Over the Tabletop 2015

The North Mecklenburg Woman’s Club recently held their 7th annual Over the Tabletop & Sip and Shop at The Peninsula Club in Cornelius. Over the last 100 years, this organization has brought together women to promote and support social, educational and civic progress in our community. Members believe that in creating a better life for people in our communities, we create a better life for each other. The club spends all year long raising funds only to give it all away at the end of the year and then start all over again.

Over the Tabletop is just one of many fundraising events and it showcases the talent of many local interior designers and small business owners. In addition to their design contest, there was also a very well attended silent auction and Sip and Shop consisting of thirty local vendors and artisans selling their merchandise in anticipation of the upcoming holiday season. This was our first time participating in the event and I must say I was impressed! All tabletop designs by professionals and amateurs alike were amazing and I want to feature several designs and winners here to inspire you this holiday season.

“An Evening with Christian” – This play on Fifty Shades of Grey design by Keith Johnson at Blacklion won the President’s Award for Best Overall Design. This one set the scene with some not so obvious risque props incorporated into the design.

"An Evening with Christian"

“An Evening with Christian”

“Christmas at the Lake” by stager and designer Lisa McCoy at Centerpiece Home Staging won the Over the Top award for extreme design excellence. McCoy’s design was all about layering and incorporated a multitude of textures within her overall design. She also handmade and decorated the cake and small desserts herself which were an inspiration from Pinterest.com

"Christmas at the Lake"

“Christmas at the Lake”

Handmade desserts and cake decorated by designer Lisa McCoy

Handmade desserts and cake decorated by designer Lisa McCoy

“Mele Kalikamaka” by Starr Miller Interior Design, Inc. in Cornelius won A Theme Come True Award for her best execution of her Hawaiian Christmas song theme. We loved the dripping Hawaiian flowers backdrop.

"Mele Kalikamaka"

“Mele Kalikamaka”

“There’s No Business Like Snow Business” by Realtor and amateur designer Dana Greshko at Wilson Realty Co. won the Holiday Spirit Award for Holiday Design Excellence. The snowman place settings were so adorable!

"There's No Business Like Snow Business"

“There’s No Business Like Snow Business”

Snowman Place Setting

Snowman Place Setting

“Have Your Elf a Merry Little Christmas” was created by woman’s club volunteer and event coordinator Barbara Kasprzak.

"Have Your Elf a Merry Little Christmas"

“Have Your Elf a Merry Little Christmas”

“Christmas in Fairy Land” was a mantle and hearth entry created by Maureen Fitzpatrick Collins at The White Azaelia where her booth is showcased inside Blacklion, Huntersville NC.

Hearth Design

“Thanksgiving” side board and buffet design by Kelly George at Centerpiece Home Staging was one of two Thanksgiving themed designs this year at Over the Top. George handmade her pumpkin topiaries and set the mood with candle lighting and leopard buffet lamps.












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Maximize your lighting budget when you update your home

4-light bronze strapped metal pendant

4-light bronze strapped metal pendant will be used in foyer (from LOWES)

A real estate professional that I’ve been working with for many years recently purchased a total fixer-upper in our area for their own retirement home. The home has good bones and desirable ranch floor plan; however, this property had been a rental property for many years and was in need of a complete facelift. The home is now getting all new flooring, paint, and lighting. My client had to set budgets and make some compromises because of budget. Instead of replacing the kitchen cabinets, we are painting them and the cabinets are getting new hardware.

When it came time to make lighting selections, my client’s budget was $3,000 for the entire home. I met with her at a nearby lighting store to do an initial consult to find out her preferences and dislikes. When she fell in love with this Murray Feiss oval drum pendant light for her dining room (on sale for $960), it was dismissed almost instantly since this single pendant alone would be one third of her total budget. I convinced my client that I was up to the challenge to get her what she wanted within her budget. In addition to Lee Lighting, I traveled to Lowes, Home Depot, LightStyles, and Plantation Lighting stores. I made a spreadsheet and played around with numbers and styles at each store so my client would have an exact list of what she should purchase within her budget. Twenty-four fixtures were recommended from all five stores at a grand total of $2,964.74 before tax including her stunning Feiss pendant. My client was very happy with the choices including a much more affordable chandelier from Lowes to replace the ceiling fan in their master bedroom with vaulted ceilings and this allen + roth sphere pendant light for their foyer. Design challenges including budget can be overcome if you are willing to make some compromises and work through the challenge with an appropriate trade professional. There are many directories available online to help you find a professional including your local Homebuilders Association (www.lakenormanhba.com) and HOUZZ.COM.

Murray Feiss Lucia Oval Drum Pendant

Murray Feiss Lucia Oval Drum Pendant

Posted in Decor, Decorating Tips, Interior Design | Tagged

Renovation Dream Team Transforms Historic Home

Burton Home - Mud+Laundry After

Mud Room & Laundry After Renovation

While not perfect, the Burton family decided to purchase their 1947 home in historic Dilworth because of its desirable location and because they had vision and immediately saw the home’s renovation potential, a gift not all buyers possess. Rather than starting with an architect first, this family selected a team to work with and renovate the house into their dream home. Their team consisted of architect Don Duffy, Henderson Building Group (licensed general contractor), and interior designer Kristen Enwright to collaborate and address the homes short comings and bring their vision to life.

