peaks and valleys

Hello friends and family! Can you believe turkey time is on the horizon? Lordy! A LOT has happened since we last spoke and I wanted to fill you in before the wild holiday rumpus begins. Let’s start with the peaks. Lori’s open house was a beautiful success! Thank you to all the friends, family, classmates of all ages, who turned out to support Lori and Lupus. We raised over a thousand dollars for her memorial scholarship and covered everyone in head to toe purple Lupus awareness for the Homecoming football game – we are on our way with scholarship opportunities to last a lifetime! 

It was a gorgeous Michigan day! So many fun pictures, laughs and great memories. 

 

There was much to celebrate that night, including little Celia making the homecoming court!

She is the grand-daughter to Florence, one of Mom and Dad’s very best friends. The Brule’s have lived across the street from us our entire life and she is like a second Mother to all of us, including Dad. She’s French Canadian and one of the most full-of-life special people you will ever know!  Such a blessing to our family and everyone she meets. Bon jour!  

We broke from the open house for a few to catch the half time coronation excitement! And like everything in Flat Rock, we walked. 

It was a packed house, many class reunions going on and woo hoo we won! This year’s football team would go on to the playoffs for the first time since my senior year, and in a small town like Flat Rock, that’s a really big deal. Check out this wonderful video Fox Sports Detroit put together about the team called “Earning the letter” here #warh 

We capped off the night with a backyard bonfire and lots of toasts to Lor! 

While I was home,  I tried to capture a few new angles at Lori’s House you may not have seen yet…

Like my IKEA tablecloth drapes I was so proud of below ;-))) All throughout the house we hung Lori’s varsity jacket, track uniform, our yearbook, tons of old school stuff.  It was simply AWESOME to honor our friend’s life in such a special way. Dream it. Do it. 

While I was home, a wonderful photographer took some really beautiful professionals for the portfolio HERE and the home is now listed for sale HERE

With Lori’s house on the front end weekend and the Michigan/Michigan State game with my family on the other end, hubby suggested I stay in the Rock in between and spend time with Dad. BEST IDEA EVER. After Lori’s house party, we headed to East Lansing for the State vs Iowa game and yay we won! Another record book beautiful day and my brother and sister-in-law threw a great tailgate. 

 

Mike hiked it back to the ATL Sunday and Dad and I had a home cooked meal with Florence, she made her famous Pepper Steak. Later that week I invited her to come with me for a night to Port Austin, to check on the cottage progress and see the sights! Dad wasn’t feeling so hot, so he stayed back. “You girls have fun!” 

Since we last spoke, we painted the entire exterior black with white trim and this was my first time seeing it live.  

It’s coming along.  Next up are some board and batten shutters, thicker porch columns and some house numbers, might be nice. ;-)))  Still simmering what to do with the front door. Love the slamming screen door, but the main door is nothing to write home about. May have to repeat that little trick from the doors at the beach condo, where we ran 1 x 2 trim in a boxed x pattern to give it some interest. A Dutch door would be amazing. 

Inside, we moved some furniture around and did some styling. Shocker. Here’s the most recent status shot of the living room. Need to add a pair of chairs and some window treatments and this room is ready for prime time. 

Added some boho bedding to our room from Potterybarn. Its a tight, cozy, little space so thinking a pair of pedestals/columns would make for some great side tables/nightstands and will probably move the antique dresser up from Lori’s House once it sells. 

In the bathroom, my handy man painted over the yellow and white checked tile into one big black stripe that goes all around the room. We installed this antique chandelier in here and I hung some pictures from twine. 

Added some floral patterned shams in Sophs and cousin Jades room, also from Potterybarn, and I’ve been meaning to look and see if there are coordinating sheets to make window treatments to match. Design on a dime! 

 

Jack’s room is pretty much ready to roll. We hijacked one of the beds from his room here in the ATL, landed some Homegoods tables for nightstands, dresser was left over from his first bedroom and the bench also made the trek from Atlanta. Just need to throw up some window panels here too. It’s been fun filling in the blanks with a lot of “use what you have” stuff from our old Florida condo and our home here in Atlanta. 

Then it was onto the second round of football weekend with the whole fam. The big Michigan vs Michigan State game. Everyone in my family, but myself, are wolverine fans (sigh). And they aren’t the best losers if you know what I mean, wink, wink. Sparty got the win AGAIN and needless to say we Spartys were elated…

It was a wonderful week! Tons of family and old friend times. Chicken soup for the soul for sure. I didn’t want to leave and caught myself crying quietly while walking back to the car after the Lions game Sunday (another football game). We would leave straight to the airport and I didn’t want to go.  I was wishing we could stay one more night at Dad’s and fly back Monday as the kids were out of school, and of course, now I’m mad at myself for not insisting.  The Lord works in strange and wonderful ways and I’m sorry to say, he was working on me that day because a week later my world fell apart. Even as I write this, I’ve blown my nose four times now, because I’m still so broken and in shock. Friday the 13th of October, I woke up to find out Dad had passed away from an apparent heart attack. Those of you who have been there know, there are NO WORDS to adequately explain losing your Mom or Dad.

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I look forward to sharing with you all how AWESOME Dad was. I’ve been laying in bed a lot of sleepless nights thinking about all the wonderful memories Dad has given us. The LIFE he gave us. The outpouring of love and support when you lose a parent, is something, frankly, I had forgotten about these last 20 years since Mom passed. I just want to say how incredibly grateful I am for all your notes, calls, cards, food, flowers, texts, all of it! I may not have been able to respond to every one of them, but I read every one of them and they all help in making me feel better, less alone and more loved than I ever realized. Death changes you and I am forever changed. I’m re-prioritizing my life daily (LESS WORK – MORE FAMILY). If you are second-guessing holiday travel to be with family, I encourage you to go! SPEND THE MONEY (you can’t take it with you). I implore you to pick up the phone and call loved ones! Coulda, shoulda, woulda, all the things you hear from heartbreak. Its all true! So don’t let it happen to you. When you say goodbye, say it with an I LOVE YOU and hold on tight! Those hang-ups, grudges, annoyances, none of it matters. I’m so broken right now, yet resolved to be a better PRESENT person. Put the fricken phone down and engage in lively conversation. Plan those lunches. Plan those date nights. Play games and puzzles with your kids. Insist. So many things I wanna do so I’m off to go be a better wife, mother, sister, aunt, friend and neighbor! I hate to share such awful news with you but I hope it serves as a friend-to-friend reminder that life is short – buy the shoes. 

I’m looking forward to sharing the projects and wonderful clients I’ve been working on all year with you next (oh yeah, that day job of mine) as well as my own home updates. Lots of projects went down here these last few months in anticipation of the photo shoot coming out THIS week with Atlanta Magazine Home. I’m beside myself with gratitude from AMH and God for the timing of this magazine feature. I had given Dad a head’s up that it was coming out and he and Mom must have been working angel overtime because I got the COVER! Can you stand it?! We’ll hash that out later too!  

peace and love, 

Jen 

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WE DID IT! Lori’s open house celebration happening this Friday

Its finally here team (all the smiles, all the heart eyes emojis)! Two years in the making and we saved this sweet historic home while honoring the life of an amazing woman and friend who battled Lupus. It hasn’t really hit me yet that its all coming to completion. However, this Friday is the BIG DAY!  

We are hosting an open house at four p.m. in conjunction with our small town high school homecoming game, where graduating classes from the 1960s through 2017, all come home to celebrate reunions with a parade, tailgates, the halftime show and ultimately all end up at the local wine bar til the wee hours of the night. Its super fun and all very “Friday Night Lights” nostalgia. Americana at its best. And we can’t wait to celebrate giving back to our home town with this completely “charmed” renovated home, inside and out, for the community to see.

Outside, we designed and installed a more functional, welcoming exterior porch, a french door for a three-season enclosed porch, new lighting, painted all the trim “Alabaster” by Sherwin Williams, new landscaping. We repaired the stone along the front of the house and painted it white for some modern pop. The new mailbox is from Homegoods, paired with IKEA planters and new address numbers installed on the stair risers (I agonized over where to put the address). However I’m missing an American flag?! Add it to the list for Thursday! 

The garage was completely “charmed” with board and batten trim and huge baseboards along the perimeter of the garage. We painted it our Alabaster white and the sliding garage doors a light gray. The garage had zero electricity and three lights were installed including these favorite “goosenecks” with vintage bulbs that you can see aglow from the main drag through town. 

