Bedrooms Makeover Reveal

As promised, here’s the transformation of the rest of the apartment!

Bedroom 1 Before

Bedroom 1 Before

Bedroom 1 After. Among other improvements, the door was removed, floors replaced and ceiling tiles were refreshed.

Bedroom 1 After.
Among other improvements, the door was removed, floors were replaced and ceiling tiles were refreshed.

Bedroom 1 After

Bedroom 1 After

Bedroom 1 After

Bedroom 1 After

Bedroom 2 Before

Bedroom 2 Before

Bedroom 2 After

Bedroom 2 After

Bedroom 2 After

Bedroom 2 After

Bedroom 2 After

Bedroom 2 After

Bedroom 3 BeforeThis tiny room was a challenge!

Bedroom 3 Before
This tiny room was a challenge!

Bedroom 3 AfterWe maximized the space by using this combo bed/desk/dresser.

Bedroom 3 After
We maximized the space by using this combo bed/desk/dresser.

Bedroom 3 After

Bedroom 3 After

Bathroom Before

Bathroom Before

Bathroom After

Posted in Bathrooms, Decorating, Teen Bedroom, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

A Room of Her Own, Revisited

So if I was embarrassed by 3 months passing between my last post and the previous one… I don’t even know what the word is to describe what I should be feeling now! Funny thing is, I’m not worried. This blog is a way to record my creative wanderings and sometimes I’m wandering around too much to check in.

Right now, however, I’ve just finished a project that I was so incredibly proud to be a part of I want to share it. The kindness of others never ceases to amaze me.

About 2 years ago, A Room of Her Own was born. Along with my very talented co-chair, Scott Schersel from Interior Spaces, we coordinated the efforts of local designers and community members to adopt the 20 maternity bedrooms of the residents of Alpha House. In two weeks time, these rooms were transformed from drab, dreary dorm-style bedrooms into beautiful, boutique style havens for new moms and their babies. Click here to see the transformation.

Since that time, Scott and I have assessed all the living, office, and classroom space at Alpha House. We determined that our next project would be the semi-independent apartment. This is a 3-bedroom apartment within the walls of the maternity residence. It’s a space where homeless teen moms live and learn about how to become self-sufficient. The girls who live there have lived in a maternity bedroom and have had to apply to move into the apartment. It is space reserved for those who have proven they are determined to make the changes necessary to improve their lives and the lives of their children.

As I have witnessed many times now… when you put things out into the universe, the universe responds. What happened next was simply astounding. A member of our community was visiting Alpha House to learn more about the mission. She was shown the design board and learned about our plans for the apartment space. On the spot, she made a large donation to make our dreams a reality.

If you think that’s incredible, here’s more! We were referred to John Martinez of JSM Custom Builders. Initially, we were concerned that the construction costs alone would eat up our generous donation. John surprised us by not only donating the cost of his services, but he lined up sub-contractors who donated their time, and in many instances, the materials as well. There are no words to describe our gratitude to John and his associates. They worked tirelessly through the holidays to replace tired, dingy carpeting with beautiful hardwood floors; tore down and replaced cabinetry in the kitchen, installed lighting fixtures; built closets, ripped out bathroom tiles, etc., etc., etc… all to bring this project to its fruition. When they were done, Scott and I finished it off by adding furniture, artwork, area rugs and other necessities. The payoff in the end was the smiles and tears from the residents and staff at Alpha House.

And now…without further ado, is the big reveal of the main living areas. I’ll share photos of the bedrooms next week!


Entryway Before


Entryway After

The entry mirror and lighting set the tone for a relaxed setting.


Living Room Before


Living Room Before


Living Room After


Living Room After

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

Kitchen Before

Kitchen After

Kitchen After


Kitchen After

Kitchen After

Kitchen After

Kitchen After

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Make Something Every Day

So well… what happened?!! I can’t believe it’s almost July and I’m embarrassed that 3 months have passed since my last post. Yikes! Life really does move at warp speed sometimes.

