I bought a house on my childhood street!

Can you stand it?! I thought my little pipe dream of plucking up some of my favorite cottages on my childhood street, was a way-off, distant daydream for when the kids were old and off to college. But thanks to my hubs (hubby of the year!) it happened last month! He gave me the green light to purchase a charming 1928 cottage I’ve been in love with for years (it has a unique sloped roof line for our town – my first attraction to a home is the roof line) and that I actually played here as a child is kinda cool too. I just couldn’t stomach to see it go again to someone who wouldn’t love it as much as me! :-))) And what better way to cook up some major momentum for my hometown charity I’m launching, “Charm School” than this great new design project/journey?! So without further delay let’s take a look at the work we have ahead of us. I want to use every creative outlet, budget-friendly, earth-friendly, recycle, course of action possible to make her SHINE AGAIN and showcase the fact that great STYLE does not cost a fortune.
Here she is, the little dumpling!

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And she already has a name, more on that in a bit.

So whenever I see “home build in 1928” my mind thinks tons of character, original hardwood floors, solid core doors, vintage hardware, plaster walls, probably a small kitchen, one or 1.5 baths, hopefully a cloths chute ;-), lots of great trim work and character…kind of like the house I grew up in across the street from here.

Detail of the plaster work on my parent’s ceiling…

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More original trim work and interior door detail of my childhood bedroom and our favorite thing growing up…the cloth’s chute!

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I’ll never forget building our first home here in Georgia, and the realization “they just don’t build em like they use to!” I walked around my parent’s home and said DAD do you have any idea what this home would cost you to build in today’s world? But yet these little jewel boxes back home, go for peanuts!

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(martha stewart)

The color palette for the home will be white, black and light blue. I fly home next month and will plan the entire home in three days! When I’m there, I’ll videotape the home for our next post.
I plan on landscaping the entire front yard this Summer, in a blue hydrangea, purple lilac, French lavender kind of color palette. If there is one thing we all miss terribly from our childhood, it is the enormous lilac bushes that grew across the street from our home. We would pick them for days and never make a dent. They were third base during some heated baseball games…”third base are the lilac bushes!”… and when the wind blew, the smell would fill our home. It was the BEST.

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First thing’s first, the entrance. Gotta make one right? Everything here is so rigid, too tight and straight. No more! I’d love to blow out the front steps and take em the width of the porch, so you’re not all discombobulated walking in and out but not sure budget is there at this point. So expanding and making the front door more welcoming would be a plus. I’d like to roll a path to the edge of the driveway and along the side of the house to the back yard (the back yard has major garden potential. It’s almost as if no one ever planted a bush or tree back there ever – really sad). We’ll mark off every beginning and end of paths with pairs of sculptured boxwoods, adding layers every Summer, until we have this great collection garden vignettes. Maybe a lamp post too or a little white picket fence accent? Key words here are welcoming, inviting, charming.

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This home down the street has always been an inspiration to me. My whole life, Mrs. N. was cute-as-pie working in her yard with her big Holly Hobby sunbonnet hat.

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Love her light post too! The world needs more charming light posts, or better yet gas lanterns.

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She also has a side-entry garage, like our new charm school house, and I hope our side view is as pretty and polished someday too.

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So there are a lot of these red pavers things, like everywhere. I’m thinking we can repurpose these in a fun, tasteful and creative way at some point this Summer.

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I want to repurpose as much as possible, except for the hot tub, hah, and this awkward floating deck in the middle of the yard. I think platform decks are cool, when placed in the right vicinity and scale of the property. This one, not so much. Maybe we relocate it towards the back yard, back of garage or next to the house?

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All the landscaping will flow in waves instead of the straight and serious. And I’d like to add real board and batten shutters (they are easy to construct) with real hinges and shutter dogs to hold them in place. Our goal is authenticity. I’d like to paint all the exterior window mullions a pale pretty blue this Summer and the house needs a good ole power washing for sure. I’ll be putting Big Poppy and the Hubs to work! :-)))

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Can we please outlaw the chain link fence (and metal awnings!) like now? The actual chain link part isn’t so bad, hey its geometric, maybe framed in wood would be a cool modern take for a Midcentury house, but by itself, it’s depressing aeh? So this section is history as well as the overgrown bushes (go figure the only bushes they planted are constricting your entry). We will replace it eventually with a white picket fence and arbor and expand the footprint towards the driveway so it’s not so cumbersome to get through gate, in back door, with groceries in hand. And I want the arbor to be visible towards the street.
In my daydreams, I want all the homes I hope to fix up, to have a big American flag, tasteful house numbers, an arbor with climbing roses and some white picket fence flavor somewhere on the property.

Here is a beautiful example of a custom gate with arbor. So lovely!

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More of those pavers I was telling you about…we’ve got our work cut out for us! All of this is getting blown up and the hot tub is for sale if you know anyone interested.

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This picture of the deck gives you a better idea of its not so great placement. The stain color is the worst. Sorry not sorry.

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Good news is the house has A/C, which was not all that common back in the days when we were fighting over fans. Bad news is, they couldn’t have picked a worse spot to locate the unit so I’m going to see about getting it moved to the side of the house, other side of the fence. Hoping my big brother can handle this for me. I’m going to paint the entire stone foundation black, so it disappears behind new landscaping.

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Let’s talk about that garage AND how cute its going to be wrapped in board and batten ;-))))) More lilac bushes and Evergreen trees along the back property line

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Our garage inspiration photo…

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(keller williams realty)

If money grew on trees, I’d cut out this entire two door mechanism, hardware, etc., and relocate it to the back of the garage, where you could open it for entertaining…wouldn’t that be cool? Block party! And then install a more conventional, automatic garage door. But for now she stays.

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Can’t decide if I should paint the doors black and/or add my favorite “x” motif to each panel? Have to see what Uncle Pauley, my carpenter, says about that.

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I love that it is a side entry garage. I’ll trim the edges of the driveway so they are looking sharp and tight. The poor home just needs love!

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I’ll be poaching a ton of Mom’s hostas…not an ounce of landscaping back here. I figure we’ll start in pockets, key places of interest and build from there.

Okay, time for the inside!

Front porch, carpet, eew, and the fan, gone-zos. Ceiling will be painted “ceiling porch blue”. No brainer. Again, everything needs a good scrub, power wash.

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We started demo on the floors and nothing but particle board underneath. Bummer. No pretty wood floors to paint a pattern on. So I’m thinking the painted porcelain tiles. Give it some muted color and pattern. They are low maintenance, affordable, durable and stylish. We’ll finish off the look with some outdoor drapes (and hopefully start a trend…can’t say I’ve seen any outdoor drapes around town yet?) and make it cozy and create lots of interest from the street. As a kid, I rode my bike past homes all the time and wondered what it would be like to live there and would like little dreamers to do the same when passing by here. BTW the front yard has a 100 -year-old tree with all these big arms perfect for a tree swing! I’m thinking there use to be one when I was little. I can’t quite recall.

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Big beautiful original front door with original hardware. This little niche will be covered in some left-over grasscloth from our foyer. The look on airport security’s face when they scan my suitcase next month…wallpaper, scones, drapes, hardware. Although I’m sure they’ve seen it ALL.

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All the interior knobs are original glass. Notice the two mismatched screws. This kind of stuff drives me nuts. Designers are very detailed (or insane). Take your pick. ;-))

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All interior doors will be painted black and the walls and trim “Swiss Coffee” from Benjamin Moore. Contemplating painting all interior mullions black too. Because we are on a budget, we have to get as much design bang for our buck with PAINT. The living room is wired for two sconces – yay! Love sconces. And you know that ceiling fan’s day’s are numbered.

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I LOVE the stair rail and how the bottom stair rounds the bottom.

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I had a feeling the home was chuck full of original hardwoods and happy days – it is!

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To the left, is this great bonus room with all these windows (and this funky chandelier that’s coming home to Atlanta with me if I cannot find a worthy place for it here).

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I’m thinking a big paper lantern might be a neat juxtaposition to the ornate ceiling medallion and look really cool from the street, through all those windows. Blinds are coming down and I’ll outfit this room with black out lined drapes. Whoever gets to rent this house, I hope will appreciate all the great window treatments I’m putting in it.

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(the exuberant home)

And maybe we get a little crazy with the ceiling medallions and add a few or five or ten clustered around the center ceiling? That might be fun!

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(remodelista)

This home is a two bedroom, tough sell, so we are going to line the entire back wall of this bonus room with IKEA cabinets for major closet and storage space, making it a third bedroom. Here’s a few examples.

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(little green notebook)

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(jenna sue design)

One of the other key selling points of this home, for me, was that the basement is partially finished and stubbed for another full bath so we’ll have to trick it out down there and make it feel not at all like a basement but more great living space. It has some decent natural light too. Better some than none!

Here is the dining room…I’m not really sure if the ceiling is original. I think it might be one of those paintable wallpapers. I’ll have to get a closer look. If it is in decent shape, we’ll accent it with a pretty color. I’ve been stalking the lights at World Market, Lowes, Home Depot and IKEA trying to come up with a cohesive, affordable but stylish lighting plan.

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These ugly glue down floors were ripped up as well, revealing originals underneath.

And rounding out the first floor, the very small kitchen.

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But we love a good kitchen design challenge! Here it is gutted and ready for some serious help…

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We’re going to steal from the coat closet (the bump out you see on the left…all the more reason to add those IKEA closets in the bonus room) and possibly knock down the wall between the dining room and kitchen for obvious reasons. Again, I’m dying to get in there and start measuring and sketching out a more functional, cottage kitchen. We’ll be using IKEA cabinets, a countertop that looks like marble and exposed shelves, for starters.