When I purchased the home, the basement was “finished” however those finished walls were concealing a HUGE problem…a rotting, water-damaged foundation. So before we could tackle any of the fun stuff, we had to have the entire perimeter of the home’s foundation dug out, waterproofed, while demolishing the basement. BUT I couldn’t be more happy with it now!  Its clean as a whistle with painted white walls, sprayed the exposed ceilings black (love this feature) and the floors gray. We installed a sump pump, all new plumbing and it is a fresh, blank slate for so many possibilities now!!! 

Here is our gorgeous living room, if I do say so myself :-))! The sconces are actual exterior lights. Exterior lights and sconces often work wonderfully and are lesser expensive to consider for interior lighting. All new electricity and plumbing was installed inside as well. 

The entire home is original hardwood floors! Some rooms were covered in carpet, some in laminate wood flooring, some in glue-down parquet, but all gone and looking beautiful in a natural sand and stain finish. 

One of the many goals of my charity “charm school” is teaching folks you don’t have to have huge budgets to create a cozy, tasteful home inside OR out. Antique malls, Goodwill, IKEA, Overstock, Homegoods are all amazing resources. In the end its all about the mix. 

These  pillows for example, the ones on the end were $5 on clearance at Target, the floral pillow is actually a Potterybarn king sham I had made into two pillows, because I couldn’t find any black and white floral pillows on line I liked. The center pillow came from the Potterybarn outlet in Michigan. The result is a thoughtful, tasteful mix of patterns and textures, which makes things interesting. 

I created this vignette opposite of the sofa, to show folks, hey this would be a great place for the tv and you could squeeze in seating for two more people if needed, making this one cozy, conversational living space. 

Beautiful Lori! This was taken the summer after high school graduation. We were both working at Lake Erie Metropark, me a lifeguard, Lor in the Wet Shop – great days! Just biding our time, having fun, anticipating our new chapter of college in the Fall. Lor would go on to become a Nurse, me a t.v. news reporter for channel 6 in Lansing. 

This is a sweet little niche,transition space from the front porch entering into the living room that I wanted to highlight. We covered it in grasscloth and painted all the interior doors black. This is a trick I’ve been using for years, and it really adds another layer inside your home, as well as camouflaging dirt and grime that tends to collect on white doors. RETHINK the color of your doors inside your home…you can make them dark, gray, bright colored, whatever floats your boat! If hesitant, maybe just try experimenting with your front door and go from there. 

Off of the living room is a sun room/bonus room/third bedroom or office space…I staged it as an office. 

I just love this space. If you missed the previous post (which I rewrote three times because I was convinced I sounded like a total TOOL LOL), I listed the rug and table from Overstock. The desk light I found for next to nothing at an antique store, art books from Mom’s collection, vintage shoe mold (Mom also hooked me on these), a good-looking fake plant from Homegoods and a napkin holder from IKEA I styled as a letter holder full of vintage Detroit postcards. These are all the little details you can witness first hand when you come for the tour on Friday! The candelabra came out of a church, from Scott Antique Market and the chair I scored at Lakewood Antique Market. I BREAK FOR ANTIQUES (another assist from Mom). As a kid she dragged me through so many and I HATED IT. “Don’t touch! Don’t touch!” And now look at me. I can barely drive by one without stopping. At one point I had my own booth at the Queen of Hearts Antiques Market and made amazing finds and friendships from it. 

This is an old Ballard Design mirror I’ve had forever, and those birch covered vases I found at Scottsdale Farms, here in Alpharetta. A beautiful place. I usually go there on Mother’s Day and treat myself to a peony bush or something to love and commemorate my Mama in heaven with. We drilled holes in them and hung them on the wall to make this vision that you can see from the street. Easy peasy! 

Just outside of the office wall is this vintage French newspaper print – afavorite! Scored this at Motor City Antiques. The next house I renovate/charm in Flat Rock, I’m contemplating challenging myself to style the entire interior STRICTLY from  thrift store and antique finds. I think it would make for an inspiriting, unexpected mix.  

Moving into the dining room. I just LOVE how this turned out in here you all!! It feels very “sit, sip and stay awhile” to me. The ceiling had some funky, 1990s paintable wallpaper that looked like it should have been in the kitchen somewhere, so we covered it with grasscloth. Again the texture and the layers team. 

The light I found on Overstock for under $300, the drapes too, the table and end chairs are IKEA, all under $400 and the side chairs are classic metal Pouchard you can find virtually everywhere now for great price. I took two $14.99 faux sheepskins from IKEA and cut them up to place on top of chairs for some softness and that chalet style feel. Again, we furnished this room for minimal investment and a few cans of black spray paint. 

Here is a peek of the new black and white concrete tile floor in kitchen. We widened the door here to flow and open up the kitchen as that’s where everyone always wants to be. I contemplated blowing out all the walls in this first floor, and really opening it up as a studio kind of feel but had to reel myself in. There’s always so much risk involved when blowing out walls…you never know what’s hiding. We already had to reroute hvac because we ripped out the coat closet to make room for the frig in kitchen. 

We installed this IKEA shelf from the built in refrigerator cabinet all the way across to the new appliance garage for easy to reach dishes and glassware. I styled it promptly with one of my favorite still life paintings by MOM. I decided not to install appliances in the home, and include an appliance allowance instead, because you just never know what finish and style a buyer is going to want. 

I splurged on a yard of Pyne Hollyhock from Schumacher for a faux roman shade. This is a great place to splurge on an expensive fabric because typically you only need a yard or two to accomplish this tailored, custom look. Same with pillows! If the fabric is sick expensive but can’t live without, make a pair of pillows on the fronts and welting only. Something soft on the back, for when you want to take a nap on the sofa ;-))) but don’t want to wreck your Mercedes Benz fabric on the front. 

I break for snow scenes and this one I scored at Goodwill for $4! It reminded me of a similar painting Mom did back in the 70s that hung in Grandma’s living room all my life. It now looks awesome in my brother’s house. 

Let’s head upstairs to our two cute bedrooms, with their angled walls, and a brand new full bathroom!

This is the landing, with a new sconce. 

Picking out the lights is the best part!  

I just adore what we did with the master bedroom. We found this room divider and sprayed it black to make a headboard, while providing privacy from the home next door. I found these vintage ticking stripe drapes on line and had my workroom rework them to frame it all just so. 

My contractor was constantly shaking his head and rolling his eyes over my crazy ideas and when I told him I was off to look for sticks, well you can imagine. But I couldn’t find a one?! Not one flipping stick on my tree-lined street. But then like magic, this badass black stick was laying in the front yard the very next day. Perfect for the vase! My friend calls these instances “God winks” and I’m a believer #angelsamongus

My absolute favorite fabric in LIFE is ticking stripe! I would cover an entire room in it if I could. Its absolutely classic and goes with everything. So when I found this chair for $20, I didn’t hesitate to cover it in black and white ticking. It will go with every single thing you pair in the space. 

Tina sat back in the chair and coached me as I properly “splattered” these Target sea urchins all over the wall around this antique dresser. This was another Mom antique gene passed down as we had these dressers all over our home growing up. 

Their little petite shelves are fun to style. I hit the local Hobby Lobby and tried to purchase the best fake flowers and greenery they had to offer throughout the home. 

This children’s room is so sweet to me! I love designing children’s bedrooms and rare when I get a chance. 

The day bed is IKEA and was used as an extra bed in our children’s toy room when they were littles :-(((. The pillows and bedding are all IKEA as well. The rug another Overstock find and the black poof a clearance Target item. Bada bing! 

The tee pee is from Land Of Nod. I used our old stuffed animals and vintage books from Dad’s house for a nostalgic touch. The dresser below belonged to my Grandma and I crackle finished it back in the day when that was hot and I was living with Dad #thenineties. Perfect for this corner. 

Sadly what I don’t have is a good picture of the window treatments in this room. They are two black and white window pane plaid table cloths from Ikea hanging on ring clips and mixed perfectly with our patterns. When all else fails, check out sheets, throws and table cloths as drapery options. 

