Sunday, December 29, 2013

Fairwell 2013!

Hello All,

As we approach another years end, I have to sit back and look at what I've accomplished personally and physically.   This year has brought so many great things for our family.  All of my life experiences have certainly given me a different attitude.  Another year, a different perspective. 

If your anything like me you have always tried to find the best resolution for yourself for the coming year.  I've done them all.  Stop smoking, be kind, respect yourself, get healthy, be calm...sometimes I am successful, other times I am not.  I try really hard to be healthy, but dang--I just love my food.  Especially the sweets.

I have decided this year to just be. It's life's lessons that really make you who you are.  It's your choice what you chose to do with it.  Not the silly resolution that gets lost a couple of weeks into the new year.  Okay, maybe my resolution is to be open to more self growth this year.  Maybe I did come up with a new resolution for this year after all!  But a meaningful one...

I love the beginning of a new year.  It's a great way to start all over.  Attitude, organizing our family, and fitness, are all my focuses. I usually go through every room purging anything that needs to go.  Organizing our life, for a new year.   January and February just so happen to be the slowest time out of all our months.  The calm before the storm, if you will.

With that said, here's a look back at the last year of inspiration from House by Holly.

We had our first summer in The Beach Bunker and made new friends for a lifetime.  The house was finally finished and we are very grateful for our oasis.

I showed you how to transform hand me down furniture and give it new life.  An easy and inexpensive way to furnish a home.  I think it adds so much character.

To paint or not to paint knotty pine? That was the question.  One of my most popular tutorials this year with over 16,000 views. 

 I think a lot of people  wonder if it's a good idea.  And YES it can really be done!  I did my research and I passed it on to my readers.  Looking back, it was the best idea for turning our dark knotty pine paneling into beautiful, white glossy paneling.  What a transformation!

I had many CNN Living features.  And was honored to be chosen as one of the lucky ones (6 times!).

A CRAB SHACK with lots of inexpensive inspiration and a few organization tips.

 The transformation of our kitchen from year to year.  Mostly pieced together with tag sale finds.


My Office (which was my very first post) that inspired me to start my blog in the first place.
And the Q&A with the CNN Living Producer that reveals the meaning behind so many things in the room.

How to decorate using the color orange.

A Shutterfly collaboration turned that into a gallery wall for our Beach Bunker.

I was also contacted by One Kings Lane to help introduce their  home decor guide.

I showed you that brass is back.  Decorating with brass and making a statement.   
Elliot Brass Button Headboard

A repurpose special.  Do you know that you probably have the makings of a great cheese board and drink tray in your house and you didn't even know it?

This Fall I was interviewed by Karen at Lifestyle By Design located in Boston.  This was such an exciting opportunity because I never really thought I had anything too exciting to talk about.   (I also won't point out how incredibly nervous I was.)

I set up two inexpensive tables for the holidays and I explained the cost of each one.  Obviously, if you minus the ornament and pumpkins, you could use these looks for any gathering not just the holidays. 

Some of my favorites are the chargers painted with chalk board paint and all the crystal candlesticks. Here's the interview.

This years Fall and Christmas decorations. This years theme was about gold snowflakes, glass ornaments and handmade terrariums.

And last but not least, a funny story about the stress of keeping THE BIGGEST SECRET EVER
I know it's only a matter of time before my Smarty Pants has it all figured out.  This year, I am exhausted trying to keep the biggest secret ever.  Can you relate?

I think I mentioned last year that I never would have thought I would be writing a blog on home inspirations, but I am.  Thanks you so much for your comments, support and views!!!

What are your resolutions for 2014?  Or are you just open to self growth too?

If you are looking to add a little something special to your house contact me at

From my HOUSE to your HOUSE, I am wishing everyone a spectacular 2014!  Happy NEW Year!  Don't forget to eat your black eyed peas!  

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Friday, December 20, 2013

The Holidays My Way | Keeping It Real for Christmas

Don't get me wrong, I love me some Christmas. I am a home decor enthusiast, remember? 