Down the stairs to the basement. Notice all the hodge podge trim work everywhere (and the flipping cable cords). Drives me nuts. Because the finished basement is going to be such a necessity for a home this size, this back stairway has to be well designed and feel comfy and inviting. I promise, it will. Pulling out all the tricks in my bag for this project!

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Starting with this small square landing when you walk in. We are covering it in brick. The nice thing about a small cottage home is you have all this opportunity to add great texture and style in small, affordable doses. I think brick will be a great first impression at the back door, with your wet and snowy boots. The stairs will be covered in a rough and tough berber. Remember it gets really COLD in Michigan. We gotta keep things cozy where we can.

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This poor home, it so needs a good paint job! Clients are still surprised when I tell them to paint all their interior doors dark. If this door was black, we’d never know it was so DIRTY. I’ll get some great pics of the basement next month to share.

Upstairs hallway and more carpet. All has been ripped out. The entire home top to bottom is hardwood, except for the kitchen. So we need to decide on a floor finish! I really want to do a white wash kind of look. Keep things bright and cheerful.

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I’m crazy about all the angles up here. Angles look great wallpapered! ;-)))

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The cable cords are really annoying ;-))

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And lastly the full bath upstairs that will get a total face lift, again, because of its size, it won’t take much. The le toilet is conveniently tucked behind the door, out of sight. We like that.

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Old school medicine cabinet stays. Strip the hardware.

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I really like the idea of painting the trim around the medicine cabinet black, and maybe all the trim in the bathroom and bedrooms upstairs, black like the picture below. This house will have a very cohesive, consistent black, white and textured theme throughout.

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(country living)

I can’t help but think of Tobi Tobin’s home in House Beautiful when I think about this home’s design. I went wild when I saw it featured! And blogged about it here.

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So team what do you think?! I’ve completely lost my mind? Hah! I will admit every time I think about this house, it brings a big fat smile to my face. I’m super excited to see it come to fruition. I hope you’ll follow along as I embark on my very own fixer upper / rehab attic in my little hometown of Flat Rock, Michigan!

And I’m counting on all my hometown friends to help spread the word, check in here (and on Instagram) on the progress and ask for help on their own homes! I want this home to serve as the poster child for charm school and inspire and ignite others to get EXCITED about their homes!

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Now that I’m officially a taxpayer, I filled out the city planning survey, and suggested the city award folks a beautification award (like the home above). I know they use to do this for businesses in town, why not homes? Maybe even section off the neighborhoods and start a Home Owner’s Association for each quadrant. It will do nothing but help home values and put money in people’s pockets, while instilling a sense of community pride and knowing your neighbors better. I don’t know what I would do without the love and support of my neighbors here in Georgia. I totally get where Moses was going with “Love Thy Neighbor” :-)))

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The sweet folks that moved into this house, painted it red and line their entire curb with flowers every Summer, like Charlevoix in Northern Michigan. I’d say that’s worthy of a mention. I’ve started a pinterest board HERE called “Level Pebble (CHARM SCHOOL)”  loaded with easy and stylish ideas to get you in the spirit.

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Mom was a big fan of this home and did an amazing sketch of it below…

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NOW about the name of the house…I’ll never forget the day I finally had enough money to buy my first Kate Spade bag, you know, the black rectangular nylon shape everyone was carrying in the late 90s. However, I didn’t want to be like everyone else, so I chose a different style. It was called the “Elise” I believe (one of my best friends -perfect) and the sales lady explained that Kate names all her bag styles after her friends and family. Wow HOW COOL is that, I thought,as I sat there a second day dreaming about a day in the life where I made something I could name after my badass family and friends. Then again recently I read about Gwyneth’s new make up line and how all the lipsticks are named after her girlfriends. I don’t know if I’ll ever have enough homes in “The Rock” to remodel and name after friends, but this first one is FOR CERTAIN going to be named the Lori Ann house, after my best friend who lost her battle to Lupus weeks after her 40th birthday. I can’t even begin to describe what a shock that was to all of us or what its like to drive by her childhood home we played in when I’m back and cry in front of my kids. :-((

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(Lori’s childhood home. When she lived here, her Mom had a dress shop downstairs, The Julia Shop, and they carried Esprit cloths! Remember those?)

I never in a million years thought Lupus could take her life. So without a doubt, my first little dream cottage will be in her honor. Mom’s got her house, my Sister has hers, my Mother-in-law built her dream cottage on Torch, this one’s all for Lor. xoxo

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So there you have it! Thank you all so much for stopping by and sharing this new adventure with me! I want to take a moment to thank my reluctant Husband again in helping me get started and make a difference in my hometown that was so good to me growing up. Giving back is the spice of life.

Have a beautiful and CHARMING day team!

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crazy good daze/days

Hello dear friends,

Its like the wild west out there in January and February, I tell ya! Everyone’s hustling, working hard, looking tired, yours included. I use to think, first quarter of a new year typically is a good time, to re-evaluate, re-tool a few things, so I went ahead and made some updates to the website. But didn’t anticipate how busy our work load would be with the start of the new year and its been a full-court press ever since.

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(here is a shot of some new portfolio pics you’ll find on the website)

Let’s really wear ourselves out and schedule a photo shoot at home too (are you nuts?)! And the race was on. Long nights (one a.m. all week long on school nights) styling, which is a big umbrella word for making sure everything gets done and looks good. I spread the love between three photogs I totally love working with, and this time is was Lauren’s turn to work her magic.

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(a shot of our breakfast nook)

They literally walked out the door at 5.30 that Friday and I immediately fell asleep on the sofa until hunger pains set in.

A day later, I was packing for Southern Living/Coastal Living Designer Network Summit. It was all GOOD TIME, GOOD STUFF and I was so impressed with the company of sweet folks I spent the next two days with. My biggest take-a-way from the weekend was Operation Finally Home. I’m so honored to be associated with an organization that builds and designs free homes for our veterans! I wish I could upload the video of them surprising the next family with the news of their new home on the way, but of course, it won’t upload into the post because its too big. Story of my IT life.

 

We heard from wonderful talents in our industry. The top of my list, Mary McDonald of course. I’ve heard her speak before, but it was nice to hear her speak in a smaller, intimate setting and have the opportunity to ask so many questions related to the day to day of running a design business. So many hats. We heard from a lot of folks that have opened their own studio, product lines, etc. and the big take-a-way from them was they all wished they had done it sooner! Did you all hear that?

Finally, I learned that Southern Living is so much more than a magazine (real estate, plants, products, books) and about this precious home product line they have with Dillard’s department stores. I came home this week and recommended the Amelia bedding for a client. We both love it and will mix it in to their master bedroom plan. Yes.

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I took Tuesday to explore some shopping in Birmingham. I love this town! Have been a huge fan ever since reading Cottage Living and determining that everything with great style and taste was listed “Birmingham, Alabama” in the source list at the back of the mag. It has so many charming areas. This time around, I hit Hanna’s Antiques, Pepper Place, Architectural Heritage and more. I found the perfect crusty oversized lantern I have been looking for, for our powder room, from Architectural Heritage and a few other pretties down below…

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These gorgeous chartreuse silk pillows shot right to the top of my wish list. Crazy for that color right now.

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Back home, once I revamped the website (still working on changes to the blog page, going back to the beginning and bringing my old header back and blog roll, so miss the blog roll) and had the home photographed, it was finally time to enter the new trad talent hunt, with 13 days to go ;-)). I really wish I had more time to scroll through the entries because I spied a ton of pretty images. I’m going to try and look tonight. A new Elle Decor and Traditional Home showed up today too. Now that’s what I call an exciting Saturday night! ;-))

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And tomorrow its off to the Design Blogger’s Conference, to learn what’s new, get really fired up for the year ahead and hear from a bunch of rock stars…Mary’s coming back (woohoo), India Hicks, Cynthia Rowley, Nathan Turner and many more!

I’ll be back next week with some exciting news on a fun new project we are embarking on…have a great week all and make it pretty pretty!

xo

Jennifer

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Introducing the Market @ Vreeland Road (and other happenings)!

Howdy how friends! And happy new year! Have we talked since the new year??? If not, I hope your holiday was TREMENDOUS. It’s safe to say the new year is ON.  While I was “on holiday” I read some more of the book the art of de-cluttering your life and how it brings happiness, “spark joy”, to be exact. I might be a believer! I went gang busters purging and organizing, along with the  usual rearrangement of all furniture and accessories that comes with putting Christmas away. I was a hot tornado mess and at the end of a busy design year, I had A LOT of (what I think is pretty) stuff laying around. So I had the idea to go back to where I got my start in enterprenual life and request a small space at The Queen of Hearts, a very popular and very awesome antique mall in Alpharetta. If I wasn’t designing interiors, my second favorite job would be designing DRAMATIC window spaces, and I’m taking that approach with my new space.

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(photo credit HERE)

I’m going to treat my little 8 by 9 space like a fun window display or design vignette, while clearing out at home woo hoo! I took inventory of what I had, extra fabrics, colors I love together, themes I’ve always wanted to design (blue and white, black and white, pink and gray) and came up with a menu of themes to design. As if I don’t have enough to do?! Hah. But this also feeds that studio itch for now, as well.  And I must admit, I’m so excited! I had a lot of fun this weekend, prepping, pricing, creating. For example, I took this vintage screen that was starting to show spots and finally got to splatter paint something, kinda. ;-)) I like it, but not sure if anyone else will. Ha.

