Black and blue and white all over

Recently, a neighbor needed help with her kitchen renovation, so I’ve been designing her kitchen with her. She really likes the idea of a blue island with white counters and white cabinets with black counters for the perimeter cabinets. Here is one of our inspiration pictures. Aren’t those pendants pretty?



Black and blue has been big in fashion for awhile and now it’s showing up in design. I love the clean lines of the cabinets in this more contemporary kitchen. The blue of this island coordinates really well with the black counters on the perimeter cabinets. I love the black pendants. I also really like how the island is on legs – it makes it feel lighter.



I really like the deep indigo of this island. It’s almost black, but just blue enough to be different than the black counters. For me personally, I feel like these pendants are a bit too small. I’m really into large-scale pendants right now.



This is my favorite of the black and blue and white kitchens. The blue is just perfect. The pendants are so beautiful – I just love them! My client does not want hardwoods in the kitchen, so we are installing tile. She has selected a slate, so that is a color we are going to have to work with. I feel like hardwoods are more of a neutral, so we are going to have to make sure the blue of the island works with the slate.



Here’s what we have selected so far:


Perimeter cabinets will be white shaker with a Leathered Black Pearl granite counter. The island will be a blue color with Caesarstone Frosty Carrina counters.




The floor will be a 12×24 slate tile called Squall.


Squall is so pretty in person. It’s an even gray with no orange. I just love the way it looks. I’ve used it and it’s darker cousin Black Blizzard. I really love the way natural stone looks. And, believe it or not, it’s not terribly expensive – right now it’s at about $7 a square foot retail. It’s not Home Depot prices, but for natural stone, it’s very reasonable.


This is the drum shade pendant we are considering for over the table:


drum shade pendant



Here are the Circa Lighting pendants we probably will do over the island. LOVE these!


katie pendant                                                                katie pendant



Do you think you could mix blue and black in your kitchen?


Lavender – I never dreamed I would like it so much!

We hosted Easter dinner for my parents and my brother and his girls (my sister-in-law had to work, boo!). I set the table with my favorite china and a little bunny vase I picked up at Goodwill. I filled it with hyacinths I got at TJ’s and then I put little blue and white covered dishes on either side of the bunny vase.

As I was eating dinner, I was struck at how great the lavender of the hyacinth looked with the blue and white. (I also love blue and purple hydrangeas in a blue and white vase.) I’ve never been a huge fan of purple in decor, but I am warming up to the idea of a soft grayed down lavender. It looks especially pretty with a dark blue like in this London apartment:




I’m so looking forward to hydrangea season – I hope we have a better year than we did last year! My hydrangeas barely bloomed at all and the blooms I got were green and purple! Here are some pretty blue and purple hydrangeas in the same London home. I like how the designer mixed blues and purples in this chair. Do you think nature was an inspiration?




Here’s an edgier mixing of blue and lavender by Ruthie Sommers. The purple walls are so dark they are almost black. I love the acid green against it!




Isn’t this lavender paper by de Gournay gorgeous?


De Gournay lavendar


Here is a lavender dining room. It’s so pretty and feminine. I like how the overall feel is a creamy white with pops of lavender. The color is an accent here and not overwhelming.




LOVE the blue and white mixed with pops of purple here. This makes me want to like straight up purple, which I’m usually not a fan of in decor. This is so pretty!




Here’s a NYC living room by one of my favorite designers, Ashley Whittaker. I love how she mixed different tones of lavender. Notice how the wallpaper in the entry reads as purple even though it is a pattern. Ashley Whittaker is so great with color.


ashley wittaker lavendar


And a living room in the Hampton’s home of my favorite tastemaker, Aerin Lauder. LOVE the lavender walls with the blue and white. Spot on – so elegant and fresh. Yum!


Aerin Lauder Lavendar Living Room


So what do you think about lavender, could you use it in your home?

