Interior Design of a Teen Room

This past week, I’ve been busily working on a teen room in conjunction with my new interior design service, ‘Ready, Set, School: Your Child’s Room Grows Up’. It is so much fun to design a young person’s room. Here are some of the design inspiration and “during” photos.

teen, bedroom, study, interior design, inspiration, board

Teen Room

After meeting with the client (aka mom), I put together a design concept board. This teen wanted turquoise walls and had chosen her grey and yellow bedding.

inspiration, bedding, turquoise, color, interior design, furniture

This is the teen girl’s room in progress. We still need to organize and accessorize.

dresser, contemporary, teen, storage, interior design, furniture

Niche Dresser - West Elm

With the bright color,  we grounded the room with dark furnishings, including this dresser from West Elm. The brushed steel drawer pulls are so modern.

desk, West Elm, furniture, teen, back to school, study area

Jay Desk - West Elm

The Jay desk was her mom’s, but now that mom is getting a whole new office, we are moving the desk to her daughter’s room. It’s the perfect size, scale and color for the room. We will add white shelves to pop against the turquoise wall to store her keepsakes and trophies.

post it board, black and white, graphic, teen, Pottery Barn, interior design

Post It Board - PB Teen

If your teen is begging for black and you can’t bear the thought of a black room, why not add some black accessories like these post-it boards, lamp or ‘say what?’ chalkboard vases from Pottery Barn Teen?

table, lamp, black, teen, interior design, foom, accessories

Table Lamp - PB Teen

chalkboard, black, teen, vase, accessories, interior design, bedroom

Say What? Vases - PB Teen

desk, accessories, study, teen, furniture, Pottery Barn

Desk Accessories - PB Teen

Fun brightly colored desk accessories will tie the look together.

coat tree, color, teen, interior design, bedroom

NAL Coat Tree – CB2

I think this Coat Tree from CB2 which is called NAL for “not a lamp” is a bit cheeky and would help a teen girl keep her coat and scarves organized – more fun, less nagging.

Pottery Barn, teen, turquoise, rug, flokati, interior design, room, accessories

Blue Flokati Rug - PB Teen

This plush turquoise blue flokati rug would be the perfect place to sink your toes in when (finally…) getting out of bed on those cold school mornings.

I love to hear from you.

I’m still searching for just the right valance – any ideas?

What’s your favorite idea for decorating your teen’s room?


Imagine Sunday night at our friends’ house, a little drizzly outside, so the kids are inside playing with LEGOs while the grown-ups relax over a glass of wine. We had just finished the quintessential BBQ dinner inside of grilled ribs, corn, fresh salad and watermelon for dessert. I could not believe my eyes when Rob handed me an abundance of fresh herbs from their garden.

herbs, kitchen, interior design, cooking, friends, CT, fresh

Needless to say, I have been busy in my kitchen all week. First, I cut the lavender, arranged it in beautiful vases and put it in every bedroom in the house – love to go to sleep to the smell of fresh lavender! Then I cut up potatoes and drizzled with olive oil, garlic and the fresh rosemary. The chives were perfect for an omelette and the oregano for the grilled chicken. I used the fresh mint in sun tea, though this batch may be cloud tea as we are still waiting for the sun to come out. Mint will also be great in the mojitos I plan to serve on Friday night. Check out this great twist on a classic from Jessica at The Entertaining Kitchen.

To make this Sparkling Champagne Mojito you will need:

1/8 cup white rum

3-4 tbs of simple syrup

3 slices of lime

1 tsp crushed mint leaves


1/2 Cup Champagne or Proseco

In a small bowl crush mint and lime with the simple syrup
Pour into Champagne Flute
Add rum, ice if necessary and fill remainder of flute with champagne

basil, cooking, kitchen, pesto, caterpillar, nature, kids

Found this fuzzy wuzzy white caterpillar while prepping the basil. I took a break to run him upstairs to DD in the tubby – can’t miss those wild kingdom moments. She loved having him crawl all over her arm before I returned him to the rainy evening.

I have enough basil to add to my favorite tomato sauce, which I just make off the top of my head so no real recipe to add here and of course my mom’s pesto. My mother-in-law taught me to freeze trays of ice cubes with the pesto mixture. In the winter, I just grab a cube or two and toss it in the pasta. As DD would say deeeeelicious!

Speaking of our daughter, she helped me make Jessica’s Chimichurri Sauce listed below. She was very helpful measuring and pulsing the cuisinart. It’s great to cook with your kids – they will have a better appreciation of where food comes from and how much time it takes to prepare. Not to mention, when pouring the ingredients, you can be teaching them about fractions and measurements. Shhhh…don’t tell. There are lots of lessons to be learned in the kitchen. Then when it comes time to serve it, they are much more likely to eat it and proudly announce that they cooked it too!

