Romance is in the air! A screened-in porch designed for togetherness.

romantic screened in porch

I’m putting the finishing touches on a dreamy screen-in porch. This lovely couple uses the porch throughout the year,  even on mild Maryland winter days. They are, without-a-doubt, the most romantic people I know.   This is togetherness a place.

What seems to be a small and simple project, has a unique challenge.  My client has environmental sensitivities that make typical outdoor cushions,  with their weather retardant chemical coating,  out of the question. My goal was to create an inviting look that would be stylish and safe for her to use.

Screen Shot 2016-08-04 at 11.08.26 AM

We started with Royal Albert china in Cheeky Pink for inspiration.  Then I found two F. Schumacher & Co. to suit our romantic concept perfectly.

FSchumacher Love 66202The first is “Love” is a cotton embroidered with rayon, both safe for my client.Robert allen cottage stripe candy 133787_s

I added a darling little ticking by Robert Allen, Cottage Stripe in Candy.   This is a 100% cotton fabric with fairly durable 30,000 double rub abrasion factor.

Screen Shot 2016-07-30 at 5.56.08 PMschumacher picture showing print on sofa


The true icing, on this sweet treat of layered fabric pattern,  is an amazing F. Schumacher vintage print.   Manor Rose was designed in 1944 by the legendary Dorthy Draper, the first professional interior designer in our country.  You can see from this image from F.Schumacher that the scale is gorgeously immense!



Manor Rose pattern layout


This pattern layout will make the best use of each flower for our three accent pillows.







I’m in love with the final design!  It proves that eco-friendly design for people with environmental sensitivities does not have to be earth-toned!

Lowell Management Cape Cod

Architectural Attraction – How to choose the architectural style of your home

It’s no secret, I absolutely love the homes built by Lowell Management in Lake Geneva, WI.  So much so, that I am now writing about their stylish homes for their social media campaigns.  It is a labor of love!  I recently wrote a piece for them about architectural styles and used many of their gorgeous homes to illustrate.    Everyone is finding it so helpful that I wanted to share the information here!

Curb appeal or Rorschach test? What does the exterior of your home say about you?

When building a new home, choosing all of the parts and pieces that express your unique style is exciting. This can also be a bit overwhelming when you’re now sure about what you want your style to say. Having a good idea about the design and architecture you find appealing will help the entire process run smoothly.

A home can be architecturally faithful to a historic period, or reference a point in time with adaptations for modern lifestyles. We customize every home for the perfect balance of architecture, lifestyle and character. Browse through some of our favorite exteriors to help identify your style preferences. Then be sure to take the style quiz at the end to guide you in the selection of the perfect home for you and your family.

Cape Cod

This historic charmer has its roots in New England with inspiration from Britain’s thatched cottages. Its popularity grew post World War II as a modestly priced option in housing. This style is a classic and can be expanded in size with upscale amenities.

Style Features

  • Symmetrical exterior with centered front door
  • Steep roof with side gables and dormer windows
  • Clean lines with siding of clapboard, shingles or brick

Style Attraction

  • Simplified style can range from casual or moderately formal
  • Excellent choice as starter home or vacation home
  • Compact footprint adapts well to smaller lot size and lends itself well to future additions



An impressive comeback is in progress for the Craftsman Style, which emerged in 1905 from the Arts and Crafts Movement. This style is characterized by modest yet meaningful carpentry details and the use of natural materials. It is uniquely American with a nostalgic reference to the home kits sold in pattern books and catalogs.

Style Features

  • Wide porch with tapered columns on shingled, stone or brick piers
  • Low-pitched roof with exposed rafter tails
  • Emphasis on rustic qualities using natural and local materials

Style Attraction

  • Relaxed atmosphere that encourages togetherness for families or entertaining
  • Organic quality with gentle transition between indoor and outdoor spaces
  • Open floorplans with built in niches for convenient storage



Unpretentious and real, these homes are streamlined versions of Victorian or Colonial architecture. The pure form is based on need and efficiency rather than ornamentation. Uncomplicated lines make this style suitable for both country and urban aesthetics.

Style Features

  • Front or side gabled roof with tall windows and second story dormers
  • Signature wide or wraparound porch covered by roof overhang
  • Rectangular structure with additions, all covered in lap siding

Style Attraction

  • Casual comfort with sprawling, light, and airy spaces
  • Minimalist appeal balanced with the warmth of county styling
  • Large kitchen or gathering spaces that relate to the outdoors


Complex and ornate, the Victorian home is rich with detail and covers popular styles from the Queen Ann, Gothic Revival, Italianate and Romanesque architectural periods.

