What does Life By Design offer me?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Food versus Home Interiors...A Fun Comparison!

The Weekend Edition....

Over the years, I have always enjoyed seeing features in magazines where designers take two completely different subjects and create a visual story or comparison. Often, there are comparisons between home interiors and fashion. I have chosen to have a little fun and compare images of food with home interiors. In other words...."If this dinner were a home's decor" kind of story!

The point is, we gather inspiration from a myriad of sources. And when you take the time to notice the beauty of food, then you really can appreciate the comparisons to home interiors! If you have never seen one of these fun visual comparisons, well then, this is your first.

Hopefully, you will enjoy the pictures and look at your home or your food...a little differently.

I enjoy the intensity of color in both of these images. When I found the image of the beautiful old Romanian house, the red and green on the wall hanging stands out to me and complements the avocado and red tomato chili.

...And The Weather Will Soon Be Too Warm For This
photo by Diana House

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is it me or is it getting a little cooler? Okay...it's me...Wishful Thinking

The Post for today is the weekly Etsy Treasury. I have been thinking a lot about fall and the weather changing....football and fireplaces...etc. So I created today's treasury as a little wish list for the weather to come...hopefully sooner than later.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Got Jewelry?

Over-The-Door Jewelry Organizer
Photo courtesy of Longstem Productions

I will be reviewing products several times a month on the blog and today is the first review!

Today, I want to share a review of a product that I love.  I recently purchased the Longstem Over-the-Door Jewelry Organizer from Longstem Productions online.  Over the past year, I have been searching for a way to organize my jewelry and actually have the ability to see all of my options at one time.  I had been using the small drawer inserts that are stackable for several years and I just got tired of sifting through the stacks...not to mention the fact that the inserts are dark velveteen and I could never really SEE my jewelry well in the drawers.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Livin' Large in a Tiny House

I always loved small houses.  I am not sure why, I can only guess that it has something to do with my allergic reactions to heavy duty cleaning...More space, more allergies.  No, not really.  I have always lived in small homes/apartments/sheds/dorms etc.  I use this variety of labels for my former abodes because well, frankly I think I have lived in at least one of each at some time in my life.

All of these homes have one common theme...they are all small (and very home-y, but this is a post about small living spaces).  It is NOT that I don't like large houses....I always appreciate any size home that is warm and reflects the personality of the owner.  I just ADORE small houses and I will always live in one.

Just a couple of reasons that I believe small house living is the way to go:

Monday, July 25, 2011

Are You A Collector?

Do you have any collections?  I'm not referring to anything formal or catalogued.  Well, If you do have indexed or catalogued collections than I am impressed....but I was just asking about ANY kind of collection.  Or do you even recognize that you have one.  Take a moment to look around your house from your current vantage point over the top of the computer( if you are not facing a wall).

Do you notice that when you scan, you see more than two:  porcelain dairy cows, teacups and saucers, star wars figurines, baskets or snow globes?  Do you find that wherever you may go, you always find yourself looking for these items to bring home?  Do your friends mention that they think of you when they see these types of items?  Well, whether you have 3 or 1000, you my friend....are a collector.

Friday, July 22, 2011

My Future is Looking Good



1963 Shasta Airflyte

It is all about the vintage trailer!  I have been looking at these pretties for about 2 years and I can feel it all getting a littler closer.  "Are you going to live in this trailer?" you ask.  Of course not!  This is my weekend, holiday, need a break, need inspiration, travel to flea markets, visit antique shows and folk art festivals trailer. Duh.

1963 Shasta Airflyte

It is all about the vintage trailer!  I have been looking at these pretties for about 2 years and I don't think I can stand it until I have one.  "Are you going to live in this trailer?" you ask.  Of course not!  This is my weekend, holiday, need a break, need inspiration, travel to flea markets, visit antique shows and folk art festivals trailer. Duh.

The fun part is the interior redesign!  The work part is making sure the other, more essential parts of the trailer are in working order.  Last year, I became even more inspired when I toured 2 beautiful tiny trailers all glammed up at the Country Living Fair.  They had been completely restored and decorated according to each owner's personality.  My personal motto at the fair was, " I am among my people," and viewing those little ladies all dolled up reinforced that motto.

