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HOUSE OF FIFTY ideas for

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Live your most bountiful life! issue






ON THE COVER: Wonderful light streams through kitchen windows that were enlarged during a renovation by Interior Designer Tineke Triggs. Situated in a one bedroom condo on the top floor of a Victorian building in San Francisco, this space illustrates that a small kitchen can be both functional and beautiful. Cover Photograph by Eric Rorer



Fabulous Handbags Page 90

From kitchen designs, delicious recipes and must have tools for cooking, to fashion trends, favorite wallpapers and women who are making their business ventures a success; enjoy this issue of House of Fifty!

Inspiring Art Page 140

Vintage Charm Page 158




s the contributors and I worked on this issue of House of Fifty, the word that kept coming up in conversations was “bountiful.” What is it each of us is striving for if not to realize a bountiful life? There was a time when I believed a bountiful and full life would arrive the day I found Mr. Right, had saved up enough money to move into a home I would own and was happily thriving in a dream career. Well as it happened, my husband took many more years to show up than I could have ever imagined, while the dream home and perfect career remained stubbornly elusive. Fortunately, before the threat of wasting years waiting for some ideal life to show up could take hold, I woke up and began to realize that I already had all the makings for a pretty great life around me! I started to see that a family had been created among dear friends, that I could make the most of my

rental with a little effort and life as a young women pursuing an education and work in a large city could be an exciting time to enjoy. Instead of waiting for the someday, a full life was mine for the taking if I stayed focused on the moment and appreciated what I already had. At each stage there is potential for a full and bountiful life, if we can only remember to value what we have and see the opportunity of where we find ourselves at that given moment. Behind the word bountiful is a wonderful concept, and it’s the spirit behind the stories in this issue of House of Fifty. We begin with a series of articles focusing on the room which has truly become the heart of the home, the kitchen. Later Kim Myles discusses the idea that an abundant life need not be dependent on having more. And, as the issue closes, we showcase the work of several bloggers who have turned their rentals into welcoming homes and feature an artist who captures the essence of strong women on her canvases. It was a joy to work on this issue and thank you to everyone who contributed to it! We hope that you’ll be inspired to “find inspiration in the everyday” and pass House of Fifty on to friends and family. Sincerely,

Janell Beals, Founding Editor 3

HOUSE OF FIFTY Winter/Spriny 2012



12 40 03 Editor’s Letter


The makings for a bountiful life are all around us.

08 Contributors Working as a team is always more fun!

12 Celebrating the Heart of the Home Kitchens have become the center of our homes and Interior Designer Tineke Triggs knows how to design beautiful ones.


26 Ten “Must Have” Kitchen Tools Because cooking and baking are a lot easier when you have the right tools.


44 A Tasty Trend

Specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars are a hit at Oliver’s.

48 Drink to Your Health! Tasty recipes to serve one or when entertaining a crowd.

Do you drink enough water? Let us inspire you to reach for a glass.

40 Growing a Kitchen Herb Garden

52 The Home Bar & Cocktail Party: Hip Once Again

Spice up meals by keeping a selection of herbs within arm’s reach all year long.

With a history of being in and then out of style, this means of entertaining is back in vogue.

30 Simple & Delicious!


66 58 88


61 56 Mix it Fresh

61 Music Mix

A new take on the classic cocktail using the freshest of ingredients.

A perfect party mix, from big band classics to pop.

62 The Heart of Design 58 Bubbles & Splashes: Bar Cart Essentials A fun and functional collection of items to outfit your home beverage station.

60 Read House of Fifty on the Go! Take the HOF iTunes app along with you.

In her column, Kim Myles explores the idea that the luxury of abundance has little to do with “having more.”

82 Spring: It’s the Season for Organizing! A well organized home simplifies life. Here are the seven common organizing mistakes and how to avoid them to ensure your next project ends with success.

88 Generations, Manners & 66 Upscaling with O’verlays Communication: Bridging the With an inventive product and Gap creative thinking a business dream comes true.

The generation you were born into determines the means you use to communicate.



90 94



90 Handbags: Today’s Most Sought After Fashion Accessory

From satchels to hobos, and even the elusive Birkin, here are HOF’s favorite handbag picks.

94 Fashion Forecast: Colorful, Flirty, & Vintage Inspired Fun Laurie Moulton of ‘house of lolo’ shares the top trends for spring and tips to update your existing wardrobe with a few key pieces.




96 Enhancing the Natural Beauty of Your Hair

110 Wallpaper Love: ‘the vase’

Beauty Editor Mimi Inman’s guide on hair color, cut, styling and her favorite tools and styling products on the market.

Wallpaper is popular once again.

100 The Books On Our Shelves In this edition, we are celebrating the joy of creating a bountiful home. These books are sure to inspire us towards this goal.

118 At House of Fifty We Adore Wallpaper! Our favorites to get you inspired.

120 Ideas & Inspiration: Creating Magical Spaces for Children Get the basics right, then let creativity rule when designing children’s rooms!




158 150


132 Home Sweet Rental

158 Something Borrowed

Don’t succumb to the rental blues. A few simple approaches can turn a rental into a home.

Vintage rentals are all the rage with a talented group of women shaping the future of this industry.

183 Crap, I’m Awesome With her characteristic humor, blogger Mandi Gubler shares this great little reminder.

184 Until Next Time 140 Talent We Are Taken With: Holly Irwin The work of painter Holly Irwin beautifully celebrates women, children, relationships and home.

150 Blogs We Love Here are four must follow blogs!

170 Loving the Life You Have Through the unexpected, former Miss America Katie Harman Ebner discovers the true meaning of home.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and at!

178 How a Small Business Can Utilize Facebook to Triumph Online Smart tips to successfully market through Facebook.



winter/spring issue! Janell Beals Founding Editor

Lakeitha Duncan New Features Editor

Mimi Inman Beauty Editor

Shari Miller Art Director


House of Fifty!

Nicole Case Feature Writer 8

Courtney Fernan A Thoughtful Place

Kim Myles Kim Myles

Sukaina Rajabali Sips and Spoonfuls

Pauline Wiles Feature Writer


Sue De Chiara The Zhush

Katie Harman Ebner The Full Measure

Ewa Delishhh

Susie Isaac Maddie G Designs

Mary Killelea Working Web Solutions

Mindy Lockard The Gracious Girl

Kimberly Moore Third Floor Design Studio

Laurie Moulton house of lolo

Jennifer Rosson Style Your Life

Mandi Gubler Vintage Revivals

Deborah Milne Dumbwit Tellher

Saudah Saleem Saudah Saleem Interiors




we love our sponsors!



Celebrating the Heart of the Home by Janell Beals

Photography by Matthew Millman


n recent years the kitchen has become the central gathering place in our homes, with the renewed emphasis on sharing a meal at home. People are approaching the preparation of food as an activity around which families bond and as an enjoyable way to entertain. Prepping, cooking and eating: people sitting around the kitchen enjoying time together, celebrating through food and conversation. Interior Designer Tineke Triggs, Principal of Artistic Designs for Living, knows this concept well. Over the past several years she has


brought to life homeowner’s visions for their kitchens through the spaces she has designed for her firms’ clients. In one such project, a spacious kitchen, eat-in area and butler’s pantry were created through a 1,000 square foot addition to the back of a home located in San Francisco’s Marina District. With four children, this family was in need of more room! The addition has provided this, with a design that has a fresh feel leaning towards the modern, while incorporating many traditional elements.

Interior Design by Tineke Triggs of Artistic Designs for Living



The traditional style cabinetry becomes modern through the details, such as the square lines of the feet. The same is true of the Calacatta countertops with their 2-inch square edge. These choices update the look while embracing the traditional elements desired by the client. Because the kitchen is such a large space, Tineke needed to ensure there was a sense of warmth. To achieve this, the cabinetry was painted a soft beige (Benjamin Moore HC83 Grant Beige), rather than white. This color brings out the warm tones in the backsplash, helping to create a more welcoming feel than white cabinetry would have. A large family requires large appliances, and Tineke advises clients to spend more on the stove while cutting back on other appliances such as refrigerators and even dishwashers. A stove is the workhorse of the kitchen, says Tineke, and it needs to fit the cooking needs of the people using the space. The stove in this kitchen is the CornuFe in matte black from La Cornue. A custom hood by the same company that provided the cabinetry was a more budget friendly approach to completing the look and function than selecting a La Cornue hood. Apart from desiring a functional space that would accommodate many people, the family also wanted an eat-in area that felt “loungy.� A large round table provides this, as does the welcoming banquette sofa placed below the bank of windows that bring wonderful light into the room, even on a gray San Francisco day. Tineke loves to make the focal point of a kitchen design the backsplash, running tile up to the ceiling when possible. In this kitchen she used a Michael Berman tile from Walker Zanger. The brick pattern has a lot of interest with its texture and movement, contemporary in design and feel yet remaining a classic.

...the traditional becomes modern... 15


The large adjoining butler’s pantry, a space that is making a comeback in design, is a versatile and beautiful addition to the home. Situated between the kitchen and dining room, it is a space designed for entertaining! A modern take on the wet bar, here all the supplies for parties are stored, along with the good china and glassware. The design is “dressier” than the kitchen, serving as a transition between the kitchen and more formal dining room. Here the opposite approach was taken with colors and finishes. A darker butler’s pantry verses the lighter kitchen provides contrast, adding to the success of the project. A Moroccan tile from Ann Sacks adds tremendous interest to the room, running up to the ceiling on one wall. The eye-catching mosaic pattern in gorgeous browns and blues from the Medina collection is handmade by artisans.

Adding warmth:

A wall of cabinetry with glass fronts is designed to look like a hutch.



Photography by Eric Rorer

Another successful kitchen design by Artistic Designs for Living is located in a small one bedroom condo situated on the top floor of a Victorian building, also in San Francisco. In Tineke’s words, “It is a jewel box of a small kitchen!” This project was part of a kitchen and bath remodel that required keeping to a tight budget while maximizing functionality and beauty. One of the outstanding features of this home is its high ceilings. In fact, they led to many of the design decisions for the kitchen. Cabinetry that nearly reaches the ceiling has a big impact, as does the addition of transom windows at the top of the already tall windows, bringing additional light into the space.

Inexpensive gray tile was a smart choice with its reflective quality and welcoming color, and the chandelier was a vintage find of the clients. The addition of pale yellow shades to the fixture brings in a touch of soft color. A star of the kitchen design is the hood with its bands of stainless steel wrapping the edges. Applying actual bands of steel would have proven too expensive. As an alternative, stainless steel tape was adhered to the custom hood manufactured by the cabinet maker. Without adequate space to bring in a true island, the stainless steel Ikea cooking table is a versatile solution. Depending on how the kitchen is being used, it can be moved to suit a cooking session or to accommodate guests when entertaining.



The sink area of the kitchen was designed to look like a hutch, adding a special and unique quality to the small space. The cabinetry with glass fronts, perfectly filling a recessed area, resembles a piece of furniture. This approach

was a natural solution when the set back was created through space planning solutions for the bathroom remodel, located adjacent to the kitchen on the other side of the wall.


Adding Charm:

A vintage chair found on eBay was lacquered a pale yellow and upholstered in Imperial Trellis. A reproduction of the delightful ‘Cakes’ painting by Wayne Thiebaud creates a wonderful statement in the space.


Color Inspiration:

Direction for the kitchen color scheme came from the dining room, which features cheerful yellow walls and charcoal gray accents, seen on the dining room chairs.


Bringing the Outdoors In:

Greenery seen through the expanded windows is a luxury in condo living, reflecting happy color into the kitchen.


Tineke’s Top Kitchen Tips: 1. Know the Essentials of a Successful Kitchen Design: “BUFF” Budget: Start by determining what the bud-

get is.

Usage: How will the people living in the home

use the kitchen, are there children and animals in the household? Consider and understand the needs of the space before beginning the design.

Function: This includes the “working

triangle,” what type of cooking will be done and what are the “must haves.” Is a hand sprayer essential?

Features: These are the bells and whistles of a project, the choices that make a kitchen look great such as tile and cabinetry. When beginning a kitchen design, these are the last aspects to consider. For many, this is often where they want to start!

2. Where to Spend, Where to Save Spend: On good cabinetry that will stand up to wear and tear; on the backsplash which is the jewelry and design highlight of many kitchens; and on the stove, which is the workhorse of the room.

Save: On the refrigerator and even the

dishwasher. Select a refrigerator based on capacity. Through good design a less

expensive unit can look great simply by paying attention to how the cabinetry is designed around it.

3. Alternatives to Granite Look to engineered products which are taking center stage moving forward: CeaserStone, Silestone, EuroStone and the newer offering Chroma Quartz are all outstanding.

4. How to Update a Kitchen When a Complete Remodel is Not in the Cards Begin by updating knobs and pulls. These elements are so easily neglected yet can transform a kitchen, elevating existing cabinetry. In addition, consider updating the surfaces while working with the existing layout, appliances and cabinetry. If cabinets are in great shape but the wood tone or color is outdated, paint a beautiful hue. Replacing the backsplash is another change that is relatively inexpensive yet can have a huge impact. And finally, replacing countertops can significantly update both the look and function of a kitchen.

5. Kitchen Trends Expect more painted cabinetry in great colors. And what are Tineke’s favorite trends? Extending a striking backsplash up to the ceiling and selecting Lava Stone for countertops.


