It’s Time to Fill the Fireplace…

Ah…the sound of peace and quiet. The fashionista is in summer camp (“Glamping”). She left wearing a Lily Pulitzer sheath (her choice), a pink tutu bathing suit and Target flip-flops. (I am one proud Mama over the fact that she has mastered mixing high-end and low-end to perfection). So while she is kayaking, doing archery and hiking she will certainly look good, and the camp counselors will be wondering if I even have a clue what “Day Camp” is. I know she wasn’t signed up for “How to Host the Perfect Garden Party for Pee-Wee’s”, but can’t a girl enjoy the outdoors and look stylish too?

This week our Mother/Daughter project is a vegetable garden, and so far she’s decided she wants Hot Peppers (evidently they are cute), Carrots for Ellie (the horse), one Pumpkin, 2 stalks of Corn, and lots of Chocolate Mint (because she loves chocolate, and I couldn’t break her heart by telling her that it’s not real chocolate). Of course, Mr. B. hasn’t gotten near the shovel, he believes that gardening is “for chicks.” Although, I bet if I could figure out a way to wheel out his 72″ T.V. during  an Atlanta Braves game we could get him to help us during the commercials…(meow).

So in between putting the cutest little seedlings on “God’s Green Earth” into the freshly tilled soil, I found time to meet with a few clients. While one of my design clients was talking about her latest idea for a bathroom remodel, I was fixated on the fireplace and imagining it filled with something really eye-catching rather than burned out ashes and soot marks. An absolute pet peeve of “The Ace”  is having an empty fire box during the summer months. I thought I would share some of my favorite ideas for turning that empty space into an interesting and unique place to display collectibles…(and Janie this is for you)…


Stacked logs arranged in varying diameters creates a work of art.


Fill the empty fireplace box with a unique piece of statuary.


Not sure what to do with books that are destined for the garage? Stack them in the fireplace…a creative way to store books while creating a unique focal point.


I love anything that has to do with the beach, so filling the fireplace with shells is the perfect definition of summer.


Want to spruce up fire wood? Spray them silver or gold…(just remember to use real wood not gas logs).


Gorgeous greenery can hide unsightly gas logs…


Anyway you stack them, birch logs always look so very rich.

Shells, shells and more shells…


Anything arranged in groups always creates a impactful focal point in a fireplace.


These porcelain logs are on order and arriving at Casa B. just in time for a summer soiree.

Of course don’t forget to enter the #beautifulswitch @ Pinterest Challenge from LegrandNA for a chance to win some fabulous prizes, including $500. to Lowes and pinned items from the adorne Collection. Go to for more details. (P.S. I’m one of the judges). I do want to mention that I am not receiving monetary compensation, but fabulous product.

As always don’t forget to follow my Pinboards on Pinterest for more design inspiration…


For the Home/ My Top 8 Easy Updates

Ah…a much needed break from the world of design (but, never blogging). For a whole month. Why? Because I have three projects that I need to start at Casa B. The Master-bath, a deck (because I hate bees flying into my java on those sultry summer days), and my office. I’ll be sharing the designs soon, as I begin the long process.

I can check off one project because two years ago we completed the basement (aka Mr. B.’s man-cave), complete with a tumbled marble bath (for moi’). We finally watched a movie this weekend because Mr. B. was sick of hearing me complain about the money we spent on a ridiculously large TV  (72″). Of which, has never been on anything but ESPN. So out came the 3-D glasses and the all time classic, “Finding Nemo.” What they never tell you when you purchase a 3-D television is that there are about 2 movies available in 3-D, “Finding Nemo,” and  “Men in Black 2.” So for the better part of 2 hours I kept my eyes closed because the 3-D effect was making me just a tad seasick.

So while we enjoyed family night, I decided that the basement walls needed to be striped, so after we return from Disney next week, I’ll be calling around to see if my faux-painter extraordinaire is available to perk up the man-cave. Which brings up the subject of this post, some fabulous ways to update your space, because it’s that time of year “out with the old, in with the new.” While I’m not a DIY’er technically, I wanted to feature some inspired ideas that require a little time and effort, but add just the right amount of glam to refresh and renew your home.

1) Faucets- Yes, this idea has inspired me to re-think replacing some builder grade faucets, and having them sprayed with a warm bronze finish. Instead of going to the expense of buying new, I think this is a perfect solution to mixing up the metals in one of my guest bathrooms. (Check out ehow for step-by-step directions )


2) Decorative Tape – I share this idea with at least 10 people a week, because I get asked repeatedly what my top update for the home would be. It’s an easy way to add style and panache to plain drapery. With a little fabric glue, just run patterned fabric tape down the leading edge of the drapery and voila´, a new look.

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3) Adding fabric blocking to the base/ header of drapery. This gives a custom look to “off-the-shelf” drapery, or any existing solid coloured drapery that you may be dogged-tired of. This is one of my favourite instant make-overs. It allows you to buy a smaller amount of expensive fabric, and by adding it to the bottom/ top of a panel, you can get a luxe look for less.

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5) Vent Grilles. My absolute pet peeve. I have seen more standard metal vent grilles in high-end homes than I even care to think about, and it drives me crazier than using plastic white/almond switch plate covers. So if I could pick one thing it’s to “86” the metal monsters, and go with something that gives your home a finished look. I love this one, but also have some amazing selections in wood.


