How To Choose The Perfect Grooms Cake


Many of you know my son is getting married in a few months so we’ve all had all sorts of wedding “stuff” on the brain lately.  All sorts of details and decisions for the couple to make.   And, of course, one of those decisions is the grooms cake. First of all, with everything else to spend money on, is a grooms cake necessary? Or is it just a fun extra?   Although it’s origin and roots are in the south the idea of the grooms cake has caught on across the country, but it’s not absolute wedding protocol.  So the answer to that question is – noIt’s a choice.  Decision number one – to have a grooms cake or not?


If that decision is yes, decision number two – the theme.  Is there a particular theme the groom would like to see?  What are his interests?  His hobbies?   Would it be a poker themed cake like this cool cake above?


Or maybe a tuxedo cake with little chocolate covered tuxedo strawberries?


Maybe, he doesn’t care about a theme, but he does care about the taste.  Decision number three – what flavor?  This layered chocolate cake makes an amazing presentation and looks incredibly yummy, too!


There’s a multitude of themes, flavors and ways to present the grooms cake.  Decision number four – the presentation.  I like this iron tray to lift it up and give it definition. 

Here’s a look at some more theme possibilities:


For the golfer…..


The Harley guy…..


The chocolate lover…


The oil man…..


The chess lover…..


Or the football fan.

The grooms cake is not necessary, but they can be lots of fun if you decide to have one.  And, per The Knots wedding channel website, legend has it they actually have a purpose….

Apparently the grooms cake can be sliced and placed in boxes for guests to take home with them.  “And believe it or not, legend has it that single women are supposed to sleep with a slice under their pillow the same night they receive it — and if they do, they’ll dream of their future husband." –

Hmmmm, who knew?!  So many options, so much fun!

Happy Decorating!


Add A Little Touch Of Whimsy To Your Home!


For those of you who like to live a little outside the box you might consider bringing a “touch of whimsy” to your space. You can make a huge whimsical statement or you can be very subtle and bring in just a touch. Either way it creates fun and interest in a space, and usually makes for a great conversation starter.


What exactly is whimsy you might ask? And, quite simply put, it’s just  incorporating a decorative touch that’s unpredictable, playful and unexpected.


Like doing a dining room with all these unexpected, fun, colorful chairs. It has a magical, childlike quality to it and yet remains sophisticated and grown up, too.


It can border on the bohemian….


Or bring color and unexpected fun to an otherwise traditional table.


Little touches -


Simple touches….can go a long way.


Like these fun dog beds.


And this unexpected yellow sofa.


An unexpected coffee table, gold piano and recovered antiques create a lighthearted, chic, whimsical feel to a serious space.


Just adding a fun, colorful rug can bring whimsy.


Or, going all out with it like this fun, interesting green and white dining room can create a magical, whimsical air. I mean, how fun!

So let your personality shine in your décor. Bring some whimsy to your space and a magical experience for your houseguests!!

Happy Decorating!

Creative Easter Centerpieces For Your Easter Brunch, Lunch or Dinner


Anybody out there thinking about Easter yet? It’s just around the corner — April 8th this year so it’ll be here before you know it. Which means for those of you who are hosting Easter brunch or dinner it’s time to think about what you’re going to do with your tables and decorating in general. Yep, it’s time to get creative.


How about this look? This is a fun, cheery way to decorate a buffet table, your kitchen island or an entry table. And, it’s not an expensive thing to do. Very little investment in time and money and you can create this showy “flower tower” yourself.


A more sophisticated look here. Notice all the fun details? The pitcher of flowers, mismatched bunnies, the simple bowl of pastel colored eggs, napkin rings and basket name cards. Ca-uuuuute! And, if you’re smart enough to have invested in simple white dishware you know it goes with absolutely anything and everything. (Clear glass dishware is also a good, versatile investment.)


Look what fun you can have with birds nests. This little touch makes a great statement.


Love this row of birds nests filled with daffodils and eggs. And these adorable clay pots with initialed eggs in them. How fun!


Notice each has a daffodil tucked beside it. Sweet touch.


Another fun take on the birds nest theme.


How about clustering some potted plants together and just tucking a bunny in the middle? What a great idea! That’s a quick, easy way to create a unique Easter theme out of things you already have.


