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Decorating Inspiration through travel

I’ve always been somewhat of an explorer at heart.

Although I enjoy homemaking and nesting, I also enjoy the inspiration that can only be found when you venture outside of your own walls and expose yourself to new things.

To me, it’s a way to take pieces of your travels home with you so you can relive them on a daily basis.

Here are two ideas inspired by my own travels:

Ladder & Shower Caddy

shower caddy

While staying at the Four Seasons in Costa Rica I loved how they styled the bathroom with a ladder and amenity bucket.  The ladder was used to  hang the towels and the amenity bucket held the soap and shampoos.   This inspired me to have a similar ladder made for our shower.

Previously, we had to store all of our shower toiletries on the shower floor because our original builder failed to install the bathroom shower niches I requested.  This solution, inspired from a hotel stay, was a functional and attractive solution to our problem.

shower caddy

Simple DIY Floral Arrangements

While on a recent Mommy Sabbatical,  I was inspired by the simple but elegant arrangements they had in the beach cottage I stayed in.  Living in South Florida this idea was very simple and easy for us to incorporate into our home, yet I’d never thought about it until I went on vacation.

Simple Floral Design

The arrangement on the LEFT is the one from Parrot Cay.  The arrangement on the RIGHT is the one I created using plants and flowers in our yard.


Tips for finding decorating inspiration

Remember, travel is inspiring and anytime you leave your home, you are traveling.

Be open to inspiration. It really is all around you.

Take a picture of what inspires you and later see how you can apply it to your own home. Sometimes that might be just using the same color combinations and other times, it might be recreating the entire look within your own budget.


This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

{ditto} DIY: Gold decorating challenge

This post is part of the {ditto} DIY series.   Once a month ten very different bloggers are hosting this challenge to recreate in their own homes a project or design element inspired by a haute couture design. The idea is to inspire everyone to incorporate fine design elements into their own homes while adding their own unique perspective and style.

{ditto} DIY: Inspired Design For the Rest of Us

Welcome to the June {ditto} DIY challenge!


{ditto} DIY: Inspired Design for the Rest of Us

Hosted by:

Darlene @ Fieldstone Hill Design
Ruth @ Living Well Spending Less
Cindy @ Skip to My Lou
Jen @ Balancing Beauty & Bedlam
Edie @ Life in Grace
Rachel @ Surviving the Stores
Karin @ Trophy Mom Diaries
Lauren @ I am THAT Lady
Kelly @ View Along The Way
Melissa @ The Inspired Room

This month’s theme is: Go for the GOLD, and this was our inspiration photograph:


{Art and design by Samantha Reitmayer Sano of Style/Swoon.}

The {ditto} DIY Challenge:

Gild something, or paint it gold! Then use it in a lovely display.

Here is my Go For the GOLD {ditto}DIY project:

I won’t lie. I had a really hard time with this challenge. I don’t have a lot of gold (or brass) in our decor.  I knew that whatever I created, I wanted it to be true to my personal decor style and not just fit a current design trend.  Because that’s what is really at the heart of these challenges. Taking design trends as inspiration for your own projects using your own style and taste.

On my Instagram feed I shared that I recently went to Tuesday Morning for the first time and I found a few too many things I liked, including these bookends ($14.99 each):


I initially thought they were perfect the way they were…but then I felt inspired to add a little gold gilding using Martha Stewart’s Gold Multi-surface Metallic acrylic paint and Copper Gilding.

Ditto DIY Gold Bookends

What do you think? The project took about 15 minutes and cost approximately $18 (excluding the bookends).

Gold Gilded Bookends

Gold Bookend Collage

gold bookends2

And now comes the fun part! It is time to link up your own fabulous Go for the GOLD projects and join the {ditto} DIY party! It wouldn’t be much of a party if you didn’t stick around, so be sure to check out as many projects as you can! Then be sure to visit Darlene’s site for a peek at next month’s challenge along with some expert design tips on incorporating gold accents into your home. (HINT: This design challenge could very well use something that is just sitting in your closet, and turn it into gorgeous art work for your walls!)


Link up your own GOLD project here:

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Living with Kids: Trophy Mom Diaries Home Tour on Design Mom

I’m breaking from my editorial calendar today because my home is featured on the Living with Kids series on Design Mom!

Beach Entry Pool

Do you like looking at beautiful homes in magazines?

I’ll admit that I’m a sucker for a home decorating magazine in the check-out line at the grocery store.

But you know what I love more? I love seeing how people I know live.

I think a house says a lot about the people that call it their home, whether that home be temporary or permanent, leased or owned.

A home is where you live life, where you dream, where you dust yourself off after a set back, and where some of us are blessed to raise children.

It’s so much more than your paint colors, but the paint colors say something too, don’t they?

I find it all terribly fascinating and I’m always honored when someone invites me as a guest into their home.  Aren’t you?

When we leave, the Road Warrior always asks me if I noticed any messes or things left undone.

I always look shocked and say, “No! I was looking at her kids’ art collection on the wall and I really love that she displays their art.  I think we…” 

Then I stop.

Because I know what he is really trying to say.

No one who comes into our house sees the imperfections or piles either.

