What does Life By Design offer me?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Finding Farmhouse Flair! It's an Etsy Treasury!

Does the Farmhouse style appeal to you?  If so, then you should take a look at Etsy for some beautiful finds that help to define that aesthetic...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Farmhouse Flair in 2012

"Wide Open Spaces" and good ole cowboy boots are required for this next "Top 2012 Style Trend."  Well, maybe you can get by without the wide open space if you have to, but I would recommend a pair of cool cowboy boots....for Farmhouse style.

Farmhouse Reinterpreted traditional exterior

I really began to notice the prominence of this aesthetic when my design magazines started to include articles and photographs of chicken coop plans that are nicer than most family homes!  Hey...I am ALL for chickens having a beautiful place to live but do they really need a replica of The Biltmore House?

Well,  it is true that many families around the country have embraced the tradition of raising livestock in even the most "suburban" types of neighborhoods...and they are doing it quite successfully.  My feeling is that this style trend has gained popularity for reasons beyond the "look."  I believe that this trend encompasses a little more... like the idea of embracing our roots in these tough times and the importance of finding pleasure in the simplest of tasks like getting your hands dirty in your own garden and cooking fresh eggs for your family in the morning.

Concord Green Home contemporary dining room

It just so happens that farmhouse style is pretty fabulous and we all know that every farmhouse is full of old stories- when we include items in our lives that have a history, life becomes a lot more interesting indeed.

Farmhouse is a state of mind and a way of life in many cases, but it is also possible to incorporate special items into your home without going the way of the coop!  Often the look includes lighter, neutral tones and  distressed furnishings- with the occasional bright antique quilt or bright painted tin sign.

Greenlee Kitchen traditional dining room

                              traditional dining room design by austin architect Hugh Jefferson Randolph Architects

Many would say that the kitchen table is the heart of the home in a farmhouse...the place where every day would begin and end and where a lot of those famous stories were told.  If you ask me this is not a bad tradition to uphold and certainly, it is not a bad look.

Market and Dining Room traditional dining room
                               traditional dining room design by atlanta interior designer Yvonne McFadden LLC

The good news for our wallets- there are many items from which to choose that have a beautiful patina and that is a key word to remember when it comes to farmhouse.  Take a look at your regional flea markets and make sure to visit the next Country Living Fair  in Ohio or Austin and you will find everything you ever dreamed would be in a traditional American farmhouse...but don't forget to wear your cowboy boots.

Colorful English Farmhouse traditional kitchen
                                  traditional kitchen design by san francisco design-build Canyon Design Build

Farmhouse style is whatever you decide that it is for you and for your home.  There are so many possibilities and so many sources. Inspiration is all around you and if you are lucky enough to live in the country, then get in your car and take a drive.  You won't believe the things you see when you are paying attention!

Rustic Farmhouse Bowl traditional serveware
                                                              traditional serveware design by piperclassics.com
Belgium Primitive Farmhouse Chairs eclectic dining chairs and benches
                                                         eclectic dining chairs and benches design by Factory 20

Metal Farmhouse Sink with Apron by WS Bath Collections contemporary bathroom sinks
                                                       contemporary bathroom sinks design by WS Bath Collections

Rustic Wood Chalkboard Wine Crate by Suzis Farmhouse Finds eclectic storage boxes
                                                                      eclectic storage boxes design by Etsy

So here is the plan...wait for a pretty day, put on your jeans and cowboy boots, put a Rascal Flatts disk in the car, roll down the windows and head for the hills. You will be sure to find your inspiration and you might just find a little adventure as well!

Friday, January 20, 2012

It Is Time For A Little Vintage In Your Life...and I Don't Mean Wine!

Today I want to display some fun ideas for vintage items that can be added to your home!  In addition to the resources I mentioned in my last post,  Etsy has become another website to check for hot vintage finds!

So..it is time to freshen up with a little vintage for the home...consider mixing your flatware and dinnerware to use many different patterns that you enjoy, rather than the "matchy matchy" route!  Or add a quilt to the bottom of your bed, stack several pieces of luggage to use as a nightstand in your bedroom or add a globe to your desk in your home office.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012


Dreamy Whites eclectic bedroom

Next on the list for 2012 style trends is...Vintage!  Yes, we all love vintage.  It is always a little more interesting to incorporate items with a story into our spaces.  Whenever I see an old metal and wood school desk/chair combo, it immediately brings up old memories of days gone by, not to mention it sparks my curiosity as to the specific history that resides within that particular chair.

Vintage items are those that have been "loved" and passed on for others to "love."  Whether we are talking about Levi's, old industrial lighting, teacups, or linens... Vintage just makes our lives a little more interesting.

