Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Back to School Organization

The school year is right around the corner. Want to get your kids excited about going back. Recreate their closet 
space. I know they have been asking you to take them shopping for some newest trends, but before they can go 
shopping ask them to get what they have organized. Have them go through their closets and sort their clothes, what 
fits and what doesn't.  Through out the years children and teens can collect a lot of clothing.  Sometimes its hard
to throw away a shirt or your favorite jeans, but if you haven't worn it in a year you probably won't. Let them donate 
their clothes that don't fit to Goodwill or the Salvation Army. You can also take the clothes to Platos Closet which is 
for teens or Once Upon a Child, both of these stores buys back clothing.  All great places to start for donating clothes.
If your closet isn't already separated with organizational products, you can go to your local Bed Bath & Beyond, 
Target,or Walmart to find great products for organizing. Now that a lot of college students are going back for another 
semester these stores offer great deals on organizational products. Make this a fun activity for your child/teen, while 
secretly teaching them how to be organized.
After all that organization I'm pretty sure you have cleared out some space in their closet and its time for some 
fun and a little quality time shopping with your kid.  

Think money well spent to get you child/teen motivated to start the new school year.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Historic Garden Week

The House and Garden tours are offer statewide from April 21st-28th 2012. The tours feature more then 250 Virginia Gardens and homes. The Historic Garden weeks allows us to get a peak at Virginia's most beautiful and historic gardens and homes. Each house within its beauty displays fabulous springtime flower arrangements. This is one of America's largest open house.

This week the tours are in Richmond from Tuesday the 24th – Thursday the 26th . If you missed it on Tuesday they showcased 6 house in the Richmond: Ampthill / Wilton Area. It includes the manor house of Ampthill Plantation and the Wilton House. Wilton house is now used as a museum, and the headquarters of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America in the Commonwealth of Virginia.Ticket includes admission to the following 6 locations:
  • Gullquist home and garden, 203 Ampthill Road
  • Johnson III home and garden, 215 Ampthill Road
  • Johnson home and garden, 5301 Kenmore Road
  • Hetzer home and garden, 118 Paxton Road
  • Clark home and garden, 206 South Wilton Road
  • Boyd home and garden, 4 South Wilton Road
Today, Wednesday the 25th, there will be a walking tour in the museum district on the Boulevard. The Boulevard is the avenue dividing Richmond’s Fan District and Museum District. Its feature this year will be the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts, which completed a contemporary wing and redesigned its gardens in 2010. This walking tour offers views on the families homes that live on this street. The tour displays the creative art, architecture and history of the Museum District. Ticket includes admission to the following 9 locations:
    DeBiasi home and garden, 7 S. Boulevard
  • Brooks home and garden, 1 N. Boulevard
  • Martin home and garden, 6 N. Boulevard
  • Spencer-Ziehl garden only, 10 N. Boulevard
  • Glick home and garden, 105 N. Boulevard
  • The Confederate War Memorial Chapel, 2900 Grove Avenue. Open until 4 p.m.
  • Austin home and garden, 409 N. Boulevard
  • Wells-Clements home and garden, 509 N. Boulevard, #14 at The Tuscan Villa
  • Moss-Maddix home and garden, 2701 Park Avenue
On the final day, Thursday the 26th they will be showcasing 7 houses on the tour of Richmond: Three Chopt / Westhampton Area. This tour features beautiful homes and gardens along Three Chopt Road and some of the neighboring streets. Before this area was know for its beautiful homes and gardens, it was once an old Indian trail. Ticket includes admission to the following 7 locations:
    Massie home and garden, 602 Levering Lane
  • Fox home and garden, 6310 Three Chopt Road
  • Van der Wolk home and garden, 6426 Three Chopt Road
  • Kempe home and garden, 6615 Three Chopt Road
  • McKinney/Tolliver home and garden, 30 Old Mill Road
  • O’Hagan home and garden, 25 Towana Road
  • Cain home and garden, 53 Towana Road
You can buy your tickets in advanced for $35. All the tour proceeds fund the restoration and preservation of Virginia's historic gardens.

Find out more at nbc12.com under “all access”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Inside the House of Maya Angelou

Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou in her heavily restored Harlem house.

Poet, educator, author, playwright, activist,historian, producer, actress, director Dr. Maya Angelou is one of the most renowned and influential voices of our time.

Born Marguerite Johnson on April 4, 1928 in St. Louis, Missouri and raised in Stamps, Arkansas. Here Maya Angelou experienced the brutality of racial discrimination, but she also absorbed the unshakable faith and values of traditional African-American family, community, and culture.

As a teenager, Dr. Angelou’s love for the arts won her a scholarship to study dance and drama at San Francisco’s Labor School. At 14, she dropped out to become San Francisco’s first African-American female cable car conductor. She later finished high school, giving birth to her son,Guy, a few weeks after graduation. As a young single mother, she supported her son by working as a waitress and cook, however her passion for music, dance, performance, and poetry would soon take center stage.

