HGTV lie to us? No way!

I’m certainly not anti-HGTV, but honestly, they create problems for us on a daily basis! Remodeling a home doesn’t take a week, although I wish it did. How does HGTV deceive you?? Let me count the ways.


1 Trends Are Your Friend

Ship lap walls and sliding barn doors are certainly fun, but do you REALLY want them in your house? Like forever? Like forever-ever?  Trends are fun and look great in print, but you might not feel the same way about a sliding barn door in 10 years. The person who buys your home (whenever that is) might not either. My suggestion is have fun with trends via inexpensive, temporary pieces like pillows or artwork. If you love the Farmhouse look that’s hot right now, maybe freshen up your home with a few farmhouse accessories. When you go to sell your house, it won’t scream 2016.

Barn doors are super cool, but will they be dated when you go to sell your house? source

Do you really need this? source


2 Granite Is King

People on HGTV love granite. They say it every 5 minutes. If a home on house Hunters doesn’t have granite, well it’s obviously not the choice. Granite is great, but there are so many more options! Other natural materials like marble and soapstone are AMAZING and look great in a home. Much more solid in color, they distract less than granite. Other solid surfaces like quartz (under various names) hold up well and offer a wide variety of colors that granite just can’t. Although HGTV wants to shove granite down our throats, I say resist! Look around and see what other options there are and you might be surprised.

Isn’t this marble nice? source

Soapstone looks amazing! Bonus, your neighbor doesn’t have it. source

Soapstone for the win! source


3 Renovations Are Quick and Easy

I can’t tell you how many times this belief causes issues. I wish remodels were like a week long, I really do! Sadly, they’re not. If you want something professionally done, not only does it take time, you might even have to wait to get on the list of projects. I know you don’t want to hear that, but it’s the truth. Remodels (or any home project, really) are labor intensive and messy. They just are. My suggestion is ask for an estimated timeline from your contractor, see if it works for you and then hold them to it.

This didn’t take a week. Project by Evans Construction & Design

This didn’t either. source

More than a week, too. source


4 Everyone Wants An Open Floor Plan

Big, expansive areas with super large rooms that open into one another is what HGTV assumes everyone wants. It’s definitely what’s popular here, in Florida and many markets around the country. They look great and are perfect for entertaining but they have a few drawbacks to them. Not having a quiet area (besides your bedroom) to sit and read a magazine or scroll through Pinterest may come back to bite you when the volume level rises in the evening. Having your Kitchen completely open to your Family Room requires a certain level of cleanliness you may not want. Not to mention, there’s the noise from the sink or dishwasher while your watching your favorite show a few feet away. I love open floor plans and they’re certainly not going anywhere, but there are more options available. A Den/Living Room/Study with doors might be your new best friend.

This is beautiful, but you might want a little quiet time at some point. source

Look, a Kitchen with a door! Before you say no, consider the possibilities. source


5 $1,000 Will Prep Your Home For Resale

You can’t do much for $1,000, there, I said it. Really getting your home ready for resale, for top dollar, requires you to look at the space with a fresh eye. Pretend you don’t live there and see what needs attention. New paint throughout? Trim paint? Landscaping touchup? Actual (costly) repairs of plumbing, electrical, etc? It adds up and takes time. I know HGTV has told us otherwise, but it does.

Not a $1,000 prep for sale. source


6 Open Shelving In Kitchens Is Practical

Open shelving looks great, like amazing, really. Stacked up white plates and bowls on a wood beam with a beautiful backdrop really is picturesque. The bad news is that grease and dust want to join the party! No matter how clean your house is, how often you dust, cooking and living create grease and dust that has to go somewhere. Wiping down counters is easy, but pulling down a stack of bowls to individually wipe them down is time consuming. Most people end up using the same few (top) plates and bowls over and over. The ones underneath just collect. If you have your heart set on open shelving in the Kitchen, my suggestion is to keep it small and locate the area away from the cooktop.

This isn’t going to end well. source

Keeping open shelving away from the stovetop gives you a fighting chance. source


7 Product Placement? Where?

This one is pretty obvious, but it has to be said. That wood flooring looks great and the designer/host probably does really like it, but the company is paying big bucks to have it on the show. Same with the appliances. Same with the car parked in the driveway. I could go on and on, but you get the picture. Just keep it in mind when looking for something for yourself.