The branch look is all the rage for all sorts of party themes these days. Clip some branches from the yard, place them in a clear vase filled with rocks and glue some flowers and birds on them. When grouped with this bowl of colored eggs, pink flowers, and colorful napkins tied with pastel ribbon…..a perfect buffet table display.


Yellow and white…..always a happy combination.


This is a fun way to dress up your dessert plate. Small branches, a nest filled with jelly beans and a clipped on butterfly. (You could clip on a bird or tuck a small bunny beside it instead if you had those on hand.)


And, how fun would this be if you have a house full of kiddo’s?


Filling a clear vase with colorful, sliced fruit is always a beautiful way to dress up a floral bouquet. It adds such freshness and color without adding a lot of expense.

So there you go……lots of ideas to get you started thinking about your own Easter gathering. Time to get those creative juices flowing so you’re ready when it gets here. And, we all know it’ll be here before we know it!

Happy Decorating!

Creating Your Dream Kitchen: The Beauty Is In The Details


Are you looking to remodel your kitchen in the near future?  Looking to bring some unique elements to the space that set your kitchen apart from others?  Remember – the design is in the details.


And, when it comes to remodeling…especially in the kitchen….there are details, details and more details.  Check out this picture.  Notice all the distinct elements in this amazing kitchen?  The cabinet color, the island design, the vent-a-hood, the floor, the tile back splash, the beams, etc.  All those details create the cozy ambience you see here. 


It’s important to take your time and ask yourself a few questions.  Do you like a traditional space or a contemporary space?  Do you like light and bright or dark and cozy?  Are you inclined to prefer a sleeker overall appearance or maybe a more rustic vibe with stone and distressed wood?


All great looks -no right or wrongs here……just personal preference.

massallia_600_600-dal tile

What style is your home?  Traditional, modern?   What elements are the best fit?  Would you like an open concept shown above with all this great tile or do you prefer everything behind closed cabinet doors?


Remember the kitchen is the single most important factor in the resale of your home.  So what you invest in it now (within reason) will pay off later when you choose to sell.


And, kitchens are a great place to show off your style with flair.


Notice all the attention to detail here….


and here….


and here in this modern space.

Never under estimate the power of the details that go into a space.  Make sure to peruse magazines, showrooms, model homes, etc.  Get a feel of what you like, what your style is and what you would like to see yourself in.  Then take your time, hire a professional to help with your selections and have fun with it!

Happy Decorating!

Savvy In The Suburbs: English Cotswold Manor – Texas Style!


If you’re of the mind that floral fabrics, wallpaper, plates, tea cups, tea pots, all these traditional English feminine influences are passe’ well think again.  For the design lovers of all things English and those with a bent toward traditional European décor these things are very much in the current decorating trend. 


One of my “besties”, Susan, is a profound lover of all things English and her home reflects this style throughout.  The drive up to her “English Manor” is breathtaking (I’ll do a post on her landscaping and elevation in the spring) and upon entrance into her drive (nestled on several acres in the middle of suburbia I might add) you feel like you’ve just driven up to a stately manor in the midst of the English Cotswolds.


When you enter into the lovely estate the feeling continues.   You are warmly greeted by the warm rich woods, the softly painted green walls and her collection of English china.


The dining room. just to the right of the entrance, is filled with this wonderful floral wallpaper, a floral rug, floral seat covers and these delicious black drapes.  A large traditional vase of roses graces the table.  Flowers, flowers and more flowers.  Very grand, very English, very warm and inviting


We’ve had many a dinner at this table and the atmosphere and ambiance is nothing short of spectacular.


Just to the left of the entrance is the fabulous sitting room.  Notice all the layering of floral patterns here, as well, and the rich black paneled walls.  Mmmmmmmm…….just stunning.



Just down the hall you enter into this magnificent large scale family room with a wall of windows and a view of the charming back yard.  She carried the green walls throughout the space and filled the walls and hutches with her collection of English china.


As large and grand as her home is the warmth and charm are not eclipsed by it’s vast size. 


Each nook and cranny is filled with personal touches….


Each room filled with lots of love and lots of joy…..a warmth that permeates the air and welcomes you as with open arms.



The spacious living room opens up to the breakfast table and the equally spacious family room. Do you just love these great beams?


A cozy space to gather for conversation or TV watching, here she has continued her English theme in every single detail.  Plates, floral drapes and floral pillows, rich velvety fabrics and squishy cushions, and a floral rug.  Have you ever seen a cozier space?


