piece.  This stunning farm table top was covered with various antiques  piled high to the ceiling, chairs, side tables, silver trays, etc etc etc. All I could see was these substantial legs with farmhouse-style turnings peeking out at me-a true vintage look. “ Beat, beat, beat” (that’s my heart) 


The cost for the table $1200.00 REDUCED to $599.00.   I know Melissa likes a good bargain,  who doesn’t?

Okay,  now all I had to do was bring her in and convince her that this table was a wonderful investment and show stopper? Only one thing though, at first glace all she could really see was the rustic legs! “lol”

I love the thick, planked wood top!



The varnish on this table has yellowed over time.  It’s wood finish is seriously outdated and will need some sprucing up.



After some strong persuasion and comforting her concern that it was too large for her dining room, she agreed to disagree.  As you can see in the photo,  the chair less farm table has found it’s way to a new home- Melissa’s dining room. This rustic farm table will bring unparalleled warmth to this room. 


We love the distressed knots and grain pattern

The two photos seen below are from Pottery Barn’s dining collection, retail cost $1,499.00. Now that’s a fat price tag!!  Look how closely the style and craftsmanship resemble our antique farm house table above.  

Detailed View

(Proposed  refinishing color option #1 )

Look at this exceptional depth of color in this stain finish.

Pretty sweet, eh?

 Sumner Dining Table

(Proposed refinishing color option #2)

previously style-starved windows and walls seen below


( before)

Although we experimented with Color Visualizer  (paint selection software) from Sherwin Williams, when it came to crunch time. We tested a few samples and she tastefully chose one of my go to colors throughout her 2700 sq. Ft. two story Restoration Hardware’s,” Latté”.

Seen below her dining room being painted,  using warm colors, totally changes the feel of this room.  If you glance to the right upper corner of this photo, you can just barely see the ceiling. the same paint color Latte was used on the ceiling,  just a lesser strength. I love the soft continuous line with the ceiling painted. Remember, on the ceiling, paint will always look darker.  I chose to paint the ceiling in this room for ambience and intimacy.  

christmas tree skirt 011

( after)



( before)



Her three formal dining room windows now adorned with new crisp white plantation shutters.

missy dining-niche 003

missy dining-niche 001

( after)

I’ve decided to break this remodel into several different posts for you, so that I don’t leave any of the dets out. Stick around everyone, next post I will show you some of Melissa’s family room and niche area. This previously style-starved home is becoming a relaxing and stylish abode.

For design inquiries,  write to Laurie at