Elemental Design: Hotel Inspiration

In an attempt to draw some inspiration for my own bedroom, again, I looked back on a hotel that I loved.  It was one of those hotels that when you walk in your jaw just drops and it continues to stay that way until you leave a couple of days later.  My husband booked a room at Hotel Palomar in Philadelphia a few years ago and I still think about the room we stayed in there.

Here’s why I loved it so!

hotel palomar blog

I can’t wait to talk a little more about this room this weekend and how I drew inspiration for my own bedroom.  You can also see more of this beautiful hotel HERE.


The Holidays: Thanksgiving Get Away

Here are a few pictures of the place we’re renting in WV. It’s so quaint. I can’t wait to get there and put our own touch on the place to make it feel more like home.












The plan is to have dinner in the crockpot for Tuesday. Wednesday is suppose to snow so we may just spend the day playing outside, hiking, fishing, who knows. Maybe we’ll visit the cute little town of Berkeley Springs or go skiing. I’ve already got my eye on a mid century rancher so maybe a drive by can be arranged. We’re going out to dinner that night for my husband’s birthday. Thursday is all about a yummy brunch, watching the Macy’s Day Parade (it’s a tradition), napping, cooking, puzzles, games and reading. What fun, especially with teens! Wish us luck!

The Holidays: Making it Special

My little family and I have chosen to run away to the mountains of West Virginia for Thanksgiving.  No other family, tiny cabin on 7 acres, no electronics, just us and the kids.  It’s my husband’s 40th birthday and after the stressful month we’ve had this idea has become more and more perfect.  I wanted to do everything I could to make this holiday soooo special since we will be without extended family.

I picked up the November Issue of Better Homes and Gardens to check out a home designed by Lauren Liess, a designer and blog I follow and love.  The home was amazing but so was the rest of the issue.  I found a wealth of inspiration.

There was a section all about making guests comfortable in your home.  I took these ideas to use in a cute rental for my own family to help make our holiday that more special.

Here’s what I plan to bring.


I’m hoping that by bringing some of home and a few fun activities with us that this holiday will feel relaxing and very special.  How do you make your holidays special?

How to: Mix White Dinnerware with Rustic Stoneware

I love my newly purchased white, porcelain dinnerware but I am always drawn to the rustic elements of stoneware.  I inherited some vintage stoneware when my grandmother passed that I hold in a sentimental place in my heart.  I’ll never get rid of them but they’re brown (the one in the first example) and my family says they look retro, “and not in a good way”.  I determined to make them work so I played around with mixing pristine white dinnerware with more rustic dishes.

Here are a few ideas that I came up with.

white and rustic dinnerware

The trick is to mix other porcelain dishes in with the white and rustic stoneware.  My dinnerware looks like the first example.  I don’t have the faux bois dinnerware.  My husband may run away if I buy any more dishes, even if they are from Goodwill.

White porcelain / Brown plate / Faux bois plate /  Rustic gold plate / Hawk plate / Fiesta plate / Peacock plate / Turquoise plate / Mediterranean plate

Elemental Design: Dinnerware 101

I’ve been struggling with my everyday dishes.  This is a trivial trial in my life at the present but I thought I would let you in on what I’ve learned about dinnerware so to make the  decision of “what dishes to buy” a bit easier for you.

dinnerware graph

I have had the first three and they are presented in order from least durable to most durable.  After having a mix of plates for years and constantly throwing out heavily chipped and cracked dinnerware, I opted for the porcelain set from Pottery Barn.  My family is extremely rough on dishes but we’re still in the clear with these.  However, I do miss the earthiness of the stoneware and ironstone.  My mother-in-law gave me some pieces of her china that sit in a glass cabinet and have yet to be used.  Maybe this year will be the year.