Lastly the bathroom. With a few hours to spare until catching my flight back to Atlanta, I thought to myself, this room is too plain and needs something. If only I’d had the budget to paper this space in ticking stripe. And then it hit me – what would sharpie drawn lines look like? I grabbed my level and went to town! Cue the contractor and his rolling eyes. I was completely satisfied with how it turned out pictured here! Faux sharpie shiplap was born.  

Pat installed the baseboard after I left but the sink is Home Depot with marble top and lots of storage, the vintage ladder from Motor City Antiques functions as a towel bar, artwork Homegoods, wire basket Meijer, buffalo check towels PB outlet, round mirror Target and the roman shade is fully functional with $13 of plaid fabric from Joannes. 

Now that we are nearing completion and doing our last minute party prep for this weekend (windows all getting washed tomorrow, new landscaping and sod going in this week ) I simply DO NOT HAVE THE WORDS. So satisfied with what we have accomplished. I love this town. I had the most charmed childhood here (which lead me to the naming of my charity “charm school”) and want to give back and do everything I can to preserve and enhance all its small-town character. Add in the Lori factor, being able to honor her life in such a grand and fashionable way, while raising awareness of her condition that affects 1.5 million Americans, it is a dream come true.

Once Lori’s House sells, I will be taking the time to officially launch Charm School, with its very own logo and information page found on my website. I will be in conversation with my local government in Flat Rock on how to promote it and make available to all residents interested in beautifying their home’s exterior and improving the curb appeal.  As my friend Jilly  from the South said to me once while visiting Flat Rock…”you’ve gotta save all these homes, they are like little jewel boxes waiting to be discovered!” Lori’s house was a beautiful and extremely special start!  See you all Friday!!!!

Loads of love and hugs,  

Jenny from the charming rock. 

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design camp: updates from Lori’s House

Happy summer time friends (don’t let it end, don’t let it end!!!)! It sorta ended for us in early August when they start school here in Georgia- eye roll- such a bummer. But we made the best of our time and I for one felt like I went away to design camp because I worked away on several projects throughout the Midwest all summer long.  Loris House was at the top of the list, getting creative, stretchin budgets, preparing her to celebrate and sell. We got started on the Port Awesome Austin space with refinished floors and paint.  Sprinkled in some updates at Dad’s house with new wallpaper in the bathroom and freshly painted kitchen cabinets and wainscoting. Then took a weekend and drove over to Chicago with my best friends to check on her beautiful home in the Lakeview area we are spicing up for our college Christmas party deadine.  

Let’s start with Lori’s house! It was ON. If I ran up and down those stairs less than 1,000 times I’d be shocked. I promised myself a spa day, and for once, followed through! All the hard work aside, IT WAS REALLY FUN. Seeing everyone’s excitement was priceless, even Dad, who doesn’t get excited much…”I can’t wait to show my friends… I think I might like to hang out here after you leave” :-))))  Super huge thank you to friends and family that came and pitched in. And making new friends with all the good people who worked on the home. I have tons of great referrals if you need.  I’m actually headed home this weekend, packing the remaining window treatments and pillows in my suit case to install the finishing touches and clean for the big party/open house Homecoming weekend. YOU ALL ARE INVITED! The home will be open at 4 p.m. Friday, September 29th for tours and celebration so come on by!

Heres some update photos…the first two big ticket items were having all the hardwoods refinished -such a difference! Everyone was pleased and now Dad wants his refreshed. ūüėČ  The IKEA kitchen was installed HUGE (I could not sleep. I was literally having Christmas morning flashbacks in my childhood bedroom). Allow me to quickly hype the Traemand installation team that handled this. SO EASY and awesome to work with. Checked with me first on every single detail. Really great! 

Here is a great shot of the floors and the living room almost all styled up for the big show. Sadly my guy Pat who “does it all” was working on a second story addition while I was home and couldn’t make it to install my lights prior to leaving. But I can’t complain. We all gotta eat ;-)). Will share this weekend. The sofa is IKEA, best deal in town, the chairs were given to me by a great friend and I sprayed them black and had the cushions recovered in a gray and white herringbone. The trunk I’ve had, end tables and abstract artwork are Homegoods and the rest is IKEA (hide, blankets, pillows) and a few accents I’ve picked up around town at antique malls. The buffalo drapes are custom silk from Robert Allen showroom in Atlanta. Splurge. Every room deserves one. 

This table needs some styling and possibly a bench or stool in front of it, but I scored the console on Overstock, lamp from Homegoods, Horse photo through my design biz and that garden obelisk I had in my garage for years from Ballard Designs. I’ve always loved the obelisk, structural nature of it and knew it would come in handy someday. 

A shot of the black and white kitchen cabinets freshly installed. Here is what it use to look like – completely dysfunctional. 

For starters there was a coat closet from the living room on your right- now gone. And a closet in the far corner that wasn’t accessible with appliances in the way, and that weird little alcove, that maybe was for the ice box back in the day??? 

The refrigerator now sits where the coat closet was and I filled the alcove with this pantry cabinet. the tallest one they made to maximize storage. 

Installed a blind corner cabinet into the closet, perfect for pots and pans, and ran the laminate countertop all the way to the back of the closet to function as an appliance garage and provide more counter space. Its now the little kitchen that could with much more usable space and storage. Very exciting! 

Shot of the patterned tile in progress. SHAZAM! I love these guys. Every room needs a star! After the cabinets went in I thought we really need to spice it up in here, needed some wow. The tile guy was very suspect of the tile at first then called right after this pic to tell me he thinks I should be on the RHOA show designing homes. So now you like the tile??? ;-)) We had a good laugh. 

I splurged on a yard of Pyne Hollyhock patterned fabric from Schumacher for a faux roman shade over the kitchen window sink, that I sure hope fits in my suitcase. I added this long linear exposed shelf above the stove for easy to reach dishes and more storage, while keeping the small space feeling open. I stood in there trying to get a feel of what it would be like to cook and entertain and it passes the test! It really helped we widened the door entering into the dining room too. 

The dining room’s splurge was adding Schumacher’s Onna Sisal to the ceiling and some POW patterned drapes I found on Overstock. Its not easy finding 95 inch long affordable drapes that look good and if I’m being super picky, I’d add another pair to the big window to look more full. Just saying. I installed all the drapes myself?! 

We painted all the interior window sashes black for the big modern farmhouse feel. Another great shot of the floors! The table was a clearance item at IKEA for $149 and the chairs I brought from home. I also have two upholstered end chairs from IKEA that were still in boxes at time of pic. I picked up the plant stand from The Motor City Antique Mall (my favorite place!!!) and sprayed it black. It was $30 and loved the lines. Opposite the plant stand is an oversize mirror to reflect light, the view of the backyard and make small spaces appear larger. It was a Kirklands find. It takes a village to style a house! 

In the front of the house, is this sweet little bonus room space with two walls of windows. It might be my fave. But that’s the hard part with a old home full of character traits, its hard to pick a favorite! I staged it as an office and brought the peacock chair from Atlanta, the desk is actually a “dining table” I found on Overstock, along with the rug (really love and needs to be on repeat) and the drapes IKEA. Ikea wins again. Hit it three times in two weeks.  

We added this black paint detail to the bannister, love the gothic inlay of the wood and I wanted you to notice how pretty it is. It worked. Everyone says I never noticed this before??? :-)))) 

On the landing is a new sconce that will illuminate the art work and the mirror was purchased by my MOM over thirty years ago!!!! NICE EYE MOM! Its staying in the fam. Dad pulled it out of the garage one random day. I’m like geez Dad what else you got stashed up there from Mom? 

Oh wait! Before we go upstairs, maybe my favorite part of the whole  house (this and the “closet that goes to nowhere” I’ll share with you) is this little niche by the front door where we put the sisal from the dining room ceiling. And they couldn’t get the parquet flooring that was in this tiny little space up off the floor (I don’t think they tried hard enough and I’m too nice) so it too will have the pattered black and white tile from the kitchen. One of my biggest hang ups when designing a small home is I want all the spaces to flow, feel cohesive and have one detail that relates from one room to the next.  OCD much? 

Upstairs is a new full bathroom and two bedrooms. I’m digging the mix of finishes in the bath! That was fun to experiment with. Found it all at the Woodhaven Lowes. They gave me great service getting it all ordered and loaded into big poppy’s trunk.  Found a cute black and gray plaid fabric at Joannes’ for $13 bucks -out the door!- to make a roman shade in here. In the suitcase. 

