Christmas Gift Ideas For The Hostess

The Holidays often mean lots of invitations to parties.

In case you are having difficulty selecting a gift for the party host or hostess, I have put together a list of Christmas Gift Ideas For The Hostess

Take a look

Gift Ideas For The Hostess
Some of these gifts are also great for the cook or foodie in your life. I am in love with the bird nest salt and pepper shaker (hint ;-) ). I am not much of a cook, but they would look awesome on my dining room table!
What are some of the items that are on your Christmas wish list?
Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!
Katy Interior Designer

Veronica Solomon

Keeping It Simple For Christmas

For the past few years, I have been in downsize mode with my entire life. Moving from my 4200 sf home to a new 2600 sf was the beginning, and now Christmas decorating for me has been very simple and lean.

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It is just myself and my two kids, and since they are now teenagers (13 and 17), they are not very big on the whole decorating hoopla as when they were younger. Quite frankly, I am not either. I grew up in Jamaica in very humble surroundings where celebrating Christmas for us was more about the birth of Jesus Christ, church and family. We didn’t necessarily have a Christmas tree in our home or exchanged presents.

Over the years, I went all out for my kids, but recently I have the strong desire to get back to my roots and to really focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

The Decorator in me will always want to do some decorating though, and I still love to admire the really over the top Christmas decorations I have seen from fellow design bloggers :-)

This year my Christmas color theme is gold, white, silver and a tiny touch of blush. I decided just to decorate my fireplace mantel, a 5 -1/2 foot tree in the living room (yes that is a small tree :-) ), and a small table top tree in the foyer

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This is the mantel. I love bringing in a real garland for the mantel every year. I usually just add a string of white lights and some ornaments. This year I decided to layer a second beaded garland with ornaments just for a bit more glitz :-)


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You may notice my Nativity Scene to the left on the hearth. My late husband bought it for me many years ago. I always have it displayed either on a table top or by the tree.

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The tree after some of the presents were added. Some of my lights at the bottom of the tree stopped working the minute I finished decorating it :-(

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A closeup of the presents that we added so far.

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Another view of my Nativity Scene. My son broke Joseph years ago, and so one of the Shepherds has been standing in for him since then :-)

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This is my table top tree in the foyer with a simple wreath nearby

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Dining Room Vignette


Of course I added a tiny bit of sparkle to small vignettes around the room. Here just a gold starlight hints at Christmas sparkle

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And a bit of reindeer games in the foyer :-)

My Santa looks a little bit mean (at least my son thinks so), but he was a new purchase this year from Target

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 Katy Interior Designer

I found these navy nutcrackers at Home Goods and I couldn’t resist bringing them home! :-)

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And of course, you guys saw my bar area in the last post that is all set for holiday entertaining.

The funnest part of all this was going to the tree farm to cut down our very own tree.

My daughter works at Dewberry Farms in Brookshire, which is a seasonal fairground out in the country, and they happen to also have a huge Christmas tree farm with thousands of Christmas trees – seven different varieties.

After dropping her off at work one Sunday, Josh and I took the hayride out to cut down our tree. We decided to go with a small pine one that would be easy for us to carry into the house and set up.

We totally weren’t dressed appropriately, as we were both wearing flip flops in all that dirt.

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Here we are on the hayride. You can see some of the baby trees off in the distance

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This was our first time cutting down our own tree, and it will become our new tradition….well as long as Josh thinks it’s fun :-)

That is Christmas 2014 in our household!

What’s Christmas decorating like in your home?

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!

Katy Interior Designer

Veronica Solomon


How Wasted Space Became A Functional Bar

Home builders here in Katy are notorious for adding random niches in the new homes they build. Sometimes they really serve no architectural or aesthetic purpose, and usually only baffle homeowners who are not sure how to decorate them.

My new home came with an awkwardly placed niche off the foyer in the hallway leading to the living room. It really isn’t deep enough for a regular piece of furniture, so I had to find a piece of furniture that would not stick out too much in the hallway.

I decided to turn this wasted space into a functional bar, and I am super happy that it is no longer a blank eyesore.

The niche measure 3′ wide and 8′ high and about 6″ deep

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I started by painting 2″ horizontal stripes on the wall to make it a nice accent. The colors used were Benjamin Moore Revere Pewter and Chelsea Gray.

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I then added a sunburst mirror that I already owned. It was the right size and scale for this space. The finish of the mirror is great because it works with both silvers and golds, which works perfectly with the rest of the room

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I found this great bar cart from Target a few weeks ago, and although it could be just a bit wider, I still love it and it works for my needs.

