What does Life By Design offer me?

Monday, July 22, 2013

One of my Favorite Places to Visit Online!

For those of you who know me by now, you are aware of my small addiction to folk art and outsider art! One of my favorite sources of original artwork online is Mainstreetgallery.net.  Check out the section noted "Self-taught" artists.


Check out some of my favorite artists like Rudy Bostic:  His paintings often feature biblical references and he paints on cardboard. His paintings are very detailed and use a lot of color! Beautiful.



I am saving my money for another painting by Frankie Scarborough.  His paintings are colorful and full of joy.




Also on my wishlist, is Sarah Rakes.  Her paintings are colorful, and often inspired by nature. Every painting includes a hand painted frame...which makes me very happy.



Take a look at Main Street Gallery.  Add a little color to your life.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

2013...The Year of the Big "Edit"


Happy New Year to Everyone!  Can you believe it is 2013?  What is your 2013 going to look like?  According to my Yahoo horoscope, my year will be a better year than 2012.  I will take that.  Of course you know the rule for horoscopes is the same for fortune cookies... All positive predictions become the gospel, all negative predictions are simply...well, yahoo and Chinese fast food fortune cookies.  

I have decided that my 2013 will have a theme. We will get to a theme song, in a minute, but for a theme,  this will be the year of the EDIT.  There are a lot of different ways to look at it- but for me, it will mean essentially that I am working towards simplifying my life in numerous ways...a "cleaning out" of sorts. Editing out: drama, negative people, fears, wasted energy, excess, etc.



 I do not intend to over-analyze or attempt some major life change, but merely to get started on slowing down a bit, "not acquiring in excess" and enjoying each moment as it occurs.  This sounds a bit lofty as I say it, but you have to start somewhere. And I am not aspiring to "finish" it this year, but merely get started. 

I also intend to continue surrounding myself with color and art that makes me happy and inspired. This is something that I started years ago, and has created much joy for me throughout the years.  Because of this, I will share my thoughts and inspiration regarding art as a major part of the blog this year. 

Well, it is time to get started.  Do you have a theme for your 2013? A theme song has not come to mind yet.  The soundtrack we attach to our lives is quite important.  If you have any suggestions, please feel free to share! 

Again, Happy New Year!





Sunday, November 11, 2012

Coming Soon! A Blog Grand Reopening.... With New Features

A New Blog to Come!  Stay posted for a new blog to reopen the last week in December, just in time for the new year, 2013!  WOW, 2013!  And the blog will have some new features and a new focus with some of the original categories.

In the meantime, Happy Thanksgiving and be on the look out in the last week of December 2012!

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Spruce Up For Spring!

Well it is that time of year again!  The warm weather is here and we need to get out and clean up our yards, porches, decks, patios, outdoor furniture etc, etc!  And since it seems to ALREADY be midsummer(umm, 89 degrees?),  I regret having to inform y'all that you are already behind...so, I thought I would share some tips to help get you started.


  1. Maintain/Clean patio and porch furniture-  Most types of furniture can be cleaned with warm soapy water and a large soft brush, then rinsed with a hose.  For wicker and teak furniture, you can use a soft scrub brush and Murphy Oil Soap, then rinse with water. The use of harsh detergents or bleach can actually damage some types of furniture over time.  And you should always hose down your furniture once a week, if possible, to maintain furniture.
  2. roof top terrace modern patio
  3. Clean out your flower and plant beds- I like to wait until it rains to weed my yard.  We should all do a "once over" in the yard, and pull as many weeds by hand as possible.  This also gives us the opportunity to check out our beds and see where we are starting to get good regrowth from our perennials! It also gives us a chance to turnover the soil in the beds.
  4. Front Garden traditional landscape
  5. Clean out your gutters- This task can be tough for is those with 2 or more floors!  But for those with homes on all one level, it would be wise to get up there and see what is going on and clean out any major clogs or problem areas!
  6. Clean your deck-  If you have one, go ahead and get it done!  you will be happy that you tackled it and you can move forward with the grilling and relaxing!  Olympic Premium deck cleaner will work well and let it sit for 10 minutes, then rinse with water.
  7. Fulcrum Structural Engineering modern patio
  8. Declutter your garage- Now this can be a big one, depending on the condition of your garage.  If you can take on the garage and clean it out and sweep the floors, Go For It!  If not, then you can take on the areas that you use the most or the areas that may be cluttering the entrance to your home.  By tackling these targeted areas, it is not as overwhelming, but it will make a big difference when you pass by it everyday!
  9. Highcroft Hunting Barn traditional exterior
  10. Clean your windows! I plan on taking off my screens, cleaning my windows and then leaving my screens off! I want pretty shiny windows for awhile thank you very much!  Use a squeegee and a homeade solution and you will be shocked at the results. Try this: One gallon of water, 1/4 cup of vinegar and 1 tsp dish detergent.  You can also add a squirt of lemon, if you have it.  Make sure you wash windows in the shade, as well.
  11. Crisp Architects traditional bedroom
  12. Wash away the winter grime- sweep your sidewalk and driveway and use a pressure washer, if you have one.  If not, hose them down and scrub any specific areas that need it and move on!
  13. 2009 Showcase Home traditional exterior
  14. Scrub your grill- soak grill grates in warm soapy water. scrape inside the hood and clean the sides with a grill brush.  Hose off the grates and scrub them.
  15. Milford, MA Showroom modern patio
If you are able, then purchase a new inexpensive door mat and a flowering shrub or plant to place next to your main entry!  Now it is time to start the grilling!  If you have any special cleaners or methods that you would like to share, please let us know!
Front Door traditional entry