I staged the smaller of the bedrooms to be for the imaginary littles that might sleep here and borrowed some of our old books, pound puppies and “furskin” bears from dad’s attic. 

I adore the windows in this space!!! I hope the new owners don’t change them for some lame vinyl sliders. Bum deal if they do! If anything, maybe some energy efficient cape cod style window panes (can you imagine this home shingle-sided wow). Just not the cheap white vinyl sliders some window salesperson wants to talk you into. The whole point is to try and maintain the integrity of the architecture at the time it was built. I’d love to try and dig up old pics of this place. I feel like at one point during my childhood it was light blue, but I could be wrong. 

And the master bedroom. I took an old rattan room divider and painted it black to make a headboard and focal point for the room. Then hunted down some black and white scalloped window treatments on line that I’m having made to frame the headboard. Found the room divider at Motor City Antiques (can’t wait to see you again this weekend!) I think it was maybe $50 bucks and shazam a headboard is born! Saw the idea in last month’s Coastal Living, what a fun and easy look. A beautiful vintage crystal chandelier is going up along with a pair of gingham black and white euro shams from the new Miles Redd’s collection for Ballard Design. I’m sorry I don’t have a better picture of the cute as pie arm chair I found for $20 and had recovered in ticking. I’m having the home professionally photographed in September, so we have that to look forward to! 

This dresser I found and fell in love with at the Queen of Hearts in Alpharetta years ago however it actually came out of a Detroit Bed and Breakfast SO I brought it back home. EVERYONE loved this dresser. I wish I could explain the finish. Its really unique. And look, there’s a glimpse of the light too. Lighting is everything.

Well that about covers the inside for now. Here’s a shot of the front door styled. I ordered a bigger lantern for out here. Felt like we needed bigger. I’ll repurpose this guy elsewhere. I’ve used this light in the past and painted it red for a bathroom. I have dreams to paint a patterned gray and white diamond floor here on the new porch, its so dirty already, but there is that time thing. Maybe some stripes to cover up that dirt? 

This little eyesore got repaired by a former classmate I found on Facebook to hire. I love Facebook for stuff like that! 

 

He did an AMAZING JOB!!!! And then I doubled down and painted it white so it would pop from the street. 

If anyone in Southeast Michigan needs stonework done, I will gladly put you in touch with Mike. He did an amazing job!! He’s cursed with the perfectionist gene. Wanted to make sure he got everything just right. Thank you so much Mike! And thank you to all the amazing contractors I’ve met from the Downriver area. They were all so supportive, wonderful to work with and we all agree, we are going to miss this place!! And wait for it, are you ready for this last piece to the puzzle. “The Dirty Hoe” Landscaping company out of Trenton, yes you read that right, will be installing this in the backyard. And yes I totally hired them because of the name. And she’s awesome! And super busy because no one ever forgets the name ;-)). I was driving past their trunk last Summer and laughed out loud. Gotta love people with a great sense of humor. Everybody’s so heavy all the time #lightenupfrancis 

Lori’s house is the birth/coming out party for my charm school movement in my hometown. I’m hoping to get the word out to folks that if you are looking to invest a few or several thousand dollars on exterior improvements, call me, and I’ll make it look like you spent ten times your money (and your home values go up which is real money in your pocket).  You think your home looks like everyone else’s on the block, no problem, we can change all that with a few key color choices and well-appointed upgrades (no plastic flower baskets, badly-executed enclosed front porches, or more than one yard ornament allowed, you hear me?!;-)). Do not underestimate the power of curb appeal, what it does for your investment, your attitude and your town’s overall character and appeal. There are so many stellar homes, small homes, loaded up with character that you simply cannot buy anymore, like Lori’s house. This home will be available for sale at the end of September and would you believe that Lori’s Mom, Kathy, is considering buying and living it?! What a great story that would be! She can save it and give it to Kennedy someday, Lori’s daughter. The last time I saw Lori, on her 40th birthday years ago, she asked me to design her bedroom the next time I was home.  She was in a lot of pain from lupus and was having to spend a lot of time in her bed so we wanted to make it really nice and comfortable for her. We never had the chance :-(((( Lori passed away a few weeks later and I decided I was going to design her a WHOLE DAMN HOUSE instead #suckitlupus. We started a memorial scholarship and are raising awareness for Lupus throughout this whole tour. We’re going to celebrate Lori and then its on to the next friends charm school house! And we can ask them to pick a charity they want to raise awareness for. Three prong: give back and help beautify your community, honor a friendship and raise awareness and money for a good cause. I think we are onto something :-))). 

“I’m going to make everything around me beautiful – that will be my life” – Elsie de Wolfe

Alright, love you friends! Thanks for being around, following us on this journey and your support! I run into people here in the ATL, three states aways, Mike too, and they all wanna talk about Lori’s House. Its been really sweet! I’m beyond GRATEFUL and am sure going to miss this place. Time to set our sights on another one. Never thought my crazy “I’m going to buy and flip houses in my hometown because I know em all, know their potential and I wanna name them after my friends – you in?” idea would come to fruition. I assumed after the kids were gone maybe or when I retire. Its been a fun surprise and I grossly underestimated the friends and family aspect and how much time we would spend together – the best part! Its been a total team effort by everyone on the block and its all in the name of love and family. So don’t second guess or wait around on your great ideas. So much more good will come from it that you never saw coming. 

Speaking of family, Summer is when we see each other most and today is my big brother’s birthday and I want to wish him the BEST DAY and how we all wish we could see you more Uncle Jimmy! 

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what’s happening

Oh Lawd, what hasn’t happened since we last talked? Laughed all the way through High Point with three of my favorite people, toured two amazing show homes, one in Atlanta, one in NYC.  Had a wonderful opportunity to tour Schumacher’s headquarters annnnd bought another house. Yeah. I needed that like a hole in the head. More on that in a few.

First the here and now. We are “smitten in the mitten” for the Summer, our happy place. However, I’ve been working non-stop getting ready for the big reveal of Lori’s House (cue the club music, whoop whoop) and haven’t had a lot of time to see the sights. It all  goes by so fast every year?! WTH. 

But boy have we’ve come a long way baby over at Lor’s.  All the tile has been installed in the bathroom. Fist bump.

 

ALL THE PAINT! Walls and trim Swiss Coffee by Ben Moore and all interior doors were painted black. High five.  

And the kitchen has been installed. YASSS. A before to refresh your memory…

We packed as much storage into this little kitchen that could. This blind corner cabinet came in huge, maximizing that random odd little closet tucked under the stairs. 

Originally I was going to use that same pebble tile from the shower in here, but now I’m thinking a black and white patterned tile for some wow. 

I’ve been frantically ordering stuff online to round out lighting,  fill in the furniture gaps and complete the design plans for each room and Overstock is coming through! 

this dining room light 

 

This rustic console for the living room

This rug

And this small dining table I’ll be staging as a desk in the “sun room” with a large peacock chair we hauled home.

I say we because the hubs get the hubby of the year award working a half day and driving a big ole Penske truck, my “moving antique store” he coined it, all the way to the Rock arriving at 3 a.m. safely (prayer hands).  And then woke up at 7.30 to drive an hour away to see the chickens perform in their last day of basketball camp. GO DAD. 

In summary, Lor’s house is gettin GOOD team. Good times are upon us. 

And I could be all easy breezy, taking the kids to Cedar Point or the DIA but no, I go and buy a place in Port Austin that I really had no intention of doing…that needed some work…more contractors to call and text. But that’s what makes life interesting. If it doesn’t kill you… 

You may recall an old post of me all gaga over my sister’s new place “up north” and how charming and idyliic the Fourth of July holiday was there. And one night, I don’t even remember why, I was looking on Zillow when a place popped up right around the corner from Jackie’s house. I asked Mike, he signed on and here we are! Hubby comes through again! 

Here are a couple of the befores and we move in this weekend! Friday I’ll get to see the new paint, cabinet doors back on and painted, new hardwoods and new carpet upstairs. We lucked out and had hardwood hiding on the first floor. I’ll be sure to post more to my Instagram this weekend! 

I’m painting it BLACK on the outside and can barely stand it, I’m so excited. I’m especially excited to see it in the winter covered in snow, that stark contrast.