Even better...many vintage items can be extremely affordable!  Start your Saturday with a visit to some yard sales and a flea market, peruse some thrift shops and end the day with a quick dumpster dive (Of course, check Ebay and Craigslist before bed). - You never know what you will find!

OLD BRAND NEW modern living room
Habor Cottage, Maine contemporary family room

Mothology always features beautiful vintage items. You will never be disappointed when you visit this site!


Three Potato Four Shop is another fun website that is constantly changing and adding to the inventory of  unique finds.  Some of my favorite discoveries at www.threepotatofourshop.com, are the depression-era mugshots!  What a great conversation starter...talk about an item having its own story!

And don't forget RELIQUE!



Where do you find your vintage?  What other styles do you incorporate in your home with your vintage items?  Any secret "go-to" vintage websites?

Saturday, January 14, 2012


Take a look at some beautiful items on Etsy that really embrace the Eco-Chic style!   And remember, often it only takes a few items to refresh a space and add warmth...carefully chosen and strategically placed items have more impact, so take a look around your space and decide upon 1 or 2 items that look at little "tired" and make the decision to replace them with warm selections that appeal to your sense of style.

You have a plan and some ideas, so get started!  

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Happy New Year!!  I am happy to be back on the blog and I have a lot to share in 2012.  You will see some changes in the way the blog looks over the next month, as well as some new features, but it is all coming from the same source, Me!

I want to introduce a new series of blog posts that will focus on the top design trends for 2012.  I was inspired by an article that I read in Romantic Homes magazine and I wanted to share the design styles with my own perspective and additional sources.

Eco friendly project in the Mexican Riviera modern living room
modern living room design by los angeles interior designer Carlos Alberto

The first style trend that will continue to dominate in 2012 is ECO-CHIC.   This trend has continued to gain momentum over the past several years and the concepts and products to support this trend have increased 100 fold!

To some, eco-chic means using less paper towels and to others it is a comprehensive lifestyle choice.  To me,  it means being aware of the products in your home, making conscious decisions in your selections and incorporating natural materials into your space to the extent that it reflects and enhances your personal style.

Interestingly, the addition of natural materials into a space can often make the difference between a warm space and a "chilly" space.  In addition, many options exist that are extremely cost effective and in some cases, free.  And remember, it is not about creating a space that is simply eco-chic...it IS about embracing your own personal style and adding natural elements that you enjoy and that complement your style.

You can start with a set of organic white sheets, or a reclaimed wood cheeseboard.  Beach glass is a beautiful element to include a glass jar or dish... as well as burlap or hemp.




Driftwood is one of my favorite elements and can be incorporated in many beautiful forms.  These 3 photos include driftwood items from www.seasideinspired.com.  Driftwood adds warmth and is a natural element that can be utilized successfully in rooms of all styles, including more modern settings.


Nettleton Hollow is a great resource and you can order individual pieces of driftwood in multiple sizes and use them on coffee tables or console tables for a very affordable price.  You can also order birch pedestals that can be used as risers in your home.


Another versatile product that can add beauty and interest to any wall or space is the 3-d wall panel.  There are multiple manufacturers of these products so it is best to take a look and see what company offers products that fit your style and budget. Most are made of biodegradable materials- essentially you receive a pack of 8 or 12 panels that you adhere to the wall, and you can paint them any color as well.



Are you enjoying that hunting lodge look without the real looking carcass on the wall?  Or perhaps you have one too many mirrors in your home and you really need something else on the wall that shows your playful side.  Take a look at www.cardboardsafari.com.  I love this company and I purchased "Bucky" several years ago and he is still hanging on my guest bedroom wall!  As you can see below, there are options that fit into any space and provide whimsy.  



And yes, this wreath is made entirely of cardboard.  They are fun and VERY affordable...go ahead and vist the website, I know you want to.

Now, you see there are many ways to embrace this concept without having to move in to a treehouse.  Or, if you prefer the treehouse, go for it!  I couldn't complete this post without the mention of Angela Adams and her rug designs.  AMAZING.  This is the ultimate secret garden right in your home.  WOW!   Now go and get started on your own update.  What are your favorite ways to incorporate nature in your home?

Forest Floor modern living room

These are some of the items to look for if you like the ECO-CHIC concept.

  • items made from hemp, cotton and burlap
  • stoneware and pottery
  • old glass
  • reclaimed wood
  • succulents  
and remember, when it comes to artwork, there is nothing more "eco" than outsider folk art where all of the materials used are usually found and recycled into masterpieces!

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