Designing A Floorplan That Works


fixer upper

The little house that could

Last post I told you about a cute little fixer upper that my Daddy and I are working on. Today I am going to share with you the floorplan as it existed when he bought the house and the evolution of the plan as it exists today. I will attempt to explain my thoughts  throughout this process as I worked my way not only toward a plan that functioned well but that was aesthetically pleasing AND was easiest on the budget.

So this is the floorplan we started with.


There is a nice, big living room that you walk in to with a formal dining room on the left.

Off the dining room is a small very ill-configured kitchen with a rotten floor and rotten cabinets.
My biggest concern was with the bedrooms and bath. We are expecting to rent this to three college girls.
Biggest issues?


1. One bedroom is very small with no closet and it opens directly off the living room.
2. Second bedroom is a good size but the door from the carport opens into this bedroom. Say what? And the closet is tiny.
3. Third bedroom is a thoroughfare from the kitchen to the hallway which leads to the only existing bathroom.
4.There is no laundry room and no place for the water heater.
 As you can readily see, all of these issues had to be addressed first before we could even think about aesthetics.
My first idea was this:

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I will post this several times so that you don’t have to keep referring back to see the floorplan. I tried to leave

most of the walls in place and work with what we had. I did remove the wall between the kitchen and dining

so that the kitchen could extend farther down thus creating a space for a dishwasher and the refrigerator.

I tucked the toilet into a little existing linen closet, did a small walk-in shower which left enough room to

tuck in a water heater. I closed off the old closet in the bedroom, opened the back side of it and put a full

size stack washer dryer in there.

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I then stole some space from the carport creating a good sized bath and two nice closets to serve

bedrooms 1 & 2.

To the right on the tub is a built-in chest on chest to make up for the lack of storage in Bedroom 1.

A large linen closet left of the tub provides space for cleaning products, bath supplies etc.

This was OK but I still wasn’t happy.
Then in the middle of the night….. it happened.
I love it when that happens. I suddenly realized that I should re-think everything and that by doing so

I would

eliminate everything that bugged me AND it would all fit within the existing footprint of the house which

means money saved.

Let’s back  up and look at the original floorplan again:



Let’s analyze all of the problems that were solved:
1.All 3 bedrooms are the same size and all have a large double closet. (easier to rent -no fights among tenants!)
2.No bedroom has an exterior door.
3. No one has to walk through a bedroom to reach another room.
4. By creating a hallway from bedroom three to the laundry I made sure that laundry washing could

still take place even if the bathroom was occupied.

5. We now have a nice second bathroom with double vanities and a tub to serve bedrooms 2 and 3.
6. I shortened the original hall way and took in the original bath linen closet to create the closet for

bedroom 2 thus eliminating the door to the hallway and making it a private space.

7. The original bath now just has a large walk in shower but serves only one bedroom and doubles as

the guest powder room.

8. There is now a beautiful U-shaped kitchen just off the great-room. The open concept allows for great

casual entertaining and opens the space up for more people to perform multiple tasks while occupying

the same area.

I really think this is a great solution and one that saves us money and time. I also love that because the

laundry is right by the back door the girls are close enough to campus that they could literally run home, throw

the clothes in the dryer from the washer and be back  at class on time. By moving the back entry steps to the side,

it makes a more graceful entry into the home and means that you aren’t immediately looking down a hallway

into a bedroom.

What do you think? There is still a tiny bit of time left to make changes if you see something that

would make

it even better!

Next up:
color and finishes!   I’m excited.
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Fixer Upper Time

I have had fixer upper fever for a while now. I was just itching to get my hands on a pitiful run-down something that I could save. Then my Daddy called.

“Hey Baby. When ya comin’ to see me?”

“As a matter of fact, I need to come next weekend if that’s okay. I have a client moving in just north of you and I need a place to crash for a few days.”

“That’s awesome. I have just bought a little house close to campus and I need your help turning it into a rental.”

“Okay! What shape is it in?”

“Weeeellll…… has a lot of potential.” (nervous laugh)

“Yippeeeeee!!!!! A fixer upper!!!!”

(laughter) “I’m glad you are excited!”

Be prepared…. this is not a “pretty picture” post…..not pretty at all…..YET.

Here she is in all of her glory.

fixer upper


I made a video as I did a walk through but it was too long to fit on the blog. If interested you can jump over to my facebook page and check it out to get the full effect… especially of the back side. Gulp.

Here are the bedrooms: yes, the door off the carport opened directly into this bedroom. Say what?




This is the second bedroom on the carport side. It is  substantially smaller than the other two bedrooms which might cause conflicts with three female renters.




The floors are in great shape. That’s a plus!

This is the front door leading into the large living room. Dining is beyond the “holey” wall. Why?



