INTERIOR DESIGN | Clever Christmas Cats

Getting photos of your cat for Christmas may be challenging but well worth the effort.  Here are some very successful shots to inspire you.

kitty_-_love_chirstmas_-_facebook-resized-6001. ” Christmas is my favorite time of year – yum! ”  What a great photo this is – it must have taken  patience to get such a perfect shot.

madebymyrabbit-resized-6002.  “Bah, humbug!”  You must be kidding me!

sandygomagazine-resized-6003.  And the stockings were hung by the chimney with care………

ccpet-resized-6004.  You’ve heard of Cat in the Hat and Jack in the Box – how about Cat in The Box? I make a perfect gift that keeps on being fun long after the holidays are gone.

2012-12-22_1650-resized-6005.  Wait, I’m going blind!  Whose idea was this hat?

2012-12-22_1108-resized-6006.  I’m dreaming of a white Christmas and I’ve got my teddy to keep me company.

2012-12-16_1534-resized-6007.  Whoa – what is Santa doing on this tree – he has work to do!  And I’m going to get in trouble unless I get out of here quick.

2012-12-09_1725-resized-6008.  I’m all dressed up with ribbons and bells so let’s go party!

2012-12-22_1058-resized-6009.  This holiday is so exhausting – I guess they will expect me to take everything down when it’s over too!  We wish you a  Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!  Herding cats isn’t easy, you know.

By | December 16th, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | A Delightful Doggie Christmas

Our dogs are precious members of the family so why not get them into the holiday spirit too.  They make adorable photos so here are some just for fun.

dogs_-_love_chirstmas_-facebook-resized-6001.  I know you couldn’t afford a tree this year, but this is going a little too far, don’t you think?

allwomenstalk-resized-6002.  Why, yes, I do know I’m beautiful – I’m just showing off my coy look!  I can outdo the last dog – I have my own special fashion statement to make.  I’m unique and I know it.

thenchantedhome.blogspot.com_-_dog-resized-6004.  OK, I’m all dressed up – where is the party?

dream_catchers_on_facebook-resized-6005.  Did someone say party – can we come too?

2012-12-22_1110-resized-6006.  It wasn’t me – must have been the cat!

2012-12-10_0945-resized-6007.  Nope, it wasn’t me either.  This must be some new kind of dog trap.

2012-12-19_1419_-_skates-resized-6008.  Hurry up – I’m ready to go skating!  What’s taking you so long?

2012-12-10_0942-resized-6009.  Double trouble – don’t ask!

2012-12-20_1818-resized-60010.  Come on – you know the old saying, two is better than one!

2012-12-10_0943-resized-60011. I beg your pardon – one is as adorable as it gets!

2012-12-16_1541-resized-60012.  All you get for Christmas is me – I ate all the candy and I’m really sleepy now.

puppies-resized-60013.  You think you are tired – we spent all day decorating and we’re all worn out!

2012-12-19_1417-resized-60014.  Me too, the Christmas shopping did me in – time for a nap!

2012-12-17_1713-resized-60015.   I said “don’t mess with me – I’ve got this under control!”  And don’t laugh, either.

2012-12-21_1311-resized-60016.  I thought the expression was “Puss in Boots -not,  Doggie in Boots”

puppy with oversized Santa hat17.  Don’t think about it -Just have a Merry Christmas!

By | December 13th, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | 10 Edible Christmas Trees

Even if you don’t have a big tree set up and decorated you can have fun with Christmas trees.  How about eating it? 

