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,



  1. Wow. What a blessed year you had! I hope 2017 is even better! Keep up the great work!

    1. Thank you Monica! You called it – blessed! I hope your 2017 is fabulous!!!! Thank you for all your kindness – HUGS!

  2. You never cease to amaze & always with a calm & beautiful attitude. Great things happen for amazing people…you deserve it all. Congrats on all of your continued success. Love you

  3. Wow!!! What a great year, love your work. Wondering what paint color you used in the dining room with brown table and chairs? Thanks.

        1. Or maybe it is gray! It’s the picture with the chocolate table and chairs in this post if that helps. I’m looking to paint my dining room and living room a neutral color and am having difficulty finding the right color:) thanks

          1. repose gray!! Sorry for the delay…I thought I had responded already. Have a great day and good luck with the paint!

  4. I didn’t forget that home. My grandparents lived in it, my mom, my dad, my aunts, and uncle. I have more memories than I can count in that house…

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