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Before and After: My New Master Suite

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I have been saying for years that a master bedroom should be a serene retreat. That likely came after I designed our first bedroom after my husband and I married, in bright red. And I wondered why we could never relax. Rookie mistake for sure! But my new Master Suite is relaxing in every way.

But that wasn’t always the case.  These drab tan walls and beige carpet were neither inspiring nor relaxing when we purchased the home. I needed a plan to transform my master bedroom into a spot for unwinding from our hectic work schedules and chilling with an extra cup of coffee on the weekends. And what was my color of choice for this plan? Pale Blue, of course. It was already the color palette I’d selected for my nearby kitchen, so the bedroom design took off from there.

The pale blue provided the perfect back-drop for the fabulous custom-colored chinoiserie wallpaper from Fromental. And the best part is that this is one of their digital patterns so it’s not only a custom color, it’s a less expensive version of the hand-painted papers. From there, I knew I wanted to use classic black-and-white to give the space a bit of a modern feeling, and I love how my Lucy bed from CR Laine with a black welt and logo embroidery was the perfect place to start. Throw in a few pops of my favorite color, Kelly Green, with my cherished geometric patterned wing chairs and a new hot green velvet on the Paris bench from my CR Laine collection and this space was really coming to life.

But I didn’t stop there, I wanted to bring that same green accent into my bathroom with a lot of timeless black and white finishes. Here’s a peek into that space. Doesn’t it transition beautifully from the bedroom?

I painted the double doors that lead to my bathroom in the same stunning green with fabulous crystal knobs that feel like jewelry. These doors offer a beautiful burst of color and perfectly frame the view into my new bathroom, which is a great thing when a bathroom is beautiful and spa-like. But getting to that result was a process too…

My bathroom before was dark and dreary with a huge party tub surrounded by giant mirrors- just what you want to wake up to every morning, right? Wrong!

Bad finishes like tile and cultured marble, very low cabinets, bad lighting, and the tiny shower made this space extremely dysfunctional.

Still one of the worst design elements (if you can call it that) were these swinging saloon-style doors on the way to the toilet (yee haw!). Calling this room dated was an understatement for sure.

But not anymore! No more scary mirrors surrounding this tub. Everything is black and white and effortlessly chic. My favorite Greek key motif makes an appearance on the floors as a border and down the drapery surrounding my new Kohler VibrAcoustic tub (it plays music, y’all!). Hudson Valley Lighting helped me take this space from dark to bright and beautiful. And there’s even a touch of green on my round ottoman and in the commissioned art by Ashley Saer.

One big problem in the before of this space (besides those bad cultured marble columns, ha! ) was the lack of natural lighting. There was no window in this room at all which made the dark colors feel even darker. This space felt like a dungeon and did little to help start our days on a happy note. Plus look how cramped that shower was with the teeny tiny glass door. You could touch the shower ceiling while standing flat-footed because the ceiling was so low, and if you raised your elbows to wash your hair, it was easy to hit the walls on either side. It was far from luxurious or roomy.

I added this fabulous round window that now fills my bathroom with natural light every day, and it made all the difference in our attitudes and morning routine. And look how much bigger the shower is. We’ve got head room, arm room and a gorgeous sleek design with  beveled white subway tile from Daltile and a frameless glass door. Plus the fancy Kohler pluming with digital controls makes the shower experience feel like a dream. And with a shower head on each side so you stay warm on all sides even in the winter.

I can’t wait to walk you through the other design changes in my new home in my Before and After Series. So check back soon to see what other changes I’ve made!

 

 

 

 

 

Before and After: My New Home Design Studio

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Working from home has been one of my biggest joys over the last 18 months. It was then that I left my 6000 square foot design studio for the comforts of our house. Since opening my business almost 19 years ago, I operated outside of my home with a design studio, and for years a retail store and art gallery. I couldn’t have imagined doing business any other way.

And I certainly couldn’t have imagined doing business in this space. Wow! Are you feeling inspired? Yeah, me either. We didn’t know when we started the renovation of our home, but the sunroom was going to turn into my new home studio! The rust-colored paint that reminded me a whole lot of the Texas Longhorns (an old Arkansas Razorback rival) and the aged brick floors weren’t exactly what I wanted to come to home (or work) to everyday.

