Posts Tagged ‘abode’

DIY: Repurposing an Old Shutter

DIY Repurposing an Old Shutter

Photo by Mike Ramm.


Shutters are no longer one-dimensional items used solely for shading a window. Turn an old wooden or vinyl shutter into a kitchen display for recipe cards, aprons and pieces of art. –Cassandra Sturos


Materials needed:
Δ Window shutter  
Δ Wooden clothes pins
(available at Michaels or other craft stores)
Δ Recipe cards


  • Locating a shutter is as simple as foraging your local thrift and antique shops (or barn sales). Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Simply prop on a kitchen shelf or hang from a wall and begin pinning up your memorabilia. Photo courtesy of Anna Oleksenko/ (wall).

  • I chose recipe cards for easy viewing when cooking. These are also easily interchangeable every time you cook something new. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Hang one or two aprons from either side for quick access when cooking. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Display your children’s drawings or pictures with clothes pins. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Clip magazine articles or cards from family and friends. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Voila! Photo by Mike Ramm.



(September 2014)

DIY: A Lesson in Decoupage

Decoupage is an easy way to liven up furniture pieces or to create new pieces from scratch with art or magazine clippings.

Thinking of the hub of the home, the kitchen, we decided on a cutting board covered in food ads from vintage magazines, and a classic-looking  dining chair in a bright color. –Cassandra Sturos


DIY: A Lesson in Decoupage.

Photo by Mike Ramm.



How to decoupage a cutting board

DIY: A Lesson in Decoupage

Photo by Mike Ramm.



  • 1. Find images or clippings to use and cut them to desired shape and size. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 2. Before gluing, align photos on the board, playing with the design until you find the placement you want. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 3. Piece by piece, glue the pictures down with wood glue. Spread evenly with your finger or a foam brush. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 4. Paint over everything gently with a foam brush and decoupage glue. Do a couple even coats. The pictures may bubble a little. Don’t press too hard to spread out the bubbles or the pictures may rip. Let it dry and determine whether another coat is needed. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 5. Once dry, lightly brushed white paint over the top to make the surface of the cutting board looks as if it were floured. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 6. Once the paint is applied to the board, dab at it with a lightly dampened towel to prevent the white paint from covering the decoupaged pictures completely. Photo by Mike Ramm.


How to decoupage a chair

DIY: A Lesson in Decoupage.

Photo by Mike Ramm.


  • 1. For the chair, we also used vintage pictures from old periodicals to continue the theme. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 2. Use wood glue to adhere pictures, then cover with descoupage glue. Use different pictures for every chair around a kitchen table to create a unique mismatched set. Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 3. Repeat this process on almost any wood surface with pictures or cut-outs of your choosing. Photo by Mike Ramm.



(August 2014)

5 More Garden Products for Spring

On Thursday, we gave you five items to add to your garden. Check out five more top garden products and be on your way to becoming more than a green thumb.

Worth Garden 13 x 10 Soft Poly-Foam Gardening Knee Pad

Photo courtesy of Home Depot.

Worth Garden 13 x 10 Soft Poly-Foam Gardening Knee Pad; $2.97


Style Selections Women’s Large-Multicolor Leather Garden Gloves

Photo courtesy of Lowe’s.

Style Selections Women’s Large Multicolor Leather Garden Gloves; $3.98


Soil Moist

Photo courtesy of JRM Chemical/Soil Moist.

Soil Moist
Available online and at local garden centers. /; size and price vary


Premium Solar 5x Brighter Outdoor Pathway Lights

Photo courtesy of Walmart.

Premium Solar 5x Brighter Outdoor Pathway Lights; $40


Ted Baker Atiri Rain Boots -in Green Multi

Photo courtesy of Bloomingdale’s.

Ted Baker Atiri Rain Boots in Green Multi; $150

(May 2014)


5 top Garden Products for Spring

As days grow longer, we spend more time outdoors, enjoying our surroundings and working to improve them. Dig up a combination of these products and be on your way to becoming more than a green thumb.

O'Keeffe's® Working Hands™ 3.4-Ounce Hand Cream

Photo courtesy of Bed Bath & Beyond.