I love this floor, but just know the company paid to have it here. source

Subtle! source



Well, what do you think? I’d love to hear your comment below!



Designers + Ceiling Fans…really? Aren’t they all tacky and huge?

Don’t get me wrong, a hanging light fixture looks better in a photo all day, every day. But, your house isn’t a photo and sometimes you just NEED a ceiling fan. Growing up in Miami, I get it. Living in Florida now, I really get it. It’s hot, you want air moving around at night and no one is going to take away your ceiling fan, dammit!  If you haven’t checked out fans in a while, you’re in for a pleasant surprise. They’ve come a long, long way.


Here are a few simple rules to keep in mind when selecting a fan.

-Streamline, streamline, streamline. Keep the design simple, clean and not overbearing.

-No hanging chains. I mean really, come on.

-No lights on the fan unless its absolutely necessary. If you must have light, make sure the light fits seamlessly into the fan’s design.



Here are my favorite, go-to fans with photos of each installed.

All come in a variety of finish and blade combinations. Click on each link below to take you directly to the source.


1. Lapa Fan, $348




2. Java 54″ Fan, $249




3. Falcon Fan, $639




4. Zonix Fan, $349




5. Mondo Fan, $398

roto brushed aluinum



6. Peregrine Fan, $439




7. Simple Fan, $279




Here’s a perfect image for your Pinterest boards!



What do you think? Please comment below! 🙂



How much does it actually cost to hire a designer? Well, it depends. It depends on what you’re looking for, the size of your project, who you are actually hiring and how pleasant you are to work with (it’s true).

The term “Interior Designer” is often used by decorators, furniture store salespeople, stagers and even stylish friends. Knowing what you’re actually getting can be tricky and you might need to do a bit of research. Searching the ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) website for designers in your area is a good place to start.



So, what are the different types of designers and what do they offer?


Straight-up professional Interior Designers you work with directly in your home

The most expensive option, but also the most comprehensive. This scenario has a licensed Interior Designer meet you in your home, work up a plan of action and handle everything. Professional Interior Designers are equipped to handle any design project you have. Furnishing a room, providing new home selections, built-in designs, simple updates, they’ll handle it all. You can (typically) expect an overall budget, allowances, floorpan, concept board, material selections, and final plan before anything is finalized. Know the fancy boards you see in movies with samples attached…you’re getting them, yippee! Once you agree on everything, the designer will typically place the orders, receive the merchandise, coordinate any subcontractors, deliver and install all items, and set the room up completely. Everything is handled and you can enjoy the space! You can expect to pay either a flat fee or an hourly rate, depending on the designer. Speaking for myself, I prefer charging a flat fee, so that everyone knows what the project will cost upfront, but each designer is different.

Depending on the scope of work and size of your project, you can usually expect to spend around 20-25% of the overall budget for the project plus 20% on top of any items ordered and delivered by the designer. It might sound pricey, but ordering, receiving and delivering these items entails a lot of work and liability. This 20-25% range is true for a variety of project types and is a good rule of thumb. When you get into new home selections or remodeling, the fee can go up from there. Plumbing, lighting, paint, cabinetry, etc are very detailed and take time. The fee will reflect that. A typical new home selection will run around $5,000 and remodeling projects will fall back into the 20-25% of the project range.

TIP: Offer to have the items sent directly to you and hold them there until installation day and forgo the upcharge. Personally, I often offer this to my clients and it saves us both! Win-win!

Design by Evans Construction & Design

Design by Evans Construction & Design




Online Interior Designers you work with virtually

New to the game, this is an efficient and cost effective way to design a space. It sounds a little crazy… handling everything online without the designer even seeing your space… but it really isn’t. Trained designers can easily work off a plan, dimensions, photo and a budget. This set up typically goes like this for a room design. You provide the designer with an overall budget, a few inspirational photos, brands you like and a floorpan with photos of the space. The designer comes back to you with a concept board, to make sure you are both on the same page. Once approved, you move into the actual selections for the space and the designer provides a rendering of the room with the items, right where they’ll go. The process typically goes for 10 days or so and you go back and forth until you are completely happy with each and every item. The designer keeps the budget and preferences in mind throughout. In the end you receive a final package with a furniture plan, final design board, a shopping list with direct links to order, and set up instructions.