And that 1970’s pass-through from the kitchen that made me imagine about what it would have been like to pass a 1970’s TV dinner into the sunroom to my family watching Three’s company or The Brady Bunch, didn’t make me automatically envision creating gorgeous client projects out of this space. But I knew this room had potential.

One thing this room definitely had going for it was tons of windows and lots of natural light. And the view of the pool and the golf course was a plus, even though the pool at that time, left a lot to be desired.

So after several years of stuffing down my desire to be at home more with my family, to not have to drive to the office after returning home from long trips away for work, and a longing to be at home for my daughter in the afternoons or when she was out of school , I finally decided why not work from home? After all, I was my own boss, so I was the only one telling me that it wasn’t an option. And this room suddenly became the perfect spot for our studio to relocate.

At that moment, I could imagine how a studio in this room could look and work. I love it when the picture in my head, comes to life in the “after” of spaces I design, including my own home. I just knew this room could feel like a glamorous hang-out that did triple duty as a family space, a work space and a pool-side party room. And now it handles all those activities and more, like a dream.

Amazing what fresh white paint, charming curtains and a few pops of bold color can do for a space, isn’t it? What once was Longhorns rust, is now crisp and clean with lots of bright white and blue. I think it even feels a little like Palm Beach, which is a perfect vibe for our 1960’s home.

I started by painting everything, even the brick floors, in America’s Cup by C2 paints.  The cobalt and white design is fresh, which is exactly what I wanted for my home office. We have a comfy seating area for client meetings with my Taylor sectional from the Tobi Fairley for CR Laine collection, and a pair of open arm chairs. On weekends these pieces become a lounging spot for my hubs or my teen and her friends.

I wanted to blend the blue from the rest of my home’s interior, with pink that transitioned to the outdoor space and also spoke to the pink in my dining room. I love how it feels a bit preppy! And those orange lamps are something I’ve had for about 8 years and couldn’t part with, so I made custom shades with one of my Tobi Fairley for Duralee fabrics and I am crazy about the result. The sitting area is also anchored with one of my rugs from my Tobi Fairley for New River Artisans collection. How better to sell my own licensed products than showcasing them in this space where I meet with clients?

Storage and organization are the most important factor when bringing your work into your home and this space had zero storage before the renovation. Now across from the sectional is this custom built-in that holds everything we need to function day-to-day!

We can give presentations on the TV, pull fabrics from the storage drawers below, and there are two work stations for my design team. We can close the recessed cabinet doors whenever the day is done and this room converts back to a family space for nights and weekends!

This long wall was a nightmare with openings, and doors and many other things interrupting the space.

Now it’s cohesive and extremely functional.  Those fun white lacquer and gold etagere’s from World’s Away on either side of the doorway are super practical, but chic. The baskets from Ikea hold all of the samples for our client projects, each with a little label to keep us organized. And the shelving frames the way into a vestibule to the Powder Bath, that services both my clients and my guests. I couldn’t resist using that little powder room nook to highlight another original piece of art, and I love how the art light makes the perfect little glow for getting in and out of the powder room at night.

And speaking of the powder room…the jungle-themed wallpaper and dark bronze “mushroom” sink pedestal were definitely not design details I wanted my clients or my guests to see. I didn’t even want to see them.

So I packed this Powder Bath full of personality with handsome David Hicks hexagon wallpaper, a custom cabinet painted in a great blue by C2 paint, and plenty of Kohler fixtures. The bright blue and white mixed with a hint of marble on the countertops from Dekton and hexagon floors from Daltile feed right into the studio color scheme and work seamlessly with the rest of my house.

And though we borrowed the leopard chair from my study for a fun little photo shoot (for my soon-to-launch new website), I didn’t want you to miss seeing the fabulous oval window I installed in the kitchen where the pass-through used to be. It’s one of my favorite architectural details in my home, and fits right into my gallery wall full of my original art collection. This fun array of color and composition is inspiration my team and I enjoy seeing while we work.