This large pass through leads to the guest bath and their exercise room.  Even here you’ll see English decorating in every detail.



And, what’s an estate like this without it’s own exercise room?  (It helps when your husband sells exercise equipment for a living!)


On the opposite side of the house is the luxurious master bedroom.


Rose colored walls, lace, floral drapes and bedding……


Feminine and fabulous!




Upstairs, in between all the guest bedrooms is this pass through/sitting area.  Big enough to be a bedroom itself this “hallway” has all the touches of English coziness as the rest of her home.


Each guest room as warm and inviting as a Bed and Breakfast.



Once a home for her three boys, now grown, each of their rooms as been transformed into a warm environment for family and friends, as well as her returning visiting children.


Susan’s home is a reflection of not only the warm, friendly, inviting qualities of the English style and countryside it is a reflection of Susan herself:  Warm, friendly, inviting and full of love.

Happy Decorating!

Is Gray Really The New Beige?


After doing a blog post last week called “Shades of Beige Can Be All The Rage” (if you missed it – check it out by clicking here) I was recently asked the question, “Isn’t gray the new beige?”  And, the answer is, well, in a word – yes.  While, beige is timeless, beautiful and works with all sorts of colors, styles and textures, gray has replaced it – or at the very least given it some serious competition as I guess you could say – it’s hipper, cooler, “more chic” cousin.



Gray works well in a multitude of styles and with a multitude of colors.


See what I mean?


So many colors, styles and textures……..all take on a bit cooler vibe when painted, dyed or paired with gray.


See how this space pops with personality when yellow is paired with gray….



A mix of color that creates an unexpected joyful vibe.


And, notice this modern space takes on a rather regal, elegant air with purple accents….



Of course it looks great with red!


Totally hip with hot pink…..


Luxurious and serene with teal blue….


Wild and exotic with orange….


It even works shades of green….



Here it creates a stunning, sophisticated master bedroom….


And, even looks sweet and spectacular in a nursery.



I mean….who knew?

So, yes, gray is very versatile and works with a multitude of textures, styles, and colors just like our good, old friend – the tried and true, timeless beige.  But, somehow gray just has that “now”, that “it” factor making it the hipper, cooler “new age beige”. 

Happy Decorating!

My Sister’s 1940’s Cottage


Fifteen years ago when my sister and her husband drove by this house she felt a strange (and quite strong) connection to it’s charm, turned to her husband and said, “If that house ever goes on the market I want to buy it.” 


The very next day it went on the market and they did exactly that.


It was in desperate need of some updating and some serious TLC.


And those touches of cuteness that make a house a home.


It took some planning and some time, but eventually they got phase one done, peeling back carpet and exposing the hardwoods, knocking out walls, updating bathrooms, gutting the kitchen, etc.  (Now they are saving their pennies for phase two.)


They refinished the hidden wood floors, replaced trim, knocked out the wall between the family room and dining room, repainted walls and trim, repaired and replaced windows.


The fireplace in the family room is a “faux” fireplace. They contemplated having it ripped out when they remodeled, but decided against it.  Instead they updated the tile, the mantel and the fireplace surround and worked it into the design scheme.


She had these logs cut and placed inside. They have little holes drilled in the top so flowers can be added when she wants. She had them dressed up with Christmas flowers during the holidays.  Cute, huh?


In the dining room she turned this inherited piece of furniture into a functional wine bar – a great use of an old hutch.


How cute is that?  She’s in the process of working with someone to refinish this in a distressed black along with the dining table.  This will update it immensely and make it even cooler. 


The kitchen was gutted and completely re-done.  Originally she had a washer and dryer sitting right in the middle of the kitchen.  She moved them entirely, re-did the cabinets, the floor, the countertops, the backsplash, the appliances, the hardware… get the picture.  She opened up the wall to the dining room and created a small pass thru bar.


This cute, little island on rollers is the perfect size and shape and can be moved anywhere.  It offers a little extra surface for getting things done, for serving, and as you can see a pot rack.  Great style with the wrought iron and the butcher block top.  (By the way – notice the pattern change on the floor?)


All new appliances…..


Here she has my Christmas gift to her for recipes…..(check out how to make it here)


A little coffee bar set up…..


A little corner for her cook books and handy cooking oils…..


(Take note of the cool tile backsplash with the messy mortar look and the cool finish on the wall)


A quaint little eating area (our sweet dad made the built in bench in the bay window area).


