Now that the leaves are falling, the days are shorter, and the nights are chilly, entertaining moves from outdoors to inside your home. We don’t even have to be entertaining; it could be us or ours just being indoors.
And with that, the dreaded stain mishaps will occur—without fail.
I remember a small dinner party where one of my guests accidentally spilled red wine on my creme-colored sofa. She was mortified and being the gracious hostess, I had to convince her it was no problem, not to worry, I knew what to do and would take care of it later.
I placed a dish towel over the stain, kept a smile on my face while thinking I didn’t know what to do to erase the beautiful Merlot shade of red. I was sure that a throw would be finding a permanent place to cover the stain.
Fortunately, I was able to remove the wine stain without having to bring in an upholstery cleaning company.
Stains happen to all us in some fashion or other. The victim could be our upholstery, carpet, or clothing.
The perpetrators could be us, guests, children, and even out pets.
Recently, I found a guide tested and written by the University of Illinois Extension. It covers just about every substance, even what to do it you don’t know what particular stain it might be.
It’s worth bookmarking and having this handy guide on hand whenever stain disasters happen, and they surely will.
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Image courtesy Huff Post
appleIt may seem odd that as an interior designer, I’m devoting a post to the common fruit fly.
However, as a lifestyle designer, this silent, red-eyed pest has no place in our home and does affect how well we live.
Every year starting sometime in August and continuing into the fall, they set up residence in our homes as if they’ve been invited. Worse, they bring their relatives and a whole host of friends and their families.
I remember dining in an up-scale restaurant located in a vineyard. Beside each wine glass was a paper cover/top. Perplexed, I asked the waiter what it was there for. He merely smiled and filled the wine glass. Within seconds, a fruit fly appeared hovering over the rim and becoming drunk on the wine’s sweet scent. Truly, after swatting it away and taking a sip, the the paper covering would have to be placed onto the wine glass until I took another sip. Fortunately, it was just one glass and not a full bottle of wine to be enjoyed, as the whole procedure was very irritating.
Fruit flies are tiny, they don’t bite, but they are a frustrating nuisance. They hover over food and drink that is on the sweet side. Hence their name—fruit fly.
I finally, after years of combating the little, fast-flying invader, decided to take action and find a way to banish them forever—or at least keep them at bay.
I use a small glass dish about 3 inches in diameter and 1 and a 1/2 to 2 inches deep. Here’s the recipe:
1/2 inch apple cider vinegar
3-4 drops of dish washing soap
Stir both together
It’s amazing to watch what happens. The fruit fly will land on the container’s rim, work it’s way down the side and land in the briny solution—dead and gone. You think you only saw one, but within a few hours many companions will have joined him/her. You’ll wonder where on earth they’ve been hiding.
You’ll need to prepare the recipe often often during the season, but it’s worth it. You and your guests can enjoy food and drink in peace.
Happy Hunting!!
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Image courtesy Cieleke

Nestle    Snuggle    Cuddle    Warm     Cozy

These are words that are synonymous with how we want our homes to feel now that we’re into autumn.

Even though we’re experiencing halcyon days of fine and calm weather, the days are increasingly shorter and the nights chillier. We relish the beauty of leaves turning into brilliant colors and watch them fall gently to the ground The apples have been picked and pressed into cider. We smell wood smoke from fireplaces long since used. We know without a doubt that summer has passed and we’re into that quieter season of fall.

Just as animals prepare for the coming winter season, we, too, ready our homes for being indoors and feeling warm, cozy, and safe.

Most of us don’t replace a linen covered sofa with a sheepskin covered one. Although that would be cool! What we can do is exchange pillows, throws, blankets,bedding, area rugs, ottomans, poufs, and accessories that speak more to this time of year. If there was one word to describe them it would be “texture”—textures that beg to be touched and run your fingers through or squish your toes in.

Following are products that you can purchase that reflect the comfort and warmth that we so long for at this time of year; that make it a joy to be indoors for us and all who enter our home. (Photos via Houzz)

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,


Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around


I love this article and wanted to share it with you because it will make you smile, too. It was published in ELLE DECOR and written by AMY PREISER.

It’s tongue-in-cheek and yet who among us can’t relate to at least one of the 12. For me, #1 had my name beside it and I bet yours as well.

Take a few minutes, grab a cup of coffee or tea and just enjoy!


  1. You walk into any store—low- or high-end—and your favorite item is always the most expensive one. Who knew that little brass tray would ring up as more than certain pieces of furniture?

  2. You’ve had to stop watching makeover shows on TV because your stress level gets too high. All that loud sighing muttering “Oh I could do so much better” can take a toll.

  3. You only create secret boards on Pinterest—otherwise all your friends wind up with the exact. same. accessories. Sure it’s flattering, but you’d rather not have identical bookshelves.

  4. You’ve never gotten your security deposit back. And you KNOW your past landlords have hiked up the rent based on your improvements.