Style Features

  • Asymmetrical with complex intersecting gabled or hipped roofs
  • Steep roof pitches with turrets, towers, and eyebrow dormers
  • Detailed, often with lacy ornamental work and decorative shingle patterns

Style Attraction

  • Romantic quality with whimsical details
  • Architectural details are complimented by multi-color schemes
  • Layout offers opportunity for privacy and special purpose rooms

Shingle Style

Uniquely American, the Shingle style incorporates Queen Ann and Colonial Revival architecture with the costal free form character that originated along the shores of New England.

Style Features

  • Asymmetrical forms featuring multi level eaves, towers, dormers and eyebrow windows
  • Rambling shapes unified by shingle siding, often on a rough-faced stone foundation
  • Wrapped porches, classic columns and expansive windows

Style Attraction

  • High style inspired by architects of New England’s seaside resort design
  • Relaxed formality with breezy rambling floor plans
  • Strong relationships between indoor and outdoor rooms

Dutch Colonial

With humble beginning as early American one-room houses, the Dutch Colonial hosts highly efficient floor plan. Resembling a barn, the gambrel roof creates extra living space without adding a second story.

Style Features

  • Gambrel roof structures adaptable to multiple architectural periods
  • Moderate roof pitch, dormer windows often with flared eaves
  • Round window on gable end of roof and covered entry often with pediment top

Style Attraction

  • Efficient personality making every square inch productive
  • Friendly human-scaled structure with intriguing curb appeal
  • Timeless design in a cost efficient structure

7 Traditional Architectural Style Lowell Management Lake Geneva WI LOGO


This American icon is rooted in the 1600’s and continually adapts to lifestyle trends. Using classic Colonial or Tudor architecture as inspiration, these homes present a formal façade to the public while integrating comfortable living areas behind the scenes.

Style Features

  • Steep roof pitches allowing for volume ceilings and loft areas
  • Combination brick, stucco and siding exteriors
  • Symmetrical or Asymmetrical exteriors with covered entry

Style Attraction

  • A balance of formal public spaces with relaxed private areas
  • Gentle application of historically accurate details
  • Floor plans that are adaptable for modern lifestyles

8 European Influenced Architectural Style Lowell Management Lake Geneva WI LOGO

European Influence

European style homes suggest features from Country French and English Tudor homes dating back to the 18th century. The emphasis is on high quality finishes, and large scale spaces for a luxurious experience.

Style Features

  • Steeply pitched roofs with multiple generously sized chimneys
  • Brick and stucco exteriors with details trimmed in stone
  • Formalized balance to the ornamental and structural details

Style Attraction

  • Accommodates a highly formal to semi formal lifestyle
  • Well-appointed design with luxurious amenities
  • Highly attentive to historic accuracy in the architectural details

9 Cottage Whimsical Architectural Styles Lowell Manaement Lake Geneva WI LOGO

Cottage Style

Whimsical features often add to the storybook appeal of cottage style homes. The intimate scale features romantic details borrowed from medieval times. It is the perfect starter or vacation home that can be enlarged and still maintain its charm.

Style Features

  • Intimate scale with an abundance of picturesque details
  • Steep roof pitches, cross gables and arched doorways
  • Bright exterior color scheme surrounded by flower gardens

Style Attraction

  • Romantic character with an effortless country attitude
  • Meandering walkway to the main entry and throughout property
  • Cozy and inviting style that translates well to larger spaces

While these beautiful homes express some of today’s most popular architecture, Lowell has a full team of designers and an AIA architect who will work with you to design a home that truly reflects your personal style and lifestyle.  

You can start to discover your style personality with this fast and fun Style Quiz from Homegoods .  It’s amazingly accurate!

Stylscope from Homegoods

Next learn more about various architectural styles, by visiting this helpful guide from Realtor Magazine

10 Realtormag dot org link image

Be sure to stop by the Lowell Website for more information about building and remodeling your home.


Eco Chic

Eco Chic Sustainable Ideas for your Home

Quality is Inherently Sustainable
Quality is Inherently Sustainable

As a designer, I refuse to give up style.  So I focus on responsible design decisions in my work that will respect the environment while creating beautiful healthy homes.  We are fortunate to now have so many options available.   These are some of my favorite strategies for creating a  stylish interiors, that is also healthy, and environmentally friendly.