I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of my new Design Studio and being able to share it with my clients makes it that much better! Let me know what you think of the transformation in the comments below.

 

 

My 2018 Word of the Year

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Happy 2018! It is here. A fresh start. This is the beginning of anything you want.

And I know what I want. I have been choosing a word of the year for the past 6 years, this year is #7. It’s one of my favorite New Year’s traditions and it’s instrumental in guiding my choices and path for the 12 months ahead. Over the years I have chosen the words Discipline, Inspire, Action, Significance, Focus and Joy. Each time I chose the perfect word and that’s not by accident, I go through a very thorough process to make sure I get the word just right.

This year, I am in a far different place than I have ever been. I’ve accomplished a lot of my goals in the last 19 years of owning my business and 15 years of marriage. Life is good. But staying in my comfort zone isn’t how I roll. So it’s time for some major shifts. Time to shake things up. Time to dial down on what I want. Change is super exciting to me, but also scary, which helps me know something big is happening in my life.

Maybe it’s my age. I will soon turn 46, on the downhill side of my 40’s. There is something about your 40’s and being at mid-life and having a teenager and all the other things that come with this season of life, that make you look at your world differently. I have a totally different list of what’s important to me than I did in my 20’s and 30’s.

In this season of life, my desire is no longer to make my mark, but rather to make a difference.

I am in a place of balance, a place of peace, a mindset of wellness, with a strong connection to home.  I am ready to serve and nurture and love. I am in a place of dedication to using my gifts and talents and knowledge. I am committed to making my biggest and best contribution to the world yet.

I want to focus on my company and it’s growth internally. I have spent a lot of time working to put my company on the map with social media and public speaking and getting published. Now I want to see where my business can serve people in the biggest way. Who can we help? What can we improve? How can we use our gifts, and talents and knowledge to help others live their best life? Where can we be more streamlined, more profitable, more effective? How can we simplify?

I want to focus on my family and our growth. What can we do to be our best? Who can we help more, serve more, love more? How can we focus more on what’s really important? What life lessons do we need to master this year? How much money can we save? How can we be better to each other, better to our friends, better listeners, better Christians?

I want to focus on myself and my personal growth. What areas still need improvement? What part of my life have I been ignoring? Where have I been holding myself back with fear, or lack of focus, or busy-ness?

And what word will help me stay committed to this streamlined and introspective and focused approach to 2018?  I considered connect, invest, essential, abundance, flourish, peace, balance, cultivate, contentment, mindful, aligned, renew, priority, purpose, shine, worth, value, heart and bloom. I strongly considered grace. And I knew that none of these words exactly captured what I wanted to feel this year.

Yes I am more intentional, more balanced, more simplified and more connected to my priorities than ever before. But I am not looking for a take it easy year. In fact I am looking for the opposite. I am as driven as ever to accomplish my goals this year, but my goals are just different than they’ve ever been. I needed a word that was active and aggressive and committed to the things that are most important to me which is family, health, wealth and joy. And for that reason, I chose…

My life will be different in 2018. I have spent the last 24 months downsizing my big 6000 square foot office to a home-based office, cutting my business expenses by 2/3, and increasing my profit margins by 200%. I have taken my marriage from so-so to on fire. I have gone from feeling like I had very little time for friends, to feeling so connected to more true friends than ever. I have gone from a workaholic who traveled constantly for work, to a mom and wife who is present and connected and my cup is overflowing because of it. The best thing that happened in 2017 is I overheard one of my daughter’s friends say their step-dad was a workaholic and my daughter (not knowing I was listening) said, “Oh my mom used to be one of those”. Be still my heart.

But these changes didn’t mean my business went away, it’s just more dialed in, it’s more intentional, it’s more profitable and it’s more fulfilling than ever before. I didn’t get rid of the important business stuff, I just got rid of everything else. I got rid of the distractions and the mediocre. In 2017, I looked at every potential opportunity under a microscope and the opportunity costs of each one. If it took me away from my family, there was one strike against it. If it made me a ton of money and was inspiring, I would still consider it. If the money or inspiration was marginal but it required travel, it was a no.

