5 Spring DIY Ideas

Spring is one of my favorite seasons; everything is in full bloom and I can finally open the windows to let the cool breeze flow through the house.  I enjoy the process of spring cleaning my home, changing out my decor and updating things around the house. Of course, I , like you- love that sense of pride that comes with tackling home improvement projects that doesn’t come with handing the task over to a contractor. But, since there are some complex projects that only a professional should do; I thought I would make a short list of ideas for those DIYers who just can’t resist a challenge.

1. Make Your Own Throw Pillows: Usually fabric stores have remnants of fabric they are selling at a huge discount; you can usually get a couple of yards out of a remnant for less than $30. With your time and labor at no charge; you’ve just scored yourself a heck of a deal for new throw pillows and a little pride as a bonus. Rule of thumb: 1/2 yard of fabric will make one 20″ x 20″ pillow; if you want a decorative trim you are looking at about 2 yards of trim for 1 pillow. Here is a great tutorial from Craftiness is not Optional blog.


2. Update Bathroom Faucets: This is one of the least complicated parts to updating your bathroom.  But, it will dramatically update your space. A great company that has quick delivery and reasonable prices is Signature Hardware. And, their customer service is excellent! FAUCET

3. Let There Be Light!! Make your own lamp from a beautiful vase: Making your own lamp may seem a little daunting but its fairly easy. With the right tools and tutorial you can make your favorite vase into your favorite lamp. Tip: You will need a lamp pipe and a kit from a big box store that comes with the harp, socket and wire. If you are willing to try your talents; you can have a beautiful lamp on your night stand in a couple of hours without breaking the bank. Here is a great tutorial from Between Naps on the Porch blog to help you. However, if you don’t want to make your own lamp, take a tip from Centsational Girl blog to make an inexpensive lamp look great! (Image Credit: Centsational Girl)


4. Let’s Color: Paint A Room – Painting a room is the easiest and the least expensive way to give your home a facelift. I recently found this amazing tool on Sherwin Williams website called Chipit!! You can translate your inspiration image into colors that you can use in any room of your home.  Once you use this tool you will not go back to choosing your paint colors from a fan…it is so fun!!  Click here to start your own paint chips.  Below is one I did recently…


5. Gold Leaf Agate Coasters – Trending like mad this year is Agate. You see it in a variety of colors and applications from jeweled boxes to lamps.  I always love to use natural stones in various applications when designing for my clients. So, I thought for a simple DIY project, Gold Leaf Agate Coasters would be pretty additions to your side tables that can be done in less than 1/2 a day.  Tip: I recommend going to your local rock barrel stores, they will usually have a variety of stones you can work with to make coasters if you want something different than Agate. Take direction from Desert Domicile, she will give you step by step instructions on gold leafing your coasters. (Photo Credit: High Market)


I hope this post has given you a little inspiration to get started on a DIY project for the Spring.  If you’ve done or decided to tackle one of these projects please let me know.  I want to hear from you and see your finished project!!


B by Brandie – Interview with Brandie Gehan


I met and discovered Brandie Gehan recently at the Dallas Market – Sneak Peek. During market a favorite spot of mine is the Temporaries; the two mile trek usually pays off.  And, this time didn’t disappoint.

As I came around the corner, there was B by Brandie a young spirited tabletop line that matched the creative behind it. I immediately knew I wanted to visit with Brandie to learn more about the story behind her tabletop collection.

On the day of the interview we met in her home, it was vibrant and welcoming – certainly a home where interesting and lively discussions take place. Her young, fresh and modern tabletop line certainly matches Brandie’s aesthetic in fashion and home decor.  Although her style is modern; her values are traditional; from the beginning with the influence from her mother’s love for entertaining at an early age to her daily business dealings with her company today – family is front and center.


So, dear reader, without further due have a cup of coffee and visit with us for awhile….

Who and what is B by Brandie?

Founded in 2012, B by Brandie, presents high-quality home accessories that add a dash of fashion to the table. The brand’s fusion of distinctive design and modern styling with durability and practicality lends itself to a variety of settings, from traditional dinner parties, modern cocktail gatherings or every day use. With pieces from the brand, consumers can update everyday family dinners with sleek porcelain combinations or take out the bone china for more intimate gatherings. B by Brandie evokes the world of grand entertaining to everyday tableware. Each piece bears the name of renowned party mavens, such as Jackie O., Zelda Fitzgerald, Brooke Astor and more. The brand’s color options and varying patterns can inspire adventurous consumers to showcase their own take on entertaining by creating their own customized place setting while pre-styled suggestions provide an effortless option. “B by Brandie was highly influenced by my mother’s love of entertaining and her well known dinner parties.” With the new collection, I wanted to share my family’s love of gathering an eclectic mix of people for delicious food, lively conversation and a bit of bubbly paired with accessories that add another memorable element.” Each dinnerware piece will be sold individually, enhancing the mix-and-match component.

What were you doing prior to designing a tabletop collection?

I was working in E-Commerce for AT & T. I have always loved to entertain and saw the need for a tabletop line where you didn’t have to buy in sets.

What inspired you to design a collection where you can mix patterns?

