Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Karens Living/Dining room makeover.

Saturday, May 21st, 2011

Every month last year I teamed up with Dutch boy Paints to host an internet program called Restore My Decor.  Participants upload photos of their troubled rooms and I picked a winner that would receive a virtual makeover.  On the program I featured their room, suppling them with a drawing, color ideas, furniture suggestions as well as answering questions from the on line viewers.  These “virtual” winners had the potential to be the grand prize winner, which was a  to complete a room makeover buy me personally.  When I featured Karen and her husbands living/dining room on the program little did we know that they would become the grand prize winners.  So, off to Columbus, Oh. I went with $4000 in my pocket to complete their traditional chic living room.


Living Room Before

When I visited Karens home she told me that they accumulated most of the furniture, it was way too bulky and took over the space.  Yet the dining area was scant and seemed disjointed. It needed to join the living/dining room spaces which was an issue because I only had $4000.   So I edited out a few pieces and added some chic, traditional elements.   The camel back sofa was in great condition, I liked it, so it stayed, which was great for the budget.  I shopped for a lot of accessories on line (I was relieved they were all there when I arrived)  and did a little shopping in Colombus (Great shopping by the way).


Homeowners painting used for design inspiration

Karen has a painting that means a lot to her and wanted it incorporated into the room. This became the design inspiration. A common mistake that some people make when designing a space around an object is taking it too literally. For example, the frame around Karen’s painting is gold but using too much gold would overwhelm the design and look garish.  I actually steered clear of any gold and incorporated antique brass and darker color metals. For example, the dark metal on the really cool lamp shades and coffee table. Flanking the sofa with darker wood like the espresso colored side tables, allows each furniture piece to stand out individually. I hung sconces on either side of the painting to stretch out it’s size so it didn’t appear to be lost on the large wall. The wing back chairs with solid oak legs and exposed frames with burnt oak drifted finish adds a traditional artistic element. The two little leather and metal ottomans provide additional seating white keeping the room spacious. Obviously, the colors for the room were also pulled from the painting. I used a sophisticated Golden-grey on the walls and dusty blue for the accent color. I hung the blue curtains close to the top of the ceiling and about

Living Room After

10 inches wider then the window to create more drama in the room and showcases the floor to ceiling window. The zebra rug is a playful element but also suggestive of the painting as fur lines the jacket of Napoleons wife in the painting. Animal furs and animal skins were often used in the making of clothes in the 1800’s and was a sign of wealth and rank in society. I used a glass coffee table, so you can see the pattern of the rug, adorned with a few of Karens keepsakes.


Dining Room Before

Dining Room After

After all this, surprising enough, I did not reach my budget.  Yeah!  I was so excited that I  was able to furnish the Dining room for Karen and hubby as well. Off to the stores again.  I was even more elated when I found a chest of drawers that was the same dusty blue that I was using in the room.  I snatched that up quickly found a mirror to hang above it and found a new dining table.  Voila!!!


The end result,  Karen was over the moon and even went as far to call me magical.  I had so much fun with this project.  A big thanks to Dutch Boy for making it possible.  Stay tuned for Restore my Decor in 2011, streaming in May.   You could be the next grand prize winner.





Tree House

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010

Tree House Foundation

At the moment I have quite a few projects on my plate but to my children the most important one is a tree house. My Great friend, Bob Garrow, has implemented some creative ideas on the construction. It goes without saying that it was a necessity for the tree house to be safe but  we also didn’t want to harm the trees. After doing extensive research we discovered that piercing the tree would be kindest to the tree, kinda like an ear piercing. Bob attached a large turnbuckle to the bolt and then a heavy duty L bracket to the turnbuckle so that the foundation of the tree house sits on the L bracket. There are many great things about this system, one being when the trees move so will the house, like a bridge does. Another is if one tree grows at a different pace the buckle can be adjusted to keep the house level.


This is just the start of my children’s dream house. I will post more photos as we progress.


In researching tree houses I came across these on the web.

This is a treehouse in Maui that my husband and I spent 3 days of our honeymoon in. That was enough, I needed the Grand Wailea.

My Favorite The Yellow Treehouse Restaurant.

Swedens' Treehouse Hotel. The Cabin was designed by Cyrén & Cyrén and is a prefabricated unit located on a steep site and accessed via a footbridge.

Cabin layout

Cabin interior

Treehouse Hotel: The Invisible

The Invisible: Interior

Treehouse hotel: The Nest

The spherical tree house hotel on Vancouver Island


England: Trip to Nunney

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Rapeseed Field

View from the train on the way to visit my Aunt and Uncle in Nunney

Nunney Castle

My Aunt and Uncle's backyard with a view of the Nunney Castle

My MomSay Cheese

My Mom

My Mom, Uncle Ron and Aunty Kim with Wesley Chapel behind them dating back to 1812

Me in the Nunney Castle ruins

My sister Melissa, Mom and I

View of the church from Nunney Castle

What the Castle looked like in 1312

The Castle now

My Cousin Rebecca and Uncle Ron

Auntie Kim in front of her Castle Cottage