Kitchen sink lighting


Hilariously, (when you're trying to be an optimist anyway!) there isn't a single room in our home that is "complete". It's something I've learned to just live with as these decisions take time and as you all know, there is no such thing as "one" decision when it comes to home decor decisions. One decision is invariably linked to many many others and is typically more like five decisions (at best), to get to the one you originally wanted.

So that I may feel like I'm getting closer to finishing this home (even though I've honestly no brain capacity for it), I figured my kitchen is a good place to find a quick project. This room is the closest to being finished and there are no big decisions, just a few small ones. This is good because I've got no extra decision-making time in my days lately. 

To finish this room, I really just need to think through accessories, add lighting above the sink and find a new rug to tie in some additional warmer colors. 

I decided to do the lighting above the sink as that really is just one single decision! #miracle!

I knew that I wanted something super classic but maybe with a little personality. I pretty much knew what I was looking for and still think it's the one I want but I do like all of these. 

So, what do you guys think? All the lighting options are from Schoolhouse Electric Head to our Instagram post to hear which one I think I'm picking and to tell me which one you like best! 



DSI Design Dispatch: Palm Springs

When I was 10 years old, my mom, my older sister, and I flew to LA to visit family friends. The trip was described to us as a California and Disneyland vacation, but we were actually there for my mom to see if she wanted to move us from New York to California. My dad had died five months earlier and my mom's childhood friend was trying to convince her to move closer by. Our week-long vacation was spent looking at sub-division model homes, with one day in Disneyland and one day in Palm Springs. Looking back now, especially as a parent, I appreciate my mom's effort to make it a "vacation" at a difficult time. Unfortunately, my only memories of Palm Springs were the long car ride there and back, and my mom's friend telling us that Ronald and Nancy Reagan lived somewhere nearby.

Moorton Botanical Garden, Palm Springs

Moorton Botanical Garden, Palm Springs

Now, as an adult and curious traveller, I had a chance to explore and make better memories of this iconic desert town. My husband, Alex, and our two children have been traveling more lately for work, family, and occasionally by our own design. This time around, Alex had a work conference on his birthday week. Luckily, the grandparents were able to watch the kids so we pieced together a work/vacation getaway sans-kids. 

DAY 1: We picked up our rental car at LAX. 2 hours and 45 minutes later, our Waze app led us to the back entrance of Sparrows Lodge, a 1950's resort turned modern rustic retreat. The only sign we saw read "Under 21 not permitted." After making our way around the dumpsters and high fences, we ended up in an open courtyard with a central barn structure, a pool and gardens on opposite ends. It felt like an oasis summer camp for adults. 

Barn/bar and lounge. Water misters spray in along the entire courtyard, keeping everyone happy.

Barn/bar and lounge. Water misters spray in along the entire courtyard, keeping everyone happy.

Trellis-shaded table in the garden for sharing meals or playing boardgames.

Trellis-shaded table in the garden for sharing meals or playing boardgames.

The bar at Sparrows Lodge doubles as a reception desk—convenient as they served us our check-in sangrias.

The bar at Sparrows Lodge doubles as a reception desk—convenient as they served us our check-in sangrias.

Our moody room. Dimly lit and appointed with rustic/chic furnishings, private patio, rain shower, soaking tub and a buddha statue.

Our moody room. Dimly lit and appointed with rustic/chic furnishings, private patio, rain shower, soaking tub and a buddha statue.

Art in the barn at Sparrows:   Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Alfred Eisenstaedt, and Ellsworth Kelly in one corner! 

Art in the barn at Sparrows: Ed Ruscha, John Baldessari, Alfred Eisenstaedt, and Ellsworth Kelly in one corner! 

After a swim in the pool and an aborted game of RISK (from the Lodge's stash of boardgames) we had reservations at Workshop Kitchen+Bar, a restaurant serving American creative with farm and market dishes like, "Bloomsdale spinach, frisée, bougainvillea petals, shoyu vinaigrette, young beet chips and Black Cod with honey-lavender glaze, white corn puree, red frill mustard greens, fresno chino and garlic ferment." The place received a James Beard award for its restaurant design, but that's not to say the food isn't excellent. It is. They have a serious cocktail game and our main dishes were served personally by the chef, which was a nice treat. After dinner, we did some window shopping since the restaurant was in the middle of Palm Springs Uptown Design District.

Mid-century vintage furniture shops (like a La MOD, above) line North Palm Canyon Drive.

Mid-century vintage furniture shops (like a La MOD, above) line North Palm Canyon Drive.

We played  The Price is Right  with this $8,500 Milo Baughman credenza. We were sooooo off.

We played The Price is Right with this $8,500 Milo Baughman credenza. We were sooooo off.

We found this waiting for us outside our door at Sparrows. Good night!

We found this waiting for us outside our door at Sparrows. Good night!

DAY 2: The next morning we had a light breakfast served in the barn/lounge and headed out for Joshua Tree National Park—about a 50 min. drive from Palm Springs. We stopped off at Natural Sisters, for giant sandwiches and lemon-green tea smoothies (can't wait to make this at home all summer) and headed into the Park. Last summer we dragged our kids around camping in National Parks in Utah and Wyoming for three weeks. It felt good to be back in the Parks System, now more than ever. We stopped off at the visitor center to talk to a park ranger and grab a map (those black-striped, collectible, information laden ones) and bottles of water and started our driving tour. If you haven’t been to a National Park, most of them are set up to be seen via car with stops along the way, but the most memorable way to experience the parks is to get out of the car and hike in. With 97-degree heat and altitude hiking was a challenge, but we did find some places to explore off road, staying on the shady sides of the massive rock formations to see the variety of vegetation and even little creatures like roadrunners.

Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park. 

Skull Rock, Joshua Tree National Park. 

Here is my Joshua Tree that I found out of the thousands dotting the landscape. It’s like finding your pumpkin in a pumpkin patch.

Here is my Joshua Tree that I found out of the thousands dotting the landscape. It’s like finding your pumpkin in a pumpkin patch.

By the way, just in case you have the idea to look for it, THE joshua tree from U2’s 1987 album isn’t here. Though the photographer shot in Joshua Tree National Park, the famous photo was actually taken off the side of a highway near Death Valley. A Superfan went about to locate the tree and found the fallen remains of the 200 year old tree in 2001 and illegally erected a bronze plaque at the site that reads "Have you found what you are looking for?" :)

Later that evening, we checked into the JW Marriott in Palm Desert where Alex's conference was being held. This place felt like a shopping mall compared to Sparrows with its shops,  golf course, and water taxies that take guests from the main lobby to the onsite restaurants. The room was soulless and tired looking, but with clean linens, a Starbucks, and a gym, it worked for us. The next day, I went out exploring solo.

DAY 3: After a morning at the hotel gym and spa, I headed out. For me, architecture viewing is like going to the movies. It’s entertainment that I appreciate as an audience member. Since I like history and I like design, it's a nice marriage of the two. I tried to email a modern tour company a couple of weeks before our trip, but got no response so I downloaded the Palm Springs Modern Tour app and went solo. I didn’t know much about the architectural history of Palm Springs, only that Richard Neutra designed a home for Pittsburgh retail magnate, Edgar J. Kaufmann 10 years after Frank Lloyd Wright finished building Fallingwater for him in Mill Run, PA. I had visited Fallingwater for my birthday a couple of years ago (actually, the last time we went on vacation without our kids) and became fascinated by the Don Draperesque, Kaufmann and his drama filled relationship with FLW. I wanted to see the house that Kaufmann ditched Pittsburgh and Fallingwater for. 

Aside: If you are interested in architecture history that reads like a soap opera, I recommend Fallingwater Rising: Frank Lloyd Wright, E. J. Kaufmann, and America's Most Extraordinary House by Franklin Toker.

Unfortunately, like most houses on the tour, the Kaufmann Desert House is a private residence, so all I could see was from the road. But the app provides you with some interior photos, videos and sound bites, a bargain at $4.99.

The Kaufmann Desert House was designed by Richard Neutra and built in 1946

The Kaufmann Desert House was designed by Richard Neutra and built in 1946

The benefit of a self-guided tour (on top of saving 75 bucks) is that you can go your own pace and choose what interests you the most. Mid-century design is all over town. Even the Kentucky Fried Chicken has an inverted, butterfly roofline. I focused my tour mostly on the residential neighborhoods of Las Palmas and Twin Palms Estates.

I stopped off for late lunch and rehydration at Holiday House, the sister hotel to Sparrows that just opened a month ago. Afterwards, the manager showed me one of their rooms—brand new and sparkling with charm. I texted Alex and told him we were switching our last night to the Holiday House. It was worth the packing, unpacking, repacking and cheaper than the Marriott too!

Maybe it was because it was the last stop on my self-guided tour, but my favorite was a set of seven modest homes on the northern edge of town called the Alexander Steel Houses. Forget tiny houses. Why aren’t we making these anymore? Actually the app tells you that the dramatic rise in the price of steel was responsible for the halt in production. 

1,400 sq. ft. prefab Alexander Steel House, designed by Donald Wexler, 1960-1962.

1,400 sq. ft. prefab Alexander Steel House, designed by Donald Wexler, 1960-1962.

