Month: August 2013

Lofty Business

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Along with the national Downtown revitalization efforts came a need for downtown housing.  This brought forth lots of rebirth – big, empty factories and former businesses have had new life breathed into them in the form of loft apartments.  Something lovely in an otherwise purpose-less space.

There’s something enviable about the idea of living in a loft apartment.  Although I am a small-town girl born and raised, I always wanted to live in the city. {And by “the city,” I don’t mean New York.  Something smaller, more Southern.. like Atlanta..? would be my style.}  As far as design elements go, I’ve always favored incorporating stone and wood, along with some metal accents.  I would have thought my style was along the lines of something Southwestern.  That is, until I had my first loft experience.

While we were in college in York, PA, they were finishing up The Lofts on North George Street.  Our instructors took us on a field trip to see a few of these brand new units.  HELLO high ceilings, “old meets new,” smart layouts, and all of the textures and design elements that I love.  I was impressed by how unique each of them were.  I loved the old brick walls, the large amount of natural light in them, the exposed ductwork, and the pocket doors.  They. were. beautiful.

I was recently looking online at real estate, and I ended up on Trulia looking at a few of those same Lofts for sale and rent.  One of those, ironically, is one of the exact ones that we toured.  It was fun to look through the pictures and be swept back to the feeling of being a college student with my whole design career an open slate in front of me.  Right away, I remembered seeing those gorgeous windows luring you into the space, and loving the brick wall that runs the entire length of the condo.  This was the first unit we toured.

One of the Lofts on North George Street – Living Room

I don’t think this bathroom was in one of the units we got to see, but it fits the loft ideal perfectly.  I love the brick accent wall.  It’s certainly not something you see every day!

Loft Bathroom

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Maybe it’s partially because I live in an old town that is currently being “revitalized,” but I am a huge fan of the idea of taking these old buildings and factories that are out of commission and turning them into something new and beautiful.  I’ve been keeping my eye on a local project that has a loft-style flavor to it.  The old Hotel Lewistown building is being converted from a hotel to a series of apartment units.  Although it wasn’t an old factory or ever used for something other than housing, it’s the same concept of revitalizing.

Hotel Lewistown
Built in 1936, it was used as a hotel until it was shut down in 2010.

Hotel Lewistown

I’m actually very excited to see how it turns out.  I’ve met the gentleman who purchased the property, and he has many things in mind for continued {housing} revitalization in Lewistown.  Hopefully, we’ll get to peek at the building when it’s finished.  The newspaper said it was originally expected to be done this coming month, but I haven’t heard any updates.  I just can’t wait to see the transformation!

So, how do you feel about this topic? What do you love about lofts? I’d love to know!

Take the quiz:

Is Loft Living Right for You?



Carolina Pulled Pork Recipe

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My Favorite Summer Time Crock Pot Recipe : Carolina Style Pulled Pork – (NO BBQ SAUCE!)

I have made this a bunch of times since we moved to the south just a few months ago….I LOVE IT!  It is really quick and simple to put together too.

When you look at it it looks plain….and maybe you will think….oh there is nothing special about this recipe – Just like I did. But wait til you taste it!!

pulled pork

What you need:

Pork Tenderloin : They usually come 2 in a pack – use the whole pack usually 2-3 lbs (fresh or frozen works)

1/2 cup Apple Cider Vinegar

¼ cup Brown Sugar

2-3 tablespoon Dijion Mustard

Drizzle of Honey

Salt and Pepper

Put the tenderloin in the crock – then toss everything else in on top…you may want to add like ¼ cup of water if your tenderloin is frozen.

Low heat for 6-8 hrs and voila! Pull it apart with 2 forks and you have dinner!  For more of the Carolina style – put a big heap of the pulled pork on a Kaiser bun then get some sweet coleslaw (I buy mine pre-made at Kroger) and put it right on top….Its Delicious!

carolina pulled pork




My table usually finds Rachel Rays Loaded Baked Potato Salad the same night as these yummy sammies!


Baked potato salad


If you try any of these or already have let me know what you think!

