I recently visited my daughters and their families in MN. and find myself editing their room design.  One is more traditional like her mom, and the other one is very contemporary.  I feel very comfortable in both homes, and am very pleased when my daughters and I talk about ideas to make their homes even better.  A favorite past time of mine is painting; as you know if you have read any of my other blogs and having painted all of the walls in my home I now paint on canvas.   And yes, those paintings show up in my daughter’s homes, probably much to my daughter’s dismay.  While I am visiting them, I feel somewhat like a grade school kid beaming ear to ear; proud that my artwork is being displayed in a prominent area of their homes.   This last visit I was given the honor of decorating my granddaughter’s room.  I painted several canvases to hang on the walls, color coordinated it with the bedding we had picked out on another trip and I even got to paint the walls.

Granddaughter's room


Simple…  This is a perfect excuse to create a theme for your next dinner party and go beyond the food you are serving!  

Holidays are always family time and we try to make it special; serving favorite dishes, playing games and just enjoying the time together.  At Easter we associate the holiday with bunnies, duckies, and activities like egg hunts.  It is also the marking of Spring, a time of renewal and reflection.  

Dress your table in it’s Easter best.  A beautiful tablecloth, a throw,  or a flat sheet will work.   As with decorating a room with layers, you decorate a table in layers.  Using a second tablecloth or other fabric; pool it in the center of the table.  Next collect small houseplants, figurines, candles, and even river rock or jelly beans to be arranged as the centerpiece on the table.  Don’t forget to carry this theme to the buffet and other areas of the house where your guests will be!

For a Mexican Fiesta you could use things like: chili peppers, clay pots, Mexican tiles, sombreros….  Pots and hats can be lined with foil or plastic wrap and used for serving food and holding utensils.  The tiles are perfect trivets for the hot dishes.

A seafood buffet looks great with fish-netting, Adirondack chairs, sand, plastic buckets, shovels, and shells.  Blue and white serving ware and fish themed dinnerware adds a finishing touch. 

Have a flair for the tropical?  Those surongs that us gals love to wrap around ourselves make great table coverings.  If you are lucky enough to have palm trees; clip a few fronds to use as place mats.  Grass skirts and more of those surongs (you know you have one in every color) tied around the chairs adds a lot of fun!

One last one and then you are on your way to creating a theme for your next dinner party;  have an elegant affair that you need to host?  No problem!   Costume jewelry can be attached to napkin rings, pooled around bowls filled with flowers floating in water, a mixture of candle sticks with same color candles centered on the table. 

Stretch yourself next time you have a dinner party, pick out music, fabrics and serving ware to match a theme and take it to the next level.  You will have fun doing it and your guests will love it!

You’ve seen beautifully decorated rooms on tv, in magazines, even when you walk into a furniture store – it feels so inviting.  And then your eyes refocus on your own room…  no matter what you do, it just doesn’t measure up!

Don’t despair!  You can have that designer styled room, for little money, and you can do it.  Have a little faith in yourself.  Start with a small room.  Go through a couple of catalogs, magazines and tear out pages of rooms you really like.  What elements of those pages caught your eye?   Write your thoughts down and keep these with the pages you have.

Next, clean everything and I mean everything out of the room you are going to stage.  Note to self; “This is a good time to purge!  Get rid of junk, clutter and donate anything you no longer need!”  Part of the process of staging a home is to declutter.  It frees your mind and gives you energy. 

This is also a good time to patch holes, touch up trim work and paint the room.  (Check out my blogs on painting).  Clean the floors, if you have carpeting, steam clean it.    Now don’t you feel better? 

One key element that is very important throughout this whole process is “Less is Best!” 

Once you have all the cleaning and repairs done it is time to start the staging.  Start with the largest piece of furniture that is going to be in the room.  This will be your focal point.  Add the next piece(s); arranging them in a pleasing layout.  You want the furniture arranged to maximize the space in the room and be inviting. 

The window treatments and wall decorations are next.  Refer back to your pages if need be.  Wall arangements are similar to furniture placement.  Lay the paintings, photos, mirrors – whatever you are using out on the floor and arrange the pieces until you are pleased with the results.  Similar pieces for a cohesive look and spacing are very important! 

Once you are ready to hang the items:  make sure that the center of the arrangement is eye level; 60″ to 70″ above floor, unless placing above furniture, then the bottom of frame should be 8″ to 10″ above back of furniture.  Start with the center piece and work around it until you have it all in place.  Step back and admire your work – you deserve it!

Adding floor plants or other little greenery are the last touches to finish your new designer staged room.  You will gain confidence and energy from this room – now go conquer the next one!

I love to decorate!  I eat, sleep and dream in HGTV!  I get some really great ideas and always want to change things up around our home.  I get bored with the same old things I see everyday (I work from home, so that makes it even worse!).  I get in one of my modes… I start pacing around the house, “shopping” for items I need for my new project.  My husband has tried to slow this process down by purchasing large furniture pieces that I can not move on my own… doesn’t work though!