DAY 4: I headed up to the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, figuring it was a tourist trap. It is, but it seemed like an iconic piece of PS and the promise that the summit temperatures were 30 degrees cooler than in the valley below sounded really good. After a quick drive up to the base station, and a few minutes wait, I was corralled into the tram car with 30 others—mostly European tourists—and we rapidly ascended 6,000+ feet in 10 minutes. At the top, it's striking how the side of the mountain that you just ascended is arid desert, but on the other side is a lush alpine forest. The mountain range is so high, the weather can't cross over the top. I wished my kids were here for the in-real-life environmental science lesson. Jacinto State Park is at the top of the mountain with viewing platforms, a restaurant and café and miles of hiking trails. In the winter, there are activities like snowshowing, sledding, and cross-country skiing.

Two trams run up and down every 15 or 30 minutes depending on the season.

Two trams run up and down every 15 or 30 minutes depending on the season.

View of the Coachella Valley and the San Andreas Fault from 8,500 feet.

View of the Coachella Valley and the San Andreas Fault from 8,500 feet.

View of Jacinto State Park on the other side of the mountain.

View of Jacinto State Park on the other side of the mountain.

Lunch stop at Kings Highway, a former Denny's that was converted into Ace Hotel's restaurant. 

Lunch stop at Kings Highway, a former Denny's that was converted into Ace Hotel's restaurant. 

The hotel area is a converted Howard Johnson. Even their parking lot is photogenic.

The hotel area is a converted Howard Johnson. Even their parking lot is photogenic.

After lunch, I visited Moorten Botanical Garden, a timeless little half-acre piece of dusty earth that is well worth visiting. Admission is $5 with tours twice a day.

Just park on the street.

Just park on the street.

A desert jungle.

A desert jungle.

Watching people watching plants. This plant in the foreground is called Elephant Bush. I have one that is  one tenth the size in a little pot at home. 

Watching people watching plants. This plant in the foreground is called Elephant Bush. I have one that is  one tenth the size in a little pot at home. 

Bench tile and flower petals share the same shade of yellow.

Bench tile and flower petals share the same shade of yellow.

Self-titled "World's Largest Cactarium."

Self-titled "World's Largest Cactarium."

I drove back to the hotel to pick up Alex and our bags and headed back to Palm Springs. We stopped off for drinks at the Parker Palm Springs Hotel, designed by potter-turned-furniture designer-turned-interior designer, Jonathan Adler. The Parker was booked when I was planning our trip, but I wanted to check out Mr. Adler's handiwork. There was no shortage of bar options and design eye candy once we walked through the 16 ft glossy orange double doors. We were deciding between a drink at the “mini-bar” or at their patio restaurant, Norma's (their restaurant, Mr. Parker's wasn't open yet). We decided on their recently opened wine bar, Counter Reformation.

We shared tasting wines offered in 3oz sizes, ordered small plates (hen-of-the-woods, braised artichoke) from their bar menu, snacked on olives, fresh bread and chatted with the super-friendly bartenders. When we finally settled our tab they filled our glasses and encouraged us to walk around the grounds to check out all of the fun hidden spaces in this Alice-in-Wonderland-like hotel. The hotel's website has a series of hilariously cheesy promo videos that do a good job walking you through the grounds.

Parker Palm Springs hotel lobby.

Parker Palm Springs hotel lobby.

and lounge. 

and lounge. 

Counter Reformation wine bar at Parker Palm Springs. The  Inama Vin Soave  was our favorite.

Counter Reformation wine bar at Parker Palm Springs. The Inama Vin Soave was our favorite.

Hide-n-seek. A labyrinth of garden paths lead guests around the grounds.

Hide-n-seek. A labyrinth of garden paths lead guests around the grounds.

Oversize globe lights by the poolside patio.

Oversize globe lights by the poolside patio.

Hallways recreated from "The Shining." The doors are painted red.

Hallways recreated from "The Shining." The doors are painted red.

We arrived at Holiday House early evening and skipped our welcome rosé since we just came from the wine bar and were quite content. After check-in and a quick change into our bathing suits, we had a swim and a soak in the whirlpool. The lounge has a great collection of art and coffee table books. I couldn't put down Lee Radziwill's photo-biography, Lee (Assouline, 2016).

Holiday House's lounge and bar.

Holiday House's lounge and bar.

Our super-SoCal room.

Our super-SoCal room.

Love this message that came with our love beads at check-in. 

Love this message that came with our love beads at check-in. 

We borrowed hotel bikes (high on cute, low on performance) and road to dinner.

We borrowed hotel bikes (high on cute, low on performance) and road to dinner.

Great sushi in the middle of the desert makes no sense, but it’s here. We rode down Palm Canyon (the town's main drag) to a strip mall sushi joint that the Parker's concierge told us about. Kiyosaku serves actual Japanese sushi in America—no dragons or rainbows here, just traditional, simple sushi with fresh merchandise like Santa Monica Uni. Enjoy the gregarious chef, Kiyo, from Tokyo who will tell you about his merchant marine days before he settled in Palm Springs. Ignore the wall-to-wall carpeting, but do notice the wall of famous patrons photos, including a photo of Barry Manilow (who happened to once own the Kaufmann Desert House, pre-restoration). This place isn’t cheap, despite the misleading decor, but it will not disappoint you.

We rode our bikes back under a full moon along the quiet, unlit South Belardo Road on its nice, wide bike lane. Belardo runs parallel to Palm Canyon.

Outdoor sculpture and full moon peeking out at Holiday House.

Outdoor sculpture and full moon peeking out at Holiday House.

We got back to the hotel early enough to walk through Villagefest, the weekly Thursday night street fair where they close six blocks of Palm Canyon for food, live music, and street vendors (mostly tchotchkes). The stores stay open late as well and draw a festive crowd of tourists, townies and their dogs, all out enjoying the cool, night air. We stopped off for some strawberry horchata agua fresca and pretty palettas. We would have to head back to LA the next day before catching our flight back home. Good memories! 

There is so much to do in PS. We were here off-season so things were mellow (and hot!) but events like Coachella music festival, Palm Springs Modernism Week, and Palm Springs Film Festival keep this town busy. We happened to be in town for Restaurant Week which is a good indicator to me that we were in the low season. Below are links to the places I wrote about and a few more on my list for next time. 



A video note from Danielle

Happy Summer Solstice, friends! 

As an addendum to yesterday's blog post, I wanted to take a moment to share more info with you from a more personal perspective and through a more personal medium. 

I so look forward to serving you and I hope you'll consider how I can help you. I am booking consultations as early as August, so don't hesitate to schedule your home Feng Shui Assessment or a lecture for your organization, today! You can reach out to me here.

Thanks again for watching and HAPPY SUMMER!!!

Feng Shui for the Modern Home

By the end of the year (hopefully by Summer's end), we'll be offering a new category of services.

Feng Shui for the modern home will be available as it's own category of services or as an add-on for our existing design clients. We'll be offering workshops, ebooks, and more, all on the topic of how you may use Feng Shui, (either on your own or with my help), to enhance your life through enhancing your space! 

This room isn't perfect (design or feng shui-wise), but I wanted to draw attention to some VERY easy ways to instantly improve the feng shui of any room in your house! Just add people, plants, and pets!!!  As a practitioner, I'm always assessing the flow of Ch'i (positive energy) and a great way to enhance it's flow around your space is by the placement of the furniture. Another thing we take serious consideration of is the balance of the  five elements .  Of the myriad ways to elementally balance your home, we consider the nourishing and controlling cycles of those elements. For example, I point out the use of "metal" (one of the 5 elements) around the mouth of the "fire"place.  Metal controls fire and provides more harmony. 

This room isn't perfect (design or feng shui-wise), but I wanted to draw attention to some VERY easy ways to instantly improve the feng shui of any room in your house! Just add people, plants, and pets!!!

As a practitioner, I'm always assessing the flow of Ch'i (positive energy) and a great way to enhance it's flow around your space is by the placement of the furniture. Another thing we take serious consideration of is the balance of the five elements.  Of the myriad ways to elementally balance your home, we consider the nourishing and controlling cycles of those elements. For example, I point out the use of "metal" (one of the 5 elements) around the mouth of the "fire"place.  Metal controls fire and provides more harmony. 

Feng Shui (pronounced: fung shway) is the ancient Chinese art of placement. Not a stretch that an Interiors professional should care about such things yet it's largely left out of the modern interior design conversation. There is a sort of "hippy" connotation to it but I assure you it will work just as well for anyone from any background and with any particular interests. You don't have to do anything but be open-minded to it's power.

And, though I'm a modern day designer, this ancient Chinese practice is a perfect companion to my work. Whether you live in a colonial, a mid-century modern, contemporary home or even a cabin in the woods, Feng Shui can work for you.

Additionally, Feng Shui can work for your small home office to a corporate headquarters. Any space can be assessed and enhanced to improve the quality of your work and those that work for you. 

My love affair with Feng Shui began in or around 1999. I went to a Feng Shui talk at a local health food store and it resonated so deeply with me. I was intrigued and went on to buy Terah Kathryn Collins' book: The Western Guide to Feng Shui and now, nearly 20 years later, I am a student of hers nearing practitioner certification.