2012-11-281_2007-resized-6001.  These delectable brownies will delight both children and adults.  Via

slice_of_life_facebook-resized-6002.  Beautiful fresh vegetables as an appetizer look inviting and festive.  Via slice of Life on Facebook

2012-11-27_1405-resized-6003.  Here is another version of vegetable and dip Christmas tree appetizers.  source unknown

2012-12-081_1736-resized-6004.  Snow peas,red peppers and sesame seeds are all it takes to make this appetizer platter. Via Pinterest

2012-11-24_1351-resized-6005.  Want a three dimensional Christmas tree appetizer? – this one is easily assembled with picks into a styrofoam base.  source unknown

12-7-13_The_girlfriend_life._facebook-resized-6006.  This version of the Christmas tree appetizer has “snow” at the bottom and a garland of red and yellow pepper strips.  It looks like it also has lights made of cherry tomatoes and cocktail onions.  How clever!  Via the girlfriend life on Facebook  Mini pin wheel wraps set on the plate in the shape of  a Christmas tree should do the trick for a more filling appetizer or even for a luncheon.  Via,_2012-resized-6008.  If you are making rolls for your party or dinner, why not make them in this tree shape, brush on some melted butter or garlic butter and sprinkle with chopped parsley for a more festive presentation.  Via

styleestate-resized-6009.  These apple trees look beautiful as table decorations but don’t let them go to waste – eat them afterward or make an apple pie with them!  Via

2012-11-27_14231-resized-60010.  Last but certainly not least, is a beautiful fruit tree.  There are commercial ones available but why not make your own – they are simple and you can be creative in the way you put them together.  Via

I hope this gives you some ideas for your entertaining events in the next few weeks leading up to Christmas!


By | December 8th, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN – How to keep Your Christmas Greens Fresh

I recently had a reader ask about how to keep Christmas Greens fresh so I thought that would be a helpful blog for today.

2012-12-02_1845-resized-6001.  I like to always use fresh greens if possible but if they get dried out they certainly will not be inviting and can be quite dangerous.

When selecting your greens whether already made into swags, cascades or wreaths, or just the branches that you will decorate with, be sure to select the freshest one you can find.  They may have been harvested a month ago and kept in refrigerated trucks while being shipped across country, so be selective.  via

(as clipped from Facebook)


2.  Even if you cut them down yourself you need to be careful about keeping the greens as fresh as possible. If you can not put up the decorations immediately you should keep them outdoors or in the garage to keep them chilled until you are ready to use them. source: love Christmas on Facebook


3.  The first thing you should do is give them a thorough soaking overnight in water so the leaves can absorb as much water as possible.  You will have to be careful if they are already decorated as the decorations may not be able to be submerged.  If you can remove them and replace them after the soaking that is best.  Even better is if you add your own decorations to a plain wreath or swag so you can get them soaked really well. source: love Christmas on Facebook


4.  You can use a product like Prolong or Wilt Proof, available at your nursery or florist, which will help prolong the life of the greens as well.

 You can also try a homemade recipe of sugar water for your tree.  Just boil 1 gallon water with 1 cup sugar until sugar is dissolved and when cool add to the tree reservoir. Or use the little more complex recipe below.


Recipe via

5.  Spray your greens with a mister every day.

2012-12-02_1846-resized-6006.  Keep fresh greens and Christmas trees away from sunlight, heaters and fireplaces that are working.  They dry out much quicker when they are around heat and sunlight. via


Enjoy your handiwork and the holiday season with beautiful fresh looking and wonderful fragrant greens!  Via

By | December 2nd, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | How to Carve a Turkey

Only three more days till Thanksgiving so I thought I’d share a video about how to carve a turkey.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

By | November 25th, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | Thanksgiving Bliss

2012-10-07_1909-resized-600Thanksgiving is fast approaching and family is starting to arrive for the great day.  Take the time to enjoy them because that is what it’s really all about  – not the Turkey dinner and football (although we all look forward to them too).

Here are some simple arrangements for your Thanksgiving table that will save you time and allow you to spend more time with your guests.  If they are visiting already, put them to work too.  You can visit while you get things ready.