You can typically plan to pay between $300-$800 for a comprehensive room design, which is really a great deal. Personally, I LOVE providing online design to my clients, locally or from a distance. In fact, my first year offering online services, I completed 50+ rooms in 3 countries and loved every minute of it! You can work with a designer directly (me! me! right here!) or through a design website like Laurel & Wolf (me, me, here too!)

TIP: Find a designer with a large portfolio online that you already like and you’re halfway there!


Concept board by Evans Construction & Design

Design board by Evans Construction & Design



Furniture store designers or decorators

This can really be hit or miss and it totally depends on the store.

Best case scenario is with a great store like Koontz Furniture in Florida. Stores like Koontz have top tier, professional Interior Designers who also work on their sales floor and offer design services as part of the furniture selection process. What? It’s true! If you’re looking for help picking out a room full of new items, this is a great way to go. You can get professional design services and end up not paying anything more than you would have paid for the furniture from their store. Let that sink in for a bit. You end up paying nothing.  Often, you can also hire these designers to help you with more than just the furniture, for an additional fee. They, then , charge a design fee and help you with whatever you need; paint, cabinets, flooring and furniture, too.

Worst case scenario has you working with a “Decorator” in a dark, dingy chain furniture store who’s really just trying to sell you what they have. Is that middle aged man in a short sleeved button up and tie trying to sell you on the hottest trend? Run!  The truth is you don’t know until you do a bit of research. Furniture stores can be an absolute treasure trove of talent, or not.

TIP: Find a store with brands you like, set a budget and see what they can do for you.






Your stylish friend who claims to be a decorator

We all have one. She’s well dressed, trendy and “knows” decorating. She just can’t let you spend money on a designer, because she can help you for free! Tread lightly here. If it’s few accessories you’re looking for, by all means go together to TJMaxx and have a fun afternoon. If it’s paint colors, furniture pieces, overall design of a room, please use a trained professional. When she’s in over her head, she probably won’t tell you and your room (and friendship) will suffer. Expect to pay nothing or little to nothing.

Design by Evans Construction & Design


As I initially said, it all really depends. If you’re looking to spruce up your space with a few touches with a designer online, it can be $99. If you’re looking for a traditional room design and implementation, I’d say around $2,000+. If you’re looking for a whole home design, $5000+. It all depends and part of it depends on you!


Next week, we’ll break down what should you expect from a professional, licensed Interior Designer.


What do you think about these fees? Does this fit with your experience? I’d love to here about it below 🙂


Your Master Bath…cool, calm, serene…an oasis, a spa within your home…right? Right? Well, it can be and it  doesn’t have to break the bank!

We’ve gathered up seven of our favorite Master Baths, including some we’ve created. 🙂  We’ve broken them down and found the pieces you can add to your bath to create the look you love.  Take a tour of each of the baths, below, and then click on the links underneath to see where to get the key pieces for less.



1 Fretwork Traditional


fretwork fabric | tile | orchid


2 Clean Masculine


hydrangea | etagere | prints


3 Traditional Classic

Evans Construction & Design

garden stool | orchids | ginger jars | tub faucet


4 Classic Inset


roman shade | tile | glass jars


5 Zhush


wallpaper | quill mirror  | monogram towels | garden stool | rug


6 Mirrors for Days


mirror | console | faucet


7 Bohemian Mix


Rug | artwork | stool | etagere

So, which is your favorite? We can’t decide. 🙂



What do you do when your house is beautiful, but your Kitchen is a throwback to the 1970’s? Call Evans Construction & Design to renovate!

We had the pleasure of working with a wonderful Gainesville family to renovate their entire Kitchen, Breakfast Nook and Dining Room. They live on a beautiful little lake in Gainesville, surrounded by lemon and orange trees. Picturesque! The home is great, but the Kitchen…it could use a little, umm, improvement. A wonderful family like this deserves a great Kitchen, right? We can help!



The before.


The inspiration.

Classic, fresh, clean. The client loved this Kitchen and we worked to recreate the feel for them.


The plan.

Add two windows, rip out interior walls, fill in an oddly placed exterior door and open up the space. We would remove the current nook, add an oversized island with seating and move their current table to the adjacent Dining Room. While we’re here, lets redo the fireplace and adds some seating that swivels to the TV and Kitchen.


The renderings.


The selections.

After collaborating with the clients (who were an absolute pleasure, I must add), we tweaked the design, made our final selections and started demo. They left town for a week and we got all the messy part out of the way, and it was messy. We filled in a door and busted out cinderblock for 2 new windows. New wood floor was added and stained to tie into the existing flooring throughout. The renovation moved quickly and the final result is incredible, if I do say so myself! 🙂


The reveal.


