Pattern Potential

I frequently hear from friends who want to graduate from their college and grad school furniture to a more sophisticated but comfortable look. Many of us are still on a budget, however, and can’t afford (overpriced) decorators. We may have scored some great antique hand-me-down furniture or accents from our parents, but tying that into a polished look seems daunting. Take heart. Making even a small change to a room or adding a point of focus can make an otherwise basic space look chic. (Sometimes it’s about subtracting too!)

For example, this fantastic patterned wallpaper done in a powder room by Kate Coughlin Interiors.

Accented with inexpensive pops of orange and some great vintage sconces, it’s elegant and pulled together.

She accomplished the same thing in this dining room with a simple but chic blue geometric pattern. For less expensive fabric options, check out Sultan Pepper in Sapphire and Mazing Grace in Aqua at Loom Decor. Notice the rest of the room is a basic white – focus is on the wood and blue accents from the fabric, china and artwork.


And ladies, it doesn’t need to be Canton china. Antique and junk shops are great places to find inexpensive ceramics to compliment your fabrics.

By keeping wall color simple, you leave your options open and save money. It’s easy for you or an inexpensive local hire to slap on a coat of Benjamin Moore Decorators White. A halfway decent job will look fabulous.



Inspiration can come from anywhere – your favorite dress, a scarf or a life saving flotation device, as in this Loom room inspired by Americana:


White washed walls create a blank canvas for punchy fabrics like Foxy and the Hound in Red with a grounding print like April Showers in Cherry.

For some fall inspiration, check out this closet of rich, cozy plaids and neutrals in Ralph Lauren’s new Alpine Lodge collection.

Loom channels this warmth with patterns like Big Zig, Great Scott – Latte and La Crossed in Birch, all available now.

Loom makes it so simple to do. It’ll look like you spent a fortune for the experts but you can take all the credit!








Guarded About Gardening Tools – toxic hoses and tools to void

Thanks to 7Gen Blog’s Inkslinger for doing an informative post on the high level of toxins such as lead found in garden tools. Garden hoses, for example, are not regulated at all and contain a nasty mix of chemicals that can get into those organic veggies you’ve worked so hard to grow.

From Inkslinger’s post, “Healthy Stuff examined 179 garden hoses, gloves, kneeling pads, and tools, and found that over 70% of those tested had chemical levels of ‘high concern.’ There were phthalates, flame retardants, and bisphenol-a (BPA) in hoses; heavy metals in garden tools; chlorine in gloves, and lead all over the place—some 30% of the products contained levels above 100 ppm, the federal threshold for children’s products, and over half contained PVC, a plastic that frequently leaches its own set of pollutants.”

Read the full post here. In short, try these tips:

- Don’t store your hose in the sun & let it run for a bit before using it to clear out the old water that has absorbed a lot of the chemicals contained in the hose.

- Try to buy a natural rubber hose and gloves made of natural materials (no plastic or rubber components).

- Use gloves made of stainless steel (less likely to contain lead) or unpainted wood.

And for the love of peat, write your congress person so these toxic products are at least labeled if not banned!

California’s Prop 65 requires products sold in the state that contain one of 800 harmful chemicals to contain the label “a chemical known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects and other reproductive harm.” This is not required for products sold out of state though. We have a long ways to go but the swiftest way to affect change is with your wallet. Don’t buy this junk and let the companies know why you’re not purchasing the toxic tools they sell.

Happy Gardening!

Home Green Home

The Appraisal Journal recently published data illustrating the amount of value a little ‘greening up’ of your home can add: for every $1 green home improvements decrease the property’s annual energy bills, the home’s value increases by $10-$25. As realtor Tara-Nicolle Nelson points out, that can translate to an increase of $8,000 to $25,000 to the market value of a greened-up 3,000 square foot home. In her recent article, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that green homes not only sell faster but buyers are willing to pay more for green or energy efficient homes. That’s because they likely know they will save 20-30% on average on utilities, or possibly even reduce electricity expenses to zero and sell power back to the grid (go windmills! Our favorite we call the ‘Southwester’ after the town on Mt. Desert Island in Maine and is made by Southwest Wind Power, but I digress).

Tara also points out that the greening need not stop at dual-paneled windows – a green household can help you lose weight, feel better, live longer and hopefully avoid diseases like cancer and other plagues that are caused by exposure to toxins and unhealthy living. This doesn’t mean you need to give up your favorite foods. On the contrary, try making them with only fresh, unprocessed ingredients. Organic fruits and vegetables really do taste much better than ones that have been genetically modified and sprayed with pesticides. Nothing is better than a cocktail with fresh mint picked from your own plant on the windowsill or back porch. Having your own little kitchen herb garden also means you’ll never run out of fresh basil or cilantro for guacamole. That’s reason enough for me.

Happy Earth Day!


Looming Success

Shout out to the ladies at Loom Decor. Keep an eye on this fab new way to customize your decor without having to venture to a design center or spend a fortune on a decorator. This is a refreshing alternative to boring resto-barn basics and much more affordable than other made to order options. Everything is made in the USA and best of all, you can see what it looks like before you commit! Request an invitation for access to the site here.