Monday, March 28, 2011


The new trend in interior design is called "undecorating" Christiane Lemieux describes this new style in her book "Undecorate: The No-Rules Approach to Interior Design," as do-it-yourself design that is unfussy, lived-in, creative and imperfect.  "In figuring things out yourself," Lemieux says, "including what you can afford, you make interesting decisions that wouldn't be made if money were no object—the imperfections, the real life demands are what inspires us." I do love the underlying philosophy of undecorating that values taste over expense and the surprises of accidental design based on a homeowner's personality.  But I find the reality of it to be a bit cluttered and fussy.  Especially for a smaller space.

The undecorating examples below all come from the Wall Street Journal article on Lemieux's book.

I love the gold chair, but the mantel feels crowded.  And all the different styles in the room seem to be competing with each other.

The artfully unmade bed.  One of the ideas behind undecorating is to welcome guests into a home as it is lived in.

I do like the contrast of pink and black in this room.

Let me know what you think about "undecorating"?


Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Small Kitchen Makeover

I am so drawn to color this spring season!  I feel like painting everything in vibrant hues.  Maybe that is why my eye was drawn to this kitchen makeover featured in Better Homes and Gardens.  I'm always impressed with homeowners who dress up dated rooms and fixtures, but this kitchen really caught my attention with is beautiful blue color scheme.


Tiny kitchens are always a challenge, but outdated appliances and color schemes left this kitchen looking dreary and cramped.  


A fresh palate, a new window seat, some tile and new lighting created a beautiful blue escape!

Like many galley style kitchens, this room lacked light.  New lighting and fresh attention to the window seat made a dark, dim kitchen light and welcoming.

Whimsical fabric and tile choices help balance out the blue without making it overwhelming and also give it a classic, timeless look.

Heavy cabinets above the stove were removed and replaced with open shelving that now show off fun kitchenware!

The magic of paint and fabric never ceases to amaze me!  I love a facelift that doesn't require heavy construction.  It feels more within my realm of possibility.  Now, I'm off to the Home Improvement store to gaze longingly at paint swatches.


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Spring Cleaning!

Its that time of year!  Time to roll up your sleeves, tie back your hair and open the windows for some fresh air.  Spring cleaning is here!!  So, put on some music and get your mops and buckets out to get your Jewel Box® Home ready for spring weather. 

Spring Cleaning Tips:

1.  Get Organized!

Eliminate clutter.  Sort through old mail, stacks of paper and magazines.  Don't be afraid to throw things away that have no significance or value.  If you don't love it or need it-pitch it, donate it or give it away!  All the odds and ends that you keep, store in decorative, labeled boxes or baskets and file them away.

2.  Transition out your wardrobe.

Have winter clothes and coats cleaned and box them up for lighter jackets and short sleeves.  Yeah for sunshine and warmer weather!

3.  Freshen up bedrooms.

Flip and vacuum mattresses, hang pillows outside to freshen.  Wash your mattress pad and bedskirt.  Clean the bedroom windows and vacuum draperies.

4.   Scrub the floor!!

Wash tile and wood floors.  Have rugs and carpets professionally cleaned.  Don't forget the baseboards!

5.  Light fixtures and ceiling fans!

Now is the time to clean light fixtures, ceiling fans and lampshades.  Using a vacuum attachment with a brush or a microfiber cloth works wonders.

6. Don't Forget About Bathrooms.

Yes, I know we all clean our bathrooms every week...but we don't deep clean them!  Now it's time to battle clutter and refresh old products.  Go through your medicine cabinets and safely discard any outdated products.  Replace worn bath mats, shower curtains, and liners, or wash and dry shower curtains and liners.

7.Organize the kitchen.

Clear out your pantry, cabinets and drawers.  Replace shelf paper and wipe down cabinet faces.  Donate equipment you don't use regularly.  Discard dated spices and canned foods.  Clean your refrigerator and freezer.  Don't forget the top of the fridge!

8.  Wash those windows!

Best glass cleaner ever:  2 Tablespoons of vinegar in one quart of water.  Use squeegie and a lint-free cloth!  Sparkling clean.

If you were really industrious you could also extend your spring cleaning to your car and give it the seasonal scrub it needs as well!  When you are finished with your heavy work regime, put on the coffee pot, put your feet up and enjoy the fruits of your labors.  A sparkling home full of love for friends and family members!

Happy Cleaning!


All Photos Courtesy of Better Homes and Gardens

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Finding Extra Space in a Small Room

Many, many times I find myself trying to squeeze just a little extra space out of an already small room.  I ran across these creative solutions and just had to share them.

A place for hanging pots built between two kitchen joists.  The green paint on the back wall adds a pop of color. 

A cozy bedroom alcove for sitting.  The perfect substitute when there isn't room for a chair.  Notice the built-in lighting and trim around the edges. 

Shelving for books and display at the bottom of the steps.  Flat pillows are stored under the window seat.  What a clever idea!

Open shelving in the bathroom framed and painted to complement the wall color.  The thin ledge underneath the shelving and running the length of the bathroom, is also ideal for keeping small frequently used items within easy reach.

Custom shelving built under the eaves in this small bedroom uses space that would otherwise be empty.  Carrying the wall color to the shelves adds depth to the tiny room.

Enjoy your weekend!


Friday, March 11, 2011

Add Color Without Paint!

Remember how I was dreaming of spring?  Not much has changed in that area except the motivation part...its got me motivated to get cracking...get cleaning...get organizing...spruce up some stuff around here that's been left by the wayside.  One of my favorite parts of this motivation thing is the puttering.  I love to putter around my little Jewel Box® Home!  Rearranging, fluffing, adding little touches here and there.  My goal for this week is to add a little color into our home.  Confession:  I hate painting.  Hate it.  But fortunately for me, there are ways to add color without picking up a paint brush!

Colorful curtains in one vibrant shade.

Throw pillows in coordinating patterns and solids.

Accent pieces in one grouping of color.  I love these startling pink picture frames made into mirrors!

Colorful lampshades add personality and color to any room or tabletop.

Floral arrangements are one of my favorite ways to bring the outdoors in and add color to a room.

Furniture or slipcovers in one shade create drama.

Large colorful area rugs anchor a room's furniture arrangement and require NO PAINT!

Bring in color with wall decor and art.

Even bowls of fruit and veggies can bring pop to a drab and cheerless kitchen.

Are you puttering around your house freshening things up in anticipation for spring or is it just me?


Sunday, March 6, 2011

The Cottage Company

My favorite builder of smaller homes is The Cottage Company. This wonderful group of architects and builders, led by Linda Pruitt their president, create what they call 'pocket neighborhood communities' with clusters of compact homes, most from 1,000 to 1,500 square-feet.  Linda and her wonderful team have no idea who I am or that I am posting about The Cottage Company.  But I just have to share these beautiful little homes that are perfect examples of Jewel Box® living.  

Linda Pruitt, President The Cottage Company

I would move into any of these little gems in a 'New York minute!  But the company only builds communities in the Pacific Northwest.  I can only hope that someday they take a chance on the Midwest.  All photos are from The Cottage Company.

I just love this split double dutch door!

How cute is this bedroom!

Enjoy your week!