Sweet Home Alabama

As promised, Alabama is in the drawing board spotlight this week. Don’t let the petite front elevation fool you, she packs in 3 bedrooms, 2-1/2 baths and a 2-car garage! She’s designed to sit prettily on a long narrow lot and share her playful spirit with passers-by. She has fun details around the main front windows and a welcoming covered, side-entry porch.

Just steps inside one will be right in the center of the action, with an open floor plan including the living room, dining room and kitchen with center island with light pouring in from every angle. Beyond the kitchen is the family entrance, mudroom, half-bath and garage.

One of the main features in the central living area is the open staircase leading up to the next level. At the top of the stairs, a short hallway provides access to three bedrooms, including a charming master suite. This master suite has its own bath and a closet large enough for two. The two smaller bedrooms are still plenty in size and share a compartmentalized bath for sharing ease.

Alabama Front Elevation

Alabama First Floor

Alabama Second Floor

I hope you like my version of Sweet Home Alabama. Up next week…Mr. Washington!

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The Drawing Board

My Dearest Readers,

Today, I come to you to tell you I have been keeping a secret. A secret surprise, that is. And it’s for you!

For the past several months I have spent hours upon hours at my drawing board sketching a portfolio of home designs to share with you. There are fifty in all, and I’ve named each one for one of our fifty states.

It’s on my bucket list to visit every state at least once. I think that’s probably a popular bucket list item. I’ve been to something more than 30, up and down the east coast and east to west across the southern states. I do admit to using my imagination, pictures and scenes from tv shows as the settings for several of my designs.

As you will see, the designs have been thoughtfully crafted for the all-American family – which is as diverse as the shells on a seashore. Some designs are of big homes and some of small homes. Some have two to three stories while others are one floor. There are designs for narrow lots, wide lots, flat lots and sloped lots. But, all of the designs have my signature woven through them of carefully laid out flow and function, classy details, consideration for the budget-minded and sympathy for the builder.

Are you excited? I AM! Sooooooooo, drumroll please!!! I present to you…..MISS OHIO!

Ohio Front Elevation

Ohio First Floor

Ohio Second Floor

This is a very family oriented design, with an open living area for everyone to congregate that expands onto two outdoor living spaces, a pergola covered deck on one side and a terrace on the other, as smoothly as opening the glass doors. Can’t you see your family having summer barbeques with the kiddos running barefoot in the grass? Or how about hosting the extended family for Thanksgiving in this entertainer’s dream?

For day-to-day living, every family with kids deserves a mudroom where the sports gear and grass-stained sneakers can be contained, a laundry room where a full basket of clothes can be easily wielded, and enough pantry space to accommodate stocks of supplies after a trip to Costco or BJ’s. This plan also has the option of adding a garage off to the right either during the initial build or at a later phase.

Upstairs there is welcoming library nook on the way to three generous-sized bedrooms with ample closet space. The master suite enjoys a french balcony overlooking the terrace and its own stylish bath. The two childrens’ bedrooms share a compartmentalized bathroom.

The curbside appeal of this design is certain to be an eye-catcher. Of course, there are various options, but as shown the craftsman style with stone accents and stained wood trim details are quite attractive, whether in the country or in a cozy in-town neighborhood.

I hope you like Miss Ohio! I certainly enjoyed creating her and I’m looking forward to sharing many more sketches from my drawing board with you. Next up….Alabama!

Winter Blahhhs

It’s winter. North of Boston. I drive down single lane roads and cannot see anything except 8′ walls of dirty snow all around me. ugh. Ugh, uGh, ugH, UGHHHHH!!! I’m ready to shout out the windows, “Give me color or give me death!” Unfortunately, no one will hear me because snow is a good acoustic absorber.

Instead, I’ve decided to splash some more color in my living room. But, I have a confession to make. If you were to come to tea, you would take a look around and immediately NOT peg me as a designer. I have four kids, a Bernese Mountain Dog, and two kittens. Under those conditions, I’m way too practical! (My husband and I have decided to save up all of our Pinterest ideas and capitalize on them when the kids go to college. And number one kid is on her way this Fall! Woo Hoo!)

So, anyway, the challenge is to find neat, inexpensive ideas to liven up our living area without worrying too much about whether or not my investment will become weapons during a slumber party pillow fight. (Yes, I actually shed tears when I had to throw out my $49 blue silk pillows from Pier 1.) Therefore, I made my way through the frozen tundra to Home Goods for some inspiration.

Unexpectedly, I came across a colorful quilt set that would go marvelously with the British Isle theme I’m slowly acquiring through the house. But, I was looking for living room color, not bedroom color! So, I went on looking, but I kept finding my way back to that quilt set.

Finally, the light bulb came on and I decided to bring the set home. The quilt is now fashioned into a lovely cover over the back of the sofa. The shams are fabulous throw pillows accented with a couple of complimentary, solid color pillows. A couple of stylish green topiaries are placed elegantly around the room and…Voila! We have a quick, inexpensive, cozy and comfy update to our living room!

Just know that you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg or strive to make your place look Pottery Barn perfect. We all know those rooms in the magazines don’t look like that unless a photographer is coming! Make your home YOURS!

Birch-Lane-Preserved-Boxwood-Topiary-Single-Ball

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