Often, people are surprised to hear that I have studied this art for so long. Dear friends of mine don't even know this about me. I laugh now when I think that I'd kept this interest at bay for so long simply because it felt "off brand" for my business(es). I now realize that it's my responsibility to share this knowledge as it's too intricately involved in my life as a designer not to. And, because my passion for this practice has continued to increase rather than diminish.

That increase is due to witnessing and benefiting from it's power first hand. My deciding to launch an interiors business last year, to finally become certified in Feng Shui, and to offer you these services is a result of my enhancing the "career" bagua of my own foyer. (see before and afters below).

I've seen, experienced, and felt the power of Feng Shui first hand for nearly two decades and I can't NOT see things through my Feng Shui eyes. I've been practicing intuitively - as many of you already are!

What is particularly exciting for me, is that I will be marrying two passions: modern interiors + lifestyles to my deep appreciation for the ancient art of Feng Shui. 

I think, indeed this will be fulfilling a niche that I see as necessary. There is a major shift happening within our society right now. Amidst the chaos of politics and terror, I'm seeing so many people, myself included, turn to personal wellness in a deeper and more committed way. Feng Shui is an extension of that experience that is currently lacking in the mainstream design lifestyle dialogue.

I am deeply immersed in a lifestyle that values beauty and good design, I have made a career out of it. And that is not going to change but I needed it to evolve.

I think it's OK to care about good design even though there are *more important* things I could be caring about. It's in my DNA, it's who I am to care about design, but it feels really good to evolve that into a practice that is about more than a room just looking good. It's about how that room is making you feel. How that room is literally changing your life for better or for worse, because the design choices we make actually have that much power.

I'd love the opportunity to explain how and show you how to take that power back and enhance your life along the way.

There are times when Feng Shui is ideal to consider. Though I could argue it's always important, deeper examination and analysis of a space can be a handy tool when there is a specific area of your life in need of enhancing.

Feeling like your career is stagnant or worse, in jeopardy? Perhaps you're creatively blocked, or possibly even in financial or relationship turmoil. These are some of the areas of your life that can become enhanced by employing Feng Shui properly. It's true and it's very powerful.

This practice is far more personal than typical interior design consulting. For that reason, every client consultation will be administered with the utmost respect, care, and discretion. 

I've been feeling a pull for years to live my life more in service than to simply covet material things. This journey is an opportunity for me to do just that.

But don't worry, I still like pretty things and will continue to design with and around them I'll just be doing some real good along the way!

Curious to at least learn more?

Sign up for our newsletter and you'll be the first to know when our services launch!

or contact us here.

Thanks for reading today and always,




Statement-Making Table Lamps

Table lamps often fall into the "accessory" category. This tends to make them an afterthought in the design process.

But, sometimes, they can be a star and even drive the design direction a room takes or steal the show. 


I've rounded up eight lamps that are inspiring our designs right now. When I look at these lamps, I just get giddy imagining the room they are a part of, it's got to be a fabulous room, no?

1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  /  7  /  8

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8

What do you think? Do you buy lamps first or last when you're assembling a room? Do you tend towards a "safe" or neutral style lamp or go bold?

We'll continue the conversation over on our Instagram account, check it out and let us know if you like any of these and/or how you choose lamps.

Thanks for stopping by!



Dream Homes: Endicott

Shaker Heights, a city on the National Register of Historic Places, is a diverse community with grand architecture from the 20's to mid-century. On my morning walks throughout my community, I always wonder what some of these homes look like inside.  Recently, I found out! (At least as it pertains to 2685 Endicott shown above )

A friend of mine who works with the Cathy Lesueur team at Howard Hanna, (a team with 30+ years of selling some of the greatest homes that Northeast Ohio has to offer) took me inside.

Now, the home, currently staged to sell, has so much to offer! AMAZING details throughout but of course, I couldn't help myself but to mock-up what I might consider doing in what was my favorite room of the home: The morning room (or so I called it!).

Take a look below to see the "before" and the imagined "after". I was inspired to be eclectic and mix genres. Take these classic bones and add to them modern details. A favorite thing to do of mine.

Below that you can scroll through additional images of the home. 

So this is the "morning room" as it currently exists. Grand windows opening up to the garden out back, an octagonal shape and lots of great millwork and molding details. 

So, in my version, I just couldn't help but imagine bold pops of color and modern elements intermixing with the windows and molding treatments of this beautiful and classic space. I think I'd rather enjoy starting my day in this room every day! 

1  /  2  /  3  /  4  /  5  /  6  /  7

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7

Here are a few more pics of the house but check the rest out here!

check out the official listing here!

I had fun going through this home and imagining what I might do in there. We'll try to bring you more from this series over the next year. Thanks for stopping by and visit Instagram for more pics!

Heart Ball

At the beginning of the year, I wrote a post all about the color red, in support of an initiative that I support: Go Red for Women, an American Heart Association initiative. Well, I'm back with a personal update and some information about the upcoming HEART BALL

First of all, let me tell you this post is not so much about interiors. That is the industry we're in and the primary focus of this blog, but I think a personal blog from time to time is probably OK, don't you think?

Back in January, at the time I was writing about the Go Red for Women initiative, I was personally at my highest weight and least healthy state. I had felt like a bit of a hypocrite writing about what it meant to go red for women (healthy diet and exercise etc.) as I wasn't doing those things at the time, myself. 

This experience did remind me though, that I ought to be. It reminded me that my heart health is important and vitally so, particularly as I have a young daughter that I want to be around a long time for and that I want to set a healthy example for.

It alone did not change me in January. But, it did wake me up and finally this past April, as I was just about to turn 40-years-old, I decided it was time to make a change. For good. Not to simply lose weight but to change my life. 

{Scenes from my morning runs + walks. I love taking in all of the beautiful homes in the area I live in. Mine is a modest sweet little home, but we're surrounded by such grand, beautiful homes with stunning views. If I'd only thought about my love of homes as a motivator to getting out and running sooner!}

I have so much to be thankful for in my life: my husband and daughter, my successful career, my loving friends and family, yet for too long, I'd been dragged down by the lethargy of my unhealthy ways. I no longer wanted to just look longingly upon the habits I wanted to embody and think that those were reserved for "other, healthy" people. I deserved them and could achieve them too, it just required a commitment to it and when you really stop and think about it, why should it be difficult to literally commit to doing what you wanted to do?

So, I began my journey.

Early on, I knew that a workout buddy wasn't necessarily the right solution for me, though the accountability that it typically provides is! So, I started a private Instagram engagement pod (basically a private conversation that takes place entirely through Instagram messaging) and a separate Instagram account for my health and fitness endeavors to have two outlets of accountability for myself. 

These two outlets proved to be an incredible source of motivation for me. And, in a way, because I had created the private instagram group, I felt that I had to set a good example. So, I "couldn't" slack on it. You may consider starting your own accountability group, or joining one. They are a great source of daily inspiration and motivation.

Between my private group and my new fitness instagram account, I told myself that I "have to" post daily on how I was living healthfully that day. This helps ensure that I do, in fact, do something to live healthfully that day!

I also have recorded my intentions for the day every single day for the last 5 weeks into a simple FIT journal I picked up at Target on a whim. I'd owned it for months before starting my first daily entry but now, I've found that upon my waking at 5:30, I set my intention in that journal and every day, I meet that intention.

My journey has been 5 weeks long and I am half-way to my weight goal. I do plan to continue to build muscle beyond that goal and don't care what that does to my number, I just want to be strong and healthy and keep up with my 2-year-old!

Below are a few pics from my rundanzirun Instagram account. I do run again, but I also walk on average, 12,500 steps per day. That baseline goal of 10k steps per day - which I've met (and exceeded) for a month now, ensures that I am always being active. I do not take any rest days from steps. This is just an active lifestyle. Additionally, I do a workout (mostly 21-day fix) 5-6 days per week. This is what I want my lifestyle to be. An active one. This is helping ensure my own heart health.

I've also received a lot of great advice and guidance from my cousin Calie, who is a health coach based in LA but can work with anyone, anywhere. Her sister Autumn's 21-day-fix workouts have been building my strength and confidence nearly daily now for almost 21-days!

I guess this lifestyle is in my blood!

The American Heart Association was kind enough to invite me to this year's Heart Ball. I am particularly excited because It gives me more motivation to be fit and healthy as I'll have a black tie event to get all dressed up for now! Though, it should be noted...I am not getting fit for the sole purpose of losing weight. I have been carrying too much weight, it's true. But, it had been making me so very lethargic and tired all the time. Celebrating my 40th birthday was the final motivator for me. I knew that if I didn't start this healthy lifestyle right away, I would become more vulnerable to cardiovascular issues than I already had begun to be. 

And that is what the AHA is all about! Their mission is:

Building healthier lives, free of cardiovascular diseases and stroke. Our mission drives everything we do. 

Well, that is something I am very proud to support!

I hope you'll consider joining me on Saturday, June 10th 2017 at the downtown Cleveland Hilton for a night of so much fun and glamour!


cocktail reception

silent auction

7:30 pm


live auction

open your heart appeal


event concludes

overtime party BEGINS!!!

