Why This Artwork is an Inspiration This Mother's Day

Art is an important element to designing a room. A lot of times, art or wall decor are placed on the walls to "fill in" a blank space. The truth is art should be personal and unique, especially if it's in your home. It should draw an emotional response while complimenting the overall style of your room. 

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This past Mother's Day I was reminded of my mother from an artwork I have hung in my staircase landing. It's a print of Picasso's Mother-Child sketch. My late mother, Suzanne Marise, was not an art collector but she owned this beautiful print and hung it in her room. It wasn't until I was collecting her things I noticed it was a Picasso print from 1904. I knew I had to add this to my home in memory of her. I decided to give it a facelift by adding a custom mat and frame. 

 P.Picasso Mother-Child print 1904

P.Picasso Mother-Child print 1904

"The truth is art should be personal and unique, especially if it's in your home." -S.Hayes

This Artwork Is Personal To Me.

Every time I see this Mother-Child sketch I can't help but be reminded of the bond between my mother and me. It's a way of having a little piece of her. Now that I'm a mother myself I understand the precious bond a mother has with her child, it's like no other relationship.

The Layers of the Sketch Remind Me Motherhood Is A Process.

As I look at Picasso's sketch of this mother nursing her child, I notice his multiple sketches of the mother's hand. I love to see the raw sketches of the hand included in the print. It shows the multiple drafts he had to sketch before developing a hand he was proud of. This process Picasso took is similar to the journey of motherhood. As mothers, we make mistakes, try our best but are not perfect. Motherhood is a journey of trial and error driven by love.  

This Artwork Blends With Many Pieces. 

In addition to the sentimental value this artwork has to me, I love the neutral tones and simplicity of the sketch. When selecting a mat and frame I decided to use a monochromatic palette by using a darker tone for the mat and a medium tone for the distressed wood frame. The neutral tones give me the versatility to use this piece on a gallery wall with a collage of other pieces or as a focal point by itself. 

 Picasso 1904

Picasso 1904

No matter what pieces of artwork you use in your home, I hope that this inspires you to get personal with your wall decor. Be sure when you are selecting your artwork to consider the room you are placing it in and how it coordinates with your color palette and decor style. Share in the comments below your favorite artwork in your home and why. I'd love to hear all about it!  

To all the Mothers and Grandmothers I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day!

À la prochaine,

 
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Looking to create a color palette from your artwork? Check out: Using Art to Create a Color Palette.

How to Decorate your Bookcase

 how to decorate your bookcase

how to decorate your bookcase

Over the years I've often been asked by people how to decorate bookcases. My answer is never the same. The reason is because every bookcase is different. You may be a bookworm and have an entire library of books or maybe you're someone who is looking to use your bookcase for additional storage or lastly maybe you're someone who mainly wants to use your bookcase to display your accessories/collectables, etc. Before you can start decorating your bookcase you need to figure out your bookcase's function. Asking yourself these questions is a great start.

  • What do I want to use my bookcase for? (e.i. store books, display pictures, showcase collectibles, storage, accents, etc.)
  • Do I need my bookcase to be functional or stylish or both?

I recently worked with a client to redesign her custom built-in bookcases surrounding her fireplace in the living room. To best explain how you can decorate your bookcase I'm going to walk you through my process as I gave my client's bookcase function and style. 

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Dilemma: My clients are 2 busy working professionals with a toddler. They had a carpenter build a bookcase around their fireplace to create a focal point. However, as time passed their bookcase shortly became a collection of shelves that weren't serving a purpose but instead became extra surface space for items they wanted to keep out of reach from their toddler. 

Solution: My client's vision was to have their built-in bookcase and fireplace wall serve as the focal point of their living room. The bookcase had to be safe enough for their toddler yet stylish enough to compliment their living decor. To achieve this I started with adding function to the bottom shelves by incorporating large fabric bins for their toddler's small toys. For the 2 middle shelves I added medium picture frames with smaller frames layered in front for visual interest. I also added hardcover books (from large to small) on the end for easy access. I added the family initial for personalization with a small foliage for an organic feel. The heavy stone bookends placed on the middle shelves added both style and function to the design. 

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Client's Reaction: "I like the diversity in the items that are on the bookcase. From the B initial to the candles to the arranged books to the basket, which makes it conveniant to hide things, it feels like the living room is complete now."

To elevate your bookcase into an area that will compliment your decor and lifestyle email me at sabine@georgettemarise.com to schedule a simple home visit. 

À la prochaine,

 
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5 Natural Ways to Clean your Furniture this Spring

 Natural Furniture cleaning solutions

Natural Furniture cleaning solutions

Spring is HERE! Spring is one of my favorite seasons because it's the perfect balance between winter and summer. Spring cleaning is a great time to open our windows that have been closed for the last couple of months and bring fresh air into our homes. Cleaning your furniture doesn't have to mean using bottles of toxic cleaners filled with harmful chemicals  and heavy scents. With just a few household ingredients and tricks you can safely and effectively have a fresh, clean home.

Vacuum. Vacuuming should be done often to remove soils, dust, and airborne particles from carpets and rugs. Soft surfaces like our carpets, area rugs, upholstery, cushions and fabric drapery work as a filter that traps and captures airborne particles. The problem is these surfaces don't have a way of releasing these particles once captured, they must be removed physically. Vacuuming is an effective way to removing these particles and it eliminates allergens that are not visible. Tip: Remember to also vacuum your upholstered sofas and chairs. Not only does vacuuming clean the surface but increases the longevity of the fabric.  

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Dust Hard Surfaces With Microfiber. Microfiber clothes are my favorite and highly recommended products for cleaning your furniture. When used dry, microfiber clothes are excellent because of their ability to capture, trap, and hold dust particles from hard surfaces like wood, metal, glass, leather, stone, etc. My favorite microfiber clothes are Norwex's EnviroCloth because of it's antibacterial agent. It can be used wet to clean and disinfect or dry to remove dust. 

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Use the Power of Vinegar. Distilled white vinegar is an effective cleaner because of its high acidity. It can be used to destroy bacteria and remove stains and odors. Here's just a few cleaning powers vinegar has.

