October 2012

Last Friday was the first night we lit up the fireplace this year and cozied up around it watching a movie.  We typically spend our Friday nights together watching a new film, sometimes it’s a classic, other times it’s something new, but we all look forward to Friday family movie nights every weekend.

It got me thinking about how the weather is changing since fall is in full swing about ways to make the sitting area around a fireplace a little more cozy, and one where you want to spend a lot time during the colder months.  Here are a few tips to do just that.

Layer with Throws and Blankets.   Now is the time to pull down all of those blankets and throws you stored away when spring arrived.  Drape them over each chair or loveseat so as the temperature drops, you’re able to stay cozy underneath their soft fibers.

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Use Inviting Color Palettes.   Mid tone purples and greens settle in nicely against neutral walls and furnishings in this sitting space.  In places where you’ve decided relaxation is the priority, avoid saturated or invigorating colors and choose the soothing tones instead. 

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Focus on Attention.  Turn sitting chairs toward each other to encourage conversation.  Add an ottoman for propping feet or resting books, and an end table for setting down a hot cup of tea.  

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Library Included.   Adding freestanding or built in bookcases to your gathering space keeps your favorite books or newest reads within arms reach.  Even if you’ve turned to tablet style reading, you can still add personality and warmth to your home with the stacks of classics you’ve collected over the years displayed out in the open. 

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Add a Table in the Middle.  Rather than a petite end table on either side of the chairs, consider a larger table of dining nook proportions for spending a few hours on arts and crafts, catching up on a stack of magazines, engaging in a friendly game of chess, or reading your email on your laptop, all of it accomplished in front of the fire.

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Mount the Television Above.   So many of us get our entertainment from television and movies, so it makes sense to combine the television and fireplace in one zone, allowing you and your family or roommates to warm yourself by the fire while you catch up on the latest drama or comedy.

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It doesn’t take much to take your fireplace beyond just a formal focal point and use it as a functioning gathering place where you spend hours of time relaxing and enjoying life. 

What are your favorite ways to decorate around the fireplace in the cooler months?



Hobbies such as crafting, quilting, scrapbooking, card making, and sewing give many the satisfaction of taking a few quiet hours to create something unique with their own hands.  For any enthusiast, the supplies for creative hobbies can quickly takeover storage space in the home, so it’s helpful to have one dedicated zone where all of the necessities can be corralled in one place.  Here’s a peek at several clever places to store scrapbooking or crafting supplies around the house. 

A Crafting Closet.  Tuck supplies into assorted boxes and store them inside a spare closet keeping small essentials organized in labeled plastic bins or colorful cardboard boxes. 

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Desk + Hutch.   A desk with small drawers provides storage for all of the smaller crafting essentials plus the added bonus of a horizontal workspace, while a hutch provides ready-to-go supplies that are within arms reach. 


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When there’s a need for glamour in a bedroom space, a mirrored bedside chest or nightstand will certainly do the trick!  A reflective surface is another layer to consider when designing a sophisticated master or guest bedroom.  A mirrored piece of furniture guarantees modern flair, and like all mirrors, will pull more light into the room.

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Some pieces are designed with full overlay, with every surface covered in mirror while others possess surrounding painted frames, silver or gold leaf trim, and even fretwork detail.

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A pair of mirrored nightstands on opposite ends of the bed will always make a style statement and bring elegance into a chic bedroom space.

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On the hunt for a mirrored beauty for a bedroom or entry?  Here are twelve of my favorite chests and nightstands from inexpensive to splurge.

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From top left:  Bowfront Chest, High Fashion Home, $689; Accent Table, Target, $90; Antiqued Mirror Sideboard, Interior Homescapes, $1,971; Mirrored End Table, West Elm, $319; Rhine Cabinet, Wayfair, $978; Wayborn Black Cabinet, Wayfair, $389;  Distressed Vintage Chest, Overstock, $563; Versailles Chest, JC Penney, $300; Omni Chest, Z Gallerie, $799; Gray Wash Chest, Layla Grace, $1,368; Park Bedside Chest, Pottery Barn, $399; Borghese 3 Drawer Chest, Z Gallerie, $899;

Are you a fan of mirrored bedside chests or furniture?

Which pick is your favorite?



There are countless ways to carve a pumpkin in the days before Halloween, but if you want to have some fun decorating pumpkins without carving them, paint and a little creativity are your best friends!  Here are ten different ways to add a dash of panache to a pumpkin with just a little paint!

Create plaid, geometric, or leaf motifs by freehand application or by sketching with a template before adding the painted design.

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Use a thin artist’s brush or even a black Sharpie to add a welcome message.

Vermont Halloween Party


Bat silhouettes painted on mini white pumpkins and suspended on garden stakes will greet your guests at they come up the front path.

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Stripes, flowers, or zig zags can dress up your pumpkins in the traditional Halloween color palette. 

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Use the natural creases of a pumpkin as your guide for painting a creepy web – embellish with spiders for an eerie effect.

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As much as I love light and bright spaces, I’m always drawn to intensely deep hues on walls.  When balanced with plenty of white, dark walls add sophistication and elegance.  Here are five favorite shades to inspire you if you’re feeling the need for drama to your home by darkening the walls of any of your spaces. 

Mocha.  Chocolate brown is warm and enveloping in bedrooms, living rooms, bathrooms, or offices.  It can lean masculine when mixed with dark wood, but is also kept contemporary when balanced with plenty of white or paired with pops of citrus like lime green and lemon zest.     

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Slate.   Mid tone gray is chic choice for bedrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms too.  Mix in muted or shiny metallics, mirrored finishes, or glamorous accents to heighten the sophistication.


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gray walls in bathroom


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One thing I long for in our home is a larger space I can officially call a “mudroom”.  We have a very small closet near our back entry and we use it as a place to kick off our shoes or hang up coats, but it would be really nice to have a unique space dedicated solely to the task of corralling all of our shoes, boots, and outerwear each day.

A true mudroom is a dream come true for many families with children enrolled in sports or involved in the daily activities of coming and going from school.  What are the essentials for any multitasking mudroom space?  Here are five of my favorites.

Bins and Baskets in Lockers or Cubbies.   A labeled basket and locker or cubby specified for each family member is a great way to keep it all organized!  Avoid the frantic search for jackets, shoes, or backpacks when everyone has a space of their own.


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Handy Hooks for Hanging.  Hooks maximize the use of vertical wall space and provide grab and go convenience for when you’re ready to head out the door.


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