A Hook, A Towel, And A Thinker: Decorative Towel Holders

By nature I’m a thinker.  It’s a fun challenge of sorts to put a new spin on an old way of doing things, and a great opportunity to stretch imaginative design skills.

kitchen storageLearn NC 

“Lend me your antler and we’ll stylishly hang out together,” said the decorative kitchen towel to the decorative deer head.

decorative towel holdersBetter Homes & Gardens

Normally a towel bar, is a towel ring, is a towel holder.  These utilitarian items are not essential, but they do serve an easier purpose in the kitchens and bathrooms of our homes.  I’ve seen towels hanging over doors, hanging out of drawers, hanging out on counter tops, and keeping company with the refrigerator handle.

Convenient?   Yes.

Stylish?  No.

Let me type that word again- No.

With a few dollars, a few screws, a drill, and an eye for the unique you can turn a decorative hooks or door knobs into useful and decorative towel holders.

decorative hooks

A pair of spade iron door handles make unique displays.

iron handlesvia

A different way to go would be incorporating a vintage door knob and back plate set.   A single knob could be mounted to a decorative piece of backing wood or decorative ceramic tile.

decorative door knobs

vintage door knob towel holdersBetter Homes & Gardens


vintage door knobs

Decisions, decisions!

Don’t let me break your creative process, but let me throw another option into the mix.   Drapery holdbacks come in many colors, designs, and finishes. As shown in the picture, drapery holdbacks have more depth, making them more adequate to negotiate thicker hand towels, aprons, pot holders, or oven mitts.

tea towelAdd this Equal linen tea towel with copper-colored inks to my kitchen “Gotta Have It” list!  Equal Linen Tea Towel from  Bambeco.

drapery holdbackJCPenney, Hobby Lobby

Decorative door knockers come in different sizes, styles, finishes and price points.  A gorgeous cast of characters!

door knockersAmazon

I know the decorative towel holders I’m going to choose!

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Show & Tell

Mirror Mirror Not So Necessarily On The Wall

Decorative leaner mirrors have become increasingly popular, and why not?  Ten and twelve foot ceilings are relatively standard in new construction, and allow the space needed to accommodate the desired reaction to a leaner.  Older homes like mine with eight or nine foot ceilings handle a leaner mirror quite well in their own right. The height restrictions may make for more of a challenge, but the choices are not limited.

The March 2011 issue of House Beautiful showcases the vision of renowned designer Betty Lou Phillips in their regular feature,  Bath of the Month.  Here you see an antique mirror propped behind the tub as a wonderful example of the effect a leaner mirror has on a room. Mirrors open up a room and instantly cast the illusion of added depth.  A leaner mirror deepens the richness of the illusion.

gray-leaner-mirrorTraditional Home


via French Garden House

This antique turn of the century French Treameau mirror perfectly defines leaner mirror.  The patina of the wood and the gold gilt easily enhance a formal decor or become the focal point of a casual space.  I love the visual surprise of pairing stand out formal furniture or accent pieces with casual or primitive design.


When the shock wears off for those who don’t get it, or the excitement subsides for those of us who do, the look is hard to dismiss as luck of the design draw.  I have a great example of this to share with you at a later date.

via Traditional Home

Any mirror can become a leaner.  The look achieved by placing a mirror upon a piece of furniture and propping the mirror against the wall spins a traditional placement to a fresh look .

House and Home/photo: Donna Griffith

One of my television guilty pleasures, and there are many, is the sinfully decadent  The Real Housewives franchise.  One of the ladies was chatting up a fellow cast member last season while giving a  tour of her new home.  The master bedroom suite, bathroom, and dressing closet were quite nice but the eye catcher was the floor to ceiling gold ornate up to your eyeballs leaner mirror.  It is as big as the mouth of its owner!  The dual purpose of function and formality comes across loud and clear.

Talk about a fantastic idea and learning new tricks! I had a client purchase a set of small ornate fireplace andirons from me three years ago.  The client knew exactly what she was going to use them for and shared it with me.  The andirons were placed on her fireplace mantle and used in an easel manner to display a leaner mirror.  Fantastic idea!

If you have searched high and low for your perfect mirror and can’t find it, consider an unframed mirror paired with decorative  prefinished picture frame molding.