The event is a black tie event (so fun!!!!) and includes valet parking. If you haven't yet been to the fabulous downtown Cleveland Hilton, now is your chance and do it in style no less!

I hope you'll also join me in my journey back to a healthy lifestyle. We can lift each other up and encourage each other in reaching and surpassing goals. It's a lifestyle shift that improves every other area of your life while you're at it! find me on Instagram: @rundanzirun

Thanks for your letting me slide this non-design post in. I promise I won't do it often and though the AHA did provide me tickets, every single word here was heartfelt and my own. This journey has been life changing. 

Get your tickets to this year's Heart Ball HERE!


More design posts coming up! 

Up next: a look at a 1920's gem currently for sale. We'll show you the house and mock up what we would love to do with it if we were buying it! 

Coming soon: A Feng Shui for the Modern home Sneak Peek! We'll soon be offering these services and we first want to tell you a little general information about how Feng Shui works and how it can change your life! 


DSI Design Dispatch: Barbados


Hello, friends! Danielle here! We've been a little behind on keeping in touch with you here. I'm sorry about that! The good news is, we've got lots of great content coming up and planned for the Summer! 

One new series we're sharing today and throughout the rest of Summer, is our DSI DESIGN DISPATCH series and it will be coming to us from DSI design contributor, Lizzy Lee Golden.

Lizzy assists on our E-design and residential projects from her home base in Connecticut. With a long career in the graphic design world, she has recently broadened her focus to include interiors and we're so lucky that she did!  

In addition to her design work, over the next 3-4 months, Lizzy will be dispatching back to us her design findings while doing some Summer traveling Stateside and in Europe with her family. Personally, I have not been able to get out and travel as much as I'd normally like to of late so I'm thrilled to travel vicariously through her! Hope you'll join us!

So, I'll turn this blog over now to Lizzy for the first installment of our dispatch series!

Hello DSI friends! I’m so excited to share with you posts and pics from summery locations all season long. We’ll be heading to some amazing places—from the California desert, to the Catskills, and to European farmlands—with distinct design and cultures to inspire us.

Our first spot is the breezy Virgin Island of Barbados—the birthplace of rum and of even more cultural significance, Rihanna. Some of my favorite things beyond the insta-perfect beaches and friendly, laid-back Bajans:

  • candy colored houses
  • wild windswept farmlands
  • Island's weekly fish fry/night market/dance party 
  • fresh-cut roadside coconuts
  • driving on the left side of the road

I’m here for a family celebration with my in-laws, their kids, and grandkids. There are 14 of us so this is hardly the boho backpacker experience or romantic getaway. Even so, I’m finding some quality relax-time and I'm able to pick up some design inspo (when not waiting around for everyone to get sunscreened). We’re staying in a villa with ocean views that’s frankly pretty ostentatious as most villa rentals that fit 14 people tend to be. I’m not feeling very design inspired from this party pad but being comfortable is nice and the pool and chef that come with the house are keeping everyone happy. This is the longest I can remember going without cooking or cleaning—I've never been on one but I'm guessing this is what it's like to be on a cruise without having to actually be on a cruise.

After a 5 hour flight and a hot, dusty drive, everyone was happy to jump in the pool. 

After a 5 hour flight and a hot, dusty drive, everyone was happy to jump in the pool. 

There are a lot of group activities; beach days, fishing trips, a gospel brunch and not a lot of time for exploring solo, but St. Nicholas Abbey, a nearby sugar cane plantation and rum distillery is pretty remarkable, historically and architecturally speaking. This is the sleeper design highlight of the trip…

This 17th century Jacobean mansion was owned by a succession of British plantation owners over the past 350 years, including Benedict Cumberbatch's great, great uncle. I like history—even the sad, complicated parts (well, most all of history is sad and complicated). The bright side to this story is that it's now owned by a Bajan family who is committed to restoring the place and preserving its history.

This 17th century Jacobean mansion was owned by a succession of British plantation owners over the past 350 years, including Benedict Cumberbatch's great, great uncle. I like history—even the sad, complicated parts (well, most all of history is sad and complicated). The bright side to this story is that it's now owned by a Bajan family who is committed to restoring the place and preserving its history.

Tiffany blue drawing room with seashell chandelier.

Tiffany blue drawing room with seashell chandelier.

I live an hour from the coast so I shy away from beachy home things but if you are seaside or just have more confidence (that's all you really need) and are handy with a glue gun, go for it! and send us a pic!

I live an hour from the coast so I shy away from beachy home things but if you are seaside or just have more confidence (that's all you really need) and are handy with a glue gun, go for it! and send us a pic!

This space has so much texture and eye candy.

This space has so much texture and eye candy.

1780 Sheraton sideboard tucked in the dining room's thick plaster walls with cedar paneling.

1780 Sheraton sideboard tucked in the dining room's thick plaster walls with cedar paneling.

1746 Chippendale staircase has a different pattern on each floor.

1746 Chippendale staircase has a different pattern on each floor.

Taxidermy anyone? Sadly, half of these little guys can't be identified today because they are extinct.

Taxidermy anyone? Sadly, half of these little guys can't be identified today because they are extinct.

Wherever I travel, I always play the game of imagining what my life would be like if I lived there. What would I do? Where would I buy my groceries? Where would I live? I can imagine a breezy little hillside bungalow under mahoganies and palms…

…like this one that I pass by/stalk on my morning jog.

…like this one that I pass by/stalk on my morning jog.

…or this one! I'm not picky. ;)

…or this one! I'm not picky. ;)

…and this guy hanging out at Bathsheba beach would be my kind of dog.

…and this guy hanging out at Bathsheba beach would be my kind of dog.

When I get back home I'm going to have to get to work on my patio game with some serious hammock research. Though, I can’t live in Barbados, I can hang up a hammock and enjoy cocktails with Angostura bitters. Thanks for traveling with me! Next month…we head to Palm Springs! 

dispatching from St. James, Barbados

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7


Bajan Rum Punch

"One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, and, four of weak…"

  • 1 part fresh lime juice (sour)

  • 2 parts simple syrup (sweet)

  • 3 parts dark rum from Barbados like Mount Gay Black Barrel Rum (strong)

  • 4 parts water (this is the "weak" though go for half fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and half water for a citrusy summer drink)

Garnish each glass with 2-3 dashes of Angostura bitters and fresh grated nutmeg.
Serve over plenty of ice.

Danielle's House 1 Year Later: Living Room

We're back with another installment of transformation pictures from my house. I was kind of holding out until we got our 2nd sofa and a few other odds and ends wrapped up but they stopped selling the sofa we wanted and I haven't lifted a finger in this house in six months, so now is as good a time as any! Plus, the transformation just in the first 6 months really felt like a big enough change towards personalizing it, that however incomplete, is worth sharing.

This series is not a quick and concise visual tour, I'll share our first impressions, the initial plan, the thought process behind each decision and ultimately where we are now and where we still plan to go. Some photos (the good ones, duh! were taken by Suzuran Photography, but a lot of the supplemental (less pretty photos) are just taken by me.

So, without any further ado. This is my living room from the real estate listing to where it is now and where it has been a few stops along the way!


{There's a tiny sneak peek into the "before pics" of the den in a few of the above images, but we'll save the full transformation of that room for another day.}

{There's a tiny sneak peek into the "before pics" of the den in a few of the above images, but we'll save the full transformation of that room for another day.}

We had a 60-day close on our house and so I had 60 days to think about what we wanted to do with the space. I focused all energy on our living room, foyer and dining room as the den would be an easy temporary fix and the kitchen was nearly done and the upstairs (with the exception of Penny's room, could wait). 

I put together an initial mood board for our living room prior to moving in and pretty damn near stuck exactly to it. 


We wanted an almost equal balance of modern and classic elements. To accomplish this, we created a modern shell as we'll describe  below, but wanted furniture that had elements of classic (leather, marble, antique, button-tufted, wing-back,) but done in a modern way (clean-lines, fresh prints or fabrics, light and airy).

So, we were working with a nice bones colonial living room. The room is long and narrow, the fireplace is not centered across from the wall or entry and the doors to the den were giving bad rental vibes due to a million layers of paint. Also, we got the feeling that maybe the previous owners actually must have had colored walls at one point and just painted them in white primer to put it on the market, as every wall down here (except the den) was a white primer finish.

So the list as we saw it upon moving in, was:

  • Paint everything. All trim and chair rail in SW Snowbound (a white) with the surface walls above the chair rail in SW Snowfall, which is pretty much the lightest gray ever. It reads a lot like white but with a touch more depth to it. We love it. The other thing we did to add depth and draw out the historical trim original to the 1928 home, was to paint the wall under the chair rail not in the same color as the wall above the chair rail, but instead in the same white we used for the trim (but in a satin finish as opposed to the semi-gloss we used on the trim).
  • strip all the paint off the den doors and glass (yes, and glass!) and paint black
  • re-orient the furniture arrangement to be centered on the fireplace and conversational. We did not want our tv in this room and could thereby orient furniture without having to take that into consideration.
  • update the polished silver window hardware, take down old blinds and replace curtains.

This photo is early on. We bought the loveseat from the plan. (We had to have a loveseat as there is just not much width in the room if you're centering on the fireplace, which we were determined to for better conversational seating.) A loveseat provided 2-3 seats when guests are over but still left plenty of walkway around the setting. (We have a separate sectional for lounging in the den).