The all important decision is... what type of trailer.  I love the shasta trailers! But there are so many to from which to choose. And then....just how vintage do I go?   That is only the beginning.

The good news is that there are many online groups dedicated to traveling and decorating vintage trailers, like the Trailer Chix.   Even more fun are the groups that touch base and travel all over the country. It is a mobile "glamping" community.  And they sure look cute while they are doing it......How do I sign up?

1963 Shasta Airflyte by dwstucke
1963 Shasta Airflyte, a photo by dwstucke on Flickr.


Winnebago by dwstucke
Winnebago, a photo by dwstucke on Flickr.


Arrow by dwstucke
Arrow, a photo by dwstucke on Flickr.
this is option number 1

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


and we think WE have challenges?

The post for today is short and sweet.  Sometimes we need a little help, motivation and inspiration to get moving in our lives.  And our inspiration can come in many forms.  Often, I find inspiration in photographs of animals, kids, babies and beautiful landscapes.  Another favorite of mine is the poignant quote. Sometimes when I read a quote, it hits me harder than a ton of bricks...in a good way.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


I love trees.  I mean I really love trees..... so this was a tough one!  I have watched the trees in my front yard grow and grow and grow and I became more and more overwhelmed.  I knew that the bradford pear tree was reaching the end of his "line," and the spruce tree was, well taking over the house!

(Note to all folks who plan on planting a spruce tree....It is a tree for the outer perimeters of the yard in most cases.  One mistake that is often made when people run to the local plant palace is that they don't really pay much attention to the tag where it states, "This tree will grow so big that it will consume your house as well as the neighbors' house."--okay, the tag doesn't say that, but it will say something like 40-50 feet tall!)
P.S.-always look for dwarf versions for front yard landscaping and for trees up against the house.

So back to my tree trauma...My next door neighbor, my neighbor across the street, and my neighbor on the opposite corner have all lost their bradford pear trees (a total of 4) within the past 6 months in the famous mountain winds and rainstorms.  I didn't need a lot more motivation.

When did I know that the spruce needed to go? well, other than the obvious ridiculous-ness in its size, the second clue was when I could not walk between the house and the tree!

So, my tree man came and performed a miracle and now I just need for the yard fairy to come and perform another one!  I am excited to see my house and yard, but now I need a new yard!  Well,  I will just add it to the list of projects...or I will wait for HGTV....hmmmm.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Outsider Art

This is the first post in a series that will feature artists whom I admire and their original artwork.  Whether you like sculpture, paintings, prints or photography, you have access to the most talented artists and their works from all over the world....at your fingertips.

Some of you may not even be sure what you prefer yet, or even if you prefer. Your living room  may be sporting a faded hand-me-down print of a mauve house with a garden full of neon orange flowers.  You may love it....or maybe you just never thought that much about it.(by the way, you should take a moment to think about it)   There are so many sites that offer artwork at a range of prices from $1.50 and up.  You can search by subject matter, medium, size, and price. Who could ask for more?

Today I am featuring an artist recently discovered from an article regarding outsider folk art. His name is Bob Hoke and I love the energy, colors and composition of his pieces.  I am a collector of all that is "outsider art" and I was so excited to recently receive three of his pieces.  He lives a very simple life in Hannibal, Missouri and sells his paintings in galleries all over the country and on ebay.

His art has a sense of humor and  is extremely affordable....for now.  His work can be found on ebay and he also shows up on google searches easily when queried as "Bob Hoke outsider art."

Outsider art not your cup of tea?  No problem....it just leaves more for me! Then try 20x200.com, dailypainters.com, and etsy.com to get started!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I Feel The Need For Green

Does your yard inspire you?  Do you want to spend every waking moment relaxing on your porch, patio, or deck staring at your trees and flowers?  Do you name your birds?

Well, when you see these photographs of a private home in upstate South Carolina, I have a feeling that some of you may be reaching for the fertilizer, and hopefully all of you will be inspired.  The owner of the home was kind enough to allow me to share in her private paradise and needless to say it was much appreciated.  I was thrilled to be able to take some snapshots because how exactly do you describe something like this?

ummm....just think of the woodland scene from any Disney movie where all of the animals sing and celebrate in perfectly choreographed dance? no...that doesn't even paint the picture.  I mean yes, it is just a "yard," but clearly it is also medicine...the good, healthy, non-prescription, purely addictive kind. It is inspiration.  The kind that is the backdrop to great children's picture books and usually hosts the most personal and warm wedding receptions.