House Beautiful 

Decorative moldings can be purchased at home improvement stores in limited selections. Larger selections can be found at specialty stores and through millwork manufactures.  Sheet mirror is typically inexpensive. Going this route will allow you to customize a mirror to achieve the look you are going for .  Molding is purchased, corners are mitered, mirror installed, and the perfect “prop” is on your stage.  A diy project that reflects your decor personality~  now who’s the fairest of them all?




Show & Tell

What’s An Architectural Pediment Like You Hanging In A Place Like This?

Conformity is unavoidable in some circumstances, but individuality reigns supreme in most of them. I like to use elements of surprise, or at the very least, ones that invariably make someone ask, “How did you come up with that idea?”

architectural pedimentBrooke Giannetti 

I’m an “eyedea” kind of girl.  Using an architectural pediment as a home decor piece is a unique way to top off the look.

Sherry Hart ~ Houzz

My eyes are constantly looking at the decor world  through idea colored glasses.  Dave the builder is my 20/20 equal and when we are in the zone we can be quite productive.

repurposed pedimentBetter Homes & Gardens

I distinctly remember my first I could’ve had a V8 moment in regards to this practice. It was 1986, and we had closed on the first of many of our dream homes.  Flipping afforded us the opportunity to have many dream homes.  The reason we had many was simple- as soon as we would complete one Dave the builder would sell it and we’d start all over again. Our first dream home is still occupied by the same couple we sold it to. They love it even more today, and have never changed one thing about the interior or exterior of the house.  Either I’m very good at making timeless decor and design selections or they are incredibly lazy.  I tell myself it is the first one.

headboard made from pedimentBetter Homes & Gardens

The den fireplace was in the center of a brick wall that was the focal point of the room.  The original fireplace mantel in the house found a better home by the curb, and the choices for its replacement were less than impressive.  Today’s choices in the arena of home furnishings are infinitely better, and I for one am eternally grateful for the strides that have been made.  Anywho, back to the late 80’s.

antique pedimentsDave the builder went to a neighboring town to look at a property.  He came home that evening the proud owner of another depressed property in need of flipping, but even better than that he brought home a stroke of genius in terms of interior eye candy.  In his rounds that afternoon he stopped by an antique shop and purchased a salvage piece.  Well, it might not be truly defined as a salvage piece, but what it was defined as was our new fireplace mantel.  In its previous life the piece had served as the pediment of an antique Mahogany armoire.

armoire pediment

Surprisingly, the pediment was in pristine condition as a stand-alone item.  We turned that baby upside down and the “ledge” was deep enough to allow my favorite lamp and Staffordshire dogs adequate display room.  The centrally located broken arch looked great upright, but inverted it went to the next  level of wow!   Our “eyedea” and ideal mantel graced four fireplaces out of six of our homes.  When we sold our second to last home the new homeowner begged me to leave the mantel.  For a split second I considered doing so, but couldn’t find it in my heart to part with it.

bed crown

I like incorporating a pediment into home decor.  The one in the picture below is one I purchased for a client.  Her plan was to use it as a bed crown in her daughter’s bedroom, but we went in another direction. I grew fond of it and the finish by default while handling it five hundred times during her creative process.


When she said no I said so and brought it straight home.  I went antique on antique and placed it above the vintage balustrade lamp in my kitchen.


The one below is really nothing special, definitely a salvage piece off a piece of funky furniture.  It has a bad spot on it we filled in.  The gold spray paint put up a fight not wanting to adhere or cover.  It won, I settled, and it found a home over the picture hanging in my bathroom.

guest bathroom

I ran across a really neat idea in my treasure hunting two years ago.  Don’t throw those old dining chairs away- recycle the top rails and use them as smaller scale pediments.  I purchased two sets and placed them above medium sized frames as a finishing complement.


Keep your eyes open and the creative juices flowing.   I hope this idea helps you with your own “eyedeas”.   One man’s trash is always another man’s treasure.









Show & Tell

Making Fabulous Out Of Flawed With An Existing Space: Bathroom Remodeling Ideas

Dave the Builder and I had big, big plans for the renovation of our new house, which also happens to be my childhood home.  My parents moved in with us last year and we agreed to give them the master suite. That decision meant it was time for the guest bathroom remodeling ideas to begin.

