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model home

Model Home Decor

Model homes are wonderful for inspiration when you are looking to redo your own home. They are always decked out in the latest styles and trends.  As a lover of design and pretty things, they always hold an element of wonder for me.

For the last year or so I’ve been working as a new home sales assistant, or as the industry likes to call it, a”model home minder”.  It’s a great little gig while I pursue my real estate license and launch a design / decorating biz of some sort. Honestly, I have too many ideas about that venture and need to start small with a targeted approach. More on that later…

The cool thing about my part time gig is that I get to spend the day in these gorgeous model homes. Each one is amazing and impeccably designed.  I’ve loved noticing all the fabulous details that the home stagers have added.

Today, I thought I would share a few images of the homes I’ve been fortunate to hang out in. Each offers a few good tips for adding a model home look to your own home.

mercury glass chandelier

This is the mercury glass chandelier hanging over the the breakfast table. The room itself is bright and airy and the dressy chandelier makes the room. It gives the round table and cloth covered parsons chairs a touch of class and elegance. It inspires me to upgrade the lighting at my house.

master bedroom

This master suite is so inviting. I love that it’s bright with a wall of windows overlooking the back yard.  Those pendant lights hanging over the nightstands are just the touch of luxury this space needs. I’ve noticed in a lot of their homes, this builder uses molding to deck out walls giving them extra visual interest. Just imagine how boring the wall behind the bed would look without the darker blue framed out against the lighter blue.

collection of candles

I love a good artfully displayed collection and this dining room table with various sizes and heights of candle sticks is stunning. It includes everything from pillars to hurricanes and votive holders. The mix and match of colors and wood tones continues to create visual interest. It sets the table to be more than an item of furniture letting the visitor know it’s a dining room.  When staging a home it helps to show off a space with style and flair.  Simply leaving the table top bare does nothing to make the room memorable.

If you are looking to list  your property or simply want some design inspiration take a walk through a model home center. Be upfront with the sales staff that you a just taking a look around for some design inspiration. They won’t bother you then.


stepping beyond the comfort zone

Beyond The Comfort Zone

We can stand there comfortably on the ground floor or we can ascend the steps beyond our comfort zone and realize our greatness.

The comfort zone is that place where good ideas, dreams and untapped talent go to die. It’s called the comfort zone because we feel safe, comfortable, if you will.  We are tricked into thinking that challenging ourselves or expanding our range of experiences is too scary and we are better off happily stuck. Being stuck isn’t a happy experience is it? We allow fear to control us rather than taking bold action and pushing ourselves to do more, be more and realize our own power. There’s nothing wrong with staying stuck, but why hold ourselves captive?

It occurred to me recently, that I’ve been blogging on and off since 2008. That’s a long time and yet, I haven’t grown my content, reach or opportunities nearly to the level of my peers in this arena have. The reason being, I’ve allowed myself to be wrapped up in my doubts and fears. Truth be told,  I suffer from impostor syndrome.

I’m under this false notion that what I have to say, share or show people just isn’t good enough. There’s always a comparison in my head.  So, I stay stuck, dreaming about being recognized by HGTV, or joining Martha’s Creative Circle, or getting a spot on a local TV morning show or blogger credentials to a trade show. These lofty dreams will fast become pipe dreams if I don’t stop holding myself back and take bold inspired action. To quote Stewart Smalley, “I’m good enough and gosh darn it people like me.”

The last words of David Cassidy (as far as I know, we aren’t related), ” So much wasted time”,  have been weighing on me with this realization.  Fear keeps us in the comfort zone and gives us permission to “waste time”.  The good news we don’t have to, we just have to be bold enough to take a chance and stop letting fear control us. We don’t have to  stay stuck and waste our talents or our voice. Instead, we can go out there and create something.


Do you want to start a Youtube channel or maybe your want to launch a business but fear what others might think ? Pishposh… who cares what others think. You never know who may be watching and what impact you might have.  It could lead to bigger things, but you’ll never know if you sit on the fence watching others push their limits. A very good friend of mine reminded me that you can’t enjoy the rewards or benefits unless you leave your comfort zone.

So with that, a new year brings new opportunities and I’m excited for all that 2018 holds in store.  Do you want to sit here in 2019 amazed at all you’ve done this year? I know I do.  We can only achieve great things if we step out of the comfort zone.  What great things will you do stepping out of your comfort zone this year?

how to make a pumpkin vase

Pumpkin Vase DIY

Today, I’m showing you how to make a pumpkin vase.  I am always on the hunt for fun and unusual items to double as vases for fresh flowers. Last summer I watched Camilla over at Effortless Style turn a pineapple into a gorgeous vase for some pretty amazing summer flowers. Taking that as a cue, I thought why couldn’t I turn a pumpkin in to a vase as well.

how to make a pumpkin vase

Choosing the pumpkin

This time of year pumpkin patches can be hard to find in Florida, but I knew our local church hosts a pumpkin patch fundraiser. I stopped by one Sunday afternoon and had my friend’s son Carter help me pick out the right pumpkin. It was just right for my pumpkin vase or so I thought.  It’s almost perfectly rounded, with few blemishes.

selecting a pumpkin


Selecting the flowers 

This time of year is perfect for fall colored mums and daisies. I grabbed a couple of bunches in red, maroon, orange and yellow.  I’m thankful that my local grocery store has a wide selection for very reasonable prices. I can grab 3 bunches for $12.  I wanted something that would last a bit and not be too overly fussy.  Admittedly, I am a novice at flower arranging and tend to stick to simple designs like the snowball. If you have a bit more experience with flowers and arranging them, go ahead and pick out bigger blooms.

Creating the pumpkin vase

It was very easy to open the top of the pumpkin up to remove the seeds and guts.  I cut off the top directly round the stem, as if I were going to carve a jack o lantern. In retrospect, it would have better to cut the top off from the side toward the top. It would have given me more of an opening for the water container.

how to make a pumpkin vase

Arranging the flowers 

I used an empty plastic ice cream container, but using a coffee tin would have been a better option.  I filled it about 2/3 of the way and then placed it in the center of the cleaned out pumpkin.  Next I started to arrange the flowers inside the pumpkin. I honestly didn’t do anything fancy or with much thought. I only wanted to cover the opening with a bunch of flowers in a snowball fashion. The outer ring of flowers hung over the edge ever so slightly. The scale looked a bit off though.

The prototype 

Before I started on the larger pumpkin vase I did a run through with a smaller pumpkin. I think the smaller pumpkin vase was more true to scale and looked quite adorable, where as the larger one was missing something.  Scale! Scale is what was missing.  In the end it all worked out though.  I have the smaller one on the mantel above the fireplace and the larger one in the entry way.  I do love them both even with the imperfections of one.

If you have an idea, try it out. If it doesn’t work, you will at least learn something. The fun for me is in trying.

apple crisp recipe

My Apple Crisp Recipe

Apple season reminds me of home and Sundays spent apple picking among the fall foliage. Apple season was always celebrated with the Apple Festival and opening of the Old Cider Mill.  There’s something quintessential about apples in  New England, and sometimes I miss it. Living in Florida, I opt to celebrate the fall and the apple harvest by whipping up my favorite apple crisp.  I used to make apple crisp almost every weekend living in Connecticut.  Thankfully, I can find a wide variety of apples for my crisp.  I love that I can use any apple and usually grab what ever is on sale at the local grocery store. I find the sweeter the apple the better. Granny Smith’ while a decent baking apple, I find them to be a tad too tart.


For this crisp I used 4 Gala’s, cored and sliced and tossed in cinnamon. I then placed them into a baking dish. I set them aside to make the topping. Instead of using all purpose flour, I used oatmeal flour. I made the flour by pulverizing some oats in a food chopper.  The flour was then mixed with 1/3 of cup brown sugar, 2 tablespoons of softened butter.  I sprinkled the topping over the apples and then baked at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

apple crisp

You can serve it warm with vanilla ice cream or fresh whipped cream. It can also be served cold if you prefer.

You will need:

4 apples cored and sliced

1 tablespoon (or to taste) cinnamon

1/3 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup flour

2 tablespoons butter.

A baking dish.

Everyone else can have their pumpkin spice whatever, I will take apples, baked, sauced, or crisped any fall day.

dixie bell painted chair

An Easy Painted Chair Project

The other day I was looking for an easy project to do and realized I had left over Dixie Belle paint. I also had a lone dining chair in need of a make over.  Together they were an easy painted chair project.  Revamping a chair really is one of the easiest projects one can undertake.  All you need is a can paint, brushes and some fun fabric.

dixie bell paint

The story behind the chair is that it goes with a set I inherited from my grandparents. It sat in storage for a while and the matching arm chair was infested with bugs. Unfortunately, I had to toss it out leaving me with only one arm chair.  The remaining chair was a dull boring stained brown, and honestly, I thought it cold use a face lift. In an afternoon I was able to transform the chair into the perfect piece for my office.

I love using Dixie Bell Paint, as I don’t have to sand down the pieces I intend to paint. I cleaned it up with a damp cloth to remove any dust on it. Then I took off the seat and set the chair on a drop cloth to start painting. It took a couple of coats of paint to cover it well.

painted chair DIY fabric choices

Painting the chair was the easy part. The struggle was finding the right fabric for the seat. I must have considered about ten different patterns before opting for the pink paisley.  Everything from a cute black spotted fabric, to a cream and gray Parisian style print, and a few other patterns were in contention.  Since I struggled to pick a pattern, Kevin helped me rule out a few of them.  He’s got a great eye and will tell me if something looks a bit funky and not in a good way.  The thing is, I usually agree with him.  I settled on a pink and green paisley print.

easy painted chair project

So, what do you think? It came out pretty well, didn’t it?