BHG Guest Blogger

I Did It: Christy of Planted and Blooming Girl

Hi all!  I’m Christy, the “Planted and Blooming Girl,” a busy mom who dabbles in DIY projects in my spare time. The biggest of these is my staircase, and thanks to BH&G for featuring my project this month, as well as asking me to “guest blog” about it!  Although the entire process was an adventure, I have to admit, the most exciting part of the whole ordeal was when I was called and asked if I would be interested in having my staircase renovation featured.

I almost ignored the call when it came, because the number was unavailable!  I did answer, lucky for me, and this sweet voice introduced herself as Kit Selzer, an editor from Better Homes & Gardens…my mind was wandering at this point, could my subscription really be up, already? Wait… did she say editor? She went on to ask if I had submitted my staircase redo to the “I Did It” section online? Why yes, that’s me. She proceeded to explain that they would like to feature it in an upcoming issue of the magazine. What? In print? Get the heck out!!! That’s so awesome, I’m thinking, because now, it proves to my husband that the stairway really does look good! He didn’t understand the molding and trim or why I even ripped up the carpet to begin with! So I waited for her to get to the part where I send them a picture of me in front of the stairs and they publish it. Not the case. Kit told me that they would like to send a stylist and camera crew to my house to photograph the staircase, featuring me and possibly, my kids, within the next three weeks!

After several phone conversations with Kit and Lauren Matina, the stylist, reality set in that my stairs were going to be in a magazine! How crazy is that!? The staircase to be featured is in my family room, which I cleaned and arranged to magazine-page perfection for three days before they came. Little did I know, that once Lauren, John Bessler (the photographer) along with his assistant, arrived, they would upend everything in the room! Furniture was moved and artwork was taken down to make room for the huge photography screens, computers, camera equipment, clothes, shoes, and accessories. (Everything went back into place at the end of the day.) Lauren had her work cut out for her, by trying to coordinate the clothing for five kids! (Welcome to my world every single holiday.) It was a whirlwind and lasted for almost six hours! Six hours for one picture! It was a long day of taking pictures on the stairs, but John made the day fun because he was so great to work with!

This experience was so much fun, completely unexpected, and so unlike anything I’ve been involved in, as well as my children. I have such an appreciation for how much effort goes into each and every picture featured in this magazine.

Thank you again to BH&G for selecting my project. I hope I have given other people a bit of inspiration to “bloom” where they are planted and try a project they have admired!

Christy, Planted and Blooming Girl

Ellen Miller

4 Things You Didn’t Know About Giuliana Rancic

In early May, the BHG style team met in sunny Santa Monica, California to shoot and interview the E! News host, designer, and new mom for our September Stylemaker issue. Here’s what we learned:


“Giuliana wears these amazing bright, girly dresses on E! News. But, when she arrived at the studio she was dressed very simply in dark skinny jeans and a black leather jacket—definitely a more minimal, tailored vibe. I was impressed with the pieces we pulled from the collection she designed for HSN—particularly the top we shot for the opening page of the story. Peplum is a trend that’s going strong for fall, and I loved the way she mixed leather details into the line.” Christine Bibbo Herr, Stylist, @NYCPretty


“As a red-carpet junkie, I know that Giuliana has access to the most amazing designer pieces in the world. But after interviewing her for the issue, I was surprised to learn that she lives for a great deal—she couldn’t stop talking about a $5 pair of cotton shorts that she’d just bought! And, I’ve adopted her favorite tip for saving money when it comes to fashion: She designed her closet so that all of her accessories are exposed, and she invested in matching hangers so her clothes hang at the same level. She swears that you’ll shop less when you can see everything you already have.” Ellen Miller, Fashion and Beauty Director, @EllenMillerBty