  • cleans glass surfaces
  • cleans indoor wrought iron furniture
  • removes grease stains from suede furniture
  • vinegar, lemon juice and linseed oil can be used to clean sealed wood furniture

Polish With Lemon. Lemons can be used for multiple cleaning solutions. They also offer a fresh scent when cleaning. Most furniture polishes leave an unpleasant, heavy, oily finish on hard surfaces such as wood. Instead you can use a few drops of lemon juice mixed with olive oil to polish varnished wood furniture. After polishing, if you have a residue you can remove excess polish naturally with cornstarch. 

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Clean With Baking Soda. Baking soda is always handy to have around the house for several reasons but pertaining to cleaning your furniture here's a few.

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  • Sprinkle baking soda on your fabric then vacuum to remove odors from your upholstery furniture.
  • Wipe down your leather sofa with a mixture of a cup of salt water with two tablespoons of baking soda and one teaspoon of flour in a bowl to clean your leather furniture. Don't forget to dry with a a dry cloth.
  • To clean your copper accents buff your copper with a baking soda & lemon juice paste (mix baking soda with enough lemon juice to make a paste).
  • To deodorize your rugs sprinkle baking soda on your rugs and let stand for at least 15 minutes then vacuum.

Before trying a new cleaning solution always test a small area first. Share in the comments below your favorite natural cleaning solutions.

À la prochaine,

 
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Looking to make spring cleaning easy for the whole family? Check out: Q & A: Tips to Simplify Spring Cleaning

 

 

 

7 Tips to Create a Romantic Bedroom

The overall decor of your home is a reflection of you as the owner. This is especially true when it comes to your own bedroom. Outside of the bathroom, our bedroom is the most personal room in our home. For those that share this space with a significant other, it's even more personal. How do you create a bedroom that is relaxing enough to let your hair down yet intimate enough to set a romantic ambiance? 

 Tips to create a romantic bedroom

Tips to create a romantic bedroom

Clean Up. This may seem obvious, but often times our bedrooms become the victims of neglected laundry. Whether you decide to hire a cleaning person or do it yourself, straightening up and organizing is the first step to creating a romantic bedroom. It's amazing how a little cleaning can open up and transform a space. 

 master bedroom

master bedroom

Soft Flooring. When you are trying to create a romantic setting, soft textures are important. If you have hardwood floors add a large area rug either at the foot of the bed (large enough so your feet touch the rug when you get out of bed) or wall to wall carpet. This will bring a warmth and sense of comfort to your room setting.

 custom window treatment

custom window treatment

Install Window Treatments. Add another layer of texture to your room with window treatments. Depending on the style of your room, you can keep your treatments simple and modern or traditional and ornate. In addition to the aesthetics of window treatments, they also can be extremely functional. For example, if you the both of you love to wake up to the morning sunlight it might be a good idea to have sheer panels to allow the natural light to filter through. However, if the both of you prefer to wake up to darkness, then blackout shades or panels would be a better solution. Determine what is the best option functionally, then choose the material and finish to compliment the style of the room.

Lighting Is Key. As a designer, I believe the right lighting is one of the most important aspects to a room. In order to create a romantic bedroom, the lighting has to be warm. If you have a ceiling light fixture like a chandelier or pendant I recommend having it controlled on a dimmer. A dimmer in the bedroom will give you the ability to control the setting of the ambiance. In addition to any ceiling light you may have I recommend adding table lamps and/or wall sconces. This will add a form of task and accent lighting to your space. 

A Pillow or Two. Pillows are a great accent and can easily dress up a bed. However, too many pillows can be overwhelming to creating a romantic setting. I recommend keeping 2-3 shams (the larger pillows) with 2 soft accent pillows on your bed. The accent pillows should have a soft texture blend but should not be the same. Allow the pillows to be unique and different for visual interest. 

Flowers. Flowers bring freshness and beauty to the decor of a space. If you are allergic to fresh flowers consider a small silk arrangement to place on your nightstand or dresser. This will bring an organic feel to your room. One small - medium arrangement is usually enough. 

 candles

candles

Candles. As a candle lover, I believe in candles everywhere but especially in your bedroom. Add candle votives as part of your room accessories. Mercury glass candle votives, for example, are beautiful finishing touches to your nightstand and dresser decor and also offer a stunning glow when lit. Candles are a great way to create a romantic setting in your room. 

It's the small accents that can elevate a space. For more ideas of how to elevate your bedroom decor contact me at sabine@georgettemarise.com. 

À la prochaine,

 
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Sabine's Favorite Pins of NFL Players' Homes

 Favorite Pins of NFL players' homes

Favorite Pins of NFL players' homes

Even if you're not a football fan or even follow the sport, you know that Sunday is one of the biggest games of the year...Super Bowl Sunday!!! This year my Boston Native team The New England Patriots will be playing my husband's Philadelphia Native team The Philadelphia Eagles. For many of these football players, this is the most important game of their career, they worked hard all season and sacrificed time away from their homes and families to get here. Having a home that reflects their personality is extremely important to them. 

"...it can be a lot sometimes, and sometimes it’s just nice to go home and be chill and be away from everything.” -Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles

If we look at their homes, we can learn a lot about these athletes. We can see if they like to entertain, cook, read, watch movies, play music, drive luxury cars, or spend time outdoors for example.  Although, their interests off the field may be different the one thing their homes have in common is they call it home.  Their homes are a place they can relax and unwind after a challenging or victorious season. Join me as I go through some of these athletes' homes that stood out to me. 

I love the architecture of this house. The white finished exterior offers a fresh, clean look while contrasting well with the black framed windows and railings. The curb appeal is beautiful and gives an inviting feel. 

The kitchen is usually the hub of the home. I love this open floor plan, eclectic kitchen because of its energy. The lower ceiling height in the kitchen area, is a great way of making the kitchen feel intimate. The exotic grains in the hardwood floors give a warmth to the space. The stainless steel island is balanced well with the modern, slightly distressed leather barstools. Overall this kitchen is a beautiful space for entertaining guests or enjoying solo.