The before pictures have been lost in the shuffle, but you don’t need a great imagination to envision what we were working with.  A vast knowledge of outdated ugly will do.



The first question Dave the Builder posed was “Are you going to leave the existing tile walls?” I  don’t  care for what is involved with the removal of ceramic tile. The bathroom walls had the original gray and green decorative 4″ square tiles, randomly placed on a background of predominately white 4″ square tiles.  Not exactly atrocious, but leaning more to the tune of forty plus year old taste.  I did not want to remove the timeless white tiles. Why?  Because you see the exact same tiles used today.  We cut around and extracted the gray and green tiles, replacing them with 4″ glass tiles.  The original ceramic floor was left in place, and we overlaid it with 12″ square slate purchased from Lowe’s.

Step three involved the removal of a double flush mount sink vanity. We replaced it with a piece of custom built furniture for the wow factor effect. We removed the wood top, replacing it with a solid marble top and decorative single sink and faucet from the Artist Editions collection by Kohler.


The gorgeous framed mirror was a gift from my equally gorgeous mother-in-law.

Now came the time to select colors and make the decision to paint or paper. I selected a classic brown Toile pattern with blue background wallpaper by York to enhance the colors of the slate floor and vanity.

Dave wanted to go with a dark brown glass tile, and I wanted to go with Café au lait glass tile.  We compromised with the old half and half trick.

I wish Lamps Plus partnered with the United Mileage Plus program. It would be Viva Las Vegas time!  The four light bronze bathroom fixture perfectly matched the mirror frame.


One successful shopping trip to our local Marshall’s for guest towels, and one easy order placed at JCPenney for the shower curtain set put us in home decor business.

I could not be happier with the finished product.  It was the logical, practical and most cost efficient choice for us to make.  Our renovation and remodel repertoire grows.

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Hey Grandpa: What’s For Dinner Supper Ideas

If you’re a TV child of the 70s, it’s probably safe to assume you remember a particular question from a little show long on corny and short on my do we really have to watch this nerve.  As much as I tried to forget the corny antics of the Hee Haw gang throughout most of my teenage years, invariably I hear “Hey, Grandpa, What’s for Supper?” in my ear every time I ponder what’s for dinner supper ideas.

Hee Haw

Hee Haw was a Saturday night must see TV staple in our house.  Country music, silly skits and rounds of pickin’ and grinnin’ rang out from the Zenith.  Yes. I did chuckle when Grandpa Jones answered the “Hey, Grandpa, What’s for Supper?” with his here’s what’s on the menu tonight menu monologue.  Speaking of questions, here’s another question for you. Dinner vs. supper.  What say you?

dinner vs. supper

Talking on the telephone to my best friend is a nightly ritual. The topic of conversation eventually turns to our modern-day version of what’s for supper/dinner.  If I had a nickel for every time…

american housewife at tea break Norman Rockwell

Apples don’t fall far from family trees.  During a recent phone conversation, and surprised by the words coming out of my mouth, I asked the question “Hey Grandpa, What’s for Supper?”  You could have heard a corn shuck hit the floor.  I waited for my friend to graciously excuse my gaffe and overlook my slip of the retro tv tongue sin.  It appears great television kids of the 70s think alike.  Without missing a beat she answered the question beginning with the words, “Here’s what’s on the menu tonight.”


Regardless of how the question is posed, it is asked so we can glean info and culinary ideas from each other.  All cooks at one time or another draw a blank when it comes to tasty, healthy, easy and appealing menu ideas to suit and set the family round table.  As I stood in front of the pantry wondering for the 8,629th time what to make for dinner, I spied a package of taco seasoning mix and connected the dots to the rotisserie chicken in the refrigerator.  Rotisserie chicken served in the traditional entrée sense is good for a one time only offering around the Places In The Home dinner table.  Time to get with the culinary inspiration program!

dinner supper ideas

Chicken taco lettuce wraps it is.  Shredded leftover rotisserie chicken, taco seasoning, one heaping tablespoon of onion flakes, 2/3 cup water, and the juice of one lemon hit a waiting skillet.  Over medium high heat, I stirred all the ingredients together until heated through. I put the butter lettuce wrap logic in motion and built my taco house upon it.  Believe me, I know I didn’t reinvent the wheel, but I did put enough of a spin on the average hard shell or soft chicken taco to please.  These tacos were olé hell yeah good!  Guess what my friend served her family for dinner the next night? The power of palette persuasion is the what’s for dinner supper ideas point.  I think even Grandpa would be proud to shout this menu from his window on the cornfield.  Yum-Yum!