Lobster tacos and pillows…

The weather’s been just incredible lately – flowers are blooming, birds are chirping and best of all, I wore short sleeves yesterday! Not only has the weather been perfect, I’ve had lots of fun things to do. On Wednesday night, Ferguson had a party celebrating the opening of their new showroom. Their old showroom was nice, but the new one is really pretty. It’s about twice the size of their old one and everything is sparkly and new. I don’t always meet my clients there, but it’s really fun when I do. Their showroom is above Hermes in the fancy shopping district, so even though I will probably never shop in the designer stores, it’s fun feeling fancy when I go there. The party was in the Ferguson showroom – they had chefs preparing lobster tacos, salmon and sushi in their working kitchen. The girls from the showroom were there, too – it was fun to chat with them in a non-work situation.


Yesterday, I had a lunch and learn at Century Furniture sponsored by Sherwin-Williams. They had yummy salad and little sandwiches and water in a glass pitcher that was filled with sliced citrus. Before we ate, there was a talk on metamerism. What in the heck is metamerism? It’s just a fancy way of saying that colors look different in different lights. Like, you know how those lovely florescent lights in the store dressing room just make everyone look green? That red shirt you try on in the changing room probably will look different when you get it home and look at it under your incandescent light, which is warm.


The main message from the class was that if you love a paint color at your friends house down the street don’t just go buy it and throw it up on your wall. It will look different in your house – your room may be facing a different way, or you may have different lighting. Test your colors before you paint!


Last night, I went to a neighbors house to celebrate our friend’s new job. She went from a family unfriendly school administrator job that had a horrible commute and long hours and no summers off to a teaching position at a high school a few minutes away. After having stayed home and worked from home for my husband for so long I have to say it is really challenging to work full time and never have any time off and also raise a family. I am really happy for my friend – I’m so glad she found something that works better for her family!


We gathered in my neighbor’s sunroom last night and the first thing I noticed were her fabulous new blue pillows piled up on her sofa. I asked her OOOhhh are these new? And she said yes, they were her Christmas present. I like that idea – I’m might just have to ask Santa for pillows this year! She said she found them on etsy – the company is called Pill-o-matic.  The owner, who is in L.A., started her shop when the sofa she bought came with ugly pillows. Here’s one of the pillows you can choose from. (Click on the photos go to the  site.)


beverly hills leaf print


Look what you can get! Weren’t we just talking about fabulous leaf prints?


I like this navy pillow. I like how it’s graphic without being over the top graphic-y.

navy chevron pillow


This is one of the blue pillows at my neighbor’s house. Pretty!


pagoda pillow


Here’s the coral color way. Pretty!!!! I love the colors in this one!


coral pagoda pillow


Here’s a fun spotty print. It kind of reminds me of a dalmatian and kind of like this print.


dalmation print pillow.jpg


This would be cute in a coastal cottage.


coral navy pillow


And my classic favorite – cheetah. Lurves this!


velvet cheetah pillow


Updating pillows is an easy and relatively inexpensive way to refresh your decor. Which pillow is your favorite?

Spa like retreat – green glass bathroom



Here is a bathroom that I recently finished. The existing bathroom was white, but it had 80s finishes  – it was brass, but not in a good way. My clients wanted a bathroom that was not white, and they wanted it to have a spa-like feel.




There are two vanities facing each other – one about 72″ and the other one is 36″. Guess which one belongs to the wife? 😉




My clients fell in love with carrara marble and had to have it on the counters. It’s so pretty, isn’t it? I love the floor tile they picked- it works so well with the cabinets and marble. We did a 1/3 offset running bond pattern for the floor. I love the sweet little knobs on the vanity – I’m so glad we didn’t go with any pulls – this is so elegant.








Doesn’t the glass tile feel like sea glass? It’s so pretty in person.




Isn’t this shower amazing? It’s about the size of my whole bathroom! It’s huge!!!!




Wouldn’t you love to use this shower everyday – it’s like a spa retreat in your home!