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I accessorized with some of my cook books and extra accent pieces that I had on hand……and of course some wine bottles and bar accessories!

Here’s another view of the wasted space that became a functional bar

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Now I am ready for some real entertaining for the holidays! :-)

Hopefully next blog post I will share some of my Christmas decor. Believe it or not, I finally just finished decorating the tree tonight. It has been so busy lately and as you may have noticed, I haven’t been blogging more than 2 or 3 times a week! My kids are at the age now where they aren’t super excited to trim the tree and decorate for Christmas anymore, so it is really just me :-(

Here’s a little sneak peek of my mantel decor. I kept it simple this year with just white, silver, gold and a touch of pink

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Thanks for stopping by today!

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration! 

Katy Interior Designer

Veronica Solomon

An Inspiring Homework Loft Makeover

I have an amazing makeover of a homework loft that I recently completed to share with you all today.

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Homework Loft Painted InWaterlogue App

This was for one of my all time favorite clients whom I have worked with now for the past 4 years or so, on several rooms in their home. When she recently contacted me to makeover the kids’ homework loft, I was super excited to get the ball rolling!

I pretty much have their style down pat at this point, but she requested something fun and still inspiring for the kids to encourage doing homework.

Let’s take a look at where we started with the room

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BEFORE Shot of Homework Loft

It was certainly not a bad looking space. It definitely had some great potential. I loved the built-in bookcases plus two additional bookcases that my client wanted to keep in the room. Tons of storage for all the books that we needed to fit in.

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The inspiration for the room was this fun colorful fabric from Kravet that I designed and had my workroom make into a functional flat roman shade. This definitely added the fun factor to the room.

Next I had the back of each shelf painted in a beautiful Teal color from Glidden Paint called “Totally Teal”

I then had the generic builder grade light fixture changed to a fun capiz pendant and added two swing arm desk lamps to maximize lighting

Next I added the agate style chairs, and a big beautiful bulletin board.

I had the idea to do the three clocks on the wall space above the window that will be set to the time and labeled with the names of three of their favorite cities – Jerusalem, Maui and Las Vegas. (The labels didn’t make it in time for the installation). My client loved the idea!

Then I got down to styling the shelves……the fun part for me!

Here’s another view of the room

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…..And another

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Notice the home made jetpack? Lol. I had to keep it in the room

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So this is the homework loft.

My client is responsible for taking all the amazing shots of the room (The last picture is just blown up and the first one is the result of using the Waterlogue app)

Next project will be one of her daughter’s bedroom! I can’t wait!!

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!

Katy Interior Designer

Veronica Solomon

How Did You Celebrate Thanksgiving?

Happy Black Friday! Hopefully you all had a great Thanksgiving day!

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, I am just about ready to get on with the Christmas decorating. This year I will be keeping it simple, just like I have been for the last couple of years.

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So, tell me…how did you spend Thanksgiving?

Mine was spent cooking with the kids and celebrating my son’s 13th birthday!

We kept it pretty simple since it was just the three of us. Each of us got exactly what we wanted for dinner.

Here are some pictures of our table top. We went non-traditional with our colors this year

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My Paisley Plates From

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I had to bring out my agate coasters that helped with my color scheme. I just love them!

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And here’s dinner: Baked snapper, sweet potatoes and a spinach salad for me (fish is the only meat that I eat), ground turkey lasagna for Joshua, oxtails and mashed potatoes for Courtney. No crazy amounts of leftovers or wasted food. We are just not turkey lovers. It was a great dinner enjoyed by all of us!

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And then after dinner, we brought out the birthday cake for my son’s 13th birthday! He loves chocolate cheesecake!

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There is so much to be thankful for this year. I am always thankful for my kids, my work and the wonderful opportunities that have come my way. I feel so blessed!

Today will be spent doing some online shopping for Black Friday deals, and preparing for Small Business Saturday tomorrow…..and being lazy as well :-) . I never go out for Black Friday….can’t stand the madness! Hopefully there will be some good deals online. Check out our online Ecwid store for FREE SHIPPING on all orders. Use coupon code BLKFRI. Click here for our home decor store and here to shop for gifts (free shipping does not apply to the gift store).

Hopefully you are able to find some other great deals and get most of your Christmas shopping list done.

Please share with us how you celebrated yesterday, and some of the things you are thankful for.

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!

Katy Interior Designer

Veronica Solomon





Happy Thanksgiving From Our Family To Yours!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thank you for being awesome!
We truly appreciate your loyalty and support throughout  the years, and we are so thankful for the opportunity to work with you and helping you realize your decorating dreams!

