Tuesday, February 10, 2015

A Bedroom Makeover - Between friends

I was so excited and happy when my good friend Pat Decker asked me to design the makeover of her bedroom.
Then...we were both really excited when Better Homes and Gardens magazine "REFRESH" decided they wanted to publish it.  What a great testimony to our venture!
Get the full story in this winter issue 2015

Here is how it went! When Pat called me, there were 2 major challenges with Pats bedroom:
1.  She wanted to keep all of her furniture for sentimental reasons but she also
     desperately wanted to change it.
2.  She wanted a new look, but had a small budget. Pat was uncertain about a style
     direction......except she really loved the color RED!

I set off to find a rug with a good punch of red!‎ served it up with this design we used as a bold design anchor.  The raspberry red from the rug was matched to a Rapberry red paint from www.benjaminmoore for the furniture.

It's amazing what can be transformed with Paint!
I painted all the dark wood furniture with 4 coats of gloss paint which totally transformed their look, making Pat fall back in love with them again. New Crystal knobs and nickel on everything perked up the finish.

I thought the old brass bed just had to go, but Pat could not part with it!  Why throw away something you can fix?  She was right!  I transformed the bed with Krylon paints, using a black flat finish with a dusted shimmer of nickel.  The bed now feels a bit modern industrial but the bedding brings it back to feminine!

The wall behind the bed needed something special and I liked the idea of softening the wall with fabric. After a trip to the flea market for glass knobs, I attached them to a painted pine board. This idea means Pat can change the fabric for a new seasonal backdrop anytime!

Personally, My favorite thing was finding the collection of vintage NYC subway maps. The graphics are wonderful.   They seemed prefect for Pat who's heart is usually half  in NYC and half in Ct.
                                   Subway maps from

Red can be an overwhelming color if it is not balanced with complimentary colors. Adding the gray wall quiets the red while letting it pop! The blue and black accents and mix of patterns makes the room bold and interesting.
Once we had our secondary palette, finding accessories in these colors was fun and everything just fell into place!
Lamps and Chairs from Target!

As far as working with friends, It was so great working with Pat who's enthusiasm and mind was open to all the possibilities!
I'm ready for our next project PAT! xxoo

All Photography by the talented Michael Partenio!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Outdoor Spaces, Winter lights, Snow!

What a difference some snow can make to a shoot!

During two days of shooting last week designing Better Homes and Gardens Holiday Entry's and wreaths (with photographer Kritsada and assistant Caitlin) in very, cold, rainy weather, we settled for fake snow for some winter effects.  Just one week later the Blizzard of 2015 arrives, timing is everything, reminding me of last years photo shoot, where we had more snow than we could handle.  We actually had to hire a pick up truck to take 4 loads of snow away to get the following photos that appeared in the Holiday issue of Better Homes and Gardens holiday Issue Dec 2014.

 Dressing up the Winter landscape

Hired by the Better Homes and Gardens magazine Garden group I designed lighting ideas for gracing outdoor spaces to cheer up the bleak winter months.  Working at the beautiful Connecticut home of style Blogger Amy Cupp Dragoo as our backdrop, Amy worked with me to fill her snow laden spaces with lighting ideas of all kinds. 

These ice globe lanterns are easy to make and lasting, adding magic to Amy's entry!  Find out more at

 Using solar powered paper lanterns takes away the mess and maze of extension cords, you can create whimsy and impact with large groupings in garden spaces, like this arbor Amy designed to sit center stage in her back yard.

Light the way from winter into spring. Amy's pretty fence was a great backdrop for a garland I made from rope festooning small battery powered lanterns and pine cones stars.  Buy yardage of heavy Rope at Home Depot or Lowes and swag away.

I bought the yardage of heavy Rope at Home Depot or Lowes.  Swag away!  Pine cone Stars made by Greta Ribb of Thefloralfactory

I love the way Amy designed this small courtyard with her Adirondack chairs center stage.
The big pictures window was a perfect invitation for hanging stands of vertical battery powered  lights. 

 No matter how frosty Amy designed this space to feel warm and cozy! 
The best part of this week long shoot was all the yummy food Amy made to sustain us.
Amy has great ideas for food and entertaining on her blog.
Thanks Amy for all!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Christmas Past- The Seasons Best

Christmas comes and goes with the month of Dec.  For me, styling Christmas for magazines, it starts in Dec and often just keeps on going.......

