design camp: updates from Lori’s House

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

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

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

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

This table needs some styling and possibly a bench or stool in front of it, but I scored the console on Overstock, lamp from Homegoods, Horse photo through my design biz, and that garden obelisk I had in my garage for years from Ballard Designs. I’ve always loved the obelisk, structural nature of it and knew it would come in handy someday. My garage is full of treasures, to be honest. I seem to have collected quite a lot over the years with the hope of it becoming useful one day, like this obelisk. The garage is quite big, similar to a prefab garage albany ny, so I have plenty of space to store all of my treasures!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

We painted all the interior window sashes black for the big modern farmhouse feel, there was potential of looking at window shutters in black or spraying them black afterward, but ended up just sticking with the drapes, those looking for window shutters are able to get more information here so finding the right shutters can be a breeze. Another great shot of the floors! The table was a clearance item at IKEA for $149 and the chairs I brought from home. I also have two upholstered end chairs from IKEA that were still in boxes at time of pic. I picked up the plant stand from The Motor City Antique Mall (my favorite place!!!) and sprayed it black. It was $30 and loved the lines. Opposite the plant stand is an oversize mirror to reflect light, the view of the backyard and make small spaces appear larger. It was a Kirklands find. It takes a village to style a house!

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

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

On the landing is a new sconce that will illuminate the art work and the mirror was purchased by my MOM over thirty years ago!!!! NICE EYE MOM! Its staying in the fam. Dad pulled it out of the garage one random day. I’m like geez Dad what else you got stashed up there from Mom? Speaking of garages, my dad told me he’s thinking of sprucing his up with a new garage floor. I think it’s a great idea! He wants to park his car in the garage so I told him he should check out some of the floors available on

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
















what’s happening

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

this dining room light

This rustic console for the living room

This rug

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

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

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

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

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

Here are a couple of the befores and we move in this weekend! Friday I’ll get to see the new paint, cabinet doors back on and painted, new hardwoods and new carpet upstairs. We lucked out and had hardwood hiding on the first floor. I’ll be sure to post more to my Instagram this weekend! For some reason, I love keeping my followers in the loop of what I’ve been doing, and posting regular photos and posts also allows me to try and gain more followers in the process. Bonus. My friend told me that I should look into growth services, like Nitreo, if I wanted to grow my numbers at a faster rate. She told me once: “we used to use trusy but we wanted to shop around and eventually found that Nitreo was better”. So, I guess that’s what I will be doing if my posts on Instagram don’t make a difference. But anyway, make sure that you keep an eye out for them.

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

(photo credit HERE)

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

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

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

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

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

The Eloquence showroom had some vicious styling…

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

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

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

My friend Lauren is like the kitchen design extraordinaire.

Her powder blue kitchen was all heaven and puffy clouds.

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

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

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

In May I piggy-backed on a biz trip the hubs was taking to New York and did some Mother’s Day, hey its my birthday shopping, toured Schumacher’s headquarters and got a sneak peek of all the beautiful things to come (think gorgeous oversized appliqués!!) and visited my first Kips Bay Designer Showhouse. It was in a beautiful brownstone in the Upper East Side and interesting to see a showhouse outside of the South (and how the rich and famous live LOL). Super cool couple of days. Like everything in the big apple, the showhouse was over the top – although I can definitely see a few pieces would fit right in with some of the luxury upper east side apartments I spied during my time in NYC!!!

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

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

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

Have a great night!

Jenny from the rock






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

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

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

First up, this symmetrical beauty. Notice the mix of finishes, siding with shingle, the varying trim colors, and all the bracket details. The siding is beautiful and it’s even inspired me to get new siding on my own home! I’ve been having a look at some denver siding companies but I haven’t hired anyone yet. I’m still deciding exactly what I want to have done!

Love the fence! I absolutely adore the way the fence enhances the curb appeal of this property. Which reminds me, a friend of mine who lives in LA recently had a fence just like this one fitted around her home. Apparently, all it took for her to find a fence contractor was an online search for ‘fence repair Encino‘ and she was able to compare a number of different contractors so that she could find the best one for the job.