We hope you enjoy a wonderful season full of love, joy and great blessings!

All the best to you and your family on this special day of giving thanks for all that we have been blessed with.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The Casa Vilora Interiors Team

Inspiration For My Thanksgiving Table Top

So this year for my Thanksgiving table top, I wanted to go for a lot of color and boldness.

I found the perfect inspiration for the look I am going for.

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The beautiful Indian inspired paisley pattern of the Latika salad plates from Echo Design is the perfect dose of color and bold pattern I was looking for. The great combination of rich bright colors and intricate detail is a great interpretation of this classic pattern.

I have always been a big fan of paisley, and I was excited when I found these salad plates. I just placed an order for them and they should be arriving by Tuesday. Hopefully the winter storms will that affect their arrival.

I plan to use the bold pattern in small doses by mixing and matching with some existing pieces I own.

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Thanksgiving Table Inspiration Board by Casa Vilora Interiors

The overall look will be fun, whimsical and very laid-back

It is just me and the kids……and the dog this year, so the theme will easy breezy, simple, and no stress.

Here are a few table tops that really inspired me this year

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Katy Interior Designer


See how fun it is to go with color, boldness and a little bit of the unexpected?

The menu will be mostly raw dishes for me…..maybe I will steam a snapper, and my daughter requested Jamaican style brown stewed oxtails. My son will want meatballs or lasagna. In fact, he might be happy with just pizza. Lol. They refuse to eat mostly raw like I do.

What are your plans for Thanksgiving, and what will your table top look like?

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!

Katy Interior Designer

Welcome To My Small Swanky Sitting Room


How To Decorate A Mantel

Fireplace Mantels are usually the focal point of any room, which for a lot of folks presents a big challenge with decorating them.

As a designer, I have gone into many homes and have seen that people have just given up when it comes to decorating their mantels. They are aware that it is a place reserved for items that have special meaning or sentimental value – like family photos and awards etc. What they don’t seem to know is that it doesn’t have to be every special item they own.

Choose a few items that are absolutely special, and are conversation pieces to display – editing  will be your best friend.

There are some simple ways to get your mantel looking fabulous and still display the most special pieces you want to showcase. These examples also apply to decorating your mantel seasonally. Depending on your decorating style, you may like clean and simple (contemporary or transitional) or you may like a layered look (traditional). See the examples below and see which would work best in your home.

This sketch simply shows how best to hang art above a mantel. Keep in mind that scale, balance, proportion and symmetry is key to an uncluttered look, so choose the size of your artwork carefully.

In this sketch, we are going for a layered effect. This is great for a more traditional look.
Here are a few tips to follow if you like this look1. Start with one big piece that is centered- example above is the large mirror in the background
2. Create movement – example above would be the candlesticks. They are similar objects but varied heights
3. Add visual weight – example above would be the ginger jar. It is large and visually heavier than the other pieces
4. Layer art and photos – Vary the sizes and heights
5. Add accessories of varying heights – example above are the wooden boxes behind the ginger jar

In this sketch we are going for a grid layout of the art on the wall. This look is appropriate in contemporary or transitional decor. If you like this look, keep in mind that you will need to keep the objects on the mantel fairly clean and simple. Don’t add too many layers. Here we just added a couple of ginger jars. Varying the sizes is very important to add movement. We also added a wooden box in the center to anchor the art work, otherwise they will seem to visually float on the wall. And finally we added a floral arrangement – faux orchids work very well for this purpose. They are clean and simple and a good quality faux arrangement look very real.

In this sketch, we are going for a cleaner look as well….not alot of layering. Here we added a mirror, hung horizontally and a smaller round mirror for visual appeal. Then we added a small box and a faux floral arrangement.

In this sketch, we are going for a salon style of hanging art and photos. This is a great look for an eclectic, traditional or shabby chic decor. Salon style should have a “collected” feel and very casual. There should be various heights, sizes, frames and finishes to make this look authentic. It should still have order and symmetry. Not much else is needed on the mantel with this look.

A lot of folks like to use family pictures on their mantels, which is great, as long as you vary the sizes and add other objects. Limit the pictures to just a few. Pictures can be framed and hung above the mantel if you must display them all

Here are a few examples taken from various sources on the internet

The decorating of your mantel should represent your style, so go with what you love and things you enjoy looking at all the time.

Here are some fun accessories that are definitely mantel worthy.