(photo credit HERE) 

I’d love to say I’m going to do a special post on High Point or the show houses but we all know that won’t happen so let’s touch on a few highlights now. While at High Point, we were going back and forth with the sellers of Port Austin, so it was all fresh and new on my mind. And walking into this section of Ralph Lauren set my world on fire and I decided then and there is going to be “the look”…lots of neutral, dune, shimmer, gold, leather, navaho, fur, cozy, crusty kind of stuff…

I made some purchases for clients (and maybe myself ;-)). 

And some highlights, take-a-ways, inspiration like this color combo of light blue and red – LOVE. 

Love the idea of covering a pair of chairs in an oversized pattern like this. 

I love the idea of using Kelly Wearstler’s graffito pattern on a long bolster pillow like this…

The Eloquence showroom had some vicious styling…

And the new Windsor Smith collection, swoon, for Century Furniture was bad to the bone. She was a sweetie to meet and gave me a big ole hug without hesitation. Not one of those little pat pat on the back, I really don’t want to be hugging you right now kind of  hugs. LOL. I love huggers. I love that fact that when my son hugs me, he never lets go. He’ll hug forever, I’ve tested it. ;-)) 

(that’s my baby girl Lori May in the mirror with me. I’m not kidding when I tell you I laughed out loud for days after market was over. Can’t wait for October. It was the Sherry, Erika, Lori show and Sherry did a great post highlighting the weekend HERE). 

The Southeastern Showhouse last Spring was out of this world, if you ask me. Just when you think you’ve seen the best showhouse of all, nope. And at this point in life and career, many of my friends are designing these gorgeous spaces, making it extra special. 

 My friend Lauren is like the kitchen design extraordinaire.

Her powder blue kitchen was all heaven and puffy clouds.

 

Love me some Cate and Lathem! This Schumacher wallpaper was everything in their space. 

You would think my sweet soul sister Anna has been designing spaces WELL beyond her years. They are so sophisticated! 

And the QUEEN Phoebe Howard! The home was a masterpiece. 

In May I piggy-backed on a biz trip the hubs was taking to New York and did some Mother’s Day, hey its my birthday shopping, toured Schumacher’s headquarters and got a sneak peek of all the beautiful things to come (think gorgeous oversized appliqu√©s!!) and visited my first Kips Bay Designer Showhouse. It was in a beautiful brownstone in the Upper East Side and interesting to see a showhouse outside of the South (and how the rich and famous live LOL). Super cool couple of days. Like everything in the big apple, the showhouse was over the top!!! 

But my favorite space was a designer from the South, Susan Ferrier, who’s work I so admire and have coveted forever it seems. Back to the days of Southern Accents. She’s one of the BEST in my book. 

I’ll leave with you this sweet and pretty door knocker I spotted just down the street from the showhouse. 

It was great to finally catch up! I have the best intentions every season of slowing my work load down and allowing more time to blog and take care of business stuff (website, contracts, software, etc.) because I really enjoy connecting with you all. Not everyone is on social media for the day to day and a blog is a place where people have to make a point to come and visit. That’s quite an honor and a compliment and I want to make sure I give it its due. So thank you for being here today! I hope you found lots of pretties and continue to be inspired by all things beautiful. 

Have a great night! 

Jenny from the rock

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Storybook by the sea and the beautiful talent of White Bungalow Interiors

Family!!! How are you?! I’m so excited to be sharing these beautiful images from our trip to the beach last month. With Spring raining down on us (literally via yellow pollen dust here in the ATL) these sweet little architectural details may get you thinking about easy updates to add charm and character to your home. I know I was taking frantic notes in my phone for Lori’s House that will be completed this Summer! 

Let’s start in Watersound Beach, a beautifully planned community along scenic Highway 30A. Of all the times I’ve been to the beach (we owned a condo there), I really had never walked through it much. What a treat to stumble into this neighborhood on my morning runs. Gave me the mojo to keep going, again and again. 

First up, this symmetrical beauty. Notice the mix of finishes, siding with shingle, the varying trim colors, and all the bracket details. Love the fence! 

Mack daddy brackets on this garage overhang….luuuuuv. 

 

How fun is this?! Probably my favorite of this walk through. 

Gorgeous trellis on the front of this house. This can add so much character and dimension to a home that may be flat across the front (a lot of ranches come to mind) or may have a simple stoop outside their front door that could use some dressing up. 

A lot of folks store their garbage cans along the side of their garage or house, super simple update to camouflage  the facts of life. 

Even simpler, this trellis to fill some negative space on your home. 

Maybe an entire perimeter fence is too much to tackle, how bout a stylish gate anchored by two American boxwoods like this little number. Love this pattern! You can get so creative with gate and porch pickets when you put your mind to it (or by the time you read this post).  

And now for just some drop dead beautiful CLASSIC homes. In the world of jamming in as many generic neighborhoods as the county will allow, its comforting to know neighborhoods like these are saving American architecture! 

I would get SUPER lucky and stumble into this open house that took my breath away! Every design lover reading will agree when you see these gorgeous interiors designed by White Bungalow Interiors. I walked around with heart eyes touching and studying every single detail, FULLY appreciating the work and thought that went into all of it! 

Let’s start with the foyer – you had me at HELLO! One of my all time favorite chandeliers from OLY. The whole home was packed with gorgeous Schumacher fabrics and swanky OLY pieces. 

First bedroom to the right DANG! 

LOVE LOVE LOVE the green!!!!! Its so unexpected! And a favorite rug pattern (why don’t I have this rug in my house???). I’m dying to use this luscious damask like tomorrow. 

Right about now, I’m thinking this is the best day ever… 

I love a good bust (and crust) and this one with oyster shells YES. 

Another fabulous OLY light fixture and just the best well-appointed artwork and accessories…it doesn’t take much team! 

More gorgeous green in the mudroom…I LOVE this space! 

Let’s head upstairs! I covet these Morris lanterns from Visual Comfort and am hopeful I can squeeze this size into Lori’s Kitchen. BTW, I’ve changed her kitchen plan to all white cabinets, black hardware and wood exposed shelves with chrome lighting. More of a classic look but more on that later. 

Another gorgeous, cozy bedroom! 

Let’s deconstruct this perfect bedding ensemble…quilted coverlet, linen duvet with matching duvet shams, throw in some classic ticking stripe and patterned bolster and we have a WINNER folks. 

A close up LOVE of these herbariums in modern acrylic frames. 

I want this chair!!! I wanted to hoist if over my back and run :-)))) Just messin Jesus. 

And now for the master bedroom…can you say JUJU! Again notice the bedding ensemble, slightly different but overall same concept. No lose. 

A close up of the bedside tables: so sweet. 

 A custom bunk room rounds out the bedrooms on this floor. 

I love this river rock tile! LOVE IT. I love when people use it in unexpected spaces other than baths. Lowe’s carries a similar one that is flat, slightly easier on the feet, that I’m putting in Lori’s House bathroom and kitchen (I’m super excited to see it in the kitchen). Its a small galley kitchen so why not trick it out right?

And rounding out the third floor is another custom bunk room. I can’t help but think of the fun kids will have up here – PILLOW FIGHT (but stay away from the windows #mombrain). 

All of the finishes, the lighting, just an absolute HOME RUN by White Bungalow Interiors. What a talent and kind soul she is! I was going to link to the listing of the home, but by the end of the week, the home was already under contract. Party! 

And then there is the sexy and stylish Alys Beach…

more gate and fence inspiration…

This exterior staircase was leading up from the second to third floor. It was so cool and designed by the uber talented Jeff Dungan 

Well its Monday and I’m officially in the weeds with just over six weeks until I leave for Summer sabbatical in Michigan. I spent the weekend cleaning and organizing my home (holy Spring purge) and have an entire garage bay full of furniture and accessories ready to take up north to style and furnish Lori’s House and maybe one more project up my sleeve, fingers crossed. Much more to come from the gorgeous Southeastern Showhouse to my favorite trends and visions from High Point to whatever I find this week in NYC. But first, upgrading my phone today so I can take better pictures here for you all. The camera on the seven plus is sick! 

