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It’s hard to justify spending money towards accessories for your home when so many other priorities are chasing after those hard-earned dollars. Trust. I understand. To help you make change with zero dollars, I have compiled a short list.

1.) Take down all your art work throughout and rehang largest pieces where you want your focal point. (Consider propping/layering art work in front of hanging pieces for greater interest).

mantle styling

2.) Edit! Take away visual clutter. Your eyes need a place to rest. If a room has to many things vying for attention, the result is a low-lying anxiety.
There is an inherent sense of calm when your home feels well-organized, clean and decluttered. Those stacks and piles that you have meant to get to. Well, get to it. Create files, label and alphabetize things. Even if time does not allow for a thorough sorting, you can still put things in their assigned space for later exploration. Once you develop a system that works for you, it will WORK for you.

organize it

3.) Reinvent the wheel. Sometimes, we buy items for a specific space and then are unable to realize its fullest potential may best be used elsewhere.
Take your classic suit for example. If you only ever wear this suit together and have yet to pair jeans with that blazer, you are missing out on the opportunity to expand, enhance and create an entirely new look.
Same is true with the pieces in your home. We all need to reinvent our paradigms occasionally. Move things from room to room. Try it out, even if you feel unsure. Nothing is permanent, everything is fluid.

reimagined wood

4.) One of my mantras-“bring the outside in”. Clip your flowers or weeping branches to bring indoors for a pleasant feeling space. The simple act of selecting your flowers, cutting them and placing them in an interesting vessel is a joyful experience. For days to come you reap the benefit of cheerful flowers next to your favorite chair, bathroom vanity or bedside table. Be lovely.

outdoors in

5.) Lighting. Remain mindful of your lighting needs. If you are entertaining or looking for a relaxing space to sit back and enjoy completing items 1-4 of this list, go for dimmed lighting mixed with candlelight. This ambiance allows for a softening of the edges and a calmer piece of mind.

layered lighting

6.) Finally, do not allow anything into your home that you do not feel to be useful or beautiful. Free yourself. Life puts enough baggage at our feet. Choose what you want to pick up and carry. Let it be a reflection of your self.

traveling light
Namaste.

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We’ve all had them…well, most of us past our college years anyways. I’m talking about that unforgettable one (or two) night stands.The one you decide to go for in all your grown up, first taste of freedom kind of way. Yes, that infamous one night stand.

He came to me as a sloppy second, hand me down. He was by no means proud, yet served his purpose. In fact, I have still kept him around. Check him out:

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Pretty sexy huh?

My very first night stand. An acquisition that has served many purposes over the years, currently as a space for my sons computer.

But seriously folks. I know, through my time in the design field that making just the right “night stand” selection can be an anxiety inducing task. I have seen how people are afraid to invest in a piece and make the wrong choice. Most homes I have been in, tend to purchase an entire bedroom group that allows for no individuality or personality of the homeowner. This, is what I call a missed opportunity.

There is a quote: “Life is a game, you can play it safe and be good, or you can take a chance and be great”-anonymous. This pertains even to the seemingly mundane option of the “night stand”. Buy the bedroom suite and be “good”? Or take a chance, explore the unexpected, and be “great”? I choose great.

Examples of lovely options.

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There is always room to make a great first impression.

Curb appeal sets the tone for what is to come. If I see the exterior of a home is being groomed and cared for, I am going to assume the interior of the home is also given as much attention.

It is not difficult to achieve that first good impression. Take away any excuse to rationalize why you don’t have the time. I am telling you, it can be done. Nobody wants their home to look run down and unkempt. That’s the neighbors job, not yours.

Here are five affordable, easy steps to achieving curb appeal.