The younger demographic uses paper plates for everyday dinnerware without knowing there are options besides how their parents or grandparents purchased tabletop. The model of buying a 10 place setting is not in the vernacular of modern living for the younger demographic; which is expensive to purchase and replace if one piece breaks. I created this line to provide everyday use, flexibility to purchase individual dinnerware, and allow the consumer to use their creativity to mix and match place settings.

What is your favorite tabletop setting that you designed?

The black and white collection; it was my first creation.


What are three things that update your dinnerware?

1. Personalization (monogramming) 2. New pattern or color 3. Layering your place settings (dinner plate, salad plate and bowl).


What should he/she splurge on in your collection? Where can they save?

Splurge on the charger; it makes a great impact but you can use it as a dinner plate as well. To save; the salad plate or glassware they are great small additions that are reasonable but make a statement.


When you were dreaming up your collection, what were your resources of inspiration?

Travel, tearing out pages of shelter magazines, patterns and especially color – I love color. But, I looked for inspiration everywhere I went.

Since you love to travel; What is the place that inspires you most?

Charleston, South Carolina – its easy and beautiful living…especially love the Rainbow Row Houses


Because you travel to NYC for business, what is one of your favorite neighborhood haunts in the city?

There is a great restaurant on the Upper East Side that changes its name as the seasons change – Park Avenue Summer becomes Park Avenue Autumn becomes Park Avenue Winter


A key distinction of B by Brandie is practicality. What are a few things that help you balance family and business life?

Time management is key and the support of my family.


What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t working?

Spending time with my family, shopping and going to the movies – I love movies; as a child it was one my favorite things to do with my mother.


What is your guilty pleasure?

Cookies – my favorite are Animal Crackers


What makes you laugh?

My family, but I always try to find the humor in things I can’t control.

What are you most proud of in your life?

My family – I can go anywhere and be okay; they keep me grounded.

So, what’s next for B by Brandie?

Right now, we are trying out other color palettes to introduce into the line. For the future; We are looking to expand into flatware and eventually small home accessories.

Well, I am certain we will see more fantastic things from B by Brandie and I will be sure to post it here.  Dear reader, I hope you’ve enjoyed our visit and as a special gift to you –  B by Brandie is offering all my readers 20% off purchases until 3/7.  Purchase B by Brandie pieces here and use Discount Code: ELLEBBB at checkout.

Please comment and let me know what collections you love…my favorite is Navy and White. And, for July 4th; I will be snatching up her red, white and blue collection, which will arrive in pretty packaging (see below).



(Just had to throw this one in….)




On This Day In History…



Jackson Pollock was born in Cody, Wyoming youngest of five sons.


Signed a gallery contract with Marguerite “Peggy” Guggenheim

Jackson created Mural for Peggy Guggenheim’s new townhouse

Pollock Mural


Cathedral, 1947


Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.

– Jackson Pollock

Modern, Classic & Couture

In the midst of pulling together the soft finishes for a kitchen project; I thought I’d share a ‘go-to’ source with you.  Although a classicist at heart; its always in my nature to throw in a mix of modern to edge things up a bit.

A line that consistently puts a modern twist on tradition is Quadrille.  Certain you have seen their work published in every known shelter magazine; they never go unnoticed and always a classic. I hope this inspires you to put a little Quadrille in your go-to book too:


Carlo II – Designer: Brian McCarthy – Veranda


Meloire Reverse Designer: Carolyne Roehm -House Beautiful


Paradise Garden Designer: David Kleinberg – Architectural Digest



Wallcovering: San Marco  – House Beautiful


Draperies: Paradise Background Pillow: Montecito


Wallcovering: Trellis Background Designer: Tom Scheerer – House Beautiful



Wallcovering: Ikat – Veranda


Wallcovering: Climbing Hydrangea – Vogue


Sofa: Cap Ferrat Designer: Andrew Raquet – Veranda


TB 1

 Sofa/Chair Pillows/Wallcovering: Volpi and Persopolis Home: Tory Burch -Vogue


 Sultan II Designer: Miles Redd – Architectural Digest

(Photo Credit: quadrillefabrics.com)

Modern, Warm, Livable – Thomas O’Brien

As a lover of architecture, I’m always as interested in the home’s history as I am by the interiors. Today I will have the privilege of meeting  – Thomas O’Brien, designer and founder and President of Aero Studios in New York City. O’Brien’s passion to return to the past in his design process is inspiring. He has an incredible eye for the smallest of details that can guide a design within a project or an entire product collection. I love his focus on rarity, function, balance of modern and the warmth found in tradition…becoming one of my favorites I always look to his collections to add rarity and form in my projects.


Amazing detail nodding to the past is his Calliope Solitaire – inspired by Donald Deskey’s 1940s set of forged fireplace tools he birthed an entire collection from lighting to furnishings.


Calliope Solitaire – Inspiration

What bloomed from an idea…




Here is the first of my two favorite homes O’Brien designed…Litchfield





The second is The Academy – O’Brien’s personal home on Long Island. It was built in 1833 as a boy’s academy…eventually it was transformed into a residence.





