Freshening Things Up: The Decorative Oomph

The parallels between writing about interior design and decorating and working with interior design and decorating aren’t as different as you may think.  At least four times a year I go back into the blog dashboard and select blocks of posts to reread for the sake of relevancy.  I look at my foundation design and decorating advice as the good bones of the post and keep it squarely in place.  Images and sources aka the accent pieces of the post are what’s up for creative and decorating reconsideration. Freshening things up applies to design and decor everything, and when you get down to it, do we as decoristas ever really place the period at the end of the design and decorating sentence?  A comma perhaps, but never a period. New seasons, new reasons and new phases of decorating life bring about new ideas and arrangements.  If interior design, decorating and fashion magazines churned out dated and tired information it would be time to cancel the subscription.  My mother-in-law taught by example the importance of rearranging, re-positioning and refreshing the look of a space in order to achieve a very important element of design and decorating- the decorative oomph.

the decorative oomphTraditional Home

“It is always the simple that produces the marvelous.” ~ Amelia Barr

Now I’m not suggesting a costly and/or timely undertaking. What I’m talking about is applying the principle of musical chairs. There are several definitions for the term, and the confusing, rapid and all over the place definition does not apply here. What I’m referring to is this:

musical chairs


• a series of changes or exchanges of position

An affordable and easier than you think solution to the decorative doldrums is to rearrange and redistribute items.  Some of my best moves, decoratively speaking, have come about from actually sitting still long enough in the space and studying the entire contents of the room.  Sit down.  Look at the accents, art, accessories, etc…   Do items deliver a different look from one position or visual level than another?  Do you notice the decorative oomph?  Decorative accents are ripe for the let’s move this to another spot picking.


Now comes the disclosure portion of this post.

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I bet there is not a single one of us who hasn’t moved this over here and this over there at one time or another complete with a that looks ten times better there result.  I call those design and decorating V8 moments.

double-socket-lampsOne Kings Lane

Antiques auctions provided Hopefully Classic and Places In The Home with a rotating inventory. There was a whole lot of updating going on at the shop and at the house. Good and stylish times.  Like a moth to a flame, my eyes and bid card would lock on decorative lamps in need of TLC- total lighting care.


Rewired and ready for double decorative duty as part accent, part task lighting these double socket treasures would be fitted with one soft white light bulb and one soft pink light bulb. The result is visually pleasing and creates a surprisingly balanced look- the decorative oomph.

Renaissance IOne Kings Lane

Is that new?   No, it was in the __________.    As a frequent player of the musical home decor game, I have been asked that question or a variation of it a couple of hundred times.  It seems the biggest decorative impact is made when I move art around.   A quick rearrange of a gallery grouping or swap around is as near an instant response of is that new that I can guarantee. Behind almost every piece of art in this house is a positive testimony to the wonder of nail hole filler.  Here’s a tip: fill in a small nail hole(s) with white toothpaste.  We’ve been doing this for years, and it works like a charm!  So does the toothpaste.

Incorporate the decorative oomph into a space by executing a series of changes or exchanges of position.  It’s a great way to rejuvenate the look, feel and personality of the space, and an easy way to balance the scales of space and design on a dime.

Love your style!

The Second Time Around: Repurposed Vintage Items

The popularity of repurposed vintage items remains deep rooted in decorative purpose. Vintage furniture, accessories, clothing, textiles, spaces within our homes and even this second time around blog post can live many lives at the creative mercy and keen decorative sense of second chance individuals.

Mad Menvia

I’ve given a second, third and fourth chance to many repurposed vintage items. A piece that was merely good in its former life has the potential to be fabulous in its repurposed one.

architectural pedimentvia

Architectural elements find new life through current trends and design applications. Granting a decorative reprieve to armoire crowns and pediments is a perfect example of an elegant repurpose.

repurposed-doorsTraditional Home

A door is a door is an entryway statement.  A set of vintage doors installed on rollers and repurposed as stunning entryway options- absolutely!  Repurposed by definition is to change an item so it can be used for a different purpose.  This door repurposed project does exactly that by taking traditional off the hinges and achieving excellence through elegant and unique repurposing. 

Pair Baluster Lamps smAtelier de Campagne

The beauty of the repurposed balustrade lamp is found in the distressed patina that adds the charm factor, neutral lamp shades that complement and complete the look, and the finished product that shines a light on elegant simplicity. The balustrade lamp in the image below  is from the Dave the Builder collection. We found the balustrade at an antiques market, scooped it up, wired it up and the rest is illuminated history.