Photo from Lauren Matina of @laurennystylist


“I’m a huge fan of Giuliana & Bill and Fashion Police, so I know how many projects Giuliana is juggling at once—she’s got a restaurant, three shows, and has a one-year-old! I was surprised at how mellow she was despite her crazy schedule. She had a great energy on set, and make a point to chat and joke with the entire team that day.” Lauren Matina, Market Editor, @LaurenNYStylist


“Baby Duke made a cameo on set and was laughing and cooing at his mom from behind the camera. The little guy loved the music, the camera flashes, and an impromptu visit with Giuliana. It was fun to see that she’s a working mom just like me.” Kylee Krizmanic, Art Director, @KyleeW


Photos from Christine Bibbo Herr of @nycpretty


Can’t get enough of Giuliana’s starlet style? Check out the style section of the September issue of Better Homes and Gardens to see her favorite tips and tricks including how to look your best in every photo op.

Style Spotter Editor

New Showers Door From The Kitchen and Bath Show


Trend: Barn-Door-Style Shower Doors


For a few months now, we’ve been seeing a lot of homes incorporating barn-door-style sliders on pantry doors, bathroom doors, and closets. When I hit the Kitchen and Bath Show last month, I was surprised to see the same kind of hardware showing up on shower doors, too!



My colleague, Marie, trying out one of the new barn-door-style shower doors.


Some versions of this new shower door hardware feature oversize rollers above and below the glider bar.



The exposed, oversize rollers and more overt slider hardware bring a bit of an industrial vibe to the shower. But because I generally saw it executed in shiny chrome or stainless steel, it feels clean and fresh. It evokes a modern, streamlined effect, not the gritty essence you sometimes get from industrial details.

The other cool thing about this hardware: It allows the shower doors to be essentially frameless. As you can see in this photo of Kohler’s Levity shower, the exposed hardware at the top is pretty much the only structure you see on this shower door system. The sliding panels are frameless, creating a really sleek effect that’s perfect for modern baths—or any bath where you don’t want the shower to be the star of the show.


The Levity frameless shower with barn-door-style hardware, from Kohler.



Keep your eye out for more examples of this innovative new look for shower doors. My bet is that the look will become standard pretty soon.

-Karman Hotchkiss, Deputy Content Core Director


BHG Guest Blogger

Erin Gates: Five No-Fail Home Accessories

Hi there! My name is Erin Gates, and I am an interior and fashion stylist who blogs at Elements of Style. I am always asked what my favorite homes accessories are and when given time to ponder it, I realized I really do have a small arsenal of never-fail, works with ANY style of décor items I use time and time again! Adding in something with texture of unexpected flair can really dial up the interest in your space.  So maybe try one or two of these out in your own home and see what a difference a tiny change can make.

1)     Mongolian Lamb Pillows- If I have a dime for every time I used one of these in a project, I’d be living large! There is no better way to add texture and a little attitude to a sofa or bed than with a Mongolian lamb pillow!  Paired with a bold print it’s so much more enticing than a flat solid, and when used with other monochromatic items it keeps a vignette from falling flat!

Source: West Elm


2)     Gold Sculptural Objects- Specifically, I love this Jonathan Adler Bird Bowl.  Looks great on a bookshelf, on a coffee table, by the bed or in the bathroom as a catchall for jewelry and bobby pins.  A little gilded accent here and there really adds some glamour and spunk to an otherwise boring plane.  For a budget friendly option, any affordable little object can be spray painted gold for the same effect- it makes collections of smaller objects look special too!

Source: Jonathan Adler



3)     Lucite trays- A little Lucite never killed anyone, not even my husband, who claims to HATE it.  It’s clear, modern and clashes with nothing!  Trays are such a great way to unify a bunch of small objects- liquor bottles on a bar, books and remotes on a coffee table or keys and mail on a console.


Source: Iomoi


4)     Ceramic Gourd Lamps- Robert Abbey makes a WONDERFUL gourd lamp in different shapes and sizes that really works in ANY space (I dare you to find one in which it doesn’t!)  I have used countless pairs of these in bedrooms, living room, dining rooms, nurseries… you name it!  People have been shocked how clean and modern a statement they make and how well they compliment any décor.