We selected a narrow rectangle coffee table with ample surface area for playing with Penny or entertaining guests. Initially, we didn't want to spend the money on two leather loveseats, so we "temporarily" bought a loveseat and two Ikea wing back chairs. The two chairs felt too contrived and also were too high for the loveseat with both of them there, so we ended up moving one of the chairs to the playroom and instead including a vintage bentwood rocker. We wanted a bentwood rocker really bad (it was in the original mood!) but bought the two ikea chairs because we didn't know when we'd find one and literally within weeks of moving in our next door neighbors (who were moving) put one on their treelawn!

hardware from crate & barrel and curtains from west elm.

hardware from crate & barrel and curtains from west elm.

Anyway, In January, when we decided we were ready to spend the money on another leather sofa, it was too late as the loveseat is apparently discontinued. Undecided about what to do, we just kind of stopped worrying about it, for now and are still living with the loveseat, wingback and rocker. 

Keeping the main setting somewhat smaller in scale gives the allusion of more space, but still provides plenty of functional seating for entertaining.


The photo above is an early version of the other side of the room. This is a great photo to see the ever-so-slight variation in wall color. We wanted white walls but didn't. You know what I mean? We wanted that bright, clean, and modern look that white walls bring but being a colonial, we also wanted a little more warmth and tradition. Having a different color above the chair rail is a nod to the traditional bones and the particular colors feel modern. 

Also, you can see the replacement window hardware in the photo above. The big regret of this room is not installing that hardware all the way up closer to the crown molding. This would give this fairly small room more height. Also, I thought I was ordering one shade lighter of gray velvet curtains, these are just a touch muddier than I wanted. Ultimately these will likely get replaced but with no urgency.

The big win here is the doors to the den. The glass looks a little dirty/cloudy but it's as clean as we've been able to figure out getting them after stripping at least FIVE COATS OF PAINT off of them.

The above two images are looking into the den. We placed our vintage mid century buffet to the left of the den entrance and have since rotated the art and moved the sofa to the opposite side of the fireplace from where it sits here.

Below, is another project we took on for the whole first floor. We replaced all the electrical outlets and plate covers. In the dining and living rooms, we decided to intentionally draw you in by either stripping and polishing the original brass plates or by replacing them with new ones from House of Antique Hardware. We decided that wherever we were using the brass plates, we preferred the black electrical sockets to the white ones which were there. 


This past holiday we bought this huge airplane photo. I absolutely LOVE it. Though I am not one to keep art in the same place for very long, I do think it's a great way to utilize that huge surface wall with otherwise no function. 

We REALLy want to add hard-wired wall sconces to the walls on either side of the entrance to this room. We need better lighting in here and I'm not willing to hardwire a ceiling light but wall sconces would be a great classic addition to this space! I still love the original sconces I put on our mood board above but I'm sure by the time we get around to this project I'll have changed my mind. 

where the artworks and plants remain is still TBD. In the meantime, the plants have doubled in size and themselves believe this corner is their rightful home!

We hit the ground running with the living room, then lost a little steam, gained it back up and promptly lost it again. 

The big item that's outstanding is a second loveseat, which we had planned to get but apparently didn't decide to in time because when we went to buy it after the holidays we discovered it was sold out! 

The things we see as still needing to happen in this room currently include:

  • final lighting solutions
  • a long term mantel solution
  • etegere for corner
  • a second loveseat 
  • additional storage bench potentially

Since we're here, let's just take a quick look at the transformation of our small foyer too! The two images below are the only two images I have of the "before", white paned door, white walls, old tile, flush mount ceiling light.

Being that not a single room in this home is complete, even this tiny foyer is still lacking a replacement flush mount ceiling light and either a mirror or art to put on the main wall in there. That said, we've definitely made big changes in that we've replaced the floor tiles, added a bold paint color and new wall hooks.

SO, there you have it. Not perfect. But we love it just the same! It's always been great for entertaining, reading, playing with Penny in and just all around feeling like 'us'. 

We still have a few more 1 year updates to share (kitchen, powder room, Penny's bedroom, den, stairs and upstairs hallway, upstairs bathroom, master bedroom, upstairs bonus room) and then as any big big changes occur to the rooms we've covered, we'll share those as well. 

I really appreciate your visit today! It's Wednesday, so the week's halfway over! What weekend warrior projects do you have on the list? Let's talk more over on Instagram! 




Material Love: Terrazzo

Listen, I am so in love with Terrazzo right now. I've simply GOT to find a project to use it in.

Maybe it's because it reminds of the mall I grew up going to, built in probably the 50's or 60's, it was dripping in terrazzo (or at least my memory thinks it was). 

I was hoping to use it in a commercial application recently and I reached out to a few of the surface material suppliers I've worked with and they all said the same thing: "We stopped offering terrazzo years ago!" and "I don't know anyone who offers terrazzo!". 

We did work out a solution for that particular commercial client and it's going to be amazing, but, not terrazzo. That's ok. I'll find another use for it yet! 

It's just that terrazzo is rarely used in mainstream design these days. I'm seeing it pop up in European applications regularly but rarely here. 

So, what is terrazzo?

Wikipedia says:  

"Terrazzo is a composite material, poured in place or precast, which is used for floor and wall treatments. It consists of chips of marblequartzgraniteglass, or other suitable material, poured with a cementitious binder (for chemical binding), polymeric (for physical binding), or a combination of both. Metal strips divide sections, or changes in color or material in a pattern. Additional chips may be sprinkled atop the mix before it sets. After it is cured it is ground and polished smooth or otherwise finished to produce a uniformly textured surface."

It goes back to the neolithic period (A LONG TIME AGO, so long in fact that it predates production of fired pottery by a thousand years!).

In recent years, the binding agent has shifted towards epoxy, which offers more of a range of colors and is less susceptible to chipping but can only be used indoors.

Also, one of my favorite ways to see terrazzo done is with brass dividers between sections like this:



There are (as it says below) limitless options of terrazzo and that is perhaps, one of the most exciting aspects of this material. Also, as some of the photos in this post reflect, the material can be used in so many different ways, including: floors, walls, custom molds, furnishings and as counters!

What do you guys think? would you use it in your home anywhere or do you think it should be more for commercial use? I know a few mid century home's I can imagine these puppies in:

Well, there is really endless inspo over on Pinterest. While you're over there, stop by, peruse our boards and give us a follow if you would!

Thanks for stopping by and though we've been slacking on this blog lately, we've got some fun travel/design posts planned coming up! Stay tuned and thanks for visiting!

Two Big Girl Room Mood Boards

It's not time yet for me to start moving Penny into a big girl bed/room, but here at DSI, we have been exploring a few options to share with you. This is for design-minded parents who want their kids to have a kid-friendly and creativity or comfort-inducing room but one which they'd happily spend the money on (read: not a cartoon-themed room).

Our creative juices really got flowing when we feasted our eyes on the Emily & Meritt for Pottery Barn Kids collection. Pink (check!), black & white (check!) and bows (oh my! and check!).


Inspired by these designs, I started to explore potential room designs for Penny's next room. In her short life so far (2 years) she's already had two rooms and both have been based around my fave palette: pink, black and white, magenta and stripes.

Her Current Room


I am not opposed to the next iteration of her room following suit, but I did explore two moods that do try to diverge from this palette. 

So, as I said, Penny isn't quite ready for the transition, but the day will come and I'd like to start shaping that plan. So, we're sharing two mood boards below (and at the end of this email another version with links to all resources we've included).


Now, these may be a little too adult for you. But, I think with a few handmade pieces of your child's art hanging and some shoes kicked off on the floor, it could be feeling like a kid lives in there in no time at all!

How do you guys feel about little kids rooms that aren't too theme-y? Let's continue the conversation over on Instagram!

Thanks for stopping by and I hope to see you soon!



We wanted to be sure to give you all the sources we've included but didn't want to ruin the above moods with those pesky markers so we've added the moods again below, but with links to sources, for your convenience! 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 /14/ 15 / (unfortunately, I didn't remember to bookmark the "house" bookcase and can't remember where I found it!)

1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/ (unfortunately, I didn't remember to bookmark the "house" bookcase and can't remember where I found it!)

0 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 /8/ 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15 / 16 / 17  (unfortunately, I didn't remember to bookmark the rug and bed and can't remember where I found them though I think the bed had been but is now sold.)

0/1/2/3/4/5/6/7/8/9/10/11/12/13/14/15/16/17 (unfortunately, I didn't remember to bookmark the rug and bed and can't remember where I found them though I think the bed had been but is now sold.)

Spring is Here But What About Your Outdoor Furniture?

It is the first day of Spring, friends! So, despite the current weather outlook, it's time to design those outdoor patios! 

There are so many great options out there right now. We explored "affordable to mid-range" price points from stores such as: Target, CB2, West Elm, Wayfair, Room + Board, Anthropologie and World Market. We put together just three approaches, though we probably could have done a half-dozen more looks using the abundance of options we found.