  • Right Sizing – When selecting a living space, choose just the right amount of square feet for your comfort and lifestyle
  • Optimize your environment – Locate activity areas where you can take advantage of the natural light and use absorbent materials to capture the warmth
  • Tighten the Envelope – Have an energy audit to identify areas where you can save by adding insulation or upgrading systems
  • Think Quality – Always buy the best you can afford. High quality means it will last, eliminating wasteful replacement purchases
  • Plan in Advance – Mistakes are expensive, always start with a design plan that will give you style direction and keep you focused
  • Reuse & Refurbish – Evaluate existing pieces to determine what can be used again, as-is or with modifications
  • Keep it Local – Use local manufacturers and craftspeople to reduce the energy and expense of transportation while supporting your local economy
  • Renewable & Reclaimed – When selecting materials or furnishings to use in your home research how the product is made. Bamboo, recycled glass, and reclaimed wood are all responsible choices
  • Think natural and organic – Eliminating toxins is good for personal health and the environment. Natural products are available for everything from cleaning products to furnishing
  • Look for third-party certifications to insure that the products are truly sustainable and responsible choices

For inspiration and some beautiful environmentally friendly products, visit my Pinterest board: Eco Chic



Spring Runway Fashion Inspiration for Your Home

Reports from Fashion Week announced the latest runway trends!  It’s just natural that we want these same beautiful colors and textures to translate to our homes for a fresh spring look.  Fortunately the lag time that used to exist between fashion and home décor has almost vanished. You can achieve immediate gratification when refreshing your home with runway inspiration.

I’ve used examples of homes from my favorite builder, Lowell Management, to show you how to create each of these looks in your own home.   Browse through for ideas that speak directly to you. Keep in mind the words of fashion leader Diane Von Furstenberg, “The most important thing, in both fashion and your home, is to know who you are and be true to that”

1 Nautical TrendNautical Chic
Utility and ease inspire this look that works so well for homes in Lake Geneva or any area where you want to adapt chic resort style simplicity. You can create the same nautical mood in the colors and stripes reported on the runway by InStyle.
Introducing graphic stripes with creative and traditional color schemes is a stylish way to bring this trend home. Detailing with accents and lighting in marine brass or shipyard riveting furthers an authentic atmosphere.

2 White Hot Trend  White and Wood Project1White and Wood
Nothing says warm weather like bright white. This season crisp, proper white was softened on the runway by Balenciaga with unexpected accents like gym shoes for a less serious mood. We are taking the same approach at home with the intentional contrast of interesting woods to highlight interior white finishes.  This kitchen features Plato Woodwork cabinetry by Geneva Cabinet Company and uses natural walnut counters for the contrasting effect.  This introduces a bit of edgy in order to reduce the formality of otherwise traditional décor.

4 Denim Project1Versatile Denim
Never far from the fashion front line, denim maintained its position as the go to fabric for casual comfort. Creative washed finishes and tailored silhouettes ruled the runway in the Sonia Rykiel collection.  The application at home invites comfort and introduces a bit of street savvy style. Upholstery and soft goods can reflect appealing washed finishes. Even choosing a paint color in the range between pale chambray and dark wash will maintain the comfort connection.

3 Yellow  Project1Sunshine Yellow
Opting for attention, bright yellow was featured on the runway by designers like Tory Burch.  Cheerful and optimistic, yellow never fails to get noticed. At small dose of bright lemon yellow in accessories achieves the effect, think daffodils. Softer versions will create a gentle background for lively or traditional color schemes.

5 FloralFloral & Gingham
Floral prints and gingham checks appeared in the Diane Von Furstenberg collection as well as many others. The key to this trend is the vibrant colors along with a stylized pattern approach. Bringing this idea home means introducing saturated color inspired by garden flowers. White is an important element in the success of this look, providing the proper context for the colors to breath.

Kitchen Trends for Easy Living

Smallbone kitchen features floating cabinets for a furnished look.  via House Beautiful
Smallbone kitchen features floating cabinets and clean  lines for easy access and cleaning.  via House Beautiful

The newest kitchen updates focus on clean lines and convenience.  The most successful spaces act as the heart of the home, with room for gathering, cooking and storage.  Innovative products and ideas were introduced at this months Kitchen and Bath Industry Show in Las Vegas.

A quick review will show you the best ideas for kitchen comfort and ease.

The heart of the home encourages convenience and togetherness.  via House Beautiful
My favorite ideas encourage togetherness as well as  convenience. via House Beautiful
Best In Show Viking French Door Oven for universal accessibility and easier reach.
Best In Show Viking French Door Oven for universal accessibility and easier reach.
Docking Drawer is made to install in new cabinetry or retrofit .  This will easily eliminate the tangle of cords on our countertops.
The Docking Drawer is made to install in new cabinetry or retrofit . This will easily eliminate the unsightly tangle of cords on our counter tops.
A fun fix for any dull kitchen, Artisanal Cabinet Pulls and Knobs made from recycled glass jars, bottles, and windows.
A fun fix for any dull kitchen, Artisanal Cabinet Pulls and Knobs made from recycled glass jars, bottles, and windows.