1.) Simply add a flowering container at the front door. You can even claim you planted it (even though the kind people at your local nursery put it together for you); we won’t know. Vary the plant and container size for depth and interest. Consider a boldly colored container for a little pop of interest if your entry is a bit plane Jane. (Even Jane looks good with a bold statement necklace).

entry planters
image:cottageandvine

2.) Add window boxes to the front of your home. Just be sure and water them regularly because they have a tendency to get crowded and dried out in their. (Then the next thing you know, things are looking much worse than when you started this simple project, suddenly, you will find yourself being tempted to give in and all will be for not. You will have dead plants, broken window boxes hanging from their hinges and your home will be pointed out by others as the scourge of the neighborhood. Not good people. Not good at all). Sorry, tangent. As with the containers above, you will want to add at least 3 varying plant types. I suggest a trailing vine, a succulent and an annual flowering plant.

flower box window
image:leeannthorton

3.) Mow your lawn. No, seriously, mow your lawn. It is the ultimate face lift for aging grass.

4.) Ground cover. Pine straw, bark, mulch, what’s your poison?

5.) Keep your walk ways and entry point blown off and clean as a whistle.

See? Easy-peasey. There is no excuse. If you can find one, let me know what it is, so I can disillusion you. Namaste.

I am standing on the edge, arms lifted high, face towards the sun. It is quiet. I am still. I hear the bird-songs harmonizing and feel a soft breeze like a child’s kiss, bring a smile to my face. With the practiced breath of yoga, I inhale all the loveliness of my surroundings and exhale. I took the time to walk in the woods. To still my mind and pray.

I stood like this for maybe two minutes, but to my spirit who needed this time alone to focus, it may as well been two hours for the restoration this brought me.

The cogs have been set in motion and I am on the path that has been patiently waiting on me until now. I, however, feel like I have waited my whole life for this moment. Curating my niche and having the confidence to grab hold of it.

Bella Patina Interiors was born in 2002. I have raised this company lovingly. It has flowed to the point of turning away clients due to time constraints, and ebbed while I chose to focus my priorities on raising my children with a solid foundation.

The time has come to move forward.

With the right people in place and a heart to grow this business into a family organization and legacy for my children, things are taking off. We are launching our monthly newsletter, have in place the infrastructure to support the growth of Bella Patina Interiors and sashaying our way to be the best we can be within the design industry.

Again, I find myself standing on the edge, arms lifted high, face towards the sun. I am quiet. I am still. Preparing to fly.

* This post is dedicated to my mother, Darryl Moore. For all your love, support and believing that I can fly. I love you.

Well. What can I say? It has been a long time since I have been able to write. In honor of being transparent, I am going to vulnerabley share the reasons why that is.

Throughout the build of this house, there were many stressful evenings that,  muddled together with fatigue and emotional lows, created a cocktail of exhaustion and frustration. I made the decision a while ago that I would rather be a positive force in this world then one who spins any kind of negativity. Because of the fragile state of mind I had found myself in with the stress of this house, my only option at the time was to be quiet until the timing was right again.

It is “right” again, so lets bring it on like Donkey Kong and get down to brass tacks.

Firstly, we are moved in! Let the church all say amen! We were able to get our C.O. (certificate of occupancy) at the end of May and moved in the day before school got out for my little mon-chi-chis. Talk about a summer par-tay! This was a cause to celebrate to be sure.

As I wrote throughout the build of this house, there were knowingly going to be things that we would wait to afford to complete as time and funds allowed. Meaning, foundational landscaping will be done this fall, coveted light fixtures will come as practical budgeting dictates. All of this has required this interior designer to practice the fine art of turning a blind eye. If you know me, you get how the perfectionist/designer in me felt about this “blind eye”  initially…I think the word anxious, colloquially sums it up.

In time, these “blinders” have narrowed my sight down in such a way that I almost don’t allow myself to even see the unfinished check list any longer, instead, my concentration focuses on maintenance and the small details that I am able to accomplish. Throughout this process from breaking ground to move in, there have been many a lesson to be learned. “Letting go” stands tall, vying for top ranking on the list.

The greatest challenge in the build of our home was keeping within the $60, 000 that we had to work with. We expected our numbers to be tight. We also knew, as time went on and budget review meetings were held, that there was unavoidably going to be some overage. Keeping those overages to a minimum were of utmost importance.

All that being said, I am proud to say, that we only came out-of-pocket $14,000 over the original budget for a final total of $74,000.00.