The lights, the fresh garland, the crafts, the perfectly decorated tree and mantle are essential. Here's this years inexpensive Sparkle.

I can't help but feel overwhelmed by Christmas especially since my kiddos are getting older. There's a lot to think about when your keeping THE BIGGEST SECRET EVER!

The Questions: My daughter just turned 7, and man does she have some questions!  At 4 years old she questioned, why one Easter bunny we saw at the mall is brown and another was white?  "Isn't their only one Easter bunny, Mommy?" Quickly, I said, "Oh honey, the white bunny must have just had his bath. They get dirty ya know-- hopping around all the time. "  

I don't care what color the Easter bunny is, but why isn't there some universal code that all Easter bunnies are a certain color and he/she has to have the same dang bunny vest on? She is very smart.  I may be smarter.  We'll see how long I can keep these charades up.  

My best advice to anyone that just had their first kid or hasn't gone down that road before would be.. whatever traditions you start, you have to keep them up and make sure you think them all the way through.

For example-- My dear neighbor once told me about this house that was in the next neighborhood over from us.. "Have you seen that house in the next neighborhood over?  It's great, there's lots of lights and I tell the kids we can go by Santa's if your good.  It works like a charm."  I thought the idea was splendid!  

Fast forward.. we have done it for 4 years now and it has been great.  My daughter must have been into the 'holiday spirit' because just as December 1st rolled around she was asking, "When are we going to Santa's?"  "We'll go tonight..  If your good," I say.   

Just as planned, the first spotting of the glorious over-done lights of the season.. We're going to Santa's house, baby!  

As luck would have it, "Santa" must have just got home from his "real job" and the garage doors were open and a bright orange Sante Fe was parked in visible sight.  My heart was beating.. What is Smarty Pants going to say?! 

Just as suspected she asked the dreaded question.. "Is this really Santa's house?"  My 4 year old then says, "Yeah, doesn't he drive a sleigh?"  BUSTED!  I quickly snap out of my shock to murmur.."The car belongs to Mrs. Claus, silly." 
Phew! That was a close one...

That darn little cute elf: As if one jolly ol' elf isn't good enough for a little fun around the holidays.. Ours is Motanus (Mo-TAIN-us), and has been with us for 3 years and is perfectly fine.  Half of the time he is a guilt catcher because I forget to move the little guy.  But for the other half, he is complete joy.  He brings candy for the kids (if they were good) every night in their fabric advent calender, he eventually leaves us a gingerbread house to assemble, and he even brings the kids a parting gift of the season.  

Hooray for the genius that thought of this trick to get all the children to listen and behave for the month of December! 

But, what about the letters that Smarty Pants writes for Motanus to deliver to Santa EVERY SINGLE DAY? One of the notes asked Santa to please send her another elf. A girl elf. With a pretty skirt. 

Desperate to keep Smarty Pants off the "trail",  I purchased said elf for $29.99. Of course the little thing didn't come with a pretty skirt, you had to buy that separate for $10.  So much for keeping the cost of Christmas crap down this year.  

So the little darling elf was delivered just like the first elf, at the front door.  The look on my daughters face when the doorbell rang and she noticed the girl elf on the box was-- priceless. Her skirt sparkled like a disco ball and she even had pierced ears.  Her name quickly became, Twinkles.  

Just so happens, the neighbor's daughter of the "Have you seen the house in the next neighborhood over?" was over after school.  Guess what she ran home and wanted? Payback comes in small forms.. We're all on our own out here people!   

I don't even know if I can come up with any more original ideas to entertain the kids for the next few days. I am exhausted.

Don't mess with a lady and her candy canes...

Wrapping Conundrum: What about the drama that comes with wrapping the Christmas gifts?  I mean Santa's paper can't be the same as Mommy and Daddy's paper.  The "to and from" labels can't be the same as Mommy and Daddy's either.  And neither can the handwriting. Or the pen color.  Did I mention that no other family member or friends wrapping paper can be wrapped in that same paper either. 