O’Keeffe’s® Working Hands™ Hand Cream and; $6.99-$7.99


Anthropologie's Climbing Roses Watering Can

Photo courtesy of Anthropologie.

Climbing Roses Watering Can; $50


Felco pruners

Photo courtesy of Felco.

Felco pruners

Photo courtesy of Felco.

Felco Pruners
Available online and at local garden centers; from $50


Moonrays 92202 Solar Powered Color-Changing LED Pink Tilted Flower Stake Light; $17.09

Photo courtesy of Walmart.

Moonrays 92202 Solar Powered Color-Changing LED Pink Tilted Flower Stake Light; $17.09


Garden Treasures 23.15-in L Steel Patio Bench; $98

Photo courtesy of Lowe’s.

Garden Treasures 23.15-in L Steel Patio Bench; $98

(May 2014)


DIY: Window Pane Plant Holder

We look for any excuse to bring more plants and herbs into the house, especially with our love of the outdoors running rampant this time of year. But filling the window sills has a tendency to turn our home a little jungle-esque, so we had to think of ways to add more green without going overboard.

By reusing glass jars and finding an old window pane (we got ours for $5 from an antique shop) you can display your small plants or herbs in a beautiful, minimal display that actually draws attention to the open space. —Cassandra Sturos

Window Pane Plant Holder

Photo by Mike Ramm.

Materials Needed:
Old window pane Δ Glass jars Δ Twine  Δ Hot glue Δ Scissors Δ Small plants/Herbs of your choosing

  • 1 Pot small plants or herbs in the glass jars, making sure to water them first as it makes the repotting process easier.
    Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 2 Take the twine and wind it around the rim of the jar several times, adding dabs of hot glue in between. Press the twine down to secure to the jar.
    Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 3 Once the jar is sufficiently wrapped in several layers of twine leave a long length of twine slack, as this will be needed for hanging. Vary lengths of slack to create a staggered effect.
    Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 4 Once you have wrapped the rim of all four jars in twine, it is time to place your desired plants inside the jars.
    Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 5 When all the plants have been re-potted in the jars, take one at a time to hang from the window pane.
    Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • 6 Drape the length of extra twine over the top of the pane, pull it down to the opposite side of the jar and secured to the jar with hot glue. Hold for a moment to let the glue dry before letting go of the jar.
    Photo by Mike Ramm.

  • Place the window pane plant holder in a kitchen window to showcase your plants and herbs. It could also be placed outdoors or hung in front of a window by screwing hooks into the top and hanging from the ceiling. Accentuate the jars by using wooden clothesline pins to hold tags proclaiming the herb or plant names in the jars.
    Photo by Mike Ramm.


(May 2014)

Spring Forward And Bring The Outdoors In

Farrow & Ball

Farrow & Ball Jasmine (BP 3903) wallpaper with Stiffkey Blue (281) paint color. Photo courtesy of Farrow & Ball.

By Jennifer Shapira

On the cusp of winter, Pantone gave a solid nod to spring when it announced that Radiant Orchid would be 2014’s color of the year. As we emerge from winter’s grip, the purple hue provides the perfect counterpoint to gray skies, inside and out.

Farrow & Ball wallpapers in Chromatic Stripe (BP 4202 and 4204).

Farrow & Ball wallpapers in Chromatic Stripe (BP 4202 and 4204). Photo courtesy of Farrow & Ball.

Take a cue from Mother Nature: Liven up a home’s decor with color splashes. It’s fitting then, that pink, yellow and blue are going to be big paint colors for spring, says Teresa Balcom, a decorator at McLean’s Color Wheel. They are colors that work well for the walls of bedrooms, she says, but they’re also likely to find a presence elsewhere in the home.

A gorgeous pot on the front steps provides a warm welcome when filled with cheerful yellow daffodils. Hyacinths, in their Easter egg hues, look great on a patio.

Inside, keep the palette neutral. Experts say sweeping in a spring refresh can be as simple as the addition of a couple of throw pillows in the season’s hottest hues.

Understandably, not everyone wants to go bold and repaint an entire room. All it takes is a few color infusions.