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In other news, I was totally surprised to find the show house kitchen we designed pop up in the 50th Anniversary issue of Southern Living this month!  That didn’t suck! Hahaha. Screen Shot 2016-02-03 at 2.20.55 PM

On that topic, I was having lunch with a favorite heart of mine, Julie Holloway of Milk and Honey Home, and we were discussing our excitement over being invited to The Southern Living + Coastal Living Designer Network (that was the other big news I wanted to share with you all)  and the doors that have already opened for Julie because of it. We will be attending their designer summit at the end of this month, in one of my favorite city’s ever, Birmingham, Alabama. Can’t wait! I too, have already experienced opportunity and recently signed a great new client, whole house design overhaul and when asked how she heard about me, “I saw you in one of my magazines”. Welllll that was a first (and pretty darn special) to hear…

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I sat there reading the names of so many amazing designers I admire (and love to pieces) and had a moment, not gonna lie. I was very proud. Always, my mind goes straight to MOM and I wonder what she’s thinking and telling all her angel friends. I miss her so much.

Next up, is the mad rush I’m in to finish and photograph my house by February 26th, ahhhh! My sweet friend and magazine producer Lisa will be submitting them to the editors at Traditional Home, coupled with a nomination for a New Trad Talent. WOW.  The opportunity to have my name floating around their editorial meetings, well wouldn’t I love to be a fly on the wall for that one! Or would I??? 😉 Just the thought of someone else thinking my work is good enough to present, makes my eyes water for sure, so I’m good!  However, asking people to vote for me in the New Trad Talent contest, not so much. But I  hear Mom…”you’ll never know if you don’t try” so I’m putting myself out there! Look for some uncomfortable announcement from me, in the near future, saying hey guys vote for me! Hahaha.

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Here is a shot of my “window display” I painted over the weekend. I was hoping to move in today but its been very rainy so I think I’ll try again tomorrow. Please come on by the Queen of Hearts in Alpharetta soon. My booth is located on Church Street and I’ll be posting pictures of my first vignette, “Tangerine and Tan” on Instagram.

Lastly, I’m so close to some exiting new adventures for my philanthropy I’m working on starting, called Charm School. But I don’t want to jinx it. But it makes me smile ALL THE TIME and I’m so grateful to my husband who has blessed it and bearing the brunt for now. Fingers crossed we will have some fun new adventures in remodeling, DIY, up cycle, antiquing, you name it!

Well that’s what’s new with me. I’ll be back later this week, or weekend, with some beautiful new portfolio pictures from the fabulous Christina Wedge of two young persons bedrooms we shot last Spring. Here’s a sneak peek…

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(vintage perfume ads matted with pale pink matts and brass frames. Big love them and this client).

I really hope your new year is off to a raging start! I for one, was more happy than sad, to see the holidays over. I know, downer! But they are hit or miss for me every year…last year a hit, this year kinda a miss….Mom, Lori, they make me sad sometimes, if I’m being totally candid. Which I am always so thank you for dealing. I hope you don’t judge my lizard tongue or crazy thoughts. ;-)). Ultimately I think its my longing to be with extended family and the good ole days of hanging out with all your cousins, relatives, the new stuff, smashing honey baked ham sandwiches with faygo red pop mustaches.

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(Christmas day with the cousins at my Great Grandma Lee’s house…I loved her pink wallpaper in the kitchen!)

I long for that festive atmosphere we had growing up and the big gatherings. It’s like the longest day ever, why not throw down?! Next year we are bashing! Hear that friends and neighbors… If you aren’t out of town and want to get out for a bit, bring the family and come on over for some ping pong, prime rib and holiday cheer…pajamas, street clothes, ugly Christmas sweater… Santa does not care!

happy new year team!

Jenny from the rock

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holiday hodge podge and a happy new year!

Whew!

Christmas.

Blows in every year at a faster and faster pace and then bam, done and gone.  You try and get out in front of it every year, and somehow still miss the deadline for a proper holiday home tour. So, I put together a mix of the latest design updates/dilemmas on the home front with some holiday highlight thrown in.

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The front entrance of our home consisted of a few yards of roping and the rest was all clippings from our yard. Every year I grab this fake wreath and add more bulbs and some live clippings to beef it up for authenticity.

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I had this ribbon I think is pretty, that I use to hang mercury glass ornaments from our chandelier on. I bagged that tradition and used the ribbon here in a casual, messy bed head, kind of look by just tying it in strings.

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You know they say husbands aren’t very observant, and I can agree somedays…”is that a new dress? Babe I’ve worn this dress ten times?!” However, he did notice, right away, that our tree takes on a different twist each year and he’d be right. Some color! This past year, I started to fall in love with RED again and wanted to incorporate it into the tree. The wood stump tree table is a new addition, since we last visited, that I found at High Point this year. Fell hard for this bleached out cypress beauty.

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I added some wide striped ribbon and frosted cranberry garland that I scored at Dad’s Homegoods back home.

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I took some of my gold spiked sea urchins (obsessed) and added them to the tree. I have a tendency to walk around the house and grab random objects to stick about.  And these extra large stars came from Zgallerie. I’m thinking these could be cool, all year round, styled in some sort of way. They are plastic and completely harmless.  And the old standby, some magnolias from the yard. Someday I’m going to be that person who makes garland out of those glossy brown and green leaves.

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Oh and these oversized sparkly snowflakes were a new add too.  I snagged em cruising through Walmart (have a total love hate with that store). But I do make a point to always peek at their holiday stuff and every year they surprise me so I keep coming back.

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These fabric screens are a new addition. The thought process/curse being symmetry. I found them on line and selected the color and designed a nail head pattern for my badass upholster to dream up. The pair of brass columns were a FIND for $80, however, I was already half way down the road, with designing some foxed glass mirrored columns that will take their place. Which means we’ll have to find a another fun place for these guys!  Kinda crazy about columns, any shape, size or color. I think they are a great, fun and dramatic add to any space. I feel this way about art easels too. Table top and floor. Be on the look out for those to add to your tabletop vignettes or as a backdrop behind a chair and side table.

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I started playing around with trim and decided I want something WIDER to add down the middle. I don’t need much so I’m going to splurge and investigate some Samuel & Sons.

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A raw white silk drapery panel will be added to the space…boxing with myself over where to take the rod, how to hang the drape, blah, blah. Think I finally have it figured out. The rod will be lucite with antique brass and I’d like to run a trim, inset, along the leading edge and bottom.

Still haven’t found what I’m looking for for the fireside chair pillow…

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However, I do think we may have a winner in the foyer with the latest lamps to get their turn from some other place in the house. ;-)))   I filled a white narrow dish with ornaments for some pizzazz.

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Here’s a pic of the other side of this space. We added a bench and pillow and I’m chewing on drapes for the window. They will hang, double width,  to the right side. Hence why the art  is not centered 😉 My sister asked me that same question. I actually ordered two of these panels and am kind of excited! I think they could be fun but we’ll see. May need some customizing of some sort. I have wild ideas for the upstairs walls and have to make sure it all jives.

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This holiday included our annual “Favorite Things” party. I read about this idea on Pinterest and hosted our fourth annual. You should think about having one (my friends rave). And it is one of the easiest parties to throw because everyone brings a favorite dish or drink to pass too. Good times!

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My friend Shannon’s absolutely lovely friends from Santorini were in town with their stunning jewelry collections from Greece. Bonus, we all got to shop.

IMG_0591In the dining room, I recently had the walls painted “black magic” by Sherwin Williams. Dig. And a chartreuse-colored Duralee fabric is coming for the drapes. I’d like to add a table square in some sort of pattern or texture. And I would love it if my faux finisher installed her amazing gold finish on the ceiling. I lost the pic darn it. But baby steps. Get the drapes up and the shelves figured out big shooter.

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I was channeling my Mother-in-law Jan and played around with table settings for Christmas dinner. Settled on our wedding china and some hand-painted glassware I scored at Scott’s.

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I kept saying hello to this mirror at one of my favorite antique stops and finally said I’ll take her! She was a steal at $115 and ultimately I think will make for a cool headboard above a bed. The shelves, ahem,  are still a work in progress. I love the white, neutral vibe, but I’m craving a touch of color, maybe, and more crust. Honestly, the shelves drive me nuts. Somedays I consider covering the bottom half of them with doors, mirrored ones maybe? But then don’t want to cover up the wallpaper. Blah, blah, first world design problems. I plan on working on these tonight, after I sign off here, to quell my nerves for the Spartan kick off at 8. Roll right over that tide Sparty!

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More shelves, more struggles…these may just have to be overstuffed in white and gold and then see what happens next.

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Of all the spaces in our home, the keeping room, is probably the furthest along, maybe. I’m definitely close to my pillow game in order. I really want some plaid in here. It’s traditional, classic and I love the idea of mixing the mod with the trad.

 

Found this Charlie Brown looking fake tree at Ikea this year for $25 and colored it up with green, blue and hints of pink tones. The big French bucket was a hell yeah at the holiday show house from Boxwoods and will corral firewood.

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This basket, a Scotts find, filled up with paper whites. Now HERE’S something I managed on time!

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I introduced this rust color velvet and recovered my Alexandria chair in it. I was thinking a solid, texture, to accent the great shape and lines of the chair. I can always add a little pattern to the back half of the chair for an easy, but bold, update.

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I gotta nurture the Northern in me with some snow so I hang her in the window ;-))) Reminds me of home. Love some fresh fallen snow and miss it. Nothing more fun than playing in the snow at night, as a kid, with it all aglow and perfectly quiet.

