Fresh? Clean? Bright? Still cozy? That’s Studio McGee. Started in their spare bedroom, this husband and wife run business delivers rooms that are right on trend. If you’ve spent anytime on Pinterest, you’ve undoubtably seen their work. I was lucky enough to hear Shea McGee speak earlier this year and she did not disappoint. Let’s take a look at some of their most memorable rooms. Enjoy!

All photos courtesy of Studio McGee

When you love Football and Interior Design (like me!), this can be the best time of the year! What better way to spruce up your home than to give it a Football Facelift? The real question is, can you actually add a few touches to your home without it looking super tacky? I think so! The key is to keep it light, general and not too heavy on the actual team. For example, if you love the Florida Gators (like I do!) then adding orange and blue touches throughout, with a few key Gator pieces, is enough. Everything doesn’t have to be logo-ish. Know what I mean? Restraint is your friend. Let’s walk through it together! (Make sure your scroll all the way down, the best is saved for last!)

 

Add A Few Key Pieces

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Set Your Table

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Add A Few Pieces Of Art

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Take It Outside

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Add A Few Pillows

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Photo courtesy of Buffy McTureous

 

 

 

 

Use Your Team’s Color Scheme CAREFULLY Throughout

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Update Your Guest Bedroom

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Or Admit You’re Obsessed And Add To Your Home Permanently

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Do you decorate at all of football season? Any other sport? Id love to hear about it! Please comment below 🙂

Have you ever seen something that just blew you away? It starts with- what IS this, why haven’t I ever seen this before? Then it quickly moves into- I have to have this, ALL of this! I’ll never forget the first time I saw Lillian August furniture and design in general. Fresh out of college, still learning the ropes, I stumbled upon her showroom at High Point Market in North Carolina. I was overwhelmed! Traditional but fresh, luxurious but not stuffy.  I had the pleasure of meeting Lillian herself years later and she did not disappoint. Gracious, talented and just lovely all around. I have followed her design over the years and it just gets better and better. She has furniture lines, a design firm and stores.  I was lucky enough to visit her store in Connecticut recently. Amazing! I had to buy a pillow as a souvenir and cram it into my carry on for posterity. Well worth it!

Lillian August is a brand I go to constantly for inspiration and to see how they translate the current trends in a livable way.

Here are a few of my favorite images. Enjoy!

 

All photos via Lillian August

How exactly does online Interior Design work? Let’s follow an actual project I completed last year and find out! The home is in Greenwich, Connecticut and I’m in Florida, but no problem. We worked together for 10 days and the result is amazing! Happy client, happy designer. Boom! Let’s walk through the process together.

 

1 Design Brief

A fun, young family moved from hip San Francisco to very traditional Greenwich, Connecticut, they wanted a room just as lively as they are. Typically known for a very traditional design aesthetic, we wondered, can you DO color in Greenwich? Yes, yes you CAN and we are here to prove it!

Flooded with natural light and open to a beautiful view, this Family Room serves as the center of the home.  They wanted something not too serious, not overly fancy, but still sophisticated. Pulling from a navy and orange color story, Evans Construction & Design created a perfect hang out spot for watching TV, playing games and entertaining.

The entire design process was handled online from our office in Florida to their home in Connecticut and took 10 days. We started with their floorpan.

2 Concept

After receiving a floorpan and a few inspiration images, Evans Construction & Design got to work on the initial concept board. A mix of overall inspiration images, colors, textures and actual pieces, this concept board serves as a starting point for discussions to make sure everyone is on the same page.

 

 

3 Design Time

After the thumbs up was given on the Concept Board, we moved into the actual design of the room. The Design Board shows each item we are proposing and how everything works together. The client and I went back and forth until she was completely happy with everything.

 

 

4 Final Design Package

After 10 days of tweaking, we settled on a final design. I love, love, love how it looks! The client then received a Final Design Package with a floorpan, instructions for setting everything up and a shop-able list, with links to order everything.

 

 

5 Room Reveal

Over the course of the next month or so, everything arrived and client followed the setup directions to a “T”. Let’s see how the room turned out!

So are you ready to try online design for yourself? Let’s do it! Find out all the info to work with me here. It’s super fun and easy, and less expensive than you might think! 🙂

 

 

 

 

Outdated Master Bath?