Here is the opposite end of the living room  with a door leading into bedroom number 2. All windows in the house are rotten and have to go. That’s sad.


Dining Room


This is the kitchen. The door leads out onto a little concrete porch that is about 8′ x 12′. Steps lead into back yard from there.

While inspecting the condition of the cabinets Daddy fell through this floor. THAT was not a good day. Angels, please protect him.

fixer upper

This is the hallway that leads from bedroom 1. Door on left goes to living room. Door on right goes to bathroom. Door at end leads to bedroom 3 and then into kitchen.

fixer upper

This used to be the bathroom.


Apparently an entire nation of squirrels had taken up residence under the tub years ago. Anybody want to buy a few million acorns? I can fix up you.



Appliance wall in kitchen.

fixer upper

Bedroom 3



And now, gulp, for the back view.

fixer upper

fixer upper


Jeff and I measured every inch of the space and I drew a plan to help us visualize where we were starting and where we needed to go.

Next up, I will share those plans and the evolution of the finished plan that we are now working from. It involved a middle of the night epiphany. I love those!

Come along on the journey of this fixer upper . It will be fun!

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The Difference Between Men And Women

The difference between men and women is real y’all. Seriously real. LOL Several months ago we had the need to move my work table from the mezzanine of the shop to the main floor. My first thought was to round up a bunch of guys from the neighborhood and “make er happen”. Right? Wouldn’t that have been yours?

Not Jeff’s. Nope. Don’t ask for help when you can engineer a wildly creative way to do it on your own he always says.

So I left and he got creative. Wildly.



It all started with an giant extension ladder and some rope.






Looks scary to me.




He covered the ladder with a packing blanket so the table wouldn’t get scratched. He is always thinking.




The rope held the ladder securely to the iron railing.




Don’t ask me how he lifted the front end of that heavy heart pine table over the railing. I don’t want to know.




And yes after each step he did actually run down that spiral stair and snap a picture to show me how real men do things.


Said table was eased over the rail and voila!  it floated to the ground with the greatest of ease.




Difference between men and women blog

Difference between men and women blog


Difference between men and women blog


Men and women are different. Very.

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Southern Style Magazine Features

southern style

There is absolutely nothing better professionally than walking up to a newsstand and seeing your work validated by being on the cover of a national publication.

Thank you Southern Style.

The room chosen for the cover is the dining room of Max and Sally Byrd of Brantley, Al and it has struck a chord with people from all over the country. Calls and emails continue to pore in asking about the paint colors, the fabric on the chairs, the light etc and we are happy to oblige.

southern style magazine

The walls are 1566 Stoney Brook by Benjamin Moore in case you, too, were curious. It is a lovely smokey grey blue that shifts throughout the day with the fading light. It really shows off at night under candlelight.



I knew that I loved the library but this image stunned me.



Behind the scenes images still make me giggle. The headboard arrived in the wrong color (the day before the magazine shoot) and I had to faux finish it as the photography team was pulling into the driveway. Never a dull moment!



Bathrooms rarely make it into the magazine but these are two of my favs so I had to show you.





You can see the rest of this house on pages 63-74.

We also had the inside cover which was a teaser from the dining room of the Alford Home in Ponte Vedra Beach, Fl.

Southern Style Magazine

That home covers pages 6-18.


Southern Style Magazine

Photo shoot days are my very favorite even though they are some of our longest days.  You wouldn’t believe how hard we work to get the shot and how much patience it takes.

Southern Style Magazine


Marcy Black is my height. Ladders are our friend.


Southern Style Magazine


We loved it when the sun broke though the painting illuminating the colors of the sunset.




Southern Style Magazine


Southern Style Magazine


Go grab a copy today while you still can and see the rest of the features. Available at most booksellers, Walmart,Publix etc.

Thank you to Stephanie Welbourne, photographer for In With The Old, and Lisa Frederick for the text.

Thank you to Marcy Black, photographer for Seaside Serenity, and Elizabeth Bonner for the text.

Also, a big thank you to Editor Kathleen Whaley and Becky Goff.



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2016 Southern Living Inspired Home

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This week I was invited out to Hampstead to tour and  write about their 2016 Southern Living Inspired Home. The house was designed by Matter, the brain child of Anna Lowder and Harvi Sahota.  Harvi explains the theory behind the house this way, “We approached the design of this house by focusing on its location in the Hampstead community. Located on a corner lot overlooking the lake, it was important to create a serene, private space that remained a connected, focal point in the overall community. With this as the stating point, the balconies and courtyard quickly became the central focus of the exterior.” I have to tell you that those areas are pretty awesome.

Most photos courtesy of Grace Photography.






