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"My First Month"

Well I did it! I survived my first month in business full-time.  In fact, I not only survived it, I'd venture to say I thrived in it.  It has been an absolute whirlwind since January 3rd.  I couldn't be more happy...tired, but happy. 

For starters, the clients just keep coming, and for that I couldn't be more grateful.  I'm actually in the midst of pulling plans together for the largest project I've ever completed.  It's a beautiful home with awesome outdoor spaces and this beautiful sunroom.

I can hardly wait to get my hands on this space.  We'll be tackling the sunroom, formal living space, formal dining room, den and library.

We'll also be helping create design plans for a few other spaces as well.  Let's just say I've got my hands full. 

In addition, I'm also working on a One Day Design Plus project at a beautiful retirement village home.  The client has great taste and an affinity for mid century modern.  Yes, please!

We'll be tackling this space and the adjoining sunroom.  For now, here's a peek at where we're going...
As if that weren't enough, I've got even more on my plate. Woohoo!

So, now that I've got one month under my belt, what have I learned over the past 29 days?  We'll here's the down and dirty list of things big and small...

  1. Week 1 taught me that I need an IT department.  Technical issues are NOT my thing.  I spent 2 entire days on the phone with Microsoft trying to rectify issues with Office.  Not good!  It's tough when it's just you and you have to wear seventeen hats. In the future, I'm going the outsourcing route for sure!
  2. Week 2 taught me that I should NEVER (under NO circumstances) leave home without breakfast and possibly snacks to take along.  I made the mistake of scheduling back-to-back appointments on a day when I skipped breakfast (Bad Dietitian!) and found myself lightheaded and accepting food at a client's home. After finding nourishment, I immediately bought a cooler, a freeze pack and a boatload of snacks that would travel well.  We can't very well create on an empty stomach. 😊
  3. By Week 3 it was becoming apparent that I needed some help.  If nothing more than to hold the other end of the tape measure, an extra pair of hands was going to be needed.  So, I decided it was time for another design intern.  I had them in the past, but honestly it was difficult to manage them, work, school and the business.  Now however, I have plenty of time to provide direction and gain a little help at the same time.  I posted an announcement and an application and am in final reviews now.  Yay!  I've also hired a virtual bookkeeper.  The financial end of things is SO VERY important and can't afford to mess that part up.  Like I said, I'm all about outsourcing.  Dwell by Cheryl is growing..
  4. Week 4 confirmed that systems are a must for my personal sanity, so I made a beeline for the office supply store.  Top of the list was a dry erase board. It's the #1 way I keep up with it all.  Yes, I use my fancy planner, but that board is worth its weight in gold.  I'm a visual person so seeing events, appointments, goals, revenue, etc. written out is what works for me.  Also, with so many projects to juggle (alone), I reverted to the system I learned in school (that I said I'd never use); The good ol' client notebook.  I needed more of them, so I stocked up and I'll admit, having everything for a project within reach and organized is pretty awesome. 
They say experience is the best teacher and I can officially confirm...they're right! Cheers to one month down and many more lessons to come (I'm sure)!

Until next time...

DBC Interiors Wins Best of Houzz 2017

Hard to believe we've made it through another week ALREADY!  In just a few days I will have made it through my first month of business! I can't wait to recap all that has happened and the lessons learned. 

I thought I'd pop in to share with you some great news!  For the firth year in a row (every year we've been in business), Dwell by Cheryl Interiors has one the Best of Houzz Award! If you're not familiar with it, Houzz is the leading platform for home renovation and design. The Best Of Houzz is awarded annually in three categories: Design, Customer Service and Photography. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 40 million monthly users on Houzz. Customer Service honors are based on several factors, including the number and quality of recent client reviews. Architecture and interior design photographers whose images were most popular are recognized with the Photography award.

"We are so pleased to award Best of Houzz 2017 to this incredible group of talented and customer-focused professionals,” said Liza Hausman, Vice President of Industry Marketing for Houzz. “Each of these businesses was singled out for recognition by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts for helping to turn their home improvement dreams into reality."

Our work won in both the Design & Customer Service categories, as our portfolio includes some of the most popular images and consistent reviews on Houzz in 2016.  How awesome is that?  2016 was indeed an awesome year.

I truly have some of the best clients.  I can't thank them enough for trusting me with the vision for their homes and for providing such wonderful feedback in the way of client testimonials. 