So you are probably wondering… how does this relate to the Blog title “Double Duty?”   Easy!  It’s taking an item made for a specific purpose and changing it up to fit another!  I will share a few of my favorites; so hang on:

A table runner makes a great window valance with just a few cafe’ curtain clips.  A new window look is just a runner away! 

Window panels can be fan folded and looped thru larger rings for a updated swag look.  Use the tie backs (that come with some panels) as rings to create a different swag look.  These tie backs can also be used for napkin rings at your dinner table to coordinate a whole look. 

Window panels can also be made into blinds; go to a fabric store and purchase tape with little loops/pull strings attached.  Sew onto the back of panels – you have blinds!

Bamboo window blinds are a great wainscotting for a small bedroom or breakfast bar in a kitchen once you remove the hardware and add trim moulding for a finished look.

A framed mirror makes a great table top; use a plant stand for the base.  This makes a nice sidetable or nightstand.  A glass top and two taller plant stands for the base makes a great foyer table, sofa table or even a “headboard” for a bed.

Got an old dresser stashed somewhere?  Take it out of storage and dust it off.  Beat up? Paint smattered or just needs a new finish?  (Check out my faux painting blog.)  A dresser makes a great foyer table; a bonus is the storage you gain!  A small one in a bathroom can double as linen “closet.”  Our house does not have any linen closets so a dresser works well.

This same dresser could make a nice bathroom vanity!  Modify the drawers to make them into doors and this dresser could be used as an entertainment center, a bar…. 

An old rickety wooden ladder (or two) and wood planks, cabinet fronts for the shelves, make a great etagere or bookcase. 

A kitchen table can double as a desk in an office, a work surface in a sewing room.  Modify the legs and it can be reworked into a coffee table.

 An old wooden door can be made into a headboard.  Use two sawhorses as table legs and the door as a table top.  Take two doors, cut them in half, hinge together and you have a room divider. 

You know that crib you or your mom is holding on to?   It can be made into a bench for a garden or foyer!  Same with an old headboard and footboard.

Notice that a lot of these ideas can be modified, broken down to be stashed away, or returned to original use.  Your imagination is your only limitation!

I think my mom had been waiting for the moment I moved out of my parent’s home!  I instantly became the “Collector.”  Don’t want it, don’t need it?  “Give it to Carla; she can use it.”  So I have a rock and seashell collection, three sets of formal dinnerware (most people don’t even have a need for one set), countless teacups, a handful of one of a kind chairs… are you starting to get the picture?

If I showed an interest in something cute like a birdhouse, a little porcelain replica of a cottage, baskets and containers (you know the kind gifts are packaged in at Christmas);  what did I end up with?  You guessed it!  A collection! 

Twenty some years later I have to admit I still have a few of those collections.  And, yes as my tastes change my collections have changed or have been edited to just my favorite pieces.

A collection can make a huge decorating statement if used correctly.  Go shopping around your home and bring together all the pieces that make up your “collection.”  Play with the pieces to create a pleasing arrangement; once you have a display you like – let’s put it to work!  Display your collection on top of an entertainment center, above kitchen cabinets, in a bookcase or even on a coffee table. 

Use a collection in an unexpected way.  I use three of my collections together to keep my bathroom organized.  Mason jars that my grandmother used for canning (these hold part of my rock collection, q-tips, cotton balls, brushes…) and  a couple of my baskets make everyday items easy to reach and it looks great!  

I have always loved decorating.  I remember as a kid I’d pour over magazines and catalogs for hours dreaming of the home I would own one day.  It was my favorite past time back then and still is today.  Thank goodness for HGTV, DIY and other decorating networks!  Now I can watch decorating shows whenever.  I admit it; I am addicted to decorating. 

I have become a fairly experienced painter and I can do most DIY projects myself.  It can be quite liberating to tackle and finish projects including koi ponds, extensive landscaping, complete home renovations (including an inn that became an award winning business the first year my husband and I owned it!). 

 Currently we are real estate agents in sunny Florida.  Now I get to look at a lot of homes and the way they are decorated!  As with the inn; we take real estate to a higher level with the help of technology (this is my husband’s favorite past time – anything “techie”).  Anyway, I am a visual person and I help my clients to visualize themselves in a new home.

My husband and I love to eat and because of this; we love (or is that need?) to workout.  Tennis, biking, eliptical training, and weight lifting are our weapons of choice to fight the battle of the bulge. 

I need everything to be clean and organized in my life and home, much against the undoings of my husband and three dogs.  This is a constant undertaking and I think I’m losing ground.  So I guess I will close my eyes as my only other option is to lose the husband and dogs! 

I have two married daughters; the oldest is a Floor Designer for a furniture company and has two fun loving dogs.  My youngest is a stay at home mom for my beautiful baby granddaughter.  My husband, my daughters and their families are my inspiration in life.

 I hope my passion for decorating helps you in your own mission to create a home you and your family will love!