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DC Design House and more...

It's hard to believe the tour of the DC Design House starts this coming weekend!  My room was completed over a week ago.  The "press" gets access to the house before it opens to the public.  After lots of snow and hard work, over 35 spaces have been transformed in under 5 weeks!

The entire house is looking amazing.  I highly recommend you check it out.  It's guaranteed to provide you lots of inspiration of your own home.  The tour runs from April 13th through May 11th.  During the week the hours are from 10-3 pm and Saturday and Sunday from 12-5 pm.  You can find more info here.

Old houses have lots of character but they also come with lots of issues.  Every room required tons of prep…including mine.  The plaster walls were in pretty poor condition.  Check out the old water damage below.

Luckily, my super talented painter, Peter Hawes, knew exactly what to do to make the room look like new.

I have to say that the support from the other designers and trade folks has been amazing.  Here's TJ, with Ibby, cleaning my windows for me!

Here's Dee with Deelight Design completing my red banding stripe.  Dee is a super talented decorative painter.  This project was an easy one for her but I wanted her to do it since it had to be just right.  You can check out her amazing portfolio here.  She has to be one of the nicest (and talented) person I've ever met.

I'm really pleased with how the striping turned out.  Dee ensured it's perfect, which on plaster walls is no easy task.

Dee gave me the great tip of using Goof Off for cleaning up old paint spills.  This product made the clean up so easy.  I highly recommend you get some!

Skip Doda, with Severn River Carpentry, did a great job on my radiator cover and custom seat in the dormer.   

Another great tip I received was to use Museum Gel in my room.  I'm using it in case folks who want to touch things won't accidentally move or break them.  The Museum Gel keeps breakables safe and in place.  What a great product for your home, especially if you have kids and pets!

My guest bedroom is on the small side.  In fact, there wasn't a place to fit a dresser, so luckily, Closet America, built me one in the closet!  Here's the before picture of the closet.

And here is how it looks now.

The top drawer protects your jewelry.

I recommend Closet America to all my clients.  They offer great quality custom closet solutions for a good price.  This month they will be transforming a client's garage.  

During the DC Design House tour, most of the items in the rooms are on sale…art, furniture, accessories, lighting, rugs, and more!  A portion of the sale goes to the Children's National Health System so you can feel good about donating to a good cause too!  

Here are some of my favorite items for sale in my room.

For sale, lavender and fern scented candle in brass container.

For sale, fun books such as "Parisian Chic".

For sale, bubble glass ceiling fixture.

For sale, "Chesapeake Girl" by the talented local artist Rick Casali.

For sale, "Female Torso" sculpture by Rick Casali.

For sale, custom twin headboard and pillows using Victoria Larson fabrics.  Also, for sale, bedding from the gorgeous bedding store, Isabellas, located in Charlotte, NC.  You can shop online here.

If you can visit the DC Design House, please let me know when you're going.  I will do my very best to be there.  Hope to see you!

Work on client projects continues too.  Here's a couple in-progress iPhone pictures of a home I've been working on for a few months.  When it's complete I'll share some proper pictures.

New pillows for the bedroom.

A new New Zealand wool runner with canvas banding was just installed.

It hasn't been all work and no play!  For my mom's birthday, her friend, Pat and I took her to the Philadelphia Flower Show and Barnes Foundation Museum.  If you like to garden, the Philadelphia Flower Show is a great place to visit for inspiration.  Here are a couple pictures of floral displays that are "Calder" inspired.

Another special treat was visiting the Inn at Little Washington with good friends.  My girlfriends and I usually go on a girls trip each year but this year we opted for an amazing culinary experience with our husbands instead.  The Inn is one of the top restaurants in the country and was a real treat.  

After our three hour dinner we got a tour of the kitchen.  They have someone who cleans the brass and copper every night!  I'm now inspired to keep my kitchen a little bit cleaner.

It was so much fun to find out that the london-based interior designer, Joyce Evans, who designed the interiors at the Inn, had her design illustrations framed and placed through out the inn. 