  5. You’ve wondered if your friends like you, or just the amazing things you’ve helped pick out for them. So often, those coffee dates turn into “want to pop over and check out that shop? I’m in the market for xyz…

  6. Even your cat can be judgemental about fabrics. It’s not your imagination, she actually purrs louder when perched on cashmere.

  7. You have so many coffee table books, there’s no longer room for actual coffee on your table. Time to edit it down? Or time to get a bigger coffee table?

  8. You’re often delayed when leaving the house because you have to do a quick touch-up to the pillows. Whether you’re team karate-chop or team fluffing, you’ve got to make sure your pillows are perfectly propped for when you arrive back home.

  9. You have more shelfies than selfies on your Instagram. And yes, each one of them took a solid amount of time to style to get just right.

  10. You can’t visit certain family members at home because of an overwhelming desire to move their sofa to the opposite wall. And you don’t want to start that fight again.

  11. When you say “Thank you, you shouldn’t have!” you mean it. Really. They should not have. This gift is going straight to the Goodwill.

  12. Your calendar is filled with dinner parties…and you suspect you’re only on the invite list because of your reputation for hostess gifts. Did your cousin’s ex-girlfriend really want you at her birthday party or does she just remember the vase you gave them at their housewarming?

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around

I love helping clients design small spaces. You have to be creative and it can certainly be challenging, but the rewards are many.

For one thing, especially in larger cities, the cost of living can be prohibitive.

Or it may be the time in life for downsizing. Moving from 3500 sq. feet to 1500 sq. feet requires a different way of thinking about how you live.

Advantages of living smaller are utilities are less, you need less “stuff,” and your smaller home is certainly easier to keep clean!

Following are 7 ideas that will help you happily live larger in a small space.


Removing cabinet doors gives a feeling of being more open and expansive. It does, however, require organization so as not to look messy and defeat its purpose.

Just as painting vertical stripes help a room appear taller, horizontal stripes make a space seem wider.


Just because a room is small, don’t make the mistake of filling it with doll-house size furnishings.The results will be a room that looks small. You need furniture that is comfortable; just not a lot of it. I actually like having 1 large piece in a small space. Surprisingly, the room will feel larger.

ho among us isn't in love with shoes? This photo is a great example of how to store them. Using the designer trick of going up if you can't  go wide, it's amazing how many shoes you can hang and see what you have at a glance.


Attaching curtains just below the ceiling automatically draws the eye upwards making the ceiling appear higher than it actually is.


Mirrored finishes reflect light which always makes a room appear larger. Plus, if you like a bit of old Hollywood glamour in your decor, this is a great way to do it.<


Images courtesy HuffPost

If you have one large living area, a rug will define the space so at a glance the room “separation” is evident.

Until next time…

Blessings from my home to yours,

Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around<

Banquettes have had a role in interior design for what seems like forever.
Think of the malt shops of the 40′s and 50′s and their bright red vinyl banquette seats.
Or, as a child, I remember going to fancy restaurants on special occasions with my parents and sitting on plush fabric banquettes. It felt so special and intimate.
Fortunately we still have them and they can be as simple or elegant as you wish.
They’re not only stylish, but incredibly functional. They offer more seating in places where chairs would be too bulky.
And they’re not only for dining. Banquettes can be used practically anywhere in your home. They’re terrific in a child’s space and exquisite in an elegant living room.
Banquettes offer storage opportunities which we never seem to have too much of.
And they’re cozy and make us feel protected. They encourage intimacy and rich conversation. Or, just a special place in which to read or dream.
Take a look at these examples. You may see an example that could work in your design and make your home even more special.

10. Banquettes have a friendly vibe.

Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
Remember what it’s like when you have a head cold and can’t really taste your food because you can’t smell  the aromas that waft up to your nose?
It’s maddening. After all, eating delicious food is one of the joys of living. Our mouths literally water when we smell foods we love and we can’t wait to dig in with anticipation.
This is the power of our sense of smell. Without it, our quality of live diminishes.
Our sense of smell also can affect out thoughts and behaviors. Do you remember as a child having scents that smelling them as an adult, immediately spark good memories and make you feel good? Again, the power of smell.
This week I’d like to share with you an article written by SALLY AUGUSTIN, a Houzz contributor and owner of DESIGN WITH SCIENCE. What she explains is backed by scientific research. It’s important enough to incorporate into your own home.

Because of the way our brains are structured, odors have a significant and immediate effect on our thoughts and behaviors. Smelling pleasant scents, in general, gives us a positive boost. For example, in a study published in the 1997 issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin (“The Sweet Smell of … Helping: Effects of Pleasant Ambient Fragrance on Prosocial Behavior in Shopping Malls”), Robert Baron reported that people were more likely to help a stranger in the presence of pleasant smells than when those odors weren’t present.

In other words, smelling various scents can directly effect — even influence — our minds. Taking that research a step further, you can learn how to incorporate scent into your home to improve mental performance, reduce anxiety, relax and so much more.

