The Enjoyment of Christmas

After all the decorating is done, I love to sit back and enjoy time with family and friends.  As I wrap presents, bake and make crafts with my daughter, I enjoy the ambiance that Christmas brings. 

In my foyer, I created a Winter Wonderland scene with trees and snow on the ledge. 
I love sitting in different parts of my home and looking up at the lights from the foyer ledge.  I can't help but be in the Christmas spirit with this scene. 

My Christmas tree is full of memories.  I have ornaments that my aunts made me as a child; ones that were my fathers; ones my uncle painted with us one year; and now ornaments that my daughter makes.  It is tied together with burlap ribbon, rust woven ribbon, copper bells, and white lights.  As I look at it, floods of memories come to mind and bring a smile. 

Hanging in the windows are small wreaths with fresh green mesh ribbons. 
In the dining room, I keep my centerpiece fresh with different types of greenery from my yard.  It reminds me of Mrs. Self, a friend of our family from my childhood, who taught me you could always pull things together from your home and yard to create a centerpiece.  It brings a smile to my face to think of her. 
When we come home at night, we are greeted with the twinkling lights in the palladium window and the ring of the jingle bells in the wind. 

I love this time of year.  It's a great time to be creative with decorating, crafts and cooking.  I wish you all a Merry Christmas and look forward to blogging with you more in 2014.

Remember, Great Design Takes Time!

Lisa Wills

Christmas Door

The first Christmas we were in our home, I was on a limited budget.  We bought a home that needed windows, a roof, a new kitchen and lots and lots of work.  Being on a limited budget, is not a bad deal for me.  Seriously,  that's when I am my most creative!  I wanted to do something different to my front doorstoop.  Like every decorating job I do, I look at what I have to work with first. 

I found that I had a jingle bell wreath that my husband's father gave us.  It was bright red, green and blue.  For those of you who know me, not my colors, but nothing that a little spray paint couldn't fix!  I sprayed it copper and then added a fresh green silk ribbon to it. 

I then struggled to figure out what else to do so I went to the Dollar Store.  Didn't you know they are a designer store?  Well, they can be if you are creative.  Afterall, it's the creativity that makes things have design.  I found some shiny brass jingle bells!  My theme started coming together! 

The following year, I found a large jingle bell and added it to the mix.  It became the centerpiece of all the hanging bells. 

In the end I spent less than $20 and was pleased with the outcome. 

It's amazing what you can come up with in your own home and with a little creativity. 

Hope you are enjoying the holiday season!

Remember, Great Design Takes Time!

Lisa Wills

Christmas Mantle

The fireplace mantle is the focal point of the home.  At Christmas time, I love playing this area up.  Afterall, this is where Santa Clause comes down the chimney with toys to share!

The most special part of my Christmas mantle is the "Merry Christmas" wood heart garland on twine.  I made this for my mother my senior year of high school.  I remember my father drilling the holes in the hearts and me painting them.  Then I remember carefully using my best print that my mom taught me to do the lettering.  It brings a smile to my face and warm childhood memories of my family.

My mom gave me these cute wood reindeers to add to the center.  I actually bring them out in the fall and leave them out through Christmas.  

For years, I wanted to make my own stockings.  I grew up with a mother who was verymuch a homemaker.  She made my brother and me our very own stockings.  I wanted to do the same!  When we moved into our Marwood home, I asked my mom to help me.  We took upholstery fabric and lined them with fleece. 

Then trimmed them with various types of trim for each family member.  This is the trim my daughter chose for hers.  This will be a memory I will always cherish and I love how they turned out. 

The candles are up all year around but I enjoy lighting them more at this time of the year when we have friends and family come over and light them.  The candleholders are a mix of rustic wrought iron and then a pair of carved olive branch wood.  I chose to to mix the colors of candles and love how they turned out.  I would have never done it that way except I was trying to use what I had already.  I think they look perfect.

Christmas is my favorite time of year to decorate and I enjoy sharing and hopefully inspiring you. 

Remember, Great Design Takes Time!

Lisa Wills

Dining Room Christmas Table

I love coming up with a centerpieces for my dining room table for different times of the year!  This Christmas, I decided that I wanted to use some of my silver that rarely gets used.  I remember being a child admiring my Maw Maw Dodd’s silver and wishing she’d actually use it!  When I got married, she gave me some of her silver and since then I have added a number of pieces on my own.  
I pulled out a silver hollowware epergne that has 3 hanging baskets.  I have never used it and decided that I wanted to put it to use!