Earthenware / Stoneware / Ironstone / Porcelain / Bone China

Life’s Designs: Small Homes

You should know by know that if my post is titled “Life’s Designs” that you’re getting something a bit more personal and a little crazy. I’m posting via my phone. Something I’ve never done before so excuse the mess. I’ve injured my back somehow and can’t leave the couch.
I have had one of those weeks. Emotional and chaotic and now painful. I really wanted to put a “For Sale” sign up and run away to a cabin in the woods to live. Life is soooo busy with teenagers and, of course, big kids come with bigger problems.
I ran into this article that was shared on a blog I follow. I swear I can’t remember which one. It just spoke volumes to me and even made me a bit homesick for NC and my small town. Sorry if the title offends.
Then my husband put on this documentary a few days later which really made me want to run away. It’s about one man’s experience building a tiny house. Awesome!  If you haven’t watched this you totally should.  I love the message it sends.  Society often judges us on how much you have or how big it is.  Really!?

This past Spring I found a home in California.  My husband and I always talk about moving there once the kids are gone.  This home was barely 600 sq. ft.  I really thought about what I would have to have to live there.  After going over the inventory of my home there were about 7 things I couldn’t live without.  It made me realize that all the other stuff doesn’t matter.  The beauty and simplicity of this home made me want to live a simpler life.

Here are  few pictures of the house that I can’t stop thinking about.

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I have fond memories of my hometown because my kids were small and things were simple.  My husband and I bought our first home there, which was an 1100 sq. ft. rancher.  I loved that house.  I remember cursing my small house in NC because it was so small.  We don’t have a huge house now, almost 2000 sq. ft.  We use every inch of it and I’m so grateful to have a home that fits us comfortably.  I always remember living in that small space where there was only one place to watch TV and one bathroom.  Now that was funny!  But those are the times that makes a family close, real close!  There was only one computer in the house and my husband and I didn’t even know what smartphones were.  Now it takes our 11 year old, who doesn’t have a phone, to say, “Why isn’t anyone talking?  Ohhh, you’re on your phones!”  Then you realize that times have certainly changed.  I want to take it back to when things were simpler.

Elemental Design: Parisian Parlor through Balance, Repitition & Symmetry

This post is all about a project I just completed for a class.  I was charged to turn my classmates study into a parlor where she could have private conversations with friends, read and write letters.  With only one teen at home and the other two away at college she can finally have the space to do something for herself.  I created a Parisian Parlor with a little Moroccan flair.

Here’s what her place looks like.


Here’s what I did.

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Perfect reading nook.

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Here’s some fabrics I used too.  The wood would be used for the insert into the tray ceiling.  I don’t want to use recessed lights but rather have a glowing ceiling.  The ceiling really helps to balance out the built-ins and flooring.

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The far green micro suede is for the chaise, the next two are for the chairs, cushions and pillows and the striped linen is for drapes.  I want drapes over the paned doors, as well for extra privacy.  The wall you see as you come into the space will be a gallery wall with black, gold and wood frames to repeat the patterns created by the windows and doors. This was our inspiration for the room by Charlotte Moss.

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So glad that’s over but loads of fun!

Elemental Design: Combining Wood Tones and Chair Styles

All week I’ve been trying to figure out what chairs to buy for my dining room table that I’m refinishing.  I wanted to update the table by adding those great Bentwood chairs with a combination of another style of chair.  There are so many options out there it can be overwhelming.

Here’s a few ideas I came up with to help guide me in the right direction.

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As long as the wood tones are in the same shade of color you can combine anything.  Although these examples seem like a perfect match they are all different woods with many textures that add to the hue of the wood.

Tricks of the Trade: Complementary Colors and Wood Tones

There’s a lot to be learned from the color wheel.  In my quest to refinish my dining room table and update the look with different chairs I’ve discovered some valuable information about complementary colors and wood tones.

When complementary colors are combined they create a shade of brown, which can help you choose a wood tone for your room that much easier.

Here are a few examples.

complementary colors & wood tones

This also helps to know shades of wood tones to mix in a room.  Look at the color palette in your space.  Maybe these colors are used as accent colors.  Do your wood tones work with the colors in your space?

Elemental Design: Styling with Balance and Symmetry

I’ve seen a lot of posts on how to style your mantel for the fall.  Well, I’m one of those unfortunate few that doesn’t have a mantel to style.  I styled a few other pieces of furniture that everyone has in their home using balance and symmetry, as well as, fall pieces that I featured in my post yesterday.

Here’s a few ideas how to use these elements in your own home.




Bowl / Copper Vase / Pink vase / Media Console /

Entertainment Center / Baskets / Pumpkin