When I was ten, my family took a road trip from our home in Kansas to a relative’s home in Texas. We drove quite a ways through Oklahoma, but I don’t remember much other than learning the term “tumbleweed” and being really excited when we finally saw the sign “Welcome to Texas”.

Unfortunately, Oklahoma isn’t commonly thought of as an exciting destination. Therefore, for this state’s home design in my portfolio, I wanted to make it a place where a family would find comfort and happiness every time they turn into the driveway.

With that in mind, I remembered an old Victorian house in a neighboring town to where we now live that is painted in many bright, cheery colors. Whenever we drive by it, my daughters will say, “Look! There’s the ice cream house!” It truly does remind us of a big ice cream sundae. So, I took a little of that vision and applied it to Oklahoma’s house design in hopes it would have a little of the same appeal in the midst of a vast, monotone prairie.

Oklahoma Front Elev

With the appeal of a traditional farmhouse, yet updated to fit in today’s neighborhoods, the front view of this home is quite welcoming. I see it as the gathering place for all the kids on the street, with bats and balls and bicycles galore.

For the many sets of feet running in and out, the floor plan is well thought out. The rooms are defined with several points of entry to keep footprints contained and to a minimum during the busy days, then transforming to a cozy respite for more relaxing evenings. The first floor offers everything that’s needed to accommodate a young family without wasting space.

Oklahoma First Floor

The second floor hall feels more spacious with a railing overlooking the stairs below. Off the hall are two generous sized kid bedrooms and a compartmentalized bath to allow for the comfort of multiple users. And a closet for a stackable washer and dryer eliminates the need to heft full laundry baskets up and down the stairs.

The Master Suite has two bays, adding charm to the parents’ private quarters. A light-filled dressing room leads to the master bath with a large steam shower.

Oklahoma Second Floor

For those who like to think ahead and have options, it wouldn’t be difficult to add a room above the garage. Don’t forget the basement for extra storage space and a play area for the kids on rainy days.

Isn’t Oklahoma looking like a great destination now? It is to me!

Next week…..the finer points of Connecticut.

Sir Washington


Sir Washington is a sweet little homestead meant for a hillside surrounded by evergreens. He has an air of the friendly, gentleman neighbor with a freshly pressed suit and cedar accents. One might almost sense a twinkle in his eye when climbing the steps to the entrance.

Inside, the layout is tidy and cozy, remaining comfortable from a starter home to a family home to the empty nest. An open living, dining and kitchen area is the central gathering place. There are a few different options for the kitchen, including a peninsula island instead of the square island that is shown.

A small library nook is tucked in neatly next to the stairs on the first floor, leading to a private study that can also double as a guest room. In the private corner of the first floor, there is a sizable master bedroom that opens up onto a wide back deck that spans much of the length of the house at the rear.

The craftsman style stair leads up to two bedrooms on the second floor, then down to a family room in the basement, adjacent to the “underground” garage.



Sir Washington’s gentle and noble spirit makes him one of my favorites. I hope you agree.

Next week’s feature plan….Ooooklahoma!

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!

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!


What Can A Project Manager Do For You?



A Project Manager can help prevent…or solve…things like this:



Are you undertaking a major construction project?  Consider hiring an experienced Owner’s Project Manager (OPM) to work with the builder on your behalf.  Sure it adds a bit to the project budget, but like an insurance policy, he/she will save you a bundle of headaches and overruns on schedule and cost.

Do you have a specific question about working with an OPM?  Ask away!


A Happy Announcement!

I couldn’t be more pleased to announce that I am now primarily focusing on landscape planning and curb appeal improvement projects!  These truly are the projects where I take most joy.  Not only is landscape planning great fun, but exterior improvements add wonderful value and a successful return on the homeowner’s investment.

Now is an excellent time to plan for spring, summer and fall exterior projects!  I’m so excited!


Pin your ideas for more curb appeal at

The Great Importance of Curb Appeal!

Great Design Event Coming Up!


It’s free!  Only a limited number of tickets are available so be sure to reserve yours soon!
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Don’t You Love English Cottages?

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