Special thanks to Houzz for this distinction and to Cam Richards Photography for always showcasing my work in its best light.

Want to see more?  Hope over to Houzz to see more of my work

Have a great weekend!

Good Day Charlotte Appearance: Color Trends

Hard to believe we're already three weeks into the year, which means I'm already three weeks into my new life!  It's been an absolute world wind...in the best kind of way.

Shortly after announcing my big leap into full-time interior design, I received a message on social media from one of my followers. This particular follower happens to be one of the anchors on Fox 46's Good Day Charlotte. She mentioned how much she enjoyed following me and suggested that I come on the show sometime.  Needless to say I was flattered, but didn't think much about it.  I figured it was just a passing comment and likely wouldn't become anything.  I kindly responded with a, "Sure anytime!" and much to my surprise she responded back.  This time, she provided a contact email and asked that I send over my availability.  I did and she put me in contact with the show's Executive Producer.  Next thing you know, I'm slated for the Wednesday morning edition of one of Charlotte's most popular local news shows. 

It happened pretty quickly, so I scrambled to come up with a suggested outline and key messages/talking points.  I initially suggested that I discuss design trends, but the time just would not allow for a deep dive into what's hot, so I decided to stick with color.

With the script all spelled out, I needed to come up with a look.  I'd noticed that the seating was pretty low on the set and wanted to steer clear of any short dresses/skirts, so I opted for bright slacks instead. 

With my wardrobe read to go, I started to wonder if I should spring for professional make-up.  After a short deliberation, I decided, "What the heck!" it's a new year.  I'd been contacted over a year ago by a local MUA (Make-up Artist) who said she followed me on social media, loved my work and would love to provide her services should I ever need it.  With such a last minute request, I figured it was a long shot.  Turns out, she was available so we set up a VERY early in-home appointment.

Side Note:  Highly recommend Tamm of Beauty Unveiled Studio

Media Messaging ☑



I was all set and ready to go...

Check it out...

Such a fun day! Special thanks to Page Crawford and the folks at Good Day Charlotte!

"New Year, New Projects"

A new year means new design projects and let's just say 2017 has started off with a bang! I'm currently in the midst of a pretty dramatic makeover for a super sweet family.  Their home's main floor was in need of a little upgrade including new flooring, paint, lighting and décor. 

After getting a feel for the client's style and hearing a brief mention of the color coral, I ran into this amazing stool and pillow while home for Thanksgiving.  And when you just happen to find an ottoman/pillow from Century Furniture covered in Duralee's Tilton Fenwick's fabric, deeply discounted from its retail price you BUY IT and ship it home.

From that little spur of the moment purchase came an entire design plan.  I just love how that happens.  : )   I also decided to take some of that design knowledge from school and pulled together a design board to present to the client. 

Here's a closer look at the plan.

The family was looking to brighten things up a bit.  Once you see the before photos, you'll understand why.  The carpet was in need of some attention and we ultimately decided to ditch it altogether and opted for expresso stained (at the request of the Mr.) hardwoods.  To balance out the dark floors we went with a light gray wall color from Sherwin Williams and we are keeping the furnishing pretty neutral and light as well.
 This one is already coming together.  You know it's not really a Dwell by Cheryl Interiors project without some furniture transformations or creations and this time we've got both! I can't wait until the install.

SW- Agreeable Gray
 Here's a closer look at the room's space plan.  It's not a large space but it's going to be super inviting when we're done with it. The family really loves hanging out at home and I'm on a mission to give them a space they're never going to want to leave.

This beaded chandelier is making a sweet repeat appearance in this project. 

World Market
You may recall it from another one a while back ago.  The client really loved the natural vibe it will bring to the space and I have to agree. It's going to be great!  This fixture even casts a cool shadow from the light shining around the beads. 

While I'd proposed a jute rug, the question of comfort was raised.  While I can attest to the fact that there are lots of jute rugs that are soft underfoot, I know that comfort is really important to this family so I veered from the plan and went with this bordered wool option.  I've actually owned it before and KNOW it's super comfortable. 
Henley Rug -Pottery Barn

So there you have it!  We're full steam ahead on this one and should be wrapping this up in about four weeks.  Get the behind the scenes details on this and other projects by following me on social media. 

Until next time....


When Dreams Become Reality...

