My Latest Posts

Posted on: July 31st, 2014 by Darla | No Comments

So many people are happy about the strong real estate market this year, and many, many people who have been waiting to make a change are now putting their homes on the market, and that means staging your home.

Five Home Staging Tips

inexpensive tips for home staging

Here are five Home Staging Tips that are inexpensive and easy to put in place. Focus on small changes to make your home move fast.

What home staging tip is your favorite?

Posted on: July 29th, 2014 by Darla | 1 Comment

Sinks are another household hotspot that most people are always trying to tame. Usually, the vanity or cabinet under the sink is just one big open space that gets easily disorganized. Even with some bags or containers, it can still be a jumble.

bathroom and kitchen organizing

One of my very favorite organizing tools that is actually worth the money is a set of drawers made specifically for this space. Bed Bath and Beyond is my favorite place to get these, although you can find them elsewhere. The key is to get ones that are heavy duty enough to hold your gear, and they should screw down into each other, if not to the cabinet itself.

organized under sinkWhat a difference in just a few minutes. The built-in dividers made these drawers easy to organize and help keep little personal items off the counter.

My friend Denise featured this bathroom organizing idea on her blog DeniseDesigned a while back. Check out her site for more great inspiration.

Have you tried these little organizing space savers in your bathroom or kitchen?

Posted on: July 27th, 2014 by Darla | 2 Comments

“I have a creative spirit, but I’m not hands on,” she bravely and honestly admitted. This particular client had acquired a lot of furniture with the idea that she could re-use or repurpose it, but no real plan to make it happen. A lot of us love the idea of redesign, the possibility that a sturdy old dresser holds, the makeovers that we see on Pinterest and in magazines. But the actual getting from here to there is a bit daunting, or maybe completely overwhelming.

Habitat for Humanity ReStores are an excellent place to find amazing items ready for another life in your home, sometimes as is, and sometimes with a little DIY work. They have an excellent stock of larger items and smaller pieces to start on when you have an itch to transform with paint and imagination. And on August 7 and 16, the Montgomery County ReStore has asked me to show you exactly how to do it!

 Paintin workshop at Habitat for Humanity ReStore


On those two dates, we’re going to have a Painting 101 workshop, where no question is silly, and we’ll start with the basics (what is primer, anyway?). I’ll demonstrate, but you can get hands-on, as well. We’ll be covering techniques like painting with brushes and rollers, spray paint, Chalk Paint®, and some specialty finishes that you may have only seen in magazines, like Rub’NBuff and even a very cool mirror finish.

If you’ve never been to a Habitat for Humanity ReStore, here’s a virtual tour. I admit, some of these look a little rough now, but if you can imagine them done, like I can, you are half way there…at a fraction of the price of new!

This little piece reminds me of the end table makeover I shared with you a while back. She just might get a  little beauty treatment during our workshops in August.

Habitat for Humanity ReStore Painting idea

This coffee table has great lines. Can you imagine it with a sassy, bold color (like canary yellow or Antibes Green), or maybe something a little more ambitious, like a new plank top?


Habitat ReStore furniture makeovers

This little end table has something special…a real marble top that I wouldn’t redo at all. But those classic lines (and real wood body) could be amazing with something like gilding, or nail head trim, or a small stencil. There are so many possibilities. Don’t you just want to take her home?

Habitat ReStore furniture makeovers

This cheap but functional bookcase could be just the storage piece you need to create that homework station you’ve been dreaming about. Painted all over and backed with a vibrant wallpaper or even wrapping paper, this could be amazing.

 Painting workshop at Habitat For Humnity ReStores

Nearly everyone at some point owns a metal file cabinet that they hate. Did you know you can paint them? A metal file cabinet painted with Chalk Paint® decorative paint from Annie Sloan looks amazing. The folks at the ReStore are looking out for you, and they post ideas right on the floor. Isn’t this chalkboard file cabinet a great idea, too?

Metal File Cabinet Painting ideas at Habitat for Humanity Restore

Not everything needs work here. This AMAZING wood inlay dining room set for 12 and sideboard are huge scale and in great condition. WOW. I might cry if you painted it.