Have a great week you all! Hope this gives you some motivation to dream, design, diy your charming exterior just in time for Summer loving! 

talk soon, 

Jen

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happy days

I’m a terrible friend. No matter how hard I try to sit down and blog, something breaks. Well not today! Who needs some love??? Because we have a lot of love to give today. Let’s start with my favorite charity that I’m involved in, Dwell With Dignity

We did an install just prior to Thanksgiving last year for a sweet mother of two. All three were previously homeless and there aren’t enough words in the English language to describe the amazing ride it is to be right there, on the front lines, making a difference for folks who truly NEED OUR HELP. Pile on all the love and support from our social network of friends (you blast “we need help” out to Facebook and they answer the call!) and you’re wishing you could do this everyday. 

Take a look at the before and after pictures of their two bedroom government-assisted apartment (where our country gets it right for those that need it). I was honored to be asked to design the living, dining and kitchen spaces. I had participated with Room Service Atlanta in the past and knew whatever the task, it was going to be a beautiful week. Taking a week off to so the Lord’s work is the best (and free) therapy out there my friends. If you can swing it, do it. It prompted all these rainbow and unicorn ideas, like why don’t we, as a country, make it part of our culture to take a week or two off work, excused, to help others? Make it cool. I happen to think its already cool, but you know what I mean.  

I received SO MUCH help from my friends to paint these walls! And what a difference it made in the kitchen and dining spaces. 

Two of the sweetest faces you’ll ever meet.  Is there anything cuter than a child in footy pajamas? I think not! 

My friends of Gordon Dunning made these sweet babies a MAGICAL place! You need to click on their link and meet them. I adore them! I feel like a little mama bear, or middle-aged Auntie when I’m around them. So proud of their spunk and go-after-it outlook on life. I remember “they” saying my generation, the X gen was a bunch of slackers “and the one after them worse.” Well I’ve met Y and Z and I beg to differ ;-))) we are in good hands. 

melt me. 

Brook and Canaan created Mama a sanctuary! Another dynamic duo of love and goodness. I’m blessed to have spent the week hanging out with them. We had a ball! And they came through in the clutch if you needed it! 

The Container Store, a big awesome sponsor, donates elfa closet systems for each new install and Ashley Home Furniture a sofa. Both the refrigerator, freezer and pantry are PACKED with healthy groceries for a growing family and a local chef cooks the family’s favorite meal, hot and ready, on their first night in their new space. It’s an incredible and loving organization. The big reveals are a day you’ll never forget. We asked Rosie what her favorite color was…”I’m not sure, no one has ever asked me that.” I also learned when she was growing up, she wanted to be a police officer. I told her now’s the time! She currently is a full-time cook for Chik-fil-A which offers support, second-chances and a million other amazing things for our community. 

One more thing they provide is a professional photography session for the family and all the prints are framed and placed throughout the home, like this WINNER below. All these photos were taken by Thomas S. England at englandphoto.com. Awesome. 

Dwell With Dignity hopes to achieve another dozen installs this year in the city of Atlanta. Wooooo hoooooo!!! Please consider adding them to your list of charitable contributions this year. The positive results from these living spaces is astronomical and proven! Better grades, better jobs, family gatherings, birthday parties, the list is endless. 

Next up, a new feature Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles started running, in replacement of their “Ten Under 40”. Its called “Young Guns” and you’ll never guess who March was. Best part was Mom being mentioned and her photo making the cut. Tons of gratitude for the Editor and the sweet gal who wrote the feature. Banner day for sure. 

 

Big lesson here is, I can remember turning 40 and thinking, well there goes that dream. Moving on. Exactly why we listen to Journey and don’t stop believing! We truly do not know the surprises and the POTENTIAL each new day may bring. Remember that on those days when the world is knocking yo a__ down – WE ALL HAVE THEM. 

One more happy to report…

If you go to Schumacher’s website you might spot this.  Still processing. Never in a million years. 

That’s all the news to report. However, I am heading home this weekend to work on Lori’s house and see the fam!  Its all going down this Summer team! My goal is to have it all renovated, styled and staged for a THROW DOWN #downloadubernow

Can’t wait for you all to see it! Stop by anytime this Summer if it looks like we are working…I’ve got a lot of furniture to transform so I’ll be out there painting away. The home’s palette is black, white, gray and camel. Farmhouse with a twist. The kitchen will have antique brass hardware and be a little bit more zip pity do da than the rest of the cottage style home.  I’m going to cry when it sells -shocker. But then I’ll set my sights on the next 1930s fixer upper. My favorite era of home building. My dream is to go around my hometown, selecting cottage-sized homes and make them fairy-tale charming.

I wanna find a little cape cod dumpling and paint it deep deep charcoal, almost black, with white trim, flower boxes and a pale pink door. ;-)))) 

 

And they’ll all have names, the best part! And I love styling the outside of the home too…its highly underrated in my town and I’d like to educate and change all that. You never know, there may be a lot of undiscovered decorators that just needed a little pinch in the right direction. 

“The meaning of life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away” – Pablo Picasso 

Cheers to the weekend!!! And I’m so happy to have the time today to catch up with you all! Thank you, as always, for stopping by the road! Happy trails! 

jenny from the rock 

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Happy New Year: A look back at 2016

Happy New Year friends!!! I hope your holidays were EVERYTHING. We’re cruising down memory lane today on the road. Let me start by saying thank you for all your support and KINDNESS this last year. It never gets old chatting with you all and still makes me smile thinking I started this blog many years ago as a way to honor Mom and our hometown her family founded. 

Let’s start with a sprinkling of the projects we worked on (and the awesome human beings living inside them!). I lucked out again with my clients this year! They were all so good to me. 

 

 

These wonderful things happened and completely blew me away. I was invited to join the Southern Living/Coastal Living/Sunset Magazine Designer Network and see my name listed here among so many designers I love and admire! Get outta town! 

My showhouse kitchen was featured in the 50th Anniversary Issue. Get outta town! 

Jezebel featured me in their design issue with these greats…

I literally did get outta town a bit this year, which is always good for the design mind and eyes. 

Napa Valley with the Hubs and laid eyes on one of my FAVORITE designers, Erin Martin, and her bad to the bone showroom in adorable downtown Saint Helena. 

Left my heart in Santa Fe…

Made memories with my Spartan gals in Scottsdale…

Touched down in London town on my birthday! That was pretty rad and probably the topper. I want to blog about this trip with you all. The Connaught, Sketch, Bob Bob Ricard, Portobello Road Flea Market, tons to see and talk about.  

Liberty of London Department Store. 

And took an amazing family trip to Chicago for Labor Day weekend, one of our favorite vacations yet. I forgot how much I love that town and to see it through your children’s eyes, even better. Ever since moving South, its no longer a four hour drive from the mitten for a long weekend, like it was growing up. 

I bought a fixer upper on my childhood street, named it after my best friend in heaven, Lori, and started a charity called CHARM SCHOOL that will take greater shape in 2017. 

It will be styled  and completed this Summer and we are throwing a BIG party to honor Lori before we put the home on the market and move on to making another awesome turn-of-the-century home pretty, until all the forgotten homes are pretty and I’ve named them all after friends and family. And the ones I cannot buy, I will help redesign for charming curb appeal and increased home values. This is the goal of Charm School. Helping folks realize the potential of their homes and making minor (or major) exterior upgrades to achieve it. 

Because of the renovations taking place at Lori’s House, I made it home to see Mom’s Dogwood in full bloom in May. There’s something so symbolic and comforting to see all the pretty things Mom planted reappear year after year. Its like a part of her lives on that you can still see and touch.  

This is still my favorite house :-))) It was a cozy box of delight growing up. 

Spent the usual glorious Summer in Michigan and would end up breaking down YOU ALL in Richmond, Kentucky (the kindest town) with ALL THIS STUFF in my truck…can you imagine?! I was like “I swear I’m not a hoarder! It’s my job”. That’s quite a story. A day and half, Rip and I took residence at the Red Roof Inn and made the best of it. 

I would return home again in September for the most magnificent weather weekend to celebrate our class’s 25th reunion at the annual Homecoming game. This was also my Sister’s 30th reunion, which doubled the fun. I got to see allll my big sisters. It was such a chicken soup for the soul weekend that for days following, when anyone asked me how my weekend was, I’d literally choke up like the true sap I am. It was absolutely PERFECT.