There's something so contradictory about the new year for me.  It evokes strange emotions every year.  On the one hand, I'm excited about the start of the a new year, the chance for a fresh start and the blessing of having survived (and perhaps even thrived) in the previous one.  However, on the other hand, it marks the end of the holiday season, my favorite time of year.  The gifts have all been given, unwrapped and put away, the last few crumbs of yummy sweets are gone and the flickering glow of Christmas lights have now burn out.  It's all a bit...sad.  That is, it usually is.  This year, however, is different.  This year, there is no return to "reality" for me, because THIS is the year, my dream has become my reality.

Funny enough, with all the excitement surrounding my transition to full-time design, I completely forgot that January 1st marked my 5 Year Blog/Business Anniversary!  Five Years!  Five years since I sort of haphazardly said, "What the heck, let's give it a go!"  Five Years?  The thought of doing what I loved as my sole career seemed so far off in the distance I could barely make it out.  But the more time passed, the harder I worked and slowly but surely the dream and the ultimate goal came into view.  In fact, by this time last year, it was crystal clear.  It seemed so close I could almost taste it. And today, it's here.

Over the past several months, I've been working on a bit of collection of posts, a "how-to" if you will, for making your dream of becoming a designer (or some other BIG dream) a reality.  It began with my thoughts on education.  That post dealt with whether or not I felt it was worth it.  Shortly thereafter, I gave a quick down and dirty tutorial on how to work a full-time career and a design business at the same time.  Then, I addressed notion of purpose.  I even shared my struggle with viewing interior design as worthwhile work. Finally, I shared with the news that I'd be kissing my day job goodbye at the end of the year and walked you through the steps that got me there.  You can revisit them all below.

Well today, I want to briefly share my thoughts on what to do when your dream becomes your reality. I'll be honest, it's a bit strange when you achieve a goal you've worked so long and hard to reach.  For a goal-oriented overachiever, you immediately feel as if you need a new goal.  Sounds crazy, but it's true.

So what do you do when your dream becomes a reality?

Honestly, I guess I don't really know...yet. What I do know is that for the past five years, I dreamed of nothing more than awaking today and feeling that amazing feeling of being ecstatic that it's the start of a new workweek.  This morning, I experienced that feeling (though I'm writing this the evening before I've experienced it) and it was all I dreamt it would be. (I'm sure of it!)

What I also know is that I'm throwing everything I have into making my new reality a successful and lasting one.  I'm wise enough to know that THIS will be the challenge, to not just "succeed" but to be sustainable.  I've signed on to work with a business coach for this very reason.  Like I said, I'm throwing everything into this.  I guess that's the first thing you should do when your dreams become reality...throw everything you have into winning at it.

I'm also vowing to not give myself any less than I gave my employer for fifteen years.  So every morning, I will get up, I will get dressed, I will report on time and I will work as hard (who am I kidding waaayyy harder) as I did when I worked for someone else.  I will maintain the same type of structure I've become accustom to.  I'll still use Outlook, I'll still schedule conference calls (and show up 3-5 minutes early), I'll return all emails within 24 hours and I'll even observe the 11 corporate holidays each year (only I'll call Christmas, Christmas and Good Friday, Good Friday instead of Winter and Spring Holiday Observances).   Let's face it, this Type-A person needs that type of structure and that's ok.
You see, much of what has gotten me to this point is not just the creative aspects of what I love to do but also (and maybe more importantly) the discipline I've had in doing it.  So, I suppose the second thing  to do when your dreams become reality is to continue what you've done to get there.  Seems pretty logical, right?  If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

It's strange, when you make this sort of pivot in life, everyone has something to say about it.  Thankfully, the response I received was overwhelming encouraging and positive.  However, you still encounter a few closet skeptics along the way.  They ask questions like, "Do you have clients?"  "So, you've gotten to a point where you feel like you can maintain your standard of living?" Now, the smart aleck in me wants to shoot a side eye and respond with a sharp comeback, but I've resisted.  However, the experience of these well-meaning naysayers leads me to my final thought.

What do you do when your dreams become reality?  You swing for the fences and you let NO ONE stand between you and what God has purposed, planned and predestined for your life.  I get it, not everyone will understand how I could leave the perceived stability of a six-figure job to follow my passion.  The bottom line is, they don't have to.  This is my life and I only get one.  By golly, I'm determined to make it count!

The bottom line is I set the goal, I did my homework, I put in the work, I planned, I saved, I invested and ultimately I did it.  There's nothing left to do now but walk it out.  I intend to do just that.

Day 1....Let's Do This!

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