Since March, I’ve done many color consultations, a few redesigns and lots of living! We’ve had several milestone birthdays in my family and my son graduated from high school. In fact, we are taking him to college in 2 days!

In the midst of all this activity and “life assessing” opportunities, I’ve come to discover a simple truth. I like making things. And I like making things for other people. So while my life is hardly ever predictable, the things that get me motivated have really never changed. That is, I love the creative process and learning new things. Sometimes it’s hard to keep my momentum on my passion du jour, but during busy times like these, I’m forced to examine what it is that I like to do best. As a result, I’m re-evaluating my toolbox. In the busy hubbub of this summer, I’ll be brushing up on a few old skills and learning some new ones, as well.

And while it’s a little late for New Year’s Resolutions, I’ve decided that my motto for the rest of the year will be, “Make Something Every Day.” (To make myself feel better as a measure of my success, if I don’t actually create something, I better have done something to “make” life better for someone else!) Yesterday I crafted a few personal greeting cards. Today I baked some delicious chocolate chip cookies. I also designed the new header for my blog. I’m excited to figure out what I’m going to be doing tomorrow! Whatever it is, I hope to learn, to share and to create.

As a side note, the book that jump started this process is “Steal Like an Artist. Ten Things Nobody Told You About Being Creative,” by Austin Kleon. It’s a quick read and I highly recommend it not only for creative types, but for everyone else as well. There’s lots of good life advice… in fact, I’m hoping my son will read it before he leaves.

Anyone care to join me on this creative journey? Comments are welcome!

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How to Stylize a Bookcase

(Article written for the March 2012 issue of the Westchase WOW)

When it comes adding a little pizzazz to your home, a bookcase can be your best friend. It’s functional, usually takes up space that would otherwise look glaringly empty, and if you’re willing to think out of the box, doesn’t have to just hold books!

The first thing I assess when I look at a bookcase is does it add or detract from the overall ambiance of the room. If it is disheveled and unorganized, it can give the whole room a feeling of clutter.

I then look around the space and try to incorporate the bookcase into the overall decorating theme of the area. If there’s no theme, I start with color.

Job one is to empty the shelves. If I need more color in the room, I paint the back of the bookcase. If I really want it to pop, I cover the back walls with wallpaper or wrapping paper. Wrapping paper, cut to size, is fun because it can be changed out very easily.

After the shelves are cleaned, I sort out the items that were on it before. I ask, do they all have to stay? Can anything else fit? How can I make the arrangement more interesting?

If all the books have to stay and there’s no room for anything else, I sort the books according to topic, color and size. I may put all the travel books together standing in one corner and then lay all the biographies on their sides next to them. Varying books standing up with books lying down creates visual interest and balance. I might also decide to add more color and unity by simply covering the books with scrapbook paper.

If I have room on the shelves, I try to incorporate other items. In the photo here, you’ll see I used decorative boxes (which hide old family photographs), trophies and greenery.

Spending and afternoon stylizing your bookcases will pay off with a more cohesive look to your home.

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When Life Gives You Lemons, BEDAZZLE IT! (or, How To Bling Out Your Crutches)

So my last post was about my trip to New York and the inspiring view of Tangerine Tango. Today I’ll share why I was there.

Ten months ago, my 15 year old daughter was diagnosed with Developmental Hip Dysplasia and underwent major surgery called Periacetabular Osteotomy (PAO). The story of how she wound up in New York for the diagnosis and surgery is a long one and I’m happy to share it with anyone who has interest. Our journey to that point took several years and my daughter and I both benefited greatly from others who had been down that path before us. We hope to do the same for others.

My daughter has recovered beautifully and we went back to New York last week to have 5 screws removed from her hip. This was a relatively minor procedure and I’m happy to say she is doing fabulous.