4) Spice-up the Lampshades. I secretly hate solid-coloured lampshades (think white or ecru) and with some ingenuity, this would be a really fabulous way to add impact. One idea that I love, is writing a favorite verse on a shade in pretty cursive. As a former English Literature major, I have prose floating around aimlessly in my head that I would love to use as subject matter for this brilliant idea.

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6) Grout colour change. Sick of the standard boring white? Update your grout with a darker colour. Is it possible? Absolutely. But, call a professional tile installer first before attempting this yourself. Trust me. (If Mr. B. ever goes in one of the guest baths I am in serious trouble).

Photo credit/

7) Stencils. Yup, I said it. There are some absolutely eye-catching stencils available, and although some look complicated they are actually quite easy. Of course that is taking into consideration that you have a steady hand and patience, of which I have tons of the former and not so much of the latter. Or pick a pattern and call a faux painter (yes, they still exist in a world obsessed with wallpaper). Why do I like stencils? Because you can still get a high-end “wallpapered” look, but  it’s an easy change (i.e you can just paint over it). Have you ever tried to take down wallpaper? Enough said.


8) What to do with Plastic Kids Toys? I ABSOLUTELY swooned when I saw this DIY. I not only love the fact that you can immortalize some of your child’s favorite toys with a little metallic spray paint, but how fabulous would these be grouped together in a living space, i.e. on a bookshelf or tabletop. An easy accessory update. P.S. Don’t go crazy on the toys until your sure that your child isn’t going to play with them ever again. In fact, there are so many things in a home that could be totally transformed with a little metallic spray paint.


As always don’t forget to visit my Pinboards on Pinterest for more design inspiration…


The Indoor Gardener-Part Uno

Last week I was asked by one of my client’s to help her with indoor plants, I really didn’t mind in the least (I may have dropped a few strong hints because I really felt like the space needed some live greenery). In fact, I love to garden whether it’s indoors or out. So am I going to do the job? Absolutely. I have a list of “go to’s” that are virtually indestructible, unless you drop them off a ten story balcony, or forget to water them for days (guilty).

Okay, now it’s time to overshare, when we lived Intown in the ATL, we had half an acre of overgrown, virtually impenetrable green space…it took me two years of just trying to make sense of a garden that we inherited from the previous owners, who had planted something that looked like the film set from the show “Lost.” I hacked away, dug up, re-planted, and prayed, until I ended up by hiring a company with a back-hoe to come in a completely level the back yard with the exception of some 100+ year old Maples.

The garden left behind…

 The result in the end garnered us a spot on the Decatur Garden Tour. A lot of blood (literally), tears and a few years of planting (by my own hands) almost every flower, tree, shrub until slowly over time my vision came to life. In fact our neighbors literally thought that I was just the full time gardener. We have since moved into a community based on “New Urban-ism” with zero lot lines, which has unfortunately forced me to move my “mad” gardening skills indoors.

Here are some of my favorite picks and some great examples of indoor gardening, and some plants that when paired with Ivy, Creeping Fig, Pathos or Moss can become a miniature oasis that brings the outdoors “in” without a lot of care…and who wouldn’t love that?

Bamboo, I love the airy loose feel of this plant, I even love Black Bamboo more…it can be a tad tricky to care for, and can dry out easily so definitely not for the faint of heart, but the look is worth it. Of course, as this picture shows there is safety in numbers…

 Cast Iron Plant/ Picture courtesy of

Now this plant is appropiately named (the tall plant in the middle). It’s lives up to it’s reputation, because I think that you would have to have use something made out of  iron to kill it. I love it alone, with just mounded moss at the base.

House Beautiful

I love the exotic feel and the fact that the Fig leaves are concentrated at the top, in a cloud of greenery. Perfect for high ceilings or rooms that need a focal point of sky high proportions.

I like Palms. Alot. But, my hands-down favorite is the Lady Palm. I love the way the fibers in the leaves split, it gives it a really unique look, and of course high ceilings are required.

The old proverbial “Dish Garden” can be a thing of beauty as long as you use unusual pairings…My favorite trio would be the Zeezee Plant, Arrowhead and the Creeping Fig, layered, and then finished off with a layer of variegated moss (maybe a few shells too).

via Southern Living

Now this is what I call a collection, but what prevents it from being static are the Cast Iron Plant (L) and the Japanese Fatsia (R) another one my “go to’s”.

(If you recognize this picture, and know whose work it is please convo me so I can give “credit where credit is due.”

I love mosses (Reindeer, Sheet or Irish and the list goes on), I use them often, mounded, or as an organic soil covering. (Shh…hhh..) I’ll let you in on a secret… when Sheet Moss losses it’s colour fill a spray bottle with water and green food colouring (spray it on), and voila’ it’s fresh and new. I learned this secret when I took a floral design class in college…


Ah..the Ming Aralia…its just so feathery and delicate that I love it as a stand alone…it’s what I like to think of as a quiet botanical beauty that adds a little texture without overwhelming a space…


If I had to pick one favorite, it would be succulents. I absolutely love them, and they are in pots all over my house, and outside. They are sculptural, unique, and when grouped together, the shades and tones rival any sunset. They don’t require much water… and for that I am eternally grateful.

This is a loft I finished at the beginning of the year, my client lacked a green thumb, and I really felt that a little live greenery would be just the ticket to finish off the space. So we settled on Chinese Evergreens in metallic pots, and last I checked they are still thriving.

P.S. This space is going to be featured on soon in a series called HomePros,  I was thrilled and incredibly honored to be asked. As soon as it’s up on the website, I’ll post the link.

Until then…