Cabinets- White shaker cabinets by Carson’s Cabinetry

Countertops- Quartz and Absolute Black Granite

Hardware- Polished Nickel

Main sink- Found here

Prep sink- Found here

Lighting- Pendants found here

Crackled, beveled subway tile- Found here

Roman Shade- Pottery Barn Riviera Stripe

Pierced ginger jars – Found here

Barstools- Pier One

Paint- Revere Pewter by Benjamin Moore

Upholstered swivel chairs- Koontz Furniture

Cocktail ottoman- Koontz Furniture

Rug- Ballard Designs

The client is happy. We are happy.  The home is really transformed! What do you think? Did we nail it?



“What color should I go with?” is a question I’m often asked. Well, it really depends on what you like! There are a million ways to create a great room and color is definitely a determining factor. Designing something that YOU love and are excited about really starts with color, in my opinion. Here are seven of my go to color combinations that work each and every time!


1 Blue and White

Classic, timeless, fresh and clean. Blue and white can go nautical, farmhouse or traditional and always looks good!


2 Gray and Tan

An odd combo, maybe, but chic, nevertheless. A way to mix neutrals and keep things looking sharp. Gray and tan is a great way to mix warm and cool tones.


3 Black and White

The easiest combo to achieve. Black and white can look modern and sleek, or even warm and inviting, all depending on the execution. To keep things “friendly” keep the white warmer mix in some natural materials.


4 Blush Pink and Gold

Also know as “millennial pink”, this combo is very current. A nice addition to a neutral room, a few pink and gold accessories can freshen things up nicely.


5 Orange and Blue

Being an avid Florida fan (Go Gators!), I am partial to this combo. Using navy and burnt orange is a great version of this classic pairing.


6 Grass Green with Black and White

Kate Spade brought this color combo to the masses, but it has always been a designer go-to. Very impactful, use this combo carefully so you don’t overwhelm the room.


7 White with Natural Raffia

Boring? Nope! Fresh, open, clean and crisp. Intentional white spaces are some of my favorite. To keep things interesting, mix pattern and texture. Natural raffia, wood and metal spices up an otherwise all white room.


What do you think? Which is your favorite? Comment below! 🙂


We’ve made it to the big reveal of my One Room Challenge Toddler + Teen Playroom. I’m so happy with how the room turned out and beyond excited for it to be put to use!

As a reminder, here is the before. Yuck.

And now, here’s the after!

I love how this has turned out, a place for my little man to go crazy and a spot for my teen to “chill”. I envisioned cutting the room in half and that’s basically what we did, diagonally. The duplicate rugs tie the two sides together, along with a cohesive color scheme. Neutral can be boring, but I don’t feel like it is here. We keep the flow from the rest of the house and still have a little fun in here with the map and accessories.


The wall of heads is probably my favorite. The room opens up diagonally and this is the feature wall across from you. Bam! It’s fun, colorful and unique. 🙂 My teen has pointed out that hanging puppy heads are a little morbid, but I’m going to choose to ignore that minor fact.


Black and white throughout ties everything together. It’s repeated in the pillows, rugs, walls, teepee, and more.


Lulu, the dog, is not impressed. But, she coordinates with room!


So, we did it! An actual room for my little guy and teen girl to coexist in. What do you think? I would absolutely love to hear your comments!



Rugs | Bookcases | Map | Baskets | Canvas storage bins | Play table | End table | Lamp

Animal heads | Hello sign | Pillows | Paint | Tree | Console table

Ceiling fan | Teepee | Storage ottoman | Light up star | Happy place artwork


If you’d like to see the progression of the room, you can revisit our progress in these posts:

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 1

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 2

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 3

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 4

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 5

You can also see the 200+ designers who completed their rooms this week. Stunning!

Do you ever see a picture that just stops you in your tracks? Grant K. Gibson did that to me.  After stumbling upon his perfect kids’ room photo on Pinterest, I had to see more. I visited his portfolio and what did I find? Perfection! Bright, fresh, clean and interesting rooms, each one better than the last.  Enjoy a few of my favorite images below. They really are stunning! All images via Grant K. Gibson


What do you think? Are you as inspired as I am? Comment below!


