Friday, February 5, 2021

Industrial Kitchen Goes Glam

I just decorated and staged a house for the Parade of Homes in Winston Salem. The event runs this weekend and next. When I work with a client, I like to pay tribute to the homeowners and family. After all, these are the people who live in the space.

In this case, it is the builder. So, I incorporated a lot of unique industrial and hardware accessories throughout the home. This is my favorite kitchen setup. Here is a great example of the type of unique kitchen items that we use. Having a kitchen that will impress anyone who walks in depends in large part upon placing unique kitchen supplies in the right space. 

Check out my napkin ring holders. Industrial kitchen goes glam. I love to decorate with the unexpected. So, this is one of my "shout outs" to the . He took a lot of time and effort into building the home so the least I could do was to acknowledge and recognize him in my design plan. What do you think?

I got these in the plumbing aisle at the Hardware store. You should have seen the look on the sales associates face when he asked "Can I help you?" They didn't have the vision and looked at me like I had 10 heads. Oh well. So, I was on my own, in search of the perfect napkin ring holder. I think this did the trick.

Check out my blog for more photo and inspiration on how to "decorate outside the box." Or as Joanne Lenart-Weary likes to say "I never would have thought of that!"

Happy Friday,

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Wednesday, October 7, 2020

a closer look at faux finishes - no ragging here!

I love picking the brains of professional artists. They are a wealth of knowledge (and of course creative) and I always learn something when I beg them to answer my questions!

I recently met and have began working with Dee Cunningham, artist and owner of . Dee specializes in murals, faux finishes, decorative painting, trompe l'oeil and more. After brainstorming with her about my own kitchen cabinets and a client's dining room wall, I decided to ask her a few questions so I could share her with you!

(trompe l'oeil niche and the lower half is faux wood, by Deelite Designs)

1. When we met to discuss my kitchen I was happy to learn that you can faux paint metallic finishes and tiles (to simulate a tile back splash). What other treatments do you offer that most people may not know about/consider for a paint treatment?
When people think of "Faux" they usually think of sponge painting or ragging. Those techniques are a solid foundation for more interesting and complex finishes. There is a whole world out there of faux finishes, or as I like to call them "artistic finishes" because it’s more than just a sponge or rag. I do a lot of plasters, metallics, crackles, lime plasters, faux bois (woodgraining), faux marbe (marbling), as well as the staples: color washes, blended glazes and striae. Walls are only the beginning. In addition to walls, I've painted ceilings, floors, furniture, and will be learning a special (green) product that can go over existing counter tops. The product is super durable, and can achieve effects such as granite, onyx, and other natural stones.

(oak cabinets before)

(oak cabinets after, by Deelite Designs)

2. More on kitchens. You offer many custom treatments for cabinets. Explain how these treatments are better than/different me opening a can of latex paint and rolling it myself? And, what are the benefits of oil vs. latex paint on woodwork?
Cabinets in kitchens probably get more abuse than any other surface in the house besides counters. A homeowner can certainly paint their own cabinets, but may be disappointed if necessary preparation and quality products are not used. I follow a regimented set of steps in order to make sure the client's cabinet finishes don't fail. Latex enamel paint has come a long way and can be used on cabinets, but for a tough finish, I still use oil. Oil closes well and doesn't soften with humidity. Painting cabinets can be more cost effective than refacing and certainly replacing. Plus you can get custom colors (the entire paint deck!) to match your decor.

(mural, the girl is on canvas, by Deelite Designs)

3. Do you paint murals and what do people need think about when considering a mural and hiring an artist for that type of job?
Murals are my specialty! Murals don't have to be just for kids’ rooms. I have done "murals" that are more like a custom piece of art for the client. I also do decorative painting by adding accents or flourishes to walls, ceilings, etc. When considering a mural, think of placement, subject matter, size, and level of detail. When I paint murals, I ask a lot of questions. What is the budget? Why a mural? Do they have reference images? Can the mural be executed on canvas and installed? I like to do canvas murals because they allow me to work in my studio and not in the client's home for months. The canvas is married to the wall and is virtually undetectable unless you walk up close and feel the texture. The biggest bonus is the mural can be taken down if the client were to move or change the purpose of the space thus saving their investment.

(tree featured on HGTV's "My Big Amazing Renovation," by Deelite Design)

4. What is your favorite paint treatment and is there anything you won’t paint?
If it stays still, I can paint it! I have painted surfaces where I was very apprehensive about the paint sticking, and in such cases I make the client aware of this. I don't think I have had to say "no" yet to a client. The closest to "no" is, "I’ll try it out on myself first and let you know." I have painted walls, ceilings, floors, furniture, glass, tile, etc. It’s all about research, proper preparation and practice. I don't really have a favorite paint treatment. My favorite moments are when the work is complete and the client is happy. The whole picture comes into focus and the vision has been achieved.

