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It’s easy as 1,2,3 (making a tablescape)!

19 Aug

I love quick and simple advise that you can go home and implement right away. So, I thought I would share a simple tip for creating appealing home decor tablescapes. It is as easy as 1,2,3.

I follow a loosely general rule of 1,2,3 when making a tablescape in my home. Three heights, that’s it. When it comes to accessories you’ve got your tall boys, your short and plumps, and your in-betweenies. So mixing the three together gives you a nice little step latter for your eye to follow. Here are some examples.


Here I used tall candlesticks, then short books that step up to an in-betweenie size picture frame.


Here the lamp is the tallest feature, then the rectangular ceramic vase, then the plate with a couple of shorties on it. The tables even follow the same rule. Then is you zoom out…


The entire room actually follows this rule. Notice how your eye starts at the top of the rusty gate on the wall, down to the mirror, then down to the side tables. In my head I am going, “hop, hop, hop” :). This rule creates a gentle little hop, hop, hop for your eye to follow around the room.

Here are some more examples.


Here my arc lamps are the tallest, then the elephant (notice to give him the proper height I set him on some books), then the vases and down to the tile coaster.


Here the flower arrangement is tallest, then down to the stacked silver pedestal bowls, and finally all the way down to the silver trays. (Hop, hop, hop)… Am I annoying you yet ;)?


Here is the same flowers in an old arrangement, again as the tallest. The taller candle gives me an in-betweenie, and finally the picture frame and shorter candle finish the rule. (Hop, hop,,, ok I will stop)


This rule actually applies to room vignettes too. Here the pallet wall art is the tallest, then the stacked sunburst mirrors, then finally the chair.

There is just something about 3’s that create artistic balance. I have many other home decorating tips that also have to do with 3’s but I will share them another time.

Hope you can take this tip and rearrange something in your home today to create the 1,2,3 easy balanced look.

Until next time, Katrina

(click on pictures for link to sources)

“Do the shuffle”

3 Aug

Nine times out of ten when I am decorating, I am reusing the same stuff I already have. As a stay-at-home mom, I don’t really have extra money to toss around whenever I get in the mood to redo. So, I simply “do the shuffle”.

The shuffle is sometimes just something that hits me that would look much better in another place. Sometimes is takes much contemplation and planning. However it comes, I am usually very happy with the result (at least till another urge to shuffle hits me).

For example, you see the gazelle, silver plates, and sunburst mirrors in the image below?


Welp, here they are again in a totally different spot, and even different rooms. The gazelle is even sporting a different skin!




(via Young House Love)

Then there is my traveling framed fabric. It shows up in three different spots.


(via Young House Love)



My green lamp shows up in the old work room (now play room), then in Luke’s nursery with a different shade. This shade is now on a different lamp in my bedroom.




(via Young House Love)

Then the expedit traveled from the work room to the living room.



(via Young House Love)

The point is, you don’t have to spend money to scratch that decorating itch. You can simply “do the shuffle”. Your space will come out looking fresh and new again. Ahhh!!

(P.S. Sometimes putting stuff away for awhile can declutter and bring a fresh life to your space. Then a few months later, bring it back out and tada, fresh again!)

Until next time, Katrina

Bright and Colorful, But Not Too Much!

4 Jul

You don’t have to be afraid of bright colors! This home demonstrates perfectly how to use color to transform a space without it overwhelming the space. I love all the white with pops of color. However, those pops of color are continuous throughout as to not shock the senses and create flow.

The other things I truly love is the way the space combines modern and traditional. I recently had a conversation with a young professional just starting out in her first apartment. The apartment is in an adorable historic building in downtown Richmond yet she said she didn’t like it because she likes modern design and her apartment had crown moldings. Umm, really?!? I politely encouraged her to mix her modern furniture and decor with that lovely historic backdrop in all white and bam…Modern! Hopefully she takes my advice and embraces her lovely space.
 Hope you enjoy your holiday weekend! Until next time…

via My Black Book

Painting Tips and Techniques

13 Apr

Am I qualified to write a post about painting tips and techniques? I most certainly am because I have probably painted more walls at the age of 27 than most people do in a lifetime. I’ve painted 2 apartments and 2 houses, painted tons of wall displays at the paint shop I worked at for years, and acquired all the years of knowledge from the paint experts I worked with in order to help customers. I have a wealth of knowledge and I’m not gonna just keep it to myself. Nope, I am going to fill you in with a few quick and simple tricks to make your next painting project much easier and faster. So here goes…