Pops of fuchsia and softer pink and purple hues were signals of spring at the High Point Market last fall, says South Riding-based interior designer Sallie Kjos. She saw a lot of brilliant combinations of vivid pinks combined with classic navy and white. And when paired with the trend in Lucite or gold-edged pieces of furniture, the contrast is stunning.

For a recent living room redo, Balcom started with the walls, using wallpaper and paint by Farrow and Ball. She chose Purbeck Stone as the paint color, and the lively, geometric Tessella wallpaper. She chose the neutral gray palette for its versatility: “It works with every color,” she says. To add a bit more excitement to the room’s new gray-blue sofa by Fabricut, Balcom tossed in some throw pillows made by Stroheim in a pattern called Alfresco; its color a strong citron. The result: comfortable cohesion.

“People in general are becoming much more brave with color,” says Sarah Cole, director of Farrow & Ball in Dorset, England. “The biggest shift we’re seeing is people using color in more rooms in the house. The popularity of the accent wall introduced the idea of more colorful rooms, but we’re seeing color used more and more throughout the house,” she says.

“There’s also a definite trend to use strong color as an accent to a neutral space. Furniture painted in bright like Rectory Red, Arsenic and Drawing Room Blue are increasingly being used to add color to more neutral schemes,” says Cole.

Experts say it’s important to note that creative use of color isn’t limited to walls.

“Adding a few throw pillows in a funky fabric is a fun and innovative way to update a space,” says Balcom. “It can be in the fabrics that you choose, it can be on your sofa, it can be a piece of bright-colored furniture,” either bought new or rehabbed, suggests Balcom.

For a quick DIY job, rescue a rocking chair from the basement or a yard sale and paint it a few coats of sunny yellow. The same goes for a beat-up dresser, desk or night table. Breathe new life into the item with a dose of eye-catching color, she says.

Parquet (BP 4105), Farrow & Ball’s interpretation of the classic herringbone parquet floor.

Parquet (BP 4105), Farrow & Ball’s interpretation of the classic herringbone parquet floor. Photo courtesy of Farrow & Ball.

Place the piece in a room that, she calls “calm with color,” and it will surely add drama. Just like the throw pillow philosophy, a new accent rug in an of-the-moment color or pattern can do the trick. A Grecian key, trellis pattern or geometric print can transform the look of a room when placed beneath a glass-top desk or coffee table. And wallpaper in those designs, as well as the still-on-trend chevron, can add personality to portions of walls or behind bookshelves.For an easy color update, add a lacquer tray or bold basket to serve as an uncluttered catch-all for TV remotes or neat stacks of magazines.

For a quick spring refresh, give a soothing, neutral white or gray room a shot of bright color. Purchase a bench and place it at the foot of the bed. Bonus points for added storage below. A plush, cushioned top in a flash of fuchsia or lovely lavender will let you rest those weary bones in style.

Check out pet accessories shops for a new perch for your pooch—select a soft, durable fabric in a kicky print that complements your spring updates.

Now’s also the time to swap out heavier bedding and window treatments to make way for lighter, whiter versions, says interior designer Sallie Kjos. Despite their softness, ditch the flannels for crisp go-with-everything whites. Retire the down duvets until the warmer months and top the beds instead with lightweight quilts and coverlets in whites or pretty pastels.

White bedding is always in style and provides a gorgeous clean slate for changing up any look. Amp it or tone it down, according to the season’s trends. Consider hanging white linen window treatments to catch those spring breezes and create a softer edge. Keep the bases neutral, then disperse deeper pops of color throughout, says Kjos, in pillows, throws, artwork and accessories like vases and decorative glass jars.

Farrow & Ball Parquet (BP 4104)

Farrow & Ball Parquet (BP 4104). Photo courtesy of Farrow & Ball.

Another prime spot for a spring update is the foyer. Start small, suggests Kjos. “Set the tone for what you want it to be.” Sometimes that’s just a matter of switching out a piece of furniture to clearly mark the change in season. Instead of a formal table that might have been appropriate for fall, Kjos suggests brightening up the space with a mirrored side table that reflects light and creates interest. And if there’s seating in the foyer, swap out autumnal tones for spring’s pastels and brights. Bring the outdoors in; set out a tall glass vase of early spring favorites like scarlet flowering quince or pleasing pussy willows.