Maya Angelou's five-volume autobiography commenced with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings in 1970. The memoirs chronicle different eras of her life and were met with critical and popular success. Later books include All God's Children Need Traveling Shoes (1986) and My Painted House, My Friendly Chicken and Me (1994). She has published several volumes of verse, including And Still I Rise (1987) and Complete Collected Poems of Maya Angelou (1995). Her volume of poetry, Just Give Me a Cool Drink of Water 'Fore I Die (1971), was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize.

Maya Angelou currently owns three homes. One in Winston-Salem, the other two are townhouses in Harlem New York. Maya Angelou has lived in New York many times. She has had apartments in Brooklyn and on Central Park West and Riverside Drive. But in 2003 she decided it was time to buy a brownstone in Harlem. It was to be a retreat from her full-time residence, an 12-room house in Winston-Salem, N.C. This is a neighborhood where ravaged brownstones bought for $67,000 in 1996 sold for $500,000 in 2004. Maya Angelou's property is worth well over $3.4 million today.

Maya Angelou wanted a space in which to entertain her legions of friends in New York. Unlike most second-home owners, she was looking for a getaway to the city, not from it. And she soon found it. This was the first and only house she looked at in Harlem. A four-story brownstone Built in 1881, the house is nearly 4,000 square feet and sits on a historic block of 120th Street in the Mount Morris Park neighborhood, the most-sought-after area in Harlem. It took a gut renovation to turn the shell into the stunning, high-ceilinged home it is today, with five bedrooms, three full bathrooms and two half bathrooms. Her Harlem home is largely decorated with objects of art from Africa and works that reflect the experiences of African-Americans.

Her front parlor is vivid and a little larger than life. Oversize armchairs and couches are upholstered in raw silk in shades of lime, tangerine, cherry, grape and bright yellow. The grouping gives new meaning to the phrase eye candy. It is said that Maya Angelou wanted this room to look like a bowl of summer fruit. The dining room is behind the parlor, dominated by a round glass-topped table that seats 10 in bright red lacquered chairs. Painted clouds drift overhead on the light blue ceiling.

At the back of the house is the breakfast nook. It is sunlit and painted marigold with terra cotta-colored trim. An elegant stairway arises from the front entryway that carries you directly to Maya Angelou's blue master bedroom. On the top floor are a laundry room and the two other bedrooms.

Inside, eye-catching artifacts of rarer quality are on display everywhere. They vary from luminous paintings of African women ferrying babies in slings to charming drawings of little African-American girls wearing yarn ribbons in their hair, resembling illustrations from the 1950s. African masks, quilts, photographs and sculpture sit on tables, hang on walls, line stairways. Collages by Phoebe Beasley are scattered through the rooms.

Her Harlem house is much more than a vacation place or a simple change of scenery. It’s a true second home. In a article written about Maya Angelou's Harlem home she states, “I never agreed with Thomas Wolfe. I never thought you can’t go home again. I’ve been coming home to Harlem for 50 years.”

Maya Angelou’s words and actions continue to stir our souls, energize our bodies, liberate our minds, and heal our hearts.

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.
-Maya Angelou


Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The House of Hattie McDaniel

I thought I would finish this black history month with a week of some of the famous African Americans that have become historic figures in America.  Also getting a glance at what their homes where like when they were at their prime.

Hattie McDaniel

Hattie McDaniel was the first African-American actress to win an Academy Award. She won the award for best supporting actress for her role of Mammy in Gone with the Wind a film from 1939.

Hattie McDaniel was born June 10, 1895, in Wichita, Kansas, to former slaves. She was the youngest of 13 children, here she grew up to become one of the most controversial and historic figures of film.

In McDaniel's time, America was segregated in virtually every respect in terms of race. Hollywood was not color blind and relegated black performers to strictly subservient roles where they played maids, butlers and dim wits that were superstitious and un-educated. McDaniel infused her subservient roles with a bombastic personality that she enhanced with impeccable comic timing. Despite her success she was not without her critics.

The NAACP charged her with degrading herself and her race to which she responded “I would rather play a maid and make $700 than be a real one for $7.” The NAACP’s remarks started a contentious debate over whether McDaniel was a trial blazer or merely perpetuating racial stereotypes.

Despite others thoughts the academy award winning actress broke the color barrier in film, and covenant laws, to buy her house on Harvard Blvd. in West Adams. In the heart of what was Sugar Hill on Harvard. When McDaniel started making good money she, along with other wealthy African American entertainers and business people bought homes in the spacious and tidy neighborhood known as West Adam Heights. In 1938, old colonial mansions in Los Angeles, California ranges from $15,000 and up.