10 “Must Have” Kitchen Tools By Ewa of Delishhh Silicone Spatulas I love my spatulas! They are a very versatile tool and my favorites are from Williams-Somona, made of durable silicon which is heat resistant to 500°F. I reach for them, often passing over my wooden spoons, because of their ability to cleanly wipe the sides of pots and bowls.

OXO Good Grip Mixing Bowls These are the only bowls that I do my mixing in. I often multitask when cooking, mixing one thing while using my other hand for another task. Not having to hold the bowl is key! With their nonskid bottom, these outstanding bowls stay in place and stable on the countertop.



In my opinion, the flat whisk is the best whisk around. When making sauces that constantly need to be stirred, it gets to the corners of the pot versus a rounded whisk that is less efficient. This is the only whisk that I will use and the best part? From Ikea, it can be yours at a bargain price!

“These are the items I cannot live without and use on a daily basis. I consider these the basics for my kitchen and for my sanity.� Ewa Proteak Rectangle Cutting Board Before any cooking or baking begins a good sturdy work surface is needed. My favorite butcher blocks are from Proteak. Their boards are known for having outstanding moisture resistance and strength. Not only do they provide a great cutting surface but, with striking good looks, they can do double duty as a serving piece for cheeses or appetizers.

Global G2 8 Inch (20cm) Knife The biggest enemy of efficient cooking is a dull knife and even worse is a small dull knife. If you use a knife everyday for chopping vegetables, slicing fruit or cutting bread, there is nothing better than a good big knife. As for all those small knives in my cutting block? I hardly ever use them, except maybe to open the mail. You should be able to live in your kitchen with one knife and a sharpener. When slicing a tomato if the knife does not cut through smoothly without the need to push, it needs to be sharpened. Sharpen knives yourself on a ceramic stone, diamond rod or have it professionally done.


ORDNING Digital Scale When cooking and baking, weight measurements are the most accurate. Every wellequipped kitchen should have a good kitchen scale. A cup of flour packed can weigh anywhere from four to seven ounces. When weighing, however, the amount will always be accurate. Select a scale which measures both ounces and grams so you won’t have to bother with conversions. The Ornding scale from Ikea does a great job. If you are not currently using a scale in your kitchen, I highly recommend starting. It has made my “cooking life” a lot easier!

Silpat Non-Stick Silicone Baking Liner Whoever invented this was a genius. I was never a fan of wax or parchment paper, finding it hard to work with and even occasionally burning the material causing the smoke alarm to go off! But no more, I only use Silpats. They are versatile, great for baking cookies to vegetables. As an added bonus, they are very easy to clean.

Microplane Home Series Fine Grater I love this grater, using it for grating cheese, nuts, lemons, and spices. Just the aroma that is created when you grate something is wonderful. The Microplane grater is easy to hold, use and it is also dishwasher safe.


Rösle Garlic Press You may be thinking, “A garlic press, what is so special about this?” I don’t know about you, but I use garlic for nearly everything. The issue with most garlic presses is how difficult they are to clean, never quite getting all the pieces removed until the tool begins to rust. Then I came across this style by Rösle. Not only does it look cool, it’s easy to use, clean and doesn’t rust. The sieve opens up allowing left over garlic pieces to be wiped away and rinsed.

Le Creuset 5 ½ QT Round French Oven Everyone needs a good pot in their kitchen. The last thing you want is your amazing soup tasting burnt because things got stuck to the bottom of the pot. A pot should be able to be used for anything, from making soups, to stews or braising ribs. It’s better to have one good pot versus ten not so good options. A versatile pot that can be moved from the stove to the oven is also essential. Le Creuset makes a great one that meets all of these requirements, made from their durable enameled cast iron. My favorite is the 5 ½ quart round French Oven but Le Creuset has all sizes from 1 quart to 13 ½ quarts. With 14 different colors to choose from, you’re sure to find one that will brighten up your kitchen and your cooking!


SIMPLE & Delicious!


Photography & Recipes by Sukaina Rajabali

tomato & rosemary focaccia

roasted tomatoes

‌.Bon AppÊtit!

hearty spaghetti with garlic croutons



Roasted Tomato & Garlic Crouton Spaghetti Is there anything that satisfies the appetite more than fresh ingredients paired with a heaping bowl of pasta? And how about freshly made focaccia with tomatoes and rosemary? Whether cooking for one or entertaining a crowd in your kitchen, here are some tasty dishes that are sure to be enjoyed!





2 bunches tomatoes on the vine (approx. 15) 2 tbs olive oil 1 tsp chili flakes 1/2 tsp pepper a few sprigs thyme salt to taste

5 slices French baguette 3 tbs olive oil 3 garlic cloves, pressed 1 tbs parsley, finely chopped salt to taste

2 cups cooked spaghetti 4 tbs olive oil 1 tsp chili flakes chopped parsley salt to taste


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Place tomatoes on a baking tray. In a separate bowl mix together the olive oil, chili flakes, pepper, thyme and salt. Drizzle over tomatoes and bake for 15 minutes. To make the croutons mix together olive oil, pressed garlic, parsley and salt. Spread this paste over each slice of the baguette. Bake the baguettes in the oven until crispy. Let them cool slightly before chopping into ½ inch croutons. Toss the cooked spaghetti in olive oil, chili flakes and season with salt. Sprinkle with croutons and extra parsley. Serve with roasted tomatoes. Serves 2





Tomato & Rosemary Focaccia Ingredients:

2 cups flour 1/2 tsp salt 1 tsp yeast 6 tbs olive oil 1 tsp honey 5/8 cup warm water Cherry tomatoes, rock salt and fresh rosemary to garnish


In a bowl mix together flour, salt and yeast. Make a well in the center and add 3 tbs olive oil and 1 tsp honey. Knead with the warm water for approximately 10 minutes until a sticky dough forms which springs back when touched. If it feels too sticky, add an extra dusting of flour to bring the dough together. Add remaining 3 tbs olive oil to a second bowl. Smooth the dough into a ball and dip in the olive oil, turning so that all sides are coated. Cover bowl with cling film and let the dough rise until it doubles in volume. Slide dough onto a baking sheet. Pour any remaining olive oil on top of the dough. Carefully place your hands underneath the dough and stretch it out slightly. Use your fingertips to create dimples on the surface of the dough. The dough should measure approximately 10 x 6 inches. Garnish with fresh rosemary and cherry tomatoes, sliced in half, pressing the garnish down into the dough. Let it rise for another 45 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt and a dash of olive oil. Bake in an oven preheated to 375 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve hot & enjoy!37



Growing a Kitchen Herb Garden

By Nicole Case

he spicy aroma of sweet basil and the sweet smell of freshly picked sage are scents typically reserved for the warm months of summer. While rosemary and thyme may thrive in your outdoor garden well into fall, many more fragile herbs simply do not last long outside beyond summer. Luckily many



herbs can grow and thrive very well indoors. With a few essentials in hand, quality seeds and decent sunlight, fresh herbs can flourish right in the kitchen, spicing up your meals throughout the year. Simply follow these steps to enjoy the benefits of an indoor herb garden.

1. Choose Herbs that Thrive Indoors Selecting the right herbs to grow is important for a successful indoor herb garden. Herbs commonly grown indoors tend to be culinary herbs such as basil, cilantro, chives, mint, oregano, parsley and sage. These herbs can be used to enhance a variety of dishes and mint is a versatile herb that is also delicious

when mixed into drinks. Begin with quality herb starts if they are available at your local nursery. Using quality seeds from online retailers, such as Eden Brothers, Gourmet Seed or The Simple Garden, is also a good option.

2. Potting: Cultivating Your Indoor Herb Garden Herbs need to grow in pots that are at least six inches deep. What style of pot to use is up to you; they can be functional, repurposed or selected to match the décor of your kitchen. Multiple herbs can be grown in long or wide containers but individual herbs should be • • • • •

grown in at least six inch pots. Pots should have good drainage to discourage rot and bacteria growth. To avoid a mess, make certain to place pots on a tray or platter to catch excess water.

Start with good potting soil and fill the pots within an inch or two of the rim. Mark each pot with the type of herb being planted. Add water until the soil is moist. If using seeds, sprinkle them spaced evenly apart on top of the soil. Herb seeds are small and will germinate on the surface of the soil. If using herb starts, fill the pots about one third full, place the herb start in the pot and fill with soil within an inch or two of the rim. Press firmly around the plant to ensure it is securely anchored in the soil. Add more soil if necessary to secure the herb start.

Identify herbs with beautiful and functional markers like these from Nina Gibson Designs.

“Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme… she once was a true love of mine.”


3. Germinating Seeds and Caring for Your Herb Starts The keys to germination are warmth and moisture. An ideal temperature for seed germination is about 70 degrees. Find a warm sunny spot in your home that gets about six hours of sunlight. Light is important to a successful indoor herb garden, with south facing windows providing the most light during winter months, followed by west and east facing windows. Place your pot in a clear plastic bag to

4. Watering the Herbs

It is sometimes difficult to tell when to water your herbs. Herbs need to be checked every few days in the dry winter months, particularly during cold patches when your indoor heat can dry the plants and soil. Test your soil by lightly touching it. If it is dry, water sparingly. A general rule of thumb is that herbs

ensure warmth and moisture. Keep the pots bagged until the first two leaves emerge. Continue to keep soil moist until the next leaves, called true leaves, emerge. If beginning with herb starts, place pots in a designated sunny spot. Rotate your pots every two to three days for evenly balanced growth. Grow lights, such as the Fertile Earth LiteStik, are a convenient way to enhance plant growth and are available at many online retailers such as The Simple Garden. need to be watered every five to seven days. One way to ensure proper watering is to use a Fertile Earth WaterStik, also available from The Simple Garden. The WaterStik monitors your soil and blinks when the soil needs water. How simple!

5. Feeding the Herbs In addition to good soil, water and light, herbs can thrive with the addition of plant food. Use an organic formula and follow the instructions.

However, be sure to avoid over fertilizing. While excess nutrition will lead to large, lush plants you will sacrifice flavor and aroma.

6. Harvesting the Herbs Good harvesting will prolong the life of the herbs, increase plant yields and flavor. Harvest herbs before they blossom for full flavor. A good guideline to follow when it comes to harvesting herbs is to not harvest more than 1/3 of the plant in a single picking.


Interestingly, herbs tend to have more intense flavor when harvested in the morning. While fresh herbs are best, any extras can be frozen to preserve flavor and have on hand at a later date!

Photography and Herb Markers by Nina Gibson Designs

Bring in the outdoors with a simple and useful indoor herb garden. An indoor herb garden will spice up your kitchen and is a rewarding experience for the avid gardener as well as the accomplished cook.

Resources: Eden Brothers Gourmet Seed The Simple Garden


A Tasty Trend

By Courtney Fernan


pecialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars have become a very popular and tasty trend, their flavors enhancing a wide range of food and recipes. With more and more people placing an emphasis on health and well-being, cooking with olive oil and vinegar is a simple way to include antioxidants in the diet while adding great flavor. It’s easy to embrace healthy choices when the flavor and taste are so appealing! One shop which offers a plentiful selection in an inviting atmosphere is Oliver’s, located on a charming street in downtown San Clemente, California. This beach town is home to many inviting boutiques and Oliver’s is a standout with its offerings of gourmet olive oils and


balsamic vinegars. The owners of Oliver’s, Bob and Julie Brawner, have a background in the wine industry, which has many similarities to the business of olive oils and balsamic vinegars. The couple had been looking for an opportunity to become selfemployed, with the wish to relocate away from brutal Midwest winters. While spending time in Italy they were intrigued with the number of wineries that offered olive oils and balsamic vinegars, along with the manner in which they were presented. The opening of Oliver’s was the result of these experiences and goals, and the response has been fantastic.

Oliver’s, named after the owner’s grandmother, is an inviting shop where you can taste a wide array of flavors.

Stainless steel “fustis� allow customers to taste the olive oils and balsamic vinegars prior to having their selections bottled.


What is most striking upon entering Oliver’s are the 15 liter stainless steel dispensers, imported from Italy. These “fustis” allow customers to taste a selection before having choices bottled. Enjoying the freshest oils and aged balsamic vinegars in such a unique and interactive way is sure to be a lasting trend. To ensure freshness, the oils are cold pressed from the most recent harvest and sourced from around the world. The selection of balsamic vinegars found at Oliver’s are from Modena, Italy, and northern California. The olive oils come from California, Australia, Tunisia and most of the Mediterranean basin countries, such as Spain, Italy, France and Greece. Fresh olive oil and balsamic vinegars present intense flavor profiles that many people have never experienced. Some of the most popular flavors for olive oil are Oliver’s Savory Garlic and Tuscan Blend. And for the vinegars, Blackberry Roasted Pepper, Fig and Pomegranate. One of Bob’s favorite uses is brushing a flavored vinegar, such as a smoked balsamic, on a burger just before removing it from the heat source. “It will draw rave reviews from family and friends!”


If stored properly the shelf life is approximately 12-18 months for olive oils, after which the flavor will begin to fade, with vinegars having a longer shelf life of three to five years. It’s important to store the oils and vinegars away from heat. Do not refrigerate and keep them sealed when not in use. Their enemies are heat, light and air, similar to wine. Unfortunately, when purchasing olive oil at a grocery store the actual harvest and pressing date is seldom provided, making it hard to ensure the best flavor. The delicious flavor of freshly pressed olive oil is easily and immediately evident. When talking olive oil... the fresher the better. In addition to the tasty range of olive oils and balsamic vinegars featured, Oliver’s hosts a monthly in-store cooking class. Two chefs prepare five menu items featuring different oils and vinegars, accommodating twenty guests per session. It is also impressive how the owners of Oliver’s are involved in helping other small business owners, offering consultation services focusing on the start-up process for similar businesses. When you love what you do, offer a great service and find ways to give back, good things can absolutely happen!