This grand living room takes advantage of its tall ceilings. I love how the beautiful picture windows create a stunning backdrop as you enter the room. The custom, neutral colored window treatments drape the center windows elegantly. This room uses subtle tones but feels very welcoming. I also love the use of light furniture & wall color balanced by a dark area rug and built-ins. 

"We built this house as a sanctuary for our family—a place where we can enjoy being together.” -Tom Brady, New England Patriots

Although this rustic kitchen is large in size, it has a casual and organic approach to its design. The island serves as the kitchen's anchor and is beautifully accented by 3 clear glass bell jar lantern pendants hung from a brick ceiling. The slightly distressed grayish-brown cabinets are topped with elegant white stone countertops to give a clean look. Overall, I love the simplicity and unique design choices in this open kitchen. 

My favorite part of this room is the view, of course. This room is a sophisticated approach to a game space. The pool table looks like a piece of furniture, centered in the space, while an accent square game table with 3 upholstered chairs are placed in the corner of the room near the calming view of the water. 

Our homes are ultimately where we recharge, re-energize, and rest. Just like these football athletes, we have a chance to be ourselves when we enter our homes. As hectic or lonely as our homes are it's still home...and there's nothing like it. 

Share in the comments below, what's the best part about being home?

For more of my favorite NFL players' homes follow me on Pinterest.

À la prochaine,

 
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New Year Design Resolutions

Happy New Year! The New Year always brings fresh ideas, an urge for change, and new needs. Most of us make resolutions in January to change or improve on an area in our lives. I am a believer that our homes affect the way we live. Similar to our lives, our homes are always in need of improvement. Whether you need a complete renovation or just bored with your sofa, making changes and improvements to our homes AKA the place we spend the majority of our time is important.

 NEW YEAR RESOLUTION

NEW YEAR RESOLUTION

Make Small Improvements. 

The thought of fixing our homes to our standards can get overwhelmingly discouraging. We feel that we need thousands of dollars to renovate (which is the case at times) but sometimes we can start with doing cosmetic changes and start small. Here are some examples of small improvements that can make a big impact.

  • painting the walls and/or doors
  • adding accent pillows to the sofa
  • draping a new accent throw to your chair
  • adding artwork to your walls
  • create a gallery wall
  • incorporate an area rug under your dining table
  • changing your bedding
  • adding new drapery to your windows
  • upgrading a new ceiling light fixture
  • changing the hardware in your kitchen or bathroom (such as faucets, cabinet knobs/pulls, etc.)
 add accent pillows to your sofa

add accent pillows to your sofa

Budget for the Big Projects.

If you have a "big" project that is on your wish list like a new kitchen, building an addition, a bathroom renovation, or a bedroom remodel start budgeting early. While you are saving for your project, start developing your style by flipping through magazines, pinning on Pinterest, or assembling boards on Houzz. Once you've collected your style ideas have a personal Inspiration Board created for you with furnishings, lighting, flooring, color, and finish options. This will help you to envision the design concept for your project. 

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What's your New Year design resolution? This year are you planning to make small improvements OR budget for a big project? Be sure to share your resolutions in the comments. 

À la prochaine,

 
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Holiday Series: New Year's Eve Dinner Party Hosting Advice from The Pastelillo Lady

I can't believe that the holidays came and past and we are approaching the New Year. I hope that you and your family had a Merry Christmas, Hanukkah, and/or Kwanzaa. With the holidays behind us it's time to celebrate the welcoming of the New Year! 

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As I wrap up my Holiday Series, I had the chance to sit down over some coffee and chat with Liz Morgan, better known as The Pastelillo Lady. She is an expert when it comes to entertaining and loves to serve delicious dishes to her guests.

 Liz Morgan, owner of The Pastilillo Lady

Liz Morgan, owner of The Pastilillo Lady

"Growing up in a Puerto Rican household, eating pastelillos was a treat," she explained. It wasn't until after college while living in her first apartment she asked her mom for her pastelillo recipe. She practiced and mastered making pastelillos. Eventually, people started asking her to make pastelillos for them, then it grew to people asking her to make pastelillo for their events. That was the beginning of The Pastilillo Lady.

If you are not familiar with pastelillos, Liz explains them as Puerto Rican empanadas but the reason they're different is the ingredients. She says she adds olives, onions, peppers, and blend of vegetables with a "secret sauce", then simmers the meat to add to a thick dough which is then pinched and fried. 

 The pasteilillo lady

The pasteilillo lady

As she prepares to host her own party for the holidays, she says the look of a dinner party is essential to a successful party, everything from the food setup, music, and good wine & spirits of course. 

 Photo by  Joseph Gonzalez  on  Unsplash

There is a specific menu she likes to stick to when throwing a dinner party but she says her favorite dish is pernil, which is a popular Puerto Rican pork dish roasted for 12 hours resulting in tender meat and a crispy skin. 

The Benefit of Having a Party Catered. 

There's a lot of components to hosting a successful party. Confirming your guest count, prepping your home, decorating your home, selecting an outfit, having the right music, and the list goes on. With a long to-do list sometimes preparing a full menu can be exhausting. So I asked Liz, who caters events, what the benefit is to have a party catered. Liz mentioned that although she enjoys cooking she thinks it's important to enjoy your party. When hosting you don't get a chance to sit down and enjoy the food, have a drink and be stress-free. She says the benefit of having your party catered is it gives you the chance to enjoy your company, instead of being in the kitchen. When she caters to her clients she preps, serves and provides as necessary dinnerware. 

Buffet Style or Sit Down

Liz explained that if you're hosting more than 10 people the intimacy of a sit-down dinner is lost and suggests to do a buffet-style. "When I think of dinner parties, you have a table and you have to be able to seat everyone at the table if you can't have everyone sit down at the table do a buffet-style," she told me.

Liz's Top Tips For Serving a Menu For a Large Group?

"Always overcook and purchase to-go containers." Guests are usually happy to take food home. "It's never too much of a good thing. Your guests get to go home and remember their experience through the food," Liz mentions. She also mentions having a variety of food is important because not everyone has the same taste.