– Melissa

Colorful Kitchens: For You or Faux Pas

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As much as I also like a clean white kitchen, personally I go for more color.  I am adventurous, I want to see blue, yellow, green, grey, heck even red (my least favorite color).

They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, to which I completely agree.  I love being in my kitchen!  I spend a lot of time there – probably because I can see my TV, but I’m a baker by heart.  I’m not chef material, but I can bake.  I love when you walk into my home and smell what I made yesterday.

They say when you are trying to sell your home to make it smell clean and citrus.  I say make some browned butter blueberry bread!  You may even get a request for your recipe in your offer.

Let’s look at a few kitchens and see how they evoke a certain feeling.

Kitchen 1: Look at this lovely French blue kitchen.  You can tell the homeowner wanted a specific look, and it gives a great feeling.  It would be hard not to smile just a little every time I walked into this kitchen.  It says to me, grab the baguette and wine.

If this were my kitchen:  I think I would only make 2 changes.  Instead of 1 lamp over the island I would have done 2, and I would have chosen a different tile for behind the range.  Other than that I love this kitchen!  It wouldn’t work in my beach house, but I still appreciate its style.

Kitchen 2: These red cabinets just entice your eye to look at them.  The designer chose a fabulous shade; it’s just a bit darker than a cherry red, and lighter than a cranberry.  They made this usually small feeling galley kitchen have a great big personality that you just want to be in.

If this were my kitchen: I would have put a white plank cork floor down, it would give the space a little texture and warmth.  And, again, I would have chosen a different lighting arrangement.  This room makes me want to eat ethnic foods, try items I wouldn’t eat normally.

Kitchen 3: The pale yellow and inviting warmth of the wood island makes this kitchen a timeless work space.  Its traditional feel invites gatherings of friends and families to be together.  Bring on the pot roast and the ham!

If this were my kitchen: I wouldn’t have done the metal backsplash behind the range.  And it looks like the rest of the backsplash is bead board, which I would have done in a different color than yellow. To me it needs a little bit of visual separation.

Each one of these kitchens have a different feeling to them.  You can get a high style look from colorful cabinets.  Just make sure the design is cohesive throughout.

You have to know how you want your home to feel.  It is more important for you or your designers to understand how you use the space, then what color cabinets you want.


Why “Keeping up With the Joneses” {not the Kardashians} can be a Good Thing

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I don’t consider myself a follower of trends.  When it comes to design, I listen to my clients’ needs and wishes, and I do my best to make them happy.  Residential design is personal. Just like certain clothing colors or styles don’t look right on everyone, I believe certain home trends aren’t for everyone.  I want to create spaces that are timeless; therefore, I generally ignore what’s popular and go with what’s right.

Once again, I’m bucking my own rules.  I’m about to tell you about one design trend that I think you SHOULD follow.

Let’s talk about white kitchens.

They are arguably the smartest design choice for a kitchen.  They sell the best, are classic, and they can be easily updated to reflect a change in taste or color preference.  Think about it.  What other cabinet color can accommodate virtually ANY design style and yet be attractive to such a large percentage of people?

When I work with clients who are thinking about selling their home {even a few years down the road}, I recommend putting in white cabinets.  You can’t go wrong with white when it comes to selling a house.  Okay,.. let me rephrase that.  White trim-work is good.  White cabinets are good.  Every wall in the house?  NOT good.

So, what about those people {my husband included!} who can’t stand the thought of painting wood?  To them I have to say, “What wood won’t you grow tired of looking at in a few years?”  I understand where they’re coming from.  Some species of wood are gorgeous to look at.  Their character and beauty are unmatched.  I get that.  So, put it on the floor.  Use it for an island countertop, instead.  Don’t put it into cabinetry that covers several walls of the room!

I once talked with a contractor who put a hickory kitchen into his home because he absolutely loved the way the wood looked.  He topped them off with lively granite countertops.  Before he even finished what he was saying, I knew the problem.  The kitchen was too busy!!  The job was less than five years old and he regretted the purchase.  Whoa.  Talk about buyer’s remorse!  A kitchen can easily cost $10,000-$15,000 in a small market.  Now multiply that in light of the kitchen remodels you see costing $75,000 and more.  Do you really want to regret that purchase 5 YEARS down the road?!?