McDaniel had purchased her white,sprawling two-story, seventeen-room mansion in 1942. The house included a large living room, dining room, drawing room, den, butler's pantry, kitchen, service porch, library, four bedrooms, and a basement. McDaniel had a yearly Hollywood party in what was know as Sugar Hill.

Hattie McDaniel's house on Harvard Blvd. in West Adams where she through yearly Hollywood party.


Hattie McDaniel's in her house holding her Oscar,she won the award for best supporting actress for her role of Mammy in Gone with the Wind a film from 1939.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Dorm Rooms with Style

It's finally here, your first year as a freshman in college. As you walk into your dorm room what will you see, four bare center block walls, some basic furniture, and a window. No you are not in prison, look at this as starting new chapter in your life.

With all the other exciting new things happening on campus you still want to decorating your dorm. So how can you spruce it up to make it feel more like your room? Let this be a blank canvas for you to design a space that is unique to your personality. Take this time to create whatever you want. There is little you can do about the furniture and the white sterile walls, but don't let this discourage you.

You want a place where you can feel comfortable and make it personable. Here are some tips on how to decorate your dorm that are easy and inexpensive!

Use curtains and fabrics to bring in color, Walmart offers an excellent selection of decorating products for college students. Check your local Michaels or craft store for peel -n- stick stencils. A white board is a must in a dorm room, hang it on your door so your friends can leave messages to let you know what's happening around campus. If you can carve out space for a sofa, do it. An added area in your dorm will make it feel more comfortable and a great places to just hang out. Dorm rooms aren't that big so use mirrors to make your space look larger. Don't forget about your ceilings and consider alternative ways to hang window treatments. 

If you have a roommate determine your design together, an symmetric room will work perfectly. Play around with the furniture you have, the room maybe small but if you find the right layout it will work for you. Utilizing the walls to decorate adds more space on the floor.

Just be as creative as you want and don't forget to add personal touches to your new space.  Check out some of these dorm rooms for inspiration!

{Better Home & Garden}
Use colors and prints to draw your eye from the white walls.

Inexpensive stencils add interest to the walls.

Hang window treatments differently.

Symmetric room gives balance in a small area.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Monday Crush

This is for all the DIY lovers.  While in Lowes this weekend flipping through all the wonderful magazines they have, I found an easy way to install Crown Molding. It's by a company called Ez-A-Peel.  In less then one hour with NO tools you can add value to your home.  

Crown Molding can add so much style and elegance, with its classic look.  It is also a great feature for those who you may want to sale your home later. 

Check out their website for more information: www.easycrownmolding.com.  Here are also some images to get your juices flowing for some Crown Molding...

Monday, May 9, 2011

Monday Crush

During my weekend adventures, I came across some really cool Watercolor prints at Carte & Barrel.  As I looked around other stores I notice that there were a lot of watercolor prints on various items.  This seems to be a new trend in the design world.  So here are a few of the items I saw that I'm crushing on...

Crate & Barrel Cylinder
Handmade entirely of recycled glass.

Pillows from Crate & Barrel
 Inspired by modernist watercolors. 

 Pillows from West Elm, the perfect punch
to spruce up a bed, sofa or chair.

Chair from Anthropologie.
How about this as a fun focal point in a room? 

I found this great watercolor painting at a local antique shop.

I love this spring's trend of watercolor prints! Hopefully this inspires you to add some watercolor trends to your space.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

35th Annual Richmond Home & Garden Show

A must do this weekend if you are interested in Interior Design and finding new ways to decorate your home. 

Visit the 35th Annual Richmond Home & Garden Show.  Where they showcase over 300 of Richmond’s companies specializing in decorating, landscaping, remodeling and construction.

Check out this website for more details:


Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Genie in a Bottle

New Year... New Style...

"Paint in a can is like a genie in a bottle. It transforms whatever it touches. Beyond that, it's liquid gold, money in the decorating bank. For just a few dollars and a little time, paint rewards you with big decorative returns".
                                                                                                                                                             -Valley Design Co.

It's amazes me all the things you can do with just a can of paint.  It can be used on almost anything walls, furniture, and even floors. Take a look at some of these paint ideas to revitalize and refresh your space for the New Year.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Determining Your Style, Is this me?

When you’re trying you determine your style, gather all the images you’ve clipped and saved.  Think about turning these styles into words like- vibrant, elegant, clean, traditional, bohemian, modern, comfortable, classic, or dramatic.  People usually have a melting pot of styles and ideas, so you don’t need to settle on one word.  It may seem like a task, but naming your style really helps to focus on a design idea.  It is the first question a designer will ask you.  If you are not sure what your style is a, designer can help you name that by some of the pieces you already have in your home.  Discovering your style will make it easier when you are starting to decide on colors, furniture and accessories for your newly designed space.  So think of it this way, if you were strolling through a store and you see a trendy chair, and you think, “Hmmm that’s cute, but I’ll probably get tired of it because I’m more into the traditional look.”  At that moment you can walk away, mistake avoided, money and time saved. 

