August 2012

Back-to-school days are here again, and as the mom of two kids in elementary school, it’s important for me to feel prepared on Day One.  I’m spending some time getting organized for the big day coming up next week, tackling the kitchen junk drawer and readying the family computer armoire that also functions as a study station.  

With homework and school projects looming, I started organizing school, home, and office supplies and in the process, compiled ten clever ways to corral all that small but oh-so-necessary stuff we need at home. 

1.  Ready and Waiting.   A colorful drink caddy serves up back-to-school readiness instead of refreshments when the glasses are used to store pens and office supplies.


drink caddy organizer bhg


2.  Mess-less Muffin Tins.   No need to bake with this clever solution to use a muffin tin as a drawer compartmentalizer to hold all those things that without it get lost at the bottom.


cupcake tin compartments


3.  Clever Caddy.    A shower organizer is easily reinvented as a creative storage solution for correspondence and wrapping supplies.  


shower caddy stationery supply bhg


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Every home is much improved when it’s filled with well loved books.  I admire any well styled bookcase that incorporates found objects and also smart, stylish bookends.  Not just for function, bookends are that fabulous opportunity to inject sophistication or whimsy, or to tell a story about travel adventures or place your personal style on display.  


bookends in living room bhg

bookends bhg

small green bookcase bhg


Bookshelves make themselves at home in so many spaces from living and family rooms, to offices and even dining rooms, so why not give them a dose of style with unique and decorative bookends that blend with your décor.  Here’s a roundup of bookends from fun to fabulous to consider for your bookcases at home.   

 best of bookends

From top left:    Glass Jar Bookends, Generate, $59; Gear bookend, Graphic Spaces Wood on Etsy, $55; Knowledge bookends, Shop Horne, $200; Silver Books, set of 8 by Z Gallerie, $159; Adler Dachshunds, Barnes & Noble, $40; Deer Bookends, Shop Ten 25, $90; Gold pigs, CB2, $30; Metal Oranges, Design Atelier Article, 34€; Blue Agate Bookends, Higher Heart, $40; Wide Eyed Owl, Amazon, $37; Bicycle bookends, Shine on Sporty Girl on Etsy, $35;Brass Foo Dogs, Chic Shop LA, $175;  Book End bookends, A Place for Everything; 18£; Iron Ships; The White Pepper on Etsy, $38; The End bookend, CB2, $15


Do you have a pair of special or unique bookends in your home? 



What does the word cottage mean to most of us?  Homey.  Cozy.  Relaxed.  Inviting.  Modern cottage style isn’t a cluttered country cabin, the current definition of cottage style is clean, simple, and light, and now captured inside the pages of the latest publication compiled by the experts at Better Homes and Gardens.


new cottage style bhg


Completely updated, New Cottage Style brings together a medley of welcoming homes showcasing fresh interpretations of cottage style retreats that reside on the coast, in the city, the suburbs, and the country too.   Inside, you’ll see the classic choices of seagrass carpet and relaxed slipcovers mixed with punchy pillows and modern art. 


  cottage style living room bhg


The homes within feature spaces in classic palettes that, in true cottage style, play with layers of texture. 


cottage style family room bhg


Painted pieces, vintage accessories, and detailed trim are abundant plus you’ll find plenty of fresh white paint applied to walls, floors, furniture, and cabinetry.   Classic details meet with modern silhouettes in family friendly spaces where a playful attitude and casual comfort are the focus. 


cottage kitchen bhg


Pared down spaces are still packed with plenty of style in this new hybrid definition of "cottage" that mixes elements of modern, traditional, and coastal too.  Create harmony and simplicity with so many tips for keeping your home current yet still comfortable.


cottage dining room bhg


New Cottage Style also includes dozens of favorite porches, organized offices, streamlined mud rooms, and stylish hobby spaces to inspire. 


mudroom with striped baskets bhg


Look for New Cottage Style at your local bookstore or buy a copy online, it’s a new favorite on my bookshelf.  You’ll love all the fresh inspiration inside the pages!



There’s a big trend going on right now in retail and among the do-it-yourself crowd, and it’s the two tone dipped paint treatment in furniture and accessories.  The technique is referred to around the design community as “dipped” or “dip dye” and it combines the best of both worlds in home decorating – wood tones and pretty paint colors.


dip dye chairs bhg


This trend is a cousin of the ombre fad and the enthusiasm for using colored dye to dip textiles or clothing.  The dipped look for furniture is a simple DIY treatment involving two ingredients: painter’s tape and your vibrant paint color of choice.  

To get the look, simply choose the point where you want to stop the paint color and keep the wood exposed.   Choose one-third or halfway up as your starting point where you want the paint to stop and apply the tape.  Next, simply paint the chair or table legs for a fun dose of color.   

The same treatment works on console tables, stools, and home accessories as well, and brings a fun two tone look to a store bought furniture or decor. 


dipped chair legs


Looking for retail options instead?  Here is a roundup of dipped furniture and accessories available for the home!

 dipped accessories

From top left: Bread Board, Terrain, $228; Spice Cellar, Leif, $45; Dipped Wood Knife Block, Terrain, $20; Dipped Servers, Ladies & Gentlemen Studio, $38; Candleholders, Bo Concept, $19 each; Dip Dyed Stool, Serena & Lily, $68; Blue Vases, West Elm, $24-89; Perette Container, Woonwinkel, $168; Windsor Love Seat, Anthropologie, $1,498;  Milking Stool, Um Project;


Are you a fan of this creative and fun two tone dip dye trend?   



We’ve had a single plain chandelier hanging in our kitchen for a few years and the more I browse the galleries of modern kitchens, the more I notice the wow factor from eye catching pendant fixtures suspended over a kitchen island.  We’re convinced it’s time to upgrade to a similar look.


white kitchen chrome island pendants bhg

chrome pendants above marble top island bhg


Polygonal faceted fixtures are hugely popular right now – their multiple angles reflect light all around the kitchen, and they make a major style statement suspended above the center island in these modern spaces. 


faceted globe pendants in kitchen bhg

faceted pendants above island bhg


You can’t go wrong with classic shapes in classic finishes from chrome to nickel to oil rubbed bronze, large pairs on display are guaranteed to give your kitchen a fresh and modern look.  


blue kitchen cabinets nickel pendants bhg

nickel lanterns above island bhg


Looking to jazz up your kitchen island with some spectacular light fixtures?  Here are a few of my favorites, guaranteed to kick the style factor up a notch!

kitchen pendants that wow

From top left: Hollywood Art Deco, Rejuvenation, $500; Globe Pendant, West Elm, $99; Oldham Pendant, Jayson Home, $350; Worlds Away Dottie Pendant, Clayton Gray Home, $430; Carousel Lantern, Currey & Company; Metal Band, Circa Lighting, $525; Rectangular Framed Linen, Shades of Light, $299;  Glint Pendant, Crate + Barrel, $329; Iron Pendant Lantern, Wisteria, $479; Regatta Pendant, Home Click, $352; Grosvenor pendant, Circa Lighting, $1,050


Which style fixture is your favorite for hanging above an island (pictured or not)? 

Lantern, schoolhouse, glass, industrial? 



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