It All Started At YoZone


It’s no secret that I’m passionate about interior design.  Helping a client decipher what they truly want can sometimes be difficult, but so worth it. There’s nothing like that moment when the client enters the door to their new room and says, “You really got me”

My youngest niece will turn nine years old in a little over a month.  Her early birthday request was to have a bedroom makeover.  We had our first interior design consultation at YoZone.  While we enjoyed our decadent treats, we discussed what she really wanted in her new, “big girl” room.  We searched the internet for things that she loved and found quite a few items that gave me a good sense of her present style.  After our consultation, we went to Lowe’s Home Improvement, and picked out some paint samples together.  We talked about color and our mutual love of unicorns a lot that afternoon.  While I was thrilled to have a unicorn theme, I also wanted her room to be able to grow with her.  There’s always the possibility that she won’t love unicorns in a few years.  🙂  Maybe not though.  I still do.  🙂  We also decided to flip flop bedrooms with her younger brother.  We discussed the possibilities of this move with him and he was just as excited.  It made it more fun for him, too.

After a few weeks of anticipation, today was reveal day.  In all honesty, it was my favorite design job ever.  The look on her face as she opened the door to her room was priceless.  She loves it, and nothing makes the designer in me happier than the moment a client tells you how much they love their new room.


A Keen Design

I can still remember vividly drawing out floor plans, while spread out on the living room floor as a child.  The books I read at the time were so in depth with their descriptions.  From the characters themselves to the homes they lived in, my mind swooned with imagination.  Mom would give me a stack of paper and a pencil and I would spend hours drawing out each room.  Our living room had the best natural light in the house and it was also the most quiet.  Seems like every house in the seventies and eighties had a separate living room space that was only used for special occasions.  Also, ours had cozy, light blue carpet and wallpaper with gold trees.  The room was magical to me.

It was a natural fit to study design, so that’s what I pursued in college.  To be real though, I was a little late with that realization, so my bachelors degree in interior design, came in my late twenties.  After graduating, I married my longtime sweetheart and moved to the beach.  While there, I opened A Keen Design.  (Keen was my maiden name)  It was exciting to work with clients to help them find their style and make their homes reflect more of who they were.  But after a few years of running my own business, I decided to close the doors.

Fast forward the clock ten years and I’m happily thriving with my husband on the other side of the state, with my mom one block away and my baby sister two miles away.  I have some of the best friends and know that I’m blessed.  I try my best not to ever take them for granted.  What I do struggle with is not doing as much design work here.  I have clients occasionally that I do some work for, and when that happens, there’s a light that feeds my soul.  Recently, I had a return client who asked me to renovate his master bedroom.  I had the reveal yesterday.  There’s not much that compares to the feeling of making someone happy, and yesterday, my client was really happy.  I’ve had permagrin since.  So thank you to those of you that trust me to find your vision.  It fills my cup.


Holiday Gift Giving

Detox Gift Basket-kind of 🙂

Well, it’s January 9th, so this idea for a Christmas gift comes either extremely early, or way too late.  I’m going to say I’m just really on it this year and wanted to give everyone a heads up for December 2017.   Glass half full, remember?

One of my friends has a great blog called Crazy Blonde Life.  She is a lifestyle blogger.  Last fall she posted a homemade detox bath that looked pretty awesome.    I’m a huge fan of any kind of detox.  My lifestyle requires that I do them.  I love to eat, drink and be merry.  Shocker, I know.  Anyway, I tried a similar version for myself and was really surprised at the results.  The combination of the peroxide and the Epson salts left me feeling refreshed and very relaxed.   Sooooo,  I decided that I would give the gift of health to my besties.  Of course with the addition of some Prosecco to be consumed at a later date.

The idea behind a detox bath is to do it when you have not been drinking.  In Crazy Blonde’s post, she talked about dry brushing, too.  Have any of you ever done this yourself?  I’ve been sloughed and scrubbed at spas before, but I had never actually done it myself.  In each basket I included a scrub brush for dry-brushing, Epson salts, liquid Epson salts, peroxide and a few other knick knacks.  My new favorite is Dr. Teal’s Ginger and Clay Epson Salts, which is what I put in the mason jars.  With it was included the liquid version in a small glass jar.  Crazy Blonde suggested essential oils, too.  Since I was making them for different people, I couldn’t decide on a scent, so I just skipped that part in the gift.  I bought the baskets at a craft store.  In some of the baskets, I included magazines, or a  book, or even slippers.  I didn’t want them all to be identical, and I wanted there to be some personalization.  They seemed to be a big hit, so I thought I’d share.  Try it at home for yourself.  Here’s the link to Crazy Blonde’s original detox post.