Your bath should be a retreat, an oasis. Something you look forward to coming home. But, what if it just isn’t? This fun couple in Gainesville, Florida had this exact problem. They called us to help and we couldn’t be more pleased with the results. Fresh, clean and traditional. Perfect for them!

 

Check out the before, the process and the after below. Click on the links at the end for all the sources!

 

1 The Before

 

 

 

2 The Plan

 

 

 

3 The Selections

 

 

 

4 The Result

 

 

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Cabinets | Countertops | Sink | Faucet | Tub | Tub faucet | Lighting | Marble wall tile | Floor tile | Shower faucet | Accessories

 

 

What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments below.

 

You’re sick and tired of looking at your same boring room that you never really liked. I get it. You had grand plans for this room, remember your Pinterest board…it was going to be AWESOME!

 

But, then, you know…that sofa was such a good deal… you didn’t love it, but you couldn’t pass it up. Then those pillows, I mean they’re cute, right? The rug…it was from your old house, but it kind of goes. The stuff on the walls… its ok, maybe? You’ve ended up with a bunch things you sort-of like and a room you really don’t. Your husband has a nice big TV and recliner, so he’s happy. You’re not.

 

I hear you! We can do better! And you don’t have to spend a ton. Over the past 20+ years I have seen more rooms in need of a facelift than I can count. Honestly, all of them could have used this 10 step process and been given a whole new life. Were going to approach this as LAYERS. Here we go!

 

1 CLEAR
Clear the room and the surfaces

Take everything off every surface. Like everything. Nothing messes up a room more than clutter all over. Take the prints off the walls, the curtains down, every single thing. Take a good, hard look at what you have  to work with and let’s start from there.

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2 PAINT

Paint the walls a color you are drawn to

My guess is the room could probably use a fresh coat of paint. Instead of the current color, why not ramp it up a notch and go with an actual color-color? You can read more about color selection here. I mean it’s just paint. Live a little. If you don’t like it, you can always repaint it.

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3 SLIPCOVER
Slipcover your large pieces, if you need to

Your red floral sofa may be the problem. It may be too busy for the room and just throws everything into disarray. A nice neutral slipcover can solve a world of problems. You can find great ones here and here. Now that we have a rich background and a neutral upholstered pieces, let’s inject some personality.

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4 RUG
Buy a new (probably larger) rug

Your rug is probably too small, I’m guessing. Your rug should really go UNDERNEATH the furniture pieces, at least the front legs. If it’s floating out in the middle, its making the room look smaller and choppy. You can ground the space with a nice, new, big rug for not that much. A woven seagrass rug always looks good and can be found very inexpensively. Check here and here. A soft, patterned rug to add some pizzaz doesn’t have to cost a fortune either. Target.com (really!) and Wayfair.com have a ton that don’t break the bank.

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5 DRAPES
Hang new neutral drapes high and wide

Drapes can really make or break a room. What’s worse than no drapes? Cheap drapes. You know the kind…thin, lifeless, too short, just bad. You don’t need to overthink this, it’s easy! My go to formula is to choose a nice neutral drape, double them up and then hang them as high and wide as possible. So, you want them to go all the way down to the floor and probably double them up on each side. This creates a rich look, even with a Target drape. 🙂 French rods are my favorite, since they don’t interfere with the room. You can find them super cheap here.

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6 PLACEMENT
Get your furniture placement right

Is your furniture lined up on the wall? It shouldn’t be. “Conversational grouping” is your new go-to term. You want to create an area for people to sit and have a conversation easily. Place the rug in the center of the room, maybe centered on the fireplace or TV if that makes sense. Then put your table in the middle, again centered. Then place your sofa, love seat, chair, whatever around this. Does it leave room behind the sofa? That’s ok. I know its scary, but give it a try, you just might like it. You can practice online with websites like this one, or just move things around your house.