{We've linked to all of the items we've included below each board.} 

1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 /8/ 9 / 10 / 11


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10 / 11 / 12 / 13 / 14 / 15


1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 / 6 / 7 / 8 / 9 / 10


Don't these just make you want to grab a good book, a cocktail and turn on some Harry Belafonte's Calypso

We're also sharing these looks over on Instagram. Stop by and tell use what you think!

Danielle's house 1 year later: playroom


We're back with another update on the progress over at Danielle's little colonial. She is going to give us the scoop on what is now her daughter's playroom, starting with the realtor photos then some in between progress up to where it is now. 

Hello! Welcome back to another tour of the progress on my family's colonial. The last few months haven't seen much progress over here with holidays and birthdays and work distractions, but we did do a notable refresh to this one room early on.

A bedroom on our 2nd floor began as my office but as Penny got older and able to play with more types of toys, she needed a dedicated playspace and this room became the solution!

Below are realtor pictures of this room from the house's listing. This room was a cute little boy's bedroom. When we moved in it was empty, except the wood framed gray boxes and the curtains remained.

Initially, I moved all my office stuff in there and worked out of this space for a little while. Talk about UNinspired! I wasn't sure what I wanted to do and something told me that this was not going to remain my office, so I never even started to design this space in my head. In fact, I rarely even used it. I mostly went to coffee shops to work instead of being in this room!


When I knew we were going to make it a playroom, I moved everything out right away. To begin the actual transformation, the curtains and their hardware came down. Then, the wood frames came down and I primered the gray painted boxes bringing the room to a simple whitish empty box.

The Details

As for paint, I wanted it light and bright but not white. I settled on an extremely light lavender color for the upper half of the walls and black chalkboard paint for the entire lower half of all the walls and gave all the trimwork a fresh white coat of paint. 

This room does get blasted with sun but I wanted to also keep it bright. I went with a white linen curtain just to filter out the intensity of the light. I bought inexpensive Ikea panels and then some pom pom trimming, which I sewed on to the panels and the tie backs to give them a little more interest.

Next, I brought in a big neutral gray rug as we'd all be on the floor playing a lot. Comfy adult-sized furniture for the caregivers, shelving for books, TONS of bins and a table for the train and a table for coloring. The rest is just TOYS TOYS TOYS!

Back in November, we posted about this playroom (post found here). But, Christmas and Penny's 2nd birthday have since occurred and suffice it to say, this room is a whole lot more crowded these days. Here are a few more images from November, when it was a bit easier to keep clean and put away toys when not in use.

It has changed a bit since these early shots. I wanted to share a few more images of what it typically looks like day-to-day. So here are a few pics taken on my iPhone recently:


And, just because I like to keep it nice and real around here...The below image is what the room looks like most of the time: MESSY! But better that the mess is contained in here (for the most part, we still keep toys in the den and her bedroom too) thank our main living space.

Thanks again for visiting my home today. It's always a pleasure to have you!




The Counter Culture: weighing counter options


A few weeks ago we talked about kitchen backsplashes and it was among the most popular posts we've ever had. I'd like to continue the kitchen conversation in today's post. I am NOT an expert on stone but I've learned a bit through experience and research and that is the basis for the following information. I also know from conversation with people who have direct experience with the materials discussed and from professionals in the field that there is no one size fits all solution and that a lot of it is subjective. This post aims to mostly look at basic facts and distinctions and are supported anecdotally. 

Many of us out there have coveted those gorgeous all white counters that seemingly every great kitchen on Pinterest and Instagram has. We want white or marble (or marble-looking) backdrops to our photos and the brightening effects they have on a room (and often, our moods!). 

When my husband and I were planning on building our home, I had started the investigation into marble vs. quartz. I've since learned ofa 3rd contender all together: porcelain. 

We have begun to delve more into the facts behind the great debate on whether or not real marble itself was "worth it" if another product could be more durable and/or less expensive. Let's explore those facts (and some opinions) below.


We'll dispell some myths, share some info we've learned and also share our experience living with Carrara marble countertops that are probably 5-7 yrs old now.


Generally, when talking to friends or clients, the conversation is about marble vs. quartz. This conversation is rooted in a mutual agreement that marble is so beautiful, but then it tends to devolve to two particular camps:

People who love the look of marble but won't buy marble.

These people are generally discouraged by one of two reasons:

1. They think quartz is less expensive. This is not necessarily true. The cost of any stone is contingent on the availability of that stone. In fact, in some instances, quartz varieties are more expensive than marble. In many instances, they're comparable and then others, they're less. (More on pricing near end of post).

2. They think that quartz is more durable. It is. No doubt about it. It is not, however, stain or scratch proof, but rather, just resistant. It's important to note that. (Further tips on necessary care, below).

So, at the end of the day, if you boil down their thought process and final decision-  these buyers ultimately want fresh bright white and durable counters more than the marble look, specifically. Engineered quartz products are a great alternative for them. (more on these below).

The second group of people are:

People who cannot turn away from the beauty of marble and must have the real thing, despite the inevitable consequences.

For those whose scales tip in favor of the look of marble, they are choosing to endure the wear and tear that comes with lived-in marble and/or accept what price that comes with, too. Because the question isn't whether or not you can avoid wear and tear on your marble it's just a question of when it will begin to happen. I've read food bloggers tales of being a year in to owning new marble counters and examining them to reveal very little wear and this is their endorsement of going for marble. But if there is very little wear after a year's time, they are likely hyper concerned about it and careful. Because commonly even just water is the culprit. Not just the wine or acids that are most notable. So, they are choosing the look of marble but then either accepting the inevitability of distress and not worrying about it or they worry about it quite a bit. 

QUARTZ -natural or engineered?

So, let's take a closer look at quartz/quartzite:

Quartzite is a natural stone and Engineered quartz is not. Quartzite comes in various colors and is (though not always) available in a light/white marble look. It is very dense and durable so it is good in a kitchen application and is becoming more obtainable through discoveries of more quarries. The latter essentially takes actual quartzite and resin/synthetic materials and mixes them together like making a stir all the ingredients together then place into a big pan and bake. (Thanks, Julie at Mont for the helpful analogy!). The result is a very durable product that can come in lots of different colors.

You need to use a cutting board with either but particularly quartzite as it is prone to scratches. quartzite is more heat resistant. Because there is essentially plastic in quartz you always want to be sure to use hot plates and pot holders underneath anything hot to avoid burning or scorching. Things like coffee, red wine, spaghetti sauce, beet juice etc. could leave a stain on an engineered countertop. You want to make sure you wipe any of those things up right away. Though there are products out there to help lift difficult stains and that plastic ingredient also makes it more durable and less susceptible to chips.

Quartzite would require the sealing and resealing treatments recommended to marble. Engineered quartz does not but it does require your swift removal of the types of staining elements listed above. You essentially still need to be careful and be sure to wipe your counters. 

If you're weighing marble, then the white and gray varieties of quartz would be what you're more commonly looking at. Common examples include:




Below is Carrara marble and below that, a white engineered quartz and below that natural quartzite. There is obviously a difference, but all still lovely.



BUT, the above conversation has mostly left out another contender....


Now, this is a "marble alternative" that I believe looks closer to the character and veining of actual marble. But, perhaps that is just if you prefer the Calacutta gold marble look. Just look at the two images below. The top is porcelain and below it, Calacutta Gold marble. Really quite strikingly close. 

Arabescato porcelain

Arabescato porcelain

Calacutta Gold marble

Calacutta Gold marble

Though a bathroom and not a kitchen, I found this example of porcelain (looking a lot like marble) in a bathroom display over at Mont Granite the other day. It is just a great example of what it can look like in one big slab. Gorgeous, I'd say.

So, why porcelain? How does it stack up?

The pros:

It's a very strong and durable product. 30% stronger than granite. Due to their durability, they last a long time.

They come in a lot of colors and patterns and I love the marble-like options. 

The new standard is 3/16ths thick and subsequently quite light in weight. 

Super low maintenance - These counters are heat resistant, require no sealing and are super easy to clean with just warm water and rag all that is necessary for a clean and hygienic surface. 

So...that's a pretty good "pros" list!

The cons:

Pricey. They can be pricier. But, get them priced before you rule them out. 

Though these are very durable and strong - they can chip and crack but it would take a lot more force and weight than natural stone for that to happen. 

In summary, if you love the look of marble but the durability -not the price- is your hang up, then porcelain may be a good solution for you. It is not so much the product that makes it pricey but the labor. Porcelain as counters has to be applied to a substrate because it's so thin. Also, because it's so thin, the mitering process is very slow and expensive. It's a great backsplash, flooring, wall solution but it does get a bit pricier as countertops. But still worth looking into because it is so low mainentance and beautiful-looking.


CHOOSING MARBLE: polished vs. honed

But, if after all that choice weighing, you know you're still in the marble camp, then you're likely going to weigh whether or not to buy polished or honed marble. I've read that the only way to go was honed and I assumed that it was somehow more durable. Technically it is not about durability but the look. The look of being polished or matte (honed). However, the honed look can have advantages over polished. It is that matte finish that honed provides that makes people mistake it as more "durable". Water, liquids, food etc. cause etching and scratching in the stone. This is really quite unavoidable but it is far less noticeable on a matte finish than a polished one. 