And you know what happened…I found that the things that make me THE most money and make THE biggest contributions to the world  can all be done from my home office between the hours of 8 and 3!! And this realization was life changing.

So now armed with my new knowledge for how to create balance, how to be a warrior protecting my schedule like my life depends on it (because it does) and a brand new way of prioritizing so that the things that really matter are where I spend my time, I am ready to THRIVE in 2018.

I will THRIVE :

as a Mom

as a Wife

as a Coach

as a Designer

as a Friend

in Health and Wellness

I am tired of just surviving. I am over barely keeping my head above water. I am done with saying yes to a whole bunch of things that may stroke my ego, but don’t really matter. You know what strokes my ego these days? Feeling rested, energized, connected, loved and helping others feel the same. It strokes my ego to THRIVE!

I believe 2018 will be a good year. In fact, I believe it will be GREAT.

In 2018 my family and I will THRIVE. What will you do?

Bring it, 2018. Let’s do this!

 

 

2017 Year in Review

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It’s hard to believe, but it’s almost the new year. 2017 is done. And equally hard to believe for me is that this is my 10th year of sitting down on December 31st and doing a comprehensive review of all the things that I experienced, accomplished and celebrated over the last 12 months. One of the first things that comes to mind today is that this means my blog is also almost 10 years old. Wow, those years went so fast though I can hardly remember life before this blog.

For this 10th anniversary of my year in review, I am doing things differently. And that’s because these days, I am running my whole life a lot differently than I did 10 years ago. Yes, my life is even far different than just 12 months ago. Previously my year in review was the place that I highlighted all my business successes big and small, because I was admittedly a workaholic and my business was really what I thought about more often than not.

These days, my business is only a part of my focus and it shares the spotlight with my family and other meaningful experiences. Novel idea, I know. But I am committed to a balanced life and I am having more success with that than ever before. So this year, my year in review is a wonderful mix of things to celebrate across all parts of my life.

2017  was a BIG year with some dreamy, BIG, work stuff. But I intentionally curbed many of the smaller things at work to leave more space for what matters most. My mantra for the year has been “Say no to the good, so you can say YES to the Best!” And maybe that’s why I believe 2017 is my best year yet. Let’s take a look.

First and foremost, I completed my home renovation this year. Can you say Hallelujah? I cannot tell you how exciting it is to no longer be working on my own project. It’s always harder to do your own home, especially when you’re a designer and you have to fit it in around all your other projects. But this baby is FINISHED!

And having my home all beautifully designed and functional is adding so much joy to my life each day, especially since I now work from home, too. My design studio is on the back of my house with a gorgeous view of my pool and the golf course beyond, which makes for more relaxing days at the “office”.

This was also the year I became a columnist with Traditional Home magazine. The features kicked off in January and I wrote an article for every issue this year that chronicled my home renovation. From planning the floorplan layout, to selecting the colors, to designing the kitchen and baths, we covered it all. If you missed any of it, you can find it all on the Traditional Home website here.

The pool and outdoor areas of my home were featured in the summer issue of Traditional Home as part of my column, and readers really seemed to love this feature. My family and I especially enjoyed many hours by the pool from March all the way through December thanks to a few resort-style outdoor heaters and that great new fire pit.

In the December issue of Traditional Home, I finally got to showoff my entire home renovation all dressed up for Christmas. Having a column with one of the top national shelter magazines for an entire year was definitely a dream come true and I am grateful to Traditional Home and all the team that worked with me to make this happen. It was BIG!

My own home renovation wasn’t my only celebration with Traditional Home this year. In April my work graced their cover with one of my favorite client projects.

In addition to the column on own home renovation, the April issue showcased a beloved Farmhouse project that I have been dying to show you. And getting the cover for this project was the icing on the cake.

Also in April, the Pandora’s Manor Showhouse opened in High Point North Carolina. I designed one of 6 bedrooms in this lovely boutique bed and breakfast, with some of the country’s biggest names in Interior Design including Thom Filicia, Barclay Butera, Alexa Hampton, Celerie Kemble and the guys from Madcap Cottage.  This amazing property is all sponsored and owned by Eastern Accents. What fun it was to use my Tobi Fairley collections for Duralee, CR Laine, Woodbridge, Soicher Marin and New River Artisans all in this room.

