a september to remember

Hi friends!

I hope this post finds you well and in full FALL swing! Its like Halloween comes and goes, and bam its Christmas in zero to sixty seconds. 

I was definitely in full court press this Fall!  Let’s start with the show homes…yes two with an s (what kinda crazy person…). One here in town with my new business partner and dear friend Lindsey! Our new business officially launched in September ELLE + VREELAND DESIGN HOUSE and I’m stoked to be representing the family name in our new title! Be sure to check out our new website above ;-)))) 

After Dad passed I decided it would be a good time to retreat, rebrand and re-establish my goals. I was very fortunate that when I started this biz, it took off, but I felt like I was always playing catch up, killing myself with long nights of small biz stuff. The perfect time to rebalance and have more time with my kids right? They are growing like weeds?! 

Enter Lindsey, who also ran her own design biz, and was getting back into the swing of things after a heartbreaking house fire. She decided after going on her first consult, after a year hiatus, that she didn’t want to go it alone. We started talking and here we are! Its been almost a year now and couldn’t be more pleased with the FUN we are having and a more balanced work/life load. AMEN. 

We make our alpha dog design egos work in that we both have great client bases, so if it’s her referral, she’s the creative LEAD, has final say and vice versa. What a blessing to have someone to divide and conquer, bounce ideas off and give each other strength! 

Speaking of, we did our best to knock it out of the park with our sweet, feminine bedroom at the Pinewood Forest Idea House and the ever gracious Atlanta Magazine HOME. 

Such a cool and beautiful neighborhood south of the city in Fayetteville, Georgia, across from the Pinewood Studios. We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to showcase our work together as a team, and had the best time with our designer friends! 

And then there was DETROIT, a city with ALLLL the good vibes on the rise! Enter actor Hill Harper (God bless you Hill!!!) and the historic Fisher Mansion he purchased last year and you get a total dream come true for this #madeindetroit girl. 

 

I STILL get goosebumps, and choked up, talking about how this came to be because I daydreamed this day would someday come, where I could return home and give my gifts to a great cause, and it actually happened?!?! 

We were eating and drinking our way through High Point last Spring (I dreaded returning to the scene of the crime when I got word Dad passed – not gonna lie). But he decided to bless me instead and we ran into our friend Lori from Aspire Design Magazine  She casually mentions the show house in Detroit, historic Boston-Edison, Fisher Mansion and the rest is history…

and probably one of the greatest things to happen to me in my career! THAT’S how special this project and city is to me.  

I took inspiration from The Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island with the floral canopy and ceiling porch blue paint and these green, gray and black pillows I spied while at  High Point. Talk about being in the best place while finding out you are doing a show house in your home state?! Its like the mecca of inspiration overload. 

Dad did his apprenticeship at Fisher Body (he drove me by the apartment he stayed in near Mexican village while attending) so this family’s home holds a special place in the history and evolution of our family #americandream  You can see all the beautiful spaces from the Fisher Mansion HERE. 

The big opening gala timed out perfectly with our 18 year wedding anniversary so a lot to celebrate in a beautiful city with the most perfect Michigan September weather! We biked miles and miles around Detroit and it is happening team! Stayed in the new hip Siren Hotel and ate amazing food at The Apparatus Room with AMAZING friends. Good times! 

Also this Fall, hubby turned FIFTY so we hauled the whole fam overseas to Paris to root on the American team in the Ryder Cup. Sadly they lost but we had a grand time nonetheless!! 

When we returned home, I had a brown box in the mail…surprise, surprise, my first spread in a national magazine – on newsstands now! How sweet of them to send me a box of copies?!  Thank you for including me in this beautiful issue! 

And that my friends is a exhausting September to remember! Sober October shortly followed and I had a few bad days with the year anniversary of Dad’s passing, Mom’s passing and their wedding anniversary all within days of each other. UGH. Needless to say I wasn’t much for socializing (or showering) that weekend. But you know life isn’t all rainbows and unicorns team. Regardless of what people present to the public, we all have our problems, all the more reason to BE KIND TO EACH OTHER.

“If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.”

