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"On the Hunt: Estate Sales"

Hi guys!  Hope you all had a great weekend!  Hard to believe summer is over and Labor Day is upon us.  I will admit, I'm more than happy to wave goodbye to the sweltering heat and humidity. This summer heat has been brutal for us in the Queen City and this weekend was no exception.  Thankfully, I was able to dodge the heat by getting in a little shopping.

Courtesy of Pure and Simple
If you know me, you know I'm always on the hunt for good deals.  One of my go-to sources for some of those great finds are estate sales.  Lucky for me, one of my good friends owns and estate sale company.  She's made it her goal to educate consumers on the ins and outs of hosting and shopping estate sales.

So many folks assume that estate sales are packed with tons of high priced valuable antiques that are well out of reach of the average person looking to score a good deal.  While many estate sales do feature fine furnishings, so many families are just looking to liquidate their possession that are much more like what we all own.  So, in an effort to prove my case, I snapped a few photos at this weekend's sale in Gastonia, NC so you could get a little taste of what's often available.  

For starters, there is often great vintage furniture.  Depending on the estate sale liquidator, the prices can be pretty competitive with sources like Craigslist. Pure and Simple is known for their organized sales that also boast great prices! 

via Pure and Simple

Even more than the furniture, I love the decorative accessories.  From mirrors to artwork to books to little what-not's, estate sales are a great place to snag unique items at very reasonable prices. What many may not realize is that often the family needs to get rid of everything.  So linens, tools, dishes, appliances and even cleaning supplies are often available. 

In fact, cleaning supplies are among my favorite items to pick up since they're usually group priced for a buck or two.  Have you checked the price on Swiffer refills lately?  Just sayin'. 

Seasonal items are also typical staples at these sales.  You can really score when it's off season as many customers aren't thinking of Christmas décor when it's August and 92 degrees outside. Luckily I am, because I picked up two rolls of wired ribbon and three rolls of wrapping paper for just $2 on Saturday!  I'll be thanking my lucky stars come December. 

If I had to share my best estate sale shopping tip, I'd say take your time and really think about how you could reinvent the items that are for sale.

Sometimes all it takes is imagining them in a different context to make you pull the trigger on a great deal.

via Veranda
So, wondering what I went home with?  Wonder no more.  Here are just a few of the goodies that made there way home with me.

For more information on estate sales and to find out where the next Pure and Simple sale happens click HERE.  Not local, check out www.estatesales.net for sales in your area.

Happy Hunting!

"Project Teen Boy's Room"

It's a new week and with this new week comes a new design project.  Yay!  I'm really excited to begin work on another kid space.  Excuse me, I should call it a "teen" space.  This dude was a pretty tough nut to crack.  Pretty much all I could gather from the initial consultation was that he liked blue and maybe white.  Ummm....?  Thankfully, I raided the closet and found some pretty fresh footwear...

and a cool blue plaid shirt.  Honestly, that was all I needed to pull together a plan for a sophisticated, warm and modern space for this chill guy. 

With just a couple of tweaks this is what we'll be pulling together over the next month.  Having recently completed a super girly space, I'm excited to be on the complete opposite end of the spectrum with this one.

We'll be custom making a headboard and adding in some wool plaid and cognac leather elements.  The walls will be going white, more specifically Sherwin-Williams' Alabaster.  And to keep things from becoming too juvenile, we'll go with interest-inspired art work. 

This one is going to be fun!  Stay tuned....

P.S.  I'm so honored to be in the new Schumacher Bulletin! 

Check out the entire periodical HERE

Charlotte Observer Feature: Beyond the Basics

Happy Friday y'all!  It has been a doozy of a week over here.  I'm hoping that with the weekend will come better things.  Nevertheless, I'm popping in to share some great news!