Painting workshop at Habitat for Humanity ReStorePainting workshop at Habitat for Humanity ReStore

They’ve even got entire kitchens that are real wood, amazing vintage doors that are great decorating backdrops or a creative alternative to your average bulletin board, and rugs.


Painting workshop at Habitat for Humanity ReStorePainting workshop at Habitat for Humanity ReStorePainting workshop at Habitat for Humanity ReStore

By the way, you can donate your household items to the ReStore, they will come pick them up, and you get to take the tax deduction. So our organizing projects feeds someone else’s decorating obsession, as well as helping Habitat for Humanity raise funds to support their mission to eliminate substandard housing issues in Montgomery County.
Are you getting excited yet? There are plenty of other materials to wander through at the ReStore, like pedestal sinks in perfect condition, lots of tile that might be perfect for your next back splash or craft project, hardware and tools.

But back to our painting workshops in August, we’re going to have hands-on fun with items like these dated lamps that can look totally fabulous with a whole new attitude and layer of paint. Of course, we can makeover a lamp in black or white pretty easily, but I know you want to see what happens to these sweet babies.

Painting workshop at Habitat for Humanity ReStore


I hope you are getting excited about the workshops. We’ve scheduled two days with exactly the same information, so pick whichever date is best for you. And…shhh…I can’t spill the beans yet, but we’re working out some fun giveaways (maybe from some companies I’ve mentioned in this post) and coupons for the ReStore as well. If you are inspired to start on your own project, we want to make it as easy as possible for you to take home what you need from the ReStore and get started on the day of the workshop. But these goodies will only be available for registered participants, so register by phone or email to Erika at: 610-278-7710 x117 or before July 31. Seats are limited and are going fast. 

I can’t wait to see you there!

Posted on: July 24th, 2014 by Darla | 4 Comments

No one else gets as excited as I do about things like concrete and jigsaw blades and spray paint as my girls at Haven Conference do. I just got back from 3 very full days of blog classes, mingling, and DIY projects, and I just HAD to share.

One of the best things about Haven this year was the people I met at Haven last year. I’ve been quietly stalking friends like Cynthia (who apparently still does not actually have a blog) and Tracey and Linda and Anne all year, and we finally got to meet up again. It’s like summer camp for big girls! Big girls who love power tools.Haven Conference 2014

I love, love, love meeting with the product vendors. I get to see what’s new and shiny, and then share that with you. Unlike your basic trade show event, companies I met at Haven last year are interested to hear what we’re doing that’s creative and interesting. In fact, several of them like Rust-Oleum and Annie Sloane Chalk Paint and HomeRight are interested in helping make the Habitat for Humanity events (coming up on 8/7 and 8/16) a really great event for you. They love reading our blog stories just as much as you do, and that’s fun for us writers.

Haven Conference 2014

I always learn so much here. if you see a few changes in my site and blog over the next few weeks, you’ll be seeing some Haven learnin’ going into place. I hope it makes my articles even better to read and easier to find.

While I loved every single moment of the conference, there were definitely some highlights. Meeting Mike Holmes was a thrill. Getting Mike Holmes to autograph my arm was a chuckle. Being able to brag about it the rest of conference, well, I just don’t know where to go from there.

Mike Holmes and me at Haven Mike Holmes and me at Haven Conference 2014 Mike Holmes and me at Haven Conference 2014

After hanging with Mike, the only thing that could come close was seeing my Ryobi friends. Man, if I ever have to go work at a corporation again, I want to work there. They have too much fun, and they get to play with tools all day long. They are the best bunch of folks, and I thought that before they threw the best party of the summer! Thanks, guys!

Ryobi team at Haven Conference 2014

Tom Bury, construction manager on Restaurant Impossible and spokesperson for FrogTape was super nice as well. Let me just say Tom is no frog! I almost completely missed seeing him, and was so glad he tweeted me before he left. It almost makes being on twitter worthwhile.

Haven Conference 2014

There were too many other great people to mention each and every one. but I loved catching up with Sandra Powell {Sawdust Girl}. She’s one of those big, established bloggers, but you know what they say, even those gals put their overalls on one leg at a time like the rest of us. We had some fun in her a how to Tile class, with help from the Ryobi team. 