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7 ART

Buy a few new pieces for your walls

Because it’s at eye level, whatever is hanging on your wall is of utmost importance. You definitely don’t have to spend a ton here to create something unique, interesting and perfect for your room. I dedicated a blog post to exactly this subject that you can read here. My favorite frame is $18, for goodness sake! If you’re looking for “art-art”, take a look at these sites. They have basically everything you could ever want, in every size you can imagine. Art.com and GreatBigCanvas.com

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8 PILLOWS
Add new pillows to accentuate something else

Here’s where you can have a little fun. Add some personality here with fun, colorful pillows. Pick up on the wall color, the rug or even the artwork. Mix patterns and go crazy! My formula is typically a pattern, a solid and a geometric. Keep the color ways somewhat cohesive and you’re in business.  Great pillows don’t cost a lot but have a major impact on the room. If you can swing it, down inserts instantly upgrade everything. Check TJMaxx for great deals!

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9 LAMPS
Grab a new lamp or two

Lighting is key and having the light not just come from the ceiling creates a soft, balanced room. Lamps solve this problem and look great while doing it. Even with a more traditional style, a clean and modern lamp always looks great. Again, Target.com and Wayfair.com have just what you need for like $40. Boom!

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10 ACCESSORIZE

Get a few new accessories and display them thoughtfully

To finish off the room, display a few things you already have or grab a few new ones. Just think about it before you throw everything in there. A few well placed items always looks better than a bunch of “stuff”. Stuck? Here’s my go to formula…For your coffee table, buy a nice tray, place a few coffee table books on top, add an object on top, then plop candle to the side and finish it off with a plant. Done and done! Looks amazing! 🙂

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So there you have it! Ten steps to a completely made one room for not too much money! What do you think? I’d love to hear your comments below.:)

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I’m not typically a huge fan of “themed” rooms…you know the ones…It’s a “pirate room” so everything is pirate-y, it’s a “beach theme” so the light switches are sea shells. Yuck. We can do better!

 

For this boy’s nursery in Gainesville, Florida, I wanted to incorporate many different ideas and tie them together with a cohesive thread. I find this much more interesting than a theme. Navy blue, gray, cream and touches of orange would be the color story. Industrial elements, preppy pieces, (very light touches of) the Florida Gators, baseball and football would be the players here. Some new pieces were used, some existing plus a few sentimental elements like his older brothers’ used baseballs. I love how it turned out! Click the links below the photos for each item.

 

What do you think? Did we nail it?

 

 

Bare walls? Eek! No excuse! Your walls, along with your entire home, should tell your story and reflect your life. Big, empty walls really bring into focus an unfinished room. I can help!

There are lots of ways to fill up a large wall, but today we’ll just focus on framed artwork.

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FREE PRINTABLE ARTWORK

Did you know you can print out A LOT of prints for FREE online? Yes, it’s true. Good quality, designer prints are yours for the taking. A few of the best sites are here, here and here. Print them at home or take them to a local printer. Either way, you can create a wall full or artwork for super cheap.

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FRAMES

Now, for the frames. You don’t have to spend much for great frames. Target, Wayfair and other online retailers have every option imaginable. I like to stick with clean, authentic materials. If it looks like wood, it should be wood, metal should be metal, etc. Light or white frames put the focus on the print or art inside. Dark or black frames put the focus on the structure and layout of the arrangement. A few of my favorite with links below.

Perfect frame in white or black with nice, big mat, here

Brass frame with white mat, here

 

 

 

HANGING

So, you have the artwork, you have the frames, now where are you going to hang them? You need a plan! If you’re feeling super ambitious, you can cut out templates of your sizes with paper and try a few arrangements on the wall. Here are a few to get you started.

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TRY SOMETHING DIFFERENT

Want something a little more creative? Try framing something unique to you. Favorite scarves or shopping bags always look chic. Kids artwork can look extra important framed and grouped together.

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FAMILY PHOTOS

Family photos instantly tell a story. To keep things current, try frames with an extra wide mat and keep the photos either all black and white or all color. Consistency is key. Another way to go is blow them up nice and big, with no mat. Both look fresh and not like your Mom’s house. 😉

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GALLERY WALL

Ready to take it up a notch? Mix frame sizes and materials, maybe even pop in a mirror. The mix of textures and colors makes for a very interesting mix.

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So, no excuses for a big empty wall! Calculate a plan, buy some inexpensive frames (my favorite are $18.99!) and print out some artwork online. Mix in a few of your existing pieces and boom, you’ve got a super chic wall!

 

What do you think? Which style is your favorite?

 

Custom Home Built by Evans Construction & Design

You’re excited, you’ve got your ducks in a row, your Pinterest boards are full, your Houzz account is overflowing with images… you’re finally building your dream home. Exciting! What could go wrong?