"Invest in a server," she says. "If you're not going to have a caterer, invest in a server." She says it doesn't have to cost a lot. It allows you to enjoy the party and your guests. Some of the tasks your server can provide are refilling drinks, serving your guests, cleaning up, and taking out the trash. 

To contact Liz email her at ThePastelilloLady@gmail.com or follow her Instagram Page @the_pastelillo_lady for pictures of her yummy pastelillos!

As I write my last blog for 2017, I want to personally thank you for taking the time and reading my posts. Wishing you the best in 2018!

Bonne Année!

 
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Holiday Series: Last Minute Dinner Party Decor Ideas

Dinner parties are great moments shared with friends and family over food and drinks. However, before your guests taste your delicious food and drinks it's the decor and ambiance that sets the tone to your party. This is especially key with the holidays. 

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When you're hosting a dinner party, the decor extends past the dining table. It starts from the front door then to the sofa and even extends to the powder room. With the holidays a few days away, I've selected a few simple yet stylish accessories that will set a festive tone before your guests arrive. Some of them you may already have, if not I've attached the links below to purchase directly.

 Simple Holiday Decor Ideas. 

Simple Holiday Decor Ideas. 

Wreath. Set the tone with a wreath. This season I am in love with the Winter Berry Wreath. Nothing gives a warm greeting like a wreath hung on your front door as guests enter.

Ornaments. Ornaments can be used beyond your tree. Switch out your coffee table centerpiece or foyer console centerpiece for a bowl filled with ornaments. This will add a festive accent as guests are coming in. If you have little ones you may want to get shatterproof ornaments. 

Layers of Candles. As many of you know I am a candle lover, especially when decorating for a party. Use a series of gold, silver or mercury candle votives on your foyer table, coffee table, kitchen island, and in your powder room for an intimate ambiance. Then use pillar candles on your dining table or tall candlesticks on your dining table if you are having a smaller sit-down dinner. For larger parties, add the pillar candles near the buffet and around the sitting areas.

Festive Accent Pillows. Extend the holiday decor to your living areas by adding accent pillows to your existing sofa and chairs. Remember to mix your pillow sizes, this adds visual interest. For example, if you have a large 20" square pillow add a smaller, square pillow in front of it and a shimmering rectangular kidney pillow in the middle. To shop the gold & ivory sequence pillow click here.

Table Runner. Whether you are using your dining table for an intimate dinner for 6-10 or as a serving surface for the menu of delicious dishes adding a textured or patterned table runner can create the base for your focal point. Click here to purchase the table runner above. 

Tray. A dinner party is the time to dust show off your best serving tray. I love this round, gold tray above because it is the perfect base to hold wine glasses as guests arrive. It can turn a set of simple clear glasses into a festive collection. 

Florals. Add a vase with fresh cut flowers and place on your table runner with your candles. This will add a fresh and organic layer to your decor. I choose a grouping of hydrangeas in a glass vase but you can also re-pot poinsettias as a table centerpiece.

Before you go and purchase last minute decorations, first go through what you already have. The great thing is these items are easy to find last minute and will elevate your party. Please share photos from your parties on our Facebook page. 

Joyeux Noël!

 
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Holiday Series: Dinner Party Interview with Food Bloggers Miranda & Kate

Welcome to my Holiday Series, where I am sharing tips for hosting impressive dinner parties. I'm excited to introduce you to Miranda & Kate, the creators of the food & lifestyle blog A Party With Us. I had the chance to attend one of their events in Philadelphia this year at Williams-Sonoma. These ladies create delicious recipes and cocktails that they share on their blog. I wanted to take the opportunity to ask them to share their tips and suggestions for hosting dinner parties this holiday season. 

 Creators of A Party With Us

Creators of A Party With Us

Sabine: Tell us about yourselves.

Kate: Hi! We're Kate & Miranda the bloggers behind A Party With Us (APWU). Miranda and I are sister-in-laws and best friends. We love to entertain - prepping, primping and partying is our forte. From the planning to the decor, to the recipes, we love to put it all together and dazzle our friends and family. Our blog features our very own recipes and designs.

Sabine: As hostess experts, what are some ways someone hosting can greet their guests once they arrive to the dinner party? 

Miranda: Definitely with a beverage and it doesn't necessarily have to be alcoholic, but offering your guests water, tea, coffee, or a specialty cocktail you have planned right away is always a nice touch. When confirming plans with my guests leading up to the event, I ask what they like to drink - wine, liquor, beer, etc., then I plan accordingly to match their tastes with my menu. While you're at it, ask about allergies and strong adversities to any foods they may have. #hostesshacks

Kate: Upon arrival, we also like to share the menu plan with our guests (to get them super excited about it, haha!), and, if you're serving meat (like a filet, burger, etc.), ask your guests at what temperature they prefer it be prepared. 

Sabine: Sometimes creating a guest list can be hard to edit. How do you determine how many guests to invite? What is a good number of guests or is it based on the size of the home?

Kate: Guest lists can be stressful - so first think about the atmosphere you're trying to create and what you're celebrating. Do you want an intimate setting, a lively gathering or a really festive event? Miranda and I have entertained groups as large as 100 people to just 4 people in our homes, and around the holidays we always say 'the more the merrier' but that changes our menu selections drastically! 

Miranda: You need to consider how much your kitchen can handle (literally think about your refrigerator, oven and stove space!) and how many people you can seat comfortably. If you're hosting a festive cocktail party, you can invite more guests because you do not need a seat for everyone, but if you're inviting a group over for formal dinner, you should probably have a place setting and comfortable and inclusive seating for everyone. Meaning, you don't want your party to feel disjointed with some people sitting in the living room and others in the dining room for a formal dinner. Stick to the number you can fit at your table for a dinner party.

Sabine: Buffet Style, Family Style or Sit Down Style? What's your preference? 