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Show & Tell

Classic Hollywood Interiors

Movies are not the only thing Hollywood does well.  Some of the most memorable motion pictures in the history of cinema are not simply known for their cast or cinematic content, but for the classic Hollywood interiors of big screen legend.


It’s probably not intentional, but actually a huge coincidence when a home or a set designer’s interpretation of the home comes to life on a sound stage and takes over as the star of a film.


Yeldell 1-Light Flush Mount

When the architectural vision of near perfection captures the viewers attention and commands top billing it doesn’t necessarily speak to the weakness of the movie, but to the strength of the chosen piece of real estate.


Nineteen sixty seven is dear to my heart.  It is the year I turned five, the year The Beatles introduced the world to Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, and the year one of my favorite movies, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner, was released.


I hit the Turner Classic Movies jackpot a couple of months ago when I noticed it was showing.  I settled in for a couple of hours of escape with this oldie but goodie.  The movie holds my attention on three points- a relevant and positive message, three Academy Award winning actors strutting their mad acting skills, and one luxuriously appointed home.

wrought-iron-setVintage Wrought-Iron Ivy Terrace Set 

The walk from entrance to terrace for an afternoon of sandwiches and coffee would one through interior design greatness.  Attention to detail greets one at every twist and turn, wall and window.


The eye is drawn to tasteful accessories and classic design elements set with timeless colors, patterns and textures.


vintage-sterling-silver-liquor-bottle-labelsVintage Sterling Silver Liquor Decanter Tags

mid-century-gold-leaf-champagne-sherbetsMid-Century Champagne Sherbets


Black Lacquer Nestling Birds Cabinet

antique-crystal-chandelierAntique Five-Light Glass Chandelier with Icicle Prisms

Coffered ceilings, custom built-ins, original artworks, crystal chandeliers, Chinoiserie accents, floor to ceiling windows.  These timeless design elements never go out of style.


Next I will be featuring the four star sets from three Nancy Meyer films, The Intern, Something’s Gotta Give and It’s Complicated.   

wishbone-chairWishbone Chair

the-intern-kitchenMy Domaine

Stunning set design is synonymous with Nancy Meyer’s films.

industrial-pendantHaverhill Pendant

roselle-8-drawer-dresser-chest-brwt2387Roselle 8 Drawer Dresser Chest



It is no coincidence the interiors play a major role in Ms. Meyer’s films and become the stuff design and decorating trends are made of.


Marble Mantle with Horseshoe Opening

sophia-ghost-arm-chair-c64f6573-23f3-4f66-b62c-5472116d5c5c_6002xhome – Set of 2 Modern Accent Dining Chair



Wythe Media Cabinet


Two Academy Award winning actors strutting their mad acting skills and one fabulously designed and decorated beach house set in the Hamptons hits all the Hollywood high notes.


Something’s Gotta Give is a four star design winner on every level.  To describe this space as just romantic, peaceful, and elegant doesn’t fit it well.  It is the perfect, lovely, sexy, and inviting setting for the lady of the manor to discover that in fact her mojo hasn’t left the building, and for the viewer to glean a few ideas of their own in both the love and decor departments.


round-table-diningBridges 2.0 Round Dining Table

round-table-dininig-table-harlowe-finchHarlow & Finch Adelaide Round Dining Table


White Ironstone Serving Bowl

This discussion could go on and on.  These examples are only two of many that come to mind.

hanna-chairOly Studio Hanna Chair

somethings-gotta-give-bedroomBetween Naps on the Porch via Pinterest

fleur-de-lis-tableFleur de Lis Crossroads Rosa Side Table

beach-stonesCrate & Barrel

square-glass-jarWebstaurant Store

swim-ladySwim Party – Kenton Nelson

white-swivel-office-chairBanker’s Office Chair

Is it me or is the common design denominator in these homes a neutral color palette?  That’s the point- classic works.  Some people think it is too safe- a boring option hinting at a lack of decorating imagination.  It’s not that it is safe or boring, but that it is a great choice of classic color scheme to build your design and decor upon.  This point is evident throughout the interiors and exteriors in the film It’s Complicated.