As this years long awaited December issues started to to arrive I was quickly reminded of what a long holiday season last year was, as well as a very cold white one!

It started with the first snowfall of the season.  I shared in the excitement of working with Interior Designer Lisa Hilderbrand at her home for Traditional Home Magazine.  Lisa's holiday is a Christmas, deep in tradition with layer upon layer of elegant holiday finery.

The living room, the heart of the home, was a styling dream come true. So many beautiful things to play with.

Lisa's tree has over 5000 ornaments! 

Every inch of her home is decked out with beautiful trims,  ornaments, and greenery,....


 and touches of Amaryllis in every room.

Working with photographer John Bessler is always a delight.
To see the full story, go to Traditional Home magazine. Winter 2015  

Then there was this quintessential country cabin, A perfect retreat for a snow laden Christmas in the woods.

This wooded cozy cabin offered a different kind of holiday magic with faux furs, and plaids.

 I made this wreath from scraps of faux furs wrapped around a Styrofoam form!

           Multiple scrabble boards and jars of scrabble letters makes a crowd pleasing runner for the holiday table. 

Birds and snowy owls, pine cones and bells draped the tree!

I can smell the Holiday breads baking in this charming kitchen! 
Rhododendrons leaves brought in from the frozen tundra perk up in warm water and make gorgeous bouquets!

Thanks to Interior designer Claudia Farias Kalur of A Room for Frances for sharing this magical spot with me!

And thanks to assistants Monica and Shelly for wrangling with that tree!

Another great shoot with photographer Michael Partenio.
To see the full story, beautiful Christmas Ideas and images go to Christmas Ideas magazine. Winter 2015

As the winter progressed the snow got deeper and deeper!  In three feet of snow I set out to find another Christmas tree. A feat in itself! With a snowmobile, shovels and a big pick up truck I found the perfect 9 ft tree.  That was the beginning of the Country Living magazine project, showcasing this beautiful renovation of a classic New England Home. 

It was a memorable week working with Country living Editor Jamie Supsic.

The end result was very Merry!

 and filled with festive ideas!

     jingle bells and boughs of holly!

The behind the scenes action can be quite a mess! Thanks Monica and Marilyn your back breaking work!

Thanks to photographer Max Kim Bee for his hard work!
See the full story in the "Country Living" Magazine, Dec 2014 issue 

I still had one more Winter feature where snow was crucial for Better Homes and Gardens magazine! 
Shot at the charming Country Home of Amy Cupp Dragoo, we created some inspirational outdoor lighting ideas for keeping the lights glowing throughout the Winter months.

Stay tuned in my next post for images from that memorable shoot!



Thursday, June 12, 2014

A New Twist On Your Summer Bouquet

Vegetable Arrangements 

Spring is not only a time of rebirth and renewal; it is the best time of the year to try something completely new! Last spring while I was strolling through my favorite farmers market, I conceived an idea of creating arrangements with vegetables. Vegetable bouquets as d├ęcor! The incredible abundance of colorful produce, rich textures, and abnormal shapes sparked the idea that became an exiting project I created for Country Gardens magazine. Suddenly my habitual trips to the farmers market became a totally new visual and creative experience as I explored the idea of vegetables as flowers.

My goal was to create a look of rustic elegance using vessels of silver plate and sterling. The contrast between the organic earthy vegetables against the formal polished or tarnished silver is very sexy. The champagne bucket makes for an impressive base for a burst of Swiss chars, Asian eggplants, and collard and turnip leaves. Since eggplants tend to be heavy, just sticking them into your bucket or vase will not do the trick. In order to secure the eggplants or any heavy vegetable, first fill the container with wet floral oasis and add water. Then insert wooden shish kabob skewers at the base of the vegetable and push into the oasis for a bouquet that will stay in place.

  While the farmers market is a great source for natural produce, there are other outlets that can satisfy your wallet and your garden. Not only are vegetable gardens a great way to ensure your food is fresh, but it is also a great way to get your family involved and teach your kids about healthy food options. While roaming your vegetable garden, do not pass over the bug eaten leaves or the weeds and wildflowers that grow along the edge of your garden. They reveal all the cycles of life that will make your arrangement real, natural and beautiful. The arrangement above is built around a small head of cabbage that was still attached to its long stalk. I designed this bouquet with the wild, chaotic feeling that mimics the August garden it came from. 

