Tried and True Design Elements

Over the years, I have noticed definite solid design decisions that are always in style. There are some elements in particular, that stand the test of time and become classic must haves for almost any home. As I have been getting completed designs photographed or even when I talk to clients about potential new projects, I have found some recurring topics and accessories discussed time and time again. I have rounded up some of my favorites for you today!

Warm Gray Walls

SHP_Proj_Classic_living_106_DSC08593Project Classic Living, Sarah Heppell Photography

Whether they have a tinge of green or blue coming through, a soft gray base wall color is a great jumping off point in a space. It allows the colors and patterns to come through in the accessories or also allows the showstopper to be in the ceiling color or the lighting.

Gourd Table Lamps

project vg 39Project Vintage Gem, Sarah Heppell Photography

SHP_Proj_Classic_living_019_DSC08451Project Classic Living, Sarah Heppell Photography

Oh my goodness, my love for gourd lamps runs deep! I have even been known to use this style of lamp in more than one room in a design project. I love oversized table lamps with large shades. This style allows you to bring either a neutral or bold base color to the lamp. It also has a nice sculptural shape to it, which helps to bring interest and dimension to a room.

Patterned Rugs

Why This Works 1Project Vintage Gem, Sarah Heppell Photography

{There’s another gourd lamp!!} Patterned rugs are a great way to bring an artistic touch to a room. It can bring color and texture to the mix, while also reinforcing your color palette. In this loft space I designed, the blue plaid rug brought in more of the favorite color and also softened the room and design.

Built In Shelving

windsong project studio mcgee

Design by Studio McGee

Whether this is achieved with a furniture piece or actually built in to the home, the look of custom shelving always takes your room to the next level. I am currently {and always, for that matter} loving the look of white built ins with either a color or grasscloth added to the back of the unit. #beauty

What design elements do you love and feel will always work, even through ever changing design trends?!?

Before and After: Project Classic Living {The Nursery}

Welcome back to another before and after. This is a favorite of mine from Project Classic Living, because today… it’s all about the nursery. I love designing kids rooms and with two kids of my own, I know how important function can be! It’s also important to include the style in there as well, and there are so many great products out there now, so you can have both. I also love to design a nursery with future years in mind. Instead of picking a particular theme, I wanted the room to grow with their daughter and be a space that works even ten years from now. The only item in here that would need to be changed, is the crib! The changing pad can easily be moved off of the dresser and it will look like a regular furniture piece. This nursery was the first project my clients and I worked on together, about a year and a half ago. We have moved on throughout the house and it’s so fun to be able to bring that similar style and look to other areas of the home. Of course you can have more fun in kids rooms and divert from the plan a bit, but we also stayed true to the home’s charm, character and overall design aesthetic. All after pictures are by Sarah Heppell.






















After Photos by Sarah Heppell

We went with a light, delicate wall color for this nursery… Halo by Benjamin Moore. It is the same color we used in the living room and dining room. That is the way that I tied this space to the rest of the home. It was fun adding more soft, delicate colors to the room. I framed two pretty floral fabrics in mirrored frames, beside the crib. My clients already had the crib, rug and dresser. We also used their existing ceiling light fixture, which we believe to be original to the home. I selected the art, seating, window treatments and accessories. It has been so much fun working with them! Their kitchen was featured on Ballard Designs Instagram page yesterday. Thank you, Ballard Designs!




Tomorrow, I’ll be back with a Why This Works post and then back with the final before and after on Thursday… the Bathroom!

Project Classic Living Reveal {The Nursery and Bathroom}

Showing the reveals from Project Classic Living has been such a blast for me this week! I want to give a huge thank you to my clients for allowing Sarah and I to come into the home and photograph the spaces. It means the world to me to have this project shown in its best light. The nursery was where it all began! My clients found me through a Houzz search and the rest is history! We first met about a year and a half ago and I am so happy to have met such a wonderful family! Thank you to Sarah Heppell again, for making this home shine into a light, bright space on such a cloudy day. Of course, the rest of the week had beautiful blue skies! But it didn’t matter- Sarah made it appear as if it was the sunniest of days. :) Have fun viewing the nursery, followed by the hallway bathroom!