The same goes for a typically staid mantel, says Kjos. “Most come from the builder in white, and homeowners think they shouldn’t mess with it, so they don’t. But you can do whatever you want to your mantel.” she says. “It’s not a big deal to paint.”

Her suggestion: In a white room with white chairs, consider painting the mantel navy blue, then add a thin, gold-framed mirror and candlesticks, a natural jute rug, a couple of pillows. The result: Instant drama.

“That’s a quick, very inexpensive job that can have a huge impact in a room,” she says. “You just tie it in with accessories and pillows and a throw and call it a day.”

(March 2014)

3 DIY decor bloggers you should follow

By Anjelica Michael

Spend some time with three bloggers who love to rip their house apart, then put it back together.

Young House Love

Photo courtesy of Young House Love.

Young House Love

A young married couple from Richmond, with a three-year-old and cute little dog take you along on their renovation and DIY adventures. With a published DIY book and a blog stuffed full of home projects, you feel like you are part of their family. Don’t know what color to paint a room? Check out their handy guide. Want to conceal that ugly microwave but keep it accessible? They have a tutorial on that as well. This blog is centered towards family living, with projects for children’s rooms and family-friendly DIY projects. The blog is strategically and simply categorized into project themes like painting, eco-friendly, and even projects to celebrate that special someone in your life entitled “Lovey-dovey.” Readers beware… the list of enticing projects may lead you on a DIY binge. Check out below to see what may be the chicest nursery ever created by parents.

Visit Young House Love to dive into more projects


The Ugly Duckling House

Blogger Sarah Fogle is a single girl sharing her DIY and home improvement adventures with the world from her home in Atlanta, Ga. She admits that she doesn’t always get projects right, but will go step by step with you in the process of adding your own style to your home, no man required. With in-depth descriptions and some humor to boot, Sarah is like the crafty friend we all have, willing to try anything. Her projects range from heavy duty room remodeling to cute little DIY projects to give an item in her room a whole new look. Who else can say they put in their own butcher’s block counter tops?

Sarah’s journey of DIY can be found at her blog


DIY Diva

Kit Stansley is another blogger is is a fan of DIY, but with a rustic edge as a nod to her farming experience. Kit and Ugly Duckling House blogger Sarah actually do “Dueling DIY” segments against each other on a home project, and blog about their experiences. Kit is in love with her power drill and shows how girl power and home improvement can go hand in hand. Black Feather Farm is home to one of the biggest projects she has ever done, and where she has learned about farming and keeps animals. Want to build a picnic table? Kit’s got you covered. Want to know more about house building? She reserves a section on her blog for that as well. When she isn’t writing about home improvement and her DIY projects, Kit describes her posts that don’t fit into that category as “General Badassery.” Ready to get down and dirty and plan the home you’ve always dreamed of? Kit is at your service.

Enter Kit’s world here:


21-year-old entrepreneur takes on NoVA

By Anjelica Michael 

Hayes Organization Solutions

Photo courtesy of Brandon Hayes.


In October 2013, Hayes Organization Solutions was born out of 21-year-old Brandon Hayes‘ Fairfax apartment. “I’ve always been an organized person” said Hayes. “When I started working with friends and family and organizing their homes, a friend recommended I start my own business.”

As part of a generation of budding entrepreneurs, Hayes took the next step and put his dream into motion. 

Brandon Hayes of Hayes Organization Solutions.

Photo courtesy of Brandon Hayes.

A Michigan native and George Mason University student, Hayes saw there was a market for home organization and decided to pursue it, forming his own before even graduating. We talked to Hayes to learn more about his business, and what makes it different from the competition. 

“We can do anything from just going into your closet and color-coordinating your clothes, to a whole closet redo,” Hayes said. “It’s all about functionality and easy access. Each time we go into a home it is different, because it is specific to what a customer wants. Catering to the individual is what its about.” Hayes said that he wants his team to get to know a client before any work is done to evaluate works best for them and their every-day lifestyle. 

When asked if he feels like his age plays a role in his business, Hayes laughed and said, “Of course people take it into consideration. But I notice all the ever-changing trends in homes. I notice what works and what doesn’t.”