I hope you all are having a wonderful FALL and I’ll be back shortly with some inspiring pics! On the flight home I found some great ones from a beautiful showroom in High Point worthy of posting. And the college roomies are coming to town!!! YES! For the annual holiday party so all kinds of design updates to share around the crib here too…finally pulled the trigger on four of eight dining chairs – progress!  

All the very best to you this season! Pumpkin spice and everything nice! 

jennifer sunshine 

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round hill

Hey hey hey! Hope all is well today! We are back to school around here and doing our best to stay in a Summer state of mind til Labor Day (when school is suppose to start sigh). Hope yours was a W O N D E R F U L one and for those of you still going strong. A surprise highlight this Summer was a spontaneous girls trip to the lovely  R O U N D  H I L L   R E S O R T in Jamaica mon! I promise if you go, it will be your new favorite place…

“You had me at Ralph” when my girlfriend said Ralph Lauren (a national treasure), designed THE entire place and owns a home here (two actually – a daytime and a night time). His High Point show room will give you chills, so I could ONLY imagine?! We were all sorta wishing he was in town that weekend and had us over for drinks dang it. ;-)))

(Ralph Lauren’s daytime pad) 

After you pull up to the striped awning vision above, the world famous Kingston greets you from his perch below to give you the tour of the grounds, shows you where all your meals, and afternoon tea, are served. He shimmy shimmy’s his shoulders and bee bops around the tour and suddenly that Jamaica mon, no worry mon gets you. Supposedly this is where Meghan and Harry fell in love, which I get! 

The beautifully designed common areas… you can almost feel the breeze…

I love these simple hurricanes, scattered everywhere. 

The library 

We stayed in the Pineapple House with open AIR, ocean views and a fully stocked frig of champagne and Red Stripe. Yeah mon. A candle (?!?!)  to burn at night and a hot pink pashmina (?!?!) in the event you get chilly, throw in designer furniture and you might as well be in OZ. Hot damn! 

So simple and chic. All you need right? 

Here’s where you snorkel off the end of the pier over the reef. We saw Dori, Nemo, Mr. Ray, the whole crew! 

So many awesome urchins…a favorite design accessory still.

 

Folks familiar with biking around Mackinac Island, will recognize these rock formations all along the pathway as you make your way to the spa and pass Ralph’s night time house. Its like something out of Jurassic Park!  These narrow steep concrete steps, meandering up the hill perfectly, leading to a mysterious and magical place hidden way up there behind all this vegetation hanging around like a jungle. A very discreet “private” sign on the most charming white gate. I realized I only had video of it :-(((( sorry team! 

I just love the porch design on the spa building aeh? Also unique and charming. I’m kind of a railing ho myself, its just one of those design things (from a pool of millions)  I’m always noticing, and I can’t say I remember seeing this style. Let’s make a note of it! 

Welcome to the spa…

This picture is taken out in front of the grounds by the spa and all those buildings in the distance make up the resort of Round Hill, 110 acres of lush beautiful greens and architecture. Everyday you are there, you’re like how can I get a job here??? Do people retire here? ;-))))

Razor and Nick, in charge of the water sports (and our safety on the floating trampoline), took us for a boat ride and we got to catch a glimpse of how the locals live and other beautiful resorts in the area. A best part of many best parts. 

We’ll end here with the main waterfront dining view for your nightly dinners and entertainment. 

There you have it friends. Go now! Hahaha. Bring the whole family for a”whatever you want it to be” vacation. Picture you’re sitting there at the infinity pool, they just came around with chocolate covered mangos and you realize its time for your facial, oh darn. Take that beautiful stroll (or shimmy) along the water, all that charming fencing, pass Jurassic park, interesting rock formations and the view and sound of blue water waves – why would anyone ever leave? Not to mention the all inclusive food and wine package is legit. All the Whispering Angel you can drink! 

