Designer Crush: Mark D. Sikes

Do you ever see a picture that just stops you in your tracks…like, literally? A few years ago a came across Mark D. Sikes’ work on Pinterest and quickly became obsessed. Classic blue and white…but not prissy or boring. Black pieces mixed in…but not heavy. Stripes sat alongside gorgeous Chinoiserie wallpapers. It’s perfection.

I couldn’t get enough and I began scouring his website and analyzing his rooms. I researched the pieces he used and quickly realized he had beautiful lines of furniture and accessories with several companies. So, then I researched those. Rugs, yes. Furniture, yes. Accessories, lights, you name it. I was obsessed!  He’s lucky I didn’t fly to California and visit him in person. Just kidding, well sort of.

Then I hit the mother load…he wrote a book! A book! 185 pages of beautiful rooms and endless inspiration. It quickly became my go to and the wear and tear on the book is proof of that. 🙂


I recently found out he is writing a second book, due to come out in September. I am literally counting down the days!

So, in honor of that, let’s take a look at some of my favorite rooms and vignettes from Mark D. Sikes. All photos are from his AMAZING website.


House Beautiful HD #42 1108_AN_HouseBeautiful
House Beautiful HD #42 1108_AN_HouseBeautiful
House Beautiful HD #42 1108_AN_HouseBeautiful
House Beautiful HD #42 1108_AN_HouseBeautiful


What do you think? Do you love Mark Sikes as much as I do?



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Building Our Dream Home – Selecting Bathtubs

Photo courtesy of MTI Baths

How do you begin designing a dream bathroom? I like to start with the tub! There’s really nothing more dramatic than a gorgeous free-standing piece of art, that also happens to double as a bathtub. With so many beautiful tubs available, how do you choose? Let’s walk through the process together!

*If you’re just joining us, this is another installment of a series documenting the building of our personal dream home. So far we’ve tackled:

Inspiration | Floorplan | Location | Breaking Ground | Roofing | Windows | Insulation | Sheetrock & Plaster  | Selecting Paint | Selecting Flooring


When it was time to start thinking about my personal bathroom, I knew I had to start with the tub and I knew I had to start with the absolute best tubs…MTI. They make the most beautiful, sculptural tubs  you see time and time again while thumbing through design magazines. I was lucky enough to score an invite to MTI’s factory, just outside Atlanta, and let me sum it up in one word…amazing! The people couldn’t be nicer and the factory couldn’t be cooler. It ran with precision and I got an in depth tour of what they make and how they make it. Let’s take a look!

Basically, they make three different types of tubs…acrylic, mineral composite and a solid material called SculptureStone. All three are gorgeous and I quickly saw the differences. Watching these tubs being made was FASCINATING!


To form an acrylic tub, they start with a sheet of acrylic and form it over a mold. Because they are hand-making each one, you can add a ton of cool options… air baths, whirlpool jets, lights (chromatherapy), aromatherapy…you name it!  The result is a custom tub with a beautiful  sleek and shiny finish. Classic and gorgeous!


This solid material is really like artwork. Liquid is poured into a mold and cured to create a SOLID piece of sculpture that also happens to be a tub! You can outfit it with an air bath or keep it as a soaking tub. Each tub is then hand sanded into a matte or glossy finish. Hand sanded! The matte finish takes 4 solid hours and the shiny 8…unbelievable.

The Contenders

I narrowed down my options to the following 3 tubs for my personal Master Bath; The Juliet, The Elise and The Parisian.

MTI Baths' Elise
MTI Baths' Juliet
MTI Baths' Parisian
Then I photoshopped them into my room to get a sense of the scale.

I love all three, I really do. Honestly, you can’t go wrong here.

Decision Time

I decided to go with the classic Elise tub. It’s timeless, stunning and really a work of art. I added an air bubbler system and went with the glossy finish. I can’t WAIT to see it in!

MTI Baths' Elise Tub


But wait, I have 2 kids that probably want a bathtub too! Ahh! With all the excitement about my tub, I almost forgot about them! I actually have 5 kids, but 3 of them are on their own and can buy their own damn bathtubs! 🙂

I found one tub that would work for both kids, then customized it differently to suit them.

Now to add all of the fun options!

So many ways to customize! Click on the image above to see all of their super cool features.


My teen daughter would love ALL of the bells and whistles…Bluetooth speakers built-in, Chromatherapy and an Air Bath. She’ll love it!


My five year old little boy would do just fine with no bath, ever, so we’ll keep his simple with an air bubbler system. MTI makes it super easy to customize the tubs for each person


The tubs started to arrive and they are STUNNING! They are made to order, right here in the USA. I can’t wait to see them installed. Stay tuned!