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Top Spring 2012 Color Trends! Great Job, Pantone!

Okay people...let's talk color!  You will be seeing many items for the home that are inspired by this group of colors that are tops for Spring 2012 as presented by Pantone.  I already have my favorites and I look forward to adding some flair to my home with Solar Power and Sodalite Blue!  Let's take a look-



Chances are, you already have some version of at least one and maybe more of these colors in your home!  And it is really very simple to "freshen up" without overhauling!  For example, your living room may be decorated in classic blue and white with accents of one other color.  After you take a look at this list, you find that you really like Sodalite blue and you begin to see a lot of accents in stores that appeal to you, as well.  Let's say that the color blue in your home is a lighter shade of blue than Sodalite and it has some gray in it.  Perfect!  Start with accent pillows and mix deeper Sodalite pillows with your lighter shade of blue.  Add a lamp in a beautiful Sodalite color!  This will add much more depth to your blue and white room and you still keep the classic combination.   Even better,  if  the color Driftwood appeals to you, then it presents another opportunity for accents in this room in combination with the blues and whites!  Anything like picture frames, candlesticks, throw blankets, pillows and even a rug in these colors will be beautiful in your room and you will still maintain that integrity of the classic color combination!  


Greenwich Penthouse traditional living room
                              traditional living room design by new york interior designer Tiffany Eastman Interiors, LLC

Notice all of the different tones of color in the pillows and the beautiful grays that have been incorporated in the palette.  This is a very rich and interesting way to keep a clean palette without it falling flat.




Amoroso Design contemporary living room
                                 contemporary living room design by san francisco interior designer Amoroso Design


A beautiful and effective example of lilacs and grays!  As you look at the trends, you can infuse different variations of grays and lilacs to "update" the palette that is already in your home!



purple in the room contemporary living room
                                                                                                  contemporary living room design

 Add a little "Cockatoo" to your palette as well!





Harlem Apartment - Hall eclectic entry
                                                                                   eclectic entry design by austin interior designer Frisson


Above, you see a vibrant and dynamic version of Solar Power and Sodalite Blue!  If you have a home with a lot of black and white, or black, white and gray....then Solar Power would be an amazing choice to add to your palette with fun accents.  You could also try cabaret with those color palettes.




Master Bedroom  bedroom
                                                                      bedroom design by new york interior designer TILTON FENWICK


As you can see, the combination of blues and oranges are always striking.  Depending on your style, you can gauge the intensity of color that you want to use, as well as the amounts of each color in the room.  This year, the top color on the list is actually Tangerine Tango... and the perfect partner is a version of cockatoo!



Energy House traditional bedroom
                                                                 traditional bedroom design by little rock interior designer Tobi Fairley



WELLTON APARTMENTS INTERIOR contemporary dining room
                                                                                   contemporary dining room design by architect Annis Lender


So take a look at the top colors for the spring and if one really speaks to you, then consider adding it to one of your rooms in your home.  Often, when you know you may be adding accents, it is best to step back from your room and edit any pieces that look extraneous.  Maybe they should go in to a cabinet for storage or maybe they are a little worn and could be given to a charitable cause.  Only add accents to a clean and properly edited room ( "edited" does NOT mean getting rid of your sofa or entertainment center).

Good luck and have fun!  Share your favorite colors from the Spring Color Trends with us! How will you add some interest to your home with colors from this palette?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Are You Tackling 2012 With All Your Might? If Not...Get Started On One Of These Goals!