(ceiling before)

(faux mahogany ceiling, after, by Deelite Designs)

5. What trends are you seeing now in paint finishes?

Trends right now are all over the place. I have seen modern treatments with graphic patterns, traditional and completely unique. I do think that the trends of faux finishes follow trends in interior design and fashion. I have seen less "old world" crumbly plasters and "Tuscan" interiors and more "Transitional" looks, cleaner lines and personalized interiors. Less browns and tans and more clearer colors. Faux finishes can be tailored to any interior design style. The possibilities are endless!

Happy faux finishing!


After such a wonderful post about the color GREEN from April, I couldn't pass up the lead in to talk about my passion for GREEN as in sustainability.

Think about these for a minute:

  • By 2015, it is estimated that we will spend $121.7 billion to refurbish our homes with new furniture pieces.
  • The U.S. EPA reported that furniture accounted for 8.8 million tons of our waste stream in 2005, quadruple the amount in 1960.
  • About 3 million tons of Styrofoam was produced in 2000. Of that amount, 2.3 million tons were thrown away. How much of that Styrofoam packaged household decor items?

One of the nice things about redesign is the positive impact it has on the planet. By reusing, re-purposing and restyling a homeowner's existing furniture, art and accessories, redesign keeps these items out of the municipal waste stream and landfills.

Last night, I had the opportunity to present the concept "Redesign is Green Design" to a group of about 25 individuals at the The 1.5 hour long presentation was well received by the group which included homeowners, interior designers, decorators and other professionals.

I know I'm preaching to the choir but I think it bears repeating: Redesign, by the very nature of the process, supports the three fundamentals of sustainability: reuse, renew and recycle.

With a bruised economy, people are naturally trending toward more sustainable lifestyles by reusing things they already own. But if the above estimates go unchanged, the damage to our planet will continue at an alarming rate. Redesign makes a lot of sense on numerous levels and should play a big part of your business marketing.

It's time to embrace a more sustainable, "green" lifestyle. We don't have a choice! Redesign isn't just about pretty.... it's about saving our planet.

Happy Green Decorating

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

HUEmor me: decorating with green

There's a lot of talk about green home products and green decorating.

This post, however, is about the color green -- an always fresh color that ranges from pale sage greens to vibrant, lime green.
Look around outside and you'll see every shade of green imaginable. The combination possibilities are unlimited and that's good because I'd hate to see you limit yourself!

The yellow green on the walls of this living room are balanced by the white wood work and furnishings and the beautiful wood floors and rug. Notice that they varied the value (lightness and darkness) of the green in the room by adding darker plants. The pops of orange keep the space interesting. Lovely! (Tuck the rug under the sofa and the room is complete.)

You don't have to paint your walls to bring color into your room. The lamp and accessories on this table are a great way to introduce a little bit of a color. Grouping the green items together provides a greater impact. Yellow, orange and brown pair nicely with the green.

This photo is from a spread from the June '09 issue of
Living magazine (it was also the cover image). It's been sitting on my desk for months just waiting for this green post! I pieced it together on the scanner, hence the seam down the middle. Why the love? The mix of greens against the wood paneled walls and white furnishings is striking. The green on the skateboard and the green view from outside complete the space. Notice the pillows on the sofa? Varying values of green! Large-scaled patterns on the pillows and a smaller-scale pattern on the rug help create a great mix all around—all without paint.

If this soft green kitchen doesn't make you want to cook, what would? The light hued cabinets, the herbs and plants and the green cafe curtains all bring peace and calm to this space. Green doesn't have to be bold to be inviting!

This bold, green bed frame is balanced nicely by the brown bed linens, lamp and rolled towels. The striped bench compliments the green and the bedding pattern. The soft green walls provide high contrast to the room, which adds visual interest. There are two things I would change in this room. I would hang larger art or more smaller art over the bed and add fabric window panels to the windows. These would complete this traditional room with a green twist!

Here's a room you won't soon forget! Like the room or not, the color values are right on and the pop of orange with the green and violet creates a lovely triad color combination. The walls and other details could use some finessing, but we'll focus on the color.

Are you seeing a pattern yet? Green with orange, brown and white/cream are popular with me! This room adds color through paint, but without painting the entire room. The paneling on the lower portion of the walls add architectural interest to the room. The varying wood textures are great and the art is a nice size. My only wish is that they painted the ceiling one shade lighter than the walls. A girl can dream, right?

A few of my favorite green color pairings
(aside from what's shown here)

Green & yellow * Light green & light blue * Green, white & black * Green & red (they are complimentary colors, keep the values similar and it'll look great) * Green & pink and brown

Ballard Designs' Devon lamp
Shiny, happy & green lamp with textured lamp shade

Are you green with envy? Don't be! Add some green to your rooms in a small way (a grouping of accessories, art or a lamp) or, in a big way (paint all walls & ceiling) and sit back and enjoy the view!

What are you favorite green pairings? Leave a comment. It'll make me happy!