Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you!  We had a good Christmas in our new home.  I don’t think we left at all except for a grocery run a few times.  Poor Liam got the flu then I got it.  This is the first time in my life I caught it and it truly knocked me sideways.  I will never miss my flu shot again!

But there are gifts with being sick at Christmas.  Instead of being consumed with busyness we really had time to be together.  Being confined to my bed meant I had time to begin my Donna Tartt novel that I’d yet to crack open and finally got around to flipping through my Coastal Livings and the new Domino that were waiting for me.

Chris and I had time to watch the complete Jesus of Nazareth miniseries that comes on each Christmas on the free religious channel.  Just like with subtitles, after you are a few minutes in your mind forgets about the 1-800-find Jesus number in the bottom of the screen.  I also was transfixed by the Spelman and Morehouse College Glee Clubs’ Christmas concert on tv.  I cried through the whole thing.  I am sure Chris thought I had lost my mind.

We are all better now and looking forward to the coming year.  We are bit-by-bit emptying our PODS that is sitting in our driveway and slowy moving in our new/old home.

I want to share the images I’ve been carting around in my head and on my laptop which have inspired the design of our renovation.  We wanted a modern barn kinda feel, and I think that is what we got.

Here’s the inspiration (picture overload warning):

Windsor Smith for Veranda’s House of Windsor:  (the dark windows & doors & all the light pouring through.  The touch of glam in the chairs and the contrast of dark and light—you will see this contrast in most of the pictures)


For the stairs and the rail we wanted simple & clean.  White treads (there are no risers) and no decorative millwork at all.  Think old saltbox homes and shaker-style.

This is the picture I gave our contractor (credit unknown):


I also kept going back to this image from Tom Scheerer’s house published in House Beautiful:


Here is an instagram pic of what it looks like (Olii loves sunning on the flagstone)


We may wrap them in leopard eventually….


We went dark in our master bedroom & bathroom.  Our bed is white as are our linens, so it feels a bit lighter than you might think.  I was scared to take the risk, but Anisa talked me into it.  So glad she did!  It’s my fave.

inspiration:  Miles Redd in Domino.  Dark but not cold–warmth in the natural elements.



And this dark but light bathroom from Cottage Living is just the best!


Again, all I have are instagram pics.  Here’s the bathroom.

If you go dark, I recommend going for it with moldings & trim and everything.  If you’re gonna do it, commit all the way.unnamed-84

I know it’s a mess, but cut me some slack.  Still moving in….



In the living room, I completely copied the style of these built-ins.  I couldn’t beat it, so I chose to flat-out copy the design.


I started filling the shelves yesterday.


In the kitchen, we went with a black sink (inspired by Roman & Williams)


Plain, flat-front cabinets (I die over this kitchen so much!  credit unknown)


And carrera marble tops.  DuPont has a new product called bullet-proof.  It ran us around $500 to seal it, but they guarantee it for 20 years!!  They will replace the marble if it stains.  So far, so good.  (and we are kinda messy)


This picture inspired our hood (simple, squared-off).  McAlpine Tankersly in Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles Magazine.


This kitchen in Martha Stewart was the inspiration for our waterfall peninsula:




Some random images which really inspired the “feel” of the home:




(cream walls, dark furniture, hints of color, natural elements)



The picture above influenced the lighting in the boys’ rooms—deep bowl pendants from Barn Light Electric. (image via Elle Decor)


Please don’t judge the soda.  I usually don’t keep it in the house but we were sick.



Roman & Williams goodness (I believe World of Interiors in 2008)unnamed-33

The image below is the reason for the white floors upstairs:



The country but clean feel from Garden & Gun:


(image below unknown.  Love the detail & the boot storage)


We went with plaid wallpaper and 1″ x 8″ boards below in our powder room:  Love our dark doors, too–



And we went with a black front door with full-light because of this door.  We didn’t do metal, though.  It would have put us in the poor house.


I know this is just a taste, but it just takes time.  I have dreams of getting our home published, too, so I might save the full-on shots until I give it a go to see if there are any takers.

I do hope your Christmas was merry and that your new year is off to a good start!





lighter and brighter in Jersey

I guess 9 times out of 10 Anisa and I are bringing more light into a space instead of the opposite (We went really dark in our new home, though…in some rooms.  I’ll post soon!).

We love new, larger windows, white tongue-and-groove ceilings, sconces & table lamps & chandeliers galore, and, at times, a new coat of lighter paint on kitchen cabinets and exterior siding.

Such was the case with our clients in New Jersey.  We have tackled their home, room-by-room, over the years.  Recently, the kitchen and the exterior got a face-lift:



Their neighborhood is fairly traditional, so they wanted to keep it classic.  What we went with?  Well, a good cream of course.

New simple sconces flanking the door…and the paint colors are BM Swiss coffee (body), BM Iron Mountain (shutters & garage door), and Farrow & Ball light blue for the door  (respectively below)













photo-101This is their “six-year home”, they said, so they went for a cosmetic upgrade to their kitchen instead of their desired complete gut.

The choices for the kitchen?  gray cabinets (BM Fieldstone–thank you, Sally Wheat :), antique brass 8″ pulls for hardware, Carrera marble tops, polished nickel Rohl faucets and a fireclay farmhouse sink.  They both declared the hood had to go, so we replaced it altogether with a clean-lined, industrial one.  The walls and ceiling were all given a bath in Swiss coffee like the exterior, and oyster gray grout proved to be a perfect contrast to the subway tile.   Oh, and don’t forget the honkin’ brass pendant!









new shade for texture:


New breakfast nook….








I have never met this family, but I feel I know them so well!


Want to share another family’s home with you.  My grad school friend is selling their suburban Atlanta home (in Marietta).  I think you’ll like it.  I wish them the best on their new adventures in Colorado!

Her home has a website below:


Here’s a peek:


house for webBACK YARD -10



house for webHOUSE PICS 2011 -15






house for webKITCHEN AND PLAYROOM -6


house for webHOUSE PICS 2011 -25


house for webHOUSE VIEW


There are more pictures as well as Mandy’s contact info on the site if you like!






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