But despite starting a business when many of his contemporaries are worried about graduation, Hayes is confident in his abilities.

“I’m serious about what I do, and I am in someone’s home to do a good job. Not everyone starts a business at 40.”

Keeping on trend and up to date with new tools are important, but Hayes says it goes beyond that. He always tells clients with kitchen organization projects to go grocery shopping beforehand, so he can see the products they use on a regular basis and work that into the organizational design of the space.

“I like to incorporate style into the space,” he said. “If I go into a space and organize it without knowing the person, sure, it will look nice and trendy, but it won’t work. It needs to be personalized to their daily routine.” 

So why start the business in NoVA and not his native Michigan? “There are a lot of homes and businesses and everyone is on the go.” Hayes pointed out that people in Northern Virginia want the perfect home, and with perfection comes organization.

Even if you are on a budget, Hayes said there are solutions that are wallet-safe, ” You can find a lot of things at Target or on Amazon that are nice and inexpensive.”

In the end, Hayes just wants people to be happy in their homes with spaces that they are comfortable in. “I’m looking to create a perfect plan that fits their needs.” 

For more about Hayes Organization Solutions, visit its website at







4 Hot Tips for Organizing Your Home

By Anjelica Michael

Hayes Organization Solutions, Brandon Hayes

Photo courtesy of Howard Sandler/

Brandon Hayes of Hayes Organization Solutions in Fairfax gives us his best tips to help organization situations in your home.


1. With children, keep things at their level within their space

“If you put things at your level and not theirs, they’ll never use it,” Hayes said. Make everything at easy reach for your children, then they can help with clean up as well.


2. Use a shoe organizer in your pantry

“These are good for planning out weekly lunches and putting snacks aside for kids when they come home.” This could save time and possibly prevent a mess.


3. Hangers

“Hangers can change your life,” Hayes said. Different types of hangers can save space and make things more accessible. This is also important to save your clothes. Hayes recommends phasing out plastic hangers that can damage your clothing and cause stretching.


4. Customize

Don’t buy something help with organization because it seems functional. You need to know that you will utilize it daily. “It’s easy to go to The Container Store and freak out, but this can waste a lot of time and money.” Know ahead of time what you need and visualize it in your space. If you see it collecting dust, it isn’t a smart purchase.


To learn more about Brandon Hayes and his home organizing business, visit

Transform a Cave into a Cozy Space

By Taylor Ness

No one likes to spend time in a room that looks like the size of a closet. Luckily, there are many ways to trick the eye with home décor.  

The common rule of thumb is to stick to neutral colors when designing a small room, allowing the space to feel airy and open. Even keeping to a monochrome palate will make the space feel larger.  But a room isn’t all about the paint. Even if you go with a bold, vibrant color base there are still ways to figuratively open up the space.


1. When it comes to furniture, choose pieces that can serve more than one purpose, like an ottoman with a tray placed on top.

Eaton Ottoman

Eaton Ottoman. Photo courtesy of Williams Sonoma.



2. Shelving that has a limited number of items on it creates the illusion of open space.

Tracy Murdock Design

Tracy Murdock Design. Photo courtesy of Vertikoff, Mark Edward Harris, Scott Van Dyke, Brett cDrury, Jerry Brown, Tim Street Porter.


3. While it’s important to allow natural light into a room, adding curtains that are the same color of a wall can open up the room. 


Tracy Murdock Design

Tracy Murdock Design. Photo courtesy of Vertikoff, Mark Edward Harris, Scott Van Dyke, Brett cDrury, Jerry Brown, Tim Street Porter.


4. Strategically placed mirrors not only give the feel of the room continuing on, they allow light to bounce around the room. 


Impact Plus Beveled Edge Mirror Solid Core Chrome MDF Interior Bifold Closet Door

Impact Plus Beveled Edge Mirror Solid Core Chrome MDF Interior Bifold Closet Door. Photo courtesy of


5. If you choose to have wall art, pick one large piece.

Canvas Print-Watercolor Landscape; $229 @ West Elm Photo. Photo courtesy of West Elm.

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