“Olive oils and balsamic vinegars are an easy way to include antioxidants in our diets…it’s easy to embrace healthy choices when the taste is so appealing!”



Drink to Your Health!

By Janell Beals


ertainly we all know how important drinking an adequate amount of water on a daily basis is to maintaining our best health. So why is it that many of us find it so hard to pour that big glass of water our bodies need? Some may argue that they just don’t have a taste for water or find themselves reaching for another beverage when a glass of water would be a better choice. I’m absolutely guilty of this! Do I really need that second cup of coffee when water would be a smarter option? One way to help make water the more appealing choice is to enhance its taste, because let’s face it - water has some stiff

competition when it comes to the number of beverages we have to select from. If you find water a bit bland, the most simple way to enhance a glass is to add ice. Chilled water often tastes more refreshing. Also, if you’ve been to a spa you know how special water tastes with cumcumbers and a sprig of an herb such as mint or cilantro added. Fill a pitcher with water, ice, cumcumber slices and an herb, then store in the refridgerator. Another option is sparkling water. The bubbles and fizz may just distract you from reaching for a soda. Slice fresh strawberries or mash a few raspberries or watermelon, add to a glass and enjoy!


Lemons and limes add a delicious zest to water and it’s great for the skin while helping to flush out toxins. To add more flavor, mix in a dash of a favorite drink such as cranberry, orange or pomegranate juice. If you really want to get fancy, mix juice and minced pieces of fruit together and pour into an ice tray. These flavored ice cubes will make a simple glass of water nearly festive! Water is the most essential element to life and, with our bodies made up of approximately 60 percent water, it stands to reason that drinking enough each day is essentail to maintaining good health. Water plays a key role in all our bodily functions.

Included among the many benefits of being properly hydrated is the positive effect it has on energy levels, in helping to maintain a proper weight and healthy digestive system and it may even assist in avoiding some types of headaches. While opinions vary as to how much water a person should drink to stay hydrated, the need is effected by the climate you live in and how active you are. A good rule of thumb is that if you are thristy, you’ve waited too long to drink and are already dehydrated. So pay attention to how much water you need each day to avoid becoming thirsty and let this be your guide.

So pour yourself a glass of water, or several, today! 50




By Deborah Milne


place the blame upon the delicate shoulders of Audrey Hepburn as the ingénue Holly Golightly in ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s.’ The happy-go-lucky Holly threw the first cocktail party I had ever seen, leading to my ongoing fascination with this American social creation. The heyday of the cocktail party was during the 1950’s when the country enjoyed prosperity. With the post–World War II economic boom, cocktail parties became institutionalized as an appealing way to entertain friends at home. However, with the arrival of the 1960’s came the counterculture revolution and the subsequent decline of the cocktail party due to its representation of the “establishment.” This era resulted in a twenty year sabbatical of this social affair. It was not


until the 1980’s, which ushered in a decade of excess, that the smart set stopped turning up its nose at the cocktail party. The unique twist for this generation was the venue. The cocktail party began popping up at gallery openings and book signings. Fast forward another twenty years, post Y2K, the kitsch appeal to this retro form of entertaining kicked into high gear with the now of-age drinkers of Generation X. What was old is fabulous again. Pieces of the past such as the ‘Mr. Boston: Official Bartender’s Guide,’ swizzle sticks, Lucite ice buckets and many other classic bar items are desirable once again in full-blown Mad Men fashion, becoming the staples for today’s home bar.

Valorie’s love of good design &

fabulous living spills over to the way she entertains at home!

Valorie Hart, better known as ‘The Visual Vamp,’ is an author, stylist and Tango champion. The passion she has for her home of New Orleans is as exuberant as her love of design, dance and fabulous living. This spills over to the way she entertains at home, with her well-appointed indoor home bar and outdoor bar cart. “I have a white lacquer tray on a sideboard in my dining room filled with bar accessories, and I use hot pink plastic trays for the bar I set up on the patio. I love bar glasses and currently I am using some fabulous vintage rocks glasses with a Rex crest on them. I also love small bistro glasses for wine, and currently am using beautiful green Moroccan glasses.”


Valorie’s festive outdoor bar cart, complete with a pile of lemons and limes on hot pink trays, provides refreshing drinks while entertaining on a warm afternoon.

Valorie’s must-haves for a well stocked bar: A collection of condiments Tabasco, olives, pickled okra, lemons and limes.


“When entertaining at home, it’s important to always consider the guests that choose non-alcoholic beverages. A variety of handcrafted sodas and sparkling juices are good choices to give guests the special treatment. When entertaining I often choose three cocktails that I will be serving that evening, one of the three I offer is always non-alcoholic.�




Cocktail Recipes In the book ‘Market-Fresh Mixology,’ Bridget Albert shares how to take fresh ingredients from the produce section of your grocery store, the farmer’s market or even your own garden to create refreshing seasonal cocktails.

Let the mixing & shaking begin! Photographs by Tim Turner

Raspberry French 75 4 sage leaves 5 fresh raspberries 1 ½ ounces Fresh Sour* 1 ½ ounces gin Splash of champagne or sparkling wine 1 sage sprig for garnish In mixing glass muddle sage leaves, 4 raspberries and Fresh Sour. Add gin and ice and shake well. Add a splash of champagne, gently rock all ingredients and strain into a champagne glass. Garnish with sage sprig speared through a raspberry. *To make Fresh Sour mix 2 cups fresh lemon juice and 1 cup Simple Syrup. Store in refrigerator for future use.


Fresh Strawberry Daiquiri 2 sliced strawberries ½ ounce orange liqueur (optional) 1 ½ ounces white rum 1 bar spoon super fine sugar Juice of ½ pressed lime Whole strawberry for garnish To rim glass: Measure sugar onto small plate, rim glass lip with lime wedge and roll outside lip in sugar. In mixing glass muddle strawberry slices and orange liqueur. Add rum, sugar and lime. Add ice and shake well. Strain into sugar-rimmed glass.

Grape Escape 9 concord grapes ½ ounce concord grape juice ½ ounce peach schnapps 1 ounce currant vodka 1 ounce Fresh Sour* Club soda 2 frozen concord grapes for garnish In mixing glass muddle grapes and grape juice. Add peach schnapps, vodka and Fresh Sour. Add ice and shake well. Strain into cocktail glass. Top with club soda. Garnish with two frozen concord grapes on a pick.

Pear Essence Cosmopolitan 2 Anjou pear slices Juice of ½ pressed lime 1 ounce cranberry juice 1 ½ ounces citrus vodka ½ ounce triple sec 3 cranberries for garnish In mixing glass muddle pear slices, lime juice and cranberry juice. Add vodka and triple sec. Add ice and shake well. Double-strain into glass, using strainer to cover the shaker while pouring. Garnish with 3 cranberries on a cocktail pick.


Bubbles & Splashes:

A Classic:

The Beckett Bar Cart from Williams-Sonoma Photograph by Jacob Kriese

Serve It Up!

Sister Parish Ogden Print Ice Bucket & Tray from Zhush

Scoop It Up!

A Contemporary and Functional Ice Scoop from Crate & Barrel

Shake It Up!


Bar Shaker Kit by Libbey

Mix it Up!

Colorful Glass Swizzle Sticks from Wood & Glass


By Sue De Chiara

Fun Zebra Coasters from Jonathan Adler

Fill It Up!

The Owen Decanter from Crate & Barrel

Cork It!

Stag Bottle Stopper from Anthropologie

Unlock & Uncork!

The Art of the Bar:

The Consummate Guide to the Classic Drink

Castle Key Bottle Opener & the Leafy Corkscrew from Anthropologie


Read House of Fifty on the go…

The House of Fifty iPad and iPhone app is now available at the iTunes Store!

Click here… and here, 60

to download & take with you.


1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 18.

Music Mix

Loose Caboose - Henry Mancini: Breakfast At Tiffany’s (1961) She Saw The World – The Blue Nile: High (2004) Could It Be I’m Falling In Love – The Spinners: Spinners (1972) Princess of China - Coldplay & Rihanna: Mylo Xyloto (2011) 1234 – Feist: The Reminder (2007) Let’s Never Stop Falling In Love - Pink Martini: Hang On Little Tomato (2004) 1901 – Phoenix: Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix (2009) Go On, Say It - Blind Pilot: 3 Rounds & A Sound (2009) Feeling Good - Michael Bublé: It’s Time (2005) Thieves Like Us – New Order: Thieves Like Us (1984) Cocktails – Bill Conti: The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) You & Me - Frances England: Family Tree (2008) Angel City – Helicopter Girl: Voodoo Chic (2005) Rolodex Incident – Lloyd Cole: Antidepressant (2007) Dc 3000 – Thievery Corporation: The Wired CD (2004) Looking For You (I Was) – Patti Smith: Dream of Life (1988) More Than This – Bryan Ferry & Roxy Music: Street Life (1989) Ohayoo Ohio - Pink Martini: Splendor In the Grass (2009)


The Heart of Design by Kim Myles


ere’s what I have learned recently: The luxury of abundance has nothing to do with “having more.” When I won Design Star on HGTV, I was elated to go from lusting after furniture and art, to purchasing what I wanted with relative ease. I suddenly had the ability to renew and reimagine my space from top to bottom, the stuff of decorating fantasy! I absolutely expected that my home would finally become the glorious, glamorous gem that I’d always envisioned. Well…the best laid plans, and all. I went buck


wild with my newfound purchasing ability, and when I tell you that my resulting space was a hot mess with no discernable character or heart, I’m being generous. I honestly didn’t know that I was capable of such a hectic mix of blah! Especially considering the fact that I cure other people’s decorating blahs for a living. My newly feathered nest felt stale and strange, and this was a very mysterious and frustrating development. I just couldn’t figure out where I’d gone wrong. Years later, I think I know what happened. First, “Do I want it?” became the question, instead of “Do I love it?” Second, I’d eliminated the obstacle - and apparently my design process needs an obstacle. I’d spent my whole life up to that point with more imagination than money, and my DIY solutions were kooky, imaginative and fun. They gave my home, and me, a real sense of joy and empowered individualism. The problem with my new space was that I’d forgotten that creating a rich environment goes much deeper than mere volume and purchasing power. For me, it’s about the alchemy between beloved items with personal history, and the pieces that I’d loved creating by hand.

...the alchemy between beloved items with personal history...

These days, I elect to renew my home and spirit with creative projects, versus trips to the store. My latest is a reinvention of my PS Cabinets from Ikea. I loved their industrial locker vibe when I bought them, but I was feeling something a bit softer for spring. I framed fantastic wrapping paper, it came to

me as a gift from a dear friend, and affixed the frames to the face of the cabinets. I love the look! So simple and I did it while hanging out with my husband on a sunny Sunday, listening to music, talking about everything and nothing. In my world, a perfect day.

“These days, I elect to renew my home and spirit with creative projects, versus trips to the 63 store.�

DIY Sputnik Chandelier by Jenny Komenda of Pearl Street Interiors

I’m not the only one out there inventing oneof-a-kind refreshers for the home. Jenny Komenda, of ‘Pearl Street Interiors,’ created her own $100 version of a classic mid-century Sputnik lamp. She’d wanted it for years but hated the price tag of the real thing. What she created instead is totally spectacular, and


really lends her dining room a sense of scale and high drama. Plus creating it was an extended family affair, as detailed on her blog. You just know that her new fixture floods her heart with bright memories as much as it fills the room with light.

I also believe that art gives a home tangible richness and heart, and I’m not just talking about the high-end stuff. A home without art is like a home without books – I just don’t get it. Art feeds the eye and the soul, and I’m loving what Kristen over at ‘Kristen F. Davis Designs’

has created. A large abstract canvas that is bright, happy and wickedly easy for any of us to accomplish. Just grab some canvases, paint and brushes and follow your imagination. A project like this would have squashed my sad pre-fab design malaise in a single shot.

DIY Canvas Art by Kristen of Kristen F. Davis Designs

What I’m trying to say is that a bountiful, full, rich life has very little to do with dollar amounts. As I move out of winter hibernation mode and stretch myself and my home back to life, I’m focused on simple projects with an emotional connection. Though my infamous

shopping spree was a giddy romp, the high was short-lived and the design results were sterile and empty. Now I’m back to doing what I love: connecting the dots between my creativity, my needs, and my life. And I have to say – I feel richer for it.



An outdated pine bedframe gets a stylish update with coral paint and ‘Natalie’ panels from O’verlays.


With O’verlays

By Janell Beals


trend that continues to grow in popularity is “upscaling,” where plain items are turned into statement pieces through inventive DIY projects. Business partners Danika Herrick and Cheryle Rhuda are capitalizing on this trend through their company O’verlays, which produces a stylish and inspiring collection of decorative fretwork panels. The lightweight panels are paintable and add instant character to a wide range of surfaces from furniture to walls. After upscaling an Ikea Pax wardrobe for a client using vintage fretwork panels found at a flea market, they were inspired by the resulting high end look and dramatic transfomation. Danika and Cheryle had been exploring several concepts to pursue a business venture together, and knew with this project they had

discovered their niche and the direction for the new venture. When their search for more vintage panels came up empty, they realized that the only way to proceed was to figure out how to produce a similar product themselves.