1.  A cornucopia represents a bountiful harvest and looks great on the table.  I think this one is made of bread but there are others available in ceramic and basket form.  Just add a beautiful array of fresh fruits and or vegetables.  The addition of the wheat shafts and greenery gives this arrangement a polished look. As a bonus, you get to eat the decorations but probably not until the next day if you are full after the main meal like I always am.  via


2.  Here’s another idea for a display.  A large basket with the fruits and veggies flowing out of it.  It’s simple and colorful.  via


3.  You don’t even need an actual container – you can just spread the fall bounty down the center of the table like this photo.  The candles add instant warmth.  via

2012-10-12_1644-resized-6004.  Having an evening dinner?  No problem, put some branches lit with battery operated mini lights in a bucket and toss around some pumpkins and squash for a casual fall look.  source unknown

5.  Head over to the craft store and get some beautiful pheasant feathers to make these place settings.  They are simple but sophisticated!  via

sfgate-resized-6006.  Check out in your garden for some rosemary or other herbs to make these adorable napkin rings.  They are easy to make with some thin wire and smell wonderful too!  via

 I wish each and everyone of you a fabulous and loving Thanksgiving!  Remember to tell others that you are thankful they are in your lives and give back some of yourself to others who are not as fortunate.

By | November 22nd, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | Decorating with Pumpkins for Thanksgiving

1.  Thanksgiving is a very special time and one of the few times many  people entertain in their homes.  Maybe this is the year to try something new in your decorating so here are some suggestions.  Of course you can use them to ignite your imagination and take it from there for your own creative expression.


1.  Is it Thanksgiving already in a couple weeks?  It sure creeps up fast once fall comes around.  Poem source unknown.

2012-10-19_1555-resized-6002.  Painting pumpkins seems to be a popular thing this year and this one is very whimsical.  You can design your own stencil by pasting cut outs, with easy remove glue from a craft store, onto the pumpkin in the areas you want to remain orange.  Then spray paint the entire pumpkin.  Once the paint is dry remove the pasted on parts and your design will be revealed.  source unknown


3.  If you want a very unique patterned pumpkin you can use Mod Podge, also from the craft store, to paste on pieces of your favorite gift wrap, thin fabric or pictures.  Finish the whole thing off with a final coat or two of Mod Podge and let it dry. The items you glue on need to be fairly thin so they will contour to the pumpkin but once done they will be unique and sure to be a conversation piece.  via


4.  Who says pumpkins can’t be used as candle holders or vases or both?  This example uses a cleaned out can to hold water for the flowers but you could also use a plastic glass cut to the right height.  It’s important that the hole in the pumpkin is the same size as the water container so your creations doesn’t wobble but it’s quite easy to do if you place the top of the water container upside down on the pumpkin and trace around it to know exactly where to cut the pumpkin.  via  Here’s a very creative way to use a pumpkin as a flower container.  Just poke holes into the pumpkin itself and place the flowers all around it. The moisture inside the pumpkins will be enough to keep the flowers looking good for a couple days.  via

bhg.com_-_metallic_paint-resized-6006.  Want a more elegant display of pumpkins and gourds?  Here you go – just spray paint them with a metallic paint or even a pearlized paint.   You could use all one color or mix up silver, gold and bronze. You could also sprinkle on some glitter to bling them up more. via

chatelaine.com_-_white-resized-6007.  I love the elegant simplicity of these all white pumpkins. Use pure white spray paint and you can use them as vases or just by themselves, as shown here. via

bhg.com_-_painted_doily_stencils-resized-6008.  How about some lace decorations for your pumpkins?  These are made using paper doilies as the stencil.  You should mask off the parts of the pumpkin not being painted so you don’t get overspray.  You can embellish them further with hand painting if you like. via

bhg.com_-_pumpkin_&_gourd_wreath-resized-6009.  What a beautiful wreath can be made with pumpkins and gourds.  These might be better made with imitation ones from the craft store and the leaves would also be silk leaves.  You only have to make this once and then use it each year when fall comes around. The weight of real pumpkins and gourds would be too much and they would rot. via

2012-12-24_0927-resized-60010.  Remember there is  always something to be thankful for and this is a perfect time to add up the blessings in our lives and share our good fortune with others.  Consider giving time and/or money to help other.  You can start now but don’t let it be a one time thing – continue sharing and helping throughout the year.  You will be greatly rewarded knowing you are helping others!  via

By | November 16th, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | 8 Ways with Windows

Today’s windows are beautiful and many clients don’t want to cover them at all.  Even with beautiful windows and fabulous views,  sometimes window coverings are needed for privacy, heat and glare control or simply to beautify the room.