Spring is in the air…

celerie kemble green leaf sofa

We’ve had unseasonably warm weather the last couple of days, even for Atlanta.  It got up to 70 degrees yesterday – it was a glorious sunny day with blue skies. It was gorgeous, but I spent most of the day in the office (boooo!) so I didn’t get outside as much as I would like.

I really prefer to be out in the field, meeting with clients, getting samples and being on the job site. I’m just not a sit behind the desk kind of person. I wish I could’ve brought my laptop outside to work. Maybe I should the next time we have such a beautiful day?

Even though yesterday was the last day of February, the warm sunny weather got me itching for spring. I’m ready to put away the sweaters and break out the preppy tunics and sandals. For the home, when I think of warm and preppy, I immediately think of Celerie Kemble.

Don’t you love this cheerful living room by Kemble? I love the way the red accents play against the green of the sofa and the frog stools. Can you just imagine yourself sitting on this sofa with a cold drink enjoying the cool coastal breeze?

Are you ready for spring?



I’m about to wrap up a colorful bathroom. My clients are a super sweet couple who just do not do white. Their bathroom was originally all white with 80s looking shiny brass everything. Not brass in a good way at all!

My clients do not have a white wall in their house – they love blues and greens the most, and they told me they did not want another white bathroom. They were looking for a serene, spa-like feel. They eventually chose a 3×6 glass tile in a pretty darn good match for Benjamin Moore Bath Salts.

BM Bath Salts 624

It’s a pretty, soft grayed down green. We are painting the walls in the 100% formulation of Bath Salts, and the ceiling at about 30% formulation of Bath Salts. I love a white bathroom, but it’s been a refreshing change of pace to do color! My Construction Manager and I were talking about how our clients love color,  and how most of our clients (like over 90%) do white tile and white walls. I don’t dislike white walls, but I don’t have one white wall anywhere in my house. I do love white tile, but I have to have my walls painted in some color. I have mostly grays and greiges on the walls – the only true colors I have are a soft mauve in one bathroom and BM Palladian Blue in my younger boys’ shared bedroom.

So, I guess you can imagine that as much as I love color, I would really like San Francisco designer Palmer Weiss‘ work!

Here is a lovely San Francisco home that was featured in House Beautiful a while back. I love the bright pops of color – so cheerful! Weiss uses a lot of white on the walls, it is so fresh against the saturated colors of the upholstery and drapery. Check out the animal print runner on the stairs!!!!!! LOVE!!!



My teeny tiny front hall is a chocolate brown right now – I’ve been itching to paint it a green like this for awhile. Isn’t it pretty? I don’t have walls that are perfect enough to lacquer like this.  I’ll probably stick with flat or maybe a satin finish. The less sheen you have, the more forgiving the paint is of imperfect walls.



Love the foo dogs, blue and white and the pop of yellow on the chairs!



This room is a bit more muted, but those yellow curtains really brighten things up.


Love the indigo of this sofa against the brighter blue bookcases. It feels so youthful. The orangey red pillow and edging on the blue pillows is a nice contrast because the colors are complementary (opposite on the color wheel). Weiss has a great attention to detail – notice the piping on the sofa and how it relates to the lighter blue of the bookcases and pillows. Details like this really are everything and make a room feel special.



This is probably a bit more muted of a green than I would pick personally, but it is a warm enveloping color for a study. I like how the red in the art is complementary to the green everywhere else. Love the rug – is that a David Hicks pattern?


The girl’s room is so cheerful and girly! So cute. Weiss uses complementary colors often. Here the pink is a complement to the green. They are the same value (darkness) but are still as opposite on the color wheel as red and green.


The sunroom is my favorite room in the house. It looks like there is a pretty grasscloth on the walls. I love the blue mixed with the raspberry accents. And that tortoise side table!!!!! So pretty. This room is just so fresh and welcoming and pretty. This is color done right! Did I say pretty?  Pretty!



Which is your favorite room?

Designing a colorful home

Last week, I attended a panel discussion about color at the Taylor Burke Home Showroom at ADAC (Atlanta Decorative Arts Center). The panelists included the owner of Taylor Burke, Julianne Taylor, lively design blogger Paige of The Pink Clutch and designers Lance Jackson and David Ecton of Parker Kennedy Living.