Colorful paint and ‘‘Caci’ panels dramatically transform an Ikea Rast dresser. 67

Danika and Cheryle had enjoyed collaborating on various interior design projects and were looking to expand their working relationship. They valued the process of being able to work as a team, with their skills complimenting one another. After the success of the Ikea Pax wardrobe update, they knew they had their business idea! However, their first attempts at creating decorative panels were less than successful. The original panels were made from balsa wood, but the surface and cuts proved to be too rough. Any premade panels they did find, made from hardwoods, were too expensive and the designs too traditional. They kept running into roadblocks and eventually the idea was put on hold. Fortunately, the answer for how to turn their business idea into a reality eventually surfaced. Danika had just completed a project using a stencil she had designed and decided it would be nice to have copies of the stencil cut. After asking around for a resource, a referral led her to a manufacturer that she quickly realized could cut much more than just stencils. She recalls feeling like a kid in a candy shop asking, “Can you make this? Can you cut that?� Having found a reliable and affordable manufacturer that could produce the product she and Cheryle had envisioned, they could now move forward with getting their business concept launched! Danika and Cheryle quickly got to work designing their first four styles, settling on looks that would work independently but could also be


successfully mixed. Since then ten additional patterns have been added with more in the works. The design process begins with a concept, followed by rough sketches. Once they are satisfied with the design it is put in CAD, with decisions made on sizing. Prototypes are then made from lightweight PVC foam composite, the material all the panels are made from. Some pattern designs take two weeks to develop while others can take months to get right. The possible uses and applications for the decorative panels are limited only by one’s imagination. They can be applied to furniture, cabinets and mirrors, and even in creating a wainscoting effect on a wall or as a detail under crown molding.

A birch Ikea Malm dresser became the statement piece in a bedroom design. After receiving a coat of rich navy blue paint, ‘Anne’ panels were adhered to the drawer fronts using Liquid Nails clear silicone adhesive. Another pattern, the ‘Gigi,’ was applied to a wall above baseboards. Afterwards a chair rail was run along the top of the fretwork panel to create a striking wall treatment.

Due to the strong response O’verlays has received, Danika and Cheryle are now able to offer custom sizing for any of the patterns, with panels available up to 4 x 8 feet. Additionally, several new thicknesses can also be requested through their custom program. The Ikea Rast dresser made pretty with ‘Anne’ panels and brass hardware shows the various thicknesses available. The 1/8-inch standard thickness is seen at the top, with 1/4, 3/8 and 1/2-inch thick panels also available.

“The possible uses for decorative panels from O’verlays are limited only by your imagination!” 69

In another project, ‘Grace’ panels took the dated out of a 1960’s bathroom in a ranch style home. It wasn’t in the budget to rip out and renovate this bathroom used by Danika’s son. But that didn’t stop her and Cheryle from giving it a stylish update with the help of Danika’s husband. The space seemed to have little if any potential, but a lot of vision, paint and the decorative panels made this striking transformation possible. First the laminate cabinets and counters, which featured a very outdated speckled gold design, were painted using a primer specifically designed for laminate, followed by a semi-gloss topcoat in ivory. The counters were faux painted to look like marble and sealed with acrylic polyurethane. The walls also were updated with a fresh coat of spring green through horizontal stripes. The final step was to apply custom sized ‘Grace’ panels to the door fronts with silicone adhesive. The modern fretwork design is the star of this project, completely transforming the appearance of the cabinetry and as a result, the bathroom.


A bathroom which hadn’t seen a single update in fifty years gets a classy makeover for under $400, elbow grease not included. 70


The bathroom seemed to have little if any potential… but a lot of vision, paint and ‘ Grace’ panels from O’verlays proved otherwise! Danika and Cheryle are thankful they have been able to build the business as a team. Cheryle shares, “Danika is amazing. I have a tremendous respect for her creative talents, her passion and vision. She has the ability to pull those ideas together and make them real…and can do it all fast!” Danika adds, “Cheryle has strong business skills and a background in finance, which has been essential in making this venture a success. She has a creative passion, is a fast

worker and is also a little more grounded than me, which helps us stay focused on our goals.” Both Danika and Cheryle have many ideas about what future offerings may be coming from O’verlays. But for now they are committed to building their business by producing a quality product, expanding the pattern selections and custom options. What piece of furniture would you like to update? Turn the page for a step-by-step tutorial!


How to “Upscale” Furniture with Decorative Panels From O’verlays Danika and Cheryle literally found this dresser on the side of the road for free and decided to take on the challenge of turning it into something beautiful. It reminded them of Ikea’s four drawer Malm dresser, helping them to see its potential. They got to work in Danika’s garage, enlisting the help of their intern Amy and Cheryle’s daughter Caci. To paint and update furniture you will first need to make sure it is clean and repair any dents with wood putty. This dresser had carvings at the top corners which were filled. After the putty dried, the surface was lightly sanded and the entire piece wiped down. To do a similar project you will need extra fine, fine and medium grit sandpaper, tack cloth, primer, latex paint (we like ProClassic acrylic latex by Sherwin-Williams for painting furniture), hardware and decorative fretwork panels from O’verlays.

Yes you too can create this! 72

1. Select a Piece of Furniture to Refinish

Find a piece of furniture that is in need of some love, which could be a neglected item in your home, an item found on Craigslist or at a local thrift store. Clean and repair any damage as needed.

2. Sand Surface

Sand the surface using a fine to medium grit sandpaper so the surface has better adhesion for paint and primer. This process will vary depending on whether working with solid wood, veneer or MDF.

3. Wipe Clean

Use tack cloth or a damp rag to remove any dust remaining on the surface from sanding to prepare for the primer.

4. Apply Primer

Prime using a good quality primer formulated for the surface you are working with. Here a tinted primer was used to reduce the number of coats of paint required.

5. Lightly Sand and Paint

Once the primer has dried, lightly sand the surface using an extra fine grit sandpaper to smooth any drips or rough spots. Start applying the topcoat using a brush or a foam roller. Recoat if needed.


6. Select Panel Style and Measure

Now for the fun part, applying the decorative panels. Here 2-inch high strips of the ‘Harper’ pattern were used, which comes in lengths up to eight feet long. The drawer fronts were measured to determine the pattern could be run across the surface three squares high by ten squares wide.

7. Cut to Measure and Sand Edges

The strips were cut using a sharp utility knife and a straight edge, with the cut lines lightly sanded with fine sandpaper.

8. Apply Glue

Once cut, Elmer’s glue was applied to the back side of the strips.

9. Apply the Strips

Next the strips were turned over and laid in place along the drawer edges. After pressing them in place for about ten minutes, to allow the glue to set, the drawers were placed back in the dresser.

10. Dress Up with Hardware

Several vintage handles were on hand just waiting to find a home. The hardware was given an update using a white gloss spray paint made for metal. After drilling holes in the drawers, the hardware was attached.


The result? A “brand new” dresser!





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Spring: It’s the Season for Organizing!

By Pauline Wiles


pring is a wonderful time to bring freshness to your home by clearing out clutter and organizing your possessions. Historians suggest that our enthusiasm for annual organizing and cleaning may stem from the Persian new year ritual of spring cleaning. This includes the tradition of “Khooneh Tekouni,” which literally translates to “shaking the house!”

If getting organized was a January resolution which has lapsed, it may be because you fell victim to some of the common organizing pitfalls. Here are the frequent mistakes people make when they’re trying to get organized, and what you can do instead.

7 Organizing Mistakes & Smart Ways to Avoid Them:

1. Not Knowing What Organization Means to You If I asked a dozen people what being organized means for them, I’d probably get a dozen different answers. Perhaps you’re missing appointments or forgetting promises? Do you spend ages looking for things? Or maybe the visual clutter around you is starting to interfere with your productivity or ability to

relax? Before taking steps to become more organized, it’s important to be specific about what you’d like to improve. For example, “Clear out the coat closet” or “Combine all my tasks into one list” are specific and manageable, but very different.

2. Trying to Follow Advice Without Customizing it to Fit Your Needs

This is an easy mistake to make, because it’s seductive to think that all you have to do is obey certain steps, and your life will be easier. But instructions to run the dishwasher every night are wasteful if you live alone, and being told to make a binder with labeled sections is cumbersome if you manage the rest of your

life with a smartphone. Instead, you need to determine what works for your lifestyle and situation. By all means, compile some checklists if these will help you feel on top of things. But you’ll need to personalize your system so that it’s tailored for your life and challenges.


“Personalize your system so that it’s tailored for your life and challenges.”

3. Buying Containers at the Start of a Project The large stores have huge marketing budgets to convince us that getting organized is simply a matter of buying attractive boxes, baskets and binders. They are very clever at making you part with your cash, but all too often you just end up with more clutter and containers you can’t use. Instead, plan to sort


and purge thoroughly first and then determine what kind of containers would be helpful. When you do finally hit the shops, you’ll need to take a very specific list with you. Make a note of what will go into each container and the dimensions of the shelf or closet where it needs to fit.

4. ”Zigzag” Organizing In her book, ‘Organizing from the Inside Out,’ Julie Morgenstern explains zigzag organizing in detail. This is what happens when you try to organize one area, get distracted by the mess somewhere else, and end up getting so overwhelmed that you don’t achieve results anywhere. The solution is to focus on a small space and

accept that other areas will have to wait. Start with an area where you can make decisions without involving others, and know in advance that you’ll simply have to deliver stray items to roughly the right room or location, not their ideal spot. Stay focused and celebrate whatever progress you make in your original task!

5. Worrying Too Much About Getting Rid of Things

The truth is, some of us find it easier than others to bid farewell to possessions. If you feel your home is becoming overly cluttered, it may be partly because you’re keeping too much stuff. The art of decluttering is a whole separate topic, but if you follow the mantra of “when in

doubt, it’s out,” you’ll be right 95% of the time. If you don’t use it, love it, or have a legal/ financial obligation to keep it, you can usually let it go. If you are justifying keeping an item because it may be useful one day or it cost a lot of money, these are signs you may need to get tougher with yourself.

6. Waiting Until You Have a Chunk of Time to Begin

This is a very natural mistake to make and we’ve probably all thought like this at the start of a big project. But since a free weekend rarely comes along, you’ll need to change your thinking if you want to make progress. Instead, identify tasks you can tackle in 20 to

30 minute blocks. That’s enough time to clear out your car, sort a junk drawer, or divide the papers on your desk into categories. You’ll be surprised how far 20 minutes a day can get you. Consistency is key and you’ll see big results after just a few weeks.



Expecting an Organizing Blitz to LastForever

If you’ve ever made a huge effort to organize a space and then watched in dismay as chaos quickly takes over again, you’re probably viewing organizing the wrong way. Being organized is a way of life, rather than a one-time event. You won’t gain much if you make your desk picture-perfect, but the next day start a brand new pile of paperwork. The great news about organizing is that getting started is usually the hardest part. If you set a realistic goal and approach it with a mindset of little and often, you’ll see tangible, lasting results

You’ll get best results if you can change a few habits and stick with them. You can boost your chances of staying organized by storing things near where you use them. If you pay bills in your kitchen, don’t keep your supplies in the guest bedroom. Consider making heavy use of labels to remind both yourself and others where things live. in your life. Identify tricks, techniques and systems which work for you, and enjoy the changes you’ll see.

Further Reading:

168 Hours Organizing from the Inside Out The Clutter Diet Blog 86

Get organized in 2012!

Inspired Design

the book

Ideas for Creating a Warm & Welcoming Home

Amid beautiful photographs and stories of treasured family traditions, Roxanne Packham and her daughter Hannah share ideas that will inspire the reader to create beauty and warmth in their own home.

By Roxanne Hughes Packham and Hannah Packham Inspired Design is available at: Inspired Design Publications Barnes & Noble Proceeds from the sale of ‘Inspired Designed’ benefit Heart of Hope & other select charities.


Generations, Manners & Communication:

Bridging the Gap

By Mindy Lockard of ‘The Gracious Girl’


anners, specifically good manners, are an essential part of our daily lives. Simply put, manners are how we handle ourselves in everyday situations. They are the manifestation of a desire to treat others well and be treated well in return. The generation we are born into helps to shape the manners we believe are correct when engaging with others, as well as the forms of communication we use. A grandmother who grew up answering a phone attached to the wall might shake her head at a grandson who only wants to communicate with her via text. Before we draw a line in the sand, let’s consider how we can get generations that were raised on the same planet, yet are worlds apart, to coexist. It starts with listening to another’s perspective, valuing their life experience, accepting that we can learn from one another and being open to using the tools of communication of another generation. This is how manners and knowledge are passed down from one generation to the next. It’s critical that we respect the past, embrace the present and together move into the future.


The Past: There was a time when the only

way to exchange information or connect with others was person to person, face to face. To some it’s old fashioned and to others it’s comforting and a reminder of when things were slower and simpler. Sharing these memories and experiences is important. Neil Postman said, “Children are the living messages we send to a time we will not see.” If we stop sharing the lessons of our generation with the next generation, what message are we sending ahead? So rather than shaking your head if you have grandchildren who no longer write thank-you notes, set a date to go shopping for fun note cards and then sit down together to write them.