S E E  MORE F O R  Y O U R S E L F   H E R E 

They say travel is the only thing you buy that truly makes you richer. Agree! I try to bring back some piece of their way-of-life, and incorporate it into my family’s daily. The vaca take-a-ways were more reggae music, more hot sauce and to live more like the laid back people of Jamaica and no worry mon.  You know those days, you look around and it seems everyone is in a huge rush, me before you, and just AMPED? Ugh I hate when we get that way! Next time, just think Jamaica, deep breath out, and don’t worry mon because in the great big story of life, is it really worth the agitation? 

Everythings gonna be alright….everythings gonna be alright…

Love you much friends!

Jenny reggae  

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home

Hey there friends!!! Remember me??? Geez I thought this day would never come. Apple updated their photo app awhile back and this dinosaur couldn’t compute, ha, and drop and drag my photos into WordPress. Luckily its been fixed because we have a lot to talk about! 

I’m going to save our New Orleans trip from February (my last attempt at blogging) for its own post and jump right into a recent trip haul back to Michigan. Very exciting news! While at High Point with my designer loves I was invited to participate in the Detroit Junior League Show House at the historic Fisher Mansion! Cartwheels! You all know how much I love Detroit and to be a part of all the great goodness that is going on, wow what a dream come true! Talk about being in the right place at the right time (and for good friends who recommended me!!!).  You can read all about it here and purchase tickets to the tour! 

The home is surreal…to think of days of basement ballrooms, pubs, a vault the size of a small bank and architectural details galore! 

I’ll be designing a small bedroom on the second floor, the nanny’s bedroom…here is the official before, before, before ;-))! 

I had already planned on trucking it home to help big Sis chip away at cleaning dad’s house :-(((( And since our Summers, as we’ve known them, are no longer going to be the same with Dad’s passing, we decided to put our Port Austin cottage on the market. And while coming all this way, I may as well spend a few days at Torch Lake, styling and profiling in preparation for the Summer season. It was a well-traveled week! And who better to be up for the task than Florence! Thelma and Louise! 

First we rolled into Port Austin to finish staging it for sale. Here is a link to the home in Port Austin, its a find! Three blocks from a great lake and the cutest main street, farmer’s market, cafes, shops, neighbors, you name it! We are bummed but have to think realistically how much time can we spend in all three places now that Dad is gone (ugh so much change with losing your last parent you all :-(((( its really hard on a family. I pray for all of you that will endure or have endured it). 

However one thing that is not changing, is my home town charity Charm School!  I am already working on our next project for this Summer and visited with Mr Jabe while I was home too! Take a peek at his house, our BEFORE, just down the street from Dad’s and Lori’s House!  

Mr. Jabe is ALL IN on completely renovating the front elevation! Woo hoo!  You can follow along on all the charming details here on his Pinterest page. It’s going to be super cute with all new white trim, new accent windows, new porch and stairs, lighting, shutters, window boxes and picket fences – oh my! I wish I could spend all my time doing stuff like this. 

So that was another big check off the list and then it was off to Torch, where Florence and I worked very hard and she witnessed all the WORK that goes into days of installs! Just to give you a little taste, here is the link to the before photos VRBO listing HERE. It was time to update and breath some new life into Torch! 

Here’s a shot of the main room. We added a sectional and I found these great marble table tops to put on the vintage table bases my late Mother-in-law Jan found at Pooter Olooms antique store in Harbor Springs. I’ve been a big fan of these tables and finally got around to giving them their due. 

I moved the Ralph Lauren plaid chair and matching ottoman to face the VIEW and for better  flow and conversation ;-)) and cozied it all up with new Kelly Wearstler “Imperial Trellis” pillows, fur throws and an antelope pillow that pairs great with plaid. 

Would love to layer in another rug under that great antique Jan had. For those of you that don’t know, my MIL was also an interior designer, had exceptional taste, and picked out this gorgeous Niermann Weeks chandelier and installed the beautiful artwork over the fireplace. This was her dream, to build this house and she saw it come to fruition but Alzheimers took her from us shortly after. :-(((( Jack and Sophia have never really had living Grandmothers on either side. Jack remembers a little bit from pictures and Sophia was just a baby when she passed. I know what you are thinking…I can’t imagine life without my Grandma?! ME TOO! Luckily they have many surrogates like G-ma and Grandma Rose, our neighbors here in Georgia. 

