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2016 Year In Review

Today seems the perfect day to take a look back at an epic year. It is after all, my final day at my corporate job.  If you think about it, I'm not only closing out the year, but I'm also closing the chapter on a large part of my adulthood to date. 

If I had to sum up 2016 with one word, it would be...completion. The year began with a sermon my Pastor preached that I'll likely never forget entitled, Partial is Not Enough.  I blogged about it here in my first post of 2015. That thirty-minute sermon solidified what I needed to do for the remainder of the year.  You see, I had determined that "partial" wasn't enough for me either.  I wanted ALL that I was destined for, so I set out to finish what I'd started five years ago. 

For starters, I began the year with the launch of my new Dwell by Cheryl Interiors website.  I love it as much as year later, as I did on the day we went live.

Steve and Lauren of The Brand Affect did a wonderful job pulling the site together.

Shortly thereafter, came a feature in The Folio segment of QC Exclusive magazine.  What an honor it is for editors to contact me about my work and to be featured in local and national publications. 
Later, I was asked to serve as a regular contributor on the Pride Magazine website.  I've had a blast sharing informative posts on the site over the past year. 
I continued work on client projects and completed two of the most fun kid's room to date. 

They may reside in the same home, but they couldn't be more different- the kid's and the rooms. 
I celebrated my 40th birthday with Black Southern Belle where I was a speaker at the Charlotte Tastemaker's Event. 
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
I hit a major milestone when I was contacted mid-year regarding a book that I'd be included in.  There are no words to explain how amazing it was to see my work published IN A BOOK!

Hoffman Media 
I pulled together another quick One Day Design Plus project for a cool family, just in time for a few summer guests.
In the Fall, the popular fabric company Schumacher contacted me regarding the use of their iconic Pyne Hollyhock chintz fabric in my bedroom.  They asked to feature it on social media and in their upcoming quarterly bulletin.  I found myself on the page with the likes of some renowned designers. 

 I've got to say, it was also pretty cool to see my projects featured in the Charlotte Observer a couple of times this year.

Just as the cold weather began to blow in, I was blown away by the offer to have one of my projects as the featured Room of the Day on Houzz.com. 

The folks over at Anne Neilson Fine Art did a wonderful Dwell by Cheryl profile on their blog.  If you haven't read it, GO check it out.  They made me sound ahhh-mazing!  : )  
I rounded off the year with a feature in Charlotte's own, Pride Magazine, where I shared a number of the benefits and services that Interior Designers can offer. 

 In between it all, I managed to sneak in a couple of home improvement projects of my own...
Probably most notable for me, was the culmination of a six year long commitment to complete a Residential Design Program.  It's actually difficult to believe I'm actually finished.  I think I'm as proud of this Diploma as I am my original Degree. 

 So today, as I walk out of my office building for the very last time, I'm so very appreciative of the opportunities that my first career afforded me.

I now see how so much of what I've learned over the past 15 years has prepared me for what lies ahead.  I stand in great anticipation of what's next for me and Dwell by Cheryl Interiors. Buckle up, it's about to get good...
Happy New Year!

"All Through the House..."

It seems that with each passing year, my desire for simplicity during the holiday season increases. 
Now more than ever, I just can't seem to bring myself to unload all of the contents of those Christmas bins, stored in my garage, inside my home.  These days, I carefully sort through the items seeking out my favorites to display for the next month or so.  Today, I'm opening my doors to share with you my super-simple, pared down holiday home.

Sometimes it's the littlest treasures that bring you the most joy.  I love this sweet golden nativity.  I placed it at my entry and it's a wonderful reminder of the true meaning of the season.

As in previous years, my holiday décor is designed to work with my existing color scheme.  It's shifted over the years but I prefer it this way.  I makes me feel like it's the holidays but my home still maintains its usual flare. 


I added a touch of blue and white to the holiday décor this year.  Since my new collection has all but taken over, it was important to be sure to tie the Christmas tree décor in with it.  A few new blue and white porcelain ornaments from Ballard Designs and some strategically placed blue faux berries did the trick.


I'm obsessed with this fuchsia Christmas cactus.  Scored this baby at Wal-Mart and the intense pink stopped me dead in my tracks.  I'm just hoping I have enough light to keep these beautiful blooms going all season long.  Wowza!

Still need a big PINK bow for that boxwood wreath.  : )

I'm not big on switching out my collectibles for the season, so a reindeer here...

and a glitter noel there...

I really like keeping things simple.  I'm sure I'll be glad I did when January rolls around.


The office could use some greenery, but for now those precious ceramic trees and a pennant will do.

This year I longed for my keepsake ornaments to be in view, so I purchased this little pine tree at Wal-Mart as well and threw it in a basket and added lights.  It's wild but one of my favorite new additions.

In the kitchen, it was as easy as a few plants.  These red tulips add just the right holiday touch. 

And poinsettias are always a classic symbol of the season.  I chose yellow to work a little better with the existing color scheme. 