Here we are coming to the end of the month of February 2012....are you "taking on" this year the way that you had planned?  Some of us create new year's resolutions and some of us avoid them like the plague, but either way, as the new year arrives... we all feel the opportunity to refresh and reboot.  We may write down goals or we may verbalize them-

We all need to remember that we have opportunities every day to refresh and reframe our approach to the world, even if it may only require a tweak or two.  Last year, I found a list on tipnut that features 11 goals that can be utilized or personalized to enhance our lives and I thought I would share them with you.

It is never too late to start your "new year" every morning- or each Monday!


  • Choose one new thing to learn-  learn to speak spanish, paint with oils, crochet, cook a gourmet meal, drive a stick shift!

www.fit2goblog.com-gourmet meals in west palm beach



  • Eliminate just one negative distraction from your life.  Do you waste too much time reading negative celebrity gossip or watching too much News television or politics?  Anything that is just a noisy distraction for you, however small...just say NO.  

                                                                                            www.bytestyle.spreadshirt.com




  • Embrace one positive influence.  refocus on nurturing a special relationship that has been neglected, save 5 minutes each morning for meditation or reflection, create a special window of time on Saturday or Sunday to do a craft with your kids or walk your dog, join a church.

                                                                                                                        www.care2.com



  • Honor your family.  Recommit to express more forgiveness in your family.  Show a little more support and practice random acts of kindness in your home.  Express your gratitude for someone in your family or a characteristic of one of your family members at dinner.

                                                                                                         www.recruiterpoet.files.wordpress.com









  • Nurture your home. Look around for areas that need improvement and get something done.  Use what you have to fix up, clean up and pretty up!  Make more home cooked meals and eat dinner at the table together.  Bake cookies or a cake once a month for your family!  





Mt. Shadows traditional living room
                                                              traditional living room design by seattle architect Bosworth Hoedemaker


I have shared the first five goals today and will complete the list on my next post... if these seem overwhelming, then pick one. Start small and feel empowered to do more as you succeed on the first one!    

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Got 20 Minutes? Then You Can Feel Better About Yourself and The Beginning Of Your Week!

Kitchen contemporary kitchen
                                            contemporary kitchen design by atlanta interior designer Brian Watford ID


Do you want to feel a little better about yourself, your family and your home?  Well, of course there are a myriad effective answers to this open-ended question....but today, I want to focus on answering this question by taking the easy way out because sometimes we just need to!  If you lack time, energy and extra funds, there are some surprisingly simple ways to do this.

Let's say that you have 20 minutes this evening, after dinner and baths etc. to give yourself a better start to your week.  I would take that 20 minutes and head to the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it is often the space that every family utilizes and frequents, often first in the morning and last in the evening.

This is going to sound a little simplistic, but just trust me and give it a shot.  Don't worry, you won't have to clean out all of your drawers and pantry in 20 minutes, besides...how much difference is that going to make to you and your family immediately?

Okay, here we go...


    Evanston Project traditional kitchen
  • Clean up any big mess, wipe down the counters and get any dishes out of the sink into the dishwasher
  • Take a step back and look at your countertops.  Empty as many small appliances, oils, extra decor off the countertops!  Now, do you really need that blender or mixer out on your counter every day?  NO!  Find a spot under the sink, in a closet off of the kitchen, in the pantry on the top shelf etc.  Essentially, you need handsoap by the sink and perhaps a sponge.  You may like to have salt and pepper near the stove.  The reality is that many families "over-decorate" their kitchens and there is usually some level of random decor residing on the countertops.  Trust me when I tell you that emptying your countertops of excess makes a bigger difference than you would expect.  Just do it. and then, wipe your counters down again.
  • Switch out your kitchen towels if you use cloth towels
  • Visit your back yard or the grocery store tomorrow am or pm and purchase some inexpensive fresh flowers.  Get home and put them in a mason jar, small bucket, glass vase..whatever you have.
  • Wipe down the kitchen table and if no one is seated and eating, there should be NO table setting.  In other words, no staging with placemats and accoutrement!  You are not staging your home to sell and you are not a food stylist, so the kitchen table should be clean and empty..unless you have some extra flowers.

Seaside whimsy in Centerville, MA eclectic kitchen
                                        eclectic kitchen design by boston kitchen and bath Artisan Kitchens LLC



 Now, do you really use that pretty canister set every day?  Have you ever used all the bright colored infused oils?  Your answer may be yes, but for now, move them out of immediate sight and experience the difference.  And then add back only the items that you really use or find beautiful.

Now, if you are thinking...I don't have a place to put this stuff.  Well here is my answer.  First, just put the "Stuff" in a basket or bag and literally place it wherever you can to get it out of sight, even if it isn't going in a location that makes sense.  Here is the reason.  You need to experience the peace of simplicity in a commonly used space.  This can be a test if you wish.  Maybe you try it and then you enjoy it and you rethink your storage.  Or...maybe you rethink some of the stuff and realize that it might be time to donate!

