What’s Luck Got to Do With It?

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Happy St. Patty’s Day!

I really don’t have much Irish in my roots, but I still think I’ve been pretty “lucky” in life.
Growing up, we always ate corned beef & cabbage on Saint Patrick’s Day. Now, I just dress my kids in green and call it a day.

In honor of this GREEN day, I thought I’d share some of my favorite green rooms, products, and idea boards.


I love this bathroom. I think I’d be content to stay here awhile!

The green in this traditional dining room really sets off the rich furniture.

A crisp green is a great accent color to use when featuring black and white images, like this portrait gallery.

This is an Olioboard design I created for a mission-flavored bathroom. My clients will be doing a total remodel, and nothing in the current room will stay. My inspiration is a shower curtain they saved from their last home that they wanted to incorporate in this room.


These barstools add a bit of whimsy to this otherwise neutral kitchen.

These emerald lace Jamberry Nail Wraps are so cute!

Who else feels a little bit like Alice in Wonderland looking at this amazing garden?

Well, are you feeling a little bit more LUCKY after looking at all those green pictures? 🙂

I hope you all had a great St. Patty’s Day!!
Until next year..



Are You “Pinning” Yourself into a Very Expensive Corner?

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Are You “Pinning” Yourself into a Very Expensive Corner?.

Are You “Pinning” Yourself into a Very Expensive Corner?

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I was just talking to a designer friend this morning, and I have to share our discussion. We feel like there’s a HUGE issue that needs to be addressed. As designers, we already know this.. but as a consumer, you should be aware.

As much fun as Pinterest and Houzz are, you need to know the truth: Most of the projects you see online, even small, “budget” remodels, are thousands of dollars more than you think they are. If you see a beautiful kitchen that you would LOVE to have, with cabinets stretching to a 10′ ceiling with huge beautiful lights, lots of glass, stone and marble, and even a really cool rolling ladder; OF COURSE it’s going to make you wishful. Just be careful! You should know that the kitchen you’re lusting after would probably cost you a whopping $50,000-$75,000.. easily. That’s why they’re showing it off!

Although I’m not a huge fan of HGTV, shows like “Bang for your Buck” offer a real glimpse into the cost of these luxury makeovers. You may scoff at the TV when they’re giving their 6-figure renovation total, but, that’s reality. If you have to have that commercial oven, curved ceiling, hammered copper hood, or any other “cool” thing you see, they’re going to cost you.

One of the questions people ask me all the time is, “What does an average kitchen cost?” Sometimes, the answer blows them away.. even in our central Pennsylvania rural market. So how much DOES it cost? The average kitchen I sell is about $12,000. That is generally cabinets, countertops, hardware, moldings, and installation. I’m not including appliances, flooring, furniture, or new walls. I rarely see a new kitchen completed for less than $8,000, and often the price is closer to double that. A painted finish, such as the ever-popular white, costs you about 20% more than a stain.


If you add granite or quartz to that must-have list, be aware that the average price for a stone surface in our area is around $3,000. Most people have about 30 square feet of counter space in their kitchen, and I have done jobs that cost $8,000 for countertops alone.

If you’re planning a kitchen remodel and you’re pinning pictures to your home board or adding things to an ideabook on Houzz, your price ticket is going to be higher. It just IS. The shocking truth: Those sites are advertising! When you’re online, someone is trying to sell you something.. be it a product or a service. Working with a designer can help you adjust your expectations, or your budget, so that you can still have the perfect kitchen for you and your home.

I have helped many clients achieve their dream kitchens, and kept them within their budget. The key is communication, and knowing when to save and when to splurge. Aligning expectations with your budget will keep you on track. Here’s a kitchen I was able to help with. By not wasting money on all new appliances and flooring when the existing ones were in good condition, they were able to achieve these beautiful results:

Please don’t get me wrong. I post a lot about budgets and expectations because I am speaking from personal experience. There ARE budget makeovers. You just aren’t going to see as many of them on the internet or on tv. So set reasonable expectations.  If your budget is really $3,000 and you want a new kitchen, consider going with stock cabinets from Lowe’s or Home Depot, and installing laminate countertops. Plan to DIY or have a friend help you, because there won’t be extra money to pay for installation.

To refresh a kitchen that already has a workable layout, paint your existing cabinets and add some convenient storage options to them. Replacing old countertops and hardware, and adding a tile backsplash can change the look of your entire room without having to borrow from your retirement or emergency fund.

Adding pull-outs to your existing cabinets can make them more accessible without having to completely remodel.

Don’t be nervous about starting a kitchen remodel. It can be intimidating, but having the right expectations and professional help makes all the difference.  