Oh, how I miss my dad and all the sweet things he loved to do for his kids and grandkids! 


Down the hall and throughout the house is her great collection of crosses.  (This is where she moved the washer and dryer, too.  They’re behind some doors not seen in the picture.)


The hallway leads to the small bathroom where she has this adorable shelf above her toilet.  Perfect for housing bath crystals and oils, a mirror and a vase of flowers to freshen up the space with color.

bathroom window

Adorable little café sheers on the small window….


In her bedroom is this incredibly gorgeous faux finish.  Ultra distressed – it reminds one of an old Italian villa creating an ambiance that is unique, charming, and romantic.


Love her jewelry organizer.  Very fitting in the space and creates both a functional and visually attractive jewelry display.



Isn’t it cozy?


Love these walls and the Tuscan vibe they create.


Their children were wee little ones when they moved into the house.  My niece, Paige, was only three years old at the time and this was actually her big sister’s room.   But, when her sister moved out for college she moved into the “cooler” room with it’s own bathroom and the re-do began. 


She’s now almost eighteen, a senior in high school, and looking at colleges herself. So, of course, her room reflects her age, her taste, her personality and her interests.


An avid dancer, singer and actress who has been in numerous musicals in their home town (you can check one of them out I blogged about last year by clicking here) her room was transformed to reflect her style.  Love this gray paint with the punch of red and black. 


Great sign!!


The teeny little bathroom was completely gutted and redesigned with these great tiles.



And, of course, the hardware was updated and the countertop was replaced with granite. (Notice the plaque?  My daughter made that for her cousin for Christmas – like the one I made my sister.  Like mother like daughter!)

I can’t help but wonder if my sister’s immediate sentimental attachment to the house when she first drove by it wasn’t some spiritual connection, drawing her in like a cosmic magnet, because it would, in fact, actually end up being where she would be raising her children and spending most of her life.  I like to think that anyway.

Happy Decorating!!

Black And White And “Bling” All Over


For you glamour girls out there (or even you wild,“out of the decorating box men”) who like to go a bit Hollywood with your decorating you can’t go wrong with black, white and bling.  Soooo very tres chic!


Black and white zebra print with black leather and some mirrored furniture or chrome accessories……very “now”, very “with it”, and oh so “Hollywood”.



Great look here with this black embossed velvet chair with chrome nail heads.  Swanky and cool.


Mirrors and fun lighting – very key to bringing in the “look”.


You can go traditional or contemporary when going black, white and bling.  Either style works depending on your style preference.



See what I mean?  Traditional styles…


Or contemporary styles….


It all looks “Hollywood” when it’s got that “bling thing”.


Mirrored accessories……




And, mirrored furniture….



In either style…


Black, white and bling just “works”.

Happy Decorating!

Shades of Beige Can Be All The Rage!


When you think of beige do you think boring????  Bland, maybe????  Well, think again.  There are endless possibilities when decorating with beige.  The secret?  Layering different textures and different shades.


If you bring in a cool wood frame like this with a neutral cushion….


Throw in a few cool pillows like this….


Maybe an amazing chair like this…..


And. then top it off with some rustic furniture like this…you got yourself a pretty cool space.

Wouldn’t you agree?


So don’t rule out or underestimate the power of beige…




When beige can be all the rage!


Mmmmm…..positively dreamy.



Positively cool….


Interesting and fun….


And, incredibly wow!

Happy Decorating!

Out With The Stuffy, In With The Sassy: Have Fun With Your Furnishings!


Looking for a way to express yourself??? Express your style??? Well, think outside the box, go beyond your stuffy comfort zone and have some fun!


How about bringing in some sassy furniture? Like these sassy, unique dining chairs?


Going just a tad further and mixing the fabrics like this looks cool, too, huh?


How many of you non-hunter types would like this sassy not-so-little bird hanging on your wall??? Pretty, isn’t she? Could be quite the conversation piece.


You could just go a little wild with touches of zebra…..


Give your space a gothic flare with these incredibly cool chairs…


Or, just bring in some fun furniture like this cool chair and ottoman.


And, how gorgeous are these stone and iron tables? Notice the rugged, jagged edge here.


Full of character and interest.

Maybe it’s time for you to get rid of the stuffy, get a little sass…..and bring in the fun!

Happy Decorating!


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