menswear inspired decor

Menswear Inspired Decor

Have you noticed more and more men pairing window pane plaids, or gingham checks with bold solid colored ties? It seems they have adopted the pairing of casual yet masculine patterns, rather than the tired look of a solid or striped shirt with a busier tie pattern. Since fashion sets the tone for interior decor, lets’ follow this lead and look at mixing masculine patterns for a gentlemen’s den.

Bennett Check Rod Pocket Curtains with Back Tabs
                                                                                          photo source

Houndstooth, window pane plaids, checks, or pinstripes, all of these are thought of as masculine patterns. They offer strength and steadiness, unlike a feminine floral pattern which is softer.  Incorporating these patterns in to a man cave, or men’s home office sets a rugged powerful tone to the room. But how do you pair these patterns for a cohesive pulled together look?

Pacific Heights Transformations

The trick is to stay within a color family and stick to the color scheme. Brown, beige, gray, and cream are fabulous neutral choices that allow you to bring in any accent colors you may like. When picking out fabric for the window treatments, upholstery or accent pillows, I like to keep the number of patterns to about three in coordinating colors. Using more than that,  can look a little busy and chaotic.

Presidio Heights Project
     Photo source

Another pit fall is not including solid colors into the plan.  A room filled with all pattern can appear dizzying, ans chaotic. Solids allow your eye to rest and not be barraged with pattern all at once. A solid color peppered in with coordinating patterns calms the room down a bit and makes it more pleasing to the eye. Pull a color from the patterns and run with it. Use it for a pillow or two, let it stand alone as the color of the couch, or opt to use it as window treatment.

tips to curbing clutter

Ten Tips to Curbing Clutter


If you’re like me keeping clutter at bay is a must. I know I can let it get away from me on occasion, which leads to a large scale clean up on my part from time to time.  The old adage ” Everything in it’s place” is for some, better said than done.  It’s something I am working on diligently, being married to a neat freak does help.  For those of that are clutter challenged, I’ve uncovered a few tips that may be worth making a habit.

Ten tips to Curb Clutter


  • Do a daily 5 minute clean up. Patrol “hot”spots through out your house to where stuff tends to gather and make a quick sweep. I usually do this right before Kevin comes home. I also keep a basket at the ready so when he starts picking up he has a place to dump my stuff, allowing me to handle it.  
  • Open mail over the trash can or recycling bin and conduct your bill paying on line. Mail is the chief culprit of clutter for some.
  • File Newspapers and Magazines once a week. If you haven’t looked at in two weeks, it’s better to toss it. I, on the other hand, have a filing system for my magazines. I used to hold onto all of my design magazines, but found they took up too much extra space in the office. I found an easier way to keep what I wanted without stacks of mags. I created a binder to store my “tear sheets” (I’ll have more on this shortly) 
  • No Wire Hangers! Purge those things monthly. If you have a bunch return them to the dry cleaners. They would be happy to recycle them. I found wooden hangers that make our closet look uniform and well, more stylish.
  • Clear closets yearly. My rule is if I haven’t worn it in a year chances are I won’t wear it again. Donate your items to charity, unless it’s Lilly, put it on ebay!  Another great option is to turn your unwanted clothing into cash by ordering a Thredup bag. You can stuff the bag they send you with what ever you don’t want, send it back and they will send you cash. Awesome to curb clutter
  • Arrange wardrobe by type. Sort clothes into categories and then color, or use what ever system will work for you.
  • Fold sheet sets inside one pillow case and store in the linen closet as unit. It will take up less space and let you store several sets together.
  • Don’t over stuff drawers. Don’t let a drawer get more the 3/4 full. It will become a jammed mess otherwise.
  • Eliminate unused items in the kitchen. Go through cabinets and drawers, collect never used items for charity.
  • Make a list before you shop. Take stock of what you need in order to get things under control. More skirt hangers? Another storage box? Then figure out where everything will go.

Hopefully, these tips will help you to curb the clutter too.


Eclectic Wallpaper Designs Created Locally

A few years ago I had the pleasure of interviewing Given Campbell, Tampa’s own eclectic wallpaper designer, for a piece on Examiner. Examiner recently shut down their website and I couldn’t let a great piece go by the wayside.  So, I am reprinting it.  I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know Given.

Untitled design (16)

The use of wallpaper in interior decorating is making a comeback.  Decorators understand the visual interest that a well-designed, colorful wall paper will add to a space and often times they turn to the big brand names such as Waverly, Schumacher and Thibaut. For a more unique look, designers may turn to a smaller boutique line such as Given Campbell, located right here in the Tampa Bay area.

eclectic wallpaper

photo courtesy of Houzz

Given Campbell, a modern eclectic wallpaper design firm that is conceptualized and printed right here in the Bay area.  It may seem like an unusual business to have launched here, but it is thriving with designer and owner Given Campbell at the helm.