Okay… now onto the lighter side of this! When my daughter found out she was going to need the PAO, we knew she would be on crutches for at least a month. She faced the possibility of maybe having to be on them much longer. And because the apple doesn’t fall very far from the tree when it comes to BLING, she and I decided to be proactive.

The day before her surgery, she met with a physical therapist. Regular protocol would have called for the PT to bring the crutches to her several days after the surgery. We asked for them in advance. With the doctor’s blessing, they were fitted the day before and she and I started work the night before. It gave us a nice distraction before she was admitted to the hospital.

Step one was to cover all the metal parts of the crutches with pink, holographic duct tape. You can now find all kinds of colors and patterns in duct tape in stores, but a year ago, I had to find it online. Honestly, just being covered in pink would have made the crutches far prettier than the standard old metal.

For the underarm padding, we had taken the advice of a new friend from England who had had taken us under her wing in the weeks leading up to the surgery. We bought the zebra covered pads from It’s a great product and can be purchased in many colors and patterns.

The bling was my job. When they wheeled my daughter to the operating room, I had a lot of nervous energy. I can’t tell you how grateful I was to have a project to keep me busy. I worked right in the waiting room. Six hours is a long time when you are under that kind of stress.

The original design was pretty simple. She had wanted the crutches to be totally covered with the rhinestones, but I quickly realized the technique I was using would have taken forever. I came up with another design that took less time and also saved my fingers. For this go round, I used super glue and a bag of assorted sized rhinestones from Joanns. Here’s what they looked like then:

This shot was taken about a month after the surgery. The crutches are a bit beat up, but they were still pretty dazzling.

She used them for just about a month. She was happy to be done with them and tucked them away in a closet.

This fall her hip started bothering her again and it was decided that those screws that were supposed to be permanent had to come out. We scheduled the procedure for last week and out came the crutches again. If I’ll say one thing about my daughter, she is determined. While she loved the original crutches, she knew that with this second go round, she wanted her original design.

And so we went to work. In the two weeks leading up to our departure, the crutches stayed on my family room coffee table. We used Elmer’s Glue this time, so we were able cover a larger area to fill with rhinestones before the glued dried. We also didn’t have to stop periodically to unpry our fingers from each other… one of the downfalls of using super glue. The glue isn’t as sturdy as the super glue, but this time, it was projected that the longest she’d be on them was two weeks. We figured that wasn’t such a long time and we’d touch them up at the end of each day. Here’s a that close up again:

Pin It

As I write this, it is just one week from her surgery. The screws are out and she’s walking fine. In fact, she dropped the crutches 2 days ago.

So far, a happy ending. Feel free to share this crutch idea. It was fun to see all the great, positive responses she got from people while she used them.

My beautiful daughter, Bri

Of couse she'd want pink crutches!

Posted in Bling, Crutches, Decorating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Tangerine Tango in The Big Apple

One of the most fun parts of my job is reading and learning about projected trends and then seeing if they actually come true. A game I play with myself is to actually try and guess what the new color of the year will be. I took part in The Great American Teach In this year back in November. A student asked me what color I thought would be front and center in 2012, and I said, “Orange.” So I was really proud of myself when my projection came true when Pantone announced “Tangerine Tango” the color of the year. I was even happier that I had actually said it publicly. Made me feel like I know my stuff!

At any rate, just because a color is announced in the beginning of the year doesn’t necessarily mean that I see it everywhere right away. I live in Tampa, which has a fairly large population, but I wouldn’t say we are on the cutting edge of fashion. It usually takes awhile for styles to trickle down to us. I say this, making an exception for tropical trends and bathing suit fashions. As dreadful as bathing suit shopping is, have you ever shopped for one in a state that is nowhere near water? Let me tell you, it can be very depressing… but I digress.

My point in all this is that I was in New York City last week. And wowzer… Tangerine Tango was everywhere! There wasn’t a direction I looked in that it wasn’t popping me right in the eye. Every store window was showing it… from H&M to Saks to Apple. It was crazy. So colorful…and it looked great against the backdrop of the cold winter sky. It was great proof of the pick me up power of color.

