As promised, here’s a little sneak peek of our progress with our living room makeover. If you’re new here, we have so far updated a pair of Ikea Billy bookshelves with base and crown molding and it’s made such a difference. We also painted our walls a warm green/grey with subtle yellow undertones and I love the cozy feel it has created in the space. I now regret living with white walls for so long.? At first I was afraid F&B French Gray (matched at a local paint shop) might look too dark and make our little apartment look and feel cave-like, but the two large windows make the living room walls lighter and the room looks bigger and more interesting than it ever was.?


Over the last few months I collected inspiration – images and fabric samples, as well as some new accessories. eBay, local antique shops and estate sales have been great places for one-of-a kind pieces. I even bid on a tortoise table and won!?This past weekend we braved the cold to attend Olde Hadley Flea Market and came back with a handful of stuff. I found a sweet little blue and white plate which I’m already using as a catch all for keys…

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This Mill Valley project by award-winning architect Gil Schafer III in collaboration with British interior designer Rita Konig has been the topic of numerous blog posts, several of them right here at Café Design. I do realize that I’ve crossed the fine line between admiration and obsession a long time ago, but recently Gil Schafer has updated his portfolio and never before seen images of this home, as well as others from his book A Place To Call Home, are now available in high resolution digital format and I just couldn’t resist. For those of you that had fallen for this project just as hard as I did, here’s an updated tour with photography by Eric Piasecki. And because each time I post images of this home on Instagram (quite often) I get asked about paint colors, art work and furniture sources, I’ve also included the original captions from an Elle Décor article written by Celia Barbour?from a few years back.

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Happy Friday, all! It’s been a busy week on our end which left me with less time than usual to blog. Between PTA meetings, interior design projects at home and field trips with my little one,? I’ll have to keep today’s post short and sweet…

So far, two of my favorite design books of the fall are Nora Murphy’s Country House Style and Amanda Lindroth’s Island Hopping. They are both awesome, I wrote about them here and here. Amanda Lindroth’s book is a treasure trove of eye-candy with a whooping 25 projects (some of which never before published) all wrapped-up under one cover and it’s a real treat. This Great Cranberry Island home in particular caught my eye? and when I saw it on the cover of ID Boston Magazine Fall 2018 issue, I knew I had to show it to you! The living room pictured below is my favorite, so pretty and cozy, and very Tom Scheerer I might add which is never ever a bad thing ???


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Instagram is my favorite hangout place when I want to meet kindred spirits and feel inspired. It has become a cliché in the design world because it’s been so often said but it has been said so much because it happens to be true. Instagram has become the great connector and by far one of the sweetest people I befriended on Instagram is Heather Strommen, of the blog Sweet Shady Lane. I met Heather a year and a half ago and was instantly charmed by her friendly demeanor and excellent taste in design. I soon discovered that we share a love of relaxed and cozy interiors, an appreciation for blue and white and, we even have the same favorite interior designers we look up to.

Heather has recently opened her own design consultation business, perfectly complemented by The Vignette Box. A carefully curated selection of decorative objects hand-picked by Heather herself, The Vignette Box will imbue the same sense of style to your own vignettes. Her home, lovingly named Mona Bina, which means Home For All, has been Heather’s design laboratory over the years and, as illustrated by the pictures below, she has a knack for creating beauty in every nook and cranny. It is then no wonder that her work has been featured in several national?magazines and her Vignette Boxes were listed in Minneapolis Home Design as one of the 100 best of local design. Today, ?I am delighted to welcome Heather for a quick and fun Q& A session!?

Q: Welcome Heather!?I’m so happy we’re finally doing this. Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your passion for interior design. How did it all begin?

A: Honestly, I started decorating around 9 years old. My mother would come home and I would have rearranged the living room sofa and moved knick knacks from here to there…I always loved the day we would clean my own room and were able to make little changes, like kitty cornering the bed. Sometimes, I still feel like that little girl after I’ve moved things around in my own home—excited, renewed and ready to accessorize.

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Although not literally on my bookshelf yet, since I haven’t been able to part with it for too long and it is always strategically placed nearby, on my coffee table or nightstand, Nora Murphy’s new book is a delightful read. It is a charming, down-to-earth guide to capturing that soulful feel of a well-appointed country house in your own home, wherever that may be. More than a set of rules,?country house style is, according to Nora, a state of mind. It’s a cozy and pretty home where family and friends are always welcome, a home that honors tradition and the past, decorated with care and attention to detail with things that are not “precious” but treasured. More than anything, a country house is warm and personal.

All good things so, if you love country homes and dream of one day owning your own, this book is for you. Part wish book, part primer, Nora Murphy’s Country House Style will have you both entertained and inspired. Starting with the excellent photography, specially commissioned, and the large format, Nora takes us on a whirlwind tour of her own home as well as that five real, carefully selected country homes of some of our favorite decorators and bloggers around the U.S. I’ve been savoring every page!

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