The Present: Let’s face it, life moves so fast

that it’s practically tomorrow before we have time to enjoy today. Our smart phones keep us connected, on a schedule and knowing more about the people in our lives than ever before. For those of older generations, this lifestyle seems crazy, scary and a downright waste of time. But wait - there is good here. Just as we need to look to the past, we also need to respect the present. If you want to connect

with someone but they only text, then learn how. Ask questions about an area of technology that is new to you, and have them teach you. A word to those of the technology era: if someone has experienced much more life than you, don’t assume that just because they are “texting” challenged, their experience isn’t of value to you. Most often the exact opposite is true.

The Future: Embracing the present and

respecting the past impacts our future. As Steve Jobs said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.” When we are willing to look backward and connect the dots, we are able to pass these lessons on to the future. These lessons are our social legacy and if we don’t share the traditions then who will? Our children and their children will find themselves in social situations wishing they knew how to make an introduction, what it means to have a meaningful conversation, and even which fork to use. Effectively building a bridge between generations, so that communication can occur and the lessons of one generation can be passed down to another, starts with an open mind and the willingness to see things from another’s perspective while using their methods of communication. Even if you think they are “so 40 years ago” or on the flip side “futuristic.” There is power in history and hope in the future. Both sides are valuable and together we can move into a future that respects the power of communication: human to human interaction and the messages we send through technology. Keep the conversations going. Pass on the

manners you were taught. Set a beautiful table and share with the younger generation how to use the utensils properly and why the napkin is important. And, while you are seated and enjoying your food, ask about their favorite new app, making sure to keep up with today’s technology and the latest and greatest innovations. If you don’t know how, have them give you a lesson in texting or even show you how to navigate Twitter. It’s the sharing of information that builds a bridge from one time to another and lends a hand to a brighter, well-mannered future!

“Embracing the present and respecting the past impacts our future!” 89




rom satchels to hobos and even the elusive Birkin, handbags have risen to the status of most desired fashion accessory, even outpacing the sales of shoes! And for good reason, handbags can be the final touch that makes an outfit. A beautiful statement or trendy handbag has the ability to transform the simplest ensemble of jeans, tee and flats into a look that has great style. It’s interesting to think how a practical accessory, which we really can’t do without, has become so incredibly popular over the last 60 years as a status symbol. This trend started

with the arrival of the post-war economic boom of the 1950’s, when designer handbags became sought after luxury items. Handbags were the ultimate badge of style, reflecting the image a woman wanted to portray to the world. The major designers of the day, such as Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Chanel, helped to solidify the future of this trend by introducing styles that have endured to this day. Here are today’s most popular categories of handbags and House of Fifty’s favorite “High” and “Low” finds for each!

Satchel -

The satchel is a bucket style structured handbag with two large handles. The origin of this design is the bag or satchel doctors once used to carry around their essentials when seeing patients.


$528 Marc Jacobs ‘Bob’s Memphis Trip’ Satchel



$81 Melie Bianco ‘Kristy’ Flap Over Satchel

Shoulder BagTheir rise to fame came in the 1940’s as women entered the work force, becoming a bag that signified women’s liberation! This style is designed to hold everything you need and to be carried almost exclusively by the shoulder.



This sweet little bag came into vogue in the 1950’s. It was a sign of femininity to have a small clutch that matched one’s outfit. Most often used today as an evening bag, it can also serve as a small bag for a few essentials in the day. It is a style typically without handles and usually rectangular in shape.

$395 Milly ‘Paige Sophia’ Shoulder Bag


$95 Ivanka Trump ‘Grace’ Shoulder Bag





$495 Diane von Furstenberg ‘Tonda’ Printed Clutch

$35 ALDO Metallic Clutch


This bag has the 1970’s written all over it, yet is one of the most popular styles today with its versatile look. These medium size crescent shaped bags often have a slouch in the center, with small handles just big enough to carry by the shoulder.

$325 UGG Australia ‘Slouchy Classic’ Hobo

$95 Big Buddha ‘Heidi’ Hobo 91

CrossbodyThe Crossbody handbag was inspired by the bags worn by urban messengers with their one long strap worn across the body. This style is perfect for shopping or sightseeing, when working your way through a crowd.

High: $438 Marc Jacobs ‘Petal to the Metal’ Crossbody


$80 Big Buddha ‘Samantha’Crossbody

ToteWith the word tote meaning “to carry,” this medium to large bag with two straps is perfect for someone on the go. It’s great for a casual outing to the park or beach and for packing items when heading off for a weekend getaway.


And then what to put in the chosen bag…a wallet of course! The essential means of carrying your money, credit cards and other documents has also become a sought after fashion accessory.





$395 Rebecca Minkoff ‘Toki’ Tote

$220 Chloé ‘See’ Wallet


$98 Steve Madden ‘Cotton Candy’ Patent Tote

$78 Hobo International ‘Robin’ Vintage Leather Wallet

The Birkin Bag-

Finally, can any article on handbags proceed without mentioning the one bag which truly epitomizes iconic style in handbags? With a long history and a mind-boggling price tag ranging from $9,000 to $150,000, this bag redefines the phrase “status symbol.” The handcrafted Birkin handbag by Hermès can also be nearly impossible to locate, with its unpredictable Hermès Porosus Crocodile Birkin 30 Satchel Handbag release schedule. Those wishing to $1,600 a week claim one as their own can expect an eight month wait for a basic style and up to six years for a bag made of the exotic leathers. However, the site ‘Bag Borrow or Steal’ offers an alternative. Here an astounding array of designer handbags are offered for rent on a weekly to monthly basis, beginning for as low as $5 a week. Though to see a Birkin on your arm will require a much larger commitment.

...this bag redefines the phrase “status symbol.”

Hermès Vintage Havenne Togo Leather Birkin 35 Handbag $510 a week

Hermès Vintage Red Clemence Leather Birkin 30 Handbag $510 a week 93


Colorful,Flirty, Vintage


his spring you will be seeing a lot of color, bold prints and romantic pastels. Styles are comfortable, vintage inspired, and preppy with an unexpected mix of textures and patterns. Colors are vibrant and even include a splash of neon. We will be seeing of lot of cobalt blue, vermillion, fluorescent yellow and tangerine. It’s no longer just about a “pop” of color; it’s about mixing color with color. Colors should compliment but not match. Want to add a touch of color without going all out? Keep it simple with a chic black trouser, white tee and colored patent loafer. Or if you’re feeling like testing the color waters, invest in bright blue skinny jeans and add a metallic loafer, white tee and an ivory cashmere cardigan. The key is to keep it simple and classic. Think unexpected and fun! If bright colors are not your thing, focus your spring look on pastels with mint green, light orange or light yellow pieces. Looking for something with effortless ease? A simple white dress can create a feminine, classic and vintage inspired look without any fuss. The good news is you don’t need to recreate your wardrobe this spring. Simply add brightly colored accents such as shoes, jewelry or handbags to your existing wardrobe to stay on trend. Another approach is to add pastels and a mix of textures for a more vintage inspired look…all without breaking the bank!



By Laurie Moulton of ‘house of lolo’

Krystal from This Time Tomorrow


Wide Leg Denim Black or White Wide Leg Trousers Basic Skinny Jeans A Black or White High Waist Pencil Skirt

If you don’t already have the basics, get shopping! Building a core wardrobe of timeless pieces is important for any woman wanting to play with trends.


Brightly Colored or Neon Knit Dress Colorful Ombre Sweater Colored Denim Vintage Inspired Blouse – With Bold Color or Fun Pattern Brightly Colored Flirty Skirt



6. Metallic or Bright Patent Loafer 7. The Little White Dress 8. Classic Short Suiting 9. Brightly Colored Ombre Silk Scarf 10. Neon Accessories – A Crossbody Clutch, Bangles or Patent Skinny Belt





5. 9.








“Accessorize with clothing and accessories, not with your hair.” Mimi Inman “Women have the tendency to over process, over manipulate and over think their hair,” says House of Fifty’s Beauty Editor Mimi Inman. Instead she encourages women to accept the natural characteristics and beauty of their

hair. With the right tools, and more importantly the right products for your specific hair type, it is possible to enhance the natural beauty of your hair with ease.


Color: When applying all over color it’s

Cut: A good stylist should be able to guide

generally most flattering to your skin tone to stay within one color shade lighter or darker of your natural hair color.

you towards a cut that is best for the shape of your face and hair type. It’s equally important to find a cut that fits your lifestyle.

with highlights! However, they are most flattering when kept one shade lighter or darker (lowlights) than your hair color.

if the following approach is taken. Use fewer tools and more products, with a focus on selecting products designed specifically for your hair type.

Highlights: It’s easy to go overboard 96

Styling: Successful styling will be yours


“Splurge on a quality hair dryer, diffuser, flat iron and hair brush. These tools will make a real difference in the amount of time spent styling your hair and what the result is!“ 1. Super Solano Original Hair Dryer

A quality hair dryer with an end cap can make all the difference in drying time. This model has features which will result in added shine and smooth hair.

2. Solano Original Softstyler Diffuser

Finger extenders help create softness and enhance volume. A diffuser is great for drying curly hair.

3. Solano Sleek Heat Flat Iron

This ceramic tourmaline flat iron glides easily through hair, closing and smoothing follicles, adding shine in reduced time.

4. Mason Pearson ‘Popular’ Mixed Bristle/ Nylon Brush

The price may put you off, but this quality brush easily surpasses all other styles! It is great for maintaining healthy hair and will last for years.



If You Have: Thin & Fine Hair 1. Volu/mist

With fine hair it’s important to use a “root lift.” This leave-in spray gives extra volume starting at the roots, while leaving hair moisturized.

2. Wizard No.14 Sea Salt Primer

This salt-infused styling spray adds texture and fullness with body and “grip,” like the tossled look of hair after a day at the beach.

3. No. 3 Universal Mattering Mousse

First you’ll love the smell and then be delighted with the volume this mousse gives your hair, while also adding shine!

If You Have: Curly & Wavy Hair

Control frizz, add texture and shine! 2. Momo/cream

1. Moroccan Oil

Control the curls with this ultra-light formula that produces a silky finish and shine without any residue. Simply add to damp hair and style.


This product deeply moisturizes dry hair while controlling frizz. It is also great as a styling cream, adding natural texture and separation to your hair.

If You Have: Thick & Coarse Hair 1. Momo/serum

The power the weather has to mess with your hair is significantly hampered with this product. It protects and defines, controlling frizz and curls.

3. Oi/oil Absolute Beautifying Potion

Cut drying time while adding shine and reducing frizz with this light product. Run with fingers from roots to ends prior to styling.

2. Defining Relaxing Fluid

This silky formula leaves hair manageable with a glossy finish, smoothing and straightening coarse hair without weighing it down.

“To control frizz on all hair types reach for two of my favorite products, Oi/oil & Momo/ cream.”





the on our shelves by janell beals

In This Edition of ‘The Books On Our Shelves’ We Are Celebrating the Joy of Creating a Bountiful Home


The Perfectly Imperfect Home Create the Background For the Best Life You Can Have

To begin, our homes do not require perfection to be special. In Deborah Needleman’s book she suggests we start by asking what we want our house to do, how we want it to make us feel, and provides tips designed to achieve this. “The point of decorating is to create the background for the best life you can have,” she shares. Full of charming illustrations by Virginia Johnson, I’m tempted to frame a few!


The Right Color

Armed With a Strong Understanding of Color, Selecting the Perfect Palette for Your Home Becomes Possible


Kids Rooms: Take their lead to embrace a fearless attitude towards color!

Photograph by William Abranowicz

Nighttime Spaces: Bedrooms are great rooms to introduce dark walls and colors. Photograph by Christopher Simon Sykes

The area of home décor I hear people share they struggle with the most is color. From what shades to cover the walls with, to doubts about which colors to consider in furnishings, drapes and accessories; there’s a lot of uncertainty around choosing colors. In ‘The Right Color,’ Eve Ashcraft takes the reader back to the basics. She begins with an overview of the history of color, the importance of understanding the color wheel and continues with a discussion on the science and language of color. With this knowledge, one is prepared to look at color with an informed eye. Eve proceeds to examine color through its use in a wide range of applications, providing a guide to acquire the confidence to discover and embrace your unique and personal color story.

Breaking the Color Rule That “Pink is For Girls.” Photograph by William Abranowicz


homemade Prepare Delicious Meals & Celebrate With Food In Style

In ‘homemade,’ Clodagh McKenna inspires the reader to whip up some delicious eats with her wide array of scrumptious recipes and guides for simple and festive entertaining. What aspect of our home and lives says more about how we live and celebrate our days than the food we prepare for ourselves, family and friends? With practical tips including setting a pretty table, cooking up “the lazy brunch” and preparing a “decadent picnic,” I’m happily inspired upon opening ‘homemade’!


Spring Menu: Roasted Asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce on Toast


Dish Be Prepared to Become Smitten With Tableware Upon Reading!

One of the joys of cooking is the subsequent display of our efforts. ‘Dish’ by Shax Riegler offers up an intriguing history of the plates we use in our daily lives, when entertaining and in home décor. “Whether it’s made of ceramic or porcelain, melamine or paper, a dish is a blank canvas that sets the stage for the food we eat.”


From the classic white dish…

…to regional offerings…

…and playful designs for children. ‘Dish’ provides a comprehensive and enjoyable tale of the plate.