(How cute is my Dad in an original Gulf trucker hat) 

I went to the same High School as my parents. We are very small town here ūüėČ I met a lady in the stands, also having their reunion (like I say it was quite the celebration weekend) who dated my Uncle Tommy. Uncle Tommy is Mom’s brother who passed away tragically in a motorcycle accident before I was born. She told me what a special brother, sister bond my Mom and Uncle Tommy had. How incredibly talented he was, the beautiful letters he wrote her, how well regarded Mom and her siblings were. It was wonderful to have heard all this by sheer chance and made an already special weekend, that much more. 

In November all the Spartan roomies trekked it down to the ATL for our annual Christmas party we’ve been having since college. You know how those girls weekends go! Perma grin for days. We do secret santas, stocking stuffers and donate to a charity of the hostesses choice. I chose Dwell With Dignity

I was honored to design a space for Dwell With Dignity in November and another for The Orphan Foundation the following week. I wanna share more pictures with you from these installs and tell you more about these two awesome foundations in a later post but here’s a peek of the dining space for DWD and the master bedroom for Orphan Foundation.  

New to our family, we became foster parents for Angels Among Us pet rescue and brought home this little cutie. He added so much fun and excitement to our gang and lucky for us, our good friends adopted him! So we get to love on him all the time. He’s such a nugget and has the BEST name…Swizzle. Rip and Swizzz were best buds for two weeks of fun. 

For years, I’ve wanted to have our home photographed, all gussied up for the holidays, and finally made it happen this year! 

Managed a family photo session and sent out a card for the first time in three years.  Ugh, had no idea my family would be so opinionated about which photo to use. I almost bagged it. 

And lastly, we sold our condo on 30A in Santa Rosa Beach and spent our last time there together over holiday break. At ages 13 and 11, its so nice to have your kids all to yourself for three days. 

The end of an era! That condo was very good to us and my career. It was one of my first renovation opportunities to showcase my design eye and was well-received because the before and afters were pretty incredible and EVERYONE loves before and after posts.

Joni at Cote de Texas, my favorite blogger, would run a story on her blog and that was a very special day for me. One I will never forget. The kindness of the comments from Joni and the readers made me cry. Shocker. ;-)) 

What a year. No wonder I’m so tired. I think I’ll take 2017 off. Hah! I wish! Would you believe my project roster is already booked for 2017. I have plenty to plan and install until Fall and may re-evaluate at that time, but doubtful with Fall being such a busy time. People don’t realize how long it takes to implement a space and when they ask you to do the whole house, well its a six month proposition easy. When I’m not scheming colors and patterns this year, I’ll be streamlining my business, updating website, photographing projects, blogging more, creating a new logo and page for Charm School, already changed  the way I charge for services, condensed my contract and continue to educate myself on the history of design while researching the best and brightest products for my clients. WHEW plenty to do! Thank you for following along on this look back post. It was a great year and I wish the same for you! 

I’ll be back soon with more exciting news for 2017! 

Much love, 

Jen

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Our Holiday Home Tour

What’s shakin bacons? THREE more days ;-)))) The greatest birthday ever is almost HERE. And here we are flying in on two wheels with our holiday home tour. Come on in!

I spent an awesome Sunday afternoon with my yard and clipped all this stuff for the front and back doors. Went all naturale with Mom Nature…

I love a red door. Good feng shui.

My childhood skates…they always hurt like heck, or maybe it was because we were freezing in Michigan.

We put a tree in the foyer this year so you could see it from the front when you pull up. Its artificial and was in the man cave last year. Like most things in our home, it got put on rotation.¬†My faux finisher and I experimented and painted over my grasscloth. Bold! But the color just wasn’t jiving. Tried to be something I’m not and coming full circle back to my neutral ways. In the end I’m really happy with it and its a completely custom finish, done with love. Here here!

I carried these limelight hydrangeas home from the neighborhood white party last Summer and they dried beautifully. I recalled seeing Lisa Luby Ryan’s Christmas tree with fresh hydrangeas in vases¬†in a favorite Veranda spread and thinking how luxurious! Fresh flowers on a tree?!

LIGHTS ON

LIGHTS OFF

(Elf-y had the bright idea to show up, top left, the day of the shoot. And God forbid he moves during the DAY!)

It was interesting to see the lights on, lights off picture difference. I think I prefer lights on. Id wanted to try a flocked tree for years and finally pulled the trigger. This is kinda like Mom’s designer tree. ;-)) Whatever she’s in the mood for this year and neutral wins again. The kids help me with it every year regardless. I may move an ornament here or there when their not looking, wink wink, but the majority of it was all them…and then they get bored…and go find their phones :-(((

I recently acquired this coffee table from Scotts. It was all colorful and I sprayed it black. I’m loving the lines and texture it brings to this space. Probably one of the best pieces of advice I can give you, is to look at the LINES of a piece or object you are contemplating. You can always change the color to fit your theme. Scale is way more important than color. If its the perfect fit, go for it and customize it later.

I had Jen shoot this cozy corner that had only seen that light of my awful iPhone pics since we moved in. I layered up some old gold frames over a leaner mirror and floated a favorite piece of art (both from Scotts) in front of the drapes. I think I’ll bump it up a few inches, the artwork, so you can see it better. Which is why its always a great idea to take pictures of your interiors. You almost always notice a detail you may not have otherwise – blaring! ¬†You’re like how the hell did I not see that?

With new coffee table up here, the old bleached out cypress trunk from High Point, down here, ¬†rotated to the keeping room…I still haven’t gotten this room quite right in my mind. It’s close but my alter “farmhouse style” ego keeps creeping in. Secretly I want a white farmhouse with a red barn so I’m thinking one room in my house can be farmhouse-y to keep the peace.

This room is where we spend the majority of our time, the smallest space in the house, our keeping room, kitchen area. Very telling if you ask me! ;-))) #biggerisnotalwaysbetter. BTW notice the tomatoes in the windows, the kitchen garden was a hit this Summer (see HERE) and I cannot wait for next year! ¬†Especially now that I’ve learned some things. WE were pullin tomatoes out of there til early December. Our first garden, as we NEVER had the sun or space in our old yard to plant one and what a game changer! NO idea a vegetable garden could bring such joy. We were able to plant four little raised boxes (in a small piece of our back yard that was basically a bunch of nothing) and a kitchen garden was born. ¬†You don’t realize how small a space it takes to produce major amounts of food. I just can’t say enough about it. No wonder people LOVE to garden.

Okay I’m happy we talked about that, back to Christmas…the exposed shelves in our kitchen, all decked out for Santa and sugar addicts…

Couldn’t resist this sweet sign to the North Pole from The Queen of Hearts. 1,998 miles thatta way…Santa better haul some a-s-s

Across the hall from the Kitchen is our dining room. When this space was originally designed it was intended to be a dining room/library and the dining table actually creeped out into the main galley way leaving space for a bench or piece of furniture in back. That drove my symmetrical ass nuts so I moved the chandelier back to center and I’m learning to love the built ins and not freak out they are styled with pretty things instead of practical things. ;-))) Let it be.

I mean I do read all the design books so that’s something functional…

In addition to the flocked tree, we got craz-A and tried another new species of tree in the man cave, a Silvertip Fir or as we like to call it, our Charlie Brown tree, chuck full of homemade, vintage, family heirloom, childhood ornaments. All in one breath!

This cross-stitch ornament below is two-sided, and I remember being SO excited about picking your patterns in the fourth grade! I went with the sleigh and a Christmas tree on back. I’ve hung onto it ever since. Rest in peace Miss Angelos. You were an awesome teacher.

Another thing I tried with the family tree was taking the left over “snow” from Mom’s village and make it look like snow on the branches above, because after 18 years in the ATL this Michigan girl is ALWAYS dreaming of a white Christmas…just like the ones I use to know…

 

Sophia and I have started to add some additional Department 56, Dickens Village buildings from antique stores for $7 and $10 a pop. This year we added the bakery ūüėČ ¬†Bonus, she lovvves putting it together every year…which is huge! She gets all excited when the boxes come out and says “its our tradition Mom” and my heart smiled (I’m sure Moms did too).

Speaking of Sophie Sunshine, she decorated her own tree this year in her room with candy colored ornaments. We took perfectly-colored Tiffany boxes and wrapped them in some old school Martha Stewart for Kmart Christmas ribbon. Her Kmart Christmas stuff was the best! I’d drive miles to the nearest Kmart twice a year for her Christmas and Spring stuff. The wreath is also from her Kmart line. Sophia had asked for some pillows and Christmas stuff for her birthday to make her room “cozy for Christmas” (who’s child is this?!) and I was lucky to find the sweet throw draped over her bed from Target to gift her and ratchet up the texture factor. Designer Mom approved. Target’s like the best boyfriend a girl ever had. Never breaking up with Target.