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The whole family donned matching pajamas this year…

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We wanted to take a pic of all of us in them and send as a holiday card but that didn’t happen. Hats off to all the beautiful cards you all send out each year! We so enjoy them, know how much work they are and display them proudly in our home. At the end of the season, we save em all to a ring clip and pull them out again next year. You hate to thrown them out.

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{Sunshine one and two are ready for Santa!}

The back door got some love (and some design) this year…

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I bought a can of bright red glossy paint for the door, but missed the deadline ;-))) I’d like to stencil some funky stars on the blue ceiling and find a gargoyle to prop up on that column. I thought Mom was weird with her love of gargoyles until she explained to me they stand for good and “ward off evil spirits”. Sold. I’ll take all the feng shui I can get. ;-))

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My 1980s skates are always a part of the program.

Well that’s the latest and greatest on the home front of designing and dilemmas with a little better-late-than-never holiday thrown in. I’m so excited for the new year and all that recharge, restart, reinvent that comes with it. I’m taking the next few days to purge, organize, figure out the damn book shelves and work on my business plan for 2016. Lots of exciting things in store and its always fun to daydream where the journey may take you! I wish all of you peace and so much love!

 

jennifer sunshine

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Inspiration and ideas from the Atlanta “Home for the Holidays” Show house

Hello friends!!!! Just four more shopping days left!  Are your little people going mad crazy with excitement for Santa to come? We’re soaking up every second over here. Pretty sure this is the last year my oldest believes Santa is coming down the chimney :-((( He did mention to Dad not to make a fire in the fireplace Christmas Eve so there’s still some magic there. xo

Let’s jump right in to another FABULOUS show house compliments of the design mecca known as Atlanta. I’m sure you have many holiday errands to run!

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The size and scope of these show homes blows my mind. I try to imagine who might live here and hope they have a lot of help! 🙂 The first space was by Barbara Westbrook Interiors. She’s incredible!

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Touring these homes is like a walking education for designers so it was important for me to pay attention to the details…like the monochromatic trim and tied tassels along the top of these window treatments…

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The dining room was STUNNING and roped off??? Guess they didn’t trust us touching the china! hah.

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Moving into the kitchen and breakfast space designed by another Atlanta GREAT Robert Brown. You gotta pinch yourself for living in this amazing design community with so many crazy good resources.

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The hood was a window with board and batten boards underneath (and I love how you can see the rustic screws too).

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I’m always on the hunt for new library books, and this one looks like it would be interesting!

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This next space! WHOA. I now have a new favorite designer to stalk follow! Lindsey Coral Harper is nothing short of a design badass. This is her magnificent space she designed, with faux finished trim to look like marble?! And her mix of traditional furnishings with some funky cool mid-century bohemian pieces, you can’t help but think they may have previously lived in Palm Springs with some lovely lady lolly gagging in her Lily Pulitzer caftan, contemplating her next cocktail :-))). LOVED every inch of it.

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Contrasting color welt trim on the pillows, details, details.

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These shelves perfectly styled…

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all of these wonderful traditional elements mixed with these bohemian babes…

IMG_1076 IMG_1077Just wow! A touch of traditional, masculine, bohemian, antique (those mirrors over the door!) and the rug. I want that patterned rug in my life.

My sweet friend Heather Hogan Roberts of Ivy & Vine designed this hallway and powder room. Her work is so fun and delicious! And so is her IG feed HERE.

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Gorgeous monogramming. Details that make a house a home.

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The loggia

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Loved the lion head in the fireplace. Do you all recall my last post where we talked about styling the fireplaces in show houses with whimsical elements. There is always something fun to take note of ;-))

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My friend Kerry Howard did such a beautiful job on his mudroom and laundry room. Unfortunately my iPhone pics couldn’t quite capture it because of the window glare, but this mirrored piece of art I LOVED against the cork and gold wall covering. Shortly after spotting this beauty, I was lucky enough to spot them at Scotts…another gorgeous topic post coming soon. Total treasure hunt, every time.

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My next new design crush to follow, Joel Kelly Design….IMG_1099IMG_1098IMG_1096IMG_1094

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I love how Jessica Bradley took all those magnolia leaves and tucked them into the top of the mirror for your holiday decorating bag of tricks.

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And her gorgeous trim selection. Trim is every designer’s love language.

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This powder bath NUTZO!

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I’m obsessed with wall brackets and wallpaper so this space was such a treat!

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This floor! I imagined it as a kitchen backsplash someday, cover the entire wall with it.

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Loved the pattern on the stair runner of this natural fiber rug too! Really need to up my patterned rug game.

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And was totally crushing over the blush toned tree with coordinated gifts wrapped in pink ribbon. Magic!

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Took note to research this window treatment fabric in every color way…loved it.

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These big star urchins can be found at Z Gallerie, weigh nothing and easy to put together (we have some on our tree this year, that post also coming soon).

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More books to add to cart on Amazon…

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This artwork GAH!

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And rounding out my trifecta of new favorites to follow, is this ADORABLE, so colorful, so styled space by Mallory Mathison Inc. 

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It was so well done! You can see how hard she worked and her attention to detail (insert hand clap emoji).

Such an astounding kids room/bunk room by _________ like whoa.

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A teen bedroom space, that was off the chain and too big and too overwhelming for me to photograph (and I was starving lol)

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But one of the details I wanted to point out, is the Murano glass ash tray pictured here (that looks like a shell)…this is a glam way to store and display jewelry on your vanity and you can find a lot of them inexpensively on Ebay. I noticed this in Mary McDonald’s dressing room years ago and have been collecting them for my closet ever since. One of those little design details that makes me happy daily. And your jewelry should have a pretty “and happy” place to rest…any fans out there of the book, the life-changing magic of tidy-ing up…”does this spark joy?”  I’ve taken the whole spark joy to new levels all over our home. HAH. And in daily life too…haha. I decided my neighborhood intranet “nextdoor” was not sparking joy, so I deactivated my account. And bam, joy sparked ;-))) IMG_1147

A few more details to mention, like this fab print…does this spark joy when you look at it? Does me and I really want one!

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Loved the juxtaposition of this modern penny tile with a beautiful, more traditional rug in the bathroom.

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More pretty backsplash tile in the upstairs laundry…because a house this big, of course has a laundry room on every level. Man alive. IMG_1150

And a rustic ladder to hang towels is always a great space saver!

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I used similar hardware like this in the show house from home depot (?!) and it looks like blown glass with bubbles inside of it…perfect for a bath.

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These candle holders I thought were cool…

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And at the end of every holiday show house, there are holiday table settings for you to touch and feel. I thought these napkins were great and looked like low maintenance! No ironing (ironing does not spark joy ;-)). You can find them at Boxwoods in Atlanta.

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This big metal tub from France made me happy so I took it home!

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Here it is, housing our keeping room tree and presents for now and firewood for later.

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Happy holidays friends!! I hope you enjoyed the tour and can incorporate some new ideas into your home. I’ll be back to wish you all a very merry and blessed Christmas (and share our holiday home with you too)!

xoxoxo

JENNY FROM THE so excited for my kiddos to wake up on Christmas ROCK

 

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eat, sleep, design, repeat

Helllllo friends! Wow, I fell down the show house rabbit hole/recovery room, so to speak. Its so good to be here! In an attempt to save my sanity this holiday season, I halted any new business clients last July and for once I got it right. So far its working. Yeah man. Allowing time for other loves, like blogging. Here’s a peek at upcoming topics I want to share. It definitely was the year of sleep, eat, design, repeat…

Details of the show house (today’s topic du jour)

Our holiday home tour (almost done decorating for the holidays is kinda like being “finished” with your home, never really happens).

Inspiration take-a-ways from the Atlanta Home for the Holidays show house (hubba hubba)

Design happenings here on the home front. We have towel bars now! 

New portfolio pics from two tween bedrooms we shot last Spring, and a sunny, sweet common area in between.

A master bedroom re-design install from last Spring. Not just the bedroom, but how stinking cute the rest of this historic home in Decatur is. One of those “tell me again why you’re hiring me?”.

And a rock and roll powder room gut job. The homeowners (quite possibly the nicest people EVER) gave me total carte blanche to blow it up and start all over again. Some great before and afters to share.

Oh, oh almost forgot,  a big CHARM SCHOOL surprise I’m praying for (if you missed my ideas for charm school, its a charity I’m starting in my hometown to help folks increase the curb appeal of their home for increased home values. Bonus, we’ll be restoring charm to the many well-built, turn-of-the-century homes that have truck loads of potential).

Ok, the show house. Wow what a project. I designed the home from top to bottom, all interior finishes, trim work, door knobs, window treatments, hardware, you name it. It was basically like building a home for myself from scratch. Sounds like a blast but it was way more work than I anticipated (dig deep sister!). I’m immensely grateful for all the knowledge I logged away. Papa Maurice says you can’t put a price on experience, and that’s the truth! Just when you think you might know a thing or two…there’s more fun to be had ha ha.

I had first choice of five floor plans, thinking don’t get too big for your britches big shooter. So I picked a floor plan, that had (more than one) unique niches, pass throughs, you know, those fun little area’s in between. Those are all design opportunities to highlight, as you will see.

Starting with the foyer and mud room (you’ll say hello and goodbye to them all day, every day right?). I sorta went gaga for Candice Olsens’ Modern Nature wallpaper (which came out with a gorg new blue color way) and used it in that powder room I spoke about earlier, and picked the lighter blue, green, gorgeous one you see here…

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Both the print (all the way from Motor City Antiques in Flat Rock, Michigan #treasurechest) and the mirror are vintage. We added more color and trim in the mudroom. So much easier to hang hooks on! Grasscloth is Schumacher.