Chimichurri Sauce
1 cup of parsley (I used a combination of flat leaf as well as curly from our back yard)
1/4 cup of cilantro and some of the cumin seeds (optional – from our back yard)
2 cloves of garlic crushed
1/4 – 3/4 tsp of crushed red pepper
1/2 cup of good quality olive oil
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
sea salt to taste

Remove leaves from stem and place in a mini food processor. Add the garlic, red pepper, olive oil, red wine vinegar and sea salt. Pulse until smooth. Remove and pour into a pretty pitcher or small serving bowl.

Drizzle over steak (fish, chicken, potatoes or rice) as desired.

Or drizzle over crusty baguette with leftover chicken or steak for a fabulous sandwich the next day!

For more great recipes like these, check out my dear friend Jessica, aka @GimletMommy, at The Entertaining Kitchen.

Hope you enjoyed this time in my kitchen. I love to hear from you. What’s cooking in your kitchen?

Top 5 Interior Design Must Haves at the New York International Gift Fair

Last week, I spent a day in the city at the New York International Gift Fair. I was surprised to see Pier 94 filled with furnishings and accessories from Oomph to Carolina George and Julian Chichester. It was nearly impossible to pick only 5 fantastic interior design must haves, so I narrowed it down by selecting only companies I had never heard of.

calligraphy, brush, art, accessories, NYIGF, gift, New York, NYC, Legend of Asia

Calligraphy Brushes - Legend of ASIA

I love the idea of hanging these unique Calligraphy Brushes from Legends of ASIA against either a deep cobalt blue or a chinese red wall.

pink, chair, camilla house, NYIGF, gift, furniture

Bright Pink Chair - Camilla House

This fun tufted chairs is available in several bright colors. I’m thinking of this side chair in bright orange for my Fairfield client who wants orange accents in her pale grey office.

linens, bedroom, pomegranate, NYIGF, New York, gift, interior design, pillows, accessories

Bed Linens - Sabira

My photo does not do justice to the exquisite new line of bed linens from Sabira in the most rich colors – just perfect for Fall. Is anyone out there a representative from Sabira who can send me a better quality photo to post on my blog?

vases, asian, Middle Kingdom, accessories, NYIGF, New York, gift

Vases and Bowls - Middle Kingdom

I love these vases and bowls from Middle Kingdom as the perfect hostess gift. I would group them in a set of three. In the middle is my favorite, a grasshopper. I know just the client for that one.

silver, table, furniture, Worlds Away, NYIGF, New York

Silver Table - Worlds Away

This side table could work in either a contemporary or traditional interior design. It adds that perfect accent of sparkle in a room.

I love to hear from you. Did you make it to the New York International Gift Fair? What was your favorite interior design must have?

Gone Fishing

husband, fishing, sunset, photography, DE, beach, bay

Over 10 years I have known my amazing husband. Never once did I see him fish. Never once did he watch a fishing show. Never once did he mention fishing as a child.

And yet nearly every evening during our vacation, he was down on the dock, fishing pole in hand, happy as a clam.

Wow…it just goes to show you.

Thursday’s Treasure in Interior Design: Black Crow Studios

Black Crow, Graphic, black and white, interior design, Tracy Hiner, wallpaper

What’s not to love about Black Crow Studios’ wallpaper?

First a little social media history. Tracy Hiner (@tracyhiner) and I met through friends in the interior design Twitterverse: Wanda Horton (@WandaSHorton) and Maybelline Te (@maybellinete) amongst them. Then I had the great privilege of meeting two of these talented designers at the International Contemporary Furniture Fair this past Spring. Tracy’s wallpapers adorned Maybelline Te’s Snug Furniture booth. They were a perfect match! Meeting social media friends IRL is the best!

modern, wallpaper, color, Tracy Hiner, Black Crow Studios, interior design

Why now? Because Tracy’s wallpaper was just featured on The Today Show and I am so psyched for her I just had to celebrate on my blog!

watercolor, Black Crow Studios, modern, traditional, interior design

I love this oh so modern graphic wallpaper against the ultra-traditional stark white moldings. Can you imagine this in your dining room?

Black Crow, wallpaper, Tracy Hiner, interior design, graphic, urban, bliss

This is Bliss. I can’t choose between Bliss and Pier (below) to liven up my taupe home office. For the record, the color is a little boring because it would be hard to accurately read/compare colors for my interior design clients in a bright orange room! But my accent color is that dreamy blue…

Black Crow, interior design, wallpaper, color, graphic, pier, Tracy Hiner

Hope this Thursday Treasure was wildly inspiring!