If you love good food, I highly recommend you add dinner at the Inn at the Little Washington to your bucket list.

Have a great week!


DC Design House 2014 - Sneak Peak at my Design

I'm so excited to be one of the designers picked to transform the DC Design House 2014!  This year's house is a beautiful stone home built in the 1920s with over 7,900 square feet.  It has 6 bedrooms, 5 full baths, 2 half baths, a three car garage and a swimming pool.

Three weeks ago, I decided to tour the house.  I thought chances were slim that I would submit a presentation because it would be a huge time commitment.  Turns out I have a soft spot for old homes.  Especially ones with lots of character and wonderful architectural elements like this hallway that leads the way to the family room.

DC Design House 2014

One of the last rooms I saw on the tour, I knew immediately I wanted to design the space.

Here's what the room looks like now.  As you enter the room, the wall straight ahead is just calling for a great piece of art to provide a strong focal point.

DC Design House 2014

You can see here we have to work with some crazy angles. We also need to address the radiator.  The crescent window is great!  The base moldings are pretty but need some tlc.

Design House 2014

Loving the dormer window that needs a custom built seat!

DC Design House 2014

This wall is mostly all "door" to a closet.  So glad Closet America agreed to join my team to help me transform the closet.

DC Design House 2014

This wall has a door leading to the bathroom which is going to be completed by TJ with Ibby.  Definitely check out Ibby's super cool website that allows you to design your bathroom online.  

DC Design House 2014

After the tour, I couldn't stop thinking about the space and began collecting fabrics, looking at lighting and furniture and before I knew it, a design was coming together that I was really liking.

Here's the board I submitted…

Instead of playing it safe with neutrals, I was in the mood for color and pattern!  

It all started with the peacock fabric.  Three years ago, a very talented local textile designer, Victoria Larson,  showed me her new fabric line.   Today, Victoria's fabric line is represented in design centers located in Miami, Atlanta, Chicago and Sydney, Australia.  She's also currently featured in the spring issue of Home & Design!  

Victoria's peacock fabric is the jumping off point for the room and will be used throughout the space.  Below you can see it on the custom headboard and bedskirt.


My goal was to create a fresh modern space that combines fabrics with an organic feel and the clean contemporary lines of the furniture.  Custom details such as the leather straps "secure" the pleats on the bedskirt.  The brass and glass ceiling fixtures adds shine and glamour.  I want to add whimsical artwork with splashes of yellow.  I'm super excited about the chili red banding detail we're adding to the walls to accentuate their angles and add a tailored preppy vibe to the space.  

Since I found out last week that I was selected to participate in the house, life has become busier.  Assembling a great team of contractors to help implement the design is critical .  Electrical work, custom carpentry, painting, custom furniture design, and so much more needs to be completed by March 31!   

There is a Bare Bones Tour open to the public on Saturday, March 1st from 11am to 3pm.  You have an opportunity to see the home before the work begins.  Each of the designers selected will be in their room with their presentation board describing their vision.  As soon as the tour is done, we can begin work!

I hope you enjoyed this look behind the scenes!  The house will be open to the public beginning April 13th and runs through May 11th.  The DC Design House is the leading annual fundraiser event benefiting the Children's National Medical Center.  

I would love to see you there!  Click here for more event info.

P.S.  The February 28th deadline is quickly approaching to vote for Melissa McLay Interiors for Best of Annapolis.   Click here to vote for us and your other favorite local business!


Form Over Function...Even in Your Office!

I feel your office should be filled with pretty things that bring you joy.  The more room there is for bills and papers to lay around, the more opportunity there is to not stay organized.  One of the best changes I made was go from a super large desk to a small desk in my office.  It forces me to file, recycle and stay organized which has significantly reduced my stress level.   The items on my desk include a pretty lamp, a candle, a stapler, my laptop, a jar of pens and pencils and a few papers because this is all that will fit.

I recently helped a client with their office and here's the result.