Haven Conference 2014

But Sandra and I really bonded over our love for concrete. I made her promise that we’ll work together to cast concrete counter tops in one of our houses, hers or mine, I don’t care which.

Haven Conference 2014

My pictures stink, but they are still pretty awesome. Like that time Emily and I realized we were twinsies.

Haven Conference 2014

And that time Kim was perfectly framed In the foyer that was all tricked out in Tide Oxi bubbles. It was so fancy, we both thought it was decorated for a wedding. You’ll be hearing more about how much I love these Tide Oxi bubbles!

Haven Conference 2014

There was only one perfect way to cap off this trip. I just want to give a quick shout out to my friend Lon and his lovely family who is kind enough to let me stay win them in Atlanta so that we have time enough to catch up from the old days at the company we used to work for. They are all some of my favorite people in the whole country, but lucky for me I get to see them when I’m in Atlanta.

Haven Conference 2014

Sigh. Now you know just a teensy little bit about how great this event is, and I haven’t even told you about all the great tools, products, and tips that I’ll be sharing with you over the next few months. Really, it’s going to take that long to cover them all, but I’ll just give you a sneak peek at one that I love, Lacefield Designs, who makes amazing fabrics and curtain panels, all made here in the USA.

Haven Conference 2014

I hope you had as much fun reading about Haven as I had telling you. there’s no good way to wrap up this story except this. Hang loose until next year, Haven Mavens.

Ryobi beach party at Haven Conf 2014

Posted on: July 22nd, 2014 by Darla | No Comments

Want to come shopping with me for home decor? One of my favorite places is a relatively new store in the King of Prussia Mall. Arhaus Furniture (yes, it’s pronounced Our-House) is a lovely, lovely mix of chunky masculine and glam feminine styles that really work well together.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture Title

I was invited there a while back to check out their new line of dishes. I happened to have my shiny new camera, and the store staff was happy to let me take a few pictures. Just a few.

Come take the tour with me. Their copper-top tables and buffets are one of my favorites. You can have their furniture topped with copper, or just buy a top for something you already own. Each one is hand forged in South America.

copper top table
I am absolutely in love with these wood-backed scroll chairs. You can upholster them in hundreds of fabrics in store.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (12)Their bedrooms are glam, even the more masculine styles.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (16)


I’ll take this one, please.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (7)

Yes, there is a lot of neutral going on in this store, but what I love is the way that it makes the statement colors come alive.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (6)

This TV cabinet is one of my most favorite pieces. EVER. I will own this someday. Now you see it…Arhaus Decorating Furniture (19)

Now you don’t.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (20)

Big chunky bookcases? Yes, please. Don’t worry, it’s just my camera that’s on an angle. The bookcase sits up just fine.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (8)


This light fixture is something special, and would work especially well in a vintage or industrial setting.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (24)


This sweet breakfast table is generously sized, topped with stone, and would fit perfectly in many kitchens with bay alcoves.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (34)

Everyone needs a desk, and this one makes a statement. I’m not sure if this is a one-of-a-kind piece, as some items in the store are, or if this is mass-produced. Either way, it’s stunning.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (30)This driftwood and glass side table is unusual, organic, and warm, as so many glass-topped tables aren’t.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (39)

This sideboard could do so many jobs. It would be perfect on a covered patio, but I could also see it in a more casual dining room or as an artist’s table. Even an entry hall, if it were large enough.

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (42)

Oh, I promised you a look at those dishes, didn’t I?

Arhaus Decorating Furniture (17)

The color on the ceramics is just my style.

Arhaus (1)

While you are drooling, this might be a good time to remind you that I offer personal shopping services in conjunction with design projects. If you love some of the things here, or if you feel like you need an update but don’t want to spend good money on something you aren’t sure about, please call me. We can find a few special pieces for a quick room refresh, or we can bring in an entirely new look. Just let me know how I can help.

In case you are wondering, this is not a sponsored post. I just really love this line, and would be proud to help you choose what’s best for you. Arhaus isn’t in every part of the country, so if you love something, please get on their catalog list, or email me with pictures and I’ll help you find just the right thing for your space.

Did you find a favorite on this tour? Please do tell in the comments.