The fence is not the only feature of this property that has captured my heart though. Mack daddy brackets on this garage overhang….luuuuuv.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First bedroom to the right DANG!

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s head upstairs! I covet these Morris lanterns from Visual Comfort and am hopeful I can squeeze this size into Lori’s Kitchen. BTW, I’ve changed her kitchen plan to all white cabinets, black hardware and wood exposed shelves with chrome lighting. If my home looked like this on the inside I’d definitely be contacting an HVAC Company so I could spend all my time indoors! This is more of a classic look but more on that later.

Another gorgeous, cozy bedroom!

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

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

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

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

A close up of the bedside tables: so sweet.

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

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

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

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

And then there is the sexy and stylish Alys Beach…

more gate and fence inspiration…

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

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

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

talk soon,



happy days

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

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

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

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

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

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

melt me. 

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

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

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

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

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


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

One more happy to report…

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

jenny from the rock 


Happy New Year: A look back at 2016

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

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

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

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

Jezebel featured me in their design issue with these greats…

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

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

Left my heart in Santa Fe…

Made memories with my Spartan gals in Scottsdale…

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

Liberty of London Department Store.

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

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

It will be styled and completed this Summer – I’ve been considering the renovations for it, and a friend who used Graceland Replacement Windows for their house has given me some ideas – and we are throwing a BIG party to honor Lori before we put the home on the market and move on to making another awesome turn-of-the-century home pretty until all the forgotten homes are pretty and I’ve named them all after friends and family. And the ones I cannot buy, I will help redesign for charming curb appeal and increased home values. This is the goal of Charm School. Helping folks realize the potential of their homes and making minor (or major) exterior upgrades to achieve it. Often, some homes don’t even need that much work doing. A lot of houses usually will just need to be brightened up. Adding curb appeal to a house is pretty easy these days, especially for homeowners with siding on their homes. By updating their siding, they can freshen the exterior of their home up completely. If you’d like to change your siding, you might want to look at a James Hardie Siding breakdown to make sure you fully understand the different costs involved. Hopefully, it won’t be too expensive and other homeowners can benefit from changing their siding. This normally gives the home a completely different look.

However, simultaneously selling these redesigned homes and buying a new one to work on is not an easy task. Finding someone to sell to is a hard enough task as it is, and can be quite daunting; what if they don’t like the home I’ve designed? However, I have been looking into the possibility of doing a trade-in with a real estate platform; essentially, you buy first and let the real estate agent handle the selling of the old home, including all the staging and cleaning. It sounds awesome, right?! I’ll definitely have to look at more info on the Reali site before going ahead with a trade-in, but this something that’s piqued my interest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Much love,



Our Holiday Home Tour

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

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

I love a red door. Good feng shui.

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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



Serious Holiday Inspiration: Home for the Holidays Showhouse

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


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Lori’s House Update!

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

The garage received some major upgrades, including electricity! There was none. All the rotted wood was replaced, board and batten detail added, new gutters and a fresh coat of paint. Yeah man! We also installed some new garage flooring products just to protect the original floor and to give it a more polished finish. The doors were at death’s door so they needed some urgent TLC. If your garage doors need some attention – perhaps they need a touch up or need to be replaced completely – you could think about reaching out to a company that specializes in just that, like this:



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


All gone now!



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


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


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


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


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


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


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



Here it is last Summer, yikes, getting demolished.


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


All the plumbing and electrical was replaced. More not so fun money to spend but completely necessary. We saved this house. Without spending this money, we wouldn’t have any access to appliances that needed electricity and plumbing access. It was a good job that we got it fixed by professional companies similar to Tom Moffett Plumbing, ( to help us get it all done in time. I just couldn’t believe how much damage there was. It was rotting away with its leaky foundation and completely out-of-date wiring. And someone is going to fall in love with it and want to live here when we are done. That someone is me! LOL. I wish. But I am absolutely loving this project and all the joy and satisfaction it brings. I already can’t wait to do the next one! BUT simmer down Jen and learn all you can from this one first.