Miranda: Again, this depends on the atmosphere we're going for. I love a sit-down dinner where I can plate and serve courses at the right temperature and time, as I truly enjoy creating a culinary experience for my guests, but if it's New Year's Eve and everyone has a drink in their hand, then I want to be in the center of that socializing with everyone and allow people to graze on appetizers from a buffet setting as they please! 

"...there is no science to entertaining, it's an art!" - Kate Brewer

Sabine: If someone is hosting a large dinner party at their home, what's the best way to set up the food and a proper layout where guests feel comfortable?

Miranda: For a large sit-down dinner party, we would have beverages and appetizers ready to be served when guests arrive - typically on serving trays in a casual seating/gathering area and away from the main dining table so we could migrate there for dinner. The dining table should be pre-set before your guests arrive so you're not distracted by that while entertaining. Anything that can be prepped ahead of time for dinner should be - you'll thank yourself later! 

Kate: You want to create a nice pace between appetizers, dinner courses, and dessert. The most important thing is: if you're comfortable and relaxed, your guests will be too... there is no science to entertaining, it's an art! If you look stressed, your guests might feel awkward. Prep and primp as much as possible ahead of time so you too can enjoy the party!  

Sabine: From your blog what are some of your favorite recipes to serve as appetizers and desserts? 

Kate: I love our Whipped Goat Cheese Crostini and the Bacon Dusted Scallops - they are both serious crowd pleasers. 

Miranda: Hands-down our original Shortbread Brie Brûlée with Cranberry Compote is the best dessert on the blog at the moment. It's to-die-for and we served it at Thanksgiving this year! 

 Shortbread Brie Brûlée with Cranberry Compote - A Party with Us

Shortbread Brie Brûlée with Cranberry Compote - A Party with Us

Sabine: I see that you share some delicious cocktails on your blog as well. What are some easy cocktail and food pairings that someone can serve at their next dinner party?

Miranda: While we love to match our cocktails with food, people's palates vary so greatly among our family and friends. Generally speaking, we like our flavors to compliment one another. Don't opt for all sweet cocktails and apps or all spicy cocktails and apps. For instance, we would serve a refreshing Pineapple Cucumber Martini or our G-Squared Margarita with our Mango-Jalapeno Crab Salad OR a Berry Bourbon Smash with our Mushroom Pinwheels or Goat Cheese Stuffed Figs with Honey Drizzle. Right now our Pumpkin Spice Martini is sounding perfect for dessert, ha! You can follow us @apartywithus to keep up with the recipes we'll be posting this season!

To try any of the recipes and beverages from Miranda & Kate visit their blog A Party with Us and follow them on Instagram

Be sure to subscribe to follow our Holiday Series! 

À la prochaine,

 
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Holiday Series: Dinner Party Advice from Local Experts

I hope that you had a lovely Thanksgiving with your family and friends. Now that the holidays are approaching the dinner gathering is not over. It has just begun! I wanted to take the month of December and share a series about hosting dinner parties! I personally love hosting dinner parties inside and outside the home. I believe that hosting a dinner party is another way to connect with others to create lasting memories.

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When you are hosting a dinner party there are many components that go into the final outcome. During my Holiday Series blog posts, I will introduce you to different experts, from food bloggers to event planners that will share their expertise, tips, and ideas to help you create an impressive party! 

There's a level of comfort when you sit down with others and share a meal. It brings laughter, cheers, and great conversation in a festive setting. Whether you are having a group of friends over or sitting down with extended family members for dinner the overall setting is important. I am starting off the series by sharing some questions that you should ask yourself before planning.

What is the Purpose? This may be a basic and strange question but I believe that knowing the purpose behind throwing your party will eliminate some stress and pressure. Is it to share your love and appreciation for your closest friends? Is it to show off your cooking skills to your family members? Is it to have a fun holiday dinner with your girlfriends? Or it may be to say thank you to your staff for their hard work all year. Determining the purpose will dictate the formality, agenda, and planning of your party.

What's the Budget?  Yes, the "B" word. Just like starting a design project, before planning your dinner party you have to first decide how much you want to spend. This will determine decisions like, if you hire a caterer vs. preparing the food yourself, hosting at home vs. renting an event space or inviting 20 guests vs. inviting 10 guests. Once you determine your budget then you can start planning the scale of party you can host.

Who Are You Inviting? Hosting a dinner party for the holidays can mean a large or small guest list. This goes back to your purpose. If you just want to throw an intimate dinner with loved ones then creating a guest list of your closest friends and family members is a great place to start. 

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There are a lot more questions you can ask yourself before planning but I know you will find answers from my Holiday Series' Interviews. I hope you enjoy the series and please share pictures of your beautiful dinner parties on my facebook page

Stay connected to my blog for the upcoming interviews!!!

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P.S. Is there a question you have regarding dinner parties that you would like answered? Send me over an email at sabine@georgettemarise.com and I'll make sure it's answered in the series.

How To Finish a Room Like a Designer

Designing a space is all about telling a story. The biggest difference between a standard room and a stunning room are placement and details. Ever wonder how designers are able to transform a plain room with furniture into an inviting space that you don’t want to leave? Find out their secrets by using these 3 steps.

 Sabine Guillaume Hayes, Interior Designer

Sabine Guillaume Hayes, Interior Designer

Remember the Purpose. The first step to finishing a room properly is remembering why you are designing and decorating it in the first place. Is it to add more room? Repurposing an unused basement into a family room? Adding more coziness to your living room? Adding personality to your powder room? Interior Designers always start a project with finding out the purpose and use of a space. Once they have a purpose it becomes the vision that dictates the end result. If you are finishing a master bedroom room, ask yourself how you want to feel when you're in the space. If you want to feel relaxed and calm then it may be a good idea to finish your bed with plush pillows, add a large area rug under your bed or place a scented candle on your dresser for aromatherapy.  These details will be determined by your use of the space.

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Placement Matters. Since every space is unique in its own form, placement of your furniture and even accessories make a difference. For example, if you are hanging wall art in the hallway be sure it's large enough or use a grouping to fit well in the amount of wall space available. When placing accessories use odd number groupings, like 3 or 5 for visual interest. 