Coffee Table Books

Design Mom’s Living with Kids House Tour

Today I am beyond thrilled (and a little nervous) to welcome you into our home as part of Design Mom’s Living with Kids House tour.

The series is the brainchild of Gabrielle Blair who is a designer and a mother of 6!

Gabrielle is exactly as you’d hope she be, she is: gracious, kind, generous, enthusiastic and encouraging.

I must admit that I was terribly nervous and self-conscious about emailing Gabrielle. I must have been feeling quite brave the night I impulsively punched out an email offering our home as a feature,  because it took me a few more weeks (and prodding from friends) to submit photos to her.

I hope you enjoy them for what they are:  A glimpse into our lives and photographs meant for inspiration.

I hope you know that behind the photographs there is a real family, there are projects left undone, hurt feelings, many birthday celebrations and rooms I don’t yet have the heart to show you.


If this is your first time visiting please say hi in the comments, Instagram, Facebook or Twitter.  I’d love to hear from you.



This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Decorating with Trays: {ditto} DIY Challenge

{ditto} DIY: Inspired Design For the Rest of Us

Welcome to our first {ditto} DIY challenge!

Once a month, beginning today, nine very different bloggers are attempting to recreate in our own homes a project or design element inspired by a haute couture design selected by Darlene Weir of Fieldstone Hill Design

If this is your first time stopping by, be sure to read about: The {ditto} DIY Challenge and how you can participate next month!

{ditto} DIY: Inspired Design for the Rest of Us

In addition to Darlene, the participating bloggers include:

Ruth @ Living Well Spending Less
Cindy @ Skip to My Lou
Jen @ Balancing Beauty & Bedlam
Edie @ Life in Grace
Rachel @ Surviving the Stores
Karin @ Trophy Mom Diaries
Lauren @ I am THAT Lady
Kelly @ View Along The Way
Melissa @ The Inspired Room

This was our first inspiration photograph:

ditto DIY

{A chic painted tray and vanity vignette, from the home of nina bergsten, photography by marcus lawett.}

The {ditto} DIY Challenge #1:

Create your own painted tray and vanity vignette.

Tray on Ottoman

Decorating with trays:

There is nothing I love more than seeing an ottoman with a tray.  It softens the room, it’s a little more interesting, and in a pinch it doubles as additional seating!  How could you not love that?

For this month’s challenge I humbly submit the tray on our Living Room Ottoman.   Everything about this project used things that I already had in my house.  Because Ruth didn’t think I could do it.  There, I’ve said it.

Do you collect Coffee Table Books?  I wouldn’t say that I actively collect them, but I have acquired a small collection over the years from our travels and I love to look through them.  My plan is to rotate them on this tray.  Also on the tray is my faux orchid arrangement, as well as a goat & cow bell from our time on Safari with the Masai, in Africa.

Tray on Ottoman

Master Bathroom tray vignette:

What’s this? A SECOND submission?  Overachiever much?

Truthfully, I probably deserve the slacker award for this one because it’s something I’ve already had in my home, but it fits the challenge so I wanted to share it.

Oh Wait, I think that makes me frugal—using something I already have?  What say you, Ruth?

Tray on stool

To create this bathroom vignette, I put a woven tray on a teak stool, added a live orchid plant, a tray of succulents, and a couple of shells.

succulents in orchid pot

Have you tried decorating with trays?  Why not give it a try?

How to  join the {ditto} DIY Challenge

Remember that beginning next month (on Monday, June 3rd) we are inviting you ALL to join the {ditto} DIY challenge!

Go for the GOLD and find out about the June {ditto} DIY Challenge so that you can join us next month.

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.

Decorating with Faux Floral Arrangements

There was a time that decorating with silk floral arrangements was all the rage in home decorating.  Then, it became something to avoid if you were under ninety.

Thankfully, times have now changed with the introduction of realistic looking faux arrangements.

I like to mix  faux floral arrangements in with fresh floral arrangements and potted houseplants.

Silk Orchid Arrangement in our Foyer Entry Way

Silk Orchid Arrangement

Faux Orchid & Succulent Arrangement in our Living Room

silk orchid arrangement on tray

Faux Orchid Arrangement in family Room

Silk Orchid arrangement

Orchid Arrangement

Faux Orchid Arrangement in Kitchen

This arrangement in our kitchen was the first realistic faux arrangement I bought. It’s the one that got me hooked and kept me buying.


I cannot tell you how many compliments I’ve received on this orchid plant.  I’ve even had to stop a few people from trying to water it!

Orchid with snail shell

Our kids thought it would be funny to put a large snail shell in the arrangement.  I think it adds to the arrangement, don’t you?

Faux Tropical Arrangement in Cabana Bathroom

This bathroom is the busiest bathroom in our home.  I used to try to keep fresh flowers in there, but honestly, I think it went largely unnoticed.

Silk Tropical Arrangement

Faux Floral arrangements have come a long way.

Used selectively I believe they can be a great compliment to your home and no one has to be the wiser.

Just don’t forget to dust them.


Resources for realistic Faux Floral Arrangements:

John-Richard Collection at Horchow Home

NDI, Natural Decorations, Incorporated


How to clean Faux Flowers:

Mist with water bottle and wipe with clean cloth

Use blow dryer weekly to blow dust off (on cool setting).

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy here.