Here is the kitchen now, ready for the electrical and plumbing inspection this week. Someone told me that a license plumber can carry out an inspection so hopefully the kitchen will pass the inspection with flying colours! They were unable to salvage the wood floors so that leaves us a new option for flooring in here, which is exciting. We like it when we get to pick out the pretty stuff!

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


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

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


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


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


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


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

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

Much love and gratitude,

jenny from the rock.



A before and after renovation

Hello my friends! How are you? Has it really been July since we last talked?? Good grief. In that case, I’m feeling damn lucky to be here. And thank you for being here too. Let’s jump right into a whole home BEFORE AND AFTER renovation I “completed” this past year. I say this in jest, because ha ha ha we all know its never really finished. img_1776

This sweet family and I stayed very busy these last few years on our design journey. We started out at their first house, changing lights, styling built ins and converting an under used bonus room into a cozy, family movie room. Including the precious art install above.

A beach house shortly followed and we banged it out in two working days, all on line. It was a lot of fun to do it that way for once. Order on line and shipped right to the door, DONE.




I love the internal doors. They really help make a statement. They also let in a lot of light so the rooms feel much bigger. I was thinking about getting our exterior doors renovated too, fiberglass doors have a lovely appeal to them and I know a few people who have decided to have them installed, I have had companies like Plastpro Inc recommended to me, so I think it is time for me to check them out.




My client did a great job of pulling it all together and adding finishing touches. There are bedrooms for days and we would laugh keeping track of it all. The key is to keep mixing the finishes until you get a perfect combo you like. Our favorite word from that moment forward, CRUST, we need more crust!



You can stay here too.

Then it was a new house which brings us to the thrill ride, the before and afters. This will be fun. Our take-a-way: never ceases to amaze me the transformation of paint. It’s not just about walls and trim either. So many opportunities to add style and layers with paint. Another huge change, the home went entirely hardwood with a rich ebony stain. The white and black together felt so fresh and modern. It truly felt like a new home.

Formal living room before…


And here it is now as more of a place to lounge and enjoy some wine and a fire.



This home (and somedays it feels like every home) in Atlanta, have an abundance of built ins. I’ve come accustomed to immediately thinking take out all the shelves and use as niches for art or large objects. Especially when they have a great shape like these below. Hear me cry friends, styling bookshelves is A LOT of work. It takes a lot of STUFF. And you’d love for all of it to mean something and if it doesn’t it better have a dramatic impact .



However, they also offer a lot of style opportunity if you think beyond the shelves. Don’t get me wrong, I love to style shelves. Its one of my things, shuffle, shuffle til its just right. But I also like to challenge myself to something new and different. Maybe pick one type of object that means something to that family and go wild with it. Its the nature of the beast, when you keep coming across the same ole, same ole, to do something exceptionally different with it.

Family dinners here…


If you know me, you know I’m itching to cover that octagon in paper or paint. ;-))


The keeping room, where life and lounging happen…




Fresh painted cabinets, a backsplash of back-painted glass and new hardware in the open kitchen concept.


We tried to paint the stone. We lost that battle.



The dining room and a peek of the foyer.



A new light sparkles in the grand two story foyer. What would you select for that sweet oblong space on the ceiling? Another opportunity. Stripes, graffiti, splattered paint, wallpaper, gold leaf, a soft hush of color, nothing at all – the possibilities are endless, the wallpaper options alone. Side note: I’m so happy wallpaper’s back. I feel like Mom! She wallpapered our entire home (same here :-)) with her key hanging on a string by a nail concoction, to get her lines straight, into the wee hours of the night. Wake up and pow, and entire room was transformed. Go Mom.


I wish I had a before of the Mrs. home office but basically it was all brown wood. I couldn’t wait to see all that texture and trim work shine with new paint. Selecting the lighting plan for this house was bade to the bone fun.


Big picture window adorned with white silk.



The entire office was bathed in “Comfort Gray” by Sherwin Williams and its true! It gives you this comforting feeling when you walk in.