And now the hallway bathroom…










So there you have it… Project Classic Living! We will be working together in some more spaces in their home, so stay tuned. I will definitely show more of these rooms in the future, including the before images. The contractor did an amazing job with this bathroom. Plumbing was relocated and it is a completely different space. I hope you enjoyed the reveals this week. This is the most I have posted in one week, in a long time. 😉

E – Design {The Kid’s Rooms}

I mentioned in a previous post this week, that I had some new e-design projects to show! My client and I have been working on her basement and living room, but have also completed her son’s and daughter’s rooms as well. Kids rooms are so much fun to design. As a mom of two kiddos myself, I know it has to be fun, whimsical, meet their style and definitely have loads of function. There should be room for storage to corral all of those toys! But who said that the toy storage can’t be functional and super stylish?!? In a kid’s space, it’s all about having fun with color and taking it up a notch, so it still works with the rest of the house, but has its own unique flair. Up first, her son’s room! Her son loves outer space, snow boarding and the color red. His mom wasn’t too sure about using too much red, which I agreed, so we were creative and used it in small doses.

The Design Plan

OB-Vintage Charm


My client’s son desperately wanted a bunk bed and we found this affordable option that we plan to paint a deep navy blue. {Hale Navy by Benjamin Moore, to be exact.} The green you see at the top of the board will be the walls and is Raleigh Green, also by BM. The red will show up in the bookcase, throw blankets and in a subtle way through the art. Toy storage can definitely be fun and colorful and I just love the idea of this red bookcase filled with books and woven baskets! The plaid rug on the board is a favorite of mine and is the Cooper Jute Rug in Navy by Dash and Albert. I used it in Project Vintage Gem and I can attest to its durability and soft jute material.

Project Vintage Gem

Why This Works 1

Photo by Sarah Heppell Photography

Next up, is the daughter’s room. She is transitioning out of a crib and this sweet, whimsical space will grow with her.

The Design Plan

OB-Girl Charm

Her space will have the entire color scheme shown in the round lights, changing pad cover and pillow fabric. The string of lights is so cool and is found HERE. With this site, you can customize the colors and length. I plan to have this installed above the dresser and around art that my client already has for the space. The stunning floral fabric is from my favorite go to source for fabric, Tonic Living. It is their Eastern Charm, Hibiscus fabric and it is gorgeous in person. That will be a huge throw pillow for the neutral bed. Green will play a role in this space, like the red did for the boy room. The same bookcase will be in a bright green for this room and I also replicated that color in the table lamp. Her bed will have a trundle component, so it has the same effect of a bunk bed, but can be tucked away when not in use. I have used the cloud like pendant in other rooms and I love that it is so versatile!

Aren’t kids rooms so much fun?!? 

Completed E-Design {The Basement}

It is always fun to put together a design that both myself and the home owner love. As I constructed this basement plan in particular, I kept thinking, Wow, this is so them! I hope they feel the same way. Lucky for me, they did! This past year, I have worked with my long distance clients on their family room and children’s rooms. We have now moved on to their basement, which will do triple duty: play area for the kids, extra living space and a guest room. To save space and make this usable as a guest room, we chose a modular sofa that is a sleeper/sectional. My clients also wanted to go bolder with fun accent colors and make this room their style, but a more loud, eclectic version of their style. Here is the design plan I came up with…

The Design Plan

OB-Eclectic Basement


I just cannot wait to see this plan come together! I love the color mix from the pillows, throw blankets and accessories. The art print on the top of the board brings all of these colors together. I took inspiration from this fun, eclectic living space designed by the talented sister duo, Kirsten Kelli.


color combo

Design By

What a fun jumping off point! I love that the base of this inspiration room is neutral, but the accessories are bold and don’t take themselves too seriously. It is a fresh, modern and eclectic space, which is what we were going for in the basement. To remind you of the family room design I did for my clients, I used the same fun colors that they enjoy, but in a more neutral way…

OB-den retreat

They wanted the upstairs to stay neutral and calm and take a more eclectic, bold approach in the basement. I will make sure to show any and all after pictures here! I will also reveal the kid’s room designs soon, too. Have a great day!

What Do You Love About Your Home?

I love that question, because it gives us the opportunity to really think about what we already LOVE about our home. So often, it’s easier to think about the to do lists and the ongoing thoughts of what we want to change, instead of realizing what we already have in front of us. My friend Lisa, from the blog Shine Your Light, asked me to participate in her weekly series called Shine Home Love. I was asked to choose a favorite spot in my home and talk about why I love it! Stop by her blog to see what room I chose and why. Here’s a hint…

I love our hand written wall with an inspirational quote for our kids…

family room

And I also love our slip covered chair from the good old college days!

slip covered chair chair

Stop by Lisa’s blog HERE to read the post!

