Back to blogging

Well, it certainly has been a loooooong time since I last blogged.  I always enjoyed doing it, but a few years back I was at a point in my life both professionally and personally where I just had way to much on my plate.  So non-essentials got put on the chopping block, and unfortunately blogging was one of them. But with the start of the new year,  I am back and committed to posting a few entries each month.

The big news since my last entry is Sumerland Homes & Gardens moved to Cape Cod!  In the spring of 2016 we put our house on the market, and a month before we had to move out, we decided Cape Cod was where we wanted to be.

Your life does not
get better by chance,
it gets better
by change.

We needed a change, and with our daughter having just graduated from high school, it was a good time for us to make the leap.  What a crazy 3 weeks it was!  We quickly found a house in Barnstable, packed everything up, got our two oldest off to college, and arrived on the Cape two days before our youngest started school.  Things eventually quieted down and we enjoyed the change of seasons as we got into our new routine as "wash-ashores".  We absolutely love it here and know that even though it was a super quick decision, it was the best decision for us, and we haven't looked back.  

We are surrounded by such beauty, no matter the season.

As for Sumerland Homes & Gardens, business is growing on Cape Cod.  I have connected with new vendors and trades people, and had wonderful clients this past year.  We worked on new constructions, water front landscape designs, perennial gardens, kitchen and bathroom remodels, and room designs.  And we are proud to announce we received "Best of Houzz 2018".  We truly appreciate our clients putting their faith in us to design them beautiful spaces that they can enjoy with their family and friends. 

We are excited for what 2018 will bring!  We'd love to have to come along.  You can follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

As always, feel free to leave a comment or ask questions in the comments section below.

Need help creating a home you love? Contact me about our design services.

Townhouse Living Room Redo

Today I'm sharing a project that I completed last fall- a townhouse living room.  The client requested a space that was light, airy and clean with coastal inspired colors to provide a calm and serene retreat.  She also asked that I incorporate a "happy pop" of color- either orange or pink. The room was fairly small - approximately 16 x 13, and had to include a seating area, media center, a piano and because the front door opened directly into the living room, a console table to drop keys and mail.  This was our starting color palette:


And here are some inspiration photos for the mood we were trying to create:

French-style living room - I love how light and bright the room is.
Nautical Themed Blue and Pink Living Room @Layla Grayce
coastal living with a modern feel, love the jute rug, baskets, black pendant lantern, blue slip-covered wing char and white painted coffee table x
My client loved the blue planking on the back of this bookcase and wanted to incorporate it in her bookcases. If you remember, I did blue planking on my dining room hutch, only placing the planks horizontally instead of vertically.
Take a look at these "Before" photos...lots of issues to be addressed for sure!!!  Pink walls with smoke damage up by the ceiling, 80's country wood furniture, bland tile in front of the fireplace, too much clutter...

Lots of brown...with shutters that only went two-thirds of the way up the windows.

A piano and chunky chair-and-a-half squished up against one wall, and more brown wood trim and stair railings.

And here it is now!

The room does not get a lot of natural sunlight, so we kept the walls light with Benjamin Moore's Gray Owl at 50% and crisp white trim.  The room had a challenging layout...there was only one wall to place the tv on, and the opposite wall (where the couch would go) had a window right above it. Due to the awkward placement of the windows, we chose wide white plantation shutters.

The piano fit nicely in the nook...

We had the stair railing painted white to blend in rather than stand out, and added a parsons console table.  This is located across from the front door, so she can drop her keys and mail here as she walks in.  The greek key ottoman cubes can be pulled out for extra seating...and I like how they break up all the vertical lines of the spindles.

The fireplace got a new "marble" hearth...real marble tiles were going to be too thick to match up with the wood flooring, so we chose a porcelain tile that looks just like the real thing.

A wool dhurrie rug from West Elm grounds the space.  We gave one of her end tables a coat of blue paint and a unique drawer pull from Anthropologie.

As always, feel free to leave a comment or ask questions in the comments section below.

Need help creating a home you love? Contact me about our design services.

A New Year...

Happy New Year friends!
Happy New Year to our fabulous followers and all pinners worldwide. Have a wonderful new year, cheers!
 I can't believe we're almost at the end of January already...where did it go?!  At the beginning of the month I sat in my new studio (photos coming soon!) and worked on my 2015 goals for Summerland Homes & Gardens.  2014 was a good year with multiple projects and lots of learning experiences (some good & some not so good!)  As I'm "in the trenches" running a design business, I'm trying to find the best way to streamline my business, manage projects, take my organizational skills up a notch and successfully market my company.  So I've been doing lots of planning for Summerland and am very excited for this year and what it's going to bring. Having your own business is A TON of work, but I LOVE it! I love the creative process, working with my clients, and seeing my visions come to life.

 I also created these vision boards to be inspired and stay focused on my goals (both personal & professional) and to remind me of some of the things I want to accomplish this year.