Yes I’m excited! Radiant Orchid is Color of the Year!

Radiant Orchid, Pantone Color of the Year 2014
Radiant Orchid, Pantone Color of the Year 2014

It’s that time of year!  Pantone, the color experts,  announce Radiant Orchid as the color that will have the greatest impact on our lives.  I’m energized, in fact the ability to energize us is one of the attributes of this color.  In home design that translates to livelier palettes than we have seen in quite a while.  This lovely color can add a point of interest to neutral interiors or play the leading role for a dramatic space.

Many complain that they do not want to be dictated to when it comes to the colors available in the market place.  Rest assured that is not the case.  Pantone researches color trends world-wide, analyzes what they see in order to give us a heads up on those colors receiving attention.  Keep in mind, that in order to feel the benefits of this trend, you can make other selections from the pink/magenta color families and enjoy the glow.

The Psychological bonus is the way this hue encourages balance and harmony.  In Feng Shui this color is used as a catalyst for meaningful positive change.  The color of the year is a sign of the times, and I’m encouraged by the emergence of a color that will add life and vitality to our day.  Get ready to enjoy the upcoming year!

Lively Radiant Orchid case piece by Lorts Manufacturing

Lively Radiant Orchid case piece by Lorts Manufacturing
Small scale furnishings for downsizing and easy mobility  Chair from Gilt by S.H.O.

Design Trends 2014

Part of my job as an interior designer is to keep an eye on emerging trends.  I use that knowledge when I am selecting colors and products for my clients homes. Most of the projections phase in over time so you may not notice the subtle differences until it is a full blown trend. My goal is to make sure you get the best value for your purchases by insuring that they are on the emerging side of design trends and not on their way out before you can wear them out. With that in mind, I want to share some to the newest ideas this fall. My favorites can be used to update and enhance the investment you have already made in your home’s design.

Small scale furnishings for downsizing space and easy mobility  Chair from Gilt by S.H.O.
Small scale furnishings for downsizing space and easy mobility Chair from Gilt by S.H.O.
Display cabinets return with beautiful details to enhance your rooms and increase storage. This stunning piece is from Habersham


Authentic handrafted textiles with cultural influence available on Etsy from Karen and Hmong Tribal
Authentic handrafted textiles with cultural influence available on Etsy from Karen and Hmong Tribal
Black and White combine to emphasize the importance of neutrals for longevity.  Century uses bold color to highlight this classic combination.
Black and White combine to emphasize the importance of neutrals for longevity. Century uses bold color to highlight this classic combination.

Lighting Check Up for Fall/Winter Days

It’s that time of year when we realize that the house is getting dark earlier. This leaves us with shorter days and lower energy levels. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the Midwest winter blues.

  • Be sure to have multiple sources of light for each room.
  • Add dimmers for versatility and easy adjustment of light levels.
  • Make sure task lighting is available to eliminate shadows that will cause eye strain.
  • Check that your chandeliers are large enough and hung low enough to properly light table surfaces.
  • Accent lighting on art and shelving will contribute to the overall light levels of the room.
  • Switch out lampshades to white for the fall and winter months.
Trend: Warm Metallics

Design Trends from Las Vegas Market

This summers Las Vegas Furniture Market was a welcome mix of classic traditions along with colorful updates.  The new product introductions along with design trend indicators create a worthwhile mix that helps direct our attention to the freshest looks in design.

Contemporary jaipur rugs

Trend: Color that Captures: 

Japiur introduced so many beautiful area rugs that are so rich in saturated color that your neutral rooms will come alive.

Trend: Warm Metallics

Trend: Warm metallic tones

This light fixture by Aerin Lauder for Circa Lighting is a divine piece of jewelry for your home.

db9839429bfbcdedb5d4cba259eed6e6 french heritage Champlain double bookcase

Trend: Sophisticated Lines with Casual Finish

French Heritage is a quality favorite for me, and this display piece featuring a casual two tone finish and slim lined drawers to hide a few items would add architectural interest to a room.

ae4acd62b4fd96a4e77706defa497088Lane Chatham recliner

Trend: Comfort

This super comfortable piece is the Chatham recliner by Lane, comfort without the bulk.

L2911-SPECTRUM-NIGHTSCAPE-775x398  massoud furniture

Trend: Color Working as a Neutral

I know emerald is Pantones color of the year, but I can’t get over the blue sightings and how they introduce an element of calm to a room.  This classic sofa by Massoud is the perfect cure for a boring room.