Monday, November 29, 2010

Ideas for Designing on a Budget

Think your design ideas are bigger than your budget? Think again, these are a few ways to achieve the look you want for less.

Paint: Painting is the cheapest investment you can make, it’s also can give your room the most dramatic result.  If your not sure what color to use, many paint stores offer sample paints for about $2.00.  Don't be afraid to put some color on your walls for a fresh and inexpensive look. 

Shop Secondhand Stores: Thrift stores, consignment shops, flea markets, and even salvage yards offer a bounty of discount decorating items. Look for furniture that you can easily reupholster and paint yourself.  That will surely bring the old furniture back to life and give you a unique approach to your design scheme.

Wait for Sales and Discounts: Wait to find what you really want at a price that won't hurt your pocket. Look around in different stores, if you find something you really like, ask if the item will be discounted any time soon. Store and department managers are usually the best sources for that information.

Mix, Don’t Match: Not only is a "matchy-matchy" look boring, but buying entire suites of furniture tends to cost more than putting together a creative look. A great way to mix it up is by purchasing items that are upholstered in complementary fabrics, or adding unmatched nightstands beside your bed and decorating with other unique items not defined by color, form, or material. Or try pairing a wood table with shiny aluminum or brightly colored plastic chairs. Mix and Match different materials and textures, it is sure to make anyroom stand out.

Add Unexpected Accessories: Almost anything can be used as an accessory, found objects and household items that cost almost nothing.  A bowl filled with green apples lends a bright pop of color to just about any surface, and a stack of vintage hardbacks adds height, dimension and character to an occasional table.  I'm pretty sure if you look around, your house is full of nicknacks just waiting to be used.

Reuse Items You Already Have: You don't have to buy new pieces to turn a space from boring to "WOW". Instead, again look around at what you already have and think about how it can be reupholstered, repurposed or reimagined.  Reinvent a dresser as a dramatic dining-room sideboard with a few coats of glossy black paint and new hardware.  use a slipcover and various accent pillows to make an old couch look fabulous again.  Turn plain pillows into amazing accents by stenciling simple designs on them.  After all, your imagination is the best budget stretcher ever.

Check out this great buy I found for my mother this weekend at a local flea market.  I got these chairs for $5 bucks!!  It was so simple and inexpensive to fix them up, an easy reupholster and paint job.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Art of Relaxation

A living room is nothing if it's not relaxing. It should be the place where you unwind after work, hangout on the sofa, read a good book, watch your favorite TV show, share a glass of wine with friends, play Candyland with the kids, or whatever else is high on your list for indoor leisure. While some of us might fantasize about hotel or resort lounges and worry about keeping the house sparkling. This is not an idea of family relaxation. That does not mean that our home is always in chaos. No, home relaxation is more about adding easy clean and instant tidying into the original design, while thinking about the overall harmony of scheme. Use harmonious colors, furniture that can be easily cared for and create a feeling of ambience. A relaxed room is one that feels comfortable to you and reflects your style and personality.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Dream Your Room

Dreams are free for the imaging.  What would your dream room look like?  First things first, make a wish list.  Start with a great piece to set the scene.  A bed is a great starting point.  Or start smaller with an area rug.  You can use that to pull colors that you like.  Find something that inspires you.  And always, always set a budget for yourself, it will help keep you on track.  Here are some images that come to mind, when I think of my dream room.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Stylish Headboards for Kids

I think one of the best aspects of the bedroom is the bed. It sets the scene and is the starting point of a well designed room. It’s the one thing and the one place your kid can honestly say they're going to use every day. With that being said, why not go wild and be creative. Make their bed as stylish and comfortable as they want it, by installing an upholstered headboard. It doesn't even have to be a traditional upholstered headboard. There are many different ways to create the headboard effect. They can come in all shapes, sizes, and even material and the best part is your kid can dream up and create their own shape! Take a look at some of the different headboards below and you can see just how creative you can be!


Sleep Tight!!

Monday, November 15, 2010

My Design Method

Someone recently asked me how I start a design for a room, when I know nothing about the person. 

I feel like as soon as I walk in someone’s home, I can get a sense of what a person likes and doesn't.  I can get a sense of what colors they like, if they are a person who likes clean and neutral colors or a bright bold color.  If they are more traditional mixed with modern or their home has an eclectic feel.  When I am designing a room, I like to ask for clients to show me something that describes their personality.  From this I can pull colors and different elements that I can use in their space.  This always helps me to create a beautiful and unique space designed just for them.