"Be original and your home will speak for itself." -Brett Schwebke

Beauty in the Details. Details can elevate the design in a space instantly. Something as simple as draping a throw on a chair and adding an accent pillow can dress up a standard piece of furniture. You should make sure you have a reason for every detail you add. Be careful not to over accessorize because instead of looking like finishing touches your accents will look like afterthoughts or even worst...accidents. 

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If you want some more designer secrets be sure to check out my FREE Designer Tip Sheet available to all subscribers. Not subsrcibed? Fill the your information below. Share photos of your finishing touches with me on my Facebook page! Can't wait to see your beautiful spaces!

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Spice Up Your Dining Room with These Easy Changes

With today's lifestyle and open layout floor plans, the kitchen has become the main space everyone gravitates to. This can leave the dining room feeling unused, uninviting, cold, or "the room only used twice a year". This doesn't have to be the case. Even if you have an eat-in kitchen or a morning room, the dining room can serve a purpose of its own. The dining room can be a multifunctional space for everyday dining, more formal dining (like dinner parties) or both! Having a casual and formal dining room that feels inviting can be achievable. 

Maybe you already use your dining room on a daily basis for casual dining or maybe you host formal dinners but the decor is outdated or unattractive, with just a few changes it can become a functional AND stylish room that reflects your household's personality. 

 spice up your dining room

spice up your dining room

"Every room needs a slap in the face!" -Geoffrey Ross

Update your Light Fixture. A light fixture can make or break your dining room. Your light fixture in your dining room not only provides a source of light but as an anchor to the room. Having an outdated light fixture or no light fixture at all takes away from the overall design of your dining room. If you want to elevate your dining room add a stylish and functional chandelier or pendant based on the scale of the room and your table. For inside decorating secrets, like how high to hang a chandelier, sign up to receive my Designer Tip Sheet

 Dining room by my good friend and interior designer Sharina Liverman.

Dining room by my good friend and interior designer Sharina Liverman.

Add a Fresh Coat of Paint. I always say that paint is one of the most cost-effective ways to redesign a space. Be sure to select a color from your room's color palette, this will allow the remaining colors to flow throughout the design. If you are overwhelmed with choosing the perfect color for your dining room, click here for paint color assistance.

Add or Change your Area Rug. I get asked a lot whether you should add an area rug in a dining room. My answer 99% of the time is yes. If your light fixture is the anchor to your dining room, your area rug is what supports the anchor. It allows the table, which should be the focal point, to shine. Whether you have a small room, a large room or an open space that serves as your dining area I suggest using a durable area rug that can easily be spot cleaned and hide stains. When it comes to dining rooms, I prefer to use a low pile rug or even an indoor/outdoor rug for upkeep. Be sure both your table AND chairs sit on your area rug. Your rug size should not be too small that the chairs are off the rug when pulled out, but it should not be too large that your buffet, server and china cabinet are sitting on your rug. 

 Dining room designed by my good friend and interior designer Sharina Liverman.

Dining room designed by my good friend and interior designer Sharina Liverman.

Add a Centerpiece. This part can be tricky for many. Your centerpiece should reflect the style of the room. The style of the room should reflect your personality. For example, if you're style is more structured and simple a set of accessories would be a great centerpiece for you. However, if you are very detailed and more formal an arrangement of florals in a traditional glass vase might be a better option. Here are some ideas for centerpieces

  • fresh or silk floral arrangments
  • a set of 3 potted plants
  • large decorative bowls
  • a set of candlesticks or holders
  • a sculpture
  • complimentary vases at different heights
  • a large tray with a collection of flowers, candles, and vases 

Sometimes finding the perfect centerpiece for your dining room can be impossible. Let me take away that stress and design the perfect centerpiece that will compliment the decor of your dining room. Contact me at 610.924.2780 to get started on your custom made centerpiece.

Swap Out Your Chairs. Your dining room should be inviting, functional but most importantly unique. You deserve to have a dining room that is like no one else's. An easy way to create a unique look is to change your dining room chairs. If you are worried about not having a matching set, you may want to consider reupholstering your seat cushions in a custom pattern fabric or just changing your end, armchairs with 2 fabric upholstery chairs (if you have a rectangular table). If you want a more eclectic look, have your chairs contrast with your table. For example, if you have a distressed wooden table consider adding metal chairs. If you have a metal dining table, consider fabric or wooden chairs. Be sure to work with a professional designer for chair selections, since this can be tricky to perfect. 

 centerpiece arranged and made by Sabine Hayes.

centerpiece arranged and made by Sabine Hayes.

Entertain your guests for dinner parties or even game night parties in your NEW, redesigned dining room! Share your ideas in the comments below of ways you're going to spice up your dining room this season.

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Using Art to Create a Color Palette

As an interior designer, I believe that developing a color palette for your space is crucial to achieving a successful design. Whether you are using monochromatic, complementary, or contrasting colors it's important to define the role that each color in your palette has. If you are having a hard time developing a color palette, draw inspiration from something that already has a color palette like a piece of art.

 using art to create a color palette

using art to create a color palette

Art is a great way to develop a color palette because it already has a collection of colors, tones, and shades that you can draw from throughout your room. Let's take a look at a formal living room I designed for a client and how I was able to pull colors from the custom artwork to design the entire room.

This living room included 4 original artwork pieces I had an artist create just for this project. All of the individual art pieces were uniquely different but shared the same colors. The colors inspired me to develop colors for the window treatment fabric, accent pillows, area rug, tabletop accessories, walls, trim, and even the ceiling.

 formal living room paint color

formal living room paint color

 color palette

color palette

Once you determine which colors from the artwork you want to incorporate in the design section them into categories (e.i. main color, secondary color, accent color, etc). This will help you determine which colors will be used the most and which colors will be used to complement the main color. In this living room the blueish, teal color was the "main color" and the soft browns, tans, and creams were "secondary". Lastly, the reds and purples were "accent colors" used in the pillows and the centerpiece. Each color was carefully selected for a particular role in the living room. 

 coffee table centerpiece

coffee table centerpiece

Leave a comment below and share where you create your color palette from? Maybe you are asking "How do I find the right artwork?" or "I'm scared I will choose the wrong color?". Let me help, contact me directly at sabine@georgettemarise.com to start on your personal color palette for your room!