A storage deficient kitchen proposes a problem, but a bit of creativity can quickly and uniquely solve the problem.  One of my best treasure hunts resulted in two very happy clients and a fun project. Dave the Builder and I found ourselves “flea-ing” one afternoon.  My eyes zeroed in on the corner of the storage building where  a matching pair of antique twelve light wrought iron chandeliers from Walnut Grove Plantation called to me. These beauties were rusty (loved it), massive (yeah, baby), and ridiculously impressive to me.  I could not tag and pay for the iron beauties fast enough!   I caved to convention, code and a quick cash sale and rewired, repainted, and retailed one.  The other I repurposed as a vintage chandelier pot rack.

iron chandeliers

How gorgeous is this antique bureau repurposed as a kitchen island?

island-antiqueTraditional Home

Vintage travel trunks and cases find second life style as coffee and accent tables.

luxury-home-design-Elle-DecorElle Decor

louis-vuitton-coffee-table-Brook-Shields-homeArchitectural Digest

Repurposed vintage items top the treasure seekers gotta have it list as must haves for impressive kitchen decor on a grand- scale.

repurposed-kitchen-itemsCountry Living 

Becky at Beyond the Picket Fence calls her repurposed project Shutter Island. Great eye and execution, Becky!


But wait!  Repurposing goes beyond treasure finds of the furniture or architectural antiques kind.  A redefined repurposing of a space to better accommodate and serve the purpose of need and function is another form of repurposed vintage items. Consider the layout of most ranch style homes and the sign of the formal living room times from which they came. Don’t forget the often non-utilized space of the over-sized entrance hall or foyer. These spaces become interior relics- an area of wasted space ripe for the repurposing.

Before –


The insight and courage to go for the design and decorative gusto by repurposing a space is to be applauded.  This center hall area becomes a present day dining room repurposing project- a unique and decorative demonstration of design and decorative repurposing.

After –

repurposed-entry-hallHouse Beautiful

Dave the Builder created another one of his “original” designs by cutting down a pair of vintage shutters to fit an electrical panel opening.  He placed flush mount hidden hinges on both shutters and secured them to the wall.  A decorative hook was installed in the middle of the shutters allowing  the shutters to lock together and remain in a closed position.  The new look created a unique disguise to an otherwise unattractive necessity.



  Unique with a purpose, or repurpose.




I’ll Have A Blue Christmas: Decorating With Blue

Traditional red and green remains the traditional contender for the most recognized color palette of the holidays.  I’m not one who normally detours (much) from established, traditional, time honored and proven design and decorating institutions, but there is a time and a space that calls for doing just this.  Holiday foundation colors complement home decor accents and accessories and guide the directed holiday theme or pattern in decorated spaces. Holiday decorating with blue has inspired me to invite this accent color to stick around after the holidays.


As it is with design and decorating, the color palette is the starting point for inspired creativity.  A new dining room paint color and a beautiful angel figurine in ethereal blue guided the decorative selections for our Louisiana French themed holiday tree.  There is no denying the association between decorating with blue, French accents and Louisiana.  Joyeux Noël!


The power of one distinct color can inspire and transform an entire space, and when done right, can lead the way to a color aha moment.

holiday-Chael-Distressed-Pine-BookcaseKosas Home Newmar Distressed Pine Bookcase

Although not a true blue per se, the gray in the distressed pine bookcase is all the blue needed to place the French accent mark on très bien!


Source and ye shall find Parisian perfection, decoratively speaking.

blue-dining-roomCountry Living Magazine – Tria Giovan

Traditional greens of the holiday season frame the old barn doors and antique demilune window cupboard in tandem O Tannenbaum.


Filigree Aubusson Area Rug in All-Over Blue

Table lamps and tassels – wonderful home decor options for introducing accent colors.

decorating with blue width=

Lamp: Marketplace Decor via ebay  Tassels: Hobby Lobby

Decorating with home decor accents and accessories in new traditional holiday colors broadens our palette horizons and inspires the look long past the holiday season.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday Halloween Edition





adjective: fetching


synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible


This week’s Fetching Friday Halloween edition is appropriately inspired by the occasion of the day.




halloween-decorArchitectural Digest



ff-traditional-kitchen-alison-spear-dutchess-county-new-york-201306_1000-watermarkedArchitectural Digest Design File- Alison Spear Design

ff-halloween-statueAtlanta Homes & Lifestyles

When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
‘tis near Halloween. – Author Unknown


halloween-black-service-areaHouse Beautiful


I hope you have a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday





adjective: fetching


synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible


This week’s Fetching Friday accentuates both the tasteful and the decadent.



ff-fall-dessertsCountry Living Magazine


Chocolate-Pear-Loaf-Cake-via-BHG1Chocolate-Cinnamon Pear Loaf Cake

ff-wallpaper“Zebras” in Safari Brown from Scalamandré as featured in Traditional Home

ff-hot-cocoa-brownie-cakeHot Cocoa Brownie Cake with Pumpkin Marshmallow Frosting

I hope you have a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday




adjective: fetching


synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday shines a light on crystal chandeliers in all their sparkling, brilliant and elegant majesty.

ff-white-pitchersRaised in Cotton – REstyle Source

ff-Vanderbilt-CrystoramaCrystorama glamorama


ff-EbanistaEbanista- the first name in details.


crystal-chandelier-Ralph-Lauren-HomeRalph Lauren Home

crystal-flea-market-findFlea Market Style featured in Better Homes and Gardens

I hope yours is a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!