Problem: The original kitchen in this home was extremely small and compartmentalized from the rest of the home. The Burton’s desired a more open floor plan with more space for entertaining. The original home had three bedrooms and an addition was done to the home in the 1980’s to add a second floor that included three more bedrooms and a bathroom.

Burton Home - Before Kitchen that was converted to mud+laundry

Here’s the former kitchen before renovation. This space was converted to create a new mud room and laundry facility.

Solution: The Burton’s remodeling team came up with a brilliant plan to reconfigure the floor plan by converting two of three bedrooms on the main floor into a new open concept kitchen/living space and converted the former 10×15’ kitchen into a mud room and laundry space conveniently located next to the home’s exterior entrance. This new floor plan is much more functional and their general contractor was able to utilize their existing plumbing from the former kitchen to plumb the new laundry space.

Laundry Facility After Renovation

Laundry Facility After Renovation

Bedroom 1 before conversion into new living space.

Bedroom 1 before conversion into new living space.

Burton Home - Bedroom 1 before converting to Kitchen

Bedroom 2 before converting to new kitchen

Burton Home - After Open Kitchen-Living Space

New open concept with kitchen and living room in one open space.

Taking the team approach to renovate their home served the Burton’s well. It was a smart renovation because the team was able to collaborate during the design process and not after plans were already drawn, which resulted in less changes and re-design time in the end. The team was also able to save the homeowners money by utilizing existing fixtures when available. Renovations are intrusive and homeowners need to do their homework and choose their team members wisely. Reach out to friends and family who have gone through similar projects and be your own advocate to ensure that the transition goes smoothly.

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Interior door style

Image via Houzz

Image via Houzz

For many years, white interior trim has been most prevalent in homes here in the south. Older homes with dark stained interior doors or trim are often painted white to update the look and feel of a home; however, I’ve started to see a shift toward black or charcoal gray doors and trim in both new construction, recently remodeled homes, and even in new luxury apartments. Homeowners are finding this look both elegant and sophisticated. Almost anything can be painted with the right product, and dark paint can make even the stock builder grade door look classy. You can paint just the interior doors dark and it’s perfectly acceptable to also paint your trim (baseboards and window trim) the same color. Popular color choices for this type of project include Benjamin Moore Graphite, Black Suede by Behr, Onyx Black by Glidden – all in semi-gloss finish.

Dark paint can make a stock builder grade door look classy.

Dark paint can make a stock builder grade door look classy.

Another interior door trend that has been gaining popularity is the use of decorative barn doors inside the house. This rustic look brings both style and character into a home.  I recently worked on a project in Charlotte where the homeowner installed double sliding barn doors in their master bedroom. The dual doors nicely frame the entry into their large and luxurious master bath. Sometimes these doors can be purely decorative such as the kitchen door featured here. This door frame separates the home’s foyer from the kitchen and this custom barn door makes a statement upon entering the home. The homeowner hired Chad Albertson Rustic Home to design, build, and install for approximately $1,100. The homeowner felt this was a great price given the cost of hardware alone. Readers can view other projects by Albertson on his Facebook page Chad Albertson Rustic Home.


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5 Interior design trends that won’t break the bank

Interior design trends tend to change every seven years on average. Do you remember the “hunter green” color scheme that was very popular in the 1980’s and carried on into the 1990’s? Only then was it replaced with gold tones and now blue-grays. I’ve consulted on hundreds if not thousands of homes over the years prior to them going on the market, and I’ve seen all of these color schemes from different eras that have come and gone. Oftentimes homeowners don’t change their style with the time or I find that it’s not the home that’ s dated but rather the personal property in the home.  This combination can make it more difficult to sell your home and can decrease the value of what your home may be worth.  If you’re looking to update your home and give it a fresh new look, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars.  Here are some affordable suggestions on things you can do to give your home a fresh new look whether you are selling or just looking for a change:

Lamps: Pleated lamp shades are out and drum shades are in! Mercury lamps are very popular and trending right now and can be quite beautiful. You can either update just the shade or replace the whole lamp. Donate former lighting to a worthwhile organization such as Habitat for Humanity Re-Store.

Mercury Lamp with drum shade

Mercury Lamp with drum shade

Linens: Do you have the bedroom blues? Many department stores have “bed-in-a-bag” ensembles that include comforter, bed skirt, and matching pillow shams. Oftentimes the set will also include accent pillows as well. Many department stores carry a great selection of current design trend bedding sets – Belk, Dillard’s, Macy’s, Kohl’s, Home Goods, and even Wal-Mart has a great bedding line from Better Homes and Gardens!

Pillows: I often see dated tapestry, floral, and ruffle pillows when consulting on residential real estate. Switch out the pillows on your sofas for a fresh new look. You can layer pillows in each corner of your sofa – for example a print pillow layered over solid color pillow of similar color scheme or vice versa.