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The lucite leg bench was a Homegoods find and I customized it with some rock and roll vinyl and these fretwork pillows, also from Schumacher.

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The main living area, we tricked out the ceiling, which I think makes all the difference. I feel like each room had one big splurge, something to make it extra special. I wired for the t.v. to be above the fireplace, but concealed, and added some metallic like knobs to dress em up a bit. Easy peasy and centered is good drama.

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One thing I’ve learned from touring some of the best show houses in the world (here in Atlanta!) is styling the fireplace with an unexpected surprise (my favorite to date is when Daniel Corrigan filled his with gold bars or Michel Boyd’s massive fireplace stuffed with altar sticks). That’s what I’m talking about!

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Other option for the television is another sweet little niche on this side of the room. If I lived here, it would be wallpapered too. The thing about show houses, is ultimately they want to sell them, so you have to be cognizant of that. For example, upon walking into the front door, I wanted to do a collage of vintage mirrors, but hated to put that many holes in the wallpaper.

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The dining chairs were found and repainted to look princess like 😉 and recovered in a beautiful toile by Suzanne Rheinstein for Lee Jofa. Console is slipcovered in Mary McDonald’s Park Avenue Python for Schumacher. We liked the python for this house as you will see hee hee.

A close up of our pillow mix. I spray painted the mama fu appliqué on the center pillow gold, why not? Its not like anyone is ever going to put their head on it. Strictly there to look pretty.

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(Gotta little crazy with the gold sea urchins, and haven’t stopped. They’re a lot of fun and work everywhere)

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In the kitchen, I went with black cabinets and gold hardware. I wanted something dramatic and glam. The entire time, I had this urge to splatter paint something, like we did to our walls in the 80s, and really wanted it to be the bar bench. But chickened out. Bawk. Kinda kicking myself.

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I went back and forth over this clock, but the jury said keep it. 😉 Another motor city find.

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Got my chance to use the curved settee from Lee. Been hot on the trail for years to use it. I will admit I’m pleased with how the dining space turned out. I can’t say that about every space in the house, but hey, you are your own worse critic and you can’t win em all sweetheart.

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I was SO fortunate, and made an amazing new friend, to have Kristen Stacey, a Southern gal and Atlanta local, to loan any and all the art I wanted. It was like Christmas walking into her basement studio! “How much will fit in the truck?!” AHHHHH.

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All of her work is still on display. If interested, go HERE and check out all her awesome genres.

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Rounding out the first floor, a funky blue, green and gold powder room…

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A huge pantry, waiting to be customized. You could have a great desk, coffee bar, command center, etc. in here too. It’s that big.

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(You all thirsty?)

I unfortunately do not have a great shot of the laundry room, but that was also a fun space to make cute, being we spend half our lives in there! I’ll see if I can’t go dig one out for later.

Heading up the stairs, I tricked out the wall with more trim moulding. Trim work is money! Wouldn’t Stark’s antelope carpet runner look great here with the pink silk?

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My all time favorite view in the house…every time I looked down the hall, it was all happy.

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In the partition there, we had a set of pale pink double doors, with big round glass knobs for handles, but were removed for the tour. Boo. They were the perfect shade of pink! Everybody looks good in pink team. Remember that.

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I’m sure you’ve figured out by now, this is where Barbie lives ;-)) And like Mariah Carey, she likes to have pictures of herself all over the home, hah.

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More of Kristen’s lovely work, front and center, just made the space and tied it all together!

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The toile is from Lee Jofa, but discontinued now. Boo. Luckily I was able to get my hands on some of the last yardage left. So sad its gone for good though. Look at me?! I’m so pretty. 🙁

I designed the middle bedroom as an office, where we have some fun mixing patterns. Notice the mixed-media Vogue art by Kristen. Killing it.

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(I need to show you all the before and afters of these chairs, you won’t believe it. They were all found and redesigned for the home).

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This rad pencil holder can be found at Target…

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The jack and jill bath, in-between the two secondary bedrooms. The cabinet installer accidentally drilled two holes, instead of one, arrrr. I think one agate knob from Anthropologie in the center would have been better, but oh well.

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I was crazy excited to make a velvet shower curtain, I must admit. Definite highlight, because what client would okay that? Only the crazy good ones ;-)))

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Moving into the last room upstairs, I was also very excited about the canopies, but hindsight, I’m a bit critical of the space, like I fell short or ran out of steam. Just saying and keeping it real. Kicking myself for not having the bedskirts made out of the same badass Schumacher print (also comes in black). Or the high gloss pair of starburst mirrors those windows are screaming for that I had in the wings but just decided against. Dumb. OR how cute some bamboo headboards would be, wedged just inside the drapes. But again you can’t win em all.  And this is where you learn to listen to your instincts and next time around, you bang that drum.

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I wish I had some shots from the night of the party, when all the vases were overflowing with color-coordinated flowers. Every room party ready. But we were all too busy having fun and touring the other beautifully designed homes. My first day back to shoot these pictures,  I was having happy flashbacks, goosebumps, thinking about that night. It was a great affair! And everyone walking through was very complimentary (thank GOD) and it made all the driving back and forth, all the budget numbers, all the backorders, worth it! I don’t know this woman’s name, but she was a beautiful soul, you know those unique people you meet for the first time and they just permeate kindness, peace and grace?  Well she came walking through one day while I was working, in awe and said …”you are going to make people happy for years to come that live here. What a gift you have”. I could have cried (I could cry right now actually). Pretty sure I cried telling the hubby about it. She made it all worthwhile with one simple sentence.

 

“People will forget what you said. People will forget what you did. But people will never forget how you made them FEEL.” 

-maya angelou

Lastly, a big fat hug and kiss to my girl Lindsey Hene, for making the trek down one day to help me finalize all my “this or thats” often starting with…”have I lost my mind but what do you think about THIS”

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I hope you enjoyed the tour! If you have any questions about anything you see, you know where to find me. Sharing is caring and I’m hoping to photograph our home this week, all decked out for the holidays. And if that doesn’t get your bells jingling, I also have great pics and ideas from the Atlanta show house, to fire off next. Discovered some awesome new designers for us to follow too. Until then team, hope you all are soaking up the holiday spirit and today’s post offered some new ideas and inspiration in your world!

jenny from the wonderland rock

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Highlights from High Point

Place is heaven. Pure heaven! You all are going to delete me from your reading list by the time I’m finished posting all the different topics we could discuss…so much good stuff! Should we talk about pairs of stools, nightstands, barstools, styling ideas, girls who rule, decisions, decisions. It was all so good! Let’s just  start from the TOP. Covered serious ground in two days and saw great old friends and met new ones too. Everyone that works at High Point is so fun to be around – creative, artistic, chill people everywhere. Awesome life stories, entrepreneurs doing their thing. Its a wonderland.

The first big rush was Kelly Wearstler’s furniture at EJ Victor. BANANAS. I walked out there like this is the greatest place on EARTH.

sick fireplace…

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I’m really into columns and standing easels for artwork right now…such easy layers to add to your furniture plan to spice it up a bit, you know what I mean team.

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I’ve pulled this fabric in blue plenty and was like DUH why haven’t you ever used this color???

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This wallpaper!!!!

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great bar scene 😉

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Sad to leave, sad to leave that showroom! Afterwards, my friend told me all the prices were retail. I maybe could have afforded that bottle opener HAH.

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I loved the simplicity of this simple rosemary plant for some greenery popped inside a simple copper vase.

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AMEN! #getoveryourself

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A gorgeous screen at Phoebe Howards. There were A LOT of gorgeous screens at market. Another look I’m eager to cook up. Waiting on Sam the Man to drop off mine.

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One of THE BEST vignettes from Tobi Fairley. She is soooo good! And the master at mixing patterns and scale. Look at all the classic yet so now combo.

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In need of a fun vignette for over your guest bedroom or your own? Love this! Okay brackets another hot item.

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More Tobi goodness! The pink and the emerald sigh.

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This is a great idea/example for charm school candidates….most homes do not have a lot of trim molding in them, create your own! And don’t be afraid to go dark. I left market with a plan to paint my dining room walls black and add some fun emerald green drapery in there somewhere.

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Loved this painting on linen…

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Mary Katherine’s customized wall coverings from Cotton and Quill…this color combo!

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Add these painted floors to the wish list…

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Sometimes team alls it takes is a mirror and an oversized ginger jar to make the perfect vignette.

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Loved the minty green color of the linen with the deep teal blue contrasting tape. Those two colors together great and how cool are the black and white feathers, styled just so inside the demi-johns. Log that away in your bag of tricks.

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Or this!

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I want one…

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Maybe my absolute favorite thing of all of the show is this gorgeous new coffee table from Rivers Spencer for Tritter Feefer. Anybody want my old one?

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Let’s put the lamps on the list too. Almost used this Candace Olsen wallpaper in the silver on white color way for the show house. The silver and white is really fun too!

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You know how we love art on chains and I thought omg why didn’t we ever think to go bigger on the chains?

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A few more of my faves…OLY…

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It comes in a larger size now! #gtfo

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This might be the hottest nightstand going, from Bernhardt. Total T H O

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Was so digging the fiery orange color of the glass at Caracole.

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I love the big bad fireplace paired with simple little fire in Verellen

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My favorite chair in Verellen.

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Sharing a warehouse space with Verellen is Texture. The perfect place for a girl who loves crust. This bleached trunk side table is on its way to Georgia. Couldn’t leave her behind.