As if this is not enough, you can see the evidence of the inspired wonderland you have created, when you see the critters that gather to share in it.  When nature comes to visit and then reside...in great and varied numbers, it adds an element of joy and satisfaction that is unmatched.

So take a moment to look at the photographs and really imagine the colors, the sounds and the scents in the air.  Imagine the birds singing and the little river rushing (yes there is a beautiful tiny river as well, just no photo) and think of all the ways that this can inspire you inside your home as well.  Bring the outside in. And I feel sure that we would all love to bring THIS outside in.

Go ahead, create your own little secret garden....what would yours look like?

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Is Your Home Suffering From "Ivory Wall Overload?"

  • Do you refrain from hanging art on your walls because you don't want to put holes into them?
  • Did you purchase your home years ago and you just never got the chance to paint over the builder's white?
  • Have you chosen not to paint your walls because you are scared you are going to choose the wrong color?
  • Do you think that by painting your rooms different colors that it will mess up the flow or continuity?

Well this interventional blog is for you!   First let me make one important point.  Of course one can have white, cream or ivory walls in his/her home!  Just make sure that the white, cream or ivory colors are ones that you have carefully chosen because they fit your home's personality and decor.  Also make sure that these colors are not present because of the "fear" of painting another color.

Let me put your mind to rest.  In most cases where an entire home has the same color walls or where every room features default white or cream, there is no flow to "mess up."  The same color ivory throughout an entire home does not equal a continuity of style or interest.  It usually equals boring.

Especially today....when there are so many beautiful paint colors in many different paint lines, there are thousands of colors from which to choose.  And remember that continuity of style and interest can be obtained in many ways, but especially with a beautiful palette of complementary colors!

Again, the warmth and personality of a home is established through layers of texture, art,  fabrics, paint and furniture.  One can become preoccupied with a lot of "shoulds" and rules, or one can enjoy the process of creating a warm home that is a reflection of his or her personality.

Tip:  Paint is your friend and there is no such thing as a paint emergency!  Why?  Because paint can be easily covered with another color! So go for it.  Don't hold back! Choose beautiful color and live life on the edge!

One of the most beautiful palettes comes from Philips Perfect Colors!  I have chosen 4 colors that I would like to see in a sunroom! or...okay...in practically any room!

Room Color
 Trim Color
 Accent Color
 Accent Color

Imagine this beautiful lemon grass colors on the walls with this trim color that is actually interesting!  And then layers of these accent colors throughout the room from distressed painted furniture to pillows to just about anything!  Thank you to Philip's Perfect Colors for such amazing choices.

Friday, July 15, 2011


Keep It Simple Stupid...

This client had already purchased these lovely containers on the mantle for her harvest room.  She had been given some real pheasant feathers from a friend and she knew exactly what she wanted. She wanted simple, tall, narrow arrangements with only a few elements to complement the colors of the room and the stonework.
(these photos were taken around Easter, hence the rabbits and eggs)


Of course there are many different clients with extremely diverse tastes and preferences for home design.  This is what makes my job so interesting.  I can truly appreciate everything from the most conservative traditional homes to the most artistic and brightly colored homes because I have seen everything on the spectrum done really well. When someone spends time and makes conscious decisions regarding the order and design of a home, it can make a world of difference.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Featuring A Collection Of Original Items from Etsy Artists!

 Today's post is the first of a series that will feature artists from Etsy!  If you have not yet discovered this treasure of a website, then get ready for some amazing opportunities to own original art at affordable prices.  We all look for ways to personalize our homes, offices, studios etc. and this site is a great way to get started.

If you see something you like, click on the image and you will be redirected directly to the artist's page!

'All Of The Essentials For An Inspired Home Office' by funkyspecs

This collection represents a collection of items for a home office overhaul. Original art and sculpture, corkboard and mail center... live plants, scented candle and soft pillows. All of the senses are stimulated. Pure Inspiration.

Glamor print

Blue the Junkyard D...

Laptop Sleeve - Fit...

Gratitude Cards

Natural Soy Candle ...