The Weekend Recap

Before & After
Before & After

By now, you’ve probably figured out that my family has a place on the water.  It’s been in our family for several generations and it truly is our sanctuary.  My husband and I have been fortunate to go down every weekend for the past month.  We’ve been trying to knock out little projects each weekend, while also taking a lot of boat rides.  I really wanted to re-do the flooring in the upstairs bathroom.  The last time it was done was in the late seventies.  As you can see from the picture on the left, it was time to be replaced.  I went down a day ahead of my husband to get this done.  I’m very pleased with the results.  Of course, when I sent a picture to my parents, they responded, “It’s lovely, now please go enjoy your husband and take your boat out.”  They are obviously pretty, dang awesome.

Saturday morning with Mr. Sugarbears
Saturday morning with Mr. Sugarbears

After grabbing some breakfast and coffee, Saturday morning we headed out to the island.  Mr. Sugarbears was tickled, as usual to be on the boat.  We spent most of the morning throwing sticks to Mr. Sugarbears and enjoying the weather.  A little after lunch, people started showing up.  We ended up with great beach neighbors.  They had a great dog who really liked Mr. Sugarbears.

Gracie and Mr. Sugarbears
Gracie and Mr. Sugarbears

Saturday night, we went to our now favorite spot for dinner.  B had the Grilled Mako and Filet.  It was incredible.  We also shared a bottle of Syrah from the Rhone region.  Yummy.

Rhone Region Syrah
Rhone Region Syrah

We pressure washed off the porch Saturday afternoon and I painted some old furniture for it. It’s not amazing, but it’s much better.


It was a great weekend.

Island view
Island view

Working on my List

We all have them.  I have a ridiculously long list of “to do” projects.   Some people organize them and write them down, others type them onto a spreadsheet, and others just have a mental list.  I pretty much have an ongoing list composed of all three types of lists mentioned.  For instance, we bought our present home a little over 5 years ago and the house and yard list are enormous.  My husband and I both enjoy the process of taking an older home and making it better.  We started with gutting the kitchen the first year and that took about two years to complete.  The problem is we both work full-time, do side work and get distracted with a million other small projects while we are working on one.  It’s kind of crazy, but it works for us.  While the kitchen renovation was going on, we added on a screened in porch.  This is my favorite place to be, only second to the cottage.  We have replaced some of the windows, all of the blinds, and I have painted some rooms more than twice trying to get the perfect color, and I am still not there yet.  Last night my husband replaced our hideous mailbox that was bent and difficult to open and close.  Bryan said he waited in the house for the mailman to pull up, just so he could witness the ease of his job now at our house.  We imagine he cursed us privately every time he pulled up.  Here it is-mind you we still have landscaping to do around it, but it’s almost a complete check on my list.



Monday night I went over to my sister’s house and we worked a little on her list.  We painted her upstairs hallway a beautiful navy and decoupaged canvases of her children to hang there. Here are the results of that project:
and the hallway completed with new paint and pictures:
We had more stumps removed out of our backyard this week and now have a clear area to start the car port and garage. Thank goodness. The saga of the trees and the stumps has been going on the whole time we have lived in our home. When we bought our home the backyard was full of trees that were not healthy and the ivy and trees all leaned towards the house. Each year we have removed trees and removed stumps and we are finally done with that part. It’s a huge relief. My husband has dreams of renting a back hoe and moving the earth around in dramatic ways. Not me, I just want it cleaned up and the fenced replaced for Mr. Sugarbears. Don’t get me wrong, whatever he does will be beautiful. I am just not that ambitious when it comes to the yard. The house is a different story. We still have to renovate two bathrooms. That will most likely start late fall. We have replaced most of the carpet with hardwood floors, for aesthetics and for cleanliness. Mr. Sugarbears is a shedder. Really my point of all of this is that my lists also contain my dreams. It’s not just the projects at home that keep my mind going one hundred miles per hour. It’s the dreams of how I need to shape my life in other ways. I want to write more. I want to contribute more. I should be more philanthropic with my life. Am I doing enough? No, I am not. So I am going to work on making a better “life-to do” list. Yep, that’s what is going on in my world right now. I am just working on my list.