While I wasn’t able to snap many photos, I jotted down notes and assembled some items here for you to see. I don’t usually like to post other people’s photos, but I’ve made an exception in this case. I think it’s really fun to see how this color is sure to infect our lives.

Enjoy the view….

H&M Nail Polish

Coach Bag

Mens ChronoGraph Watch


Nintendo DS

Puma Golf Bag

Sony Cybershot Camera


Diane von Furstenberg dress

Fleece Gloves

Brooks Brothers Boat Shoes

Posted in color choices,, Color News, color wheel, Decorating, picking a paint color, Tangerine Tango, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

How I Use Pinterest

I’ve been using Pinterest for a few months now and love it. It first came in handy to just have an online spot to organize the things I love. But now I find it’s the perfect communication solution for working and sharing ideas with other people. The concept is simple. You see something online that you want to share and then you simply “pin” it to an online board where everyone can see it. You can upload your own photos, too. You can even make boards that others can pin to, and control who gets to put where.

There’s the capability to share my “pins” on Facebook, but generally, I prefer not to. I pin a lot, and I think it might be annoying for everyone in my social circles to see all my pins. But I have noticed a lot of interest (pardon the pun) in Pinterest on Facebook, and thought I’d share what I’ve learned so far.

It’s easy to get started. Here’s a few simple steps to get you going:

1. Go to

2. Click on “Request an Invite.”

3. Enter your email address.

4. You will get the invite soon. If you don’t get it within 24 hours, re-request it. The first time I did it, I waited, and waited and waited. I finally got fed up and entered my email again. I got the invite within an hour. I don’t know if this was a glitch or not, but I offer my experience as a warning.

Once you are a member, the first thing you are going to want to do it to add the “Pin It” button to your bookmarks bar. The following instruction is taken directly from the Pinterst Help page:

To install the “Pin It” button in Firefox:

  1. Display your Bookmarks Bar by clicking View > Toolbars > Bookmarks Toolbar
  2. Drag the “Pin It” button to your Bookmarks Toolbar
  3. When you are browsing the web, push the “Pin It” button to pin an image

Once installed in your browser, the “Pin It” button lets you grab an image from any website and add it to one of your pinboards. When you pin from a website, we automatically grab the source link so we can credit the original creator.

From there, start creating your boards and pinning. Don’t be afraid… it’s really easy and you really can’t mess anything up. It’s a very simple device and I’m sure you’re all going to find different ways to use this handy tool. If you’ve got any questions, put them in the comments section below. I’ll do my best to find the answers and I’m sure whatever I don’t know, someone else will.

If you’re not ready to dive right in with your own account, feel free to follow what I’m doing. Just click on the link below and watch me go!

Follow Me on Pinterest

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Energize Your Home Interior with Tangerine Tango

Sophisticated, dramatic and seductive are the words Pantone uses to describe Tangerine Tango, the 2012 Color of the Year.  A cool reddish orange hue, Tangerine Tango will be used across the consumer marketplace to inspire, recharge and move us forward. This lively color will not only be featured in interior home décor, but also on the fashion runway, product packaging, store displays and cosmetics. In fact, Sephora will launch it’s first SEPHORA + PANTONE UNIVERSE Color of the Year beauty collection this spring.

“Tangerine Tango is an orange with a lot of depth to it,” said Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute®. “Reminiscent of the radiant shadings of a sunset, Tangerine Tango marries the vivaciousness and adrenaline rush of red with the friendliness and warmth of yellow, to form a high-visibility, magnetic hue that emanates heat and energy.”  Pantone has been one the design profession’s leading color authorities for nearly 50 years

To incorporate this hot color into your home, look first at areas that need a burst of energy. An accent wall in the kitchen, bedroom or bathroom may already work with the existing colors you have painted on the walls. If the color seems too strong, try it in small doses for unexpected pops of color. Pillows, candles, bedspreads and throws are easy ways to incorporate the color into your existing décor and add spice to any room. Look for appliances in Tangerine Tango for the kitchen. You’ll also see this hue become available in personal electronics.