 I also had a holloware cake stand that I had never used.  It gave the epergne the right height. 

I added various champagne, cream, and white glass ornaments to the bowls.
I added variegated Pittosporum from my yard.  I was thrilled to actually have something I could use from my yard.  I planted this shrub at my old house and when we redid our landscaping I made sure I planted it again.  It is used by florist and stays beautiful all year, giving you something to always decorate with in your home for special occassions!

 I then found these adorable Santa Clauses in my attic and added them to the base of the arrangement along with more ornaments.


I found these great fresh green ornamental stars and balls at an end of Christmas sale last year and decided to hang them on the chandelier. 

In the end, I was pleased with the outcome and glad I was able to use some of the dressier decor I have in my home. 

Take a look around your own home.  You might be surprised at what you can come up with right under your nose!
Remember, Great Design Takes Time! 

Foyer Ledges

Foyer ledges started showing up in homes in the early 90’s.  Ever since, I’ve noticed that most people leave them empty.  What do we do with them?  I started looking around trying to figure out how to decorate this space myself. 
I’ve not been a big fan of the statues or floral arrangements that can be seen from the outside.  It’s just not me and I wanted something different. 

 I also have not liked seeing accessories that you’d normally see on table surfaces.  They are not to scale to the space and the ledge is really a floor so it just looks odd to me. 

 I love the idea of a reading loft but not in a foyer and mine is way higher than I’d want anyone to climb. 

I’ve seen tables and chairs on the ledges but that makes me want to go over and sit down to look at the window and there is no way to do that!  Why would you put a table in chair where you can get to them?  However, most ledges look like this one with nothing on it.  What a waste!
Here is what I came up with:
  • From the outside, I think the window should highlight the chandelier.  There shouldn’t be anything in the window that would obstruct the view of the chandelier. 
  • From the inside, I want to frame the window and add interest to the space that will draw the eye up when guest enter. 
  • I think that you should only use accessories that can stand alone on the floor.
Some ideas of what to put on a ledge are architectural pieces such as large corbels, old shutters and doors.  Also, old wooden wagon wheels, ladders and farming tools would be good.  You could even use large picking or tobacco For a beach house, I think a large decorative sailboat would look beautiful as well. 

Here is one I did recently.  We started out with a blank slate, just like so many homes have.

I started out like I always do, looking for items around her home.  I found a beautiful weathervane that was not spotlighted in her house as I thought it should be.  Instead it was in pieces and not on a stand.  I took it and had it mounted on a stand for her.

Then in the attic, I found a butter churn.  I found these large sunflowers to put in it.  Aren't they beautiful? 
I found a garden topiari when I was out and about scouting local stores.  I added Christmas lights to the inside of it to help draw the eye up when it is night.  I put our finds together and still didn't feel like it had the look I was going for so I went back into the attic and found her husband's grandmother's antique chest.  Her husband was delighted that something of his had made it into the collection and helped me get it up to the space!  It was the magic piece and I loved how it turned out.  What do you think? 

In my home, I also had an empty ledge.  Being a decorator, I couldn't just leave this space empty!  I found a painted door with iron to put on one side.

Then I wanted to add light that would draw the eye up, show through the window a little but not take away from the iron chandelier hanging in the foyer.  I have been eyeing for a while lanterns but couldn't quite find the place to put one in my home.  I found this one and decided to add LED willow branches inside.  Then I placed an architectural corbal next to it.

This is how my ledge turned out.  It added a pop of color that help add interest to the space during the day and at night, it gives a warm inviting glow.

I was excited about how it turned out.  I plan to add something seasonal to the space as the year goes on.  As much as I love it now though, I can't wait to decorate it at Christmas time.  You'll love what I do then so stay tuned!  Don't forget that:  Great Design Takes Time! 

Until next time,


Fall Decor

The nights are getting cooler and soon Autumn days will soon follow.  When I was younger, fall was my least favorite time of the year.  I associated it with leaves and in the house I lived in I was always raking so I associated fall with one big mess!  Now I live in a house that doesn't have as many trees so I guess because I'm not always fighting leaves I enjoy it.  Instead, I find myself taking in all the beauty that comes with the turning of the leaves. 

Have you started thinking about how you are going to decorate?  Well, let's get to preparing!

