Friday, May 13, 2016


Welcome to the new studio office!  This plan has been a long time coming, but making the commitment to participate in the One Room Challenge and complete a room reno in six weeks finally made everything come together.  I couldn’t have done this without Lillian’s help (my assistant seamstress).  My daily accountability when she came to work and the expectation to post progress each week on the blog really makes this gal get on with things!  

After hanging out here in my room, please go to the One Room Challenge site created and developed by Linda of Calling It Home and check out all the beautiful rooms put together by the Featured Designers and then give yourself a few hours to check out the 200+ participants' rooms and all the magnificent work done the last two months to create a prettier world at home and learn how to do it yourself, too.

I am so pleased and happy with my office!  Thanks to Lillian’s great eye for scope and scale and her artistry - the abstract painting above the cabinets, Lillian’s husband’s paint job(!), my husband’s brawn and tool expertise, as well as all the shopping and collecting and storage of said collections I’ve done over the years, the room came together so well.  I had almost everything needed, and, if I didn’t, we certainly made most of it from my fabric stash!  

Let’s go back and see the state of this room when it was painted eight or so years ago and still sparse on furniture.  Photos are courtesy of my old Kodak point and shoot and no real photo training at the time.  The blue wasn’t as crazy as it looks in the photos and I really did love it until a couple of years ago when I wanted a change but didn’t know which direction.  Mostly, I needed a place where I can shoot product photos in an attractive and changeable spot PLUS carry on design work and business in a serene location.  

Let me remind you of the before and my inspiration board plan, and then I’ll take you on a tour of the room.   

The Before:  

The Plan:  

The Now:  

A place for relaxing and reading, visiting, and taking photos of my work.  

All my crafty sewing and home decor books, a few of which include my name and my work!  Miss Ellie sits atop Monograms for the Home, and I adore seeing CDH monogrammed pillow covers and towels in lovely scenes.  

The white cabinets are two of my favorite pieces in the room.  My grandmother had them made for her dining room years ago, and when they came to me, I knew they were just right for displaying textiles and my handmade linens.  You can see just a teensy bit of my best fabric stash in this spot.       

The abstract painting courtesy of Lillian.  Love!  Lillian has old-school Home Economics and Art degrees.  She knows her way around the kitchen, home management, the sewing room, and paintbrushes.  When she came on to work with me, I told her, "We will use all your skills here."  And I do!     

The valances.  My design board shows a different direction for the windows, but I did not love the bamboo blinds in here.  Thinking fast, we changed direction from monogrammed topper valances to linen stationary flounced shades secured with a nubby chevron fabric tape.   

Now we get to where half my work is done (the other half is in the sewing rooms). As this is a working office and photography space, there is a lot of movement in here and schlepping of lights and props, so we arrive at some wide open spaces on this side of the room. The bamboo chairs were a thirfted find last year. I was tempted to paint them shiny black but am so glad I left them in their original state. The seats are covered in a spotty animal print and easily covered again if I like with skirted seat cushion covers.

The desk is a DIY my husband made for me years ago.  I spotted a pipe-legged desk in Country Living way back when and convinced Michael to make it for me.  Now you can do a search for desk legs made from pipes and they are all over the place.  I like being ahead of the game!  I am a fan of mixing materials in a space, so the industrial legs are fun against natural elements.  

The art above the desk includes my babies as they were 20 years ago and some painted art from bloggers I've met in the past. I kept these painted pieces safe for so long waiting for the perfect spot to display, and now here they are. The unframed piece sits in an iron napkin holder used like a display rack. The pin board above the desk is a large frame with a padded inset covered with linen fabric. We ran some twine across the board and attached small clothespins for attaching whatever catches my fancy.

Finally, the blank wall! Everyone who sees the room is in consternation over my blank wall! Are you leaving it white? Why don't you ...? I know, I know. BUT, I have to have a changeable place with as much wall space for wide views now that some of my products have gotten so large. My hope is to have a portable sort of barn door that I can roll in and out and which can cover the still-brown doors and moldings (to be painted white at some point). I can pull in furniture here, too, and buffet height tables for staging. Meanwhile, let me show you what I can do with this space. You'll see it wide open first, then a shot with beaded board behind it, and finally with a decorative wooden panel my daughter gave me. Lillian made the slipcover for my bench, and that, too, gives me options for a white space or a textured stripe.

And now you've made it around my studio office! Quite a lot to feature in a bedroom of a house but so awesome to have this marvelous place to use and now to create a lovely space.

Thank you for following my journey to this point. My greatest hope now is to carry on into the other rooms! If I can go from the blue space above to this in a matter of weeks, there is no reason .... right? .... that the other 13 rooms in this house shouldn't look the same!

Thursday, May 5, 2016


Not sure I can express how difficult it is to create for oneself when designing and creating everyday for others!  The cobblers children have no shoes ...   

This One Room Challenge to redo my office seemed reasonable when signing up, as I had been thinking on this change for so long and had so many details lined up ... I thought!  I've been working so hard over the last eight years in my outside job and building my sewing / embroidery business and helping my kids get through college that I've lost a lot of skills I had long, long ago when I knew how to make a pretty home.  I really feel at a loss putting just this room together.  The thought of making these decisions room by room in the rest of the house is quite overwhelming if I think on it long.  It's one thing to have a Pinterest board full of great ideas and quite another to execute them!  

I find it has been easier to be a small part of other ORC participants' rooms.  This year, Kimber is back for our handmade embroidered towels.  The first I ever heard of ORC was when Kimber ordered monogrammed panels for her tropical glam master bedroom redo in 2013.  

Last year, Andrea ordered jumbo monogrammed shams for her lovely Palm Beach Regency Nursery.  One idea turned into the next, and we ended up with monogrammed crib sheets as well as monogrammed shower curtain and hand towels for the bath.  (Once was enough, though.  I broke up with shower curtains shortly after; way too big for my comfort!)  

In both instances, seeing my work in those beautiful rooms is amazing.  I'm used to my items right up under my nose and only see them in micro version on my worktable.  That is why I adore receiving photos of CDH items in their new homes.  I feel like my pieces are bits of jewelry that help finish off all the big decisions everywhere else in a room.   

Back to my studio office:  

Today, Lillian worked on filling and staging my bookshelves.  The idea of photo shoots near the window came to me last week, so we are working on making the shelves in the camera view as pleasing as possible.  My niece blogged about her Guest Room Makeover earlier in the year, and I am attempting to be as chic as she is but not sure it is possible!  

The matchstick bamboo blinds went up, and I don't like them! Ha!  Another week of failed decisions, sort of.  I guess I should say that I can eliminate initial choices and now try new ones.  I think I might try roller shades next.  Working on the monogrammed valances this weekend.    

We started to put up the pendant lights and shades, and then I got nervous about what to do with the cords.  I think I've decided on this cord cover over flexible tube solution.  I am hoping a creamy white linen for the cover will blend in best.   

Well, my to do list is below.  I hope I'm on time next week for the Big Reveal.  Even if I don't get the entire list complete, just getting this far has been a major success.  Wish me luck!  


1.  Paint the walls

2.  Create a SECOND portable backdrop wall with the beadboard.  First one failed. Leaving it plain right now and getting used to the new look.  

3.  Bamboo window blinds

4.  Monogrammed valences. 

5.  Stage white cabinets. Working on staging the open shelves this week.  

6.  Slip cover for bench

7.  Skirts for bamboo chairs. 

8.  Decorative rug. 

9.  Lighting. 

10.  Artwork and accessories.  Still work in progress.  Bookshelves filled.