Let me start by saying, I was in heaven in Taylor Burke Home. It was all preppy, leopard print, brass, crystal and bright pink and green. Check out the crystals in this lamp – isn’t it gorgeous?



The showroom was filled with gorgeous huge pillows trimmed out in fun tape. The green ones are so pretty and preppy – I tried to stuff them in my purse, but they didn’t fit.  😉


Big chunks of crystal were everywhere. The lamps were just amazing. Crystal must be a trend – there was tons of it at RH Modern in NYC .


I could just close my eyes, spin around and point at something and buy it and be happy. Let’s just say, though, you pay for the pretty – it’s out of my personal Target-level budget, but I could see sourcing here for a client. Julianne did say she will soon be launching a lower end line that will be more accessible. I know I will love all of it!


Isn’t the lacquer pretty? I love the chinoiserie feel of it.


The panel discussion was about color – what all the panelists have in common is a love of bright color. Jackson and Ecton are particularly known for their fearless use of bright colors. I first encountered their work at the Cathedral Tour of Homes show house three years ago. They did the living room in hot pink and deep blue.


Isn’t that pink ceiling a showstopper? Believe it or not, the decision to paint the ceiling pink was a decision made on the fly. They were not allowed to paint the paneled wood  walls, so after designing the room, they decided the room needed something, and Jackson came up with the idea to paint the ceiling pink with a blue accent. This caught the eye of Clinton Smith, former editor of Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles, and now editor of Veranda. That pink ceiling launched their career into another level and got them lots of attention – their work has been featured in Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles and Southern Living. To see the difference the ceiling makes, cover the pink with your hand and look at the room. Then look at it with the pink – it makes a big difference, doesn’t it?

I just love this color scheme. For me personally, I don’t think I’d use it in a main room, but I think it would be great in a bedroom or bathroom. Or in a laundry room like this. Sorry the picture is not great, but I had a hard time finding this picture. This designer does not have an active website, so there aren’t many pictures out there.

I’d love to do a similar look in my sad, sad laundry room, but I’d like to bring in the Parker Kennedy pink instead of this red.


Here’s another (better) picture of the other side of the room. Love!



What I find interesting about the Parker Kennedy boys is that Jackson has a degree in design and Ecton does not. At the end of the talk, they opened up the floor to questions. One woman asked about work life balance – how do they balance having a family and running a design business (all of the panelists have young children). They all said you have to make it a priority. Julianne purposely located her office close to home, Paige stops working in the afternoon and focuses entirely on family and Lance has a flexible schedule so he can bring and pick up his son from school.

The woman asking the question also said that she has been a designer for a couple of years and is self-taught. She asked Ecton and Jackson if she should go back to school and study interior design. I found their answer encouraging – they said that if she were in her 20s they might say yes, go back to school, because at that point, you really don’t have a portfolio, and the only way you can get a job is with your degree. They said, at this point, with where she is in her life, and the fact that she has young children and is a working designer with a portfolio, she doesn’t need to go to school. They said that all that really matters is if you have style – either you have it or you don’t! I liked hearing this as I am self-taught – I’ve got a degree in business and one in art, and there ain’t no way I’d go back to school at this point!!


I think there is value in an Interior Design degree for sure – I’ve come to the realization that I should’ve studied Interior Design rather than Drawing and Painting, but oh well, that ship’s sailed! Of course, you can hang up your shingle and call yourself an Interior Designer (not in all states) and learn as you go; however, there are some things that are more difficult to learn on your own like building code and knowing if the things you design are actually build-able. Rather than figuring it out on your own, learning on the job is probably the best and fastest way to learn design if you did not study it in school. Vincente Wolf writes about it here.

There is so much information out there that we can all learn from – we can all improve our interior design knowledge so that we can put it to use in our own home. All we really want is a comfortable, pretty home, right?