Thursday, May 26, 2011

Then & Now: Mackenzie from Mackenzie Pages

My BFF Mackenzie of Mackenzie Pages will be sharing her then and now visions for you today!!

Hello Semi-Designed Life Readers! I am so excited to be guest posting today!

When Lauren approached me with her idea for a guest post, my décor style, “Then & Now”, I had to laugh. After all, most of my décor style has grown with Lauren herself. We were roommates in college and have been the best of friends ever since, and I can’t remember any decorating decisions that I’ve made in the last 6 or 7 years where I didn’t consult Lauren.

Four years ago, I was preparing to move into a house with Lauren. We were both really into Shabby Chic. Rachel Ashwell was one of my major design inspirations of that period. I loved all things French and Shabby Chic. Weathered furniture, White Slipcovers, and flowery prints were my obsession.

Representations of my décor style circa 2007:

Our Friends will probably kill me for releasing these photos, but here are pictures of our house circa 2007.

My taste in Décor has come a long way in four years. I am now much more comfortable with color and prints. I like mixing color palettes like tangerine and Kelly green, or citron and turquoise. The styles that inspire me are Hollywood Regency and 1960’s Palm Beach. I am mad over vintage 1960’s furniture and beautiful Mid-Century Modern Homes. Really, my taste has just matured. I strive for a classic home with unexpected touches.

I am inspired by the likes of :

Meg Braff via

Meg Braff via
Meg Braff
Palmer Weiss
Lee Kleinhelter 

I thought the best way to represent my evolving style would be to design a living room that I would have decorated then vs. the one I would decorate now.

Let’s start with my proverbial Living Room circa 2007

A white slipcovered sofa.
And the matching slipcovered chair.
A tufted linen ottoman to serve as my coffee table. 

An ornate crystal chandelier.

Two French grey side tables flanking the sofa.

A flax linen Louis XVI Chair

Crystal Lamps with Simple White Shades

And a French Needlepoint Rug.

My Sofa Pillows would have been Simple. Shabby Chic Floral Prints and French Grain Sack or Burlap Pillows. 

Let’s Move on to Today.

We’ll keep the base furniture, because let’s be realistic, that’s usually what happens. So We’ll start with the White Couch and Chair.

But I’ll add a Chinese Chippendale side chair instead of the Louis XVI chair.

Ballard Designs

With the cushion covered in this fabric…


And I’ll replace the Lucite lamps with these fabulous beaded chandelier lamps from 1st Dibs.


I’ll recover the white slipcovered chair in this Quadrille Fabric.

Quadrille Aga Pistachio Green on Tint

And use this Quadrille Fabric as wallcovering.
 I’ll have throw pillows made with Celerie Kemble’s Hot House flowers in Verdance.

 And replace the needlepoint rug with an Orange Madeline Weinrib rug.

Madeline Weinrib Rug

And use these stools from Z gallerie as side tables.

Z Gallerie
 And add this faux bamboo coffee table.

Circa Who
I still love a good neutral base, with color brought in by accent pieces, rugs, and fabrics.

Thank you again Lauren, for including me among your Guest Bloggers!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Chandy Candy

1st Dibs - The Warehouse

I was perusing 1st Dibs today and came across this chandelier lassie. Isn't she fun?

Circa Lighting

She reminds me of the classic Hicks pendants and hot air balloons all rolled into one.

Made By Girl

Which do you like better? The chandy or the pendants? Where would you put them in your homestead?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Quarters are Cool, Right?

Sweet & Saucy Shop
I'm 25 today. That's a quarter of a century. Do we like quarters around here? I haven't decided yet. All my friends seem to be smitten with being a quarter of the way to officially ancient so I suppose I'll hop on that fun train too.

I'll also hop on the giving myself my very own virtual birthday cake because I can train. I've always loved the gorgeous sugary confections from Sweet & Saucy Shop and since I can't have one in real life, I gave myself my very own for my birthday today. Yay me!

So, convince me. Will I like this 25 situation? How has/did 25 treat you?

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Then & Now: Alex from Things That Sparkle

Our second installment of Then & Now is from the lovely and talented Alex from Things That Sparkle. Enjoy her fantabulous then and now extravaganza! Her "Then" is exactly the shabby chic moment I experienced through my college days.

Thanks so much Lauren for inviting my over to share my "Then & Now". This is such a fun idea for a series, especially because my taste has evolved so much in recent years!

If I were to have designed my bedroom 10 years ago it would have looked exactly like this...

I loved this Shabby Chic aesthetic. Lots of white and pink, with bits of light green. It was how my room looked all through high school and college. Romantic, rustic, feminine. I loved it! Not to say I don't like this look anymore... but I wouldn't say its my favorite.