Most of the time you are painting trim white and the walls a color, so paint your trim first because it is much easier to cover the white you slopped on the walls than it would be to cover the color you sloped on the trim. This means you only have to tape once after you paint the trim and before you paint the walls. The other nice thing about painting trim first is that the tape sticks much better to the clean, freshly painted trim than it would have to dusty trim. Even if you cleaned your trim first, the tape will still stick better to the freshly painted trim. Note this key element though… you should let your trim paint cure first for a few days before you tape it. Paint doesn’t come to its full hardest till a few days so the tape may pull paint off if it is too fresh.

There is nothing better than bright white trim!

Tip #2 Prepping saves time

Always, always, always tape. It may seem like a waste of time while starting. You are eager to slap some color on those walls but taping will actually save you more time in the long run. It is much easier to tape than trying to very SLOWLY and CAREFULLY to free hand paint. The key to taping like a pro… use long continuous lines of tape and allow the flat edge of the tape roll to lay flat on the wall to guide the tape in a straight line. Oh, and make sure you are using painters tape. Yeah the blue (or sometimes green) stuff. That may seem common sense to some but you won’t believe how many homes I have seen that have paint ripped off the walls due to using other types of tape.

Another BIG tip for taping. Don’t leave the tape on too long after the job is done. I usually pull my tape off right away or at least the next day. This is because if the paint cures over the tape it will form a seal that could cause the paint to rip off the wall while pulling the tape off later. Also that glue gets stickier as it sits on the wall and if left too long will also ruin your paint job.

If you do find yourself in this situation, run a cutting blade along the edge of your tape and wall to break the paint seal before you pull anymore tape off. This will help the tape come off smoother. Then go back and putty and touch up the boo-boos.

Tip #3

To prevent “picture framing” while painting dark colors…Trim one wall then roll the wall quickly after.

Picture framing is a term used to refer to the lighter or darker edges around your walls where you brushed verses where you rolled your walls. It looks like your walls have been framed. This happenes particularly with darker colors. Most of the time this problem can be fixed by just adding another coat of paint. However I have seen some cases where the painters have already painted several coats and that problem doesn’t seem to be going away. My tip… trim one wall then roll that wall while the brushed paint is still wet, rolling as close as you can to the edge. This should help.

I love dark, sultry wall colors!

Tip #4

Flat paint is for walls, shiny paint is for trim


Shiny paint will show every imperfection in your walls as well as every roller stroke if you aren’t careful. Some painters will recommend semi-gloss of satin paint for walls in kitchens and baths because it washes better than flat. The truth is, with the fabulous invention of the “MR CLEAN MAGIC ERASER” even flat paint can be cleaned thoroughly and with ease. I always use flat paint on walls.

So unless you are Phoebe Howard and having a Pro paint for you…

Use flat paint on walls.

Tip #5

Use a foam roller to paint wooded cabinets or furniture.

To create the smoothest surface, use foam rollers to paint your cabinets or wooden furniture. Use BIN primer to prime slick surfaces for painting. This primer will stick to just about anything.

Tip #6

Use 3/8″ or 1/2″ nap rollers for smooth walls and 1/2″ to 1″ nap rollers for textured walls.

The thicker the nap the more textured the paint will look, so use 3/8″ or 1/2″ nap on smooth walls. To get in deeper textured surfaces use a thicker nap roller.

Tip #7

Use enough paint.

Don’t try to stretch the paint by “dry rolling”. Reload your roller often to prevent streaks. Also, don’t roll back into areas already painted but still wet. If you roll or brush over wet paint you are only pulling paint off the wall, not adding paint on the wall. You simply have to wait for the paint to dry to go back for touch up spots. Another key to remember… always touch up using the same tool you applied the previous paint coat with. In other words don’t use a brush to touch up a wall you rolled. The brush creates a different texture than the roller that will stand out like a shiny spot on the wall. Use the same roller to touch up missed spots and be sure to feather out the edges of your touch up spot.

These are some of the most helpful painting tips. Since I have been painting non-stop for 2 weeks I thought I would share my tips with you. Hope this helps you with your next paint project.