Like others, I wanted the marble look. I didn't have to make a decision though, as the home we purchased had Carrara marble counter tops. By the time we moved in these counters were about 5-6 years old. (Now they are 6-7 yrs old). We essentially bought the house solely based on the kitchen being so close to what we wanted (after looking at dozens of bad kitchens in other homes and facing a remodel, this was a relief). We moved in and LOVED our counters.

Our counters are Carerra marble and the previous owner opted for the lustre of polished over the matte honed option. These counters aren't perfect, far from it. They are etched, they are scratched they even have a few chips in certain places. A perfectionist would have a hard time with them, I suppose. We don't mind it. We got a quote in having the marble repaired and honed on site. It's not cost prohibitive and maybe it would be nice to have a "start fresh". it's on the back end of our home improvement list because it doesn't really bother us. Though, I would prefer honed.

Personally, I think I am the exact right personality for marble. I love the look and am not the type of person who is precious with my belongings or space. I am the type of person who would find the romance in the wear and tear. Like, my family has lived here and this beautiful stone is the evidence. 

So, I am pretty confident that in a kitchen I would definitely go marble again in the future.

Bathrooms, I may try quartz or porcelain just to try something else but if I found an irresistibly pretty marble slab, I might have a hard time not going marble there too.

but back to our existing marble kitchen counters, I've shared images below of a new slab of Carrara, my Carrara at a glance, and some close ups of some etching.

Carrara marble

Carrara marble

When you look at our counters at a glance or as you come into the room you just see pretty Carrara marble. The wear isn't visible until you really hover over it and contort yourself to see it in the right light...


And lastly, a word on pricing. Many wholesalers and suppliers use pricing categories A-Z. A being least expensive and Z being the most. Mont, a local wholesaler I use for example, carries Marble varieties anywhere in the categories D to Z, Engineered Quartz categories range from G-V and the Quartzite ranges from S-Z. Porcelain is priced differently and again, the labor is the issue there.

So, where does that leave you? I think what we've ultimately determined is that there are lots of great options and there is no one size fits all option out there. It's one part subjective, one part financial and another part honesty with yourself about the durability part of it. If you can handle the maintenance or wear and tear or if you really can't. Look at options, get pricing and then make the best decision for YOU!

Thank you for stopping by and let's continue the conversation on Facebook and Instagram!



Cleveland Magazine Love

Cleveland Magazine's March home issue is out and Danielle's home is included! Check it out below! (UPDATE: link is now live here!)


A few months back, Cleveland Magazine asked to do a feature on my home in an upcoming issue. Initially, I wasn't going to do it. I thought that occasional photos on Instagram and our website was one thing but publishing photos of a house so far from "done" in a magazine seemed bad for a design business.

And then I remembered something very important...

I remembered that life is not about the destination, but the journey. And this journey - the journey of furnishing and decorating my family's home - is something relatable to anyone who has recently moved. And though it is fun to see inspiration and aspirational imagery, isn't it also so nice to be able to relate to someone? 

My husband and I are both designers but our home is not perfect. It's not yet met the vision that we have for it, but that's Ok, we're having fun along the way and why not share that! Frankly, it's a hobby. It's a way to sharpen my skills, to test my resources, to experiment. I think I'd be awfully bored if it were "done"?! And we LOVE our home. Even just as it is, unfinished. 

So, Yes! Cleveland Magazine, thank you so much for featuring our home. It's such a special place to us and it means so much to us that you thought it was special enough for your pages!

If you subscribe to Cleveland Magazine, then you've likely already received your March issue. The hard copy should be hitting stores this weekend or soon, I'd imagine. When it's online I'll update the link here. But for now, I'd love to share a little teaser!

So nice to have this to share with our family. It warms my heart that Penny's bedroom is in print! 

So, I won't even muck it up with what isn't finished about any of these spaces, I'll just enjoy this phase exactly as it is! A place I get to share with my two most favorite people in the whole wide world! #home

Thanks for stopping by, friends! Next week I'll have a more productive post for you, promise!



Backsplash Alternatives to Standard White Subway Tile

I said it before, but I think this post warrants repetition: I do NOT hate white subway tiles. I have them in my own kitchen (see below) and bathroom. They are classic, timeless. They are clean, shiny, bright and affordable. So many virtues. But it's also fun to do something a little fresh, unexpected or just simply different than the 3" x 6" white subway tile.


So, let's just entertain the idea of something else for a fresh new kitchen. It doesn't have to mean a wild departure either. We've rounded up a practical list of alternatives to the white subway tile. Not a list of our favorite tile in general (though that could be a fun future post), but rather, alternatives to the clean, simple, and classic role that white subway tiles play.

We'll also look at subway tiles but in different colors, finishes, patterns and sizes. These differences are a departure from the standard white version while still providing many of it's benefits.

So here are a few jumping off points to consider:

Square. It's the new rectangle. 

It's almost the same but totally not:


The simplicity and solid color are often what make white subway tiles so perfect a choice. Let's look at a few more options that are as simple yet different (and awesome):

All Black Everything

Black is as neutral as white. It is as chic as white and it is less common than white in kitchens. 

Explore different shapes

There are a lot of options out there. And, even different patterns that can be created with those tiles. Options are endless but if you're looking for a subway tile replacement, these options stray just far enough away to serve the same purpose but with so much more style.

Solid Slabs

To be fair, this option may price out of some budgets (though, not necessarily). It's so distinctive looking with one continuous slab, don't you think so?

The NO backsplash alternative!

And indeed a good shaker style kitchen needs no backsplash at all!

A little difference can go a long way

And in the end, if you're still wanting to go subway. Maybe look at a variation on it instead? I am madly in love with glazed tiles. Their shine! Oh my gosh! Handmade tiles? Sooooo good. Their imperfections make them PERFECT! And Pattern. A slight variation in the orientation of even the most basic tile can suddenly surprise and delight! And what about those beveled subway tiles? Subtle yet delightful! Exaggeratingly large or small versions are also a step in the right direction. 

I feel like I could go on, but I won't. Baby steps. I hope this helps whet your whistle for something beyond the 3 x 6 white subway tile.

And of course, if you're interested in a quote for our help redesigning your kitchen, fill out our online form on this page here.

Candle Sconces

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We are enamored with candles sconces lately. I'm often in a Colonial state of mind. Not just because my own home is a colonial built in 1928 but because so many of our clients also reside in colonials.

At DeBoe Studio, we are always striving for balance. When it comes to colonial style homes, we're looking for ways to leverage or play up the beautiful original details so common to the era but also balance those with a fresh approach from the perspective of today. To that end, we often incorporate many clean-lined pieces and modern art but sometimes, we also dip into using more traditional elements. 

Hardwired (or even plug-in) electrical wall sconces are a go-to idea of ours. They are first and foremost functional (and we always start with function then follow with good form). Often times, though, they are cost prohibitive or even just too invasive a process to add where sconces didn't previously exist. In such cases, wall art or shelving can often do the trick but when you really just want the look of a sconce, why not consider a candle sconce instead?!

In my own dining room, I've already wallpapered the entire room and don't really want to go to the lengths needed to add hard-wired sconces (at least not yet, anyway). So, I've turned my attention towards candle sconces and have fallen deeply in love! 

What do you guys think? Do you love? Do you think you would use? Do you already use? Where did you find yours? Where did you put yours? A hallway? A dining room? A bedroom, perhaps? DO TELL over on Instagram!

Built-in Bookcases - humble heroes

Today, we are sharing built-in bookcases that we love. Mostly classic in style, some with a modern touch, others in bold colors, ALL fabulous!

I've been researching bookcases and how they're painted for a recommendation for a client. But, while at it, also for my own home since we'll soon be replacing our current built-ins (not original to our 1928 house) this year.

Built-in bookcases, to me, are the humble heroes of many a room. Humble in that they are simply the guardian of books. They maintain what is for many, a precious collection. They're simply made from wood - a humble enough material, but they are, in my estimation, heroes as well. Heroes, in that these simple structures, once filled with books and collectibles and illuminated by the occasional hard-wired sconce, can provide jaw-dropping impact on an otherwise simple space. They can also be quite fussy with their lacquered paint finishes and sconces but even then, they're still just bookcases, not a velvet sofa or gilded table. Just a vessel for books. Oh how I love them! (books and bookcases, that is!)

For my own home bookcase project, I fear we can never achieve this level of sophistication because our den - where we are replacing the current built-ins - is the room we watch our TV in. Our ginormous TV. So our own bookcases need to accommodate the antithesis of a humble hero...a TV. womp womp. Oh well, Maybe our master bedroom or dining room could get built-ins like these?!?! Until I figure it out, I'll hope for another client to come along who is ready for such an impact in their own home and would like our inspired help! 

Aren't these just gorgeous?!!!! Rhetorical question, of course! because OF COURSE THEY ARE!!!!

And, we'll take one more look at The Makerista's fabulous front room bookshelves, which she had custom made for the space because they're my absolute favorite!!! Such love for this color!

Which is your favorite? Do you have built-ins in your home? Do you want to add them? let's talk about it over on Instagram!

Danielle's house 1 year later: DINING ROOM

{We'll be doing an ongoing series here on the blog to share the evolution of each room in Danielle's house. This is the first post in the series.}

I can hardly believe we've been in our sweet little home for nearly a year! 

