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


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?

How to: Bring Fall into a Summer Palette

The summer color palette that I featured yesterday is fun, sweet and modern but how do you make your home feel like fall with such a cool palette.  I would say textures and pattern.  Bringing in neutral textures that remind you of fall and simple, classic patterns.

Here are a few ideas of how to add fall to your summer home.

summerhaves fall add ins blog

I love bringing in natural elements from the outside.  It’s free and brings texture into the home for the season.  How do you bring fall time in?

Tricks of the Trade: Awkward Bedroom Windows

Everyone has that one window in their home that is totally awkward and you can never figure out what to do with it.  I have one in my bedroom and so does the Decorator’s Show House that I mentioned yesterday.  I peeked just to make sure.

Here are a few ideas on how to make that awkward window beautiful!





Hope you can draw some inspiration from these ideas!

Bed / Bamboo Shade /  Chevron pillow / Ikat pillows / Floor Lamp / Table Lamp / Sunburst Mirror / Drapes / Night Stand / Floral painting / Bird Embroidery / Black & White Photography / Top Landscape / Landscape Photography

How To Start Designing a Room

This is a topic that can be very mind boggling.  Well, it goes back to your school days.  BRAINSTORM!  In modern day translation, this means PINTEREST.  Pinterest is a great way to start the process.

Here are some tips to get your creative juices flowing.

designing a project 3


I just started this process for my Residential Design class.  We are doing a Trading Spaces type project with a partner in class.  I have a partner that has traveled and lived all over the world.  I’m designing a sitting room for her.  Here is what I narrowed my board down to.  We both agreed on the inspiration picture.

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I think it’s a great start!  Here’s a link to my Pinterest Board for this project.

 Did you notice the tassel trim curtains?

Inspiration Pic / Pretty Tassel Curtains / Metallic Ceiling /

Large Coffered Ceiling / Glass Paned Doors


Tricks of the Trade: Two seating areas in One Living Room

I found this great living room by interior designer, Martha Angus.  I was instantly drawn to the deep teal of the velvet couches.   I also love the  beautiful aqua color on the wall and after painting my daughter’s room the same color, I have come to realize its’ versatile and, surprisingly, neutral manner.  I was also intrigued by the positioning of the two couches and thought, “Why in the world would you ever do that?”


I have to believe that there is either, some fantastic view or a TV at the other end of this room.  I suppose there could  be both.  Either way, I realized that this is a great way to solve the problem of having two focal points in one room and wanting to take advantage of them both.  It looks like the room could also be very long so this may be their way of breaking up a large space.  Here are a few tips when it comes to creating two separate seating areas in one room.

1.  Designate your areas- what will the separate seating areas be used for?  Conversation, board games, music, or lounging. This room looks like a lounging area at the front of the room and a conversation area in the rear.  The Barcelona chairs in the rear give the arrangement a more formal feel.  The couches in the front of the room look cushy and cozy for lounging, reading, napping, etc.  The two area rugs help to differentiate the two areas but the color palette unites them. 2in1LR2

2.  Balance- Make sure each side feels just as full or empty as the other. This arrangement has one continuous rug but uses furniture to make the spaces different.  Couches in one area with a couple of chairs and all chairs on the other.  Using white on the two large couches helps balance out the colorful chairs on the other side.  The white helps the sofas disappear into the wall  and the color on the smaller chairs helps to balance out the scale of the couches.  The same light fixtures used in each space helps to create a cohesive look.  This area looks like conversation seating and more conversation seating. 2in1LR

3.  Create the flow of traffic -By pulling the furniture off the wall you can create the flow of traffic through the room, therefore, creating zones in the same room.  The position of the door in this room does just that.  Don’t be afraid to pull the furniture off the walls, even if all the furniture ends up in the middle of the room.  If you have to yell to have a conversation the furniture is too far apart.


I created a TV viewing area in my Family room and a music area.  Of course, they can’t really be used at the same time but, often when music is being played others are just hanging out or reading in the TV lounging area.  Pictures to come!