Until next time.

House Hunting Wall Color Scrapbook

21 Feb

So we found a house and I am so excited to finally have a place of my own. I have so many projects built up in me that I can finally make happen. Of course the first thing that enters your head when decorating your new home is wall colors. So I am scouring the blogs looking for some fabulous paint colors. Here is my scrapbook so far.

So many options! How does one even begin to decide what colors to use? Well do what I do and comprise a scrapbook of rooms that appeal to you. This will help you remember the colors you like and what elements in the rooms appeal to you when you start decorating your new home. Hope you find some wall colors you like as well as other design elements that these fabulous rooms display. I can’t wait to start blogging about my own home and sharing with you more and more of my design secrets. Stay tuned!

Change It Up With Reclaimed Containers!

20 Dec

The image above has been begging me to use it in a blog recently. “Why” I wondered to myself, “do I like this picture so much?” There was just something about the beautiful decor in this image that really appealed to me. Then finally it hit me. I am in love with this image because of the way they used the containers on the sofa table to spice up the entire space. I can see myself standing in that room and identifying that without the glass containers with the tall foliage the room would be nice but not utterly striking.

Reclaiming containers to be used for displaying items, as a retail merchandiser, has been in my repertoire for years . I find myself also decorating my home as a retail merchandiser. I use containers to add texture, color, and height to a space or items that otherwise might be lacking interest. The above image is so strikingly simple and yet dramatic. You may be thinking, “I don’t have cool containers like these.” Well that is a simple fix. Make a visit to your local antique store (*before you go scour your favorite design blogs for inspiration) and start hunting for unique containers of different scales that appeal to you. Focus is key as you shop. Remember what you are there for and don’t get distracted. Look at items not as what they are but what they could be. THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX. Go home and start playing with items you already own to fill the containers with. Go outside and snip branches and foliage to enliven your “display.” Step back from your “display,” critique your work, and edit.

The most exciting thing about using reclaimed containers for decor is that you can change your space all the time. For Christmas use a bucket like above to put your Christmas tree in. During the year fill this bucket with stones and moss, guest soaps and a luffa, magazines, or utensils.

Use containers to store otherwise unattractive items such as soaps, jewelry, sewing supplies, etc… The key here is to group items in like color or type that make sense together. What I am NOT telling you to do is have bowls all over your home with junk thrown in them!

PAINT IS YOUR FRIEND. The above container on this table is I believe an old bird bath painted and placed on the coffee table. The texture it adds to the room is ingenious.

The above container could be used in a garden or inside as a magazine rack. Use it in your kitchen to store soda bottles (I never have room for these and they are SO ugly!) Put a glass top on this to use as a side table!

Above is my 2010 Christmas tablescape. I just recently purchased this silver bowl from my local antique store for $10. It is from Tiffany’s even!! I already owned the other containers on the table. I randomly staggered the heights of the containers low, then high, then lowest (another key to decorating with containers). I blended the shiny textures with the rough textured candles and soft snow. I will use the containers to display something totally different after Christmas.

Hope you can take some of my key secrets to using containers in your decor to spice up your home for all seasons. Enjoy and have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I will be back after the holidays to share more of my inspiration and design secrets. Until then!


Contemporary doesn’t equal Modern

26 Oct

After a visit to High Point market, where designer lingo is thrown around like confetti, I feel the need to write a blog explaining the difference between “Contemporary” and “Modern”. So here goes…

Google defines contemporary as: characteristic of the present.

Google defines modern as: belonging to the modern era or as: ahead of the times.

So, what is the difference? Well, this may not be very scientific, just the thoughts of a “20-something” designer/trend follower. But I find there is a HUGE difference which doesn’t necessarily follow the “definition” of the words. Why? Let me explain.

The word contemporary was used profusely in the late 80’s and early 90’s to describe the fashion and design trend most recently seen in a Bill Cosby sweater or the bad necktie your boss sports to work occasionally. What is most important about this is that, in the design world, terms that describe a “look” stick. So you can’t call Bill Cosby’s sweater contemporary for a decade and then also call the latest in the design movement the same thing. The lingo has to change. We don’t call “mid-century modern” design contemporary, even though according to the true definition it was, for its time, contemporary. We call it “mid-century modern” because that is the accepted term to describe that movement more directly. We call 70’s decor retro…and so on. However, for some reason a new term was not openly accepted for Bill Cosby’s sweater– so we still call that contemporary, and yet try to call new, clean, modern design contemporary, too. So which one is it– Bill Cosby’s sweater, or Modern???