We even had a super fun “designer sleepover” in our Pj’s at Pandora’s Manor, each spending the night in the rooms we designed. Eastern Accents spared no luxury on us that week, we even had celebrity chef’s cooking our meals. We were spoiled and it was great fun. Thank you Eastern Accents for this fantastic experience.

2017 was also a big year for my product lines. I launched my second full collection with Soicher Marin art company in April.

I expanded my outdoor collection with Woodbridge Furniture from the soft launch last October.

And I launched my new rug line with New River Artisans company. You can see products from all these collections in my home reveal too. How exciting to bring my own furniture and home accents to my own house for my family and me to enjoy for years to come. Definitely another dream come true! (P.S. Stay tuned for more product line announcements in 2018!)

One of my favorite things about my design work this year is that I had 5 of my most favorite former clients of all time start new projects with me. It felt like the best year of design ever and you will see lots of these beautiful spaces revealed next year. From family homes in Arkansas to a family-owned business headquarters, to a condo in Dallas and a beach home in Florida, we are working on fun spaces for these clients that have been a real joy this year!

A great honor I received in 2017 was being inducted into the Sheridan High School Hall of Fame and giving the keynote address to their graduating seniors at the annual senior banquet. How exciting to be able to come back home and share the highlights of my almost 20-year career in design and consulting with these young men and women who are just getting started on their own paths.

This year was one of transition for my consulting and coaching businesses in the best of ways. I loved hosting my Mastermind group in Dallas in the Winter and then at my own home in the Fall. What fun showing a group of other designers how I live and work in my new space, and treating them to a seated dinner in my dining room with fabulous celebrity chef, Donnie Ferneau!

I also hosted the last in-person session of my Designer MBA Course in California in early Summer at the fantastic Thermador headquarters in Orange County, California. I have hosted classes, courses and mastermind events at this amazing facility for 3 years now and Thermador always treats us like royalty. Thank you Thermador, for your amazing hospitality and all the delicious food cooked by fabulous chefs on your outstanding appliances. Being there with you was definitely a highlight this year!  And for those of you who have been waiting to take my fantastic Designer MBA course, you still can. And all-new version of it is coming to the online world in 2018.

My consulting and coaching business is my major focus for next year (more on that soon) and so I enjoyed concluding the way some of my courses and programs have worked for the last 8 years to make room for my most exciting launch yet, happening in just a few weeks in mid-January.  If you want to take your business AND your life to the next level in 2018, you are going to love masterminding with me and getting my top tips and my most popular programs all online (some taught live) and at THE most affordable price yet! And one of my favorite parts is my courses are no longer just for designers, and heres why…

To bring all of you my best next year, I wanted to take my own coaching and consulting skills to the next level. So 2017 was a year of education and training for me. Those of you who know me know that I am a lover of knowledge and learning. And in July of this year I completed a 12-month health and wellness coaching certification from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition to help me teach all of you how to better balance work and life. Lack of balance is the main challenge I hear from designers and entrepreneurs each year, and it’s been true for me too. So I wanted to be equipped to bring solutions to this challenge for both you and me, and now I’m ready!

To take it a step further, in December I was certified as a Life Coach and a Weight-management Coach from the Life Coach School with Brooke Castillo. I would say of all the courses, classes, books, seminars and learning I have gotten in my life (and I have completed a lot), this training was the single most life-changing program I have ever been a part of.

I cannot wait to bring my knowledge of nutrition, health, wellness and life coaching to my consulting business next year. This training has resulted in my biggest personal shifts yet, and I am incorporating these ideas for wellness and balance into all my interior designer and business coaching offerings next year. You won’t believe the results you are going to get!