Matter’s Interior Designer, Brooke Johns (who thoughtfully gave me my tour), worked with Harvi to create an interior focused on  the interaction of graphic pattern, color, light and spatial design. Harvi and Anna then filled the home with art and wares from Southern Makers. I will highlight some of those as we walk through.

I was especially enamored with the lighting throughout the house starting with these stunning pendants in the kitchen from Restoration Hardware Modern Collection. I love the way the gold interior echos the gold cabinet hardware, and how about that herringbone wall?

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Creams, grays and whites were the repeated palette throughout with occasional hot accents of  orange.  Note those gorgeous Alabama Chanin pillows on the sofa!

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I love the Kevin Reilly chandelier in the dining room.

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The dark and moody library is the perfect place to curl up with a good book on a rainy afternoon.

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I actually thought this wall was tile but it is a beautiful graphic wallpaper in a deep rich navy. It is the perfect balance to the library.

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The master bedroom is a serene escape after a long day.

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Really wonderful, current tiles stole the show in the master  bathroom. This tub feature wall was one of my favorite aspects of the entire house! Stunning.

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Sara Pittman provided the art for the girls’ room.  Bedding was provided by Serena & Lilly.

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My “littles” would be all over this fun bedroom but the play would not be serene… more like leaping off the roof into the campfire if I had my guess!

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What’s a campfire without s’mores? Land of Nod killed this one.

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The  playroom wallpaper mural is  by Anthropol0gy.



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Furniture in this room, provided by Ashley Gallion.


Sorry for the fuzzy picture. Those one was snapped on my phone.


It is hard to beat this view with a glass of wine.


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The house is open for tours through June 26. Head on over and tell them I sent you. 🙂 Cost is $10.

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ADAC Video

Just as I hit the publish button yesterday on Behind the Windows, ADAC published this video so I decided to share it with you since it has snippets of all the windows and tells a little about all of the designers.

I hope you enjoy.


Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.


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Art, Move-ins And Reveals

April has been such a fun month… cra cra crazy month but oh, so exciting filled with art, move-ins and reveals.

We are introducing a new art line built around the textile line. The look of this will grow and change as we do but here is a sampling of what you will be invited to see next week at the premier at Art In The Courtyard in Montgomery, Alabama. We think you will be very pleased at the price points.

Invitation to follow but save the date for April 26 from 5-7.


art, move ins and reveals



Jeff and I have been in Atlanta all week setting up the display for Behind The Windows at ADAC. If you missed us talking about that you can read about it here. The big reveal is next Monday but here is a sneak peek at some of the puzzle pieces.

This is “Glory”, the latest fabric design (and one of my favorites) fabricated as a lamp shade.

art, move ins and reveals


You will have to wait and see what this is. Let’s just say I call this picture “putting feet to art”.


art, move ins and reveals

This bad boy just might be my favorite. I will be doing this again Team so get ready.

art, move ins and reveals


We have a huge full house move-in starting tomorrow and then we will ready to show the reveal. Fun stuff coming your way! Prayers appreciated.

Have a great, hopefully sun-shiney week.

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Design Bloggers Conference And Nathan Turner


I am so behind in posting that I might never get you caught up, but this fun you have to see. I recently returned from The Design Bloggers Conference in Atlanta. Nathan Turner was one of the hilarious key note speakers. You might know him from Bravo’s Million Dollar Decorators from a few years back.

Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner


One of the greatest and most refreshing surprises of the entire week was the down to earth, “we could be friends” personalities of the speakers. More on that later as I have a real treat for you in the next post.

Nathan started out his presentation with a walk back in time to his very first store in NYC which he was soooo proud of. He just found this image recently as was appalled by what he saw. As he roared with laughter he screamed, “Where is the stuff? I mean seriously one 8 x 10 hanging on the wall, one bust, one table with 3 things on it and LOOK AT THAT WINDOW DISPLAY!”

He was adorable and I could so relate. It looks exactly like my first store. Unlike him, I would only make 1 other attempt at retail. I hate it. He lives for it.

Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner

But he was smart. He is a professional entertainer and he knows how to create a buzz. He added a long dining table to the center of that little shop and whenever the mood struck him he would host a dinner party and invite “the right guests”.  Word began to spread. Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner

He found himself on the front page of The LA Times and suddenly celebs were calling wanting to make a reservation for the hottest ticket in town. Only problem was… it didn’t work like that. Each time Nathan would respond, “NO! You can’t make a reservation. I never know when the mood is going to strike and when it does I just call a table full of people that I think would be interesting and I start cooking.” They were sure they could call someone who knew someone who could get them on the list. LOL


Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner

As guests enjoyed dinner they would often glance around and inquire about the price of this or that. His response was always the same. “Tonight is just about enjoying each other. Call me in the morning and I will look up the price for you.”

Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner

Next thing you know he is chumming it up with Kathie Lee and Rhoda talking all things dinner party and the rest is history.

Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner


Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner

Design Bloggers Conference Nathan TurnerThe parties became more elaborate and the book deals starting coming.


DBC Nathan Turner Then professional athletes and celebrities started to ask if he could help with their homes.

DBC Nathan Turner

DBC Nathan TurnerHe had a ball working on this full house man cave for man and his dogs.

Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner

Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner

Nathan spoke with great fondness of his grandfather and the times that he spent with him growing up. I still have a hard time wrapping by brain around Nathan dirty and on a big game hunt somewhere on another continent dragging home the bloody trophy but he assured me that he did it on numerous occasions.

Granddaddy had a huge trophy room in his home that Nathan used to delight in taking friends into just to scare the bajeebies out of them as they turned directly into the face of some larger than life critter. I can just hear his contagious laugh. The room below was created for a client and was inspired by that room. The “trophies” here are in the form of beautiful photography.

Design Bloggers Conference Nathan Turner


This is his shop today in Malibu. It has plenty of stuff.

DBC Nathan Turner

DBC Nathan Turner

You will see lots of Americana. Nathan loves our country and sources from her as often as possible.

This print is the reflection of the American flag in a swimming pool.

DBC Nathan Turner


I especially enjoyed seeing pictures of his al fresco events: So fresh, so colorful, so inviting.


DBC Nathan Turner

This was recently staged for a photo shoot. Don’t you love his grill?

DBC Nathan Turner

He said you can tell this was for a shoot… unless your friends always wear matching outfits when they come over. haha

DBC Nathan Turner

How pretty is this??? Down side (as you can see if you read his tweet) is that after this particular party Nathan, who cannot stand to waste food, worked all day long on Saturday juicing tons of citrus and freezing the juice or making relishes. I doubt he will use that much fruit next time.

DBC Nathan Turner

DBC Nathan Turner

If you ever get a chance to hear him, go! He is a cutie.

Thank you to Nathan Turner for all photographs.

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I Have A Couple Crush On Chip And Joanna Gaines


I have a couple crush on Chip and Joanna Gaines. Is there anyone who doesn’t love those two? I mean, if you don’t you really shouldn’t admit it ’cause they are just so stinkin’ cute together. If you have been under a rock somewhere and don’t know who they are check out HGTV’s Fixer Upper and introduce yourself. They are the hosts. I must admit, as a design professional, I am not a fan of most of these shows because they set unrealistic expectations for the general public who are not equipped to discern what is real and what is just good TV but I love Fixer Upper.

I was putting my name in the hat to try to win a trip to stay at their new guest quarters, Magnolia House, when I got sucked into their web-site and found the pictures of the farmhouse. Oh my.

Chip and Joanna Gaines

It started out looking like this.


I think this is such a beautiful quote to feed our children’s minds with every morning.


This feels like The Price Is Right…  what’s behind those doors, Joanna?

Chip and Joanna Gaines

So much to love here: herringbone brick floors, white ship lap and black iron.



Just give me a little bit of architectural salvage everyday, Baby. It’s as good as a vitamin.




I think this would be a perfect house for a family getaway: easy care finishes, lots of places to run around and wait till you see all the possibilities for art projects! The first thing my three little ones ask as soon as they see me is “Do you have an art project for us,Gigi?!?”… every time…without fail.  Love it.



The master bedroom feels very peaceful.

Chip and Joanna Gaines

And talk about a grand entry into the bath! Yes, please.

Chip and Joanna Gaines

Now you will see what I meant. This is the children’s craft room.


And this is Joanna’s! Heavenly. Actually I would like to add one more area. I want a big open space-heated and cooled but with floors and walls that I don’t even have to think about. I would sling paint to my heart’s desire. Then I want a bunch of mega-large canvases… oh, and the knowledge to know how to produce great works of art. Where did that come from? See last week’s post.

Chip and Joanna Gaines

The boys’ bedroom is my favorite room.


The girls’ is sweet.

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I got so wrapped up in the farmhouse that I forgot all about The Magnolia House. Sadly, I didn’t win or I would have taken you with me. 🙂

It looks pretty cool. SHIPLAP.  Nuff said.

Magnolia House Chip and Joanna Gaines


They have also converted some old silos into what I hear is a must-visit marketplace.



I think I see a trip to Texas in my future! Road trip anyone?

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Meet Thomas Darnell

Y’all, I have known a lot of gifted artists in my day but Thomas Darnell has stopped me in my tracks. I have spent considerable time the last few weeks staring at his paintings, awe-struck by the gift that is within him.

Meet Thomas. (Yes, the orchid is a painting.)


 The peonies have captivated me like nothing else.

[Read more…]

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