Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Decorators’ Show House

This past spring, my mom and I visited the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Southeastern Showhouse. The show house is held every year – it used to be The Atlanta Symphony Show House, but now it is run by Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles Magazine. (This year was the first year it was held by AH&L.) The show home is always in Atlanta’s toniest residential area, Buckhead. This year was special – two of my favorite designers had rooms – Suzanne Kasler and Phoebe Howard!!!


This is the front hall. If you look past the hall table, you see a couple of ladies admiring the chandelier in the dining room designed by Suzanne Kasler.



Here is the study/library which is on the other side of the front hall (on the front of the house).








And here is the dining room by Suzanne Kasler. It is so elegant and refined. The chandelier is so gorgeous! I love how her style is luxurious and elegant, but not stuffy – I like how she has a little edge added in with the accessories.




Check out the lacquered ceiling – isn’t it gorgeous!!!! A better picture of the chandelier-



I love the clean lines of the fireplace. Notice the herringbone pattern in the fire box – so pretty!




I like the funkiness of this lamp – just the right amount of glam.







If you like Suzanne Kasler, but, like me, can’t afford her services, more accessible items designed by Kasler are available at Ballard Designs.


Here are more pictures from the show house. So much gorgeousness! Enjoy!


This is the living room, which is off of the kitchen. If you are facing the fireplace, the kitchen is directly behind you and the backyard is to your left.



This wall of windows in the living room is on the back of the house – the fireplace is to the right. You can just see the pool over to the left through the windows.




Look how tall the windows are! This room gets incredible light!




You can see the kitchen to the right as you walk in from the living room. Love that painting! Isn’t the lantern in the kitchen yummy!




A built in coffee station in the kitchen-




The kitchen cabinets are a warm gray. The counters are some sort of quartzite – I don’t remember the name. Love the proportions of the backsplash tile.




That hood! It is really the star of the kitchen!




Here is the island sink – the faucet is so pretty and feminine.




A mirrored cabinet in the kitchen. I love the “x”s!




And this – taxidermy has been popular at the show homes!



Here is one of my favorite rooms (other than the ones by Kasler and Howard). I love the green of the plates and pillows – it just feels so fresh!




Aren’t those pendants awesome!!!!






Someone give that poor cat a sandwich!




Here is the butler’s. Love the “x”s on the glass doors.




A powder room. Love the gorgeous wallpaper and the backsplash shape.




And the fabulous master bedroom by Phoebe Howard!  Love this screen on the wall – it feels like a piece of art. Love the black against the neutral walls and sofa.




The pretty fireplace. Love the brick in the firebox.




A desk in front of a window facing the rear of the house.






This aqua is so soft and pretty. My iPhone photos don’t do this room justice!




Phoebe Howard is very inspirational to me – she is a “decorator” rather than a designer, if you are following the strict definition of the terms. She talks about this in her book, “The Joy of Decorating.” She did not go to school for design, but rather learned on the job working on projects with her architect husband, and at her store, Mrs. Howard.

I think design is a career that if you have a good eye and style, you can educate yourself about design (learning on the job is the fastest way!) and running a business. There are many top tier designers who are technically decorators because they don’t have a degree. Just to name a few are Kelly Wearstler, Vincente Wolf, Darryl Carter and Charlotte Moss. They all have fabulous taste and have figured out how to parlay that into a busy career.




I’ve learned so much from doing the design work in my job, and spending lots of time looking at the work of designers I admire. And going to lots of show houses!!!!!




Here is the master bath. Wall to wall and floor to ceiling marble! Luxurious!










Here is the lady’s dressing room. The window is on the front of the house.




A secondary bathroom – love the stone on the vanity.




A sweet lamp in the “mudroom.” This is more stylish than any mudroom in my house! Mine would be full of muddy sneakers and backpacks!




More mudroom.




Ceiling in the mudroom – gorg!




Outside on the terrace level.




A secondary bedroom.




Love this tile. It looks handmade – lovely. The color is still neutral, and is an nice break from white subway tile.






A sitting room with snack station.




A secondary bedroom designed by Parker Kennedy Living. I saw them speak about color at ADAC not that long ago. Love the exuberance of their designs (and the chinoiserie, of course)!