In this instance, pictures speak louder than words. So stay tuned for pictures to follow in the upcoming weeks as I dig out my camera and upload some shots.

All said and done, I am so happy in our new home. It is cozy, comfortable and my spirit is at peace for the first time in several years. I look out the windows, across the fields and pastures and just as the sun rises, I feel the joyfulness of new beginnings stirring  me. There is hope, and it lives inside of me.

With the weekend unfurling and a plan to have no plan, I have found a minute to tune in and bring things up to date.

To the point, it’s all about painting at the new house. It is complete, except for the horizontal stripes that have taken a total of SIX (6!!!) hours to tape off and we have one more row to go. This is such an exact mathematical application. One in which I personally am ill-equipped. If it were not for my amazing left and right brain thinking husband, you will have found yourself walking into a tripped out fun house where certain queasiness would ensue. Instead, with laser levels and patience (that comes, by-the-way in the shape of a wine bottle), we have conquered the beast and I am about to rock this mother out.

From a budget stand point, I want to break down the paint costs and wow you with what a little perseverance  can do. First, after cost comparing price points on paint, I found my true blue Sherwin Williams center to be the most suitable for our needs. With a designer/contractor account opened, my savings were tremendous just at that. However, a beautiful thing happened when I was conveying the scope of our project to Cory at Sherwin Williams in Covington. He had a substantial amount of 5 gallon, satin finish, white containers left from a previous job. He wanted to be rid of them and offered them to me for the equivalent of $10/Gallon. Unheard of! The paint could be tinted to any color of my choosing.

I did what any good girl would do and shook hands on the spot and invested in all the paint I needed to complete our home. The total of which ended up being $438.18. Now, had I paid a painter to complete the interior, I would have paid $3300.00. I am not great with numbers per se, but my calculator is telling me that is a savings of $2861.82. Wha-BAM!

The next step in this multi layered onion, is to prime, paint, cut and install the trim. To be completed by the end of next week? She asks in a hopeful voice.

The trim is another example of great savings on our end. Jim, the brains of this operation, happens to know a guy that had a box truck of mismatched trim that was just wasting away, looking for a home through its dust-colored eyelids. We have adopted said trim for a mere $100.00 dollars and it is enough to complete all our sills, casings, base boards and hand rails. This trim comes with a boldness, nothing wimpy about it. We are happy to bring it into our folds and give it a proper home.

All this being said, it is with tremendous gratitude and thanksgiving that God has led and guided each step of our way.  The process of building a home with your spouse in such an intense, hands on way, can be a great stressor in a marriage. I am happy to say that we are so dang tired from all the labor, we have no energy to fight. Only laughter, a few tears and a lot of satisfaction in knowing we have earned this. Fair and square.

Grab some cheese cause you are in for a wine-y moment.

I am tired, beat down, exhausted, I have no energy and not a whole lot left to give on the emotional front unless your looking for a good ass chewin’. My patience and my mind are lost somewhere with my marbles. This house has a voracious appetite that is fueled by Jim and I’s ever-loving-last-bit of willpower and strength. I want to cry with fatigue, instead I pick up a paint brush and pay my penance.

This was going to be my facebook post last night. That was, before I realized I was running so long at the mouth it would be best to save it for my blog that I feel I’ve been neglecting.

Today, however, offers up a new set of circumstances. We are headed to Florida for a family vacation and to get goofy with Goofy. I am hoping to cram in a day at my sanctuary, the beach, and let the water and sun heal this aching body and mind.

We are entering the final stages of our home construction. It is by far, the hardest part both physically and mentally. The crunching of numbers and in turn the physical labor being put in have led to many a pity parties and woe-is-me moments. I have convinced myself that no one on the entire planet has ever worked as hard at something as we have. It has been hard, but I remind myself that victory is waiting in the wings and she is one pretty gal I look forward to seeing soon.

I hope to come back restored and invigorated for round 5 in this knock-down-drag-out fight. I’ve got my eye on the prize, it’s just a little hazy with my cataract vision at the moment.

I want to thank all of you who have taken the time to encourage us through this process, your words are like a healing balm to our tired souls.