My client has a very pretty custom tiger maple desk.  Adding texture, softness and personal items were top on my list to make the space more welcoming and, well, less work-like.  A Schumacher floral fabric was chosen for the window which picked up the color of the desk and the pale yellow walls.  A black banding was placed around the window treatment to give it more definition.  We also framed personal photos, placed a sheepskin on the chair for softness, added a blue pottery lamp for texture, color, and light, added a pretty plant for texture and health, and added a flat weave rug for more pattern and softness.   There's an organizer on the right to store bills to be paid.  There's also lateral file cabinets on the right and left to file away e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g!

Other tips for a well organized, pretty office include:

1.  Add pretty trays to contain the supplies.  
2.  Put whatever you use the most, closest to you, the least, farthest away.
3.  Add a unique object somewhere on your desk that has no purpose at all but to inspire you or make       you smile.
4.  Add a small pretty clock to keep track of time.
5.  Add pretty containers (baby's silver cup, pottery bowls, vintage jars) for pens, paper clips, etc.

You'll feel more productive and working won't feel so much like work!

Have a great week and stay warm!

P.S.  If you would like help turning your home into one you love, contact me here.


Best of 2013

Happy New Year!  It's hard to believe 2013 has come and gone.  I'm embarrassed to say I can't remember half of it…good thing we document most of our events in pictures or I would be in real trouble!  Anyone else feel this way?

For the first post of the year, I wanted to share our most popular Pinterest images, Facebook posts, Houzz photos, and PI blog posts.  I've only selected the top three for each so the post would not get too long.  Enjoy!

Top 2013 PINTEREST Images

I pinned over 1,500 images to Pinterest in 2013.  These images provide inspiration for design, fashion, food, travel, etc.  Of these images, the one that was repined the most in 2013 was the stair picture I took at the Hobo flagship store in Annapolis, MD.  The stairs provide a list of wonderful attributes.  To see more of this super hip store, check out my blog post, Store Design Love, which was also one of the top three blog posts visited in 2013.  Click here to follow me on Pinterest.

Before I get to the next two top Pinterest images, I wanted to share my three favorite quotes I pinned last year.

Coco Kelley Blog

Habitually Chic Blog

Habitually Chic Blog

Back to popular images on Pinterest….here's the top kitchen image pinned in 2013 with a contemporary style and clean lines.  

The top bathroom image pinned in 2013 was from my own home.


In addition to the Hobo store post, here are the other two top posts that were read by the most people in 2013.  Here's an after picture from the Family Room Renovation post which you can see more of here.

The Master Bathroom Renovation post highlighted another project for the same client.  Click here, to see more.

Top 2013 FACEBOOK posts

Below are four images that were very popular on my Facebook page (based on number of views).  I had to include a fourth image since they were all so close in popularity.  Click here to see more on my Facebook page…while you're visiting, it would be great if you "liked" my page too!

Here's a dining nook that includes new lighting, window treatments and cushion covers.

Here is under stair storage I designed for a client in DC.  This image also happens to be a top image saved to "ideabooks" on Houzz too.

My carpenter used the following autoCAD drawing to build the storage.

Here's an office we installed over the summer.  Our website was recently updated which includes more on this project on the Services page and new work on the Portfolio page.

Here's a playroom we completed this year.  I'm sure the image's popularity had something to do with the adorable son of my client having so much fun!


Houzz highlighted the nook below in one of their articles, here, which resulted in this image being added to over 1,400 ideabooks!  Houzz provides tons of inspiration for future home projects. I highly recommend you check it out.

There must be other designers looking for office inspiration because this image of my office was added to over 70 ideabooks.  I'm running out of space for samples so not sure I'll be here much longer.  

I'm sure the popularity of "live edge" furniture made this image a big hit of an office in Eastport. 

Lastly, 2014 is off to a great start with the newly released Scout Guide!  I'm thrilled to be included with a great group of local businesses including Niermann Weeks, Hinckley Yachts, and Victoria Larson Textiles to name just a few.  You should see it around town very soon!

I wish all of you a peaceful, healthy, and prosperous 2014!

If you need help turning your home into one you love, contact me here.