Here is an upstairs game room.




My favorite – blue and white! This is an outdoor vignette right off the dining room. So cute!






The beaded chandelier over the little sofa:




And… the pool. Aren’t those umbrellas the best? Perfect!



Here is a console in the pool house. This window overlooks the pool.




The pool house kitchen. Do you think anyone but caterers work in this kitchen?




This was a lovely house – really the vast majority of the rooms were home runs for me. There was a quiet elegance that ran through the whole house. I love going to show homes because they are inspirational, and also, experiencing a designer’s work in real life is so different than seeing it in a magazine or on the computer.

Do you think I can write off the tickets as an education expense?  😉




I don’t know if this is just a southern thing – but folks down here are CRAZY for YETI!




Here is the version that has been a workhorse for sportsmen.It has become sort of a thing for everyone else, the way North Face has for outerwear. When we were in Kiawah last summer, YETI was everywhere.

Yeti cooler


From what I know, YETI coolers started out as the cooler of choice for fishermen and hunters because they have exceptional cooling ability. There have been pictures circulating the inter webs showing YETI insulated cups surviving truck fires with ice cubes still intact!!!!!


My father, the man who officially is impossible to buy gifts for because he needs nothing, has gotten on the YETI bandwagon, for which I have breathed a sigh of relief, because FINALLY I can get him something that is not movie tickets!!!!


For Father’s Day last year, I got him a YETI hat and little can holder attachment that you put on the cooler. Thankfully, there are endless cooler attachments and YETI gear that can fulfill my dad’s gift requirements for awhile now! 😉




Or, you could get your dad (or husband or brother) this:




So, is your dad as difficult to buy for as mine is? I think this is the fun kind of gear that most men can get excited about. What do you think – is this a good gift for Father’s Day?




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?

Palm Beach Preppy

Do you have a morning routine? Every morning I get up by 5:45 a.m. The first thing I do is brush my teeth and then make some coffee. Then I usually make the boys’ lunches (I really should do them the night before – I need to get more organized!) and then get ready for work. Every day, Parker gets up and makes my breakfast while I get ready. Isn’t that sweet?

I like to start my day taking a little time reading about current events and design. I love these quiet moments at the beginning of the day when I am drinking hot coffee – no sugar and lots of half and half. Lately, it’s starting to get warm here (it was 85 degrees today!!!!) so I’ll be switching to iced coffee soon.

Today I woke up at 4:00 a.m. and couldn’t go back to sleep, so I got a little more quiet reading time. I have my favorite blogs that I read regularly – The Pink Clutch is a new addition to my reading list that I discovered when author Paige Minear gave a talk at ADAC on color.

A recent post by Paige is about her trip to Palm Beach, which has got to be the preppy capital of the world. I’ve never been there, but when I think Palm Beach, I think Lilly Pulitzer, Celerie Kemble and Bonanno sandals. Most people think of Jack Rogers sandals first, but Bonanno’s are the original. There is a good post about it here.

Palm Beach also makes me think of tropical landscapes, which of course, include palms. Here is Nate Berkus’ living room covered in the iconic Beverly Hills Hotel Martinique Palm Leaf wallpaper. I love the lush tropical feel of this room.



Here is Dorothy Draper’s earlier version of this print:




Carlton Varney Brazilliance mar-a_largo_chair_1


Carlton Varney’s refresh of Palm Beach’s The Colony lobby:


Carlton Varney ColonyHotel_Lobby_Best


When it’s in the 80s with blue skies and the azaleas popping, I’m starting to feel like trading in my boots and knit ponchos for these.



Rickshaw Design Booti Nantucket Red


Wouldn’t you love to sit outside with a drink in the evening here? I love Celerie Kemble’s work! It’s so fresh and cheerful. Love the green print fabric.


Celerie Kemble photo+1


Love this tropical bedroom by Celerie Kemble.


Celerie Kemble photo+2


Are you feeling spring fever too?




6 timeless design elements in the kitchen


There are certain elements in a kitchen that will never go out of style. I tell my clients that you should think about the cabinets, tile and counters the way you think about buying a sofa that you will keep for 20 years. Keep it neutral. With a sofa, you can change it up with pillows and throws when you get bored with a pattern. Much less expensive than reupholstering!


