Category Archives: Fabulous Spaces

Inhabit Photos

Inhabit Photos

As promised, here are some photos from, Inhabit, the plays I worked on doing set design. The scenes were set in an office building/warehouse, so my big challenge was to transform the spaces in just one night (I had lots of great help). Nothing was bought…everything was bought, borrowed, or temporarily stolen from cast or crew member’s homes.

I love before & after photos because they truly show transformation. So, here are the photos! There are a few scenes left out…taking photos during the craziness of the event was a challenge.

Before: The room used is a Dance Studio

After: Independently owned, artsy coffee shop…think about hippies and the Portland scene

After: Coffee Shop Scene, Audience seated in a chairs of all shapes and sizes to add to eclectic feel of the scene


After: Coffee Shop Scene

Before: The room used is an Office Lobby

After: Living Room in the home of a young couple

After: Living Room Scene entitled “In the Ductwork”

After: The big challenge in this scene was covering the large posters on the walls and hanging the curtains without hanging anything in the walls. Thanks to Rachel Rack, a lot of fishing line, and a drop ceiling…mission accomplished.

Before: The room used is a Conference Room

After: This scene takes place in a Bedroom. Scene called “I Can’t Remember It Right Now”

Before: The room used is an Office Kitchen

After: Kitchen in an apartment, scene from “The Odd Couple”

After: “Odd Couple” Kitchen Scene…and yep that’s my hubby Matt playing Felix Unger…My personal favorite scene but I guess you could call me biased.

Fresh Blooms: Bring ‘em Indoors

Fresh Blooms: Bring ‘em Indoors

Major power outage today in the Chicago’s Northwest suburbs, so I’m seeking refuge in a local coffee shop…never been so grateful for wi-fi, AC, a toilet I can flush and fresh water (we’re on a well, so no power means no flushing and no water as well), and fresh coffee (didn’t get it this morning before the power went out..and I’m no fun to be around if I don’t have coffee).

Apparently the power could be out for a few days, but I’m praying it’ll be back on much sooner. So, with the power out I thought it’d be a good day to show you how to bring the fresh beauty of the outdoors inside without much effort.

These are some Spring blossoms I brought indoors as they were blooming in my yard. First there was Lily of the Valley. These little bells of fragrance grow very low to the ground and often just look like ground cover growing around trees and in shaded flower beds. Often the leaves of this plant grow pretty thick and cover the blooms from sight, so clipping a few and bringing them indoors really displays their delicate beauty.

For Lily of the Valley I suggest placing a handful of blossoms in a colorful bud vase. Just this small cluster of blooms filled the whole living area of my home with a delightful fragrance…added bonuses of these buds! Keep their vase full of cold water and they’ll stay fresh for about a week.

Blooming next in my yard were the Lilacs. My whole neighborhood seemed to be filled with thick Lilac bushes this Spring. Lilacs grow in a variety of colors from purple to pink to white on rather large twiggy bushes. They are extremely fragrant, so a small cluster in a vase can really fill your home with a fresh scent. I’m not a fan of artificial lilac scents, but the real thing is delicious. Caution: some people are sensitive to their scent, but if you’re not, they’re perfect indoors. I suggest clipping a few twigs full of blossoms and placing them in a medium sized, clear vase. These cut flowers remained fresh in my home for about 4 to 5 days.

Popping up next in my yard were one of my favorites: Peonies. These delicate flowers grow in medium sized bush fulls in beds that receive partial sun partial shade. Peonies bring a truly romantic air to bouquets and vases everywhere from your home to a bridal bouquet…you can’t go wrong with these blooms, growing in varieties from dark pink to white.

I really think peonies are lovely in the natural bushes outdoors, but their beauty really seems to be displayed the best when they’re clipped and placed in a cluster in a medium to large sized clear vase in your home. They not only bring a fresh fragrance indoors, but add a touch of romance to your interior decor.

When you’re cutting a bunch of peonies, I suggest clipping half blossoms that are already mostly opened and half blooms that are in their bud form. This really seems to make your bouquet last the longest; mine lasted just over a week. Ok if you have peonies in your yard, I know exactly what you’re thinking…”They are always covered in ants outdoors. There’s no way I’m bringing them into my home.” Well, here’s your tip of the day…

Clip the bunch of peonies, tie some string around the bouquet and hang upside down for about an hour on your porch or deck. With gravity working to your advantage, the ants will work their way out of all the nooks and crannies of the flowers and you can bring your bouquet indoors bug free! Timing wise, clip the blooms before a heavy rain hits, as the rain destroys the blooms on their bushes.