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And last but not least, just as we were bolting out of town, my sweet friend and tour guide dropped me off at Chaddock to touch, gawk, swoon over Mary McDonald’s furniture line. The guy in the hallway says he wished he had a camera on me when I saw it. Hah. Can’t help but get a little excited over this stuff.

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So much so, I felt compelled to take a selfie and send it to the hubs. Tag line, I was born for this! If there is one thing High Point does to the aspiring designer, its confirmation you are where you belong. Til next time team! So much more to share!

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xoxo

Jennifer Sunshine

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my first show house

Heeeeey team, happy Saturday from soggy Georgia! Good thing there’s great college football on today because mama’s not leaving the island (and possibly her pajamas). I’m finally coming into home base on my third child biggest project to date. A whole house show house. For you ballers out there, it feels like triple overtime and we’re still in a full-court, man-to-man press. Ugh. Sweaty, exhausting yet exhilarating and exciting all the same (!!!). The home is part of the Southern Living Inspired Homes Tour set to open this month on October 15th with much fan fair.

 

Like other new urbanism neighborhoods popping up throughout the Southeast, it has your Main Street Americana, a gorgeous chapel for the ages (and your favorite event), know-your-neighbors large front porches and parks, shared ally ways (our kids favorite place to play for the ten years we lived on one- soph jumped on a bike for the first time and tore down it like no big deal) and great Southern vernacular homes named after traditional silver patterns. The floor plan I chose, The Repousse, ironically was the pattern I was torn between when wedding bells rang and thought hey here’s your second chance at it! ;-)) That was my second inclination that maybe this job was meant for me?

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{The folks at Woodruff and my badass builders Mr. Mike and Miss Julie spared no expense when building the chapel. All of the windows were hand-made by Ed James, the husband of Columbus design talent Chenault James. What a team!}

My first was meeting Lucy Jones of Woodruff Contracting and walking into her pretty pink office… “by chance are you a Barbie girl?”. We bonded over Babs and had this fabulous idea to design one of the five model homes as if it was The Barbie Dream House. Get out! We had so much fun collaborating with a local Barbie historian and coming up with all the ideas for it! Barbie trivia? Pick me! But, the record scratches,  the folks at Southern Living were concerned over copyright, rightly so, therefore we couldnt call it The Barbie Dream House and went with the premise that a Barbie girl lived there instead. All the same to me! I de-barbified the design a bit (truthfully was kind of over that look anyways), added a little more sophistication because smart “happy girls are the prettiest girls”. Thank you Audrey. And boy what a dream job for this Barbie girl. I immediately texted my childhood Barbie-loving copilot Karen on the way home “GUUURL! I get to design a REAL house as if it was Barbie’s?!?!” Can you stand it? However I knew it was going to be a long road to haul so I immediately began to eat, sleep and drink it.

My first impression walking into Woodruff’s office was amazing, thanks to my friend and fellow designer Leigh Mowry of Olive Interiors. It was always such a treat to come here and see her amazing work up close! From their home office to the common areas of their apartment communities. They spared no expense, no detail left undone, like this stellar light fixture Leigh designed in one of the conference rooms and that perforated ceiling was genius in overcoming a design obstacle!

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YOU all know I stalk the mail man (like father like daughter). So you could imagine my love for this too hot mailroom! This is in the apartment community of The Swallowtail Flats, which is part of Old Town too.  Also designed by Leigh. Check it out you all…

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And the sitting room…whenever I needed a bottle of water on the fly (or a moon pie), I would run in here and love every minute of it.

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You know the stairs just aren’t working for me today, I think I’ll slide down to the pool…headfirst like the good ole playground days…

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oh yeah, we all want a swing like this…the standard hotel made them famous.

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hide, malachite, geometric…all of the food groups well represented.

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So, yeah, I think it goes without saying, they know how to design and build (and have fun) at Woodruff.

Onto the show house!  For over the last twelve plus months, I’ve been curating every detail, every nook, cranny, space to be the tightest, best work I’ve ever done (within a very tight furnishings budget, BUT I love the challenge of limited funds, because it pushes you to be extremely creative and resourceful, my bread and butter). It was a total challenge but a baller loves to compete and was grateful for the opportunity. I’m so happy to say it has been an absolute JOY and the folks at Woodruff Contracting couldn’t be more wonderful! Truly. They said “make us a star” and just let me go do my thing. I got to play client and designer. My mindset was a very sophisticated, design-centric, highly-fashionable (with a touch of rock and roll), successful woman lives here, YOU team.

Here she is…

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{I suggested dark charcoal and all the trim and shutters white with a pale pink front door, but the folks on historical shut me down saying dark homes aren’t conducive to Southern sun. So I take it back, they did tell me NO ;-))) and then a few weeks later a charcoal painted house pops up around the corner…WHAAAAAT?}

Exterior inspiration paint photo…isn’t she sleek and sophisticated looking? Hmmmph.

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While living in Vickery, I learned a lot about building by walking through and watching hundreds of homes go up for years. You start to figure out the process. And I can remember getting spoiled to the point, where I didn’t bother going upstairs to look at the secondary bedrooms, bathrooms, etc. They were usually just meh. So my goal for this home, was that every room, every space you walk through should have an element of surprise, drama, something special (because you live here and you deserve it). AND you should definitely want to walk up these stairs! :-)))

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{Millwork might be my favorite. I think big bang for your buck and adds so much character and texture to a new build. Something about it makes the home feel more stout, for whatever reason}.

Oh yes, onto THE ceiling, the big surprise for this space. Way to execute, my builder! And you all know how I feel about the tee vee over the fireplace so we built these doors to offer the option. Barbie girl doesn’t have time to watch t.v. and she certainly doesn’t want to look at it when its not on 😉 Some delicious plans cooking for these doors so they can hang with that king ceiling and queen fireplace.

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I mentioned choosing this floor plan for the little niches we could get creative with…something for you to think about in your own home! Maybe you have a little hallway that you could stencil the ceiling, add a glam new light, etc. Here is one as you enter the master bath to your left and master closet to your right…a little pop of python never killed nobody…

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I had to leave a subtle Michigan mark and where else would a Barbie girl “summer” during those long hot Geeeeorgia days than The Grand Hotel right? #coolbeautyspotoftheworld

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And our ode to Dorothy Draper and Carlton Varney who designed the world-famous hotel was represented in the powder room with this last minute, super affordable, palm print wallpaper from wallpaperdirect.com. The Tropical Isle from Schumacher arrived after backorder, didn’t match up correctly, had to ship it back, than another dye lot wouldn’t be available until October 7th and I was like forget it. I can’t risk waiting. Luckily, the house has great karma and it matched my apple green high-gloss trim already painted.

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Ok, so I’ve been in this rock and roll phase lately with my design. Maybe its the Detroit Rock City innate in me but I wanna splatter paint on furniture, fabric, spray graffiti on chairs, go rad or go home, a bit out of control I think?  Barbie’s bedroom is pink, feminine and a little rock and roll. A sneak peek of some of the mix…

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A secondary bedroom striped surprise! This is smart lady’s office where she sketches up fashion designs and breaks a few design rules with her surroundings. If you are fortunate to have a home with your own office space, this is your opportunity to go bold! Incorporate everything you’ve ever loved about design into one space, shape, picture, form or other.

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A friend of mine gave me this Barbie calendar for Christmas pfffff probably twenty years ago…I’ve been hanging on to it for an opportunity like this…

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So I hope we piqued your interest, because all of this home and four more amazing ones will be open on October 15th for one month of tours and you can purchase your tickets HERE.  Your $10 admission will benefit a different charity every week…so come as much as you want!

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And if that doesn’t entice you to get in the car, maybe meeting the gracious people of Columbus and seeing their beautiful historic homes and downtown riverfront will…

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I took all of these pictures from my car ;-))) SO BEAUTIFUL!

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That fence!

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That roof line! I cruised into downtown along this drag at 35 miles per hour, very little traffic and felt like I got a great picture of Columbus. Remnants of better days, beautiful architecture, mixed with the good ole days, here to stay. Historic preservation! What we like to see. I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for Columbus.

I checked out two great restaurants but not this one that has all the best dining elements! Roof top, sidewalk seating and retractable doors. Looked like a great time.

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This beauty of a building…

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So in love (!!!) and I ate at a great Italian restaurant in that ornate building just to the left of it.

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This church, at dusk, took my breath away.

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And then cruised back down that 35 mph street, no traffic, windows down, saw the pretty houses again,  intriguing antique shops onto my hotel room.

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{I loved these beautiful cone baskets that were hanging above this antique store. I think there were three, the magic number, or four and pretty enough to share}

Well actually after dinner I was still working…shocker. And went to Lowes, where I discovered these great lamp bases. Excited because Lowes was kind of letting me down there for awhile on their lighting. I felt like it had fallen off, but I’m here to tell you, its back! Spotted lots of new ceiling and table lights at great prices. Some high style stuff for sure.

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I’d love to take this opportunity and thank my builder Mike Socci and his project manager Julie Quigley for choosing me to design this home and their kindness and to Lucy Jones for introducing me and welcoming me into the Woodruff family. I’ve grown to know them like family. I hope our home, The Repousse, lot four, and the rest of the neighborhood sells like gang busters (wait til you see the pool! Infinity dawg! Coming back for a dip). I know it will, because I’ve watched it happen here in Vickery. There is always a lot of skepticism, doubt when introducing a new concept like new urbanism, but I can tell you fact I’ve met SO MANY people, when I tell them I live in Vickery, they are like OHHH I LOVE THAT PLACE! Followed by, wish we would have bought at the beginning, now we can’t afford it :-(( Don’t let the demand and price increase pass you by.

