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International Home

Going abroad is always a memorable experience. You return home with an opened mind to the lifestyles and cultures of other countries and people. Why not bring back some mementos from your trip? I’m not talking about key chains or t-shirts. There are ways to bring home great décor pieces from abroad, whether within the country or from overseas. 

Now, when it comes to international shopping, there are two types of buyers:

1. Organic, International Curators

These are my passport-carrying, travel-daydreaming, "set-and-ready to go" shoppers. If you go on a trip you are bringing something good and worthy back! If this is or will be you, before your trip, be sure to familiarize yourself with the history and art of the region from which you intend to buy. This will allow you to properly gauge the value and authenticity of potential purchases. The last thing you want is to get scammed out of your precious money while overseas…no bueno!

Also, if the item is durable enough and you are willing to check / carry it onto your flight, prepare to have to “claim” the item at customs. Your flight attendant will hand you a Customs Declaration card, on which you “declare” any purchases you made while overseas and state the approximate amount spent on those items. Don’t let the movies get your nerves riled…going through customs is not that bad. I came back from Jamaica multiple times with Blue Mountain Coffee in my suitcase and police dogs sniffed their way right on past it. No problem mon! My coffee was the least of their worries coming from Jamrock! ;)

2. International Shoppers...without Passports. 

First off, if you do not have a passport yet, GET ONE! That’s the first mandatory step to beginning your world-class life journey, abroad. However, when it comes to being a worldwide shopper, passports are not required. All you need is the worldwide web! You can easily locate local or regional specialty boutiques and consignment shops. You could certainly order furniture, antiques or accessories from any of the millions of online retailer stores, as long as you are willing to pay for the shipping.

Another way to “fake it” fabulously is to buy look-a-likes! Pier 1 Imports is famous for its multicultural home décor. Try One Kings LaneJoss & MainDot & Bo, and more! There are tons of sites dedicated to home décor and each cater to a variety of home styles. If Moroccan is your pleasure, go to Z Gallerie! Do you favor upscale, Italian, contemporary design? Call on Calligaris! You just have to do the research...or ask me!

Cultural home décor truly does become a treasure. From my tapestry from Istanbul to my coconuts and beads from my very first Mardi Gras while living in New Orleans, each have become so dear to me and I will never be able to give them all up. The memories are too precious for me to let go…well I did have to get rid of some beads…I had a ridiculous amount…evidence of a good time! ;) 

What are some of your most prized décor pieces? From abroad or from the States…what is one piece you will never go without?

See you soon “HOME-ies”! 


Closet Addict...Not That Kind!


Closet Addict...Not That Kind!

Have you ever been in a really nice clothing store's dressing room and thought, "This is niiice!" Well, you can bring that look home in small, inexpensive ways! 

Find Your Style

Remember last week's article on design styles? Yeah! Continue your design style from your bedroom and bathroom into your closet decor by choosing complimentary colors in paint, art and accessories. Maintaining a flow with style will allow a seamless transition between spaces and create a connected feeling from room to room. If your bedroom has contemporary finishes, keep your closet's decor in the same design family.

Light It Up

Task lighting is essential in closets, but that doesn't mean it can't be decorative. Hang sconces, pendants or track lighting to illuminate your walk-in or add baseboard lights to display shoes and boots on the floor. Use light bulbs that emulate natural daylight to see clothing and shoes in their truest colors. Hang mirrors to reflect light and to add an open concept feeling.


Honestly, this is probably the easiest paint job for your home. Think about it, it is probably the smallest room in your entire place…and lucky you if it’s not! You can paint your closet any color you feel. Go dark for a high-class, luxury look. Stay light and airy with a pastel or bright, refreshing white. Either way, don’t overlook the closet for a paint job, just because it’s the smallest space...don’t be afraid of wallpaper either!

Use Your Clothes as Decoration!

Unless you have enclosed cabinetry (which would be the easy, chic route), there will be no hiding your clothes in your closet. Therefore, the way they are displayed is crucial to the overall look of the space. I suggest either of these two options: 1) organize by color or 2) organize by item.  If your closet’s paint color of choice is white (or that's the color your apartment stuck you with and your aren’t changing it ;), then I suggest the color coordination. It makes the space seem more thoughtfully planned. If you are down for a colored closet, then you may go either route, but organizing by item may keep your closet from looking like there is “too much going on.” Be sure there is a place for everything and everything is in its place.

What are your concerns or questions about decorating your closet? Let's solve them so you can get to work! :)



Color Theory Part I: The Color Wheel

I’m sure you’ve heard of colors having influence over senses and emotions. These claims come from the popular studies of color theory, which in short is the “practical guidance to color mixing and the visual effects of a specific color combination.” I will breakdown how to use the color wheel when redecorating a space.

