American Dream Builders Winner

Congrats to Lukas Machnik, winner of the 1st season of American Dream Builders on NBC! Born in Krakow, Poland, he is a rising design star based in Chicago. His work has been featured in publications including Elle Decor, AD France, Chicago Home & Garden and the Chicago Tribune. On the show, he is known for his signature minimalist style. Take a look at his Beach House that earned him the title of winner.



HomeGoods Happy

Have you seen the recent commercials by HomeGoods? Don’t they make you happy? They serve as great design inspiration, a reminder that design is bold, unconventional, creative and doesn’t have to cost a fortune.


Bedding doesn’t have to be bought all in one set. Bold colors and patterns can be mixed. You can buy a duvet/comforter set  that you like and then add completely different decorative pillows for a more custom look.

In the kitchen, utensils can become an accessory on the countertop when placed in a nice pitcher or vase. If you use fresh herbs, place them in nice pots and have them become part of your décor. Wall shelves can be an unexpected variation to upper cabinets to display dishes and glassware.

I love purposeful décor! Nice trays and boxes can serve as attractive storage for keys and mail. If you have kids, you need a lot of places to hide their toys. Woven baskets, fabric bins, and storage ottomans are great decorative options for concealing clutter. I absolutely love the idea of mounting baskets to the wall to serve as a bookcase!

This article found on House Beautiful offers 5 great tips for keeping young kids in mind while decorating.


1. Invest in Versatile Storage

My home has places to hide toys everywhere! In my family room, the 6 fabric boxes from IKEA and the storage ottomans conceal clutter as well as the old school toy box in the den.

Family Room

Family Room






2. Choose Upholstery You Can Easily Clean

In my kitchen, I chose to not have any upholstered seating this time for the chairs and stools. Although the sectional is fabric, American Signature/Value City Furniture offers fabric and leather protection so spills are repelled and can easily be wiped off.








3. Bring Outdoor Fabrics Inside

4. Create More Floor Space

I always push the kids’ beds toward the wall so that they have ample room to play, like my daughter’s room.


5. Buy Antiques

Well-made, good quality furniture can withstand the use of any child, like this desk in the loft.

CRAFT by World Market

CRAFT by World Market is a way for people to find unique, rare, handmade finds from all over the world. If enough people pre-order an item, it will be made and shipped. The items selected for the collection are exclusive, and the prices reflect that. However, if money is no object to you, and you’re looking for a very unique statement piece, CRAFT may be an option for you. Regardless of the cost, the intricate details of these unique handmade finds should be admired as art, if nothing else. Here are some current and past items featured in the CRAFT collection.

Garden Ridge’s Re-Branding

This past weekend, I made a trip to Garden Ridge and was pleasantly surprised to find out that they’re re-branding all of their stores.


Many people probably don’t visit Garden Ridge because of the name; I’ll admit that the name threw me off until I started shopping there for model merchandising projects. If you’ve never been, it’s worth a visit. They have an endless selection of art and décor, furniture, home textiles, housewares, patio and garden, rugs, and seasonal merchandise. Their prices (especially when items are marked down by 50%) are unbeatable, and you can stack your savings by buying clearance items and getting 10% off your total purchase with this coupon. Hopefully, this re-branding and new name will entice more shoppers. I’m excited to see what new things will be added!

Here’s a glimpse at some of the things I’ve discovered on my visits.

NY State of Mind

This past weekend, I was surprised by my wonderful husband with a trip to NYC for my 30th birthday! It was the best birthday I think I’ve had so far! We stayed with my sister(the graphic designer who helped me start this blog)  in central Harlem. Her condo is amazing! It’s in a great location, a few blocks from Central Park; and though it’s small, it’s packed with great design and function. Here’s the floor plan:


Floor Plan

Floor Plan


The square footage is a little under 600 ft², but it feels so comfortable and just like home. That’s because the space planning and interior elements were designed by Mom! I must admit that my creativity and inspiration to pursue interior design come from her. She has always delighted in creating a beautiful home and spaces for Dad and her 4 girls. So, now here’s a peak at what she did in my sister’s apartment.


Many of the pieces serve double purposes, and the use of small scale furniture keeps the rooms from feeling cluttered. The futon sofa folds down into a full bed. The back on the red chair folds down and makes a twin bed when combined with the red ottoman. The pieces were originally purchased from Value City Furniture. A pub table and stools create a small dining area. Linens for guests are hidden in the small armoire on which the tv sits. The custom art panels painted by Mom, the rug, pillows, draperies, and other art and accessories give the space a personal touch. The bedroom serves as an office as well as a place to sleep. Mom made the upholstered headboard, and vintage lamps are given a new look with different shades. A small nightstand with a full length mirror in the hallway serve as a drop spot for keys and mail. In the bathroom, a canvas closet organizer hanging on a tension rod provides extra storage for towels, washcloths, and toilet paper.

Mom has shown through my sister’s condo that clever design solutions and personal touches can make even a small space functional and fun. What clever ideas have you used in a small space?

IKEA Home Tour


Did you know that IKEA does home makeovers? You can sign up on line here. I love IKEA for their affordable, trendy, unique pieces. Many of the pieces I select for spaces in my own home come from there. If you’re lucky, maybe IKEA can come to your home and perform a makeover on one of your rooms. If not, maybe I can help you!!! 🙂


Here’s some of the IKEA pieces featured in the video.



Progress: Kitchen

Just like the Family Room, our Kitchen is a mix of old and new elements. With its location adjacent to the Family Room, we decided to stick with the same color palette. I like to call it Lemon/Lime/Licorice:

The table is from our previous home’s dining room. It’s by Sitcom Furniture, and I purchased it from a interior design warehouse around 7 years ago. The new chairs are Ikea’s VILMAR seat shell and VILMAR chair frame for $39 each. I love the graphic print and the fact that they’re durable and easy to clean! I’ve learned my lesson from my old dining chairs (that got pretty beat up) that fabric on dining chairs and children don’t mix well. The rug is from Rugs USA; when I ordered it, they were having a 70% off sale with free shipping. For the 6 ft. round, I paid $35. The table runner is new, Target clearance for $5. The round tray (Ikea) and apples (Marshall’s) are from the old house.

The lined, grommet-topped window panels are from Ross (2 pairs for $20/pair) and pole and hardware from Ikea for $8.

The green stools are Target clearance bought in-store for $66.48 for a set of 2. Again, no fabric for easy cleaning. 🙂


Green vase on counter top was a clearance find at Home Goods for $9.

The new wall art is $7.50 from Garden Ridge, marked down by 50%. Gray vases and potted plants above cabinets are from Ikea (from the old house). And the metal art above cabinets is from Big Lots (also re-used from the old house).

A red-line through a bar code at Garden Ridge means the item is marked down, either 50% or 75% off, depending on which signs they have displayed.


I’m pleased with the progress of the Kitchen, although I’m sure there will be more changes…paint, more accessories, new light fixture over table, back splash? We’ll see! If you haven’t learned anything about me by now, I love a good deal! Clearance stickers and markdowns are the best, and  I don’t believe that you have to pay full price to get the look you desire.


No More EXPEDIT by Ikea!!!

No More EXPEDIT by Ikea!!!

Ikea may be discontinuing the EXPEDIT collection. Say it ain’t so!!!! I love mine so much; and if you love it, let Ikea know! Join the petition on Facebook.