I love to hear from you. Do you still love wallpaper? Where would you use it?

Wordless Wednesday: More Scenes from an Interior Designer’s Vacation

Amy Dragoo of ABCD Design has thrown down the ever-inspiring Wordless Wednesday social media gauntlet.  And I can’t resist a good challenge!  Enjoy more photos and (interior) design inspiration from a day in historic Lewes (the first town in the first state) during our relaxing vacation at the beach.

garden, Lewes, DE, historic, vacation, beach

Garden at Gate of St. Peter's Episcopal Church

St. Peter's Church, Lewes, DE, episcopal, architecture, historic, vacation

St. Peter's Episcopal Church

Lewes, DE, vacation, episcopal, church

Pathway at St. Peter's

I love the pattern of the bricks in this crooked pathway.

labyrinth, St. Peter's, episcopal, church, vacation

Labyrinth at St. Peter's

Know those people who look for covered bridges or lighthouses?  I am always on the lookout for labyrinths.  This is one of my favorites – I visit it every year.

The Buttery, brunch, Lewes, DE, vacation

The Buttery

The best place in town for Sunday brunch.

store display, Lewes, DE, vacation

Whimsical Store Display

architecture, pattern, design, Lewes, DE


zwaanendael, museum, lewes, DE, vacation

Zwaanendael Museum

Kids Ketch, toy, store, Lewes, DE, vacation

Can't miss the toy store

waterfront, historic, Lewes, DE, vacation, inspiration

The Waterfront

Kings, Ice Cream, homemade, Lewes DE, vacation

Last Stop - King's Ice Cream

I love to hear from you.  Where are your favorite historic places to take your friends or family when you go on vacation?

Scenes from an Interior Designer’s Vacation

bay, vacation, travel, sunset, relaxation, Fenwick Island

Can you believe the shift in the weather in the Northeast?  We have had over a week of one glorious day after the other.  You could nearly wear a sweater in the evening with the breezes blowing off the ocean.  I feel so fortunate to be on vacation during this time.

family friendly, children, beach chairs, outdoor, dining, screened in porch, garden, bay view

When you are a mompreneur and an interior designer, you are not really ever on vacation.  First of all, design inspiration is everywhere – you can’t help but see the patterns the waves leave in the sand as the tide goes out.  I was even able to attend the annual Beach & Bay House Tour to benefit the South Coastal Library with my mom and cousin.  The houses were a great mix of contemporary zen and kitschy beach.  Lots of bright colors were featured – I love color.

While here at the shore, I have been working with an interior design client on her master bath – ordering tile and faucets from my blackberry on the beach.  But working for yourself gives you such amazing flexibility with a little help from technology of course.

And most importantly, with a little help from your friends…  Thanks to my Twitter friends, I have some guest posts going.  Rob Jones of BuildDirect has graciously provided a guest post last week and then Amy Dragoo of ABCD Designs has offered to guest post about her new home renovations.  I am so excited about my first foray into guest blogging.  And I am  fortunate to have built some amazing relationships with great people through social media.  This next segment at Relaxed Elegance will be a bit more architecture, home improvement and inspiration and a bit less strictly about interior design.  But creatives find inspiration everywhere; it won’t have a boring moment!

beach, house, architecture, deck, bay

My parents have a home here now on the bay side and my aunt has one on the beach side.  It’s a quiet town.  While it has grown quite a bit with condos springing up along what used to be hauntingly beautiful long stretches of marsh and shore, the small town flavor has remained.

grandparents, beach, house, vacation, travel

We came here to visit my grandparents when we were very young.  They had an old beach cottage near the shore.  I remember a sleeping porch with a window to the inside.  I thought it was the coolest thing to sleep on the sleeping porch and talk to my cousin in the bedroom just on the other side of the window.  We would be up whispering and giggling until the wee hours.  My grandparents are long since gone and new owners have changed the old cottage quite a bit, but it still brings back those memories…

minigolf, vacation, travel, family, kids, activities, outdoors

We still come back every year and rent a small condo about a mile from the shore.  We love it there because we can make meals, do laundry and if it rains, we can watch movies on DVD.  It’s the simpler side of life with important decisions to be made.  Kayak or mini golf?  Beach or pool?

boathouse, kayaks, vacation, travel, property, bay, investment, retirement

We recently purchased a property here.  For now, it is an empty lot except for the kayaks and a boat house on the water.  But being an interior designer, I can envision my future home in my head. I love standing in the lot and imagining watching sunsets on the bay from my big back porch in my eco-friendly new home.  We are several years from building.  I often wonder what new materials will be available then.

I love to hear from you.  Do you have a dream vacation home?

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