Paralyzed by the Possibilities

It is, perhaps, a little known fact that most interior designers have a near impossible time decorating their own home.

Sadly, I am not an exception.

For nearly 6, yes SIX, agonizing months I’ve done my darnedest to come up with a fabric and color scheme for our family room.

Here is what it looks like now:


(longer, deeper sigh) BTW, there is plywood under the cushions. (another sigh)

Designers have no difficulty making wonderful selections for our clients. We ask questions. Do lots of listening. Then execute a beautiful plan.
Not so for ourselves.


We get distracted by the next new shiny thing we see. We LOVE so many different fabrics. Looks. Styles. Colors. Actually, this is part of the reason we are good at what we do. If a client wants a style that differs from our personal preferences, we still get excited about it and have a great time putting it together.

But back to my dilemma….

The compter armoire  (yes computer armoire – how sad is that)  currently housing the TV will go. The TV will move to above the fireplace (the room is TINY & I need the floor space). Everything in the photo will go – except the TV remote. Did I mention how much I hate this room?

Weeks ago I started sorting through fabrics. Memo after memo of yummy beautiful fabric.

Not quite right.

Still not it.

Time to seek help.

Anne from  Dwellings By Design offering her professional opinion.

And Michele from My Notting Hill working a little magic.

Still, no decision.

I finally decided to go back to my favorite inspiration photos to gain new focus.

And here is the one that spoke to me the loudest.  (Photo: Traditional Home  Designer, Amy Bergman)

What I love most: oodles of texture, soothing neutrals, interesting yet subtle patterns.

So finally,  the fabrics for my new family room:

They are all very tactile – raised velvet detail on all but the sofa fabric. For the sofa, a textured velvet with lots of shine and movement. Add to all of this some shiny nickel nail head detail here, a contrasting welt there and exposed wood trim on the upholstered pieces in a soft white painted finish. New occasional tables, lighting, rug, built-ins (gee, I sure hope my husband is not reading this – he thinks we just need furniture).

Next up: choosing the furniture. Ugh! See you in another 6 months. But seriously, I hope to have everything ordered within the next week and will be back to you in 6 – 8 weeks with an update.


If you would like help choosing the perfect fabrics for your project – which really can be done in a more speedy fashion – send me a note!

Circa Who & Product Resources

I am mildly obessed with finding new product sources. I just am.

I don’t relax and enjoy the images in shelter mags. That’s not to say I don’t enjoy the images – I do. What I don’t do is relax. Pen in hand, I obsessively write down every website or manufacturer that catches my interest.

So, I was flipping through House Beautiful several months ago and paused to read the feature article, The Next Wave of Designers to Watch. (I realize this is old news, but I cannot get to my point without starting here.) The article includes brief interviews with the chosen designers and each are asked a series of questions. The one that most intrigued me:  “Tell us one of your secret design sources.”

Paydirt. Here are the country’s best up and coming designers and they are going to tell us where they get their stuff. Sweet.

One of the featured designers  is a DC local and someone I admire a lot, Sally Steponkus.  Her secret source?  Circa Who, a West Palm Beach vintage resale shop. Here is what she says:  “Last year when I was doing a condo in Bal Harbour, Fl, I drove over  to Palm Beach to check out some of the vintage shops. I fell in love with Circa Who and continue to visit the website and e-mail Tracy to ask her to keep her eyes peeled for certain pieces. She’s always got affordable, funky, cool, vintage furniture and lighting. I love bringing a little ’60s West Palm to conservative, serious DC!”

Quick as a flash I was on that website.

And here is what I found:

8 Century Furniture dining chairs!
Look at that greek key detail on the arm chairs. Stunners.
Yes, these are sitting in my dining room right now. More on the transformation of these chairs and the room in a future post.

A few weeks later I find this Century Furniture (do we detect a theme with me?) king headboard. And, yep, it is now in my guest room.
I tell my husband I purchase these things to use in future projects. I mean it when I say it. Really, I do.

I guess I would consider parting with it….Maybe.

Acrylic nesting tables. Living in my sunroom.

And here are a few items currently available at Circa Who.

(Yes, more Century Furniture dining  chairs like mine)

(all images of currently available items via Circa Who)

Hurry on over if you are in need of a vintage fix. It is a great resource and the good stuff goes fast! Sally, my husband says thanks. Not.


If you want help fitting a bit of West Palm glam in your home, get in touch. I’d love to help!

Inspired by the 1940’s

Getting a design concept across to a client can be tricky sometimes. So lately I’ve been trying to sketch more. It is not award-winning stuff, but when I have a vision in my head for transforming a client’s space, pictures are way better than a verbal description with lots of pointing and gesturing. (And no, I cannot talk while sitting on my hands)

This sketch is for a client who would like a 1940’s inspired living room and foyer and I am showing it to her today. She and her husband love swing dancing, vintage lamps and clothing and all things 1940’s. AND, the husband is an ARTIST. Can you imagine showing a professional artist this sketch? Eeekkk!

Though I know the basic look and characteristics of Edwardian style, a refresher was in order. Taking inspiration from any bygone era can be tricky. It is important to capture the essence of the period, but then it needs to be interpreted in a contemporary way.

Here is how the foyer looks now. (I’m not sharing the ‘before’ pic of the living room because my client hated the pictures when she saw them in her file and I don’t want her hating me!)