Seeing bundles of radishes in big piles of vast shades made my jaw drop. The stunning degrees of pinks, purples, reds and white reminded me of a bouquet of roses which inspired this simple yet breathtaking idea. Using rubber bands, wrap together bundles of differently shaded radishes and their leaves. I used three or four bundles to fill the container above. Make sure to keep the stalks long so they are able to reach the water in the pitcher!

Instead of using silver to house your new vegetable arrangements, trying using large glass vases. Using a glass vase, like the one seen above, try inverting the vegetables, displaying both the vegetable and it’s stalk. Fill the vase with enough water to complete cover the carrot and a little of the stem. I also used tomatoes and dill to add extra height and a contrastive look. By submerging the carrots in water, they are able to absorb the water which keeps them alive for a substantial time. The beautiful shades of green contrasting with the bright orange of the carrots give this arrangement a completely organic, elegant, and simple appearance.

I would like to thank Nancy Stuckwich of Silver Magpies for allowing me to use her beautiful collection of vintage silver. To browse and buy vintage silver, check out her website

Monday, April 14, 2014

Easter Style

Setting The Spring Table

I came up with this vase idea many years ago when I came across a collection of old bulb planters at the flea market.   It's been a favorite style idea that I have used many times.  Last Spring, I created the spring table setting pictured below for Good Housekeeping magazine as part of a Easter Celevration feature.

Celebrate springs arrival with a line up of small bouquets down the center of the dining table.

Here's what you'll need to make it:
- Metal bulb planters (garden centers, hardware stores, flea markets).
- juice glasses (to fit inside bulb planters with water)
- 8” round terracotta trays
- Moss
- Decorative birds eggs

For each planter:
- 4 large hyacinth 
- 3 daffodils 
- 5 Grape or Muscari Hyacinths

1- Surround planter with moss that can be purchased from a floral-craft center. You can also use fresh moss which may be found in your yard.

2- Slip a small spade between the moss and the dirt and gently pull up in sections.

3- Mist moss regularly to keep moist.

The beautiful Italian Linen Table cloth  from 'Best Monogram':

Photo by Michael Partenio 

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Vintage Floral Inspirations

Floral Inspirations

As a regular contributor styling floral arrangements for BH&Gs Country Gardens magazine, I'm thrilled to share the current floral feature with you. It was so much fun to create.
As a designer, I look for inspiration and ideas for projects everywhere. One day while combing through my bins of vintage fabrics for table cloths, this idea came to me.

The idea:
Take inspiration from gorgeous textile designs that use nature as their source. It's a creative approach for those who love floral styling. My wonderful editor, James Baggett, liked it too!

This was an assignment that screamed, "Have fun!":
 I took 7 fabrics and went to town making arrangements in a still life 
setting which echos the original textile design.

1970's Grandma's Garden
Ive had this fabric forever and at last, I've found a use for it!   I used luscious peonies instead of roses in a the soft bed of spirea cluster.  The leaves and teal-green hues in the background directed my vessel choice.  I used a favorite tray of the same hue as a base to place complimentary vintage bottles and other natural things.

1950's Americana

I love the stylized flowers in this1950's Americana fabric. Climbing Roses, Thistles, Fuschia, Dahlias and Yarrow were the flowers often interpreted in the Pennsylvanis Dutch style designs.  The pewter vase  echoes the grey blue Liberty bell in the fabric.

1960's  Floribunda
The monochromatic color scheme (above) motivated my search for flowers in hues of cream, yellow and white dahlias and assorted varieties of roses. Gathering the objects to create these Dutch style still lifes was an adventure in itself.

Setting the scene: Look for objects that capture the period, style and color hues.  The pitchers capture perfectly the yellow-brown used heavily in the fabric giving that deep rich value to the arrangement.

1980's Chintz
Finding the  flowers that mimicked this textile was worth the trip to garden center, Delphiniums, Peonies, Honeysuckle, Weigela, Fuschia are some of the blossoms in this arrangement. In the summer  your local nursery is the place to go for an enormous choice of flowering blooms.  Buy the perennials, cut the blossoms, then pop the remaining plant in your garden for next years color.

Thank you to photographer, Joe Keller, for working with me on this shoot 
and for his gorgeous photos.
Look for the entire feature article  in the current Spring 2013 Better Homes and Gardens Country Gardens magazine.

 For more ideas on inspirations with Vintage Fabrics  you can go to my blog post for New England Homes magazines .