Now my style has evolved. Not only am I older, but as a designer, I am exposed to so much! I have a new appreciation for so many styles of design I never even knew existed before.

My dream bedroom these days... would look a little more like this: 
Its still a little rustic, a little romantic and a little feminine but there's much more of a balance. There's a more eclectic feel to which I have really grown to love.

Thanks so much for having me over Lauren! xoxo

Friday, May 13, 2011

Sad Panda.

Blogger ( has made some bloggers real sad pandas the past two days. Including me. Please excuse their lameness while they try to recover my past two posts announcing my move to Boxwood Interiors and A Piece of Toast's fantastic guest post. If they're not up and running by tonight I'll repost for your enjoyment.

It's Friday, people.
Friday=Awesomeness. With a period.
This Friday also = One week until I'm an official mid-twenty something (shudder).
This Friday also = Urban Market tomorrow and Sunday. Be there. Or don't. Whatever.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Then & Now: A Piece of Toast

Lady and man friends. I have a new and exciting guest post series that I plan on delighting you with. I asked some super duper talented blogger friends to entrance [en trans, not en truh ns] you with how their design style has changed over the past 5-10 years. They're going to give you a peek into what their past would have looked like and what their present style looks like today. Enjoy the feast with our first lovely and talented friends, Sally and Molly from A Piece of Toast.

1.  2.  3.  4.  5.  6.  7.  8.  9.  10.  11.  12.  13.

When Lauren asked us to be a part of her guest blogging series "Then and Now" at first it seemed like a daunting task.  How has our taste changed over the past 5-10 years?  Well ten years ago we were awkward, braces-wearing tweens sharing a bedroom with twin beds and watching Dirty Dancing on the reg so we wont go there.  BUT just about five years ago we had moved into our respective college living spaces with a car busting at the seams with new bedding, headboards, and the works.  Most of what you see in the "then" room was actually in our rooms five years ago. (Yes, we did have the exact same headboards and bedding - what can we say, we're sisters).  From the seagrass headboard, to the Cath Kidston bedding, and grosgrain ribbon pillow (made for us by our mama) could all be seen in our bedrooms five years ago.  Our taste was very colorful and youthful - we were dying for a break from the pale colors that we had grown up with in our bedroom at home.


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

But now that we are both college graduates and twenty-somethings working and living on our own, our tastes have changed.  We grew up from the bright prints of five years ago into textured neutrals with color pops in art work and accents.  We both love the look of neutral bedding bursting with different fabrics and textures, but still enjoy a fun, colored throw pillow as a cherry on top.

The great thing about our seagrass headboards from college is that they look just as amazing with neutrals as they did with the bright colors of our college years.  To say that our tastes have changed and grown up with us over the years would be an understatement.  We still live for color in our lives and can rarely ever be seen in a neutral work outfit, but have found new ways to incorporate it into our bedrooms and mix it in with neutrals for a cozy retreat.   

A big thank you to our blog sista, Lauren, for including us in this series.  We are beyond obsessed with Lauren and her blog (and Watson, too, duhh).  And know that if we ever need a good laugh (mixed with an amazing sense of style) to head right on over to her blog.  Her sense of humor in her writing never ceases to have us chuckling under our breaths when we should be working.

Much love to Sally and Molly for their amazing room creations!  xo, Lauren

Watson Wednesdays: Life Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

Hey guys. This is my new haircut.

But let's be honest, you're not here to look at my haircut. 
You're here to find out what's up with my momma.

Photo via La Dolce Vita

Well, as one door closes, another door opens. These fabulous, colorful fantasmic doors.

I'm starting a new position with Boxwood Interiors here in Houston and I couldn't be more excited! I'll be starting in June and will be handling their marketing and will be doing a little bit of everything. So, if you're in Houston, swing by and be sure to say hey. Once I get Twitter and Facebook up to speed be sure to follow us to see what's new in the store.

I will miss my current co-workers dearly and am dreading the day I have to say goodbye. I've learned so much these past three years and am so thankful for the opportunity.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011


Reader friends. Some things are going on in this Semi-Designed Life of mine. Things that I've always wanted to happen but things that I've been too nervous to explore. Things that have got my emotions shaken, not stirred. Things that are so exciting I burst into little bits of solo dance time. Yes, readers. A ship has sailed. A door has closed but a very colorful door has opened.