God forbid, my husband comes in at the last minute to wrap all my gifts with the same paper that the elves used to wrap all of Santa's gifts! I am exhausted..  It will be a miracle if Smarty Pants doesn't figure it out.

Shopping made easy: I remember the days when my kids were very young and I could do their Christmas shopping with them right in the cart.  My daughter was the first to fool.  At 2 months old  she didn't understand that I am buying the gifts for her right now.  At 14 months, she didn't get it either. 

The sibling came along for the ride too when it was his turn. The 10 month old doesn't care either..and the 22 month old certainly can't tell his big sister what I bought her for Christmas.  At least not in a language that she could understand.  

It was cruel when you think about it, but at the time it worked. Those were the days!   Now with 2 kids around all the time, I mostly do all of my Christmas shopping on-line.  When is Smarty Pants gonna put two and two together?  I can hear her now.. "Mommy why are there packages at the front door every day?" Are you the one that's buying all the gifts for Santa?"  This holiday season I have had to be on my toes- quick, with a reasonable response to any unclear perception.  I am exhausted.  

The Christmas Lists: At the beginning of December I asked my daughter what she wanted for Christmas?  Her list was simple-- maybe 3 things.  Two of which were sold out. Everywhere.  Are you kidding me?? I am exhausted.  And broke.  Because you will pay anything to make your child smile on Christmas morning.

The Joy: And just when you're spent from all the festivities, drained from the enormous credit card charges you know are coming and you are enervated from the hoopla to make this the best Christmas ever.  You are not done.  

You'll leave some carrots and chex mix for the reindeer's, cookies and milk for the Big Guy, sprinkle the presents under the tree, maybe assemble some large things until the wee hours of the morning.. All the while,  you may or may not have had a little too much wine with dinner.  Then just as the sun isn't up yet, a little person grabs your hand when you are deep in sleep and is so excited to see what Santa has brought them.  You jump up out of bed, run down the stairs holding hands, and watch the magic unroll.  

The squeals of pure delight that come from the children on Christmas morning make it all worth it.  And for a few minutes, you feel like a kid again. (I think it may be literally 2 minutes and 43 seconds.)  

And at that exact moment it becomes apparent why we go to such great lengths to keep that BIG secret on the down low.  One thing is for sure, I can't ever imagine my kids not believing in all of it.  I will always fight to keep the magic alive!  

Happy Holidays Everyone!

Do you have a Smarty Pants living in your house?  What great lengths do you go to to keep this secret under wraps? 


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Linking to:
A Stroll Thru Life
Savvy Southern Style
Thrifty Decor Chick
The Shabby Nest

Are you looking for ideas to add to your decor?  Are you stuck in a rut and need some fresh ideas? Let me HUNT for you!  Email me at for a consult.
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And as always, I love to hear from MY READERS!  Please leave me comments, post projects you have tried and feel free to ask me questions.


Friday, December 13, 2013

Inspired by The Perfect Statement Chair

Recently I was contacted by One Kings Lane to help introduce their Home Decor Resource Guide to my readers.  They asked if I had a statement chair that I wouldn't mind sharing on my blog.  Of course I do!

  Today I am sharing a recent curbside rescue.  

A statement chair is the center piece of a room, your eye is instantly drawn to it.  It sets the mood for that particular space--it can go in a nook, a foyer/entryway, a closet, bathroom and even a living room.  Statement chairs are usually unique, elegant and uber stylish.  With a little bit of drama...

A few months back, while on a family outing, I spotted a hopeless curbside chair that spoke to me, if you will.

Make no mistake--I can hunt for the perfect rug, lamp, light fixture, curtains and so forth. It's almost like an animal instinct.  When I am in the zone, I am a force to be reckoned with.  