With a kitchen, except for contemporary kitchens, I think it is best to stick to timeless finishes for the tile, counters and cabinets. You can have more fun with the faucets and lighting, since they are easy to change out.


Here are six kitchen design elements that are timeless:


White cabinets:






Shaker style doors:








White subway tile:





Wood floors:





Marble counters:






A slide-in range:





What are your thoughts on these design elements – timeless or boring?












Steering wheels and sunshine

My house has been so quiet the last couple of days. Parker took the boys to Savannah for an oyster roast. They got to go to the beach, ride on a boat and had beautiful weather. I got torrential rain and I had to work. Booooo! I’m thankful I have a job I enjoy, but I still haven’t figured out how to work full time and keep everything going at home. And I’m tired a lot – I have at least one night a week where I fall asleep before the boys do!

My ideal work situation would be to work five hours a day during the week and to be able to work from home when the boys are out of school for breaks. That is my dream! Yesterday I put 65 miles on the car running to tile showrooms, and then today I ran out of the office for a bit, and on my way back, my steering wheel got all crazy and was hard to turn. I was about 5 miles away from the office, and I don’t think my car would’ve made it there and home. Fortunately, I was close to home, so I drove straight home. It was at about noon, so, I got a mini break today! Hopefully it won’t be too expensive!

We are having an unseasonably wet and hot December this year. It’s been in the 70s lately, and I’ve had to put my boots away and bring out the flip flops! Today we are blessed with blue skies and 70 degree weather. It’s got me feeling like spring, even though we haven’t had winter yet! Here’s my paperwhite  – it looks like it is about to bloom. I got that boxwood topiary from an estate sale, the urn cost me a couple of dollars at a yard sale (I love the chipped handle) and the candle was a gift from some clients.


I can’t wait to smell the flowers once they bloom. Paperwhites just smell like spring, don’t they?

Is the coming new year making you want to refresh your home?

Merry Christmas! We had a wonderful day yesterday – we had a quiet morning with the boys. We don’t go crazy with gifts. This year, each boy got three gifts and a stocking full of fun things like whoopee cushions. Actually, let me amend the quiet part – we heard the sound of rubber farts all day. It cracked them up on the way to church, no less. My middle son is very good at make the whoopee cushion farts sound juicy. Boys!

The younger ones got little RC “drones” that they’ve been playing with constantly. My oldest son got a new e-ink display Kindle. I like the Kindle Fire, but I think he would constantly be on the internet, which is not cool with me. His kindle does go on the internet, but it’s just a black and white display – you can’t do much with it, which is fine with me!

After lunch, we went over to my brother’s house to celebrate with his family and my parents. Poor Parker was sick with a stomach bug, so he spent the afternoon in bed. He’s all better now, fortunately it was a quick bug. My brother has three girls under 6. They are very sweet and girly, and their house had an army of Barbies and American Girls that had taken over! It’s fun to be around girly girls – it’s so different than being with boys who want to battle with Nerf guns all day!

Today I got the most recent Ballard Designs catalog in the mail, and it has some really cute things. Isn’t this gorgeous? I loves me some animal prints! I would love to have one or two of these in my family room.xbench


Getting my house painted last week has given me the itch to update my bedroom. Since we changed our wall color from pink to Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter (a warm gray), I’m thinking that I’d like to bring some dark blue into my bedroom. I’d love to re-cover my headboard  and get a bedskirt made in a blue fabric like this:



Isn’t this ikat pretty?



A pair of these end tables would be nice, and there’s lots of storage which is a bonus. I like this soft gray color. I think it would be pretty with the blue fabric.

Sidney side table

A pair of these glam lamps would spice things up! I like their retro Palm Beach look. I also like how the pattern is graphic  – it’s a nice contrast to the ikat pattern.

Estelle table lamp


Here is a great example of a headboard and bedskirt in the same fabric. This is Aerin Lauder’s East Hampton bedroom – isn’t it gorgeous? I first saw this room when Lauder’s house was featured in now defunct House & Garden in December 2007. It still looks great to me – it just shows that great taste stands the test of time.



Wouldn’t you be happy sleeping here?