Container Gardening Bringing Greenery & Inspired Color to Our Homes

The outdoor areas immediately surrounding our homes have an impact on the beauty and enjoyment of our interior and exterior spaces. Regardless of the type of home you have, gardening in containers makes it possible to introduce lush displays of greenery and happy splashes of color into your daily life. ‘Container Gardening’ provides easy to follow advice for planting and arranging foliage to maximize their attractiveness. Full of beautiful images, this popular book offers guidance on selecting plants that will thrive in your region, along with practical design tips. I’m ready to start planting!


Sewing With Oilcloth A Fun Collection of Pretty & Practical DIY Projects

A little handmade goes a long way in making a house a home. In ‘Sewing With Oilcloth,’ Kelly McCants shares her favorite projects using this functional and versatile material in its various forms; true oilcloth, laminated cottons and chalk cloth. Full of pretty pictures that inspire, this how-to book includes easy-to-follow directions and helpful pattern pieces. Get ready to stitch up a fun array of items including aprons, art smocks and patio seat cushions to add functionality and charm to your day.

Here’s to creating a bountiful home! 109


Interior Design by Kerri Geller Goldfarb


‘the vase’ by Susie Isaac


verything old is new again, and this certainly pertains to wallpaper! Its use in home decor is steadily regaining popularity, with many of today’s favorite patterns embracing bold graphics and vibrant colors. Several of these patterns were designed decades ago but are being rediscovered as new generations fall in love

‘The Vase’ was inspired by a 1962 design by legendary British decorator David Hicks. His design is said to have been based on a fragment of Portuguese linen depicting an

with their timeless charm. One such pattern is the classic offering from New York based Clarence House, ‘The Vase’ wallpaper, which has become a top seller. In response to this resurgence of interest the company recently introduced a number of new colorways, bringing the total color options for this wallpaper pattern to sixteen.

18th century Chinese vase. He first used the pattern to wallpaper an expansive stairway in his family’s 1728 Georgian home, Britwell, located in Oxfordshire, England.


Ming Chinoiserie Blue Ginger Jar by The Pink Pagoda 112

The fanciful rendition of classic Chinese porcelain appeals to lovers of the Chinoiserie aesthetic, which has also regained popularity in recent years. The vast array of colors Clarence House has made available today lends this paper to fans of both traditional and modern design. The paper suits itself to

many different applications; I’ve seen it used in small powder rooms, larger living rooms and to beautiful effect in kitchens, as seen here. Gone are the granny prints you may remember from your childhood, the designs on the market today offer countless options in terms of adding interest to your walls.

Interior Designer Kerri Geller Goldfarb brought sunny charm to a client’s kitchen by lining the walls with ‘The Vase’ wallpaper in yellow. 113


Kerri shares that she and her clients chose to wallpaper the kitchen in order to help this space become its own room. The kitchen is very open with two large arches, one to the family room and another to the dining room. The goal was beautifully achieved with dramatic effect the minute the wallpaper was installed. When selecting which wallpaper to hang the clients wanted to bring in warm tones and the yellow did the trick. “When you walk into the kitchen you just smile because the yellow is so happy and bright – it’s a very welcoming room morning,

noon, or night. The energy it exudes works so well with this young family’s busy lifestyle with two young boys. I also love this paper because it’s a classic and will stand the test of time. We used the navy blue Quadrille fabric to ground the yellow and tie back to the rest of the home where we use a lot of blue. We also painted the ceiling a light blue color which was the perfect finishing touch. My clients had never thought of using wallpaper and they are so happy with the final outcome...she is now eager to wallpaper another room!”

She is now eager to wallpaper another room! 115



First, pay attention to scale. Don’t be afraid to go bold in a small space. It may go against your instinct but when used correctly, a large pattern can actually make a room feel bigger than it is. ‘The Vase’ is a great option for a powder room. Chose a statement mirror in a metallic finish and some fabulous sconces and you have a glamorous space that will welcome your guests.

2. 3. 4. 5.

Are you afraid to commit to a bold pattern or the relative permanence of wallpaper? Consider using it to paper the back of a bookcase, china cabinet, in a nook such as a butler’s pantry or hallway to enjoy an unexpected peek of color and pattern. It would almost serve as a piece of jewelry on your walls.

It probably goes without saying but consider your surroundings. Too much of a good thing can fall short. Make sure your paper compliments its surrounding area. Avoid the urge to paper everything! I always recommend hiring a professional to measure and install. Wallpapers come in so many sizes and forms that it really pays to have a professional who knows how to estimate the required rolls needed and complete the project successfully.

Finally, I suggest ordering an extra roll just in case you need it in the future. As with fabrics, dye lots will vary between runs and it is better to have a match in case you should ever need it.

Wallpaper is a great way to add interest to an otherwise uninspired space and, when used judiciously, can go a lot further than a can of paint in terms of its ability to transform a space. These spaces are great examples of designers and homeowners who got the pattern, scale and color just right. Don’t be afraid to try it yourself and have fun with it. Joelle Nesen, Principal Designer of Maison Inc., used the wallpaper in the taupe colorway with dramatic results in a bathroom.


“Our clients were an interesting mix of modern and traditional, with both having a love for the Sun Valley style. Our solution was a blend of modern and classic, with a dash of rustic. We chose a hand painted antique style floor tile that looks as if it has always been there and complimented it with the graphic, yet classic, Clarence House wallpaper. We twisted the look a bit with twig sconces and a rustic mirror.”

Interior Design by Maison Inc., Photograph by David Papazian





‘Frames’ from Graham & Brown: Pull out the sharpies and create your own gallery wall of masterpieces!


A touch of whimsical vintage is present in ‘Caravan’ by Neisha Crosland.






You can’t go wrong with selecting the iconic ‘Imperial Trellis Il’ by Kelly Wearstler. We love it in mandarin.

Nama Rococo’s ‘French Dot’ will cover your walls with lyrical romance.

Chinoiserie Chic at its best: Chiang Mai Dragon in Aquamarine. Available through Schumacher.

Modern and bold, ‘Thatch’ from Cavern Home depicts abstracted images of barley.


Are you inspired to paper some walls?


‘Hexagon’ by David Hicks is another vintage pattern that has found a new following! Available through Historic Style.


‘Rivets’ elevates wallpaper made of natural materials to a new level. This stunning design is from Phillip Jeffries.





Anthropologie offers the oversized ‘Paeonia’ in yellow, sure to bring exuberant charm to a room!

A hip and modern interpretation of Damask, ‘Desire’ in teal at Graham & Brown.

Featuring birds and sunflowers, ‘Renaissance’ from Farrow & Ball is an elegant design that will stand the test of time.

Create an unforgettable space with the ‘Gold Leaf’ wallpaper from Phillip Jeffries!


Interior Design by Carley Slater, Photograph by Carley Kay Photography


A barely there hue on the walls provide the perfect foundation for a fun and unexpected mix of colors and patterns.


Creating Magical Spaces for Children By Saudah Saleem



The first thing most people want to do when beginning a room design is to focus on the colors, finishes and details; all the fun stuff! However, if the design doesn’t meet the needs and functions of the room, the result can be pretty to look at yet lack practicality and function. Before proceeding any further, determine how the room will be used. Is the space intended for a baby, a toddler or preteen? What are the furniture and storage needs? Will the room serve as both a bedroom and an area for play or study? If the room will house toys, books, art supplies and games, make certain the design plan takes all of these factors into account.

...make certain the design plan takes all of these factors into account. Interior Design by Natalie Clayman



Interior Design by Courtney Schutz



Once the ground work is done, finding design inspiration can be as simple as browsing magazines, blogs, catalogs and sites such as Pinterest. The best source of inspiration, however, is the child for whom the room is being designed. After all, they are the “client,” so incorporate their vision for the space when planning the project. If they are old enough, “interview”


them and use their hobbies and interests as a guide. Involve the child in picking out colors, furniture, accessories and art so that they can enjoy the experience and process of creating their space. A child will love being in their room if the space reflects and supports their interests and the activities they enjoy.


It’s time to forget what you’ve been told: color does not have to be gender specific. A girl’s room needn’t be pink or a boy’s room blue. A gender neutral color palette incorporating unconventional colors like gray, orange, turquoise, chocolate or olive can be a stylish foundation for the design. Forgoing the predictable pastel pink for girls and baby blue for boys to use nontraditional color combina-

“Balance sophisticated colors with kid friendly fabrics and accessories. Rich chocolate brown walls serve as a neutral backdrop to colorful bedding, fun wall decor and an amazing set of suspended beds.”

tions is an easy way to evoke a sense of sophistication. If you prefer to stick with traditional girl and boy colors, consider using a different shade of the color. For example, if you’ve chosen to paint a girls room pink, use a shade of the color like fuchsia or salmon. For a boy’s room, instead of using baby blue, try navy for a look that’s crisp and updated.

Interior Design by Lisa Caldwell Flake



Interior Design by Natalie Clayman


Children love to have bright, bold and uniquely colored rooms which reflect their energetic spirit. What are their favorite colors? Add splashes of these hues on furniture and fabrics to add a playful and cheery touch! A


room painted lilac is given a boost of excitement with the addition of yellow, raspberry and purple, seen on the wallpaper, furniture and accessories.


Interior Design by Courtney Schutz


Pattern doesn’t have to be limited to window treatments, bedding or a rug. Elevate the wow facture of a room by introducing pattern to a wall, and stencils are the perfect way to do so.

Stencils can replicate the look of wallpaper at a fraction of the cost. With a fabulous array of styles on the market, they have become the go-to tool for adding high impact to a room.




A touch of whimsy is always appreciated in a child’s room and what better way to introduce it than with the addition of stripes. Whether tone on tone or bold, when used


on ceilings, walls or even floors - stripes add a classic sophistication and a big dose of fun to a child’s room!

Interior Design by Krista Salmon Chandelier by Lindsey Hamlin of Simply Salvage, Ryann Colleen Photography




Mixing the old with the new is an effective way to bring in a sense of history, with vintage being a stylish alternative to traditional furnishings and accessories. When hunting for vintage items, the shape and function of a piece is more important than the finish. A little paint or an updated fabric can not only restore a piece to its former glory, but can also

introduce that uniquely special look to a room. Vintage lighting can bring charm to a room that may be lacking from many styles purchased off the shelf from a home improvement store. Just make certain to have the wiring inspected before installing to ensure safety when using thrift or vintage lighting finds.

Interior Design by Britt Schaefer

Soothing blue walls provide a subtle backdrop for bright pops of color. A vintage chandelier and dresser painted in a modern color is all that is needed to inject character and charm into this simply stated nursery.

A chrome tipped tripod lamp rests on top of a vintageinspiredsteamer trunk dresser, with a vintage poster and toys completing the look. 128Interior Design by Saudah Saleem

Interior Design by Kirsten Krason

Remember vintage doesn’t have to mean “Victorian.” Mid-century modern pieces mix well with furnishings from any decade and are great for building a character filled space.

Here an Eames Molded Plastic Rocker, an Ikea storage unit and a brightly colored rug create just the right design balance.


Surrounding a child with their favorite colors and elements, reflecting their personality and interests, creates a room that not only makes them feel happy and special, but is a space that they enjoy spending time in! 130

Interior Design by Holly Marsh







Incorporating letters and numbers as wall décor in a child’s room is oh so très chic! When used to spell out a child’s name or birth date, the result can evoke a sense of belonging,

Options for art are limitless! Start by selecting items that have significance to the child and don’t forget their own creations! Featured masterpieces can be changed out with new art as it is created. Additionally, inexpensive frames displaying vintage postcards, patterned scrapbook paper, pennants,

pride and ownership. Spellling out inspirational sayings or creating a wall collage, introducing a variety of fonts and colors, adds a layer of fun to a room.

flashcards, city and subway maps or even cereal boxes can create an eye catching art wall. A great resource for artwork is Etsy, home to hundreds of budding artists. Etsy offers a treasure trove of unique, stylish and affordable selections.

Including an upholstered piece of furniture is a great way to bring in pattern while adding a bit of cozy. Headboards, chairs, ottomans and even loveseats introduce a sense of customized luxury and softness. When paired with a pillow, side table and lamp, seating in a child’s room creates a “nook” within the room for reading, storytelling or just lounging!

Interior Design by Natalie Clayman



Design by Alaina of Live Creating Yourself, Photograph by Maia Harms


Sweet Rental


h rental, I have such a bittersweet relationship with you. Okay, it’s mostly bitter but I’ll forgive you. For some reason white walls, beige carpet and stock cabinetry just aren’t the things that get me excited about creating a home. I’ve had enough experience with you to know how utterly discouraging it can be, faced with the restrictions and limitations when

By Kimberly Moore

desiring to make a rental feel like home. When moving into my current rental, however, I was determined not to let the situation get the best of me! And neither did the people whose rental homes are featured on these pages. With a few simple additions and tactics, anyone can turn a rental into a place to love and feel at home in.

Introduce Color! Color can do wonders for a rental. Adding gorgeous pops of color can distract the eye away from any unsightly details. If painting isn’t an option, no worries! There are so many other places to use color, which will allow the neutral walls and perhaps less than fabulous flooring to become a backdrop to the character brought in with color. Fabrics, throws, rugs, accessories and even furniture are the simplest items for introducing color.

pops of color!

Inexpensive and appealing fabrics are plentiful and can be very effective in transforming a space when a variety of patterns and colors are mixed and matched. And while it can be intimidating to go bold with color on furniture, such a choice can become the statement piece of a design. Rugs are also the perfect foundation through which to add color, pattern and texture, with the benefit of covering up any bland flooring.