2_single_rods-resized-6001.  Here is a beautiful example of how the single drapery panels are used to frame the view and soften the edges of the window.  The rods are short and don’t go all the way across the window, keeping the impact of the rod to a minimum and letting the view shine through.


2012-09-04_0959-resized-6002.  This example is the exact opposite with a three layer fully dressed window.  It looks like there is a neighbor visible directly through the window so the Roman shades can be lowered for privacy and the rest of the time the entire window treatment serves as a beautiful accent for the room.  source unknown

black_shutters-resized-6003.  Shutters provide the flexibility with the ability to open them fully or adjust the louvers or close them completely.  I love the fact that these are painted black and create some texture and balance the black of the island in the foreground. source unknown

cellular_shades_-_studiominteriorsinc-resized-6004.  Cellular shades have been around a long time but they still work very well in most homes.  Using them at the tub as top down bottom up shades is a most effective way to have privacy when you need it without giving up natural light from the upper part of the window.  When you are dressed and no need for the privacy the shades can be completely open.  Since it’s difficult to have to reach over the tub to change the positions, most clients prefer remote controlled shades; either with battery operated controls or hard wired and controlled by their smart phone or tablet.  source unknown

cornice_2-resized-6005.  Although cornice boards are usually installed over draperies, it’s not absolutely necessary.  If that look is too heavy or you are limited on space try just using a decorative cornice like this to complete the room decoration.  If privacy or sun protection is needed, you could install cellular shades underneath the cornice and only use them when needed.  source unknown

drapes_under_soffitt_-_Fava_Design_Group-resized-6006.  If you are looking for a clean contemporary look but still need some softness in the room why not install sheer draperies under a valance?  It provides what’s needed but keeps the room light and airy.  source unknown

grass_shades_on_doors-resized-6007.  Woven grass shades are very popular with my clients.  They add a natural element and filtered light.  They can be lined for privacy and a room darkening roller shade can be installed behind the grass if desired.  source unknown

panel_tracks_2-resized-6008.  One of the newer options available is the panel track system.  These work well in contemporary rooms and are similar to exploded vanes of the dreaded vertical blinds (which all designer hate).  These work very well for sliding doors and can be used under drapery panels on the sides, which may hide them completely. There are a lot of fabrics available and the stack nicely in a relatively small amount of space.  source unknown

No matter what your window covering needs, it’s always a good idea to consult with an Interior Designer or Window Covering specialist.  They know what options would best suit your circumstances and budget and can be sure you get the right size and proper installation.  Window coverings can be very tricky!

By | November 9th, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN | Beautiful & Comfortable Coastal Living

Who wouldn’t love to live at the beach or have a beach side vacation home?  I recently completed one for a client and wanted to share some of the highlights with you.

Picture 145-resized-6001.  The original kitchen was made of plain white Formica cabinets and configured with a peninsula and corner sink.  It was outdated and needed better function as well as updated finishes.  We custom built all new cabinets and included some glass doors with bead board backs. We put in a new stainless steel hood and raised it so it wasn’t too low for the cook.  We brought in a small wine refrigerator for easier entertaining.

Picture 147-resized-6002. The peninsula was converted into a more functional island with a deep single bowl sink and high tech faucet, a new trash compactor and a new dishwasher.  The counters are a solid taupe colored quartz in order to not compete with the back splash.  Of course we improved the lighting in the entire kitchen and installed these hanging pendants as well.   There is a tall floor mirror for the back wall in this picture but it wasn’t installed yet when the picture was taken.