Mid-Century Modern

Cool Retro:



Well as a child of the 80’s who’s skin crawls at the word contemporary, I say it is MODERN. Modern is the term used to describe to latest design styles in the market today. Clean, simple, spacious designs without a lot of fuse and clutter is happening today and is worlds away from contemporary design.

Let me describe Bill Cosby’s sweater a little more for some of those who may not be following. The contemporary movement in the 80’s was about infusing abstract art into fashion and home. Designer Koos van den Akker, who designed the “Cosby Sweaters” defined the movement for the world through TV. The geometric, colorful, and asymettical designs were all the rage.

But by no means does recent design and Bill Cosby’s sweater look remotely the same. So let’s all agree to call Bill Cosby’s sweater contemporary and trends of today modern. But we will have to remember to come up with a new term for designs of tomorrow.




so sad the date!!!



Seeing the difference???

All this I will end with the disclaimer that I am a strong believer that all design terms are relative. However there are some things you can’t deny.

And the Pendulum Swings (because we’ve so been there, done that)

23 Aug

I’ve been waiting for some fresh inspiration for a while. Sorry I’ve been gone so long!! Finally some great spaces worth posting about. This post is about saying “Bye, Bye” to color and “Hello” to neutral rich textures.

Home Decor and Fashion is all about a swinging pendulum. We revolted from “antique white” walls back in 90’s starting with Red/Burgundy and Green. Then we moved on to blue/green (we revolted from the warm reds to cool tones) now the pendulum is swinging back the other direction. We are SO over color. Maybe it has to do with the economy (neutrals are safer so we don’t have to change expensive items out to make a change) or maybe it is just time. I for one have always loved an “all white” room and monochromatic decorating. I have always taught that expensive items in the home should always be neutral (IE: don’t put in hunter green countertops YUCK!)

The key is to add texture and rich finishes to a neutral palette. Avoid the pitfalls! Don’t fall for a cheaper version faux silk curtain panel or poly-filled pillow. Go for the real thing. These things can cheapen a room faster than peach carpet. This doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune. I have several down filled pillows from Target. It just means be discerning and shop carefully.

This kitchen is so beautiful. I love the clean, simple, relaxing feel.

Whether modern, rustic, or country chic we are all going neutral. Neutral is a trend just like anything else and the pendulum will swing again, but at least I won’t be ripping out my flooring or selling by teal sofa to move on.

images via Desire to Inspire.

The Beauty of Down

18 Apr

Wondering why the sofas and beds in magazines and design shops always looks so inviting, comfortable, and beautiful? Well the answer is down. I have made it a rule to never by a sofa that isn’t a least part down filled. You need a little give to sink into your sofa and relax. Sofas completely filled with poly-foam core generally don’t give and some even push back. Who wants a sofa that pushes you around? I most certainly don’t! Now you might be thinking, “If I sink into my sofa, I might never be able to get out.”  Well there are blend options that allow you to have the best of both worlds. The other worry I find most people have with down is that it is going to be more expensive and that is just not true. If you are a true shopper like myself, there are great sofas to be had out there that are down or down-blends that are actually less expensive than some poly-foam options. As far as down comforters go, well you can go to your nearest Ross or TJ-MAX and buy one for less than most other comforters. I guess what I am saying is… don’t settle! You too can have the beauty and comfort of down.

images via Cote De Texas

Switch it up with Bulbs!

10 Apr

Want a quick and easy way to create that vintage appeal you’ve been dieing for in your home? Well it may be as easy as screwing in a light bulb. A quick as easy way to update just about any light fixture is to think outside the “bulb” box and put in a unique and different bulb than you typically think of. My inspiration for this idea started with the image above via Sarah Klassen/Haute Design. A beautiful antique chandelier is now groovy and fun with frosted round bulbs instead of your usual candle flame bulbs.

Above is one of my favorite looks right now, the “Edison bulb” is so cute and can be placed in a plain flush-mount ceiling light to create vintage charm. So fun!

So have a little fun with your light fixtures with this inexpensive quick fix. Click on the bulbs above to purchase at Shades of