Hope you have been inspired to take on this challenge. If all else fails, then contact us and we can help you get your mantel model home ready!
Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!
Veronica Solomon, IDS, CID

How To Style A Bookcase

Styling and accessorizing is often one of the biggest challenges that my clients state that they have with having a space that is well pulled-together and cohesive.

Styling a room is what gives it personality and charm. It is the finishing touch – like jewelry and makeup complete an outfit

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Whether your style leans more towards minimalism, or luxe and cozy…here are a few tips that you can use to style your bookcases like a pro!

  • Ty to use items that have special meaning to you. Things that you have collected over time. You can always update them by painting or wrapping etc to give them a new look
  • Add a few pieces that are on trend. That will help to give the bookcase a more up-to-date feel. Keep trendy items to a minimum as trends fade fast.
  • Decide whether you want to go with a monochromatic color scheme or adding pops of color.
  • Start with the larger pieces first and fill in with smaller. I usually start from the center and move side to side.
  • You can use one shelf for a feature item that you want to draw attention to
  • It is ok to leave some negative space. Not all shelves have to be completely full with stuff. It can become cluttered fast! I personally love the look of full shelves in my home, but I don’t always do that for clients.
  • Always use books. Books always add warmth and soul to a bookcase. If your color scheme is monochromatic, you can add book covers in varying tones of the same color.
  • Stack books with accessories on the same shelf.This will create some interest and a bit more dimension. When I stack books, I usually add an item on top. You can also line up books. I do both, using a stack of books as bookends
  • Add visual texture with the accessories you choose. Vary textures – from shiney to matte, rough to spikey
  • If you decorate with color….evenly spread the color throughout the bookcase for balance.
  • The shelves do not have to be symmetrical, but they should have proper balance and proportion
  • Group similar items as much as possible to showcase them as a collection
  • Don’t get carried away with adding too many photos in frames. Mix a few special ones in
  • You can add small pieces of framed art for some interest and variety.
  • If you have kids, add baskets or decorative boxes on the bottom shelves where you can place their books and even small toys. That will allow them easy access, and keep things organized
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Via Read Breathe Relax

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Via Caribbean Living

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Via The Suite Life Designs

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Via SAS Interiors

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Via Satori Design For Living

If you still need help with styling your bookcases or any other areas in your home, our “Pull It Together” Design Service may be just what you need. Click here to find out more

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!

Katy Interior Designer

Veronica Solomon
Casa Vilora Interiors
Owner/Lead Designer



One Room Challenge: Resources and Behind the Scenes

Now that the One Room Challenge Fall 2014 Big Reveal has come and gone, things are pretty much back to normal here at Casa Vilora Interiors.

I was pretty pleased with how my Small Swanky Sitting Room turned out, and I just wanted to share with you some of my resources, and even some of the blunders that happened behind the scenes.

Incase you missed the big reveal from last Thursday, you can check it out here

This is how the room turned out

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View of the other side of the room

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Katy Interior Designer

It all started with the wool area rug from Surya that I ordered over a year and a half ago. When it arrived it was a lot more gold than it was pictured on their website. In fact, I thought it was a gray/taupe color when I ordered it. I still loved the worn, antiqued look of it and decided to keep it. It stayed rolled up for a long time and when I finally unrolled it, there were two red stains on it. I still haven’t been able to get the stains completely out, but they are somewhat hidden. Surya is a wholesale vendor that only sells to the trade, but online sources such as One Kings Lane and Joss and Main may carry some of their collections

I used the rug’s color scheme to build the room’s color palette and “collected” feel

The paint color is Benjamin Moore Pewter. I changed my mind from the original color because it seemed more blue than gray after all. I like this option alot better

The hutch/bookcase was a piece I purchased about two or three years ago from another wholesaler (Stanley Furniture). I do know that piece is no longer available. Some online retailers also carry Stanley Furniture

The desk was also a piece I bought from Stanley at the same time I bought the hutch. It is actually a flexible piece that can also work as a console or even a dining table. The leaves fold over onto themselves to make it smaller

The loveseat was a recent purchase from Ashley Furniture. As much as I loved the houndstooth pillows it came with, I didn’t use them for this room. It is a nice piece for the price, and is great for an area like my sitting room that won’t get abused by kids.

The bombe chest is a piece that I purchased with my late husband Sacky over 12 years ago (El Dorado Furniture in Florida). When I downsized from a 4300sf  to a 2650sf house over a year ago, I sold most of the traditional furnishings that Sacky and I had purchased together. They were just too big for the smaller rooms in this new house. the bombe chest was one of the few pieces I decided to keep, and it has been sitting in the unfinished guest bedroom ever since we moved. I didn’t expect to use it in this room, but I decided to help out my budget and use some of what I already owned. I think it works great.