Source: Lamps Plus

5)     Sunburst Mirrors- Some designers may claim this has gone the way of the pashmina shawl- overused and overexposed. I disagree whole-heartedly. I absolutely LOVE the way the sunburst looks on a wall, especially above a bed or a sofa.  They are the perfect thing to layer over busy wallpaper but also can be a statement when left to their own devices.  Just because something is popular doe not mean it’s bad.



Source: Zinc Door


Add one (or all!) of these items to your home for amped-up style. Also be sure to check out my former home featured in the May issue of Better Homes and Gardens!


Happy Decorating!

-Erin Gates of Elements of Style 

Kelly Eagle

behind-the-scenes: kitchen and bath video shoots

Hi all! Kelly Eagle, digital editor for here!

Most days I write about beautiful kitchens and baths and hopefully inspire you with lots of ideas, but the other week I stepped away from my computer (I know!) for a couple of days in the video studio.

Over the course of two days we shot eight how-to videos. Since it’s not often that I get to help produce shoots, it was fascinating all over again: the importance of propping the shots so they look pretty and real; showing every step in the process and not skipping over details because they are complicated, ugly or difficult to shoot; and working in another medium made for a fun couple of days.


Molly, The Talent.


We shot how to clean tile floor, and once you see the video, you won’t know we used such a small area of tile or that it was raised off the floor.

The team and I also had some fun watching the process on the monitors.


Her feet look normal, right?


I’m also thrilled we shot this video (below) and I can’t wait to show you the beautiful tile backsplash we installed – and give you all of the tips and tricks to do it yourself.


It’s easier than you think!


Soon we’ll be able to share all eight of these fantastic new kitchen and bath videos with you, until then, I hope you enjoyed the sneak peek!


- Kelly Eagle, Associate Editor,




Maria Charbonneaux

Behind-the-Scenes: Kitchen + Bath Makeovers

The Spring 2013 issue of Kitchen + Bath Makeovers is coming to a newsstand near you any day now! The theme is “Before and After,” so today I thought I’d share some behind-the-scenes peeks of a few furniture makeovers from the issue.


When we produced the Budget Kitchen makeover last summer, we hit up consignment shops, thrift stores, and Craiglist for affordable dining room furniture and frames. After some searching, here’s what we found. While some of our pieces needed a deep cleaning, they had good bones.


Here’s a peek at how we used these pieces in a dining room. Hard to believe they’re the same pieces, right?



The chairs and bench each got a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore Medieval Times. We removed the rush seats first before priming and painting to keep them their natural color.


The homeowner already had the IKEA cabinet shown in the after photo, but it’s now discontinued and we wanted two storage units for the dining room for balance. We found a used IKEA cabinet that was a close match, but a little large. We trimmed the legs down with a circular saw to make it more closely match the scale of the existing cabinet and removed the door before priming and painting them both in Benjamin Moore Grey Mist.


The frames were a great deal! We found a bunch of them on Craigslist, so we tested out lots of configurations until we were happy with an arrangement. If you’re having trouble deciding how to hang art, try laying out the pieces on the floor first before you put holes in the wall. Snap photos of various arrangements and compare them to decide which one you like best–you’ll also have a guide to help you remember how they looked as you start hanging them. If your frames are really big, you may want to get out a ladder like I did to take good photos from up high! We used a spray primer to quickly coat the intricate frames, and then applied a couple of coats of Benjamin Moore Henderson Buff, Woodstock Tan, and Medieval Times.


If you’re on a budget, I encourage you to consider finding some quality used pieces that you can give a new lease on life. Not only is it an affordable solution, it’s also rewarding to have a customized piece that you refreshed yourself! Check out these furniture makeovers for more inspiration and watch this video for tips on painting furniture.


—Maria Charbonneaux, Associate Editor, Kitchen + Bath Makeovers