Wall Mail Organizer...

July 2011-June 2012...

Happy Place - 22 x...

A Collection Of 6 C...

Real Butter - Real...

Wooden Walnut Clock

Elephants Letterpre...

Tall Bud Vase - Fel...

Green Hardwood Fram...

Business card holde...

Pair of Throw Pillo...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Ladies and Gentlemen, Start Your Engines

"Country Living" Fair Is Coming Back To Atlanta in 2011!

If you get a little tired of blotting your sweaty forehead and pre-treating your blouses for make-up stains that slid off of your face during the day.....then just think about the upcoming Country Living Fair in Atlanta, GA, this fall.

Okay, so how can I leave a comment?

I have had a lot of questions from readers on how to leave a comment.  The good news is that it is easy and you DO NOT have to register!  First, go to the bottom of the post and click on "comments" in the blue box.  An empty text box will open up and you can enter your thoughts!  At the bottom of the box, you will see a little drop down called "comment as"..simply click on this, click on "name/URL", then enter your name and ignore URL, and submit/post comment!

If you would like to remain anonymous, simply click on "anonymous" in the drop down box instead of "name/URL."  I would really appreciate the comments, so please....write away!

I would also appreciate readers to follow the blog! It is free and would be very helpful for my blog to gain traffic!  Simply click on the "join this site" box on the right hand side and use your Yahoo or AOL account with the openID option or use a google account as well!

Thanks for taking the time to comment, follow and simply read!

Check later today for my daily post!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

House Rules....What House Rules?

I am passionate about color.  Color is transformative in every context.  Even more interesting to me, are the colors we choose to surround ourselves with in our homes.  If you really want to understand more about a person, then make sure you get to see her home.

We have all had those situations where we meet a new friend or co-worker and although we can certainly get to know that person on many levels in multiple contexts, we always look forward to seeing his or her home.  Why?  I am certain there are many members of The Decor Police out there, but that is not what I am getting at. We really just want to see our friend's home because in a way, it is the final piece of the puzzle in her personality.

  •  Is she quirky and eclectic in her approach to decor?  
  • Does he have a lot of collections on display?
  • Is he a minimalist?
  • Does each pet have his own bedroom?
  • Does she have a home full of original artwork?
  • Does she have a large collection of black and white photography?

 It isn't about wearing white gloves and wiping the top of the television when nobody is looking... her house helps to tell her story, all of our stories.

Monday, July 11, 2011

What Do You Mean By Simplify...Exactly?

SIMPLIFY- transitive verb

To make simple or simpler: as  (a) to reduce to basic essentials, (b) to diminish in scope or complexity: streamline and (c) to make more intelligible: clarify

Even after reading Merriam-Webster's definition, simplify will mean something different to you, than to me and to others. The concept of simplicity is not new to us in this green, "Eat-Pray-Love," hgtv, yoga-loving America. I find it interesting that although we are barraged with "zen" concepts, we (yes, I am including myself)continue to acquire more stuff, eat more, and do more multitasking and activities than ever before in my lifetime.

This is NOT a condemnation of this glorious country or capitalism, because I happen to be quite a fan of both. Nor is it a condemnation of new technologies, good stewardship of the earth or eastern culture and medicine, because I appreciate each of these.  This is an observation. I just believe that perhaps the concept of "simplify/simplicity" has been  misused in a lot of ways...and perhaps even hijacked in some.

It is up to us to define it for ourselves, in terms of how it might apply to our lives and then even how it can best serve us.

Simplify is the first word in the tagline of Life By Design for a reason. A balanced life often begins with this concept and the actions one takes in his life to create a sense of order.  Oh and by the way....it doesn't have to be some "out-there" concept that only yurt-loving, vegan philosophers aspire to...it can be very practical.

For me, Simplify has a broad meaning that includes:

  • not overcommitting myself
  • online banking and one credit card
  • small house, less upkeep
  • small yard
  • eliminating "extras" from low priority areas and having what I need, plus some "extras" in my high priority and "fun" areas of my life.

How can you take a small step towards more balance in your life today?  Take a look below at mine.  I just cannot figure out how my make-up and hair products keep growing in numbers? I will have to think about that...hmmmm.



One step closer to balance, one step farther away from chaos.  I'll take it.
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