Layout 1


Traditional Home

french-kitchen-tableFrench Kitchen Island

breakfast-nook-lightBreakfast Nook Light

Please allow me to take a little decorating liberty with the choice of pendant light fixtures, but I love the Lone Star Pendant by Curry & Company.


Now comes the disclosure portion of this post.

Disclosure: As it in life and disclosure policy compliance with FTC rules, honesty is the best policy. This post contains affiliate links. If you click on one of the product links and make a purchase from the retailer, I receive a commission from the sale. To read the entire policy in full (fun, fun) please read my disclosure page.

ironstone-platesFrench Ironstone Asparagus Plates

silver-plate-meat-coversSilver Plate Meat Domes


design-ideas-its-complicatedElle Decor

dresser-design-ideas-its-complicatedElle Decor

paris-rustic-dresserParis Rustic Dresser

oval-drawer-pull Antique English Drawer Pull

louis-philippe-mirrorLouis Philippe Mirror

Bakery Goods-

bistro_barstoolBistro Barstool

okl-french-basketFrench Country Round Basket

Of all the spectacular accents, details and accessories in the home of It’s Complicated, do you know what captured my attention the most?

black-window-framesAtlanta Homes & Lifestyles

The fantastic windows. Absolutely stunning!  Black accents set it off with a vengeance.  The reviews are in, and I give it two thumbs up.


Grand elements of master interior design and period decor makes the Technicolor master suite of Scarlett and Rhett from Gone With The Wind difficult to forget.



arley-candelabra1Arley Candelabra


Another spectacular vision of regal and grand set decor by Hollywood standards is elegantly evident in another Vivien Leigh classic, That Hamilton Woman.


sanctuary-tufted-bed-hooker-furnitureSanctuary Upholstered Bed


The wedding reception scenes in The Hangover bring class to a long on funny, short on class premise.


The outdoor space is gorgeously appointed in a star of the show black and white palette.



Sunbrella® Awning Stripe Outdoor Grommet Drape


Palmetto All-Weather Wicker Armchair, Black

Palmetto All-Weather Wicker Armchair, Black

large-paper-lantern-beige-24-1-bBamboo Ribbed Paper Lanterns


Barton Cottage in Sense and Sensibility, the period drama film based on Jane Austen’s 1811 novel of the same name, remains one of my favorite movie houses.  It possesses a quaint English charm suited to the period piece and period pieces featured in the film.


gate-leg-tableBarley Sugar Twist Drop Leaf Gate Leg Console Dining Table


English Landscape Oil Painting

bosfla_1Covington Fabric


Antique Mahogany Barley Twist Drop Leaf Table

staffordshire-sheep-figurineRuby Lane

antique-windsor-chairAntiques and Fine Art

Tinseltown Trivia Time!

okl-wreathOlive and Eucalyptus Wreath

white-dress-canvas-artWhat movie inspires this look?




Set decorator Susan Bode Tyson wonderfully re-created Julia Child’s kitchen for the film Julie & Julia, a film contrasting the early years of Julia Child’s life culinary career with Julie Powell, the New York blogger who deliciously mastered the culinary detail of cooking all 524 recipes printed in Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking cookbook, one recipe per day for one year.  That’s 365 days of bon appétit blogging goodness.

Country Living 

willow_blue_composite_xWillow-Blue by Johnson Brothers, Richmond by Rogaska, Westchester Stainless by Towle


Julia Child’s Kitchen – Smithsonian

Modern lighting option in the style of the original in Julia Child’s actual kitchen.


Robert Abbey Jonathan Adler Havana White Powdercoat One-Light Sconce


Jonathan Adler Havana Polished Nickel Two-Light 

Close option to the Smithsonian replica of Julia Child’s kitchen.


Chiswick Wall Lamp

This French Mid-Century Modern design glass Diabolo shaded brass sconces lamps option with the ooh la la factor present and accounted for.


butcher-blockVintage Maple Butcher Block

french-vintage-set-hammered-copper-pans_5French Country Hammered Copper Pan Set


KitchenAid® Artisan Stand Mixer in Cobalt Blue


Gallery Oval Bread Basket with Handles

If a stove, oven and pegboard could talk!