It’s week 5 and we are in the home stretch! It’s Decision Time!

If you’re just joining in, here’s a recap. I’m in the middle of a six week challenge from House Beautiful and Calling It Home to make over our playroom for the One Room Challenge.  This playroom will accommodate my teen girl and toddler boy and give them each their “space”. Teenage girls need their “space”, or so I’ve heard, repeatedly.

Everything has arrived, the painting and plastering are all done and it’s time to make some decisions and set the room up. I call this week Decision Time because I always over-order and have options for the installation. Like, lots of options. I’ve learned over the years, the more options, the better.  No matter how much you plan, things don’t always look the way you intend. I have backups for stools, tables, pillows, rugs and more. So, let’s walk through a few of the options together!


I know, it’s slightly ugly, but this is going to be the table. I would never typically select something I’m not fond of, but this is for my little man and he LOVES it. The top has a lego side and it makes him so happy. Who am I to keep it from him?  The original selection (below) is much nicer but it’s just too big for the space. Maybe we’ll plan to replace the toddler table with the concrete, larger one in the future.

ugly table is a keeper!
cool concrete table is a no go


For the chairs, the galvanized metal versions below arrived and they are going back. They’re too tall and “tippy”. I found these super cute animal stools at my local TJMaxx and they are perfect.

going back
super cute!


The bookshelves are here and are really great. has so much more than Target stores. If you’ve never looked at their home and furniture pieces,  you should check them out. These bookshelves are heavy, well made and durable. My little guy will test that, I’m sure. My original plan was to use a combination of galvanized steel bins and wicker baskets, one row of each, duplicated in each bookshelf. But, when the galvanized steel bins arrived, I immediately realized I’d made a mistake They were much heavier and rugged than I imagined. I found a great replacement. Again, saves the day! These gray fabric bins fit nicely and still break up the shelves.

bookshelf perfection!
you're too pointy!
wicker basket is staying


you can stay, too


The animal heads arrived and we got a jumpstart on hanging them. Aligning them with the horizontal stripes was a trial and error process, but I like how it’s turned out. Did I yell at my husband in the process? Maybe. He likes to measure. I like to eyeball it.


Pillows, accessories, art and lots more to do this week. Lots of returns to make, too! I can’t wait to reveal the final room next week.  What do you think about the progress so far?

You can keep up with our progress in the One Room Challenge in these posts:

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 1

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 2

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 3

Toddler + Teen Playroom, Week 4

Are you following along with the 20 designers posting on Wednesdays? And the other 200+ designers posting in Thursdays? There are some really great rooms.  Check them out and come back here next week for another update.



my favorite, see #7 for info

Mother’s Day is right around the corner (May 14th) and brunch is always a big hit with the Mom crowd. Steal one of these seven amazing looks to impress. Using basics you already have (white plates, clear glasses, etc.) you can easily add a few pieces and mimic these stunning tabes. Many use fabric right from the store as tablecloths. Shh, it’ll be our secret. 🙂  Links to each item below the photo.


1. This hot pink and orange ikat tablecloth, offset with light blue glasses, looks amazing!

source | tablecloth fabric | light blue glasses | fabric napkins | pink chairs



2. Blue and white creates a fresh, clean look for this Mother’s Day brunch, paired with rattan.

source | rattan charger plates | bamboo silverware | rattan wine bottle holder | fabric for tablecloth



3. Does your Mom love Lilly Pulitzer? She’ll fall for this Palm Beach inspired table!

source | gold charger plates |Lilly Pulitzer fabric for tablecloth | green salad plates



4. Tory Burch’s table is a classic in white and blue, mixed with dark wicker.

source | chinoiserie fabric for tablecloth | centerpiece | blue hobnail glasses | plates



5. Magenta, orange and blue work together in this perfect Chinoiserie table

source | oval placematspink chinoiserie fabric for tablecloth| plates

pink & gold polka dot fabric napkins | centerpiece ginger jar



6. Blue and white are classic for a reason! This table setting is gorgeous.

source | royal blue & white striped fabric | blue hydrangeas

blue hydrangeas in pottery | blue & white plates



7. I saved my favorite for last! Kelly green, navy and magenta create a vibrant table here.

source | napkins | glass vase | large blue ginger jar | cobalt blue glasses | green fabric for tablecloth


There you have it! Seven beautiful tables you can recreate for your Mother’s Day brunch this year. Do you think you’ll try any?




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