A year ago we embarked on our home search. We needed something move-in ready and fast (shout out to our daughter who was 10 months at the time and suddenly started walking - the impetus for the quick move!). 

So, after a couple dozen home tours, two offers lost to all-cash buyers, we awoke one morning to a new listing that we instantly KNEW was the one. By that evening it was ours!

People often say, much like a great love, you just know when you've found your house. Well, I don't know, this was the 3rd home we put an offer on but we did feel really good about the decision. It certainly was a little smaller than the other's we had seen and it had no master suite private bathroom. But, as any homeowner knows, you've typically got to give up something, so you weigh everything out. Our "downsides" really didn't matter that much to either of us and they certainly did not outweigh the real "wins" for us: the nearly perfect kitchen (relatively, we were facing a full-on remodel with every other house we considered), it's great location and community, and the good bones throughout. Nearly a year in, we love our home still so it seems we made a good choice. (Shout out to our awesome real estate agent, Anne Callahan Keller Williams Westlake office).

Though I had thought of doing this series sooner, I was reluctant to share the "before" pictures only because I like the previous homeowners and thought they did a wonderful job on the home (I mean, we bought it the second it went on the market!). I just don't want it to appear that I'm disparaging the way the house was. We loved it. We just wanted to put our stamp on it, naturally. 

Disclaimer: NONE of the rooms are "done". But, they each have been changed a lot through decor since we moved in, and I think we've come far enough to start sharing.

We'll start the series with a look at the DINING ROOM:


OK ,the above pic isn't actually what this room looks like right now. The below pictures is. The above is a quick mock-up I did to visually represent the ideas my husband and I had discussed for the room. Ultimately the "finished" product (I use quotes because I don't think any room is ever really "finished") will be layered and feel old with jolts back to current day through color, pattern and a few modern accessories.

We plan to hang sconces and a LOT of art in this room. Our living room has been about larger-scale art whereas this space is about creating a sense of history and collection. Wes and I each have been toting a number of smaller and vintage pieces of art from place to place for years and we're going to finally get around to planning a dedicated home for those pieces (and more!) in this space. 

table with extension in. ( photo:  )

table with extension in. ( photo:  )

But, we're not there yet and to understand where we're headed you've really got to see where we've been. So let's look at the before pictures.

before pictures from the house listing:


They had done a lot to improve this home and for it, we're grateful. I think they must have had other colors on the walls and/or wallpaper as we realized upon moving in that all these white walls were actually just a primer. Which actually worked out great as it saved our painter a big step. I think we've managed to really change the feel of this space with just a few simple changes.

We always begin with removing the things we know we won't be keeping. In this case, the chandelier and the curtains.

photo taken before we moved in.

photo taken before we moved in.



The next thing we did was to paint the built-in black. Inside and out, and replace it's hardware with simple gold knobs from Anthropologie. 



I had probably 25 samples of very bold wallpaper patterns sent to me to consider for this space. I really thought I wanted to go bold. I try not to be a "safe" designer, especially for my own home, but my style preferences do land somewhere between very classic and somewhat bold. So it's a matter of determining where you're going to go simple and where you'll make your splash. We had a bold rug ordered for our living room which is adjacent and I knew I wanted to do a bold color for the foyer, so in the end, I just determined that classic wallpaper would give the room the overall layered, textured look I was going for and we'll find another way to add our surprise splash.

So I landed on a very affordable ticking stripe from Wayfair and we LOVE it! I know that the next home we live in will be super contemporary, as my husband is a very contemporary architect, so this is my chance to live in a space which embraces my love of history. We've bought new table and chairs and lighting and now I'm looking forward to slowly adding in the special antique and vintage pieces.



In terms of lighting, we know we want a few wall sconces but initially we focused on replacing the chandelier. We bought a beautiful ceiling medallion and had it painted the same color as our trim work and installed it and the modern West Elm chandelier pretty early on. Truth is, I love the idea of this chandelier more than I love the actual chandelier. So who knows, maybe we'll sell it and replace it, but that is certainly not a priority as I like it enough that I could live with it for years.



For our dining table and chairs, went with a black stained extension table from Crate & Barrel (couldn't find a link) with simple clean lines paired with my beloved bentwood-style chairs, also in black. We are on the lookout for some upholstered arm chairs to accompany this setup and to live in the corners of the dining room but haven't yet found the right ones. I like the buffalo check pattern on the side chairs I mocked up for our "goal room" image.

We have a black, gold and marble-topped Baker furniture small buffet table handed down to us from Wes' parents. It's a beautiful piece in beautiful condition and we currently use it as our bar. Down the road though, we plan to buy a larger -and more functional- dining room buffet and then we'll shift this to one of the corner walls of this room as opposed to under the main window where it currently sits, feeling a little too small scale for this space.

The rug was a classic gray-toned braided rug from Rugs USA. My grandma DeBoe (who turns 101 this April!) had several in her house that I remember playing on as a little kid with my brothers and cousins. I have always had a soft spot for braided rugs since and this was the first time I had a room that felt like a good fit for one. The price was right too because a rug under a dining room table - especially one that a toddler eats at - is bound to get stained. We have had ours for 8 months now and honestly, I think it looks like new still. 


I'd like to design some custom dupioni silk drapes for this space and make it more dramatic than it currently is. I am envisioning two-toned tying in the framboise color of our nearby foyer, maybe in a stripe or band at the bottom of each panel. 

Temporarily though, I'm really happy with these linen curtains scored at Homegoods. $50 for four panels! They need to be hemmed, but I keep ignoring that as I hate to spend any amount of time or money on something that is not long-term. Especially since the curtains I've envisioned will be one of our pricier projects. 

living-with-kids-dining-room-cuckoo-clock- stokke-steps-high-chair

So there you have it! Our first room by room before and after tour! I'll definitely be updating the blog and Instagram as we "finish" rooms. Next up we'll look at before pictures and the progress images of our living room.

Thank you for stopping by! 


Going Red For Women

We are an interior design company and our blog typically reflects that. Today, though, I wanted to post about something close to my heart. More specifically, about my actual heart and women's heart health

Today I am sharing some of my favorites in red decor and red interior inspiration to help create awareness for the American Heart Association's initiative GO RED FOR WOMEN.

To dispel the myths and raise awareness of heart disease & stroke as the number one killer of women, the American Heart Association created Go Red For Women, a passionate, emotional, social initiative designed to empower women to take charge of their heart health.

General statistics

  • Cardiovascular diseases and stroke cause 1 in 3 women’s deaths each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.
  • An estimated 44 million women in the U.S. are affected by cardiovascular diseases.
  • 90% of women have one or more risk factors for heart disease or stroke.
  • Women have a higher lifetime risk of stroke than men.
  • 80% of heart disease and stroke events may be prevented by lifestyle changes and education
  • Fewer women than men survive their first heart attack.
  • The symptoms of heart attack can be different in women vs. men, and are often misunderstood – even by some physicians.
  • Women who are involved with the Go Red For Women movement live healthier lives.
  • When you get involved in supporting Go Red For Women by advocating, fundraising and sharing your story, more lives are saved.

Red is not the most popular color for interiors but we think that it does make some of the most beloved spaces. It's a color that lends power and might to mid-century and classic looks as impactfully as it does all out glam looks. Below (and above!) are a few gorgeous uses of red in interior design. It's a strong choice no matter how you use it, do you love it like we do?

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A color as strong as RED is the perfect way to represent such a powerful and ambitious initiative such as AHA's GO RED for WOMEN. I say "ambitious" not in a negative way but in that it is indeed an awesome challenge. We all know too well how difficult it is to shift towards healthier lifestyles from one that is well, less so. But many of us also know how much easier it is to maintain once you get there and who could deny the rewards of it being worth the effort when your life is literally at risk if you don't?

As a mother and as a woman who used to be fit and healthy, I found reading through this info to be a great source of inspiration and motivation. 

So how can you support this great initiative? There are a number of ways...

  • FEBRUARY 3rd is NATIONAL WEAR RED DAY (and FEBRUARY is heart health month! So, wear red and post about it using the hashtag  #ClevelandGoesRed.
  • And/Or link to @clevelandaha when wearing red (or exercising or eating healthy this month or any month!)
  •  Support the Go Red For Women Luncheon and Expo on February 10th! (I'll be there, it is going to be super fun!)
  • Take action on your own heart health and spread the word and share your experience through social media!
  • Talk to the women in your own life about this topic. What are they doing? What have you learned that you can share?

Based on AHA's own research, a woman who Goes Red:

  • follows an exercise routine
  • eats a healthier diet
  • visits her doctor for important tests
  • and influences others by talking about heart health.

Listen ladies. Women's health is more important than ever in my estimation...let's do this!



Want Even More Red?! Read the articles from other local bloggers below!

Learn about Protecting Your Heart with Shibani from She In The Cle

for heart healthy tacos with Reena Goodwin

Strike a yoga pose with Alicia Hansen

Go red in Cleveland and cook up some fun with Jen from Why Cle?

More to come! 


{This post was created in Partnership with The American Heart Association to help create awareness for the Go Red for Women initiative. All thoughts and words are my own.}