I’ve been in the home building business for 20+ years now (please, don’t do the math) and I must tell you the 3 things that happen EVERY SINGLE TIME we build a new home that surprise the client. Seriously, every single time.

1. Your slab is going to look too small

I know this, I preach this, but guess what? When we built our last personal home, I went to my lovely husband, the General Contractor extraordinaire, and informed him that our slab, was indeed, too small. He laughed. I cried. We measured. Guess what, it was exactly correct. How could I doubt my dear husband? The lesson here is, for whatever reason, the slab will look tiny, but it’s still correct. I know, I know. How can you possibly take a shower in that teeny tiny rectangle? It’s going to feel much larger once the framing goes up. I promise.

Why is this so small? Umm, I think there's been a mistake.

2. Your interior paint color is going to look too dark. Like way too dark.

Color is funny. By funny I mean tricky, mean-spirited, and anxiety inducing. You’ve researched this color, pinned this color, bought samples, dreamt about it…why does it look so different now that it’s on the walls? Several reasons.

First, looking at a color in FRONT of you is very different from having the same color SURROUND you. Imagine looking AT a large red wall, now imagine being INSIDE an all red room. It’s a completely different experience. Give yourself some time to adjust.

Second, you’ve gone from the whitest-white plaster everywhere to a rich, beautiful color. The shock of that alone is enough to put you in panic mode.

Lastly, there’s nothing in the house to help balance (aka suck out) the wall color. Cabinets, flooring, tile, fixtures, trim paint…they all bring color into the space and help balance out the walls.

Take a breath, stick to your original choice. You’ve researched it to death, remember? 🙂 Once everything goes in, it will become the beautiful masterpiece you’ve envisioned. Pinky promise.

Revere Pewter Paint Color which originally looked WAY dark

3. Your sod is going to look dead

Lovely image, isn’t it? You’ve worked with the landscape designer, selected just the perfect amount of shrubs versus flowers versus trees. It’s going to be a garden for the ages!

Then they deliver the sod. What is this shit? Why are you ruining my dream home with this? Take it away! Get it out of my sight!

Relax! It always looks a little, umm,“less than perfect” when delivered. Maybe it was the long trip, maybe it was the installation, who knows. Once it’s laid in place, watered, and starts to “take,” it will magically transform into the green lawn you’ve always dreamt of picnicking on in a few short weeks. 🙂 I swear.

Green Grass! Custom home built by Evans Construction & Design

Well, there it is. These three things have happened on every single house we’ve built. I even fell into the trap of the slab being too small after preaching this for years.

Take a breath, relax, stick to your guns, and trust those pinterest boards full of ideas you’ve been creating over the years. You got this!

What surprises have you encountered while building your new home or remodeling? Please share below! I’d love to hear or talk you off the ledge if needed. 🙂

Spitting on your finger to hang the perfect artwork? Stuffing pillows that are too big into covers for the perfect fit? Stacks on stacks on stacks of coffee table book? Yes, yes and yes! These finishing touches make the room! Over the past 20+ years, I’ve collected seven of my favorite and today I’m revealing them to you. 

 

1. Buy Coffee Table Books You Love

One of the very best tips I have is to splurge on coffee table books you’re drawn to. They are super useful for adding dimension and height to coffee tables, console tables and bookshelves. Stack them, lean them, even open them and you’ve instantly elevated your design. Using topics you love (gardens, photography, you name it) or places you’ve traveled is the perfect way to inject a bit of personality into your room. Want to really take it up a notch? Have some of your favorite family photos made into a custom coffee table book.

perfect tabletop vignette with books {pursuit of style}

 

beautiful coffee table styling {the zhush}

 

these books help ground smaller brass items {swoonworthy}

 

two books stacks {ceresbr1}

 

the more the merrier {domino}

 

 

2. Create Your Own Paint Color

Can’t settle on the perfect color for your room? Love your sample but fear it’s too dark? Create your own color by having the paint store cut the color you love by half or a third. It will give you the same color, but with less intensity. Bonus, no one else will have it and you can name it whatever you’d like!

benjamin moore “sleigh bells” at 50% {studio mcgee}

 

sleigh bells sample {benjamin moore}

 

sleigh bells at full strength, maybe a little darker than you want {your design nest}