Have you already been through a kitchen remodeling experience? Were your expectations met, or did you have to make adjustments to your wishlist or budget along the way? Please, share your thoughts and experience with us!!


Best of Houzz 2014!!

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I am so happy to announce that my company, CDH Designs, has won the Best of Houzz 2014 award! 

Here’s the official press release:

Lewistown, PA, February 4, 2014 – CDH Designs of Lewistown, Pennsylvania has been awarded “Best Of Houzz” by Houzz, the leading platform for home remodeling and design. The interior design consulting company was chosen by the more than 16 million monthly users that comprise the Houzz community. 

The Best Of Houzz award is given in two categories: Customer Satisfaction and Design. Customer Satisfaction honors are determined by a variety of factors, including the number and quality of client reviews a professional received in 2013. Design award winners’ work was the most popular among the more than 16 million monthly users on Houzz, known as “Houzzers,” who saved more than 230 million professional images of home interiors and exteriors to their personal ideabooks via the Houzz site, iPad/iPhoneapp and Androidapp. Winners will receive a “Best Of Houzz 2014” badge on their profiles, showing the Houzz community their commitment to excellence. These badges help homeowners identify popular and top-rated home professionals in every metro area on Houzz.  

“Houzz provides homeowners with the most comprehensive view of home building, remodeling and design professionals, empowering them to find and hire the right professional to execute their vision,” said Liza Hausman, vice president of community for Houzz. “We’re delighted to recognize CDH Designs among our “Best Of” professionals for customer satisfaction as judged by our community of homeowners and design enthusiasts who are actively remodeling and decorating their homes.”

 With Houzz, homeowners can identify not only the top-rated professionals like CDH Designs, but also those whose work matches their own aspirations for their home. Homeowners can also evaluate professionals by contacting them directly on the Houzz platform, asking questions about their work and reviewing their responses to questions from others in the Houzz community.

 Follow CDH Designs on Houzz [http://www.houzz.com/pro/cdhdesigns/cdh-designs]

 About CDH Designs

Cherie Miller graduated from Ai-York, PA in 2005 with an Associate’s Degree in Interior Design. After 7 years of working for others, both in the furniture industry and as a kitchen designer, Cherie decided to actively pursue her dream of running her own design business. She promotes affordable design services for everyone, and works with her clients to achieve rooms they will love for years to come.

About Houzz

Houzz is the leading platform for home remodeling and design, providing people with everything they need to improve their homes from start to finish – online or from a mobile device. From decorating a room to building a custom home, Houzz connects millions of homeowners, home design enthusiasts and home improvement professionals across the country and around the world. With the largest residential design database in the world and a vibrant community powered by social tools, Houzz is the easiest way for people to get the design inspiration, project advice, product information and professional reviews they need to help turn ideas into reality. For more information, visit www.houzz.com


It is an honor to be recognized among the top design professionals on Houzz. I am thrilled to be able to do what I love every day, and help people create beautiful spaces to live in.

A huge “thank you” to all who have reviewed me, liked my Facebook page, and followed my company this past year. 
I am so excited to see where we go in 2014!




DIY Breakfast Tray

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My new sister-in-law Tabitha has been working hard at putting her personal touches into their home.  They’ve been married less than 6 months, and they have already completed several (mostly necessary) renovations.  She and I have discussed many future projects, and the next on her list of priorities is the living room.  We’ve decided on a navy, lime, and gray color scheme.  I have been slacking on the room layout part, but she’s moving forward with the accessories!  Look what she created this weekend: this adorable serving tray!

How cute is this?

image (10)

Here’s the best part:  She has been gracious enough to share with us how she made it!

* * * * *

If you are anything like me, there are dozens of crafty ideas swimming around in your head. Thanks to Pinterest, the ideas seem to multiply daily. I am convinced that I am one of the world’s worst decision-makers. With all these cute ideas, how can I pick just one? Where do I start? Usually, I just…don’t.

Well, I did it. I finally picked a quick, inexpensive, rewarding little project….AND THEN I COMPLETED IT! Sure, it only took a matter of minutes, but I completed it, and I think that’s really saying something. Actually, the fact that it did only take a couple of minutes is part of the reason I chose the project. The other reason is also always a winner—it was inexpensive.

How many of you have an extra baking sheet in the kitchen? What about one that is just so “well-used” that you have to put aluminum foil over it before every use because you can hardly stand the sight of it? We all have them. Be honest.


Have you ever thought about covering that ugly baking sheet with something a little more eye-catching than foil or parchment paper? Well, neither had I until I found a tutorial on how to turn an old cookie sheet into a cute serving tray. Serving trays are great because they can hold books, candles, the remote control, coffee, and the list could go on. One of my favorite future-uses of our ugly baking sheet turned serving tray is breakfast in bed!  Are you reading this, husband?  Really, who loves being surprised with breakfast in bed? And whose birthday is this weekend? (Ok, now I’m getting a little too personal, and I think my husband is wise enough to get the hint if he is, in fact, reading this.)