Designs by Third Floor Design Studio & Design Manifest


Design by Naomi of Design Manifest, Photograph by Courtney Apple


A colorful Parsons desk is flanked by two upscaled Ikea Rast chests.

Mix High & Low Working within a budget while decorating a rental can be discouraging, adding to the sense you’ll never be able to achieve a look that says home. A rental can often end up being filled with an odd collection of furniture that lacks interest or character and is made worse when paired with a few accessories grabbed at random from the clearance shelf. Once everything is home and in place it becomes clear that not a single thing is

working, and the rental blues continue. A better approach, which takes more time and effort but is worth the investment, is to mix a few higher-end pieces with the “low” finds. Be on the lookout for quality pieces at bargain prices. Also see the potential in unique finds, then refurbish and “upscale” them! The result is certain to be a more dynamic combination of style, personality and uniqueness.

Alaina, of Live Creating Yourself, designed a beautiful rental using a mix of higher-end buys, budget finds and upscaled thrift store pieces. Photography by Maia Harms.

Bring in Storage One of the trickiest aspects of apartment or rental living is storage, or the lack thereof! Plastic bins and boxes aren’t meant as accent pieces of furniture and bedside tables. It’s time to think creatively to best utilize available space. Drape fabric at a pedestal sink or cover an Ikea bookshelf for extra storage and to hide clutter. Create additional

hidden storage

storage by having furniture do double duty. An ottoman instead of a coffee table is a place to tuck items away, and provides extra seating when entertaining as a bonus. Containers with lids are a must, as are baskets, resulting in a clean look and a place to put all the odds and ends.


Design by Naomi of Design Manifest

Baskets tucked here and there are great for stashing dog toys, shoes and other random items.


Photography by Courtney Apple

Redesigned Ikea Rast chests not only provide storage but create a striking statement piece.


Keep it Original Have you ever walked into a home where you immediately learned something new about the person living there? When personality shows through the décor, attention is drawn away from the size of the room or the color of the cabinets. Any space can become a home if it is full of personality. The key is to

identify what is reflective of the person you are, and then go bold, taking risks to create a statement. Whether through a gallery wall, colorful chair, oversized prints or found objects, statement pieces are the perfect way to achieve a sense of home with originality.

Art was installed as a way to introduce originality into our little space. Most of the pieces are created by us and reflect our interests and personalities.

Kimberly Moore of Third Floor Design Studio

“When personality shows through the décor, attention is drawn away from the size of the room or the color of the cabinets.” 138

Design is in the Details This is undeniably true. When designing a rental or any space, details make all the difference. Instead of buying yet another piece of furniture or an accessory to “finish off the room,” think about what you already have. That cherished book with a beautiful

plant set on the coffee table or one additional pillow on the sofa may be just what the room needs. Focusing on the details allows the space to become yours…not the landlords!

tiny details Design by Courtney of A Little Glass Box

From the spool side table to the tangerine pattern lining a bookshelf …every piece is in its place for a reason. Through the attention to all the little things, this space goes from just a rental to a home worthy of a second glance.

“A rental can start to feel like home…and although it may not be perfect, it can be perfectly unique!” Kimberly 139

Holly Irwin



by Janell Beals

he work of artist Holly Irwin immediately draws the viewer in, captivated by the peaceful scene portrayed on the canvas. When asked how she is able to achieve this sense of calm, Holly shares that she doesn’t believe an artist can separate themselves from their work. The work is a manifestation of who the artist is. “I’m at peace in my life and I think it transfers to my paintings.” Color and composition also play a strong role in her paintings. Holly’s compositions are pared down and simplified; there is very little clutter. The figures are gently abstracted, with a focus on their gestures rather than on details. The palette is soft and harmonious, warm cerulean blues and golden ochres feel restful to the eye. Holly’s work celebrates women, children, relationships and home. “I’m amazed at the strength of women. In the face of adversity and obstacles, we somehow persevere. I think that strength comes from having purpose and passion and faith in your life. I feel that some of my figures are icons. For instance a young woman wearing an innocent white cotton dress and black cowboy boots. What does that say to you?”

’Undecided’ 14x11, Acrylic & Mixed Media

‘City Chapel’


24x36, Oil & Mixed Media

’Chapel by the Sea’ 24x24, Oil & Mixed Media

Another icon that Holly is drawn to paint is the humble barn, viewing it as a large gentle friend, offering shelter and protection. Often a figure of a woman is present on the path leading to the barn, the path a symbol of our journeys. Like the barn, the same can be said of the little white chapels that make their way into her paintings.


Holly’s earliest ambition was to be an artist and she began attending art classes at the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh at the age of 12. Four years later she was selected as one of ten students to receive a scholarship to continue weekly Saturday classes at Carnegie Mellon University. She recalls loving being in the studio surrounded by paint, canvases, easels and old wooden tables encrusted with paint and pastels. Apart from this enriching experience, another source of inspiration for her work stems from her mother, who was a fashion illustrator and portrait painter. Holly loved watching her work and treasures pieces of her mother’s art she has in her own home. Holly also recognizes the influences of the great figure painters: Matisse,

Chagall, Picasso, Gauguin and Modigliani. Holly says she keeps going back to these artists, marveling at their work. Holly’s journey to become the artist she is today took a few twists and turns. By age 22, she was in love and had married. A move to Atlanta presented an opportunity in marketing with a chance to earn an advanced business degree, paid for by her employer. In this environment her career flourished, with her art placed on the back burner. Eighteen years later, however, health issues necessitated a shift. While this change was initially heartbreaking, it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Before long Holly had a paint brush in her hand again and the passion of being an artist was realized.



24x24, Oil & Mixed Media

‘Village’ 20x16, Oil





24x36, Acrylic & Mixed Media



‘The Lavender Barn’ 24x18, Oil & Mixed Media

Holly begins each morning with yoga and a walk, and then heads to her studio. This daily routine puts an emphasis on taking care of herself and enjoying the creative process. “Sometimes I’ll just get out a blank sheet of paper, put it on my easel and start doing a loose drawing in pencil or paint, with no expectations or plans. It loosens me up and sets the tone for the day. I work on paintings for most of the day, taking breaks when I need to.” “At some point in the afternoon or evening, I just sit down with my sketchbook and draw whatever comes to mind, or sketch a subject that I’ve wanted to explore like little chapels or buildings. There are all sorts of wonderful old barns near our home and sometimes I’ll just sit and draw them from memory.” Holly works on several paintings at a time. Each painting contributes to the next painting and influences it in some way. In her work she uses a lot of oil paint and layers, so it makes

‘Rosebuds’ 12x6, Oil & Mixed Media

sense to work on multiple paintings. One can be drying while work continues on another. Texture plays a significant role, giving depth and an aged quality to her work. This enhances the simple, uncluttered compositions. People often tell Holly that a painting reminds them of their daughter, their sister, or someone close to them. Sometimes they tell her that a particular painting reminds them of themselves. “It’s rewarding when a personal connection is made,” says Holly. Since the figures are abstracted and don’t have distinct facial features people identify with them. They don’t look like a portrait of someone else. One client shared with Holly that the painting he selected has made his whole room calm and peaceful, which is welcoming after a stressful day at work. “I have collectors that have many of my paintings in their homes. To me, that is so humbling and amazing. It means so much that it’s hard to put into words.”

‘Princess’ 30x40, Acrylic & Mixed Media


“My heart and soul goes into each painting. It just can’t ‘In The Country’ 48x48, Oil

be any other way.”


Holly Irwin

To see more visit ‘City Park’

36x36, Oil & Mixed Media 149

B L O G S W ELove!

by Lakeitha Duncan

‘forgiving martha,’

Jessica’s blog, is full of “mouthwatering” recipes and gorgeous photography. What we love most about her blog is how Jessica’s delectable creations range from vegan and glutenfree dishes to a healthy heap of traditional comfort foods and sweets!

“I’m a passionate baker, cook, and eater! My blog is an outlet through which I can gush uninhibitedly about my serious love of cooking & baking and other life happenings.” Jessica 150


‘The Fashionista Next Door’ is written by Eboni Ife´, who has a wonderfully fun sense of

style. Keeping an eye on the bottom line while not taking herself too seriously, this blog focuses on “easy, accessible, and affordable fashion for the stylish girl next door!”

“My blog is dedicated to that really stylish super woman we all know, wondering how she manages all the commitments in her life while still looking great! I don’t always feel like a super woman, with my jam- packed schedule, but that doesn’t stop me from trying…with my love of fashion on a budget!” Eboni



With three small children, one may think it is hard to make every day lovely, but Cailan does it well. On her blog, ’ she reminds us that it truly is the little things that make a house a home.

‘Every Day Lovely,


A bedframe is updated with cheery yellow and vintage suitcases are stacked to create a nightstand!

“Whether it is creating an oasis of beauty to enjoy every time you open your front closet, hanging up a string of paper pinwheels you’ve made yourself, or delighting in a simple tea party with your little ones. It’s often the little things that enrich and transform everyday, ordinary living into a life that is full and truly lovely.” Cailan


Marian has taken the blogging world by storm with her well-known blog This isn’t just a site full of prettiness, although you will get lots of that, it’s also an inspiring place of encouragement.

‘Miss Mustard Seed.’


“In true DIY fashion, I want to teach my readers how to achieve a beautiful home (and beyond) with their own two hands and some ingenuity.” Marian

Marian has an amazing knack for turning outdated and worn pieces of furniture into items worthy of being treasured for years.



borrowed by Janell Beals


Gilly Grey Vintage Rentals, Photograph by Rachel Gill


hat is old is new again and vintage has become the new modern! Vintage furniture and accessories are all the rage, creating unique environments for weddings, bridal showers, birthday parties and virtually any type of special event. These items have also become sought after “must haves” in setting the stage for memorable photo shoots. If you want to add that extra bit of charm to your next social event or photo session, I’d suggest you start by looking for a vintage rental business near you! Rachel Gill, of ‘Gilly Grey Vintage Rentals’ in Baltimore, shares how it makes sense to get help in creating a special atmosphere. “Brides, event planners and just about anyone throwing a party have so many details to manage. Rather than spending already limited time going on a treasure hunt, we provide all the vintage pieces one could wish for.” Turning to a vintage rental company is not only a time saver, but a cost effective method of obtaining these elements. Purchasing all the items can quickly add up,

and then there is the challenge of what to do with everything afterwards. Rachel believes vintage themed events and styling are here to stay. “Think of the adage ‘something old, something new.’ I think this will ring true for years to come!” Jenn Blake, of ‘Scout Vintage Rental Company’ in Seattle, agrees. After leaving a career in nursing to pursue event design and styling, her business quickly grew to include vintage rentals. She has always loved scouring dark crevices and cobwebbed corners for vintage treasures, and could not wait to share her growing collection with clients. One aspect of the work that Jenn thoroughly enjoys is finding one-of-a-kind pieces that can be repurposed into something absolutely fantastic. “What beats coming across an antique that might otherwise be thrown away, instead dusting it off and encouraging others to be inspired by its beauty and unique charm?”

Think of the adage:

“Something old, something new!”

Jenn of Scout Vintage Rental Company, Mo Hines Photography


Scout Vintage Rental Company


Charming photos capture a Parisian whimsy inspired by time Jenn spent in the Montmartre district of Paris.

Photographs by Mo Hines Photography

A 1957 fire engine red Schwinn bike and colorful handcrafted pinwheels set the stage for a très chic photo shoot.


Scout Vintage Rental Company, Photographs by Mo Hines Photography

Jenn didn’t start out with the intention of getting into the vintage rental business. She first launched her event design and styling company, ‘Bow Tie & Bustle,’ with the goal of assisting clients in creating memorable events and photo shoots. In this work Jenn frequently found herself suggesting pieces from her personal vintage collection and soon realized it was time to launch her rental business ‘Scout.’ She places a lot of emphasis on encouraging brides and grooms, as well as other clients, to seek out unique décor and details that speak to who they are. Using vintage pieces offers a certain type of


character unmatched by more modern options. The two businesses play off one another well, receiving frequent requests to offer design ideas or styling suggestions in conjunction with the renting of her vintage items. Jenn says she truly loves coming up with the design concepts, throwing in pops of whimsy and adding the unexpected. Jenn shares it was engrained in her at a young age, by her grandmother and mother, to appreciate and cherish the beauty of all things vintage. She has spent years growing her collection and is thrilled to now be able to share it.

Scout Vintage Rental Company



Trove Vintage Rentals & Handmade Affairs

Photographs by Vanessa Voth Photography

Located in Vancouver, BC, Jessica MacDonald of ‘Trove Vintage Rentals & Handmade Affairs’ is considered by many to be the pioneer of vintage rentals! Jessica, who has a background in fine arts and staging, has been a fan and collector of unique thrift and antique finds for many years. Before starting her business ‘Trove,’ Jessica had been looking for a way to get into the wedding industry. Her goal was to be able to join all the things she loved into one business plan. Then voilà, the idea of ‘Trove’ was born! Jessica has watched vintage design become increasingly popular over the last few years and believes the more that technology advances and the world turns toward plastic and reproductions, the more people will continue to be drawn to the past for influence and inspiration in design. She sees

this to be particularly true for weddings. Many brides and grooms are forgoing the “cookie cutter” and the new for alternatives that bring romance and nostalgic whimsy to the décor of their events. Jessica shares that the great thing about incorporating vintage elements is that it works for nearly everyone. If you love to travel, why not display something with old suitcases? And a pretty antique vanity is the perfect accent table for your cake. Jessica enjoys all the facets of her work, from working with couples on their wedding to creating styled photo shoots, projects which welcome a high degree of creativity. And of course there is the antique shopping; this is definitely one of her favorite parts of the business!