Pillows from William-Sonoma

Pillows from William-Sonoma

Area Rugs: Both pillows and area rugs can make a statement in your living quarters. The colors in both should complement each other rather than compete against each other.  Target sells many great area rugs at affordable prices – check out their Threshold brand of rugs. Lowes Home Improvement is another great place to find area rugs that are both attractive and affordable.

Threshold area rug from Target

Threshold area rug from Target

Cosmetic Bathroom Update: Bathrooms are often the smallest rooms in a home, making them very affordable to spruce up. All you need to do is buy a new shower curtain, bath towels, and new floor mat. Again the Threshold brand at Target has many new exciting design choices to choose from in their Bed & Bath department. A fresh coat of paint on the wall can help tie it all together for relatively little money spent. One of my new favorites is Sherwin Williams Passive Gray.

Sherwin Williams Passive Gray

Sherwin Williams Passive Gray

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Step up ways to utilize space under your stairs

Under the stairs office niche by Sage Design Studio (photo credit: Leslie Goodwin Photography)

Under the stairs office niche by Sage Design Studio (photo credit: Leslie Goodwin Photography)

The space underneath stairs in homes is often left underutilized by designers and builders.  This area in the home is actually a great resource to gain a few more square feet of functional space in your home. The more common but “boring” use of this space includes coat closets and pantries or even a small bath or laundry room; however, I’ve come across some really great projects and found several more unique applications for utilizing space underneath stairs.

Sage Design Studio, Inc. in Toronto, Canada carved out a study niche underneath the staircase shown here. There was plenty of space to create an ample built-in work surface with drawers for storage below as well as open shelving above – a great place to store invoices, statements and other important records in the magazine file boxes shown here. This project also happened to be a basement level renovation that included relocation of the laundry room, creation of a new powder room, and the owners requested a nice playroom for the kids with a TV area as well. This built-in office niche was a fabulous bonus that wasn’t part of the initial plan.

Meanwhile Brillo Home Improvements Inc. (Milwaukee, Wisconsin) completed a basement level renovation and used this space to create a custom wet bar featured here. The bar comes with built-in wine rack, beverage refrigerator, sink, and puck lights underneath the staircase. A stacked stone veneer backsplash completed this niche. Before renovation, this space was concealed with dated side paneling and the room felt more like a dungeon. This transformation was amazing and NARI thought so too. The National Association of the Remodeling Industry presented Brillo with a gold award for this project in 2012.

Brillo’s  under the stairs  wet bar after renovation (photo credit: Brillo Home Improvements Inc and Edmunds Studios)

Brillo’s under the stairs wet bar after renovation (photo credit: Brillo Home Improvements Inc and Edmunds Studios)

Before Brillo’s renovation, staircase space was hidden and concealed with dated paneling.

Before Brillo’s renovation, staircase space was hidden and concealed with dated paneling.

Last but not least I’ve seen several designers use this space to create pet caves or playhouses for the children in the home. If you’ve been pondering a renovation for your home, the internet can be a great resource for ideas to come up with your own unique way to utilize otherwise dead zones in your home. Projects like these can be found on HOUZZ.COM, PINTEREST, Bob Vila Nation, or other inspirational home décor sites online.

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Eclectique Market Celebrates Two-Year Anniversary in Lake Norman


Lillian Vandiver Hoopaugh, Owner Eclectique Market

Lake Norman area Eclectique Market celebrated its two year anniversary in March. If you haven’t visited this small home décor and furniture store yet, it’s worth the stop! Many shoppers claim they have driven past the stores Hwy. 115 location hundreds of times before finally visiting for the first time only to regret that they hadn’t stopped sooner.

This quaint home décor shop carries a variety of vintage furniture pieces and home décor accessories. Not only is its inventory unique, but the prices are very affordable. During my last visit to the shop, there were several eye-catching pieces displayed for sale. The first was a portable wine bar on casters that was constructed from a pair of shutters and hand-painted wood. There was also a vintage Thomasville High Boy chest of drawers hand painted in midnight blue and a traditional dresser by Basset that had been painted in a custom red finish. Not only are these pieces unique, but they were well-made unlike many of today’s mass produced pieces made overseas.


Handmade portable bar on casters painted in red


Vintage Thomasville High Boy chest hand painted in midnight blue

Vintage Thomasville High Boy chest hand painted in midnight blue

Store owner Lillian Vandiver Hoopaugh hand picks her pieces from estate sales, thrift stores, CraigsList, and local yard sales. She used to custom paint all the pieces herself but as her business grew she needed to bring on three additional custom painters and part-time interior designer (Al Bell) to keep up with demand. In addition to furniture, the store carries an assortment of gifts including jewelry, soaps, candles, custom signs, and purses crafted by local artists. Hoopaugh says the soaps were a huge hit during the Christmas holiday shopping season.

Large gift assortment

Large gift assortment

While business has temporarily slowed the past several weeks due to weather, the store expects sales to pick up again with warming temperatures this spring. And even though business has grown significantly since opening two years ago, Hoopaugh plans to keep it small and eclectic at 502-B Old Statesville Road.

Red Bureau


White Bench

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