We added a big pine farmhouse table and mix it with the Chippendale chairs Jan originally picked to go with her much fancier dining table, before 8 grandkids grew to be adult size ;-))

In the master bedroom I took one of her old Brunschwig & Fils memo samples (look at how big they made them back then?!) and had this huge accent pillow made and added some fun and whimsical pink lamps and pottery. 

That blue writing desk they bought from Ballards backroom when they drove down for Jack’s birth and the chandelier came from the Queen of Hearts in Alpharetta! I’d like to layer in some euro pillows and a duvet cover this Summer, but she’s looking pretty in her new pink and floral accents I think? 

The lower level consists of two bedrooms, a bunk room and two full baths. Let’s start with the blue room, and again some great, I believe, Brunschwig & Fils fabric from the 90s. Jan had a great work room! I love how big she made her self-corded welts on her pillows and some old school corded trim #designerdetails 

This antique Heywood Wakefield wicker chair is another one of my favorite things! 

Shame on me for not getting  a better picture of this whole starburst, blue and white chinoiserie vignette on the dresser in here. Next time. 

I like for the bathroom to somewhat match with the nearest bedroom, so I moved this amazing vintage poster of the famous French public pool La Piscine into the bathroom and used it as a springboard to bring in monogrammed red and blue T towels for Torch and more colorful artwork. All monogramming by Red Door Gift here in Cumming. 

Also made sure every bathroom is stocked with glass apothecary necessities for renters and family alike. No more hunting through four different bathroom’s drawers to find some q-tips ;-)) 

The biggest overhaul was the middle bunk room. It was originally intended to be a sitting room, with its grand view of the lake when you walk in the front door. However its hard to find beds for eight grandkids! So until the bonus room is finished, the cousin cave it is!

The matching twin beds shams and skirts were made back in the old cottage and I took it from here to mix in some pillows from Santa Fe, buffalo checks and plaids. I spray painted some old cabbage plates black to establish a focal point above the beds and added black draperies. 

New fur stools make is SO much easier to make the beds (and to get in and out of them). 

The hand-drawn vintage fish lithograph prints are from Rare Old Prints in Royal Oak and were a gift from my MIL. 

All of the bedding you see here on the bunks is from Target and IKEA. 

The last bedroom on this floor is the “yellow” bedroom – a floral Ralph Lauren comforter and shams Jan bought years ago. What comes around goes around, all this great floral is back in style! We just hipped it up a bit with a lavender accent pillow with Scalamandre greek key trim and relocated this painting of a home in Bayview (a beautiful historic neighborhood in Petoskey -notice the Spartan flag woo hoo) to round out the vision. 

My sister-in-law and I are on a mission to make the outdoor furniture along the shore, around the fire pit and on the dock mix and match vs the random hodge podge of folding chairs in the past. I repurposed all the Ikea stackable (and lightweight) chairs from Lori’s House and am loving the modern mix with the traditional architectural lines of the cottage. 

Thelma ;-)) insisted on a photo shoot to share. In her lovely French accent and broken English, “I want to brag to all my friends that I was HERE in such a beeeeautiful place!” 

And that is truly the best part of having a home on the water, being able to share it with those you LOVE. Thanks for allowing me to share it with you today friends!  Happy Summertime and I hope you are having a wonderful weekend!!! As always thanks for coming by the Road. Grateful we got to catch up and I am doing my best to make time for the things that make me most happy, like writing this blog, so hopefully I’ll be back real soon with some home, client and  show house updates. Until then CHEERS to crystal blue waters and sunny days at last !!! 

 

 

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A December to remember

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! Have you recovered from decking those halls? I hope they were wonderful!  I finished packing up the last red and white remnants late and gave away two trees – in my quest to simplify holiday decorating for next year. My new mantra for 2018: health, wellness, simplify! 

For the first time in like thirty years we got snow in December, big fat fluffy flakes! 

It was WONDERful. 

Speaking of snow, we went with another flocked tree this year but two years of dealing with all that mess, we’re OUT.  Thank you Michigan blogger Lily Pad Cottage for turning us onto this amazing looking fake available through Wayfair HERE. Its got my name on it! 