Our third set of built ins ;-)) we layered with metallic paper and took all the left over Cole and Sons wallpaper from the dining room ceiling and covered books with it for some consistency. I wanted each set of built ins to have its thing. Cole and Son here, crusty twined books in the living room and wood and bling in keeping room. An element to keep them all from looking too hodge podge.



First floor powder room with new bubble light, crunchy yummy grasscloth and a 1940s art deco mirror from Scott Antique Market. We painted the existing console and added new modern RH fixtures and hardware.


The original master bedroom


And after. I love this light! I was so happy to have the opportunity to use it again in this setting. Suzanne Kasler for Circa. She rules.



The fourth and final set. I was like kill me now but thankfully everyone was on board for omitting the shelves! Tres bien!


Upstairs, we styled the girls rooms, and two guest bedrooms and then party on, down to the basement…



We made three critical decisions: the floors, the white walls with black trim and painting the fireplace. This was one stone battle the Mrs. and I won. Yes!


But to me, the floors steal the show. I love them and think they’re fantastic! We spent so much time looking at different flooring types and Special Offers, and I’m glad we did otherwise we never would have ended up with something so pretty. I might even go as far as saying it’s my favourite element of the whole renovation.


You want to swim in them! Or dance all day. Remember dancing to Rock Lobster? Down, down, down.

Swimming in the ocean, ooh, ahh.

We went with black walls for the poker room and I envision a bright bold masculine oushak rug here, wouldn’t that be a fun juxtaposition with the marble floors and snakeskin? Some classic Easy Rider oversized black and white photography, Tombstone, Goodfellows. A classic Hollywood vibe in red frames maybe?



The bar area was painted black and new backsplash added. For some finishing touches we added barn lights decor for basement remodels. We were so happy with how they turned out!



This house screams ENTERTAIN ME. I hope you’ve enjoyed! We’ll fill a few holes, add some crust and get it up on the portfolio page, which, we made some tweaks and added some updated photos if you’re still awake :-)). Werk, werk, werk. A huge heartfelt thank you to my wonderful clients for all these amazing opportunities to stretch the creativity prism. Happy days to you! Much more ahead on the road. Amen.

jenny from the rock


thumb’s up: the village of Port Austin and beyond

Happy summertime friends! We are winding down our annual escape from Hotlanta’s heat, traffic, stress sabbatical, here in Michigan. I’ve lost track of how long its been, but its been GLORIOUS. The weather gorgeous from day one! We visited many new places this trip, including the village of Port Austin, located at the tip of “the thumb” on beautiful Lake Huron.  If my love for Michigan wasn’t big enough already, I’m convinced now, more than ever, what a special, one-of-a-kind place it is and determined to motivate you all to visit!


My sister had been vacationing in Port Austin for years, and last July she closed on her “up north” cottage here a block from these beautiful sunsets and the downtown business district. We all couldn’t have been happier for her!!



  • – Lana Del Ray


This year we started a new Fourth of July family tradition and spent the holiday here. It was awesome!  Talk about the quintessential town to celebrate our country’s independence…a legit and lengthy parade through town and epic fireworks on the beach. It was all SO LAID BACK AND EASY. As soon as the first firework was heard from Jackie’s home, we walked right down to the beach and found a spot, no problem.

But first, a few shots of her sweet cottage. This front porch was made for napping! I told Jack she needs to put a daybed in the far corner for napping or sleeping to the sound of crickets at night.


Her sweet-as-pie kitchen window overlooking the backyard that is chuck full of towering lilac bushes, perennials galore, fresh mint, Mom’s hostas from home, you name it. Its always fun to buy a new home and see what pops up in the garden come Spring. And of course, a family favorite, lawn jarts was played all weekend. I chased down the same vintage set for you on sale here! 


Our love of starbursts runs in the family ;-))


I spent my mornings walking and drooling over these adorable cottages, this one right around the corner from hers just sold for $160K?! There is still great value to be had on the East coast of Michigan…


This patriotic house makes me want to start singing John Cougar’s Pink Houses every time I look at it…ain’t that a America for you and me


Go STATE ;-)))


Each block you pass, you catch a slice of the beautiful azure colors of Lake Huron. All roads lead to the lake.