To learn more about Thomas O’Brien visit www.aerostudios.com or visit one of his stores in New York City – Broome Street or Spring Street

You can also find his products at WaterWorks, Hickory Chair, and Visual Comfort Lighting

(Photo Credits: Thomas O’Brien website)

Let There Be Light!

Please allow me to introduce my friend and colleague, who is just as smart as she is beautiful – Johnna Dobbs, Mastercraft Distribution.  (Photo Credits: Rett Peek and Courtesy of Mastercraft Distribution)


Johnna and her family make great lamps that are a go-to for major retailers like Target, Walmart, Hobby Lobby and T.J. Maxx.  Dear readers, designers and homeowners if want high-end lighting at an affordable price point look to Jonesboro’s Mastercraft Distribution. They are a company that take their lighting very seriously, never compromising on design and quality. If you purchase their lighting I am certain you too will see why they have become a solid go-to source nationwide. Please visit AtHomeArkansas.com to learn more about Johnna and her family’s tradition of lighting that began with her grandfather.

Here are a few of her lamps that would make a great statement piece in your home:







Golden Globes – Favorite Looks

Normally; I am not waiting with bated breath to see who wore it best…although I was inspired by a few on the red carpet last night. The Golden Globes is a bit more refreshing since its a little more relaxed than other award shows. So without further due…here are some of the winners in my book: AnnaGunn-Globes20

Anna Gunn – Donna Karan Atelier


 Lupita Nyong – Ralph Lauren (gorgeous!)


Margot Robbie – Gucci (love the emerald green!!)


Michelle Dockery – Oscar de la Renta


Amy Poehler – Stella McCartney


Cate Blanchett – Armani


Kate Beckinsale – Zuhair Murad


Emma Thompson – Lanvin


Giuliana Rancic – Lorena Sarbu


Emma Roberts – Lanvin


dallasmarketI am delighted to have been asked for the third time to be on the Sneak Peek host committee for the Dallas Market in January. Every year I attend its better than the last and I am sure this year won’t disappoint. This is a great opportunity for bloggers to have an exclusive look behind the scenes at what products are trending and network with manufacturers, showroom managers, fellow bloggers and social media influencers.

Registration is open so be sure to sign up today because there only 20 spots, which sell out fast. As a special thank you they are letting us extend a DISCOUNT to my blogger friends. Regular registration to Sneak Peek is $50, but use promo code HOST2014 at check out to take advantage of the offer for just $40. Not only do you get to have a behind the scenes tour but a portion of the proceeds go towards helping one my favorite charities….Dwell with Dignity, a non-profit helping families escape poverty and homelessness through design.

And, last but not least here are my fabulous co-hosts: Leslie Wood, Hadley Court, Shay Geyer, IBB Design, Kelley Copeland, The Hidden List , Denise McGaha, Denise McGaha Interiors  Hillary Walker, Our Style Stories 


Blue, White & Classic Design

 Black and white with a mix of pop art hues are certainly the trend for Spring 2014 from Ralph Lauren to Céline.  Although, I must admit the Resort Collections with blue and white are more exciting to me.  I absolutely love blue and white, even better with a touch of gold…a classic I go back to every time. Regardless of how long ago; I love that women who are photographed in classics always look inspiring.   c819740bc9e5fb41570efc85bb5e0556 nigimagenavy

Carolyne Roehm – A Passion for Blue and White



John KnottJohnFondasBjornWallander

John Knott and John Fondas Photo Credits: BjornWallander Source: Quadrille Editorials


Tory Burch


Kelly Ford and Kirsten Fitzgibbons


Mark Hampton


Joe Nye

blue and white CR

Carolyne Roehm


Miles Redd

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Chanel Vintage Bracelet

Screen shot 2011-01-30 at 3.56.34 PM

Kelly Ford and Kirsten Fitzgibbons


Paolo Moschino and Philip Vergeylen

tory burch cococozy vogue tory in valentino in dining room Iksel paneled walls Iznik

Tory Burch





Carolyne Roehm


Mary McDonald


Jacqueline Kennedy


Alexa Hampton – Visual Comfort


Vogue – Vintage


Tory Burch (love the chic stripes)

blue and white MH

Mark Hampton


Tory Burch (adore the striped shoes)






Last year was the year for Green without a doubt.  And, I’m still loving it for 2014. The depth and richness of emerald green is especially inspiring. In the midst of redesigning my formal living room my love for emerald green has become a force and I really love it with blue and white porcelain thrown in the mix.

Here are a few of my favorite interiors and fashion inspirations….


Tory Burch



Ralph Lauren


Phillip Jefferies


Tory Burch


Source: Pinterest – Dryden Wallpaper- Osbourne & Little


Michelle Nussbaumer


Audrey Hepburn



 Hubert de Givenchy


Gracie Wallpaper


Tory Burch


Jeffrey Bilhuber


Grace Kelly


Jeffrey Bilhuber

image_thumb[46]Tory Burch


Tory Burch


Sofia Coppola Handbag


C. Z. Guest – Templeton (love the animal print carpet)


Anna Wintour


Vogue, 1965


Monique Lhuillier