When I'm least expecting it, someone will put a piece of furniture on the curb to throw out and totally send me off my tracks.  I see the furniture. I think about the furniture. I know exactly what I will do with that piece of furniture on the curb and where it will go in my house.  Instantly.  Then all of a sudden I am designing a room around that curbside rescue. 

The inspiration is humorous to me.  I am easily inspired, but finding someone else's trash and having it turn my house upside down is classic.   I wasn't even looking for that piece of furniture, but it found me.  

The cane wicker seat of my 'new' chair was in shambles, but I knew the chair had great potential. Perhaps it was the life of the party?  

I could not leave this chair behind.  My husband had to ask--"Really, Holly?"

He does ask that a lot.  Obviously if I listened to him or anyone else, where would I be today? "Jeez...give me a little joy", I say!   

We packed that beauty up and we were off.  "Did anybody see us?" my husband asked...

Here's the only picture I could find of the "before" after I painted it antique white.  Since the cane was caved in on the seat, I found a thin piece of wood and cut it to the dimensions of the seat and nailed it down with a compressor.  Next, I stacked layer over layer of batting cut in the same shape to create a cushion for the seat.  I also layered the same batting over the round back of the chair.  

One Kings Lane Resource Guide helped me find out what kind of chair this was and gave me a pretty good idea of what one would cost.  There are also some great articles filled with inspiration on how to chose the right statement chair for your space.  Are you entertaining this holiday season?  If so, you might want to check out this article on DIY Stain proofing your chairs.

I found this inspiration chair from One Kings Lane which is almost identical to my curbside rescue and it retails for $649.  
Louis XVI-Style   Armchair

I knew my chair was a Louis, but I didn't really know anything else.  Interestingly, I uncovered it was a Louis XVI Neo-Classical French chair.  Which are also the most imitated reproductions in history.  

They have a classic round back and are either with or without arms.  You can also find these chairs with nail head trim or with cane webbing.  The "ghost" lucite chair is modeled specifically after the Louis XVI chair for a more modern statement.

If you are searching for the perfect statement chair, this is your guide to get the history and inspiration for your room.  It is the ultimate dictionary for statement chairs and everything to do with chairs.

While I absolutely love the fabric on my inspiration Louis XVI chair, it might be too bold for me. Right now I am into neutral furnishings.  I mostly bring pattern in on a rug or pillows, and then I focus on texture.  Other than that, my furniture always stays neutral.  I know, it may be considered boring to some, but I like to think of it as smart. I tire of things easily and it's less expensive to change out a pillow and give it a whole different look.

I chose a painters drop cloth fabric to upholster this chair in.  Once washed, I loved the texture of it.  It's almost like an expensive Belgian linen fabric.  And of course, adding details like nail head trim take it up a notch.  

What do you think? Not too shabby for free, huh?   

So what kind of statement does this chair make in my foyer?   

I think it's sophisticated, classic, and yet casual at the same time.  It says the person that lives here has good taste and likes nice things, but isn't afraid for people (little hands) to touch her stuff.  If you ask me, this chair has just the right detail and is still the life of the party. 

The best way to get great finds on a curb is to pick furniture that has details.  My office was also planned around a curbside treasure.  

Don't be afraid to take a's free, remember? 

Once a piece of trash to one, is now a treasure to another.  
The black wingback chair was a rescue too.  Here's my tutorial on Do it yourself upholstering.

Do you have any questions about a chair in your home? Are you looking for some statement chair inspiration?  What are you waiting for?? Go check out the One Kings Lane Resource Guide.  

Not already a member of One Kings Lane?  Here's an official Invitation to One Kings Lane.  The inspiration is endless.  The sales are stimulating.  Have fun!

From my HOUSE to your HOUSE, Happy Hunting!

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Are you looking for ideas to add to your decor?  Are you stuck in a rut and need some fresh ideas? Let me HUNT for you!  
And as always, I love to hear from MY READERS!  Please leave me comments, post projects you have tried and feel free to ask me questions.

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