Given is an artist at heart and she had a passion for interior design.  She knew she wanted to do something artistic within the home goods industry but hadn’t found a niche until a random conversation when the idea of designing wallpaper came up.  She noticed the wall paper trend taking off again and with the advancement in technology it seemed like a prosperous niche worth exploring.

After a few years of product development she began to market her designs to consumers. Soon designers were discovering her line and using them in their projects. Then the recognition and awards began.  “Working in a bubble,” she says, “it’s hard to know if I am doing the right thing. Winning lets me know I am doing the right thing.”

Seven years later she has been featured nationally, won numerous awards and had her designs chosen for the walls of MTV’s corporate headquarters.  She now designs and markets several collections, including a Couture & Custom line.

She designs to her taste and not to trends but will build around Pantone’s seasonal color forecast.  She favors classic lines and timeless designs with a modern twist.  Most of her collections will compliment a variety of design styles. She will also create custom patterns.

eclectic wallpaper

Any good artist finds inspiration in the world around them and Given is no exception. She considers herself a conceptual thinker and can be inspired by an idea, a conversation, or a song that she will build an idea around. She derives inspiration from the great design of others too. She said, “I kept an old magazine with a collection of student art in it. It was ragged and old but inside it had a stair armoire that was curved and seemed to dance to one side.”

Her inspirations lend themselves to eclectic wallpaper designs that are graphic, vibrant, bold and colorful. There is nothing meek or demure about them, yet they are works of art fit for any modern home.


what makes a house a home

What Makes a House a Home

What makes a house a home? I have pondering that question lately.  Is it the smell of apple pie,  the cozy fireplace, the welcoming entry, or a comfy couch?  Maybe it’s the collection of art, or the books and photos we surround ourselves with. There are many ways to define it.

If you think about it a house is just the frame work. It’s wood, concrete, nails, glass, drywall and a floor-plan. It doesn’t quite become a home until the inside is lovingly decorated by its inhabitants.


Everyone has their own style and own thoughts of what creature comforts need to be in their homes. Some want that professionally decorated home, while others enjoy the task of doing it themselves.  Does it really matter which approach is taken? Of course decorators will argue,  perhaps rightfully so, that people lacking any sense of style really ought not to try to do it themselves.  But style is such a personal thing, if one loves their space does it really lack style?

decorated mantel

I do agree that trained designers and decorators will do a much better job of capturing ones style while assembling rooms with the right principles in mind, than an untrained homeowner would. At the same time I don’t think a home must be defined by the talents of a designer, but I would recommend it.


Home simply is where the heart is.  It is filled with things we love, things that make us smile or inspire us. It is a reflection of how we live, of our personalities and interests.  Home is a whatever we want it be…..for me, home is where my husband is.

What makes a house a home for you?

Easy tips to picking paint

Easy tips to picking paint color

One of the hardest selections to make when decorating a home is paint color. There are a myriad of hues from which to pick and narrowing it down to a set of colors can be intimidating. Thankfully, there are many helpful tips to make the process less stressful and more enjoyable.

The first is to begin with what your love. If you have, a scarf or a favorite piece of artwork, pull a color from it and build the color scheme around it. Let’s say you have a beautiful Monet print, full of gorgeous pastels. Pull out the shade that speaks to you most and build the room around that hue.  You can use darker or lighter shade of the color for the walls, and bring in other colors from the painting too.

Another great tip is to consider a room’s intended purpose.  Dark paint colors won’t work well in bedrooms, and can make kitchens feel cluttered.  A small powder room will benefit from a strong hue and make a grand statement.  Keep the lighter colors to the kitchen and bedrooms.

Discover a fabulous color palette right outside your window. Nature offers a wide and vibrant choice of colors, from neutral browns to soft greens and muted yellows to bright blues.  Creating your color scheme from shades found outside lets you bring the outdoors in and blurs the lines a bit.

Draw inspiration from your favorite places to decide your color scheme.  If you enjoy time spent at the lake or the beach, choose a palette of creamy whites, soft blues and sandy beiges.  Use browns, greens and taupe if your favorite place is the mountains.

A trick I have used and love is to find a color in a treasured item and color match it at the paint shop.  You can draw inspiration from a piece of your grandmother’s custom jewelry or maybe an old jacket of your grandfathers. A semi-precious gemstone could inspire your color choice.  Only the imagination limits your options.

Frequently, when one can’t decide on a color white becomes the popular choice. Funny thing is that white comes in hundreds of tones. It can look a little grey, a little blue, or super bright. While trying to find the right white can be a challenge, it lets you play with colors. Accessories can be any myriad of tones and shades. Keeping your walls white also lets you change out your colored accents seasonally, giving you the feeling of an ever changing décor.


Another suggestion would be to look at the color palettes Pantone issues. Each palette is a series of coordinated colors.  Select the palette that you are drawn to the most and let it inspire the palette for the entire home.  Paint each room a shade from that palette and create the feeling of flow throughout the home.

If you find you do not like the colors you choose, you can always paint again. Paint is one of the least expensive tools in the decorating arsenal.