From Classic to Classic Chic

I've decided that professional painters must be some of the most patient people on this planet, because after this week, I am sore, my eyes are strained, and I am exhausted (and I am only working on painting one space). 

The week started with the typical destruction phase - scraping all of the wallpaper off one side of the hallway so that it can be prepped and painted in the tartan pattern that I started. It is insanely time consuming, and I probably should purchase stock in painter's tape,  but the results are fabulous! That one wall took up the bulk of the project time this week. The floors, countertops, and cabinets are still a work in progress. 

You'll notice in the pictures that I have the horribly unsafe habit of standing on barstools to paint. I work on whatever surface I can find rather than lugging around a ladder. I would like to chalk it up to creative genius, but it is actually just good old fashioned laziness. It drives my husband crazy. I have had my fair share of falls throughout the years and obviously have yet to learn my lesson. I find ladders to be incredibly cumbersome. 

Don't follow in my footsteps. 

Oh, and speaking of barstools…this room needs furniture. The first task is to find the perfect barstools (perhaps I should climb on them first to make sure they are stable enough for my random projects). The Internet has been my retail therapy this week and I have spent several hours searching for the perfect pieces. Needless to say, there is an abundance of barstools but I am on a thrifty budget so the search becomes a bit more intense.  I came across a fabulous set that were of course in St. Louis, and although I did not have the time, took the day to drive the 4 hours to pick them up.  I should mention that during all of this, I have also been working on three stagings, several design projects, and setting my store up to be open on the weekend. 

Apparently sleep is going to be a desire rather than a reality this week. Thankfully I have an amazing workroom lead helping me out, and she turned an old ottoman into a fabulous statement piece in very little time, so one other thing off my to do list. 

The remainder of this week into next will be focused on finishing up all of the painting, finding a media cabinet, replacing hardware, finding lighting, and decide what to do with the sink in the wetbar. 

Piece of cake. 


It is Week 4 of the Calling it Home: One Room Challenge and this week was all about frustrations and doubt.

The majority of the week has been spent second-guessing every single choice made for this challenge. The initial inspirational nostalgia is wearing off and those pesky reality-inspired questions remain. Should all of the walls be green? Is the emphasis of black and white patterns too trendy? Are those gorgeous cherry cabinets that are now covered in paint going to come back in style? What if Paul and I decide to move? Is this space going to appeal to someone else or is it too personal and too bold? Is the green too much? Does the room need an accent color such as pink or orange?

These are the agonizing questions that chip away at sleep. I know I am most likely agonizing over nothing, but alas, tell my brain that at two o'clock in the morning.

To non-designers, this sounds silly. Afterall, designers are professionals that do this every day. Making quick and effective design decisions comes easily to us when working with someone else's space. Perhaps it is the fact that we can be completely objective, because when it comes to our own space, the process is brutal.

Yet, we trudge ahead. 

I personally have always loved the exterior architecture of the Burberry store on Michigan Avenue in Chicago, so I decided to utilize that inspiration in my basement. I started to paint a diagonal plaid pattern along the wall working  three long, tiring evenings measuring and taping to ensure my lines were perfect. When I was nearly finished with the entire hallway, I finally step back to look at my work. My stomach sank. I realized that all of my diamonds from the crossover lines were crooked. So what did I do? I used all of my willpower to keep myself from stopping and grabbing a bottle of wine and painted the wall all white.

Try again.

My second time around I decided to go with more of a straight-line Burberry pattern. I'll be honest, this one's not nearly as exciting, but I am still really happy with the result.

I also ultimately decided to get rid of the cabinet  wine rack which served primarily as a dust collector. Let's face it, who keeps a wine rack fully stocked? I got out my crowbar and ripped it out. I am really liking the white cabinets and the black bar.

Lots to do still, but I'll keep you posted!


What is it about a fresh coat of paint that is so visually satisfying? Is it the simple, smooth perfection? Is it the dramatic change in color? Is it the world of design opportunity it opens up?

I love it. I love picking the color. I love prepping the room. I love the feel of the roller in my hands. I love the instant visual transformation.

It is addicting.

It is Week 3 of Calling It Home’s One Room Challenge, in case you couldn’t guess, is all about paint.