First, I begin putting away all my warm weather decor.  Next, I slowly begin bringing out my fall decor.  I bring it out much like you begin seeing farmers bringing in their fall harvest.  I start by bringing out my fall ceramic pumpkins and bowls and containers around the house to display apples, small gourds and pine cones. 

This antique hand painted porcelain bowl was given to me by my husband's grandmother.  I leave it out throughout the year but in the fall I give it more of a spotlight on a table in my living room.  You'll see the inside of the bowl has acorns painted on it.  It's really beautiful alone so I don't put anything in it. 

Next, I think of all the spaces that I want to add a little fall decor to. For me, it's my front door, dining room and kitchen.  I like my money to go far so I try not to get too stuck on Halloween or Thanksgiving and focus on decor that will carry me through the season the furthest. 

This year for my dining room, I decided to add to my decor by purchasing a large ceramic owl and pumpkins.  I used my faithful burlap runner, large baluster candles and wicker chargers.  I love how it turned out and can't wait to entertain family and friends!

When it turns a little cooler, I will begin decorating my front door area with mums and pumpkins.  I love how this one is done below.  The coloring is beautiful!

This year I am wanting to add a new fall wreath.  I found this one and am going to copycat it.  I've already purchased everything to make it.  I'll be sure to post on my Facebook page the end result.  Isn't it adorable? 

I also love to put out sunflowers in the fall.  Live ones last over a week but you could always buy silk.  Look at these large ones that I found for a client.  I put them in a buttermilk churn and they look gorgeous!

When October arrives, I pull out my witches hat to put on my foyer table along with one of my ceramic pumpkins.  I thought it was way too cute to only come out for one night so I decided to dual purpose it!

When Halloween passes, I pull out our cornucopia and fill it full of faux gourds, pine cones and berries and set it at our doorway.

I hope this has gotten you to thinking about fall and that you'll take time to enjoy the cool weather, the beautiful colors and the festivities that go along with it.  Remember, you don't have to do it all at once.  Start out small and add to your fall decor each year because Great Design Takes Time!

Until next time,


My Bathroom Remodel: The Spa Shower

Our bathroom remodel started because we had a crack in our tile shower floor.  I was not heartbroken at all!  Our house is 20 years old and all the tile was stark white so it wasn't fun to keep clean.  When my husband and I started putting our ideas together for our bathroom remodel, the shower was of special concern to us. 

I began researching different ways to design a spa shower.  My husband thinks BIG so his ideas were much like this one.  He liked the idea of having various showerheads and dual showerheads.  I liked the idea but realistically I knew that would be extremely expensive, require some extensive plumbing and really didn't fit our space.

I loved this one.  It has the various showerheads but is still within reason for the space.  Hower, it too is pretty expensive.  Some of the other features I like about this cubby for my shampoo, conditioner and shaving cream.  The bench is actually functional and inviting.

The shower below, has no door.  I loved the idea of not having to clean a door!

 Then I ran across this one I liked the idea of a spa shower door that would swing in so that you could keep the door open to allow it to dry and prevent mildew.

In the end, we kept the single showerhead and chose fixtures in bronze.  I went to a local tile store I have used a number of times and asked for a lot of input as to what was slip resistent and easy to clean.  I knew I didn't not want a natural material because they are harder to keep clean.  I also knew I needed something affordable because frankly we have a number of other projects we need to do in this house. 

I went with a larger tile on the walls to cut down on grout lines.  Then of course we went with a smaller tile on the floor and ceiling.  It is amazing how I have no problems keeping this tile clean!  When the grout starts to get a little mildew I just pull out a "true" grout brush, a little tile cleaner and scrub it clean!

 My husband designed a bench seat that we could actually use to sit on.  He decided not to have a box seat because that would require another drain inside of the box.

Then my husband added a cubby for our hair products and a seperate cubby for our soap.  Brett actually did the carpentry work and we hired a professional to tile the shower.  There's some expertise involved in laying tile for a shower and we didn't want to risk losing that.   

Last, we chose a boarder to give it a little more design. 

I love the final result.  In the end, I realized that there was no overspray from the shower.  I got to looking around and found that this was becoming fairly popular.  I decided that I enjoyed not having to clean a door; my shower staying dry and clean; and being able to actually enjoy the beauty of the tile other than when I was in the shower was a plus!

I hope this has inspired you.  Stay tune for the next feature of My Bathroom Remodel:  Redesigning Existing Cabinetry.
Until next time, take your time because your best designs happen over time!