Quick Tricks for Halloween Treats!

If you’re like us and have been too busy to get into the spirit of things, here’s a few suggestions to get back your Halloween Mojo!

Grab a bag of Candy Corn, Mix with a cup of Dry Roasted Peanuts and put in a favorite crystal dish on top of a coffee table for visiting goblins. Warning: Can be addictive.

Dig up a mask (we know you have one somewhere!) and greet the little devils and princesses at your front door for some instant fun! Guaranteed to make someone smile.


Light some candles around the house for some “spooky” shadows and set the mood for a relaxing evening at home!


Go to http://www.ez-tracks.com/Halloween.html to download some free Halloween Sounds and Music – sure to get you in the spirit! Note: This is not an endorsement of this site – we’ve never actually downloaded from here!


Mix  up a Pumpkin Martini just for you – you deserve it! Jayne and I are having one right now! Okay, not really, but we would like to having be one! Happy Halloween! Here’s the Recipe from www.drinkoftheday.com

 Have a fun and safe weekend!


Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

“Decorators should never insist on throwing out everything the client has. Even when they are far from perfect they add personality”  

                                                                                     ~Billy Baldwin

This quote brings to mind, my very first residential client many years ago named Don. He was a bachelor in his 60’s and had spent many years taking care of his aging mother. After she passed away, he decided to move into a one bedroom condominium and wanted a contemporary look that was fresh and reflected his personality. Everything was to be new and with $25,000.00 cash in hand to shop, it was a young designers dream!

Of course I had a vision for the space and he trusted me with any decisions and purchases I made for him. As a young designer, I prided myself on my eye for what worked and what didn’t and was very proud of the end result. On move in day, he had tears in eye as he walked in and saw his new home. it was even better than he had dreamed and I was thrilled that he was so happy – after all, that’s what it’s all about!

Then he said “Amy, I have one more thing for you to do – find a place for this. He handed me a very bad silk version of a red rose. Three red roses, in fact, that may have even been plastic. The look on my face was one of a deer in headlights. Are you kidding me? The entire house was done in jewel tones and the primary color of a red rose was definately not in the color scheme. “These are  moms”, he said “and she treasured them- they need to be someplace special”.

It was a defining moment in my young career, because I realized then, that it’s not about creating a show place, but creating a home. For Don, the roses made his house a home. I could have hidden them in bedroom, or tucked them into a corner, but I put them on a prominent shelf in the living room so that he would see them every day. In the end, it’s not about what is beautiful to the designer, but what is beautiful to you. I am grateful for that lesson early on.

Update: Jayne wants to add that she made all the fabulous floral arrangements (she had a custom floral design business at the time) and that it was after she brought in and placed all her BEAUTIFUL arrangements, that he brought out the plastic or silk red roses. You should have seen the look on her face – haha!

Ask a Decorating Question: Working around a Forest Green Carpet in a Bedroom

Photo courtesty of www.bhg.com

Patti wrote us over the weekend with a Decorating Question regarding her bedroom. She has forest green carpet, oak furniture, white walls and burgundy comforter and wants an updated look without having to replace the carpet.

I actually had a similar situation with dark teal carpet that came with the house we bought – I really didn’t like it, but it wasn’t in the short term budget to replace. In my case, I chose to paint the walls a warm beige color and used neutral bedding with accents of tiffany blue and deep brown. It turned out really nice and Patti, I’m thinking this approach with different accent color may work for you as well.

I searched through Better Homes and Garden’s idea area and found the photo pictured above of a bedroom that I think could be a great inspiration photo for you to use as starting point and added some suggested colors to the left (and a green one below to represent your carpet). It’s done in neutrals – with shades of white, creme and beige; accented with an orange-red in the form of pillows, accessories and artwork. I would start your project by choosing a warm neutral beige for your walls, making sure that it doesn’t fight with the finish of your oak furniture. The one in the photo above is actually a little cool.

Select multiple paint chips at your favorite paint store and tape them to your furniture. Stand back and squint. You’ll see some that will stand out like a sore thumb – get rid of those. What you are looking for is one that makes your wood appear warmer and even more beautiful against it. Once you choose a wall color, select several shades (both lighter and darker) in that family to use as reference when shopping for other neutral items such as bedding and pillows. The key to developing a success neutral color scheme is that the shades all work together. Using the “squint test” is a great way to see if they work together – if they blend, they work well together. If one sticks out – find another!

A simple way to shop for items, once you pick a paint color and other neutral shades is to staple or tape the paint chips you select to an index card and keep it in your purse. I’d also suggest matching a chip to your carpet and adding that to the index card as well so you have that  to reference when shopping as well.

Once you get your neutrals in place – painted walls and bedding, it’s time to add some accessories which is what will make your room special. I’d go with an orange red and dark browns (almost black). Don’t go too red, or it will look like christmas 🙂 You might also want to add a large area rug in the bedroom to “absorb” some of the green and a smaller one in your bathroom to pull the colors into there.

One thing to note about a neutral color scheme is that it’s details and textures that will make it really special such as in the photo above.

Here are some things I found that could work on a budget and look fabulous!

Nate Berkus has beautiful neutrals and textures (shown above) found at Linens and Things that just happen to be on sale!

And check out this Tulipere from Ballards. Fill it with fresh tulips or find some fabulous silk one’s at a craft store such as Hobby Lobby or Michael’s.

The Pillows above and art below are from zgallerie. Pillows may be a little pricey, but I like the bold stripe.

This pair of canvas prints may be the perfect touch for the walls – they are simple yet will really pull the room together.

These assorted items from Crate and Barrel Accessories are perfect for a little punch to a neutral room.

A rug like this from Ballards placed in the bathroom can pull all the colors together and provide some softness to the room. You might want to even choose to be really bold and paint the walls the organge-red color that you used to accent the attached bedroom!

Good Luck Patti! Send us Pictures when you’re done!

Amy & Jayne