Let’s think of the color wheel as a pie chart. It holds all the color combinations made by red, yellow and blue. These colors can be divided in half and labeled as warm and cool. When someone asks, “How does this room feel?”, warm and cool can refer to more than just the temperature. Warm colors can make a room look vibrant, happy and energetic, while cool colors can reflect freshness, tranquility and cheerfulness.


First, we have the monochromatic colors (longest name, easiest definition). These hues are all the same color, but vary in intensity from light to dark. This is when you hear the term “ombre” in the design world. It is very “safe”, simple and elegant.




Second, we have analogous colors.  When you hear this, think “love your neighbors”. These consist of three colors that are right next to each other on the color wheel.  Still safe and clean with a little more dimension and variety.




Third, we have complimentary colors, which are simply opposite of each other on the color wheel. This is when we get a bit more daring…contrasting colors. Ever notice those colors that always seem to look good together? Blue and yellow, pink and green, red and green? This is why!

The last color theory collection is triadic colors. This combination is bold, yet balanced. (This is why it’s important to use a color wheel!) It is created by three colors that form a triangle on the wheel.

The next time you go to Home Depot or Lowe’s and are perusing the paint section, go ahead and test out these tips. When you start your next (or first) reno / ”redeco” project, pull up a color wheel and this article to plan a colorfully coordinated space.



Five Items that Every Man Needs at Home

You finally decided to transform your “bachelor pad” into a true gentleman’s retreat! Yay! So proud of you! :) Here are a few key items to add to your space to make it work for you…and your guest(s)! ;)

Photo Credit: Nick Johnson

1.     A Place to Sit & Eat

…that is not a coffee table! The “eating at the coffee table” lifestyle is tolerable (at best) when you are in college. Now that you are in the real world, it is time to get a dining table…withchairs. Add a little decoration to the dining table with a nice centerpiece. If flowers aren’t your thing or it’s too feminine, find a nice tabletop sculpture to accent the space. Just make sure it is not so tall that it blocks your view when sitting down.

2.     Something Else in the Room with your TV.

Technology is getting smaller and smaller, so it’s safe to say “good-bye” to displaying huge sound systems or speakers. There are a number of ways to add life to your TV area.  For example, a well-developed library shows that you’re well-read and gives the feeling that you’re well-traveled as well (Gotta love intellect!).  Mixed with the books, you may want to add photography, art and childhood memorabilia (just don’t’ get carried away…remember tip #4 from this article.)

3.     Seating that is not a Sectional.

Photo Credit: Elizabeth Felicella

This goes along with your TV room.  When I think of a bachelor pad, I automatically picture a sectional. Break out of the mold with a combination of a sofa, chairs and an ottoman. There is more freedom of styling in these options, so have fun with it!

4.     A Bathroom that is Your Sanctuary.

Men have just as much claim to the bathroom as women do. After a long day at work, you may actually want to come home to peace and serenity. Even if you cannot structurally customize your bathroom, a simple shower bench to sit and decompress in the hot water may just be enough. How about a well-placed mirror and plush bathmat for the perfect shaving area? It really does come down to the little things that, unknowingly, make a big difference.

5.  A Risk

Don’t be blasé. Men tend to be entirely too practical when selecting furniture. Step outside your design comfort zone and be bold, whether it’s wall art, funky furniture or awesome colors… do it up stylishly! Is bold necessary? Nope, but when you do take the risk, it usually winds up being your favorite traits of your space. 

Photo Credit: Jacob Snavely



Three Tips for Small Space Design

So you are just starting life on your own. Whether living in a college dorm or your first apartment with more roommates than you truly desire, creating a space of your own will help you unwind after a long day of classes or steadily (but surely) climbing the corporate ladder. Let’s us know you thoughts in comments!

Photo Credit: Thomas Loof

Rule #1: No clutter!

You literally do not have space for it. Utilize clever storage that keeps items hidden from sight or invest in multifunctional furniture that can double as storage. Organization is key!

Photo Credit: HGTV

Rule #2: Bring on the color!

A common misconception in small space design is that you cannot use bold colors. Well, I would not advise you to splash your favorite neon colors everywhere, however, I absolutely adore colors. As for small spaces, you will want to use them in moderation, especially if you want to incorporate a plethora of color combinations. Try an accent wall or one bold piece of large furniture if you want a dramatic effect or bring in the colors subtly in textiles, fixtures and décor accessories. BUT remember rule #1 – no clutter!

Photo Credit: Freshome

Rule #3: Let in the natural light.

Natural light will be your best friend in small space living. The light will illuminate to give an illusion of more square footage. If your home has limited natural light, you want light enhancing curtains to block sight lines through your window, but not the sunshine. Also, another trick is to mount mirrors opposite the windows to reflect the light and to provide the semblance of more open space.

These few tips, when applied thoughtfully, will enhance your small domain into your comfortable palace.