So, what do you think? Did I choose the right one? What would you have selected?

Note:  This post is sponsored by MTI Baths.  All of the opinions are mine, I promise.



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Building Our Dream Home – Selecting Flooring

We’ve been plugging away with construction of our new home and are definitely making progress! Lots of “construction-y” items like sheetrock, plaster, roofing, etc. has been covered, but nothing “fun”. Until now! FINALLY, it’s time to start thinking about a design item…hardwood flooring! Yippee! It’s a major decision and I’m excited to make it.

Truth be told, I love real, authentic hardwood flooring. It makes me so happy….whenever I can use it, I do. It beats laminate, carpet, and luxury vinyl every time. There’s something really warm and cozy about walking on hardwood floors. Growing up in Miami, it certainly wasn’t something I saw a lot of. But moving to northern Florida opened up a whole new world to me. Fireplaces…real hardwood floors…brick..what are these things!? I loved them all and couldn’t get enough.

So, with that being said, hardwood flooring was definitely on tap for my new home. Let’s dive into the selection process, step by step. How exciting!

Our new home…underway!

*If you’re just joining us, this is another installment of a series documenting the building of our personal dream home. So far we’ve tackled:

Inspiration | Floorplan | Location | Breaking Ground | Roofing | Windows | Insulation | Sheetrock & Plaster  | Selecting Paint

Where to Start

Just as much as I knew I wanted to use real wood throughout my home, I also knew where I wanted to get it from…Shaw Floors. Hands down, Shaw Floors is the go to in my book.  They lead the design field in fresh, new introductions and have a quality that’s unmatched. Clients love them and so do I.

I was lucky enough to score an invitation to Shaw Floors Headquarters in Dalton, Georgia, which I was tickled pink about. I happily drove myself up there to see, firsthand, what they had. Talk about a dream day.

The Mothership!

The team welcomed me with open arms and showed me all around. Good grief, they have some beautiful things! Carpet, tile/stone, luxury vinyl, hardwood…you name it. All beautiful, but I had my heart set on hardwood.


I was introduced to their brand new premium line of hardwood from The Gallery collection, which you can see here. The style in this image is Expressions, which is unbelievably gorgeous. It’s a white oak product, which is completely on trend, and comes in 10 great colors. I loved it.

What I really like about this line is that the planks are wide and the finishes are gorgeous! You can see the entire line here. I quickly singled out Harmony as my favorite and it became a contender!


With dreams of  Expressions in Harmony racing in my head,  I then came across another beautiful style in The Gallery collection. Ohh…now this is what I had in mind. Oak-y, grainy, traditional hardwood floor that would “ground” my white cabinets, walls and trim. A classic that would never go out of style.

This style is called Castlewood Oak and is absolutely stunning! Two colors quickly jumped out as contenders: Drawbridge and Arrow. Both feature traditional dark wood with a grayish glaze.

Shaw Floors Castlewood Oak in Drawbridge
Shaw Floors Castlewood Oak in Arrow
Shaw Floors Castlewood Oak in Arrow

Well, now I don’t know what to do!? I love all three of these. To remind myself of my direction and vision for the home, I pulled out my trusty inspiration board. What would look best with this? Honestly, all three work and work really well.

Decision Time

I knew I wouldn’t make the decision right there and would want some time to think about it. I gathered samples and took them home to ponder. Three seems like a good, workable number to choose from and is often the amount I would advise for a client.

I also thought I’d dig around a little and see how they look online, in a large space. Shaw Floors website is great for that! You can see how it looks “down” on the floor via their new Floorvana + virtual tool where you can view different flooring options in your home!  Again, reminding myself what I tell clients…don’t just look at it head on, look at it “down” on the floor.

I poked around their site and compared the three finalists.

Shaw Floors Expressions in Harmony
Shaw Floors Castlewood Oak in Drawbridge
Shaw Floors Castlewood Oak in Arrow

Going back to the site, I compared and contrasted the technical specs of the hardwoods. Shaw has a handy, dandy chart that makes it easy. I dove in to see if there were any glaring differences between the two styles (two of the contenders are the same collection) which might make it easier.

Ok, here we go…

•Both were nice, wide planks (7.5″) which I like.

•Both were actually White Oak, even though they look so different.

•Both have a high color variation, which is something I always like to see also. It keeps things interesting to have a cohesive variation through the room.

•Both had a wire brushed finish, which I also gravitate towards.

•Both call for the same installation.

Soooo…now what? How do you decide between three things you love?