Classic Hollywood interiors of set and on location design and decor star in an award-winning role in our favorite films.

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Show & Tell

Have Ideas, Will Repurpose: Our Home Improvement Ideas

My husband and I now live in the house I grew up in.  The house was built in 1965 by my parents, underwent two major renovations under their ownership, and recently challenged us to our own up-to-date home improvement ideas renovation.  The standard issue formal living room/dining room combination of the 1960’s ranch house served its entertaining, special occasion shower or tea and makeshift photography studio for homecoming and prom pictures purposes for many years. Thankfully, my mother received the all good things come to an end memo and did away with the design relic during the great renovation of 1986.  Let me show you our home improvement ideas.

My mother had the design idea to turn the formal living room into a formal dining room, and repurpose the small formal dining space into a sitting parlor.  What designs worked for the previous homeowners is not working for the current homeowners.  Here’s the new home improvement ideas plan:  keep the formal dining room space in place, but with one major design modification. I’m a huge fan of taking down walls and opening up a space to new design and decor possibilities, so taking down the wall between the sitting parlor and the kitchen it is. With the home improvement ideas flowing, it’s bye-bye swinging ’60s,  get down tonight ’70s, and don’t you forget about how you hated the decorating trends of the ’80s interior design.

As soon as the subject of home improvement ideas came up, Dave the Builder read my mind.  “The wall is coming down, isn’t it?”  Call me Mr. President, because we’re taking down that wall.  It was really the only option. Running the numbers through my head convinced me even more  I was on the right track.  It would be much more cost efficient to repurpose the existing rooms to emphasize function, relaxed formality and flow.

Though the eight foot ceilings are not exactly a hot design favorite, they are not a design deal breaker either.  We vaulted the ceiling in the foyer and added the decorative molding to accommodate our modern day taste.

As I snapped the shot the bulb went out. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

For less than $200 we added the beveled glass panes to the front door unit.  The five figure estimate we got from the architect to raise the ceilings throughout the house put a big “that ain’t happening” damper on that idea real fast.

home improvement ideas

Subtle replacements, salvaged fixtures, deeply discounted flooring and wholesale lots helped to make this a cost efficient update.



Two and a half rooms down with a few more to come.  Stay tuned.

Show & Tell

Go With The Interior Decorating Flow

It came to me one evening as I was going over the afternoon spent with family that the walls and windows of a home frame so much more than the house, they frame the life lived within.  Think of it in terms of a baseball diamond.   The entire game starts and ends at home plate.  The bases represent milestones in the lives we lead, the good & bad in between, and the memories made along the way.

Your home should provide the calm in the storm, and reflect the personalities of those seeking shelter.  Scarlett O’Hara worked her fingers to the bone in war ravaged fields, and Dorothy walked off a month’s worth of calories on the yellow brick road for it.  A rebel with a cause and a Kansas farm girl both knew the score.  Home, there really is no place like it.

Each space within the home should have a personality all its own.  I feel I’ve done my best interior decorating work when a space stands on its own while creating a key essential- the all important and pleasing interior decorating flow.  In the name of all that is tasteful, try not to be guilty of subjecting others to a interior decorating snafu guaranteed to result in Pretty Baby Face Syndrome (PBFS). Allow me to explain.

Your close friends have recently had a baby and all they can talk about is how precious little Johnnie or little Susie is.  The proud parents present their bundle of joy and immediately you begin to experience Pretty Baby Face Syndrome(PBFS).  It’s too late at this point, and the window of control over your reaction has just closed.  Smack dab across the middle of your face is one part fear and two parts shock.

I don’t believe I’m going out on a limb here by saying  precious is probably not the first word that comes to your scrambled mind.  Being the good friend you are (and an even better actor) you will gracefully pull it all together, aiming in the end to save not only the day, but the friendship as well.  Time will bring beauty to the baby. Together, you and I will bring beauty to your home. I’m big on celebrating the homeowner’s individuality and decorating choices. You own, lease, or rent the house- stand tall and own your interior design, decorating and home decor choices.  Just remember to go with the interior decorating flow.

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