Pure white isn’t for everyone.  If snowy white isn’t your cup of tea, you could opt for a glazed finish or a creamier shade instead:

You could also cool down the look and go with a grayish white, for a more modern appearance:

Think all white is too boring?  How about painting the ceiling a daring color, like a bright shade of blue?  Use appliances, artwork, or chair cushions to pull in color.  Just like with any other design style, you should make it personal to you.

Sometimes, it’s important to pay attention to trends and what people are looking for in homes, because you never know when that information will be important to you.  If you’re looking at selling your home, you need to be viable in the market.  Anything you do that could be hindering the sale of your home will cost you money in the long run.


I live in a small town.  Trends used to not hit us here until months {or years} after they hit the cities.  Pinterest, Houzz, and the millions of blogs out there are bringing trends to us faster than ever before.  What we do with that information is our choice.   The same is true for this blog.  You can read it and think I’m full of hot air.  You may also see a glimmer of truth to it.. and that’s why I brought it up.  White cabinets are here to stay.  It may not be for you, and that’s fine.  You also may be in the home that you want to live in until the day you leave this earth.  If that’s the case, these words aren’t really meant for you, unless you’re planning a kitchen remodel. If that’s the case,.. consider white!

Keep choosing what works best for you and your home, and you’ll find that you don’t need trends to tell you that it’s a hit.


These Are a Few of my Favorite Things

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Like Melissa’s post last week, I’m going to share a little bit more about me.  We want this blog to be a way to get to know us better, as well as a place to talk design. My favorite things are a little random, but they won’t be a surprise to those who know me well. Some are serious, some a little insignificant, but they all make me who I am.

My family is so, so important to me.  My husband is my #1. He and the kids are my stronghold, but every member of my family means a whole lot to me!  My sister is my best girlfriend.  My parents have supported me through everything I’ve experienced.  I am also one of the “lucky ones” to have gotten to live my 28 years of life with all 4 of my immediate grandparents in it!  I am so blessed.

With my older sister and younger brother. Yes.. I’m a MIDDLE child! 😉


My faith is my core.  Along with that goes my church family.  We  are fortunate to belong to a unique church that is much more like family than you could imagine.  I’m on the Creative Team, which is basically a group of people that meet monthly to help to make our church the unique experience it is.  For every new series, I have the privilege of  being able to decorate the kids’ hall!  Sometimes it’s hard work.. but it’s also a lot of fun.  Since the space is challenging to decorate, I’ve grown a lot in creativity this past year!

The current kids’ hall. This summer, we’ve been going through a “Heroes of the Bible” series.

Okay, so those were my “serious” things.  Now for the light-hearted, sort of goofy things!

Steelers Football.

Oh yeah.  LOOOVE my Steelers.  Growing up 35 minutes from State College, PA, I’m also a born Penn State fan.. but I definitely prefer pro football.



If you’re still into candles, you should really consider “quitting the wick.”  Scentsy is a safer, flameless alternative that costs less than Yankee and smells BETTER!  I love it so much that I’m now a consultant.

My favorite warmer is my gallery warmer, and my favorite scent is pumpkin roll.

Sheetz french vanilla cappuccino. I don’t drink coffee, but every winter, I drink as much cappuccino as I can. This stuff has gotten me through many a cold morning, and several road trips!

sheetz coffee

Finally, I like creating.  I was born a designer.  Whether it’s a beautiful room, person (My kids are some of my best creations! lol), or craft item, I enjoy making things that are lovely to look at.  I’m always working on something, but here are a couple of my latest favorite things.

Pallet art! I made this silhouette for my brother and sister-in-law’s wedding in July.
Fall paper flower bouquet I made a couple weeks ago.. I’m already in that Fall mood!

Thanks for letting me share a little bit about me!  I hope you enjoyed it.