Watson will tell you exactly which door that is tomorrow while debuting his summer crew cut. In the meantime, I'll be fighting off these confusing happy/sad tears that just won't seem to go away!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Flower Arranging 101

I am so thrilled to be able to share the little tricks and tips I've discovered putting together at-home flower arrangements with you today! I love doing beautiful, soft, romantic, monochromatic white flower arrangements and love playing with fun, bold and bright arrangements just as much. So, in honor of Mother's Day, I'm going to show you how to create both to please all of yo mommas out there!

**DISCLAIMER** I have never taken a floral arranging class nor do I claim to be anywhere near a professional level. These are simply tips I've discovered through trial and error for the do it yourselfers.

First, you need to decide what vase or container you're going to use. It needs to be thoroughly cleaned with hot hot water and soapy suds. Be sure to rinse it well.

Secondly, add the flower food that comes with the flowers you purchased.

Fill the (very cold) water 3/4 of the way full. I also like to add ice cubes to ensure the water is super cold. Making sure the H2O is chilly helps keep the blooms tight and closed (lasts longer). Why do you think you see flower arrangements stored in refrigerators? 

On to the arranging! 

For the romantic, white arrangement, I went with white hydrangeas, white spray roses, con bu rice flower (upper left hand corner), and seeded eucalyptus (greenery). While hydrangeas are anywhere between $3.00-$10.00 a stem depending where you get them, they take up a lot of visual space and ends up creating lusher arrangements for less cash money.

Since I'm most comfortable creating tight round arrangements, I always arrange the flowers in my hands rather than cutting them and arranging them in the container.

If I have hydrangeas in the arrangement, I like starting with them since they take up the most visual space. Make sure to strip off all of the leaves and greenery on the stem.

Start grabbing other flowers and begin surrounding the hydrangea.

Keep adding. There's no science to it. Do what looks pretty!

Add your last hydrangea.

Hold the arrangement far away from you so you can observe the shape of the flowers. Adjust them until you're happy with it. I typically try to make them look as rounded off as possible.

Once you're happy with the shape of the blooms, add the seeded eucalyptus to the outside of the arrangement. Make sure you leave a few extra flowers left over to fill in gaps.

Check and make sure your dog is happy with your work.
(even though he needs a hair cut so bad he can't see)

Once he's agreed, hold up the arrangement next to the container to estimate how much you need to trim off the stems.

Snip! Snip! Be sure to cut on a bias. Cutting the stems on a bias allows the blooms to suck up more water.

Plop the flowers in the vase. Notice that big gap in the middle?

Fill it in with those extra blooms you saved.

Ta da! You have yourself a beautiful, romantic arrangement sure to please any momma, g-momma, step momma, auntie momma, and any other momma you see fit.

On to that bold and pow wow arrangement. Again, the hydrangeas add wonderful texture and help fill in a lot of the bouquet space. I've also picked out godetia (those pinky purple blooms), matsumoto aster (those red pops of fun) and gorgeous parrot tulips.

When choosing bold flower arrangements, I usually try to pick 3-4 colors to focus on. I typically always have a green, blue or purple, pink or red, and yellow or orange. I've found that when I stick to that color philosophy, things seem to just click!

A trick to picking out healthy and hearty hydrangeas is to cup your hand and gently push down on the blossom. If the blooms feel firm to the touch, it's a healthy hydrangea. Quick! Snatch it up before someone else does. You'll definitely be able to tell if a hydrangea is soft and unhealthy.

Start with the hydrangea again. Notice hydrangeas have multiple stems. You can GENTLY pull them apart and fit other blooms in between the hydrangea blooms. That way your bouquet ends up looking evenly hydrangea distributed. That's a thing.

Keep adding as you did with the white blooms.

Until you're super thrilled with your skills.

I wanted to cut this arrangement extra short to ensure the arrangement was really tight and fit low in the container.

Boom. Bright blooms to knock anyone's socks off.

A few tips on how to make your arrangement last longer:
  1. Change water every two days to make sure your blooms are getting fresh, clear water.
  2. Hydrangeas are called HYDRAngeas for a reason. They suck up lots of H2O. Be sure to watch your water level.
  3. Flowers do NOT like heat. Don't put them near a sunny window and make sure the A/C is always on when you have fresh blooms in your home.
For all of you Houstonians (even Texans), I purchased all of my flowers at Central Market. Try to focus mostly on the 3 for $12 section. You'll get your best bang for your buck there. Total for each of these arrangements comes out to about $32 each (containers not included). Pretty good for an at home arrangement!

Which is your favorite? Romantic or Bold?

Watson Update: Groomer cancelled AGAIN. Can you believe? He's getting groomed today...or we'll see. I'm tempted to go to Petsmart and buy an electric dog razor. Do you trust me?
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