Bonus Room E-Design Plan

I am excited to reveal the design plan today, for a client’s bonus room! You may remember this client from her first home, HERE. We worked on a few of her rooms in her first home and I even got a chance to see the real estate after photos. Now with her new home, she’s looking to make one bedroom do double duty and have it as a play room for her kids, as well as a guest room. Let’s get right to the design plan…

OB-Bonus Room Chic


I just love that this space will be colorful, neutral and have loads of texture and function. There will be spaces for toy storage, creative play, a place to display art work and even a day bed that conforms to a double bed for guests! There will be a lot packed into this space and you get to see how it’s laid out in the floor plan, below…

floor plan

Amber B Design

Do you see how the walls pop out with two windows? Those are the dormers in the space and will soon be spots for new built in seating, wall sconces and ledges for books! Eeeek I can’t wait! The room has dramatic slanted ceilings, which we will make more visually pleasing with Hygge & West’s Daydream wallpaper in Green. Ohhh so lovely!! I look forward to showing you the process along the way. Thank you to my amazing client for allowing me to show the journey! Stay tuned…

Before and After {#projectdelicatenursery Reveal!!}

I am so excited to share my latest client reveal! I have been working on a girl’s nursery with a wonderful local client. She lives in a gorgeous 1930’s home and the room has a lot of great potential. The space has beautiful hardwood floors, glass door knobs and loads of character. My client did a great job purchasing the area rug, dresser and crib before we met. I came in to make suggestions on wall color, accessories and the rest of the furnishings. Here is the room before we started…


We immediately started talking about wall color and how we wanted to lighten it up and give the nursery a warm glow that feels cozy and inviting. She wanted the space to feel soft and delicate and a room her soon to be daughter can grow with. We met a couple of weeks later and I presented her with the design plan…

The Design Plan

{To read more about this design board, I spoke about it in a post HERE.}

We basically went ahead with every plan, but changed the art a bit along the way. Here are the after pictures…

My clients are so happy with the room and I am so excited they love it! There are only a few elements left to fully complete the room. We have a beautiful paper cut mobile going above the crib that has yet to arrive. My client chose the gold lotus ceiling pendant, but it is currently out of stock. In the meantime, we also love the character of the original brass fixture. That might work out after all. Also, wall ledges for book display will be mounted to the right of the glider. I will go into more detail about the space in the coming weeks. Now we anxiously await for this beautiful bundle of joy to arrive!
Thank you so much to my amazing clients for allowing me to share the nursery! 

{E – Design} A Chic, Fun Playroom

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!! I wanted to check in and show you an e-design board that I recently completed. My client was looking for a fun, stylish space for her family to spend time together and relax. It will be used as a playroom, but since it is off of the upstairs hallway, they also want it to be a chic room that flows with the rest of their home. I wanted it to be fun and colorful for the kids, but also neutral with a modern/traditional mix, like my client enjoys. My client already has a sofa and bookshelves for the room. I came in and added additional furniture, accessories and paint colors.

The Design

The Floor Plan

The wall color is the soft gray on the top left corner of the board. The dark brown/black shade will be for a full wall chalkboard. The coral color is for the back of their existing bookshelves. The triptych octopus art will go above the sofa. She will be able to recreate this art piece by following this tutorial. The pillows are on the bottom of the board and really bring the color palette together. I am so excited she loves the plan and can’t wait to see after photos!

Our Tee Pee Reveal {Now in the Family Room}

Don’t adjust your screen… this is a new post! Yesterday, I revealed our new tee pee in the finished basement. The kids love it and for now, they have decided that it would be fun to bring it upstairs. They wanted to watch cartoons in it, so it’s now in our family room. I actually think this is a great idea, since the picture quality is so much better to show all of you! That’s probably not what the kiddos had in mind, but works for me and the blog!  :) So here is the second reveal, in much better lighting, of our new tee pee…

The Family Room Reveal

So there you have it! Enough tee pee pictures for a while. I am so glad we did this. It’s fun, whimsical and will create so many great memories. Luckily, it’s easy to move. This will probably not be the last location. :)