General flower clipping tips to keep your flowers lasting their best the longest indoors:
-Use sharp shears to clip flower stems
-Clip stems at an angle
-Clip the stems a little longer than you want them to be in their vase
-Clip stems outdoors, bring flowers indoors, fill vase with cold water, clip stems again and immediately place in vase
-Keep water in vase free of flower petals and leaves
-Change water in your vase at least every other day
-If its cooler in your home, the clipped flowers will last longer
-Don’t place clipped flowers inside sunny windows
-Clip some flowers that have already bloomed and some just before they bloom to make the bouquets blooms last the longest
-Remove dead or wilted flowers from your vase ASAP

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips to help freshen your home, bringing the outdoors in. If you live in the Midwest, here are some blooms to start looking for in your yard right now and in the months to come: zinnias, black eyed susans, daisies, cone flowers, hydrangeas, roses, and sunflowers to name a few. Enjoy the season both outdoors and inside your home!

Fabulous Spaces: Shelly & Andy’s Urban Revival

Fabulous Spaces: Shelly & Andy’s Urban Revival

Today I’m featuring the home of some of my closest friends, Shelly and Andy. Shelly and I were room mates in college and are still best buds. Shelly and Andy have their own wedding photography business and Andy is an electrician, so needless to say they have a perfect balance of creativity and the know-how to really create a beautiful home. They’ve added their own personality and design style to their home while really respecting the historic nature of the space. They’ve done and are continuing to do a lot of work on their home themselves. With its southern urban charm Shelly and Andy’s home is a real beauty.

Meet Shelly & Andy with the rest of their family Colby (the little black poodle) and Norman (the adopted gray alley cat). They all currently reside in this mid 19th century row house in the area called South City in St. Louis. They moved into this historic beauty, built by a Civil War doctor, in this up and coming area of the city a couple years ago.

We’ll start with the exterior of their home. Upon approaching the front of their home this beautiful magnolia tree greets with a certain southern charm. These bright blossoms always remind me of the movie Steel Magnolias. I guess that’s why I always think southern charm when seeing them.

When walking to their front door the details of their home really start to make a bold impression. The brick archway opens to a covered entrance boldly displaying this is the entrance to the home.

This brickwork is definitely from a time past. The design, care and attention given to these beautiful details is something very rarely seen in homes built today. The magic is really in the details in these historic homes.

The doorway is not the only emphasis on the front elevation. This large window is built with a carefully crafted brick arch surround giving it both prominence and unity across the front of the home.

The simple stained glass piece hung in the window adds an updated touch of texture and color. It also provides some privacy for the living room from the street view without having to add draperies to the interior space.

The tall ceilings are an added benefit of this 19th century home, making each room feel even larger. Traditional details like the casings and mantle stand in wonderful contrast to the updated furnishings with whimsical fabrics and a variety of textures.

The brick from the fireplace carries over to the the adjacent walls adding scale and texture to the great height of the walls.

The transoms over the door ways are another element that helps to break down the scale of the tall ceilings and allow light to be borrowed from room to room.

Shelly and Andy have added a little modern twist to the very traditional spaces in their home by selecting bold colors like these bright red walls in the dining room. The moroccan patterned rug and the rustic table and chairs with a more modern silhouette add a little cultural flair to the space.

The stairway in Shelly and Andy’s home is off the kitchen and although its a steep flight, the stained wood stairs and rail stand in nice contrast to the white beadboard on the wall.

Shelly and Andy have pulled together their master bedroom with a serene Spring green color on the walls. With no room for end tables with lamps because of the symmetrically flanking closets, Andy wired some adjustable wall sconces. A great solution and the ability for them to adjust and move around makes for great reading lights. A team effort, Shelly and Andy made their upholstered headboard themselves as well.

They’ve pulled together the space by letting the green walls stand as the main color in the room and selecting all neutral colored bedding with varying textures that really make the space look warm and rich.

Although the fireplace in the bedroom is not functioning, it adds a nice focal point on the main wall seen when entering the bedroom. Above the mantle is a beautifully over sized print of Shelly and Andy’s wedding photo. I love the large scale of the print with an elegant matte and frame.

I hope this tour through Shelly and Andy’s Urban Revival inspires you to add your own personal style and taste to complement your home’s architecture. Thanks to Shelly and Andy for sharing their lovely home with us as well! Have a great weekend!

Fun Valentine’s Day Details

Fun Valentine’s Day Details

Valentine’s Day is almost here! To be honest, its kind of snuck up on me this year. I’m really not into decorating with little paper hearts or anything like that. But I do very much enjoy warm reds and pinks in my home at this point in the year when Spring just seems like it’ll never come and white and gray are the only colors outside right now.