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“What comes to mind when you think of purple?”

Source: Art Therapy

When I asked people on my Facebook page, I got a lot of these answers, and more:

Royalty, mystery, magic, drama, beautiful flowers, wine…

My older children always ask me, “Mom, what’s your favorite color?” They both know my standard answer is, “I like ALL of them.”  The reason I say that is because I believe they can all be beautiful if they’re used correctly.  I have favorite colors to wear, favorites to design with, and I definitely have seasonal favorites.  I love dark colors like navy and red in winter; fresh, bright colors in spring and summer; and rich jewel tones in the fall.  As summer feels like it’s quickly drawing to a close, I can’t help but be inspired by the coming of my favorite season.  I love living in Pennsylvania in the fall.  The leaves are changing, the air is crisp, my favorite candle scents are available, I begin drinking cappuccino again, and my preferred jewel tone – purple – is popping up everywhere.

Source: 52 Flea
Source not available

Isn’t purple beautiful?

I can’t think of a more stunning, dramatic color. It’s so.. well, elegant!

~ ~ ~ ~

When I was younger, I really wanted a royal purple bathroom.  I have no idea why I felt this way, but I did get what I wanted. When I went to college, we bought everything purple to go with the neutral bathroom I had at the time.  I loved it. I had purple towels, purple rugs, purple trash can, you get the picture…

In my mind, what I think I wanted was something like this:

Source: Indulgy

Of course, that’s not what my bathroom actually looked like, but I was happy with it.  We still have {and use} those purple towels in our house now, but it will never again be the main color.

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My youngest niece loves purple.  They are getting ready to move, so my sister and I began planning her room this summer. When my niece and I were daydreaming and looking at pictures on Houzz, I discovered that she too prefers the deeper shades of purple.  Her room is going to be beautiful.. I’ll make sure of that.  Here is the first piece I made for her room:


Since I’ve been daydreaming about purple so much lately, I decided to create a design board for a rich guest bedroom with a monochromatic purple color scheme.  It was tons of fun, and I think it turned out beautifully!


What do you think? Is purple on your list of color favorites, or would you never be caught dead with a purple room?  I’d love to know what you think!


Getting Personal

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So for my first post, I’m getting personal.  I’m going to let you into my world a little.

My husband and I have been trying to conceive for about 3 years now.  The reason that we moved to the beach recently was so that we could really slow down and have a great start for our family.  We have finally gotten through all the rugged medical drama that has surrounded me for the last few years.  At the end of 2012, after we came back from our vacation, we decided we needed help and found a great fertility clinic.  Once we moved we were referred to another clinic in our area, and I couldn’t be more thrilled with our new doctor.  She recently prescribed some intense medications that do not make me feel well.  It’s been hard on me to say the least.  When I’m not feeling well all I want are my favorite things.

Here are some of my favorite things:

I want my favorite blanket from Sferra, pure cashmere and total luxury.  I got it a few years ago when I worked at a design center. This is their Dorsey throw, it’s similar to mine.  They have an amazing line of bed linens!


I wear my designer duds.  I love Michael Kors!  One of the few designers that have a great line of plus size clothes.  Here I am eating some great shrimp tacos with avocado and pineapple salsa in MK.

Shrimp Tacos

I lay in the sand….a lot.  I love the beach, the water.  I swear it has this magic, that instantly calms me, settles my brain, and doesn’t allow me to panic (which is a side effect of my medication).  It was an easy decision to move, but I’m finding it really hard to be so far away from my friends and family.


Right now, we are in the last few days before we move forward with this exciting and frightening new step in our lives, and it’s hard for me to focus on anything other than this right now, including my favorite thing: designing.

I feel so at home in this new area, in this new chapter of my life because I have designed a great structure around me.  I have a super strong foundation in my loving and amazing husband.  The trusses overhead that is my father and step-mom protecting me.  And framing that surround and support me from the most amazing friends.  I know….Yes, I really did just used a house as an analogy for my life.  But, it’s true – it’s what I know.

Surround yourself with great design and you will always have your favorite things.