Jan 13

Displaying your Collectibles

Posted In Art, Clothing, Decorating, flea market, Old to New, Shopping, Styling, Uncategorized

People always ask me where I shop for art and accessories. This really depends, on who I’m shopping for, their budget, time frame, taste, etc. Most days you can find me searching through stacks and shelves at the various HomeGoods, Pier One, World Market/Cost Plus, Target, Ikea, Z Gallerie and Crate and Barrel stores in Orange County. I can almost always find great looking pieces at these locales.

But my favorite way to accessorize a room is with unique collectibles… one of a kind items that my clients already own… pieces that really mean something to them. Often they’ve been carried home from travels, inherited, handmade, or searched for at antique shops, flea markets or on Ebay. Whether it’s to my taste or not, I always have fun playing around and decorating with these one-of-a-kind pieces that tell a story about that person or family. The weirder, wilder and wackier… the better! That is what makes a home personal, unique and beautiful.

So, how to show off unique collections?  This can be tricky… bring to mind Aunt Mildred’s house and her 100′s of Lladros perched on every surface, upstairs and down.  Spreading collections around an entire room or house can look busy, cluttered and overwhelming. I often start by paring down… every single piece does not have to be out at the same time.  Then, I group items together and decide how to display them… sitting on shelves or tables, hanging on walls or collected in bowls or baskets. Bringing “like” items together makes a bigger impact…  they’ll be more noticeable and look valuable. People will walk into your room and say “Wow,” instead of silently wondering how you live with all of that clutter!

Ways to display?  Shelves always make wonderful display bases.  With small items, like these vintage “snuff bottles,” I like to use risers like books, boxes and small chests to show them off at different levels.

The space above kitchen cabinets and high shelves is perfect for lining up collections like these gourds:

and these Vintage French wine bottles and pitchers:


Some collectibles look best when hung on a wall, like these old farm tools:

and musical instruments:


old records:


and gameboards:


Animal heads might not be everyone’s decor of choice, but this homeowner was proud of his hunting trophies and wanted to show them off in his home, so up they went!


Gathering items into a basket is a great option for displaying certain collectibles. These vintage tennis racquets are fun to look at and say something about the career and passion of the owner:



“Found’ items, like feathers, hand painted rocks and shells are earthy, textural and a beautiful addition when grouped in pots and bowls.




Certain collections look best displayed on a rack, like this grouping of handwoven fabrics, and hat/bag collection:


Ladders, especially old ones, offer a fun way to show off textiles like these handmade quilts.


Don’t be shy about bringing out the things you love to collect and using them to decorate your house.  If you edit carefully, group “like” items and display them well, you will end up with an home that has YOU written all over it.


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Jan 10

Furniture Redo

Posted In Budget, Decorating, flea market, Old to New, Styling, Uncategorized

My friend Lisa is fearless.  She’s also artistic, creative and SO SO brave with power tools, paintbrushes, electricity and pipes, not to mention sewing machines and knitting needles. You name it, she does it. Imagine… she once tore her bathroom apart… completely… plumbing, electrical and all AND then redid it when her husband was away on a business trip.

Compared to that epic redo her latest project is extremely simple, but I am still impressed at the BIG difference fresh paint made on her decades old hutch. Here’s an email she sent me this last week about a simple paint project she took on… again, hubby was away, so Lisa played….

“I had nothing to do last week so I painted the hutch in my foyer. I’ve been wanting to add some turquoise to my color scheme and decided to be bold and paint this hutch. It was painted flat black….”
“So, I painted it with a flat paint too… a super bright shade of turquoise.  This selection was brighter than I would normally choose because I knew I’d be sealing it with a combination of clear and brown wax for a European finish.   This picture (below) shows you the process.  The item on the left was only painted with the very intense turquoise color…  it looks and feels like flat paint.  The  bottom part on the right is in the process of being antiqued, where I’m applying and rubbing off alternate coats of clear and dark wax until I get the dirty look in the place I want it.  Then I buffed the heck out of it. 
“Here is the final product.  It looks like it came out of a kitchen in a french farmhouse and has years of dirt on it…I didn’t want a fussy or a perfect look.  I LOVE how it looks with the milkglass, but now the chairs I kept on either side need to be recovered. (another project!) Yeah..you should see it in person..much more beautiful..took 3 days of hard work to get that finish just right.”

Meanwhile, now I’m super motivated, so I’ve decided to paint some some rusty white garden furniture that my neighbor just gave to me.  Here’s what it looks like after a little bit of sanding and priming.
I’m gonna spray paint them with standard black Rustoleum paint.  Glossy.  Will keep you posted, but give me a while because I’ll be reupholstering the chairs too!
I admit that I’m not as skilled or brave as Lisa when it comes to refinishing furniture… she really could be a pro. But, I’m not afraid to try a few simple projects.  Do you have any tips on how I should be doing this? Please share….!
BY THE WAY…. Lisa is the talent that designed the artwork and graphics for this website and my newest, latest, greatest business cards.  Is there anything that this woman can’t do, and do extraordinarily well???

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Nov 18

No View… What to do?

Posted In Art, Decorating, Move-in's, staging, Styling, Uncategorized

Do you have a frightful view?

Unfortunately, even in the most beautiful of homes, there can be windows that look out at, well, ugliness… like big dirty buildings, smokestacks, falling down fences, blank walls, nosey neighbors, trash cans, dirty cars, air conditioners and more.  You could keep your drapes or blinds closed all of the time to block such an unpleasing view, but really, isn’t that even worse?  What to do?  How about looking for attractive ways to distract the eye from what is beyond the window.

For example:

You could prop art up on the window ledge.  LOVE this!  It pulls the eye towards something attractive and distracts from that “view.”  BEST… it still allows the light in.



A mirror in the window has the same effect.


Open shelves built in front of the window look gorgeous, allow light in, and provide a degree of privacy.

Beautiful shelves surrounding the window distract from that view. (the plant and lamp help too!)

Shelves, filled with plants, built on the deck outside of the window keep us from noticing the building across the way!

Here, plants hang directly on that unattractive wall.  SOOOoo much nicer than when left blank.


Plants sitting in this outdoor space are a lovely sight!


As are these trees placed inside of the room.


If plants are not your thing, how about large, beautiful lamps to distract from what is lurking beyond…!



Leaded or stained glass may be the only solution in some situations.

Leaded glass window



Placing a bed in front of the window is often considered a big NO NO…  I disagree.!  With beautiful bedding, a headboard, draperies,shades or sheers you have a grand focal point.  The view will always be beautiful!





What do you do to create a pretty view?











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