I'm also happy to announce that Summerland Homes & Gardens won Best of Houzz 2015! Great news to start this week!  Here's part of the press release...
Remodeling and Home Design

Summerland Homes & Gardens Receives
Best Of Houzz 2015 Award

Over 25 Million Monthly Unique Users Rated Top-Rated Home Building,
Remodeling and Design Professionals in the United States and Around the World

January 19, 2015 –Summerland Homes & Gardens of Whitinsville, Massachusetts, has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” for Customer Satisfaction by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The design studio, which specializes in both interior and garden design, was chosen by the more than 25 million monthly unique users that comprise the Houzz community from among more than 500,000 active home building, remodeling and design industry professionals.

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Design and Customer Satisfaction. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 25 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers.” Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2014. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2015” badge on their profiles, helping Houzz users around the world who discover and love a professional’s work to learn even more about that business’ popularity and satisfaction rating among their peers in the Houzz community. 

“Houzz provides homeowners with a 360 degree view of home building, remodeling and design industry professionals, empowering them to engage the right people and products for their project,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of industry marketing for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize Summerland Homes & Gardens among our “Best Of” professionals as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

You can follow Summerland Homes & Gardens on Houzz:

* * * * * 
 2015 is off to a busy start and I'm looking forward to this year's projects and all the creative possibilities!

"The Year is Yours. What will you do with it? {New Year's Eve Free Printable }

As always, feel free to leave a comment or ask questions in the comments section below.

Need help creating a home you love? Contact me about our design services.

An African Adventure!

Usually I use this space to blog about home design and garden landscaping, with the occasional travel post thrown in.  Design is one of my passions…it is what inspires me, allows me to be creative and create beautiful spaces.

But today I’d like to share with you another passion of mine.  While in college, I spent a summer in Uganda, Africa.  I went with a team of college students and together we worked at various orphanages.  These beautiful children, with their huge smiles and even bigger hearts, radiated joy and captured my heart.  
It’s been twenty years since I’ve seen them, but they have remained in my heart all this time. I’ve always said one day I will go back.  Over the years I have contributed to various organizations who do work in Uganda and currently I am sponsoring a little boy from there.  But earlier this fall, I got to partner with a truly amazing organization, Beauty For Ashes Uganda. 

Beauty For Ashes Uganda

Beauty For Ashes Uganda is a non-profit organization that helps single mamas & widows of the Teso region of Uganda. By forming cooperatives, BFA gathers women in a village together to support one another, carry each other's burdens & pool their resources. These mamas contribute approximately $0.20 each week to create a fund to help each mama & to work towards sustainability. These "lady banks" (as they call them) grow each week. They are able to draw from these banks as a loan or sometimes distributing evenly among the women a certain amount to better their families and to work towards sustainable options.

 With the global measure of extreme poverty being an income of $37.50/month ($1.25/day), our mamas are struggling to support their families and community on just $23/month ($0.76/day). Despite the ashes they've seen, these mamas fight for beauty in their lives and their community. Their commitment to help one another is nothing short of remarkable. However, the needs still remain too much for them to be able to meet, either alone or together. The needs are just too great!
This fall I became an advocate for the village of Ojemoru, Uganda. I am stepping up to be a voice for Ojemoru and the women in the cooperative.  My role as an advocate is first to understand this village and get to know the women (and their children) who are a part of it. Working with founder Brandi McElheny, we determine the village’s needs- it could be school fees, mosquito nets, medical needs, etc.  From there, I spearhead fundraising efforts to meet these needs.

This week, the advocates of the 29 villages are excited to launch “Join Our Village”, a unique opportunity for YOU to be a part of this African adventure! 

I am looking for 30+ individuals on this side of the world to support the village of Ojemoru. Each of us will match what one mama makes a month by donating $23 each month. Together, we will create pools of resources for our village. Our pool of resources can send their children to school, provide emergency medical care, buy nets, fund water projects and so much more!  Together, with the beautiful mamas who are already doing so much, we could make a difference!

Once you sign up to join Ojemoru, we will add you to our private Facebook group! This is where we will post photos, pictures, updates, stories and more for YOUR village!
I assure you, you will fall in love with your village, your mamas and their kiddos. They are absolutely precious. Wait until you see their faces and hear their stories! I'm excited for you to be a part of this!
Your $23/month will have a huge impact on these womens' lives. But as we choose to love the poor, YOU will be changed as well. You will be inspired, your perspective will change and you will learn and grow and love more because of the mamas you are honored to know.

If we each give a little, together we can give a lot!
PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!
Click here to sign up today!  And don't forget to enter your village, Ojemoru.

Click here to learn more about the cooperatives and how we are empowering these women to build long-term sustainability for their families.

Click here to see the projects we fund.

Click here to watch a video about joining our village!

As always, feel free to leave a comment or ask questions in the comments section below.

Need help creating a home you love? Contact me about our design services.