 

 

3. Layer Rugs

Rugs can be expensive, like super expensive. A perfect alternative to breaking your budget is to layer a smaller version of the pricey rug you have your eye on, ON TOP OF a less expensive rug. A basic sisal rug can be found very moderately priced and serves a a rich, textural backdrop for a more “statement” piece. Think large, solid, inexpensive as the base rug and smaller, richer, even trendier as the top layer. The result is stunning and something you don’t see everywhere.

this inexpensive dhurrie rug looks great overtop of an inexpensive sisal {decorpad}

 

a rich zebra painted cow hide stuns overtop of a basic sisal {kate jackson}

 

a natural cowhide livens up this basic seagrass rug {domino}

 

 

4. Buy Your Pillow Inserts One Size Larger Than Your Cover

No one wants a wimpy pillow. You know the kind; lifeless, pathetic and downright distracting. Purchase the pillow insert the next size up and you’ve instantly given the pillow (and room, really) a makeover. For example, for a 20″ pillow cover, I use a 22″ insert. A 18″ cover gets a 20″ insert and so on. While your at it, splurge on a down or synthetic down fill. Full, down pillows are one of the easiest ways to revive a room!

the proof {domestic imperfection}

 

plump pillow perfection {dimples and tangles}

 

perfect pillows {lynn morgan}

 

 

5. To Hang Artwork, Use Your Eye and Hand Height

It can be scary to hang the piece of artwork you love on big, bare wall.  Hanging it over a fireplace or a piece of furniture you love isn’t any easier. Too high or too low really cheapens the piece and the room overall. My rule of thumb, if hanging on a bare wall, is to hold the piece in front of you so that the CENTER of the art is AROUND your eye level, then go up just a smidge. Scientific, I know, but it works every single time. 🙂 The rule of thumb when hanging over a piece of furniture or fireplace is to use the WIDTH of your HAND(S) for the correct spacing above. Just place your hand sideways, then place the other on top (sideways) and you have the perfect spacing somewhere in-between the first and second hand. No measuring! Once you’ve settled on the height, lick your finger, slide your hand up, feel for the wire behind and tap on the wall where you want the nail to go. Gross, I know, but it saves a whole lot of measuring. Just don’t tell anyone what you did, it’ll be our little secret.

hung at eye level center and looks perfect! {the decorista}

 

another center eye level {better home and gardens}

 

umm, this is too high {social survival}

 

hand width above a fireplace, works for mirrors too {traditional home}

 

tory burch’s home, art hung perfectly above the mantle {tory burch}

 

 

6. Keep High, High and Low, Low

When you’re putting together the perfect tabletop vignette, it’s hard to know what to put where. Stacking items on books and choosing frames to use? It’s overwhelming. Keeping the taller pieces “high” and the shorter pieces “low” will create an interesting, layered display. For example, start with a tall lamp, then keep your books low, add a frame in the middle and you have an interesting flow. If you had chosen a shorter lamp, stacked your books up too high and selected a frame around the same height, you’d end up with one level throughout, which isn’t nearly as interesting.

nice flow, high to the sides and low in the center {the pink clutch}

 

vignette perfection! high to the left, low to the right {mimosa lane}

 

all one height, could look much better with varying heights {vanity fair}

 

 

7. Add Dimmers EVERYWHERE

What’s cheap and will instantly transform your entire home? Dimmers! I don’t want to oversell this, but they are literally life changing. Literally. 🙂 Adding dimmers to your main living areas will completely transform the space, I promise. Harsh, overly lit rooms suddenly become soft, candlelit looking spaces. I actually suggest having them everywhere, like in every single room.  Don’t believe me? Try just one and see what you think. You can go with a basic version, fancy smart versions, or even one made just for lamps. It’s super easy to switch out your current old-school switches for new dimmers. You can get them at Lowes, Home Depot or even order them online and it takes under 10 minutes. Home Depot has a quick tutorial here.

warm ambience in this dining room {ownby design}

 

dimmers allow for softer lighting here {leviton}

 

what a dimmer looks like, in case you didn’t know 😉 {elemental led}

 

 

Well, there you have it. Seven designer secrets that I just had to share. Do you think you might try one? Do you have any tips or tricks to share? I would love to hear them, please comment below!

 

 

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