Tricks of the Trade: Picture Wall Collages

My good friend did a great post about a Fall trend for 2013- Black, White and Wood.  Great post and good read!  Her posts always make me look around to see if I am in the up and coming trend for the season or how to incorporate the idea into my own space.  Usually, I’m years away from any trends but this year I’m on top of it.  I must have design ESP.

I recently created a picture wall collage in my Dining Room in the black, white and wood color scheme.  I’m so proud!  I’ve been thinking of doing this for years but never thought I could pull it off.  Maybe it was just a matter of motivation.  Well, I’ve been painting all summer and clean, fresh walls calls for a new look.

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Now, this took some serious brain power along with trial and error.  I read tons of tutorials.  Click here for the most helpful post I found.  There’s tons of inspiring collages.  I found this one to be most helpful since I knew I was using a shelf or two.


There are also quite a few elements of design to keep in mind when doing a wall of pictures.

1. Create a focal point

Use a picture, normally the largest or most colorful, as the focal point.

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This is an example of using color to draw your eye to the center of the collage.  Which leads to the next element, balance.

2.  Balance the focal point

You can use color and/or size to balance the focal point.


In this the collage, all of the large pictures with deep colors are used as the center focal point.  The other pictures have muted colors or use black and white to help create balance.  The height of the pictures on the wall is balanced out by placing pictures as low as possible on the opposite end.  The various sizes help fill in the gaps to help create balance without looking like a grid.

Speaking of grid….

3.  Create lines

Line is also a very useful element to use when creating wall collages.  You should choose a vertical or horizontal line for your pictures to be placed on.

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This is a great example of using vertical lines.  There are about five of them.  Can you see them?


This is an example of horizontal lines.  How many do you see?

The professionals say you should tape paper the size of your picture so you can move them around until you’re happy with the result. Like this…


I normally bang nails into the wall and patch and paint once I find the look I’m going for.  I must be the instant gratification type or I’m just extremely impatient.  Either way gets the job done.

It’s good to know that I’m in the “IN” this year, in more ways the one.

Coloring Interior Doors

I have been painting interior doors this week in my home.  They were painted in flat white paint and the after a few years of trying to clean the doors the dirt finally got to me.  I knew that they needed semi-gloss but white just didn’t motivate me at all.  I kept putting it off until I decided to paint them dark gray.  I looked at tons of pictures of doors and saw a lot of white and black.  White was too boring and black was too harsh.  Gray was a great compromise.  So, the exterior doors inside of the home are going to be dark gray and the doors inside the rooms will be light gray.

Here a few other examples of colored doors inside the home.


Having fun with the color of your interior doors helps to create interest and character.  There is so much more to do with doors.

Paint a pattern or design on a door

Wallpaper a door

Use leather and upholstery nails on a door

You can have so much fun with a feature in your home that is often overlooked.  Don’t ignore your doors.  They can be more than just white and ordinary.  Use your imagination and create interest!

What are on your interior doors?

Tricks of the Trade: Breaking up Long Walls

I have been remodeling a local café this week which is taking a bit longer than expected.  The café has a 24′ long wall that is bland and boring.  You can’t even see the end of it in this picture.


I have been working on breaking up this long wall by adding interest with art and architectural details.  It can sometimes be challenging to find the right mix to make a cohesive statement.

Here are a few ideas for your living space if you find yourself in this same dilemma.

Use three-dimensional architectural details.

Use unique materials to make it a focal point

Use a large piece of art

Or create a collage of artwork

Use shelves and storage cabinets

Furniture differentiates the space

This is my ridiculously long wall in my own home.  I distinguished my living area from my dining area by adding a vintage trunk.  I also angled the chair towards the living space to make it a bit cozier.  The large pieces of furniture, the armoire and buffet (a dresser), also help separate and balance the two spaces.

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Do you have a long wall in your home?  How do you break it up?  Would love to hear any suggestions!  I’m still in crisis mode at the café.