My Trick

Yet again, I reminded myself of what I tell clients. I always ask, “What’s going ON it?”  What I’m basically asking is,  what type of things will you be putting ON the surface? Contrast always looks good and keeps things interesting. Dark or dark on dark is depressing. Light on light on light is boring, in my humble opinion. So, let’s stop and think…what will go on top of this?  I think this really helps you make a decision.

For my personal home I envisioned white…light…clean…fresh…beautiful things ON this floor. Looking back at the inspiration board, I really liked the idea of all of this fresh looking decor in a rich, dark, grounded space. Would it look good on the lighter Expressions in Harmony? Of course! But what I really had in mind for the space was a classic Hamptons traditional look and I just feel like the darker floor gives it just that.

They're Here!

I excitedly ordered my hardwood flooring and counted the day until it came. Let me tell you, it’s even more striking in person. I LOVE it and can’t wait to see it all down. I convinced my General Contractor (husband) to get started on it, even before we typically would during a project, so I could see it down. A-ma-zing!

Quarantine haircut

Final Thoughts

My take away here is that I LOVE my new Shaw Floors hardwood, like I’m in love with it. I’m happy I went with my gut and selected classic dark hardwood. It looks amazing and the project is really starting to come together! We will follow the installation and have more updates, along with a final reveal, soon! Stick with us and follow the whole blog series here.

Keep this info for yourself and Pin it with this cute little Pin. You never know when you’re going to need it!

Note:  This post is sponsored by Shaw Floors.  All of the opinions are mine, I promise.



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Building Our Dream Home – Selecting Paint

Choosing paint can be one of the trickiest things to do in any home! Color, type, finish, brand… there are a ton of things to consider. When it came to selecting paint for our new dream home I knew it wasn’t going to be easy.

Luckily, I’ve always preached a little system I created years ago, for a fool proof way of selecting paint! It’s an 5-step process which I’m going to share with you all today in the context of how I chose the paint colors for my new house.

*If you’re just joining us, this is another installment of a series documenting the building of our personal dream home.  So far we’ve tackled: Inspiration | Floorplan | Location | Breaking Ground | Roofing | Windows | Insulation | Sheetrock & Plaster  | Selecting Paint Selecting Flooring | Selecting Bathtubs | Selecting Lighting | Selecting Fans | Selecting Cabinets

My Paint Color Selecting System

So this is my infamous paint color selecting system for selecting a main interior color.

1 Inspiration – Find your inspiration and research it

2 Chips -Narrow it down to a handful of colors and grab some chips from the paint store

3 Actual Paint – Buy sample cans of your favorites and put them up on the wall

4 Live With It – Narrow it down to 2 or 3 and paint a large area of each

5 Commit – Make your choice and never look back!

Now we can have a look at each of these points in relation to my home so you can see it happening first hand.

Step 1: Inspiration

I knew what I wanted, I just wasn’t sure how to get there. I wanted fresh, clean, light and bright…but not white. We have a ton of beautiful moulding and trim work that I wanted to showcase with contrasting wall and trim colors, so white-white wasn’t going to cut it. I already had a ton of images saved on my Pinterest boards. A quick look shows some commonalities.

A snapshot of my ever-growing Pinterest boards for inspiration

So, then I narrowed it down and looked at a few rooms to dig into and a few colors to consider. Yes, screens alter the color, but you can get a sense of how it will look overall before you dive into the actual samples.

Step 2: Chips

Next up, let’s look at a few actual paint chips.

In my practice I use large foam paint boards for clients, so I pulled out those that corresponded, also.   I put them in one of the rooms to look at, then switched up their order.

Paint Colors Considered

These are the paint colors I considered for the house…

•Natural Choice SW7011 by Sherwin Williams

•Shoji White SW7042 by Sherwin Williams

•Classic Gray OC-23 by Benjamin Moore

•Oyster White SW7637 by Sherwin Williams

•Heron’s Plume SW6070 by Sherwin Williams

•Ivory Lace SW7013 by Sherwin Williams

Step 3: Actual Paint

I then narrowed down my choices, bought some little sample paint cans from my local store and put them up on the wall. This is a really important thing to do because the lighting in each house can vary a lot due to sunlight.

Then, I put them on an adjacent wall to see how the light changed them.

starting from top left to right, then bottom left to right

• Natural Choice SW7011 by Sherwin Williams

• Shoji White SW7042 by Sherwin Williams

• Classic Gray OC-23 by Benjamin Moore

• Oyster White SW7637 by Sherwin Williams

• Heron’s Plume SW6070 by Sherwin Williams

• Ivory Lace SW7013 by Sherwin Williams

From seeing the different paint colors in various lights (from painting squares on two different facing walls) I could start making decisions to narrow the selection down even further.