I’ve jabbered long enough. I know you’re probably ready for the part where I talk about what you’ll need and how to do it. Just one more thing before I get to that: this is a great, quick project that can be done in the 5-10 minutes that you are putting off washing dishes. Guess how I know. 😉

What you will need:

·         Baking sheet

·         Scissors

·         Spray adhesive

·         ½ to ¾ yard of fabric depending on the size of your baking sheet

·         A plastic spoon or knife (or something for “smoothing”)

·         Optional: felt to keep the tray from slipping on a surface


That’s really all you need. I got the idea from HERE, but I didn’t need as much fabric as she suggested.

Here’s what to do:

1. Cut your fabric large enough so that it completely covers the front of your baking sheet and a portion of the back (be sure to press it into the sides when you’re measuring or you may not have enough!)

2. Spray the front of the baking sheet with spray adhesive.

3. Place your fabric in the center of your baking sheet, making sure your print is straight (if you are using a printed fabric), and press the fabric onto the baking sheet starting at the top middle and working your way out and down.

4. Using a plastic knife or spoon, press into the edges and corners of the baking sheet until they become well defined. If you opt for using your fingers instead, you could become very sticky.

5. Flip the tray over and spray the back with adhesive. Pull the fabric tightly and press against the edges to create a smooth look, then adhere the rest of the fabric to the back.

If you want to, add some felt to the back, as well. This will keep your serving tray from slipping and sliding across your coffee table or counter.

Black felt works great to finish off the backside of your tray, as well as cover any rough edges

Now, you are the proud owner of a cute serving tray! Woohoo! Remember, the trick to this project is to pick a fabric that you like that works well with your room and design. Other than choosing the right fabric, I found this project basically fool-proof.

The finished product

* * * * *

Thanks, Tab, for sharing this quick, cute project!

How many of you are thinking about how many old cookie sheets you can turn into serving trays right now??   Go for it!   If you do, please share the results with us!


Introducing.. our $50,000 Home

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Welcome to my home!!

Today’s post is a little bit unique.  I’m giving you a tour of our home.. which, by the way, is worth approximately $50,000.  A designer with a $50,000 home.  Should be interesting, right?

Fall wreath 2013

If you missed my post on Friday, please read it!  I believe that everyone should be able to have a beautiful home that fits them – no matter what your background or budget.  Let me set the record straight:

Good design does NOT mean expensive design.. nor does expensive taste equal good design!

Since obtaining my design degree, I have put a lot of effort and time into creating my own home.  It’s our safe space, and it’s completely personal to us.

It has taken a combination money, sweat equity, creativity, and planning to get where we are today.  With the obvious cost involved and our limited financial resources, our house came together over time and not all at once.  By doing it a little bit at a time, there are lots of memories associated with our furniture and decor.  Each item has a story.

When you first enter our home, you come into the living room.  Here is your view from the front door.

Fall living room
Being able to get our furniture for a deep discount enabled us to buy all these beautiful pieces for a fraction of the price.

Much of the furniture in our home (especially the living room) came from my first job out of college. Like most designers do, I put in my time as a sales associate at a furniture store. I was fortunate to work for a small, family-owned company which felt like home to me.  This is where I met the love of my life!

This table is an heirloom piece that belonged to my great uncle. The flower arrangement was a birthday gift from my talented mother-in-law, who used to own her own flower shop!

From the living room, there is an open archway through which you can see our dining room.  These are my two favorite rooms in our house. Look closely in these pictures, and you can see my least favorite thing about this house: textured, plastered walls!  I wouldn’t mind the texture if it wasn’t for all the spots where it’s cracked and had to be repaired.

Looking from living to dining
Almost every item in this room has a special story or person behind it.. If and when we move to a larger home, most of these items are coming along!

Fall Dining Room

Fall Dining accents
I have a habit of getting “bored.” When I’m bored, I create. The buck silhouette and flower arrangement are two products of my boredom.

Our downstairs is the most finished because that’s what everyone sees when they visit.  Our upstairs rooms are still works-in-progress, but I’ll show you what is mostly finished so far:  The bathroom, master bedroom, and our daughter’s room.

The bathroom was the first thing remodeled in our house out of necessity. Looking back, I’m sure I would have picked a few things differently. However, we just changed a few of the accessories, and I am really liking the gray and white color scheme!


bathroom hooks
My mom gave this to me as a present at least 2 YEARS ago, and we just got it hung!