If you grew up in a small town like Flat Rock, where everyone knew your name, looked out for you and loved you like their own, you are going to love OLD TOWN! And the folks of Woodruff Contracting should be commended for introducing this awesome quality of life for the residents of Columbus and the Southeast. My family loved Old Town when I drove them through…”looks like Watercolor Mom!” See what’s for sale and what all the buzz is about HERE. And hopefully we’ll see your sweet smiling faces on October 15th!

Enjoy your weekend team….peace out!

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jenny from the sliding-into-home-base rock

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A recent before and after project

Howdy friends! It’s Tuesday night woo hoo. Quite possibly the lamest night of the week (if it wasn’t for funk night at The Star Bar). Like reality-is-here day…yes you work for a living and yes the weekend is officially over. But not to worry because tomorrow is HUMP DAY and the day after that – Friday eve! We can do this.

Alright down to business. A before and after we busted ass on last Spring and Summer. A total refresh pretty much. Living room, master bedroom, master bath, dining room and powder room. For any designer reading this, they know what that sounds like:  A LOT of work. Yep, but all good things. Got to stretch the wings and challenge myself  to make the two story family room, very common here in Atlanta, not feel so out of touch, like “wasted space” way up there (which would be something Dad would say). Ive been wanting to design a room like this and often wondered how I would approach it. First inclination is to meld the two sets of windows, first floor, second floor, together with head to toe drapes. Then build down from there, in visual steps, so to speak.

Let’s see how we did. Should we start with the befores or the afters? I can never decide.

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Here is the before (and a very sweet dog ;-)))). Red drapes that hang above the first floor of windows from wooden pegs (fricken can’t stand those- sorry!), sofas my client was ready to burn (too bad we’re not in East Lansing) and fresh floors and paint everywhere.

The after! Pretty much new everything. We hung this great Ironies light to make it feel like hey mr. ceiling, you’re not so high after all. Then middled the space between the top of drapes and top of built ins with a collage of foxed mirrors and a starburst (for good drama. No bad drama, no no). My client said she loved starbursts from the initial consult…. you and I will be friends! This is what I was trying to describe, probably poorly above, about visually taking these massive two story great rooms, and using different SCALE and height to bridge the two, so you don’t have this huge expanse of dead wall space.

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get a good look at the coffee table above…

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The same. It was the perfect size, we know good artists and knew we had a lot to tackle. Up cycle when you can, know what I mean bean?

We applied the same principal to the fireplace than went dark navy on the bookshelves and added agate knobs from Anthro that I became obsessed with last Spring. Once the cabinets were ALL navy, it didn’t feel like there was enough definition, so we applied this silver metallic removable wallpaper to the backs. From Target! I’m totally hooked on it (Thank you Melanie! xo). It is just a great way to add one more layer of glint, texture. Its all about the layers team! Layers and scale would be my two driving fires, buzz words, if someone asked me about my design prowess  (I like that word prowess. Sounds kinda sultry, kinda hubba hubba, grrrwl). I bet if you got up right now and walked around your house, you’d find a little niche, or glass cabinet to layer your house with some Tarjay paper. BTW remember layers? Like the haircut…talking on the phone to your girlfriend…”I think I want layers?”

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(a close up of the removable wallpaper. You can do it)

And here is a shot from up above, big picture. You can see the oversized agate knobs, the cheetah print rug, the double layer of trim tape along the bottom of drapes. Design is in the details!  And btw how fricken perfect my installer got the mirrors to hang like that?! They weigh a ton. Nice work bro.

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A little vignette we put together over a family piece with a new Regina Andrew lamp. Two of these prints were previously in the powder room, one in a random hallway, and you all know the rule. If you have a set of three, five, seven, whatever the number, don’t break em up and spread them around. Come on team. If there is anything you’ve learned from the road, this is it: Group like items together for dramatic impact. I know, you’re sick of hearing me say it. Me too. Hah.

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Some pillow talk…in love with that big bold blue print from Schumacher Comes in a charcoal chocolate brown and light blue too. Nasty.

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Center hallway before…

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Tried to emphasize the architecture of the main center hall with a trio of star lights. Client is currently in the market for some great modern art for those walls too. OVERSIZED. Grandfather clock will be painted high gloss white or a pop of color. TBD. And we moved it to the end of the hall for a dramatic focal point.

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The powder room received some love from Thibault and a burlap floor to ceiling shower drape.

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We went with a gold and coral paper, up cycled a mirror, added a new light for an instant, easy update.

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Backstairs saw some love…

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With all the blue and white chinoiserie pottery on the shelves, we wanted to bring a bit of it into the kitchen for flow. And it looks so good with her recently renovated kitchen.

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Moving on into the dining room…

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We kept the family furniture and just sexed it u a bit. Rug stayed too. Now with the wallpaper gone and the awesome contrast between the walls and ceiling, you notice how pretty the trim molding is on the ceiling, that it even existed.

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I still feel like we need some custom lamp shades in here and some big oversized, antique, crusty mirror, to give it that final finish. Anyone out there cover lampshades in wallpaper or fabric? I need you.

And I threw this pic in because I love these little convex/concave port hole mirrors we flanked the door with…you might also notice the bases on those lamps were once wood…rub and buff! Works like a charm every time.

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And lastly, the master suite.

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We draped the entire back wall in white linen and designed the custom headboard. In this shot the three euros are missing. But I’ll be back with professional photos for the big picture.

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Gaga over the light…definitely the boss of the space. And the drapes. They’re a team ;-))

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She had this chair…

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So we recovered it, paired it with another random table and the old mirrors over the living room fireplace to come up with this vignette. The two will be painted in an “adac” finish this week. A great layering of white and cream with a pinch of antique glaze. Just a pinch. We loved that headboard fabric but its a strong cream with our white, so we need these two to tie it all together and bring it home. I think one of those fuzzy white lambswool pillows would look sweet on the new princess chair when its finished. Note to self: client gift. And I tasked her with finding all new frames in our newly designed spaces, in matching finishes, but different shapes, sizes, texture.

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The bathroom before….I’m beginning to love tray ceilings (whaaat)  just for the wallpaper possibilities. 😉

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One thing I cannot stand about new builds, is this damn square, leaded glass window over tub. As far as I’m concerned, there is nothing WORSE than having a window you cannot see out of. So we did our best to hip it out with some gorgeous Suzanne Rheinstein toile.

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Here a little bit better angle of the new mirrors and lights over each sink too…

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Cabinets were all painted white with oversize glass knobs. We also did the foyer, which I’ll snap for you next time. Waiting on some sconces to be installed. Then we will style for a shoot. Design is never done. But you can do your best to lay the foundation for layers and layers to come. Happy designing to you all!

Jenny from the paint it pretty rock

P.S. I want to thank everyone with ALL my heart for the love and support for my new philanthropy I’m starting, Charm School! I have a quick funny story about it. I was in total beast mode last week in Columbus for a two day install of a show house  that I’ll be sharing with you next week when an unknown area code 734 number called my phone. Of course I couldn’t answer but got all excited thinking “maybe its our first charm school candidate calling to inquire?!” Later I listened to my voicemail and it was the fricken LA Fitness in Woodhaven that I’d worked out in last Summer at home!! LOL Waaaaaa Waaaaa.

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perspective, hopes, dreams

Hello friends! I started this post at the beginning of August, thinking, wow where did July go?  And BAM here we are September, August gone and COOKED. I hope it was wonderful for you! Life is moving at a crazy fast pace (thank you captain obvious) and we have a lot to catch up on. I recently (well not so much anymore) wrapped up an extended stay in my home state of Michigan over the Summer with a major ephiphany

A: you work too much

B: you need to stop working so much

C: why the hell do you work so much!?

It hit me like a ton of bricks.

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It’s not that I don’t love working and am grateful to be able-bodied and hustle. Its just there are other things I’d like to give a whirl and candidly, the business side of design is beginning to overwhelm me. Time to hire more staff. But hiring/training/implementing takes time. And at the same time, am I ready for that? My kids really like me still. I decided to hit pause, say no thank you to any new client projects and love, nurture and finish the ones I already have. Maybe love on my own home for a few too? Or blog more? Winner winner.

This all stemmed from the breezy sunny days and long walks in the level pebble. Man, give your brain time to rest and you’ll be amazed with the ideas, peace you come up with. I chewed on some dreams and ideas, while saying hello this Mama and her babies almost every day.

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Admired the charm, care and thoughtfulness of this sweet cottage home on Dad’s street. My whole life long, this home and yard has been immaculate.

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I walked my “walker” walk past the elementary school and thought about all the Winter mornings I trudged up this hill in my snow suit and boots, the sound my snowsuit made, shush, shush, shush and the crunching of the snow as you broke through the thin top layer to total powder, up to your little second grade knees. We would arrive early (that sure changed) and they would make us wait in the vestibule/breezeway?! Just slightly less colder than being outside. Grateful and yes probably all the tougher for it but why? Inside, we’d completely disrobe, puddles of melted snow all over the class. Your garb would kinda sorta dry up around lunch, just in time to put back on for recess. Slightly damp, still cold. Atlanta looking really good right about now.