The small gold-ish chair (actually topaz) is from World Market. it is actually a dining chair but it was the perfect scale for this small room.

The desk chair was also from World Market. (I am not sure if the black is still available but I linked to the blue)

The chandelier was also from World Market. (I think that’s it for World Market) :-)

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The gorgeous fabrics were from the Charles Faudree collection for Vervain and the one fabric at the very top (the geometric) was from Fabricut. Vervain is the really high-end line of Fabricut, so these fabrics were not cheap. I only needed a few yards for the drapery and a yard each for the pillows. I didn’t even end up using the pillow I made from the geometric fabric in the room :-( As you all can see, I ended up using the cream leopard even though the blue was my favorite. The drapery hardware (not shown) was from House Parts

The solid amber pillows were also from World Market and I added some greek key trim from Hobby Lobby using fabric glue. That definitely added a more luxurious and custom touch.

The two gold ceramic garden stools were from Imax Corp. They are also a to-the-trade only wholesaler, but some of their pieces are available from online retailers

The London Maps were from Paragon Picture Gallery – another wholesaler

The side table (that is hardly visible) is from Target

The architectural frames next to the sofa are also pieces I purchased with Sacky over 12 or so years ago. They were from a company called Bombay. They closed down their brick and mortar stores, but I believe they still have an online presence.

The juju hat was a DIY craft project. I will be doing a tutorial here on the blog very soon. I actually need more feathers to finish it. :-(

The fauxdermy (animal heads) are from ZGallerie

The lamp is from HomeGoods (it was pretty scratched and soiled but I had to have it. I scored 10% off because it was dinged up)

The faux florals are from NDI and from what I already owned

The accessories I already owned for the most part….some are DIY projects like the urchins, some are from Home Goods and Hobby Lobby. The Aphrodite bust is from Museum Store Company. The lucky dragons are from eBay. The desk accessories were spray painted white (they were once bathroom accessories), so are a few pieces in the bookcase. All the books and magazines I already owned except for a set of Illustrated World History Books (24 volumes) that I scored for $20 at Katy Budget Books. I am still pretty proud about that one :-)

The sheepskin rug/throw is from Ikea.

The pair of small pillows with the damask print is from Imax Corp.

The blue ginger jars are pieces that I already owned (They were a gift from a client) :-)

I think I have everything covered in the room. If I have missed anything that you are curious about, feel free to email me

I will be covering some of my DIY projects in future posts, so check back for more.

Alot of crazy stuff happened during this 6 week challenge

  • The London Maps were a beast to hang, and I almost broke one of them. It literally fell off the wall. I was up until past midnight hanging them. Now no one is allowed to even breathe on them until I can get my handy man to redo them. Lol
  • Some of my DIY projects were a flop. I tried spray painting a box for the bookcase and it just did not turn out so good
  • I didn’t order enough feathers for my juju hat….even after 3 separate orders. I still need to order a few more packs to finish it.
  • The drapery hardware arrived a bit late and I literally had to finish hanging it myself. My installer hung the brackets for me days before the rod arrived; which is the hard part. While trying to get the rod up on the wall, I almost knocked off one of my priceless architectural frames off the wall. Good thing my daughter was standing right there and caught it just in time. Whewwww! :-)
  • Two of the fauxdermy arrived damaged. I literally had to glue them
  • One of the ceramic stools arrived damaged, so a new one had to be sent.
  • Towards the end it was a major time crunch and I had to forego a few things that I wanted – like a desk lamp and a fiddle leaf fig tree for the corner near the desk.

As a Decorator, we always have to be creative and work with what we have, and I did just that in this room. I didn’t have an unlimited budget, so I incorporated alot of my own pieces, my DIY projects and new pieces for a beautiful, collected feel

Katy Interior Designer

Welcome To My Small Swanky Sitting Room

I have already spent some quality time in this room. It is just so cozy and inviting. Not that I needed anymore inspiration, but I am so ready to finish up some other rooms in my home.

I will totally be doing the Spring 2015 installment of the One Room Challenge…..I am just not sure which room it will be yet.

maybe I’ll have you guys vote next time!

Thanks to you all for following my progress over the last 6 weeks and for your positive feedback. Thanks to Michael Stolte for the great shots of the room. Thanks to Mary my seamstress for always being there for me. And thanks to my kids for putting up with my craziness (and for not eating popcorn in my new room. Lol)

Wishing You Beauty and Inspiration!