My husband and I have never bought a bedroom suite for our master bedroom.  As much as I would love to have one, it was never a priority for us.  We’ve collected a few pieces over our 6 years of marriage, including the nightstand shown: a cool trunk we scored at an auction!  We are planning to use the frame of our current – hideous! – headboard and turn it into an upholstered headboard.  The fabric and foam have already been purchased, so it’s just a matter of time…


The one piece we bought that we both fell in love with immediately was this dresser. It had a few nicks on the top of it, so we got it for a bargain!

The truth is, accessories make the home.  This beautiful art was bought on our honeymoon in Gaitlinburg, Tennessee.  I am so glad we splurged a little and made the purchase!  We still love it.

Last but not least is our daughter’s room. Alivia is a definite princess. Before her baby brother was born last summer, I wanted to make sure her “big girl” room was finished.  She moved out of a toddler bed and into a real one, although it’s just one a pop-up frame, because she still falls out of bed sometimes.  With the exception of window treatments, this room is done!  Like her mama, this girl has an eye for decorating.  She is very happy with her bedroom!

Princess Alivia's room

 We chose the wall color for her room right after we found out I was pregnant with her, and before we knew she was a girl. We figured this neutral tan would go with any decor.  I’m so glad we chose it, because all of her pink things would just not look as nice against another color!

Alivia's room
The night before I went into labor with our son Blake, I finished hanging this tree decal

 Here’s another prime example of how we pull things together.  At the Woodcraft Factory outlet store (where we also bought our dresser), we found this pink chest of drawers.  I had been looking for something that would fit into this space, and be short enough if needed to double as a changing table.  Of course, it was also equipped with matching pink knobs.  It was way too much pink.  I found these adorable pewter knobs on Lowe’s website.  I love the way they look!

Well, that’s our home – or at least the majority of it.  Did you enjoy the tour?  As I finish my Fall decorating, I’m sure I’ll be sharing some pictures of our front porch.  I hope you’ll stick around to see what project we have going on next!


The OTHER 95%

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Let’s get real for a moment.

 Have you ever been in the middle of reading one of the bazillion decorating blogs out there, and all of the sudden felt a huge stab of house envy?  You see their beautifully designed kitchen, granite countertops, gorgeous floors, and the stunning master suite.  Whatever it is.. it’s perfect.  All of a sudden, it’s like you’re watching an episode of House Hunters on your computer!  Do you look at their perfect rooms and think to yourself, “There is NO WAY that kids live in that house!”

Sometimes, I think, “Sure!  If I had a brand new home, I’d be happy to show it off!  It’s pretty simple to take 50 pictures and post them online, isn’t it?”  I’d much rather see the blogs of those who have taken an old, falling-down home and turned it into something beautiful.

“The Perfect House”

Maybe you’ve never had the slightest twinge of house envy.  Maybe it’s cooking, or crafting that you see green over.  So, have you ever had one of those, “Yeahhhh… right!” moments while you’re looking at one of the “simple” DIYs on Pinterest?  Has anyone actually successfully done some of those things?  They have a website for that:  Pinterest Fail ..The good news is, we’re not alone!!

For the longest time, I only regularly followed one blog, Emily from  Jones Design Company.  She is super relate-able.  She always seems so nice and down to earth.  I’m not one to sit and read dozens of blogs, so the variety of her blog was just right for me.  It’s just the right blend of decorating, tutorials, and unique fonts and graphic designs.

Then IT happened.  The disconnect between Emily and myself.

The $2700 sofa

My husband and I live in a house that is worth about $50,000.  That’s right.  $50K.  Nope, I’m not forgetting any zero’s. There is no way in the world that I am buying a $2,700 sofa.  I’m not putting granite in my {current} kitchen, and no one is expecting to see any walk-in closets or fancy master suites in this row house!  Sometimes, I am okay with that.  Then I see those pretty blog homes, and a tiny piece of me whispers, “But wouldn’t that be nice??”

Now, here’s where reality and insecurity come into play.  I have my degree in Interior Design.  I know I can create homes that are magazine worthy.  I’ve had the privilege of doing some pretty spectacular rooms for clients over the years. It just won’t be our home in those magazines, because that requires much, much more money than we will ever have.  You want to hear what the funny thing is?  Deep down, I actually LIKE our house.  It’s just not big enough anymore.  Over the past 8 years, it’s grown with us from the house of a single mom and her son just trying to get by, to a home bursting at the seams with life and adventures of our family of 5. 

Haha.. So let’s just clarify one thing right here and now.  This is a safe space.  We are real, and we are AVERAGE.  There is nothing untouchable about our homes.  There is nothing to be jealous of here!!

Next week, I’ll be giving a tour of our home.. The $50,000 one.  Now THAT should be interesting, huh?

See you Monday!