People are fairer and even more generous when they’re in spaces that smell clean, like from cleaning products. In one study, on Dutch trains that smelled like a familiar cleaner, people littered less. So let the odor of Windex perfume your mudroom!

Photos via Houzz
Until next time…
Blessings from my home home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
As a designer, I often help clients create a gallery wall so that it looks organized and pleasing to the eye instead of looking like a hodge podge.
It’s not difficult if you understand a few basic how-to’s that will serve you well each and every time. And without having to repair a gazillion nail holes in your wall!
Check out this short video and you’ll discover how to turn your wall into your own art gallery in less than 3 minutes.
Additional tips:
  • While traditionally in an art gallery the walls are painted white, it’s not required. In fact, sometimes your artwork can look even better against a colored background.
  • While newspaper is used as a template in the video, I prefer using plain old brown wrapping paper. It’s less distracting without the busyness of print and no ink ends up on your hands either.


                                  Video via Huffpost Home
Until next time…
Blessings from my home to yours,
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
I vividly remember my Grandmother’s bedroom wallpaper. It was pink Cabbage Roses and they were huge! As a child they made me feel happy. Now I think back with an adult’s eye and that wallpaper was really rather garish. You might have similar memories as well.
Due to technology, today’s wallpaper, however, can be a wonderful way to beautifully design your spaces.
Quality wallpaper is not inexpensive, so unless you’re experienced, I highly recommend using an expert to apply your wallpaper. It’s absolutely worth the cost.
Here are a few examples with suggestions you may not have thought of that can add beauty and interest to your decor.

Choose A Paper With Plenty of White Space

Tour Jeanine Lobell and Anthony Edwards‘s entire Manhattan home

Choose a wallpaper with shimmer to bring a glow to any room

Tour Barnaba Fornasetti‘s entire home

Use wallpaper to bring a touch of nature to an otherwise sleek room

Tour Jackie Astier‘s entire Manhattan home

Use wallpaper to bring a touch of nature to an otherwise sleek room

Tour Jackie Astier‘s entire Manhattan home

Use wallpaper to cover closet doors

Match wallpaper to the curtains and headboard for an enveloping feel

Tour Lorenzo Castillos‘s entire home

Don’t be afraid to hang art Salon-style on a wallpapered wall

Create dramatic tension by choosing wallpaper in an opposing pattern to the rug

                                                                                 Photos via Elle Decor
Let me know in the comment section if you’ve used wallpaper in your rooms and send some pics. I’d love to see them.
Until next time…
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other way around
We spend a lot of time in our bedroom and not just for sleeping. Whether it’s shared with a partner or not, it’s the one space that just screams for order and calm.
Besides an excellent mattress that allows for a good night’s sleep, and having soft, soothing colors that appeal to you, there are other factors that can add to having the perfect bedroom
Take a look at the following photos for a few examples:
Unless you have wall-to-wall carpeting, there’s nothing nicer than getting out of bed and placing your feet onto a soft, warm, cozy surface. In the photo, the bed sits on the carpet and serves as a border. Or you could have rugs on either side of the bed. Just make sure they’re proportionate to the bed size.
A comfortable chair for sitting in to read, put your shoes on or off, or laying your clothes on before dressing.
Or, another option is seating at the foot of the bed. Just make sure whatever you choose stops just short of the bed’s width. If ottomans are your choice, you have the bonus of extra storage as well.
Mirrors can be used in place of artwork above the bed with the added advantage of reflecting light. If you don’t like clear mirror, smoked mirrors are another choice. In either case, make sure you like what you see in the reflection. To see the toilet might not be your image of choice!
Contemporary Bedroom by Peg Berens Interior Design LLC
For looks, comfort, and ease of reading in bed, throw pillows are a must. Just don’t pile on too many. This is one area where less is more.


If at all possible, choose bedside tables with at least one drawer. Keep the top of the tables as free of “stuff” as you can. You’ll sleep better with less visible clutter. Not always easy for sure, but a drawer or two really helps.


Bedside lamps serve a functional as well as esthetic purpose. Generally, the size of lamp is dictated by the bed size. You also want the size of shade to be in proportion to the lamp size. When reading in bed, you don’t want to see the bulb. As always, have your lights on a dimmer switch so you can adjust the light intensity for task work like reading or softer for mood lighting.
Transitional Bedroom by Martha O'Hara Interiors
This is a beautiful example of a sensual bedroom. The soft, muted colors, the lighting, tufted headboard and bench, it’s clean lines  make this bedroom one in which I can think of more fun things to do than just sleeping!
(Carissa, omit “More: Bedroom Color… at bottom of last photo. Also, Don’t include Photos and #’s. I include them so you could keep track. Just list the categories, i.e., RUGS, A PLACE TO SIT etc.
                                                                              Photos via Houzz
Share your ideas for the perfect bedroom in the comments section. I’d love to hear your thoughts.
Until next time…
Dedicated to helping you live your rooms—not the other away around
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