When the time is available, I prefer to do all painting myself. I like to be physically involved in my projects. It is easy to dictate tasks, but there is something soul-fulfilling about doing the work yourself. I want to be a part of the experience not simply planning the end result.

My paint of choice is always Benjamin Moore’s Aura paint, and naturally, since green is my color, I selected the rich custom-blended “Gallo Green” for the basement walls. The Aura paint costs a bit more, but the cost is rapidly made up in the time it saves you. The paint is color dense and spreads easily, so I typically use about ½ the paint I normally would, and fewer coats equals more time to play.

As I was finishing up the walls, my husband, Paul, said, “whatever you do, do not paint those cherry cabinets!” Thankfully my husband loves me more than the cabinets, and they are now painted. After I painted the walls green, the cherry cabinets, although pretty next to the green, created a dated look that did not fit my master vision for the space. I ultimately decided to paint the fireplace, the cabinets, and the tiles. All of those surfaces required a good primer, and once that was dry, I went over everything with Advanced paint by Benjamin Moore. I selected another one of my custom-blended colors, “Lovell.”  The Advanced paint was chosen due to its high durability, which makes it perfect for surfaces that will have a lot of contact. I am going to follow up with a clear polyurethane to add extra durability and protection. Lastly, since I'm a girl on a budget, I've decided to paint the countertops to
look like Carrara marble. 

The basement is really taking on a fantastic look! 


It is week 2 of the One Room Challenge, and this week is all about nostalgic inspiration for me. 

Many of my fond memories as a child are of the beautiful Galloway Road home in which I lived. Picture as a child, walking through the impressive double doors of our main entry way. The back of the doors were painted a rich black that added a touch of sophistication to the foyer.  After closing the doors, your eyes adjust to the light and you gasp. The room is awe-inspiring.  A deep, plush kelly green carpet envelops the floor. A luxurious white velvet sofa carefully positioned provides a dramatic contrast. The walls are covered in a classic black and white wallpaper with one black vinyl accent wall. The drapes, custom-made, are carefully stitched pieces of gray, black and white. 

It is the most mod room ever. 

I am in love. 

The family traditions, holidays, and conversations in that room are as etched into my memory as the room itself. The room represents the epitome of beauty for me, because I fell in love with the design and the memories. 

I asked my mom for photos of the stunning room and the only ones she had on hand were the ones I have shared of me at the holidays. I was such a homely little thing!

I am going to use that room as my inspiration for my family's basement. I have always longed for a space to recreate that look and feel, and this is the perfect opportunity. 

Besides, green is my color and is simply fabulous. 

I cannot wait to start recreating my version of my mother's masterpiece. I would love to hear your stories about what room and style positively impacted you as a child. 

Memory lane is a beautiful trip. 



It’s a new month and what better way to kick off April than with a new Calling it Home: One Room Challenge!

Last fall I participated in the Challenge and took on my husband Paul’s office turning it from a traditional at-home office to a British, steampunk, and motorcycle-inspired oasis that is 100% Paul’s personality.

As a designer, we can become so wrapped up in our client projects that we can neglect our own.  I’ve heard professional organizers joke about the chaos that is their home and professional chefs that come home to empty refrigerators. When time is short, we tend to sacrifice our own pleasures.

One of the reasons I love the One Room Challenge is it forces me to take time for myself and tackle a personal project I have neglected.   

This round, I am tackling our basement.

Our home was built in 1999, and the harsh yellow-gold that was popular of that time still cascades down our walls untouched in almost 20 years. Over the years, our basement has been inhabited less and less. We used to always be in the basement family room until we turned the main level dining room into a family room, and so, like many homes, our basement slowly became the designated teen hangout area. Needless to say, my son and his friends have not been inspired to throw down a drop cloth and paint the space themselves.

I guess I didn't pass along that gene. 

And so it sits, in all of its 1999, pre Y2K glory.

It’s time for the adults to reclaim it.

Over the next 6 weeks I want to transform the unsettling gold and more traditional décor into a modern yet classic chic escape that is perfect for time with my family or entertaining friends (you know…actually use the bar).

I am envisioning lots of emerald green, black, white, and gold accents.

Here we go!