Trove Vintage Rentals & Handmade Affairs, Photograph by Mikaela Ruth Photography


Summer Sports: An antique croquet set and vintage bowling accessories style a refreshment station with retro fun!

Swoon Worthy Boutique, Photograph by Lakeitha Duncan

The French dresser “Eloise” is perfect for a dessert buffet. She could also serve as your something blue! The new kid on the block is Lakeitha Duncan of ‘Swoon Worthy Boutique’ in Atlanta. She started her business because of her love of vintage furniture and accessories. With a growing collection she decided rather than sell everything she acquired it would make more sense to “share” them! Lakeitha is constantly on the lookout for pieces to add to her collection, with thrift stores and estates sales her favorite places to stumble across a great find. She also says she has been quite lucky to “find” several pieces at family member’s homes! Lakeitha is drawn to a wonderful array of bright colors and she often refinishes old furniture finds by painting them in one of these great hues.

After finding a worn out piece with potential it’s fun to visualize it gaining new life with a

new color!



Rent My Dust, Photographs by N Barrett Photography

‘Rent My Dust’ was the first vintage rental company in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Owner Rita Miller Dorris shares the idea for the business came about when friends, who are also photographers, went crazy over her husband’s vintage radio collection. The friends suggested they consider renting items to fellow photographers for styled photo shoots. After doing quite a bit of research, they realized it was a great idea and began ‘Rent My Dust’ with the pieces they already had in their home. It was a perfect match and the couple has never looked back! When asked about how the name of their company came about, Rita laughs. “My husband Jay and I have always had a

cluttered home because of our vintage collections, and there is never enough time to dust each and every item. ‘Rent My Dust’ seemed perfect, because many times you do get a bit of dust along with the vintage items you are renting!” The part of the business Rita enjoys the most is working with creative people, whether it is the photographers, event planners or brides. “Each has a vision, and what a joy it is to see the ideas come to life with our vintage dust! We get to share what we have collected over a lifetime with others and watch them enjoy it. Treasures mean much more when shared than tucked away and never used.”

“Treasures mean much more when shared…”



From the sparkle of the Miss America runway to the rural countryside of Oregon, how I discovered the true meaning of home.


he first morning I woke to the piercing sound of a rooster’s crow was the moment I knew my life had changed. A city girl at heart, I never imagined that a farm would become the place I called home. Through the series of events that brought me here I have learned that to appreciate life’s joys, each step along the way must be embraced, including the surprises and challenges which are sure to follow!


everal years earlier on September 22, 2001, I had stood on a long, glittering runway in Atlantic City with a crown on my head after being named Miss America. Being crowned in the wake of 9/11, the year that followed was filled with experiences that quickly matured me. I learned that Americans hold freedoms and uniquely American institutions close to their hearts, and that the Miss America Pageant remained an American treasure. One of my first official visits as Miss America was to Ground Zero in New York City, where rescue workers were combing mounds of twisted steel for remains of those lost on that horrible September day. The workers were clearly exhausted, yet one man shared with me how he and his wife had watched the pageant the night I was crowned. It was the one thing on television that gave him an escape from the rubble, reminding him of the fabric of America. “We were just so glad the pageant hadn’t been cancelled like so many other things,” he said. I knew his response wasn’t about me, rather it was about what the crown and title symbolized: perpetual new hope springing from tradition. I was blessed to meet many inspiring people and experience a variety of situations that year, helping me to understand at a young age that life’s unexpected twists and turns are really the markers of opportunity. In fact, I met my future husband during an appearance as Miss America, when he was assigned to escort me around the Air National Guard Base in Portland, Oregon. I did not have time for a

It was the one thing on television that gave him an escape from the rubble, relationship and did he as reminding him of anneither active duty F-15 the fabric of Fighter Pilot. But we America. had friends behind the

scenes who saw differently. We had an instant connection and he proposed in November 2002, two months after my year as the reigning Miss America came to a close. We married the following summer on a lovely breezy day in Portland and settled into our first home. My husband and I are both native Oregonians, yet could not be more different! He has an eye for finding a perfect fishing spot while I enjoy what a city has to offer. So I was very content to begin our lives together in the city and return to finish my studies in music at Portland State University, nestled in the heart of downtown.


...and plenty of space for a family to grow with views of the mountains beyond.



ut life has a way of upstaging the best laid plans. Two months after learning we’d soon be parents, my husband was offered a job as an Instructor Pilot at a base in rural Oregon. Before I could blink I had graduated from college, become a mother, sold our first home and uprooted our lives to live in the country. Our search for a new house led to a 1936 farmhouse on five acres, located thirty miles from town in a small farming community. The property had been vacant for months, yet there was something special about the place. Inside, hints of Art Deco mixed with practical farmhouse features. It would need attention to be in livable condition, but the exterior was a dream come true for my outdoorsy husband. The property included a large garage, small barn, grain silos, a pasture for animals or crops and plenty of space for a family to grow with views of the mountains beyond.

hen I first stepped inside the house I didn’t see the torn layers of wallpaper and avocado green paint. Instead I saw Anthropologie ads and an opportunity to let my creativity run wild. I distinctly remember saying to my husband, “This place is a diamond in the rough.” And that was that. We purchased the property and began work on its most unlivable portions first, the kitchen and downstairs bathroom, before settling in three months later.

As we continued to work on the house, however, I began to question my sanity. Neither one of us knew much about home renovation, other than what we’d seen on HGTV. “How hard can it be?” we’d chide. Now five years later, including a kitchen and two bathroom gut-renovations, gallons upon gallons of interior and exterior paint, miles of new pipe, one adventure in wallpapering, two adventures in wainscoting, several hundred trips to the hardware store and many desperate late night calls to friends who are

Neither one of us knew much about home renovation, other than what we’d seen on HGTV. “How hard can it be?” we’d chide.

contractors, we still aren’t done renovating our diamond in the rough. Apart from the renovation work, the farmhouse also presented other unique challenges. We were far removed from the conveniences of our former urban life. With town more than thirty miles away, we familiarized ourselves with the family-owned establishments the next community over and became regulars at the tiny grocery store and diner.



quickly learned that retail therapy could be just as rewarding in a little country store as it is at Nordstrom, finding countless treasures to fill our home. A well-stocked shop carried a surprising range of fabrics and the friendly shop ladies recognized my need to feather my new country nest, taking me under their


wings. They inspired me to view renovation as more than constructing walls, but a canvas upon which to create a unique life. It also didn’t take me long to discover what couldn’t be purchased in a local store could be found online or made by hand!


s a result my clothing and dÊcor business, Ma Chère Finery, started soon after the birth of our sweet daughter. My husband had given me a new sewing machine and I was itching to create little dresses for her. With the encouragement of others this fun activity quickly became a rewarding business venture.

While I may not have been able to admit it in the midst of our heartiest renovations, I can now look back and claim with all honesty that our move to the country and this old farmhouse have been the biggest blessing to our family. A diamond once polished and cut produces a brilliance that shines in any light. For all the change we’ve made to the house, it has done just as much to this committed urbanite. It has caused me to fall madly in love with the imperfections and inconveniences of farm life and to deeply respect the beautiful community of people that toil so hard over our lands to produce crops and livestock.


Home is indeed where your heart resides and your unique life can flourish.


am grateful to be able to raise our children in this country home. They have a garden in their own vast backyard and we create meals from our own produce, organic beef and fresh eggs. It has been rewarding to become industrious. Before moving to the country, I never dreamed I would one day fashion my own creations from a home studio and sell them. I never dreamed I would watch a new calf’s birth or collect eggs in my skirt. I never dreamed I could be so content far from city lights. Home is indeed where your heart resides and your unique life can flourish.



How a Small Business Can Utilize

TO TRIUMPH ONLINE By Mary Killelea of Working Web Solutions


o matter what type of company you own, Facebook is a fantastic venue on which to market your business. Facebook has over 800 million active users and, according to Socialbakers, the average person spends about 55 minutes a day engaged on Facebook. While anyone can set up a free profile, Facebook makes it clear that these pages are for personal use only and are not intended as a place to promote your businesses. Instead, Facebook has created business pages for this purpose, equipped with business reporting and analytics, custom tabs, apps, and other business tools.

Why market on Facebook?

  To realize the full potential of marketing on Facebook one must understand that, for many people, Facebook has become their virtual world. This is where they hang out with friends, family and engage with businesses. Partly because of this, people’s expectations of businesses have changed over the past five years. Now people want to actively engage

with a business and expect the business to be accessible and transparent through social media, like Facebook and Twitter.   The reality is people buy from companies they know and trust. Facebook provides your business with an ideal setting to extend your brand by creating a business page and the tools to engage with customers on a one to one basis.

Facebook levels the playing field

Facebook is a great place for small businesses because it levels the playing field. No matter what size your company is, you have the same resources to market alongside the big companies. You can find most of the Fortune 500 companies engaging with their fans on Facebook. Take the time to watch and learn from them. If the top companies are utilizing Facebook to build relationships and establish trust with their existing and potential customers, shouldn’t you be doing the same?

To realize the full potential of marketing on Facebook one must understand that, for many people, Facebook has 178 become their virtual world.

It is essential to keep in mind when marketing on Facebook, your efforts need to be sincere, your goals need to be altruistic and your company needs to be transparent. Marketing your business on Facebook is a free and effective way to expand your customer base, when you consider on average each person has 130 friends. When a person likes your page you are able to market to them through daily posts. Subsequently, when they like or comment on your posts, those interactions are shared with their friends. Now your message, brand, services and products have a very high chance of being viewed by other like minded friends who may also become fans and customers of yours.

Viral marketing

The viral marketing effect of Facebook can be enormous. But it is essential to keep in mind when marketing on Facebook, your efforts need to be sincere, your goals need to be altruistic and your company needs to be transparent. Your marketing strategy should be focused on what solid and beneficial content you can share, which will build a rapport with your customers and start a dialogue. How can you connect with them in ways that your competition isn’t? What makes your business different? Identify these attributes, then share and promote them through your business Facebook page.

The 90/10 rule:

A good rule of thumb to follow in determining what to post on a business Facebook page is the 90/10 rule. This means 90 percent of the time you are focused on adding value and finding creative ways to connect with fans in an authentic way, presenting content of value to them. The remaining 10 percent of the posts should be sales oriented.

Get “liked”

An important objective to recognize is that you want everyone who visits your Facebook business page to “Like” it. This can be achieved in a variety of ways but one of the most successful is to create a reveal tab that a visitor lands on by designating this in your settings. This reveal tab will be your first impression, so it’s important to make it a good one. You want to ask them to “Like” your page and offer them an incentive. The incentive or payoff is revealed to them once they have clicked the “Like” button. Most people typically decide within five seconds whether or not to “Like” a page. “Liking” a business page is the equivalent of a person “opting in,” giving you an endorsement and allowing you to market to them with news, information, tips and offerings through their news feed.


Getting help and search engine optimization

If you are not tech savvy, there are many companies that will design your custom Facebook business page and reveal tab for you. There are also tools available which allow you to customize the business tab yourself. Several helpful resources are listed on the following page. In addition, it’s crucial to optimize your business page with keywords that help identify your products, services and your company name. When people search on Facebook by company name or keywords, you want to increase the likelihood that your company will appear in the results. You can achieve this by thoroughly going through your set up steps and filling out all the information in the About Us section. It is also beneficial to add photos of your products and services.

Engaging with other businesses

One of the best ways to get fans is by posting out as your page on other business pages. This is a powerful marketing strategy achieved by starting with five or six other business pages that you think your potential customers visit. When you are on your business page select “Use Facebook as Page” and then visit their pages to see what the conversations are. Interact and post feedback and comments where appropriate. You will be amazed at how many companies will like your page just because they saw you engaging with them. It is also likely others will

visit your page because they saw you posting something interesting and will want to learn more about your business.


Facebook Ads is another useful resource available to your businesses. Like Google’s Pay Per Click or AdWords, Facebook Ads are similar but have the advantage to market to specific segments of people based on their likes and interests. When a person signs up and builds a profile on Facebook, they answer a series of questions and, over time, add interests and activities to their profiles as a means of enriching their virtual presence. Facebook tracks this data, allowing advertisers to target very specific demographics which can make an ad campaign a wise investment. As a business owner, Facebook can be daunting because there are tactics that are beneficial and tactics to avoid. Yet it is important to get into the game and utilize the potential of Facebook to market and grow your business.

It’s crucial to optimize your business page with keywords that help identify your products, services and your company name. 180

Resources to Make the Most of Your Facebook Business page: Create a Facebook Page

Facebook Business Marketing Advertising Guidelines Guide to Facebook Ads Advertising Help Center Facebook Page Promotional Guidelines Creating a Custom Facebook Fan Page Software to Create a Custom Facebook Fan Page Software to Create a Custom Facebook Fan Page Free Software to Create Custom Facebook Fan Page

Working Web Solutions has been in business for 10 years offering Web Design, SEO and Facebook Business Marketing. To find out more visit their Facebook page and Website. Mary Killelea


dress up your walls


Because some days we just need a reminder‌Crap, I’m Awesome.

Mandi of Vintage Revivals


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House of Fifty Winter/Spring 2012