The bedroom is not to be overlooked.  I absolutely love having a tree to fall asleep to the flickering lights and warm glow.


I also pulled out the fall plaid pillows and worked them in here.  The simple addition of a monogrammed lumbar pulled it together quite nicely.


Finally, I added a few touches to the front porch including my vintage sleigh and a faux poinsettia. Note: My newly painted red door is still looking good!

See, holiday decorating doesn't have to be complicated.  I'll enjoy every simple addition to my home for weeks to come. 

Wishing you and yours the magic of the season...

"Long Time Coming..."

Five years ago, seeking a creative outlet, I simultaneously launched a blog and business driven by my desire to create a beautiful home on a modest budget.  Things began with friends and associates requesting my help sprucing up their homes and grew from there.

Looking to learn as much as possible in the area, I made the decision to enroll in a well-regarded, local residential design program and began chipping away at the coursework for the 36-credit hour program.  You can read more about that decision HERE.

It sounded simple enough but working a full-time career, going to school and managing a business in its infancy was no small feat.  I quickly realized that my weekends, evenings and even most weekday lunch breaks were no longer my own.  It was a huge sacrifice but the more I worked, the better I became and the more I learned.

I started to consume every little morsel of design info and inspiration I could find; attending conferences, reading designer's blogs, studying the great's work.
Design Bloggers Conference 2015
The days, months and years passed and the client list began to spill over.  I quickly had to come to grips with the fact that there was NO way I could manage multiple clients, work full-time and be a straight "A" student and thus the waiting list was born.  At the same time, much to my amazement, I started to get emails from magazine editors about features in local and eventually national publications.


While the thought was terrifying, it wasn't long before I began to imagine life as a full-time interior designer.

After a little soul searching and prayer, in January 2014 I instituted Project 36.  It was my 36-month plan to transition to full-time entrepreneurship; essentially my exit strategy.  I knew that putting a time limit to things would slowly make the decision more and more real.  It would also hold me accountable to doing what I needed to do to make it possible.  Three years sounded like an eternity, that is until it was 24 months and then 12, 10, 8, and 6.  Yikes!  There's something about setting a goal that makes me work just a little harder and this one was no exception.

With the 3-month mark approaching I began to craft my resignation letter, reviewing the details carefully with my mentor and setting the date for my critical conversation with the boss. I spent the entire week leading up to D-day gorging on motivational videos and podcasts.  Here's my favorite playlist if you're interested.   By the time the day arrived to submit my resignation, I was more than ready.  I was pumped!  It all went off without a hitch and I couldn't have been more grateful.  I offered to work a three month notice, explaining that my final day would be Friday, December 30th.

It was DONE.  I'd actually done it.  I QUIT MY JOB!  Say what?  I thought for sure I'd wake up the next morning in a cold sweat, filled with regret....

I was wrong.  I had a strange peace about it; a good sign that I'd done the right thing.

All that was left to do was inform the parents. THIS, I thought, was by far the largest hurdle.  I decided to wait until the Thanksgiving holiday to tell them face-to-face.  For starters, I knew I needed to wait until there was no turning back or they'd totally influence my decision, even if inadvertently. Secondly, I needed to make sure all of my ducks were in a row so they'd worry just a little bit less.  I'm happy to report that the conversation with smoothly and they were super supportive and totally in my corner. And with that, the goal had finally come to fruition.

To say that this has been an amazing journey would be a gross understatement.  When I launched my business and blog with this post on January 1, 2012, I never dreamt I would be where I am today.  It's kind of crazy to think all of the connections I've made, the people I've met, the opportunities I've had and the fabulous clients I've worked with.  It has been an absolute dream come true.

I'm often asked by social media followers and aspiring designers how I've been able to do it.  I've written a couple of posts about the subject but it really boils down to two things- Faith and Hard Work.  You see, I believe this is my purpose, but I can't see how it's all going to unfold.  However, I trust that things will work out just as He intends.  Knowing what you need to do and doing it however, are two very different things.  Making my dream a reality has involved some sacrifices-mostly time, money, energy and a little sleep.  The sacrifices didn't seem so bad however, when I weighted them against what I had to gain.  It's what kept me moving in the direction of my goals. 

I'm forever grateful to those who have supported and encouraged me along the way. There were many.  I'm also beyond grateful to those clients who took a chance on me very early on. They were willing to be my guinea pigs and I appreciate them trusting me in the process.  For those that came later, they validated my ability as a new designer and I'm appreciative of them as well.  To the folks who read my blog and follow along on social media, they inspire and encourage me to keep sharing my gift with the world.  It makes the journey so much more fun when you know you've got people cheering you on.

It's been a long time coming and I'm so elated and proud of what I've been able to accomplish.  I stand with tip-toed anticipation of what lies ahead.  I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the best is yet to come.  And for those who might need an interior designer, On January 2, 2017, we are officially FULL ON...
To God be the Glory for the GREAT things He has done.

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