Fall at Home Decorating Favorites: Places In The Home at Fall

Today all is right with the calendar! September 23, 2014 marks the official start of fall, and in the infamous words of Marky Mark and his Funky Bunch, can you feel it?  Wow, did I just date myself or what?  Summer heat and humidity has finally relented and it’s time to break out the fall at home decorating favorites. Dave the Builder’s mancave looks like the distribution center for Hobby Lobby. Don’t you love that look?


Several “hello, do you have any gourds (cause I’ve got friends in low country places), ornamental cabbage (it’s the deep South lady, wait a few more weeks), cotton stalks (score!) and the ever great, ever regionally challenged do you have white pumpkins phone calls have been made over the last few days.


Decorating for this year’s Places In The Home at fall home tour focuses on a natural theme with a family overtone to it.


My brother has the cotton connection, 46+ acres of it to be exact.  His home is located out in the country surrounded by cotton fields ready for fall harvest.


My parent’s recent trip to East Tennessee resulted in my Ball Mason jar collection growing by one.  My paternal grandmother was known for her famous pinto beans, and this somehow seemed naturally appropriate.


Can’t forget the traditional pop of pumpkin color.


Additions, changes, adjustments…


Dark tones, warm colors and the lack of natural lighting worked to my fall photo shoot advantage.


Nature continues to amaze and reward me with an abundance of accents.

Heirloom pieces, vintage favorites and simple accents and accessories place the emphasis on less is more.


Fall home tours are so much fun to share with others.


Welcome home fall.  You’ve been greatly missed.


Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday




adjective: fetching


synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features signature design and decor interpretation, fashionable words, a perfect blend of antiques and modern, a summer settee, a full on fall preview, and a question for you all.


As illustrated in the Domino magazine feature “High Style Made Easy”, Interior designer Mary McDonald captures decorating lightening in a bottle in this office kitchen with her signature bold design choices. Decorating in a straightforward fashion strictly based on the function and purpose of the space does not always a statement make.  Doesn’t this office/workspace with its playing it not so safe accents and accessories pop a bit more than a conventional just get the job done look?

ff-Oscar De La Renta

The pairing, mixing and blending of antiques with modern and contemporary style elements is a decorative endeavor I highly recommend trying.  Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

ff-sophisticated-retreat-feelStyle at Home

A Marina Rust, Penobscot Bay, Maine summer home and a pink settee seasonally in Vogue


This Traditional Living Room by Springfield Interior Designers & Decorators Nathan Taylor for Obelisk Home defines full fall glory in apples, feathers, rich colors and warm accents detail.


What favorite person, place or thing will be a part of your weekend plans?  I hope you have a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday




adjective: fetching


synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features setting colors, fashionable words, traditional English style fit for fall, ooh la la in the kitchen, and a visual testament to a love of antiques.


Being optimistic is always in fashion.

ff-be-optmistic-badgeBe Optimistic Felt Badge – Best Made Company

Open the window and let the air of fall weather in is coming to a cool morning and crisp afternoon near you soon.

fall-breakfast-areaArchitectural Digest

Leila Lindholm’s fabulous French inspired kitchen complete with eclectic extravagance with the accent mark on love the look!


A fascinating combination.


Never underestimate the decorative presence, power and inspired influence brought forth by the use of antiques and eccentricities in design and decor.  A point well made in the home of Houston antiques dealer Kay O’Toole as featured in Lonny Magazine.


I hope you have a most fetching Friday.

Love your style!

A Most Fetching Friday




adjective: fetching


synonyms: attractive, appealing, sweet, pretty, good-looking, lovely, delightful, charming, prepossessing, captivating, enchanting, irresistible

This week’s Fetching Friday features seasonal color and comfort, a preview of things to come.

ff-mustardFall colors on home decor parade from H & M

ff-fall mumsMum is the word and the look for fall planting – Midwest Living

ff-entryMaking a grand entrance and grand statement – Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles


Mediterranean Landscape by San Francisco Architects & Building Designers Ken Linsteadt Architects

Brooke-Shields-dining-room Elegance in dining – At Home with Brooke Shields via Architectural Digest

wynn-buffetThe Buffet – Wynn Las Vegas

I hope you have a wonderful holiday weekend and a most fetching Friday!

Love your style!