These sweet little dumplings are available for rent, a block from the beach





It seems everyone wants to live in a modern farmhouse these days, myself included, and this one under renovation is no exception…


“God Bless America” is right! We need you big man, now more than ever.



Folks were securing their spot for the fabulous parade. Don’t you just love all the flags?!


The views from this screen porch gah!


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I snapped a shot of this home for charm school inspiration…the shutters to one side and flower boxes were adorable.


All the flower boxes throughout Northern Michigan are on steroids. So pretty.


The perfect place to watch the parade


The Port Austin Lady Stompers. These gals know how to boogie, and boogied on down the whole parade.


A shot of the beach at Veteran’s Park. There is a big pier to walk. It was the first thing I did after the drive up.


On every corner throughout downtown, they spray paint inspirational thoughts and quotes, adding to the town’s undeniable charm.


Port Austin is known for its Farmer’s Market every Saturday. I didn’t get to experience it, but enjoyed a ton of great food from it. Thank you family.

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(photo courtesy of port austin farmers market)

The village is also known for its great kayaking, and main attractions Turnip Rock and the Port Austin Lighthouses. My family made it to Turnip Rock the day after I left. Hated to miss it. Next year.

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(photo courtesy of the most amazing places on earth)

In case you were wondering what the homes and terrain were like along Lake Huron, here is a shot of a family friend’s home, his back yard is all beach! Just East of Port Austin is the Point Aux Barques private family community of 66 “cottages” and a 9 hole golf course, dating back to 1896. Check out their website here. The homes are magnificent!


After the fourth, I headed West to our family’s cottage on Torch Lake, which took me down the thumb’s coastline and across the state. This was my view for a good portion of the drive. Windows down, music up, cruising in Big Poppy’s hooptie (a 1997 Lincoln Town Car that feels like your sitting on a sofa while driving). Complete with hood ornament! I have a secret fascination with hood ornaments. I think we need to bring em back.


I passed through some great old towns, some deserted with such potential. You could just see and imagine life here in its heyday.


Ain’t that America for you and me…





How cool would this old service station be recreated as a restaurant with open air seating. I’d leave the brick patina EXACTLY as it looks now…



On my route, there was one town that BLEW me away – Bay City! I had never been. Always heard of it growing up, had some college friends from here, recall Mom and Dad visiting here for some famous Italian restaurant, but truly had NO IDEA how charming and authentic the homes would be. Here’s me trying to snap some from the car as I rolled own Center Avenue. I finally had to pull over and get out to take pictures because I couldn’t take it, they were all so great!

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A stunning white beauty!

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My favorite was this cream painted brick beauty…

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The color palette on this one was perfect with all that beautiful stone.


With a pea gravel drive…


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They just don’t make em like they use to. Look at all the detail. Its insane.

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I left that town feeling all giddy and grateful I had stumbled upon such greatness. We will definitely make a point to visit again! I’d like to ride bikes and weave my way up and down all the streets of these historic neighborhoods. Here’s my attempt to get a shot of the riverfront area from my window…


That’s all for now. I’ll be back to share some of the other coast of pure Michigan and finally, the shots I took of the Grand Hotel and Mackinac Island years ago. Also, I’ve been working on #lorishouse here and will have some exterior updates to share. But first…back to painting the porch and landscaping at Lori’s House today (Its going to be a “motrin me” day for sure), before heading downtown Detroit tonight to experience one of the first Michelin star rated restaurants to open up in the city in decades. GREAT things are happening in the D. But time is ticking! Come Sunday I’ll be driving back to the South SOBBING ;-)))  School starts early August for us. Nooooo! Cry!

Cheers friends! I know you all are enjoying the greatest season of the year…when we all let off the gas a bit, spend more time with family and soak up the beautiful outdoors. Summer is pure straight LOVE.


Jennifer Sunshine