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How to Decorate When You Are Starting From Scratch

Whether you're moving into your first apartment, house, downsizing or upgrading it can be overwhelming to decorate, especially if you have nothing. I remember when I moved into my first apartment by myself 12 years ago I had no furniture except for a mattress, books, my computer, and personal items. Sometimes starting from scratch is a great way to decorate because you have nothing to limit your choices. 

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Start Somewhere. When you have little to nothing, it's time to visit the drawing board, look at your home and determine what is the priority. Sometimes the priority is decorating the entire home and sometimes the priority is taking it one room at a time. Once you've made the decision of what the priority is...focus on it. 

"Inspiration is the seed. Design but the flower." - Michael Langham

Be Inspired. Every unique design came from an inspiration. Once you find your inspiration it will transpire into a vision. Together, with an interior designer, that vision will transform into reality. An inspiration can be as simple as using the colors and tones of nature or the style of your favorite restaurant. There are no wrong answers only unique ones.  

Decide What Is Your Investment. Designing and decorating are investments you make. Based on your priority and the vision, finalizing a comfortable total dollar amount is the next important step. Be sure to decide on a realistic budget before starting any work. Keep in mind that emergencies can occur which should reflect in your budget. 

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Create a Floor Plan. Once you've determined a budget, focus on your needs for the room or rooms. Having a well-designed floor plan creates a base for your decorating project, especially if you are working in phases over time. A floor plan will allow you to go back and finish the pieces of the design. A floor plan is also a great way to make sure any furniture needed will fit properly in your space, which is especially key in small spaces.

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Shopping. Use your floor plan to create a list of furnishings needed to accomplish the design. Always purchase your largest and most important pieces first. When I am designing a room I always like to start with the seating and some important accessories such as lighting. For example, in a living room, I would purchase the sofa and chairs first then tables and lamps with essential wall decor.

Decorating is a process. The decor of a space tells a story of those that occupy it, therefore it has to be done with thought and purpose. If you are looking to tell your story in your space but don't know how to, let's work together to create your vision. Email me today at sabine@georgettemarise.com.

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5 Ways to Create a Calm Space

It's a known fact that most of us are living fast paced, stressful lives more than ever before. Our lives are filled with busy schedules, tight deadlines, and pressures coming from all directions. Our homes are supposed to be havens where we release our fears, anxiety, and fatigue but sometimes we don't get the opportunity to do so. 

Our homes are often filled with meaningless things that don't allow us to release our burdens from the outside world. It's time to change that. We must take some time to create calming spaces in our homes that allow us to relax and be ourselves. Take some time to create at least ONE space in your home that will allow you to relax your mind, body, and soul. 

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1. Add the Right Colors. Colors are psychological and choosing the right color can affect our mood and attitude. When I design a space I tend to ask my clients, "How do you want to feel in this space?". Their response determines the main color and accent colors I incorporate into their design. Design Tip: Colors such as blues, grays, whites, greens, violets, and pink have the capability to bring peacefulness, tranquility, freshness, and calmness to a room. 

2. Add Comfortable Furniture. Comfortable furniture is key to enjoying a space. Your furniture has to be able to withstand everyday sitting, stretching, and lounging. Be sure to select quality furniture that fits your comfort needs. For example, if you are looking to put your feet up and lounging consider incorporating a chaise or a sofa with an ottoman. 

 This sitting room has a comfortable sofa with an attached chaise for lounging after a long day.

This sitting room has a comfortable sofa with an attached chaise for lounging after a long day.

3. Lighting.Lighting.Lighting. I stress the use of lighting because there are different levels of lighting. General, Task & Accent. Each form of light serves a purpose. When you are creating a calm space it's important to use the correct amounts of lighting to be able to view the things around you balanced by soft lighting for ambiance. 

 I used a table lamp on the dresser and a floor lamp near the chair as forms of soft accent lighting. 

I used a table lamp on the dresser and a floor lamp near the chair as forms of soft accent lighting. 

4.  The Use of Texture. The use of texture in a space adds dimension. Texture adds a level of interest that encourages you to connect with your senses. However, be careful to not use too much texture. Texture can include a grasscloth wallpaper, a plush area rug, a stone wall, a distressed table or a soft pillow. 

 This powder room is designed with a textured grasscloth wallpaper and a hammered copper bowl sink. 

This powder room is designed with a textured grasscloth wallpaper and a hammered copper bowl sink. 

5. Aromatherapy. Speaking of senses, adding aromatherapy such as the scent of lavender into your space helps you to relax and rest. Personally, I love candles! I use aromatherapy candles in almost every room in my home. I use candles as a way to calm my senses after a long day or in the office for a pleasant scent while working. Consider using aromatherapy in your room to enhance your mood and stimulate healing.  

Comment below and share the space you consider a calming space.

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Project Tour: Girls Auto Clinic

 Custom Nail Bar Designed by Sabine Hayes. Photography by Simone Merrique

Custom Nail Bar Designed by Sabine Hayes. Photography by Simone Merrique

As an interior designer, I love to create unique spaces that are customized to suit my client's needs. With that said, last year I had the opportunity to a meet female mechanic who was planning to open the nation's first female owned auto shop operated by female auto mechanics with a connected nail and blow-out bar. I was sold on the vision and uniqueness that I had to be part of this project. 

I am excited to share Girls Auto Clinic and Clutch Beauty Bar by Girls Auto Clinic, a company that empowers, caters and educates women about their cars. I had the pleasure of designing the complete interior of the auto shop and the beauty bar through my Full Service

Dilemma: How to take an existing male occupied auto shop with a connected storage warehouse and transform it into a female friendly auto shop that included a nail and hair salon. Patrice really wanted the salon and waiting area lounge to feel like a girls club house. A space that was comfortable, relaxing with an industrial, vintage edge.