A few weeks ago, a writer from the reached out to inform me that she was working on a piece on nursery trends and wanted to include one of my projects in the story.  I agreed, answered a number of questions and sent over a few photos. To my delight, the piece ran in the Home & Garden segment of the Saturday paper last weekend. 
I'm not at all ashamed to admit that I bolted out of bed that morning to get my hands on a copy.
I think it turned out great! Check out the entire article on page 20 and 21!

Such an honor to be featured alongside two other great designers.  Special thanks to the Observer and Cam Richards Photography.
Happy Weekend!

"Black Southern Belle's 2016 Tastemaker Summit Charlotte"

Every now and then you meet someone with whom you immediately clique.  Such was the case when I finally met the woman behind Black Southern Belle.  It seems like just yesterday that I received an email in my inbox from Michiel.  She had just launched her blog/website and was looking to feature black, southern women who were creative entrepreneurs.  Glad to help, I submitted my first post to the new blog and it was featured on May 11th of last year.  You wouldn't believe the growth of Black Southern Belle (BSB) since then.   When we finally met face-to-face last year, I think we could've talked for hours.  I absolutely loved her desire to create a place where BSBs could find a hub to support other black women in the south through using their services and/or reading about their life and achievements.

Shortly after launching BSB, she created the Black Southern Belle Collective.  Her vision for this arm of her brand is to create a curated network of diverse Southern-based vendors who are interested in investing and supporting each other’s business success and providing unique opportunities for the Black Southern Belle consumer. How awesome is that?!?  The development of the collective was the impetus for the Tastemaker Summit she recently hosted locally.

Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
NOTE: How awesome is this program by Suite Paper?
I'll be honest, I was excited about this event from the very start.  I knew if Michiel had anything to do with it, it would be absolutely fabulous...I was right! 
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography

The event took place at my design pal, Danielle McKim's TUFT (Today’s Unique Furniture Trends) location.  The stage was beautifully set for what was sure to be an event to remember.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Flowers Photo
If you're local and you haven't checked out Tuft, you need to.  Danielle's storefront offers beautiful furnishings, art and accessories.
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
There was so much pretty, it was almost hard to take it all in. From the swag bags we received upon entering to the amazing programs and souvenir books.  It was all just perfect!

Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
The place was a buzz when attendees began to arrive likely because so many of us were already friends, followers and fans of one another on social media.  Meeting and chatting in person was icing on the cake.

Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
Photo courtesy of Michelle Flowers Photo

Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
Speaking of cake...The food was artfully prepared by Gravy Waltz and
let's just say I had my share of delectable delights.
Photo courtesy of Michelle Flowers Photo

Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography

Michiel opened things up by sharing her story with us and welcoming everyone to this inaugural event.  I was fortunate to be one of the distinguished panelists for the day along side LaVonndra Johnson, Founder of Elle VJ and Dainty James and Mary Guerry, Sales Manager for Charleston Visitors Bureau.  We kicked things off by discussing the importance of partnering with brands and business to build your own.
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography

I loved sharing my journey with the group. The attendees were so engaged and so very supportive.
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
The opening panel was followed by Stephanie Gibbs who gave us the low down on creating amazing floral arrangements.  Let's just say I left with a page full of notes and a shopping list for what I need to make my own arrangements that I can only hope will be half as beautiful as hers.

Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
Next up was my friend Jill McKenzie of Steve McKenzie's in Atlanta.  I actually met Jill a couple of years ago at the Design Blogger's Conference.  She's an excellent resource for designers and apparently an expert on setting a beautiful table. She shared with us four seasonal looks that were simple, unique and absolutely beautiful. 

Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography

Thanks to Jill I spent the following day combing the aisles of local thrift and resale shops looking for great pieces to add to my seasonal tablescapes.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Flowers Photo

LaShawnda Beacoats, Editor in Chief and my connection with Pride Magazine, was up next to moderate the second panel of the day.  This group, which included my friend Jennifer of Pure and Simple Organizing, shared with us the value of PR and media in building your own personal brand.
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
(L to R: LaVonndra Johnson, Founder of Elle VJ and Dainty James, Leah Knepper  Associate Vice President, French/West/Vaughan and Jennifer Burnham, Owner, Pure and Simple Organizing)
The final panel of the day focused on adding a storefront to your brand.  These inspirational guru's (L to R Nicole Clayton, Owner, The Cloth Mill at Eno River, Ariene Bethea, Owner, Dressing Rooms Interiors and Jill Mckenzie, Co-owner, Steve Mckenzie’s  Not Pictured: Danielle McKim) shared the good, bad and the ugly as it relates to taking on a retail or event space. 
Photo courtesy of Denise Benson Photography
In addition to the dynamic speakers and workshops, the opportunity to connect with so many other black southern belles was priceless.

Photo courtesy of Michelle Flowers Photo

Photo courtesy of Michelle Flowers Photo

Photo courtesy of Michelle Flowers Photo

Courtesy of AMB Party Booths

If I could do the entire day over again, I would.  That's just how amazing it was.  Oh, did I mention it was my 40th birthday? I can't think of a better way I could've spent it.  There is nothing like encouraging and being encouraged by others.  There was definitely a sense that we are all in this together and that's a great feeling to have. 

Before I sign off, I'd be remiss if I didn't shout out the person responsible for making it all happen.  I have a feeling the half has not been told.  I'm so proud of what Michiel is doing and all that she's accomplished in such a short time.  I'm amazed by the fact that she's so very willing to not just to promote herself but also to promote others. 

You know, we BSBs get a bad wrap sometimes.  We're often presumed to be snobby, stuck-up, unapproachable, etc. (Not true by the way.)  Sure, we may be a little prissy (ok a lot prissy), and we may like nice things, but we also have HUGE hearts and Michiel is a shining example of that if I've ever seen it. 

Photo courtesy of Michelle Flowers Photo

Be sure to check out www.blacksouthernbelle.com
Until next time...

"Coastal One Day Design Plus Reveal"

I'm back!  I've been M.I.A. for a while, but it was for good reason.  Last Wednesday I celebrated my 40th birthday and spent the week on vacation, speaking at the Black Southern Belle event (more about that soon) and taking a little girl's getaway to celebrate with family and friends.  Today, I'm back at it and excited to share with you my latest project. 

Recently I shared that I was working on a One Day Design Plus project for a family who needed to spruce up their guest bedroom fairly quickly, well we completed the project last weekend and I think it turned out great! We began by pulling together a quick idea board utilizing some of the homeowner's existing items.

While the client had a number of foundational pieces (i.e. pillows, duvet, furnishings), essentially began with a blank slate.

We utilized the existing drapery to build out a blue and coral scheme with a bit of a coastal flare. 

As usual, pattern mixing played a huge part in pulling the color scheme together.

The client requested a fresher and more modern looked to balance the traditional look of the furniture and the existing wall color.  We chose to begin with a simple what matelassé bedspread and build from there.  This navy organic dot duvet cover and sham set struck the perfect note with the geometric drapery.  As I've been known to do, I added a touch of animal with custom taupe and white animal print pillows.  The coral and blue crewl pillow is likely my favorite thing in the entire space.

This gallery wall was just what this room needed to add a bit of personality and to mask the television.  Adding in a bit of variety with the turtle shed and the paddle keeps it interesting and adds visual interest and texture. 

The client's existing chair was given a makeover with navy blue linen and antique brass nails. Baity's Custom Upholstery never ceases to amaze with what he can do with a piece of furniture.

You'll notice that the blue and white lamps didn't make the cut.  It turned out to be just a bit too much pattern, so I went with this classic white gourd lamp instead.  And, how cute is that flamingo print?  We scored a pair and used both in bedside vignettes. 

I love how it all turned out, and can hardly believe that the project was just one month, start to finish. Mission accomplished!  

So, what do you think? 
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