So, here are some of my ideas to make your home feel a little warmer and cozier with the glow of Valentine’s Day, without the paper hearts. Here I’ve just pulled out little things I already have that happen to have a rosie appeal. Hope this will inspire you to pull out the decor you already have that will make your home feel a little more festive.

Above: A red bud vase (gift from my Mom) with faux queen anne’s lace flowers. I love the red and white contrast and queen anne’s lace always has an air of romance.

A beautiful red knit throw (Christmas gift from my hubby) encourages a little cozying up on the sofa when its freezing outside.

This red table runner sits on my buffet table, adding a little color with its varying shades of reds. The silver paisley embroidery adds a little ethnic flair and sheen.

The beads on the ends of the runner add a beautiful finishing detail.

Add a little romance to your home with some candle light.

I took a gold serving tray and a bunch of white candles (with varying height) and created this display on top of my buffet table. I let the wax drip as it wants, as I love the warn look it creates.

Pull out some of your cute tea cups or mugs. I found these little mugs at a garage sale in a free bin.

I love the little strawberry details (again they make a nice red against white contrast that can look festive even though they aren’t hearts).

Brew some Roobios Tea for Valentine’s Day. Roobios is my favorite type of tea and its so festive as it brews tea that is red in color and full of flavor, not to mention is great for relieving chest congestion and tight lungs. You can buy various Roobios Teas at www.ourspecialtea.com/

This tapestry (a gift from my sister that she brought back from India) is one of my favorite things hanging on my walls. The brilliant red hugh adds some Valentine’s Day festivity, while adding great color to my living room.

One of my favorite parts of this tapestry are the actual pieces of mirrored glass sewn into the tapestry. I love the little bits of reflection that add such life to the piece.

This beautiful calendar features vintage Parisian poster on each month’s page. Another “happy” (gift) from my sis, it brings festivity to my kitchen walls.

This may be one of the more traditional Valentine’s Day decor items I own. A treat from my Mom, this little towel is great to bring a little festivity to the bathroom or kitchen.
I hope these ideas will inspire you to search through your own decor items and use what you have to make your home a little warmer and more festive this Valentine’s Day!

Fabulous Spaces: Mary’s Victorian Apartment

Fabulous Spaces: Mary’s Victorian Apartment

I’m launching a new segment today called Fabulous Spaces, where I’ll feature unusual, beautifully designed, or just crazy creative spaces. Hope this segment gives you ideas for decorating or tackling difficult to design spaces.

For the launch of Fabulous Spaces I’ve chosen my good friend Mary’s Victorian Apartment. Mary recently moved into this historic 19th century Victorian home that has been divided into 4 apartments, giving her and her pup Jay Jay a fabulously historic place to come home to.


Ease of moving and mobility are important to Mary, so her rule with her space is that she wanted to be able to carry everything in her place on her own. She’s also limited with the size of furniture she can get up the stair case that turns a sharp corner. After my own move last summer with tons of help from friends and family and realizing how much stuff I have, I totally see the value in keeping your space free of heavy furniture and extra stuff.

Mary decided to let the gorgeous architectural details of her space stand as the focal point of each room, while letting her own minimal furniture and accessories fall into the background of this beautiful canvas.

The extremely high ceilings and beautiful doorways with operable transom lights make each room feel a lot larger and allow for light and ventilation between rooms (an original “green” design idea).


The beautiful marble Victorian fireplace warms the space and adds a major architectural focal point. Mary’s wall art decal adds  artistic flair making the space her own.

These incredibly crafted wood floors run throughout much of the space as an ode to craftsmanship rarely seen today.

In the bathroom sits a gorgeous claw foot tub, keeping the historic vibe alive. At the very top of the back wall of the bathroom is an interior window into the kitchen, allowing light to transfer between spaces.

These radiators in each room not only keep the history of the house alive, but provide a wonderful heat source. Unlike today’s forced air systems, these radiators provide wonderful heat in the frigid winter months without creating extremely dry air quality.

This historic wallpaper decorates the hall way keeping history alive.

Who said a tiny kitchen can’t have great storage and feature artwork.

I love the pink and green painted details of this historic Victorian home. I never thought pink and green could look this great on a home’s exterior. Love it!

I was visiting with Mary when she first moved into her great place and she told me how much she really wanted to have a dinner party, but only had 2 chairs for her dining room table. Check out my next post to see what my suggestion was, so she could have a dinner party without buying more furniture. Thanks for sharing your Fabulous Space, Mary!