Remember, this is NOT about achieving perfection or the perfect looking kitchen!  It is about owning items in your home that are placed there with SOME level of forethought.  Reduce the clutter, reduce the stress.

Either way, give yourself a little break and start the week off with a clean open space in the kitchen and spend only 20 minutes to get there.  Everyone benefits and your family will notice!



Russian Hill modern kitchen
                                     modern kitchen design by san francisco architect John Maniscalco Architecture

Friday, February 17, 2012

Did Someone Say Mint Julep?




Did Someone say Mint Julep?  Because the next big style trend for 2012 is Horse Country!  Okay ladies, how many of us wanted that pony when we were little girls and we never got one!  Well here is our chance to fill our homes with horse decor and be totally legit...We can become "horse" people overnight!  It simply takes a little imagination and a little time to create your own "mini estate."



Country Home in Butler, Maryland  - Interior Design by Johnson Berman traditional home office
                                       traditional home office design by baltimore interior designer Johnson Berman



As you may already know, this style is classic and traditional featuring dark furnishings and leather as well as velvets and plaids... Think classic Ralph Lauren or Biltmore Estate.  Jacqueline deMontravel of Romantic Homes magazine describes it as "handsome and layered."



CLASSIC eclectic living room
                                           eclectic living room design by new york interior designer Anthony Baratta LLC




CLASSIC traditional staircase
                                    traditional staircase design by new york interior designer Anthony Baratta LLC


As you begin your search for equestrian goodies, look for worn leather, silver, plaid blankets or upholstery, equine art and prints, trophies and horse-show ribbons.  The good news is that this style often overlaps with some of the other top trends we have discussed such as vintage and farmhouse styles, as well.



Chantilly Equestrian Horse Dinnerware traditional dinnerware
                                                               traditional dinnerware design by Gracious Style




Trophy Cups traditional accessories and decor
                                                         traditional accessories and decor design




Stanley Signature Furniture New American Chest modern dressers chests and bedroom armoires
                                                modern dressers chests and bedroom armoires design by Layla Grayce




Barbara Cosgrove Lamps Two Horses Table Lamps eclectic table lamps
                                                                  eclectic table lamps design by Candelabra


Okay y'all...saddle up!  Check out www.horsecountrycarrot.com for some serious inspiration!  And of course, www.ralphlauren.com.  Do you already have a little equestrian influence in your home?  Where do you like to shop for your horse country items?



Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Gustavian Style Trend....Less Really Is More!

Gustavian...of or relating to the reign of the Swedish Kings or any one of the Swedish Kings named Gustavus...what?  I know, that is what I was thinking.  Maybe this will help.

Jacqueline deMontravel of Romantic Homes magazine describes Gustavian style as "the functional country version of a decadent French palace."  Now we are getting somewhere!  Gustavian is essentially Swedish design that embraces light airy spaces, pale milky blues and grays and simple lines.  As a young man, King Gustav of Sweden spent some time visiting Versailles and fell in love with the ornate french style of Louis XVI.  King Gustav returned home and these influences were eventually translated into a more simple, but equally rich aesthetic that became Gustavian.


swedish interior design white gustavian living room eclectic living room
                                               eclectic living room design by london interior designer swedish interior design



As with the other styles that we have been reviewing for 2012, Gustavian evokes a specific feeling or mood. There is a definitive nod to European History with this aesthetic and one cannot help but feel regal in its surroundings.  The richness of this style comes not only with its implied history, but in its carefully edited sophistication.  One of the hallmarks of this style is a lack of unnecessary ornamentation and minimal use of accessories.




Swedish vignette eclectic
                                                  eclectic spaces design by seattle media and blogs Splendid Willow



Kathleen Burke Design traditional dining room
                                 traditional dining room design by san francisco interior designer Kathleen Burke Design


When you begin to consider Gustavian style, think of linen and muslin, slipcovered furniture, and blue and white china.  The colors that were most popular in the Gustavian period were grey, yellow ochre and swedish blue, and the finish associated with this style of furniture is a dull matte finish.



Gustavian Gray Bureau by Chelsea Textiles traditional dressers chests and bedroom armoires

                                   traditional dressers chests and bedroom armoires design by The Picket Fence









Take a look at the following sites for some beautiful items in the Gustavian tradition.  


Do you have any sources for Gustavian items or Swedish antiques?  Do you think that this is a style that you would like to incorporate into your home?  let us know what you think!













Friday, February 3, 2012

Let Freedom Ring! Add A Little Americana To Your Home...

Need a little inspiration for adding a little Americana to your mix?  Take a look at some red, white and blue finds at Etsy!


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