♦ SIDE NOTE:  If you want to see your home the way others do, take a picture. It’s a whole new perspective! ♦

The family has two adorable young children and a dog, so the rooms are hard working. The foyer needs to store shoes and seasonal coats and provide a place for little ones to sit down as they put on shoes.  You can see the green front door in the picture above. When you step in, the living room is immediately on your right and even though there is a cased opening to separate the two spaces, it needs something more.

So back to the sketch….The plan addresses these needs with a built-in storage bench under the window and a shallow closet with coat hooks near the front door.  To give it a hefty dose of 1940’s style,  I want to install tall faux paneling. Above the paneling is not what you think; it is fabric! The same fabric used for the window treatments to be exact. There are companies who back fabric with paper, and voila! Fabric as wallpaper!

Moving to the adjoining living room, here is the rest of the plan:

The yummy floral is for the window treatments and 2 fab stools, or poufs as they are called by The Charles Stewart Company.  The golden chenille is going on the Sherrill sofa, and the super soft velvet on the amazing tufted Charles Stewart chairs. The puckered silk is for the soft roman shades layered under all 3 windows for privacy. The sweet stylized stripe will go on pillows.

The living room window treatments:

Floral print fabric with the solid red linen on the button detail at the top and the banding of the leading edge and bottom hem.

In the foyer, this valance will also be in the floral and the solid red linen lining will show in the folds.

Puckered ivory silk for the roman shades.

The Sherrill sofa, done in golden chenille.

Two Charles Stewart Chairs in green velvet.

Two poufs, covered in floral with solid red contrasting welts and buttons and also peeking out from the pleats.

Stay tuned for more updates as this project progresses. The first pieces of furniture are due in just a couple of weeks and then we can add occasional tables, lighting, accessories……

♦ UPDATE:  My client LOVED the foyer proposal! Looks like this will be added to the job list! Sketching pays off!


If you want to see one of my brilliant (riiiight) sketches for your home, just shout!

Put On Your Big Girl Panties

As each day passes and I’ve not posted here, the pressure mounts. I have so many things I want to share but they all seem so lame as I surf around reading scintillating, imaginative and creative blogs. How will I ever be able to find my place beside My Notting Hill, or Pure Style Home, or  House of Turquoise, or Cote de Texas? As much as I hate to admit it, a teeny tiny bit of self pity had set in.

Then this morning I was having a sweet and (I hope) inspiring conversation with my daughter about the challenges of friendship and how sometimes it seems easier to get mad, or be sad, or assume the worse in those challenging moments. We talked about how we, and only we, are responsible for our happiness, or success, or mood, or (fill-in-the-blank). Excuse-making and blame-placing not allowed. After she gave me a very sweet hug and skipped off, I turned my attention to my to do list.

And there it was, just where I left it:  ◊Write blog post.  Ugh. Still no √ in that box.

Then it hit me…..time to apply a little of my own advice. No excuses. No self-pity.

Put on your big girl panties, Roxanne, and get on with it.

And so I will.

Here are a few images I found recently after discovering Houzz.

I’m helping a client transform her VERY large home office space into a serene, well organized oasis where her productivity will soar. And where, tucked away in a corner, will be a cozy reading nook with comfy furniture. A space designed to lure her children in. She loves reading with them and wants her office to be as much a productive work space as a cozy retreat.

This is one of her favorite inspiration photos. She loves the clean white organized feeling of this space – and so do I! Notice the inspiration wall on the left full of found treasures?

Here is one of my favorites. I love the glass shelves behind the desk. The things perched upon them seem to magically float. The gold floral wallpaper relates beautifully with the simple cork board and vintage trophy lamp. The wall color  is soothing and the dark floor grounds it all. Throw in the unexpected faux hide rug, and surely only brilliant work emerges from this space!

The mix of dark neutral walls with the vibrant orange really appeals to me. Likewise, the mix of  the traditional print of the window treatments against the geometric rug. Any idea how to use an abacus? Anyone?

And finally…….What I REALLY call a fantasy office! Who are they kidding? No way any meaningful work comes outa here.

My client and I are just getting started on her project and only at the floor plan stage. As soon as I have more to share, I will!

So, big girl panties firmly on, I’ll say bye for now.
And I’ll be back soon!


What Does It Cost To Do A Room??

What Does It Cost To Do A Room?

My lovely friend, Lauren Liess at Pure Style Home, posted a blog about just this topic. She said it in a way that is so eloquent and open and friendly that I just have to share it with all of you. Take a moment to click here and enjoy her thoughts.

What is YOUR Style?

As designers we really, really want to give our clients rooms that take their breath away. Rooms that feel just right to them and that they cannot wait to share with friends and family. Doing this takes time and effort and energy and loads of communication and patience! It is what I love best about my job. I love the first few meetings with a new client where I get to discover what they love. Sometimes they know exactly what they want, and other times they don’t. But always, ALWAYS, every single client has a style. They may say they don’t, but they sure do. What a joy it is to help them discover just the look that makes their toes curl, that trips their trigger, that gets the juices flowing! Boy, oh boy do I love what I do!!!

So what is your style?

Are you traditional?

(photo from Traditional Home Magazine)

More Modern?

(photo from DTI, Modern Love)


Or perhaps something in between?

(photo from

If you want help fine-tuning your style, just let me know. I’d love to help! Contact me.

Stylishly Yours,  Roxanne