 

I hung every stocking I own, more stockings than people, together on the right side to balance out the tree and try something new. Sophia was very suspect of this. 

At the end of the season, I group every year’s holiday cards and bring them out for display year after year. A fan favorite! 

I made a point to design a special tribute to Dad this year with this beautiful photo Mike took of Big Poppy and Jack in his beloved 1940 Ford Woody Wagon. A fixture in my hometown. Strangers have been waving, honking and giving the thumbs up since I was a little girl cruising with my Daddy in his antique cars (to the A&W for chili dogs and root beer). Thanks for all the memories Dad! 

The first holiday without Dad was unexplainable. However I had a sense of peace knowing he was finally with Mom and not missing her or feeling sad and lonely on Christmas, which hung heavy on our hearts every year.

Sophia has mastered putting Grandma Cindy’s Christmas village together and such a huge help. “Its our tradition Mom, don’t put it up without me!” and my heart starts to melt. 

I bought a bunch of pre-lit garland off Joss and Main last year and had spread it out all over the place. This year I combined it all for a Southern holiday staircase vs. a tree in the foyer. I worked in some faux icicle looking branches I had, the use what you have approach, and fresh cut greenery from the yard. 

I’ve held onto this beautiful gold polka dot ribbon from Neiman Marcus in hopes it someday comes back. My very stylish Mother-in-law wrapped a gift in it for me years and years ago and I use it every year for some fun and whimsy! 

I love paint by numbers! And this Santa from an antique store in Traverse City was no exception. There is something so nostalgic, Americana about them. The colors are always SPOT on. 

Also this month my first magazine cover came out for Atlanta Magazine Home and they threw a beautiful premier party at Design Within Reach. No words to properly articulate or express my gratitude for this wonderful milestone. I’m very much like my Dad in that I get choked up easily and this is definitely one of those times!

I rolled up to the usual Barnes and Noble I pillage when a feature comes out, and its the same nice man at the check out. I set a stack down and he says “alright what page are we on?” I smack my hand on the pile – “that’s my cover brother!” It was a peak life experience for sure. ;-)))) can’t say I ever imagined that would be happening and to God goes the glory. 

Here are some shots from my big night out at the party #covergirl 

The universe was really good to us this month and many of my dear, dear designer babes were in the same issue!!! Which made it all the more special. 

These girls have my heart (Lori, Lisa, Dorothy, Rhonda and Marsha) and I will “cut you” if you mess with them LOL (any bon qui qui fans out there?) Search “bon qui qui king burger” on you tube and start yelling “sacurity!!!” I got a complicated order!!! at your friends and family ;-)) 

Our favorite girl Sherry came out to support us too! She was out past her bedtime which is a big deal! LOL. In her badass biker jacket. Such a babe! 

It was an unforgettable night and such a light after Dad. I will be forever in debt to Lori, Sherry and Amanda. My “first responders” as they were there to lift me up when I got the news about Dad at High Point and helped me get back on the road and back home to Atlanta.  

We managed to squeeze a trip to NYC for Sophia Sunshine’s birthday. I was over buying more crap gifts and didn’t have the energy for another party so why not make memories instead and get some culture too (we threw this idea out for Christmas too but got no takers ha).  Soph had never been to NYC and asked to go at Christmastime. For three days I was a little girl again, tagging along with these two sweetie pies seeing the city from their perspective. Traveling with young people is underrated! 

 

We had great balmy weather and walked for miles all over Manhattan. 

After all the gifts were open we headed to our family cottage on Torch Lake for New Years! What a great idea by the hubs and a new family tradition after all the fun we had. I was craving snow this year. I told myself I was going to make it back this Winter and it did not disappoint! 

We skied, sled and played in the snow under the stars. It was the perfect way to end a year of many blessings and heartache. He gives us so much and He takes to remind us just how fragile life is. Don’t delay! Go make happy today!! God bless and may all your dreams and aspirations come true in 2018! xoxo 

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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. 😉  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 appliqués!!) 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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