Merry Christmas friends! I hope you enjoyed the tour and have your sweetest, most gratifying, peaceful, perspective holiday yet! The blessings are endless in this great Country of ours and we need to stop and smell them. We made it another year! Think about that. A lot of folks hurting this time of year and no other season lays it on thick like Christmas. So much talk about “movements” this year. Well I’ve gotta movement. Its called kindness. I sprinkle that s*** on everything and it hasn’t let me down yet.¬†¬†Super contagious. Super addicting. Love to all! Be back soon with some more awesome kindness to spread from this year’s charity installs. TIS THE SEASON! Get out there and smile big!

 

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Serious Holiday Inspiration: Home for the Holidays Showhouse

How are you friends?! Once again, its been too long since we last talked. Boo. I’ve been working like a dawg and trying to be all things to all people. I’ve already decided one of my new year’s resolutions is making more time for ME (and my family of course ;-)). I’m helpless lately. I love helping folks find happiness inside their four but bite off more than I can chew. Thank God they have been extremely patient with me this Fall.  Soooo with all this busy bee-ness I started decorating early, like before Thanksgiving early and then hit a WALL. That was until I toured the Atlanta Homes and Lifestyles “Home for the Holidays Showhouse” last Saturday. Hubba. Hubba.

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Lori’s House Update!

Hello friends! I’m just off the plane from Homecoming and our class’s 25th reunion. I cannot begin to express in words what a meaningful and touching weekend it was! I will try at some point, but right now I’m so exhausted from it all. A good, grateful exhausted. But not too tired to rally up this update post on Lori’s House after seeing this weekend’s progress!

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I haven’t been able to share with you all, ALLLLL, the things that transpired after the closing, I will be brief and give you some history but it was daunting and kind of depressing to find out the basement was leaking and needed to be entirely waterproofed. That sure took some wind out of the sails and forced me to reevaluate my expectations while at home last Summer. With the weather so beautiful, I decided focus all energies on getting the outside looking good and worry about the inside when Winter comes.

A day after I arrived, they dug up the entire perimeter of the home. Gone were the front porch steps and we took this wonderful opportunity to create a new, and badly needed, front porch entry. Bring in the X motif! A favorite practice.

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And while we were at it, added a french door (that needs painting) and now the front porch inside, is a legitimate, functioning, added space that can be utilized 75 percent of the year. ¬†And outside there is space to stand, grab your mail, ¬†plant a flower box, etc. Here is a shot of inside before…

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And now with a fresh coat of paint and ceiling porch blue…

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A very traditional, classic black lantern was scored on clearance at Lowes for $32 and will hang in the center and some form of laminate flooring that resembles something like below will be installed. I’m working with our partners at Shaw to see if they make a similar “whitewashed” look that I suggested last Summer at a designer network event. They have wonderful products coming out of Shaw!

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I have an outdoor drapery rod standing by and will have some sort of striped outdoor drapery here by the Christmas season. ;-)))

The garage received some major upgrades, including electricity! There was none. All the rotted wood was replaced, board and batten detail added, new gutters and a fresh coat of paint. Yeah man!

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Eww remember all that junk back there?! So many random pieces of hardscaping, hot tub, rotted door, deck in the middle of nowhere…and the city hauls it all away?! I’m so impressed with the City of Flat Rock’s municipal services thus far, being a new tax payer in town.

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All gone now!

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Lots of folks tried to talk me into replacing the sliding garage doors with automatic. No way. They are one of my favorite details and add so much charm. And there is plenty of space back here to add a third parking space if needed. The Fall colors were on their way!

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I planted two lilac bushes back here last Summer and was happy to see them still alive. Big Poppy was on strict orders to water accordingly. ;-))

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New concrete pads were poured at the garage and back doors. You want a what? A circle? Yes! I wanted it to feel approachable from all angles and still have earth close by to flank the back door with landscaping and climbing vines. The entire home’s trim was painted a fresh coat of “Alabaster” by Sherwin Williams. The doors are “Wyeth Blue” by Ben Moore. Sweet.

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I managed to rip out and transplant a ton of the irises that were planted in the front stone wall. That was no easy task. They were rooted deep. Replaced them all with hydrangeas to bring in more of our color palette of lilac and light blue. Notice my furry friends :-)))) ¬†They hung around all Summer and watched me work. I think its good karma when animals like hanging around your space. I’m convinced they know more than we do. After last night’s debate, I’m sure of it.

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The remaining front and sides were landscaped. I used as much “stay green all winter” varieties as possible as things can get pretty bleak here in the dead of Winter. We need all the green we can get.

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Transplanted a bunch of Mom’s hostas, and will continue to do so, for good luck. Wishing I had one day to plant this past weekend. The weather was perfect for it. I did manage a couple of pumpkins for the front porch. ;-)))) Feel free to carve them for Halloween if anyone’s reading.

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Here is a shot of the kitchen with all cabinets and appliances removed. You can see where the hall closet from the living room jets right into the kitchen making it nearly impossible to place the appliances in a functioning space while trying to successfully utilize the random closet in the corner.

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Here it is last Summer, yikes, getting demolished.

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We widened the opening to the dining room and it made such a difference.

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All the plumbing and electrical was replaced. More not so fun money to spend but completely necessary. ¬†We saved this house. It was rotting away with its leaky foundation and completely out-of-date wiring. And someone is going to fall in love with it and want to live here when we are done. That someone is me! LOL. I wish. But I am absolutely loving this project and all the joy and satisfaction it brings. I already can’t wait to do the next one! BUT simmer down Jen and learn all you can from this one first.

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Here is the kitchen now, ready for the electrical and plumbing inspection this week. They were unable to salvage the wood floors so that leaves us a new option for flooring in here, which is exciting. We like it when we get to pick out the pretty stuff!

The awkward closet is now removed and will act as an appliance garage atop an Ikea blind corner cabinet that will allow us to use the space all the way to the back of the closet, while accessing it from the front. Its so cool. I can’t wait for you all to see it. I’m super pleased with the function and storage this space will provide now. Stay tuned! hehe.

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More good news from the weekend,  Ikea will come out and measure for all your cabinets for $200 and reimburse you when you purchase the kitchen. Winner! Let someone else do the math. I hate that part. 

Other fun updates, Pauly wired for another sconce on other side of the window for symmetry. We lovvve that.

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The upstairs bathroom is ready for phase two as well. We ripped out the shower/tub insert and are going with a custom shower only.

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All shower walls and niche will be white subway tile with darker grout and this pale river rock on the shower floor with warm gray grout. The Y71 tile pictured will be the floors. We used this in a clients beach house and loved it. And I’ve been dying to use some river rock tile forever. There is something so natural, organic and durable about it that I’m contemplating it for the kitchen and back door entry as well. I think it could be cool BUT I’m still sorting out the kitchen in my mind.

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This wall use to consist of the toilet on your left, tucked behind the door, and the sink to your right, facing each other. It was all wrong. Moved them both to the larger wall, side by side, and flip flopped so you stand in front of the sink, where the ceiling is the highest (and sit where it isn’t). What a novel idea. ;-))

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I ordered a gray vanity cabinet with marble top and changed my mind mid-shipping and sent it back already, thinking its not quite the right tone of gray with the tiles selected. I’m hunting down the perfect white, affordable, stylish vanity right now and will let you know if I have any luck. A vanity bar light was purchased from Home Depot’s Hampton Bay line. All very classic, cottage style for wide appeal.

 

So now its onto the fun phase! Interior paint, floors refinished, new kitchen and bath. And I cannot wait to stage and style it all for one big, bad, open house party to celebrate Lori’s life, life in the Rock, life in general. All the joy and blessings this fixer upper journey has provided. So many to talk about! ¬†But another time. I’m still rolling in what a wonderful weekend was had by so many folks back home. There were several different classes, different generations celebrating their reunions and it was great to witness all that. All the proud parents celebrating Homecoming with their kids. Just the most genuine, down-to-earth, pure Michigan peeps everywhere you look. It was priceless! I hope yours was every bit and then some!

Much love and gratitude,

jenny from the rock.

#classof91

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