And on a related note, I have just tackled the redesign of my website and online education site that is launching in just a few weeks. So that was a huge part of my 2017. I don’t mean I am just doing a refresh. I have literally redesigned my entire brand, mission, vision and goals to align my Interior Design and Business Coaching businesses with a holistic approach to wellness and balance. It’s been a labor of love with web designers, photographers, copywriters, strategy consultants, online marketing and products gurus and more. And I feel like we have blended all the things that inspire me the most into a simple and straight forward approach that allows me to help people design their homes, their businesses and their lives to create more health, wealth and joy.

And speaking of balance and joy, there was a lot of that this year for me too. I made room for my big goals this year for work, and worked those in around my main priority…my personal relationships.

It’s been years since I really traveled with my husband for his work, since I have been too busy traveling for mine. But in 2017 we made trips for his job (he’s an amazing attorney) to Scottsdale and Boston, plus a fabulous 15th wedding anniversary trip to dreamy Aruba and a fun family vacation to Seaside, Florida.

Working so hard isn’t worth it, if you can’t spend time with those most important to you. And this year, I definitely did that!

Working from home has also allowed me the most special time with my daughter. I love that I am here when she comes home from school each day. I love being here for those important moments when she tells me about her day. I love that I don’t miss her volleyball tournaments, tennis matches and school performances. And possibly the most special little moments, are in the carpool transporting six or eight 13 year olds to practices.

Motherhood is THE most important role I have. I recall several years back telling my own coach “If you think I will be one of those moms who volunteers at recess or drives carpool, you’re crazy!” But now I would give up every magazine cover or client to be here for these moments as a mom. And the best news is that with all the changes I’ve made to my business this year and my impending launch of a much bigger presence online, I can do BOTH!

I even made time for friends much more than ever in 2017. From hosting my ladies bible study group, to girlfriend nights for dinner and drinks, to date nights with other couples and my hubs, to Razorback football games and a weekend at the river, I had a lot of meaningful time with friends this year. Here’s a little pic with our friends visiting from Washington, DC and our fishing trip on the White River. I LOVE fishing. I know that’s hard to believe for a girl like me who loves fancy stuff, isn’t it? But the joy of being out on the peaceful waters with eagles flying overhead, and one of my dearest girlfriends by my side was perfect! And it was even sweeter when we caught more fish with our guide Danny, than the guys did.

Moments with true friends are so important to me now more than ever, probably because I am often reminded that life is so short. I was reminded of that this year when I lost my talented friend of 25 years, Todd. He was an event planner extraordinaire and I love this photo of him. It’s how I’ll always remember his smile. And the way he signed every hand-written note…”Smile, Todd”.

Another of my favorite things this year was doing a LOT of entertaining in my home especially during the holidays. My husband and daughter are super social, even more than I am.  We love to share our home and our cooking with friends and family.

In December alone we hosted 5 holiday parties and 2 dinner parties and we loved every moment of nurturing others in our home. One of my favorite things to share with my little family of 3 is our love of entertaining, and I know this home will be the backdrop for our events, big and small, for years to come.

The year of 2017 will go down as one of the great ones in my book.  And 2018 is going to involve some of the biggest changes I’ve made in years. Stay tuned for some big announcements, the launch of my new website and very exciting all-new consulting/coaching offerings  and a year hyper-focused on making my biggest personal contribution to the world that I have ever made. I am on a mission to make a difference in the lives of others including my family, my clients, and designers and entrepreneurs around the globe. I couldn’t be more excited about what that will look like next year.

Thank you my friends, for taking a look back at 2017 with me.

And a special thank you to Traditional Home, my licensing partners Woodbridge Furniture, Duralee Fabrics, New River Artisans, Soicher Marin, CR Laine Furniture, all the vendors that partnered with me on my home renovations, Eastern Accents, Thermador, my fabulous photographer Nancy Nolan, my videographer Leonard Chamblee, my builder Richard Harp, my landscape Designer David Munsey III, my own coaches and mentors, my amazing interior design and consulting clients, all our workrooms, subcontractors and vendors that help us create great designs, my fabulous Tobi Fairley Design team, my web designer and consultants, my amazing friends, especially my family and so many other people who helped make my 2017 great! And a big Thank you to all of you who follow my blog.

Cheers to 2018. I believe it’s going to be my most exciting year yet!

xo,