Step 4: Live With It

I’m starting to see a few favorites here, so let’s dive in a little deeper to those. I painted an entire corner out in one and added the flooring selection (which is GORGEOUS) and the cabinet and tile colors. It’s looking good!

Make sure you buy sample paint cans in the finish you intend to use if you can. Believe it or not – the color of the paint can change depending on the finish you choose. Don’t believe me? Check out my previous post on Why Sample Cans are Probably Messing You Up.

I think you have to be very aware that that the little sample cans are likely NOT what you are going to be painting in. It’s totally worth it to go ahead and buy a quart or even gallon of the EXACT paint you plan to choose, before you decide on the final color. Most people do not use Satin for walls, so you will likely need to do this.

This is the larger paint can vs. standard sample paint…

I couldn’t believe how different the paint color looks with the two different finishes!!!

Let’s Talk About Finishes

Now that we’re talking about finish…what exactly are the finishes available?

Flat (Matte): No shine at all. Perfect for for low traffic areas like living rooms and bedrooms, as well as ceilings. It’s my go to every time.

Eggshell: Has a tiny bit of shine and is a good choice for moderate traffic areas such as living rooms.

Satin: Has a bit more shine and works well in high traffic areas. It is also super wipeable which is why it is perfect for kids, kitchens and bathrooms.

Semi-Gloss: Shiny but not glass-like. This is what you should use on cabinets and trim.

Hi-Gloss:  Shiny! This gives an almost glass-like finish and is perfect for high use surfaces or furniture.

I stick with FLAT personally because I love the matte finish.

Step 5: Commit! Our Final Selection

What did we ultimately decide on? We decided to tweak some of the standard colors and create a “custom color”. I like to call it Evans Greige. It’s the perfect balance of gray and beige without any harsh blue undertones. It’s the perfect warm neutral. It’s very light, which will be new to us in our personal home, but is just what I want. The white cabinet door contrasts with it nicely, which is perfect! What do I use for trim? I’m using white cabinets in the Kitchen and I typically color match them for the trim throughout. This is going to be perfect!

We decided to go with Sherwin Williams Duration paint in the Flat finish. It is perfect!

If you’re interested in the exact formula I ultimately decided on, please click here where it is available for purchase ($29). 🙂 Feel free to pin.



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Kids’ Classic Bath Renovation in Gainesville

We had the pleasure of working with a fun Gainesville family to renovate their entire Kitchen, Dining & Family Room a few years ago and now we’ve been called back in to redo their Kids’ Bath. This bathroom is a workhorse of the home, serving two (beyond adorable) kids and visiting guests, all in one.  The home is on a beautiful little lake in Gainesville, surrounded by lemon and orange trees, and is totally picturesque.  A wonderful  family like this deserves a great Guest/Kids Bath, right?  Evans Construction & Design can help!

The Before

The Plan

Classic, fresh and clean was the scheme for this bath. We also planned to rearrange it a bit, moving the shower down to the end where the door once was. This creates a more private bathroom with just one entrance and allows for a larger shower.


The After

We are so happy with how it turned out. Let’s take a look!

Ceramic Text Bath Accessories | Whale lotion dispenser | Whale bath towels | Frosty Carrina Quartz countertop | Kohler Artifacts brushed nickel shower head | Sherwin Williams Rhinestone | floor tile | Adex Hampton white field tile

Embroidered towels | Frosty Carrina Quartz counter top | Kohler Artifacts brushed nickel widespread faucet and handles | Kohler Ladena undermount sink | 4-light vanity bar

Ceramic Text Bath Accessories | Whale lotion dispenser | Whale bath towels | Frosty Carrina Quartz countertop | Sherwin Williams Rhinestone Kohler brushed nickel double towel rod

custom cabinets by Carson’s Cabinetry | drawer pulls | floor tile

Kohler Artifacts brushed nickel widespread faucet and handles

4-light vanity bar

Kohler Artifacts brushed nickel shower handle | Adex Hampton white field tile | floor tile | linear shower drain

Adex Hampton white field tile | floor tile

Whale bath rug | floor tile

Whale Bath Towels | Sherwin Williams Rhinestone | Kohler brushed nickel double towel rod

Frosty Carrina Quartz countertop | Kohler Artifacts brushed nickel widespread faucet and handles | Kohler Ladena undermount sink

Embroidered towels | Sherwin Williams Rhinestone

Whale Bath Towels | Sherwin Williams Rhinestone | Kohler brushed nickel double towel rod | Adex Hampton white field tile


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Hello there! I’m Lori Evans, Interior Designer and co-owner of Evans Construction & Design. Welcome to my world! I created this blog to share all the projects, tips, ideas and inspiration that I have. My goal is to help you make your rooms look even better than your Pinterest boards!

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