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All these memories, had me thinking what I’d like my philanthropy to be. And as I cruise my hometown, I’m continually blown away with the architecture and quaint charm of the homes here. I’m like “do you all have any idea how much it would cost you TODAY to build a house like this?” Crazy money. They don’t make plaster walls anymore, unless you wanna spend sick money. And then you’re like really? Spend how much? When you know that money would make such a difference in someone else’s life. I drive around and stare at these hidden gems. Same scene as a kid on my bike…”if I owned that house, I would so paint it _____ and get rid of those plastic pots” (it would actually be my sister schooling you on the plastic pots -they drive her crazy!). The homes have such history and potential. Like original hardwood floors top to bottom, glass knobs, solid core doors (that you’ll never find at Lowes), clothes chutes in the wall that fall two stories down, milk doors, kind of charm. I DREAM, DREAAAAAM about getting my hands on all of them, my BABIES, and I thought, why not offer your services to anyone and everyone in your hometown that gives a rip – for free? I’ve contemplated putting anonymous notes in their mailboxes anyway???

Dear Neighbor,

Ever thought about painting your door red?

Sincerely, Augustus Gustas

So here it is, anyone out there thinking about painting, upgrading, or just wants to send me a picture of their home and ask, how can I improve the curb appeal? I’m all yours! You would be amazed at the few subtle little details you can make, and bam, more money in your pocket and your neighbors love you. Educate folks on the correlation between curb appeal and higher home values #ittakesavillage. Take pride in your hometown, its potential and all it has to offer. I use to think that place was SO BORING and the worst ever. Now all I want to do is get back there. Its so chill. So here I am, walking around the high school track, being the little flower girl dreamer Mama raised and thought of the name, and got really excited. Besides design, I love branding and coming up with names for stuff like that and though we will call it CHARM SCHOOL! And we’ll put a pretty little sign out front, with the crown logo, like they do for the graduates. Ha. Just kidding about that part. But it probably wold be a good way to get the word out? Hopefully it would sound something like this…”look another cute house with one of those crown signs out front, what is that all about?”. ;-)))

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A cute house on my walk, that won’t need much, if any, charm school. But just to give you an idea of what we are working with. Many built in the 1920s with truck loads of potential. Imagine if we just redesigned the railing on that second story balcony? LOVE the American flag. That would definitely be a requirement/suggestion of charm school and if we had major funds a tasteful basketball hoop for any little girl or boy that wanted it. Ugh, I walked by this cute as pie home that I’m smacking myself for not taking a picture of. I’m sketching in my head a cute little pergola connecting the one care garage to the home, some thick painted concrete stripes on the front porch and a pretty little wicker settee and ferns. Bam, bam, bam, I had it all figured out. 

We’ll stick to just the outside, inside a WHOLE other animal.  However sometimes the drawback of older homes like these, is the lack of modern amenities people want in a new build. I say, we break the rules of these old house layouts. Who says you need a formal dining room? Grandma’s was priceless. But maybe just make the kitchen and dining one big open kitchen? And many, have these great wide arches that open from the dining to living. They really are a masterpiece in the art of architecture. In our little home we grew up in, if you were upstairs, you were upstairs and felt very private from downstairs. I can remember being so pissed off we had to watch Willy Wonka on our black and white tv in our bedroom one year because there was some Historical Society meeting or something Mom was hosting downstairs. I can see my sister now in her Holly Hobbie robe, way too small and my brother banging the nerf basketball against the wall. We’re all crammed around 13 inches of fuzz. It was like the worst year ever of watching Wonka AND you had to wait an ENTIRE year to see it again. Same goes for the basement. As kids, we party’d in the basement, blaring the stereo, Donna Summer, dance routines, (some friends basements we’d roller skate in) and never could we hear the Thanksgiving party going on upstairs until the dreaded “time to clean up!” Total buzz kill for a ten-year-old.

So what do you think? Charm School, a good idea? I hope so. Just scratching the surface. Btw, I’ve had this idea for a little while now and started a pinterest board a couple of years ago titled “level pebble” HERE for ideas that I thought would be conducive to the kind of homes in my neighborhood because you just never know. And if you live in my hometown and read the road, theses ideas are for you! xo

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This home reminded me of a style, stature you might find in Flat Rock and how easy and affordable it is to add charm, funk and curb appeal. The only thing missing is a pair of crusty urns flanking the front door, or maybe terra-cotta pots randomly sprinkled along the steps to the right, like the oversized pots that sprinkle the steps at the Delano in South Beach

Can you all help me get the word out? Start small, just the hometown, near and dear (again captain obvious). But we’ll hit Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The hubs, not a fan of social media, doesn’t get it and I get that. I  have to continually explain BABE I wanna do BIG THINGS, I want to live a BIG LIFE and social media can help with all that. The fact he can actually keep a straight face hearing me say this, must be love! Hah. IMG_2596

I’m very fortunate to grow up in a family that dedicated itself to service. Mom served on many civic organizations, the city planning commission (she HATED the proposed city hall they built and petitioned against it, dragging me along door to door). As a kid, you’re like WHAT? Mom gone? The star of our show? Another night of Dad’s ham and scalloped potatoes? Uncle Lee was right there, many others in my fam, but it was Grandma (and Grandpa) who set the bar. A school in her honor, but many other feather’s in her cap.

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We’ll start small, like all good grassroots efforts. However, I’m inspired by people like Dan Gilbert, fellow Spartonian. If you don’t know him, he’s been monumental in the revitalization of Detroit. And that’s the kind of shit that FIRES me up. A life well lived. I think man he must be so proud of himself? What a grinder.

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This is the train station, as we locals refer to it, or Michigan Central Depot. Its been sitting stoically in the city of ruins Detroit, while slowly rotting away for decades. Recently, the billionaire owner, started adding windows to its shell. A glimmer of hope. I wanna save this building so much it hurts. And I am not alone. It would be such a pivotal moment in Detroit’s history. To me it would encourage such confidence in a city that has been willing and ready for its turn. We may never see the Lions win a Superbowl, damn it, but we all hope and feel for the renaissance that’s been brewing in Detroit for some years now. So viable, so right there on the cusp, yet still fragile. The resurrection of this building, I think, would do wonders for the confidence and the fragile. And how awesome as a designer, historic preservationist and lover of all things Detroit to play a part?  More sidewalk dreaming. But I do have the wallpaper picked out, if they wanna give me a shot at one of the bathrooms. ;-))))  

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At night, the interior is illuminated so you can catch a glimpse of all its former grandeur. This building gets a lot of press, but there are so many more works of art like it. Let’s save them all!  Architecture from this era is art. No different from a Degas or Monet. You shake your head thinking how can you not see that? Your 2015 drywall will never replicate this? 

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Another great vibe, push here in Detroit Rock City is the importance on recycling, refurbishing, building with reclaimed materials. We chowed down on some serious fried chicken (albeit the portions were kinda small) at Detroit’s Gold Cash Cold in Corktown, named after the cash for titles building it use to be. The owners tried to design the entire place with salvaged materials from many of Detroit’s beautiful but sadly razed buildings.

Stained glass from an old church…

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The restroom doors are made from the old sign that hung out front…so beats the typical plastic crap…am I right? Love the juxtaposition of the fancy gold gilt mirror with the old sign and penny tile floors. GOOD work team.

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You think, man what a bummer we lost that building, but  yet there is hope, validation, in that some parts of it were saved. Like this gym floor with the mascot in the center…DIG!

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How fired up are you if this was your Christian elemenatry school, part of some old gorgeous, storied church, that had seen better days? I was over the moon over the floor. Because they don’t build gym floors like this anymore. Hats off to the gal or guy that saved it.

IMG_3960This next idea came to mind just last weekend (what designer doesn’t dream about starting their own product line) but I was walking through Michigan State’s campus (one of those BEST DAY EVER kind of days), the Spartans just put on a show for national television and the hubs asks, so what do you think? And truthfully, in my forty second year of life, all I could think about was how much I LOVE MOM AND DAD for putting me here! What can I do to show the magnitude of my love and gratitude? Not that either are looking. You know mom and dads, they just want you “happy and healthy.” But I think about those stylish Olson twins and how they started a fashion lined named after their parents. I love that! A “lawrence and lucinda” lighting line sounds perfect to me, all in lower case, in some crazy good font.

Anything is possible. It’s up to you to paint it pretty. I won’t bore you with the vintage t-shirt line, because I don’t want you to think I’ve completely lost my marbles. How the hell am I going to find time for that. But I might have sketches and enough intel to be dangerous ha. So yes, let’s explore and expand the brand, let’s try new things. Let’s blog more and share ideas. Here’s a picture of my old high school gym and little hint of what my first t-design might be. The Lucinda. Those who know, know Mom drew the mascot, plucked right out of her head. So hard to do! I’m thinking hand screen print on a faded butter yellow, cut off sleeve, rock and roll, soft jersey, ragged edge type of shirt (slightly long waisted because muffin tops are a bitch hard to get rid of).

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Ugh sorry for the bad photo  Best I could do in digging up a shot of the Ram mascot. Trust me when I tell you, its pretty f____ cool. But not biased at all.  

So once we’ve saved the world, saved Detroit, redesigned every cute charming cottage home in Flat Rock, while blogging it to the world, everyone outfitted in killer, flattering, make-you-smile, Michigan theme, vintage t-shirts (all profits to charm school candidates, community schools and gardens), the Lions win the Superbowl and I mange to feed my children and take a shower, that Heeeeey handsome hubby of mine chimes in with the idea of “jsho to go” a virtual design arm of my business that maybe I’d like to experiment with?  The dreaming and possibilities are endless. I’m going to plow ahead because I know single working moms out there that want to but can’t find the time. Because we have sisters out there with BIG ideas that maybe don’t have the gumption or means to materialize them. I think that’s something we can all get behind. So thanks for listening. So grateful to take this time, sit down and put it out in the universe. Let’s go make it happen. And holy shit its 2 am. and I’m a one man band tomorrow. Cheers!

 

Jenny from the good vibes rock.

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