2-resized-6003. We used a fabulous carved tile with wave like action for the remodeled kitchen back splash.  It’s texture and movement relate perfectly with the nearby ocean. Here is a close up shot.  It’s really stunning and easy to keep clean!

Picture 144-resized-6004.  The dining area is right off the kitchen and opens directly into the living room.  So casual and comfortable.  The chandelier is gray capiz shells and came from West Elm.

Picture 114-resized-6005.  The client selected linen slipcovered sofas and rustic funiture for a very relaxed ambiance.  We used three shades of taupe paint from Restoration Hardware for the walls in these adjoining rooms to emphasize the architectural details.

Picture 108-resized-6006.  The powder room got a complete makeover too.  We took down the old “fish” wallpaper and replaced it with this elegant grass cloth that is hand silk screened with zebra stripes in tarnished gold.  Very dramatic but tasteful in the neutral colors and simple lines.

Picture 123-resized-6007.  The master bathroom also got a makeover.  The original wall paper was very wild palm leaves so we removed it and painted the walls a calm blue.  The mermaid wall decoration was left by the previous owners and created an appropriate and playful focal point for the room.

We didn’t like the white Formica cabinets so covered them with a grass cloth looking wallpaper to update them without having to change the cabinets, sink and counter tops.  We added new knobs to complete the room makeover.

Picture 124-resized-6008.  The children’s room originally had two sets of very dark and bulky bunk beds that took over the room.  We rearranged the layout and had custom beds built to accommodate the kids and their friends.  By placing the beds in an L shape we  were able to open up the center of the room so they had room to play and we were able to provide drawers for storage as well.

These clients were wonderful to work with and will enjoy this home for many years to come!

All photos by Lila Levinson

By | November 3rd, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments

INTERIOR DESIGN |Familiarize Yourself Wtih Steam Showers

Getting Started and Familiarizing Yourself with the Steam Shower

by Andy Ellis, guest blogger


For those who are familiar with the steam shower, you’d certainly agree that it provides a level of luxury and extravagance that isn’t matched by any other household appliance. However, what most people don’t know is that its benefits go beyond that.



After a long day at work or at school, relaxation is something everyone will look for. Nothing makes it easier to take your mind off things than a relaxing shower and steam bath.


Health Benefits

The steam in the enclosure helps enhance our body’s circulation and thin the blood. This works great in relieving ailments such as fatigue, soreness, arthritis and many more. The presence of steam also helps improve one’s metabolism and helps make the respiratory system more efficient. Additionally, our immune system is improved a lot by the removal of toxins caused by sweating.



Steam shower units have special compartments that can be used to diffuse essential oils. Aside from helping you cleanse your skin, it also has other physiological benefits. Rosemary, for example, helps alleviate arthritis when it is the oil chosen. Ylang-ylang, on the other hand, helps those who have insomnia. For those who feel a bit depressed, oils such as lavender and eucalyptus are most apt.




In order for these showers to be more comfortable and decadent, accessories can be installed. Here are some things that are commonly added:


                   Bench seat – works wonders especially in keeping you more comfortable. 20 minutes of standing is bearable but 20 minutes of sitting is a much better alternative.

                Timer – a steam timer helps keep you from dozing off in the shower and limits your steam session to the correct length.

                 Audio and video – audio and video jacks of all types are available these days. MP3 players and even iPods can now be hooked up to your steam shower allowing you to enjoy your favorite tunes and videos.

                 Emergency button – this button is usually bought by senior citizens but is just as important for people of any age. This rings an alarm outside the shower to alert people that you are in trouble. The alarm can also be a considerable distance and will work via RF signals.

                  Replaceable shower heads – shower heads vary in terms of purpose and design. There are those designed to spread water all-around and there are those made to simulate rainfall.

Steam shower can be quite luxurious so consider one when you are planning a remodel.

By | October 29th, 2013|Interior Design|0 Comments