Color pairings that work well with this year’s top color are Tangerine with either Spa Blue or Minty Green, Tangerine with Icy Blue and Lime Green, or Tangerine with Pale Blue Violet and Glitzy Gold. For subtle sophistication, pair this sassy color with a soft neutral, like brown, gray or silver.

What do you think of this year’s color? My mind is busy racing… trying to figure out how to incorporate it into my own home. I’m sure I will… and I’ll be sure to post my results. Have you used this color in the past? Will you use it in the future? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Posted in color choices,, Color News, color wheel, Decorating, Painting, picking a paint color, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Free 2012 Subway Art

Happy New Year!

I’ll start out first and foremost with one of my intentions this year. It’s to provide you, my loyal readers, with a little free art. Become a follower of my blog, and I’ll send you this free printable:

It prints out as an 8×10. I printed mine on a plain sheet of computer paper, popped it in a frame, and now it’s hanging on my kitchen pantry door.

If you are already a follower, just comment to this blog and I’ll send you the file. And THANK YOU for your loyalty. It means the world to me!

Posted in Art, Subway Art, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Christmas Quickie #6: The Tree

Nothing says “Christmas” like a big, beautiful tree. For years, I had a very traditional, family-centered tree. We made an event out of it. First, we’d all go pick out the perfect tree. Next, my husband and I would carefully bring it in the house and let it settle for awhile before we started decorating. He was in charge of lights, I did the garland, and then we’d call the kids in and we’d all do the ornaments. All the while Christmas music would be playing and we’d all be saying loving, kind words to each other and reveling in the Christmas spirit.

Oh, wait! (insert sound of record scratching here) My fantasy got mixed with reality a bit there! Yes, it’s true, we did all have our jobs. And there was music playing. Those loving kind words, though, yikes. Just not the picture perfect scene I had always longed to create. For some reason, hanging those ornaments seemed to bring out the worst in all of us. Without going into all the gory details, let’s just say most years, our happy family tree trimming party ended with me stomping out of the room and everyone else looking at me like I had lost my mind. Some years, I was sure I had!

That all changed last year when I decided to put my professional decorator hat on. I told the kids they didn’t have to help. I let go of my old sappy longings and approached the job like I would a design challenge. It made it much more enjoyable for all of us!

My plan for the tree is still very traditional. My living room colors are gold and red. So my tree is gold and red as well. This makes is very easy. If it’s not gold or red, it’s not going on the tree.

Only thing is, the kids now miss all the homemade and mismatched ornaments from year’s past. I thought I would, too, but honestly, I really don’t. Sure, I still have them all. But they’re not on the tree. I still have all the same sentimental feelings when I open the boxes and see them, but surprisingly, all I need is just a peek at them. I find that I don’t need to look at them for an entire month. It’s kind of like when you’re on a diet…it can be easier to just allow yourself a taste of the ice cream and then put it away. You don’t really need the whole bowl to feel satisfied.

At any rate, I did try to incorporate the old with the new. Each year, I have collected St. Nick ornaments for my son, Nick. And my daughter has gotten a Snow Baby every year. Those ornaments made the cut and are on the tree. I also have gold, heart shaped frames that have Christmas photos of the kids throughout the years. Those stay too. But all other ornaments stay in the box. In my mind, it’s now easier to focus on the ornaments that really matter to us. Here’s some detailed shots:

Nick's First Christmas Photo

Nick and Bri with one of Bri's Snow Babies

Bri peeking out from a poinsettia

Another favorite shot of Bri

Posted in Christmas, Christmas, Christmas Tree, Decorating, Holiday, Seasonal Decorating, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments