November 24, 2014

williamsburg fabrics and giveaways

*This is a sponsored post by Williamsburg but all opinions are my own.

It is no secret to anyone who has read this old blog more than a time or two that I love fabric. Almost to a fanatic, stalker level. And I'd be willing to bet that since you read this old blog, you share my obsession. And let's be real, only a fool wouldn't get excited about the possibility of a new fabric to play around with and occasionally pet in admiration.

So when the Williamsburg brand contacted me about trying out something from their newest collection, Williamsburg Classics IV, I couldn't type YES quick enough. I've long been a fan of the way that Williamsburg and their partners are able to take the classic and traditional gems from the world of Williamsburg and give them a fresh spin in their fabrics. The fabric I used on the lampshades in the girls' room (the jumping off point for the whole space) is a Williamsburg fabric and it is still one of my favorites. This new collection is all about chinoiserie and vintage Asian-inspired fabrics.

Dunmore Dragons in Sapphire

Since I've got plans to make some changes to the dining room, I found this opportunity rather fortuitous and decided to get something great for the curtains. Right away, the Dunmore Dragons in the Sapphire colorway said "pick me". And when fabric speaks to you, it is best never to ignore it. It is the exact direction I'm wanting to go in the dining room, blue and white and awesome all over. More dining room changes to come, but for now I'll just enjoy these (foo) puppies.

Here are some other options from the new collection that are definitely on my wish list.

Lamerie Lattice in Sapphire

Asian Arcadia in Black Orchid

Bray Flamstitch in Ladybug

Georgian Geo in Smoke

Lightfoot Garden in Sapphire
Pretty good, right? And the best part is that the lovely people at Williamsburg are ready to spread the love again and gift one lucky person with 2 yards from the new collection. Just enter below and cross those fingers. The giveaway ends next Wednesday. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

November 21, 2014

fess up friday - driven by decor

Raise your hand if you are shocked that Thanksgiving is in less than a week! Only me? Luckily I have a great Fess Up Friday to distract me from the fact that I'm not near holiday ready. Today my dear Kris from Driven by Decor is here for a bit of a confession. I love reading Kris's blog because I always get to the end of the post and say to myself "Now why didn't I think of that?!" Kris has no shortage of genius ideas and she's got the style and skills to back it up. She's all around aces in my book and I have a feeling she'll have something good to share. So Kris, Fess Up!

Hi everyone - I'm Kris from Driven by Decor, here to bring in the weekend by spilling my guts on Little Black Door. I've got to work my way into the mother of all embarrassing fess-ups so let's go with a little house confession first, ok? If you're a Driven by Decor reader, you may have noticed that there's an always-closed door at the far end of our living room. Ever wonder what's behind it?

Driven by Decor - Living Room (with arrow)

Well, grab your sunglasses and prepare for the blinding red glare because we're going in...

Entering into family room

I hope you brought your shopping basket because you've just entered my personal home accessory shop (aka our ugly, undecorated family room):

Family Room Overview

Here's the backstory - we were lucky enough to have one day of unpacking services included in the relocation package for our recent move and I asked the ladies who were helping us unpack to put any accessories on the shelves in the "red room". I guess there was a type-A personality in the group because at the end of the day I had shelves filled with accessories that were grouped together by type - a shelf full of books, a shelf full of glassware, etc. Of course I had plans to paint this room ASAP and style up those shelves all pretty but then I realized how awesome it was to shop this room's categorized shelves while I redecorated the rest of our house.

So when I'm looking for a bottle or other piece of glassware to decorate the kitchen? Bookcase 1, left side, shelf 3:

Glass bottles on shelves

How about a selection of candlesticks for the fireplace mantel? Bookcase 2, left side, shelf 1:

Candlesticks on shelves

Needing a pretty base for the bedroom? There's six on Bookcase 2, middle, shelf 1:

vases on shelves

Yep, the convenience of being able to easily find and grab accessories as I've decorated the rest of our house has resulted in this ugliness sticking around way longer than the "I just moved in" excuse covers. Look for an overhaul in 2015...

So now that the whole "ugly personal accessory shop behind the closed door" thing has been revealed, I'm ready to wrap up with one final fess-up. I have a talent for speaking an extremely
strangeexotic language that's pretty rare to come by. Yes my friends, I'm fluent in Ewok.


When the Return of the Jedi came out, my dorky 10-year-old self thought it would be fun to learn the words to the Ewok Celebration song (aka "Yub Nub"). And to this day, I remember all of the words (including the full Ewok rap at the end) and have maybe even been talked into rapping it out Ewok-style once I've gotten a margarita (or three) under my belt. Yep, I'm just that cool.

Thanks (I think...) Elizabeth for having me and hope you all have a great weekend!


November 19, 2014

but that's not you

Julie Hillman

The other day I was reading my friend Mimosa Lane and her post on the uber talented Julie Hillman and this dining room stopped me in my (snow) tracks. I love every inch of it. The outstanding chandy, the artwork, that table sent from the marble gods, those amazing chairs, the fur draped over the seats, the rug, everything.

I pinned it, of course, and then later when I was going thru my dining room board with a client I noticed I had pinned this sucker not once, or twice but thrice. (you didn't think I was gonna say thrice, did you? me neither). I showed it to a friend that night, I told you I loved it, and she said "Huh. I never would have thought you would like that room. It doesn't seem very 'you'."

Maybe not. But I think design is all about stretching yourself - appreciating and having a true interest in all sorts of styles. If you only stuck to a certain look or handful of items and used them over and over I am sure that you would loose your mind. And truly, if something is beautiful the era or 'style' doesn't matter. Beautiful is as beautiful does as Forrest Gump would say. In order to grow, change is vital. So step outside your comfort zone once in a while and see where it gets you. You might just end up with a room as amazing as this. That is, if you step out of your comfort zone and step into a huge pile of $$.

What do you think? Do you stay safely in your design corner of the world? Do you have an item or era that you love and you don't know why? Anyone know if those people are tired of that marble table? I'm happy to take it off their hands.

November 17, 2014

getting published in refresh magazine - a q & a

It has been a great few weeks since our feature in BH&G's Refresh Magazine came out. Y'all have been so sweet with your comments, emails and text messages. You know I'm dying to share all the details about the crazy fun experience but instead of the typical 'the day the magazine came to my house' I thought I'd answer all of the questions that I've gotten about the experience. So let's start at the beginning, shall we? In no particular order...

How did this happen? Did they contact you or did you contact them?
When the lovely Bonnie Broten contacted me about publishing the Farmhouse Kitchen she said she'd looked at the blog and why didn't I send her some pictures of my house as well. What?! Nothing staged or 'magazine ready', just photos to give her, and possible publications, an idea of the home etc. I was already so excited about the Farmhouse Kitchen getting it's closeup that I emailed off some pictures of our house in a rush and didn't think much of it. I mean, what are the odds? I will say though, that after years of hard work on this little house of ours, it was thrilling to have someone pay it such a huge compliment.

photo credit: Alise O'Brien

photo credit: Alise O'Brien

Did you find out right away that you were selected?

About two months passed from the time Bonnie said "send me some pictures" to the time I found out that Refresh had selected our house. After I sent in the initial batch of pictures, there were some back and forth emails like "what's behind that door?", or "can we have another shot of this room from a different angle?" which help the publications to get an idea of the whole space, what they have to work with and what they might have to work around. I also sent in a brief paragraph or two about our family, how long we've lived in the house, what we've done to it, etc.

photo credit: Alise O'Brien
photo credit: Alise O'Brien

How much time passed from the shoot to the publication date?

Oh boy, it was a long time. So we had the two months from the initial suggestion to the 'Congratulations, it's happening.' Then, it was roughly six months later that the shoot happened on two different occasions a few weeks apart and then a year later that the magazine actually came out. Like I said, a long time! I swear some of my family thought I was making it up. "Uh, didn't you say you were supposed to be in a magazine? Is that ever happening?"

photo credit: Alise O'Brien

photo credit: Alise O'Brien

Did you know what rooms they were going to shoot? How did you prepare?

Once everyone is on the same page about shooting, there are a lot of emails back and forth to set schedules, ask questions about things you might already have that they'll want to use in the shoot, etc. Then, about two weeks or so before the shoot they send a list of the rooms and images they are wanting to capture so that you can better prepare your home, and yourself, for what's coming.

photo credit: Alise O'Brien

As for preparing, I went to town. I was lucky enough to have had the advantage of working on other shoots so I knew that no space is off limits. They might not be shooting a certain section, but they'll need to have other areas available to stage, set up equipment, flowers etc. I also knew that the more prepared the house was (clean, organized and 'ready') the easier it would be for the editors and photographers to set up and get working. A shot can take a long time to set up (an hour even sometimes) and there are a lot of shots to get thru in a day, so the less 'extra' work they have to do the smoother things will go.

photo credit: Alise O'Brien
So I cleaned. And cleaned, and then I cleaned some more. My mom was gracious enough to take the girls and Zoey that week so all my cleaning wouldn't be immediately undone by "helpers". Oh and did I mention that this all happened at the same time as I was wrapping up the ORC of our family room? In fact, the first day of the shoot was also ORC reveal day. Good times. For those of you that have participated in the ORC you know the madness of the last two weeks, so that coupled with getting ready for the Refresh shoot was madness. Wonderful, chaotic madness. Thank God for gin!

photo credit: Alise O'Brien

How long did the shoot last?

Since our's was broken up into two different times, that's a question with many answers. They came to shoot the outside (front and back) at the end of summer, right around the beginning of the school year and that was a half day. Then, they came back in November for three days to shoot the inside.
And I'm talking full days people. Those magazine folks are a hard working bunch. Usually things would start around 8ish each morning and end when it got dark (because you can't shoot pictures in the dark).

Did they bring a lot of things or is all of that stuff really yours?

So in the flurry of emails leading up to the shoot you do chat back and forth about what you have in your house, what they might want to add etc. And Jessica Holtam, being the excellent stylist she is, was smart enough to plan for every possible contingency. So she and I shopped for a few extra pillows and she brought a tray and tons of flowers, but that's it. All the rest is mine. There were a lot of pillows we didn't end up using and there was nothing sadder than having to pack all of those lovelies up and send them out the door. Once pillows enter this house, I don't like them to leave.

Was it hard to keep the secret?

Short answer - yes.
Longer answer - family and close friends knew about it, so if I ever felt a need to blab, I could always do it to them. It was SUPER hard after seeing the photos (which you get a sneak peek of a few weeks after the shoot) to not share them with y'all. I wanted to scream "THIS is what my house really looks like. See I told you I was a bad photographer!"

Who are those two girls in front of your house? 

The girl on the right is my daughter, Amelia, and the other girl is her BFF. They were at a playdate (at the BFF's house) while we were shooting outside. The photographer thought it would be fun to include the kids in a few shots and since the girls were just around the corner, I texted BFF's mom and said, "wanna bring the girls over for a few minutes?" So they zipped over, Alise gave them some direction about what she wanted them to do and they went to town. And they've loved showing everyone at school what they got to do "back when they were six."

Did you get paid for this?

Nope. You are paid in other ways; experience, exposure etc. but no, you are not paid for participating. You do however get a clean house FULL of flowers at the end of it. And some pretty amazing pictures.

photo credit: Alise O'Brien
Any regrets?

I do wish I'd taken a few minutes to fix my hair and get myself collected before they took my picture. The whole day is so busy running around, moving and lifting things etc. that they said, "OK sit down and let's get your shot" and I just...did. I should have taken a minute but I was so swept up in the whole thing it didn't even cross my mind. Until the next night after the whole thing was over and I was having a cocktail with the hubs and I all of a sudden yelled out a big "CRAP! What was I thinking?" But otherwise, I don't have an ounce of regret. I loved every minute.

photo credit: Alise O'Brien
So that's the story. If there are any questions you have that I didn't answer, let me know. I'm an open book people. It really is a great issue and you can also check out my friend Emily Clark's house in the same issue! (we had a good laugh about that) Talk about good company!

A million thank yous to Jessica Holtam, Alise O'Brien, Lacey Howard and especially Bonnie Broten. It was a joy to work with each of them, and I learned more than I could have imagined. I look forward to the chance to work with them again!

And now to change up the whole house, I'm getting ready for Christmas along with these great ladies.

I haven't even started to pull out all our Christmas stuff yet, but with this great group of ladies, I need to bring it. I can't wait to see what everyone does!

How well can you keep a secret? What do you do to clean for a big event? Anyone know how I can keep that little one at just that size forever?

November 14, 2014

fess up friday - simple details

Today's Fess Up Friday gave me the biggest belly laugh of the week. And it's no surprise that it came from my friend Pam of Simple Details since she makes me laugh pretty much all the time. On her blog, on the phone, in texts, she's just damn funny. And as you know, humor is high on my list so of course I think the world of Pam. Couple that humor with honesty, and you've got one great Fess Up combo. So my Pam, fess up!

Hey Little Black Door fans, I'm Pam from Simple Details, I'm so happy my sweet pal
 Elizabeth invited me over today! I've always thought it was a great idea to post embarrassing
 photos of yourself on the internet, and never got around to it, so thank you E.

 I owe it all to you! 
(I'm guessing if you're a LBD reader you're big on sarcasm :) ) 
So, I'm fessing up about my eating habits, I'm a healthy eater, but always in a hurry, and 
never sit down (not so bad, I'm betting 90% of you busy moms do the same, right?).

BUT, the ugly part is I literally gulp down a few bites and don't take time to get any serving pieces.   

About thirty seconds before I have to head out the door my breakfast looks like this...

And, I quickly stop in for lunch and pop the top on a can of salmon...

If it's an oatmeal morning, I do use a bowl, albeit a huge one because otherwise
the oatmeal boils over. No time for any toppings. 

And, one of my most delectable lunches, a can of Kroger dark red kidney beans,

yum, tell me your mouth isn't watering? Green beans and beets are faves, too!

 My sweet clients know me well, they all seem to be ok with no lunch stop,

 and come prepared when we're out shopping!

And, just so you know...

1. Mr. Simple has told me for years how important it is to eat a good

 breakfast, and sit down and enjoy my food, and relax and yada yada yada.

2. I have a teenage son who has no body image issues and eats like a horse.

3. I sit down with my family for dinner every night, and I've never handed them a can

 of anything and a utensil!

I've never liked to go out to lunch, it seems like a waste of time in my day, if you

do invite me I'll figure out a way to make it a drive through Starbucks on the way to

do something else with you! :)

Happy Friday, friends!

Thanks so much for having me, Elizabeth!

November 11, 2014

it is not 1999

This weekend I partied like it was 1999. In that I acted as though I could handle a long night of fun the way I could when I was a young, spry, professional party goer. Ah, the 90's were good. Well, here is what I've learned about that - 1999 was a long time ago. And news flash, I'm old. I don't bounce back the way I used to shall we say. But it was well worth it. The hubs insisted we couldn't let the house's big moment go by without a celebration, and I'm always up for a party, so celebrate we did. Friends, clients, family, neighbors - everyone was there and a good time was had.

So Elizabeth, tell us all about the party. That's what a good blogger would do. Well, I would if I was a good blogger but even with the best intentions these are the only pictures I got.

Oh and this gem. Sad. Just sad. And it has led me to discover my one and only New Year's Resolution for 2015 - I need to get better about taking pictures. Not just for the blog, but for life in general. There is a life that I live and share with people I love and if I'm not careful I'll have no record of it when I'm old and forget where my teeth are.

I do want to thank everyone who came over to celebrate. We had a good bunch over and the house was full of noise, conversation, laughs and clicking glasses - just the way I like it.

So there are my two lessons for the week - I now need at least two days to recover from a big party (pathetic) and I need to take more pictures.

Are you good at capturing the fun moments?  Do you take a ton of pictures at even the smallest events? Do you want to come over for my next party? I'm thinking something in the spring. I'm already looking forward to spring.

November 5, 2014

excuses are like...

a@@#$)^@ - everyone has one.

True words there people. So I'm not going to offer any. All I will say is thank you for constantly checking in and trust that I've not abandon y'all. I've got a million and one great things to share (like the room I just finished above) and I'll be back on schedule before you know it. Until then, follow along on Instagram for the latest. And hey, can we just talk about all the eye candy on the ORC? Be sure to check out the reveals today and tomorrow over at my friend Linda's.
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