Solution: The project consisted of 2 properties that were connected by 2 rooms, which were designed as a waiting area lounge and TV room. With my team of architects, contractors, electricians, plumbers, lighting designers, graphic designers, upholsterers, carpenters, and artisans we completely renovated a non-inviting group of rooms into a cohesive flow of spaces that serviced individual purposes. For example, when you walk into Girls Auto Clinic you can decide to wait in the lounge area and do some work on your laptop over a cup of coffee while you wait for your car OR just get a manicure and pedicure in the beauty bar without getting your car serviced. The flow allows for different needs to be met.

 Presentation Board of Girls Auto Clinic designed by Georgette Marise Interiors

Presentation Board of Girls Auto Clinic designed by Georgette Marise Interiors

Before my team could start on constructing anything, I needed to sit down and develop a concept, a plan, a story, better known as THE DESIGN. This consisted of creating a floor plan using the blueprints of the existing building. Once the floor plan was developed it was time to select a color palette. Our color palette was inspired by Patrice's love of color and a wall mural we created that pulled in reds, oranges, soft yellows, and light blues. We used shades of gray as a neutral base for accents. We were then able to start specifying lighting fixtures, flooring, wall & ceiling treatments, furnishings, and accessories.  

 BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic Front Entrance with custom vapor lights. Photography by Simone Merrique

BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic Front Entrance with custom vapor lights. Photography by Simone Merrique

 BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic Repair Center

BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic Repair Center

 BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic Lounge with the Clutch Cafe and a custom work counter

BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic Lounge with the Clutch Cafe and a custom work counter

It was important to create a welcoming environment as soon as you walk into the front entrance. We did this by keeping the majority of the walls white and painted the original tin ceilings a rich, gray color.

 BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic Front Lounge with a custom built window seat

BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic Front Lounge with a custom built window seat

 BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic TV Room with a custom floor lamp made of black pipes.

BEFORE & AFTER: Girls Auto Clinic TV Room with a custom floor lamp made of black pipes.

The TV room is a cozy, smaller room with a kids' table and an eclectic styled seating area for clients to relax while waiting for their car repair. 

 BEFORE & AFTER: Clutch Beauty Bar by Girls Auto Clinic Nail Bar with the famous wall mural. Photography by Simone Merrique

BEFORE & AFTER: Clutch Beauty Bar by Girls Auto Clinic Nail Bar with the famous wall mural. Photography by Simone Merrique

When you walk into the beauty bar you are greeted by the focal point of the entire shop and salon. The focal point is the custom Girls Auto Clinic mural inspired by Patrice's love of vintage garages. 

In front of the rustic garage door mural, is an industrial styled bar that was designed to service client's nail care needs as they wait for their cars. The red painted bar stools remind you of classic Tolix metal chairs. The 9' bar has a sleek black top countertop with a diamond plate sheet metal front accented by wrench hooks for your bags and purses. 

 Clutch Beauty Bar Hair Stations with red toolboxes

Clutch Beauty Bar Hair Stations with red toolboxes

With a dedicated team of talented experts catering to the design, our vision was brought to reality. 

The same way a home is a reflection of its owners, a place of business is a reflection of its customers and workers. It's a balance of creating a space that services the customer's needs and wants while developing an environment where workers want to be. Interior Design plays a large role in a successful place of business. Leave a comment below of your thoughts on Girls Auto Clinic.

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Simple Decorating Ideas for Your Deck or Patio

Summer is officially in full gear and that means more time outdoors. There's something about summer that brings a casual attitude to life. We enjoy eating outside, taking walks in the park, driving to the beach for the weekend and going on a relaxing vacation. 

"...create an extension of your home, outdoors."

Enjoying the outdoors can also mean spending time right outside your home. If you live in a smaller home like a rowhome or townhome you may only have a rooftop deck or small patio as your "outdoor space" and probably asking, "How do I enjoy outdoor living in such a small area?". I can relate because I live in the city with a deck and small yard. But there's hope! With just a few key pieces you can create an extension of your home outdoors to enjoy after a long day of work or hosting friends and family for a BBQ.

 For more product info click link to Polyvore.

For more product info click link to Polyvore.

Chairs. Use a couple of outdoor chairs instead of a typical sofa or loveseat. This will save space on your deck or small patio and allow for easy moving around.

Accent Pillows. Pillows are a quick and simple way of elevating a typical outdoor chair. Pillows are like artwork. They are a small component but can tell the story of your outdoor space. Mix and match with prints, solids, or graphic pillows. 

Garden Stool. Placing a garden stool between 2 chairs is a great way to add a tabletop surface. It's also a creative way to add a pop of color to your decor!

Outdoor Rug. An outdoor rug brings an area together. A rug sets the tone to your overall decor. Make sure your rug is not too big or too small. 

Patio Umbrella. A patio umbrella is a must, especially if your deck does not have an awning or some form of providing shade. Not only does an umbrella block the sun and provide shade, but similar to the rug, it has the ability to bring an area together. Design Tip: If your furnishing is against the wall and you don't have room for a full umbrella, consider a half umbrella.

Outdoor Poufs. Poufs are great outdoors too! They are comfortable lounging floor seats that add texture and color to your outdoor design. Add 1, 2 or 3 to elevate your decor.   

Accent Chair. Adding a hanging chair, a small scale chair, or a hammock is a great way to create a little reading nook or just a private area to relax off to the side.

Accent Plants. Plants on your deck or patio are important, especially if you live in the city where having grass is a luxury.  Plants add greenery, dimension, and an organic freshness to your space. This is also an area where mixing and matching will add visual interest. Design Tip: If you have a tall fence, consider adding wall plants in individual pots hung in rows on your fence. Add floor plants to add height in a corner and small potted flowers on table surfaces for decorative accents. 

If you have outdoor furnishings but don't feel like your outdoor decor is where it can be, let me be an extra set of eyes and hands to create an extension of your home outdoors. Email me at sabine@georgettemarise.com to discuss how we can transform your outdoor space together.

I want to hear how you use your outdoor space. Leave your comments below.

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How to Make Father's Day Special

With so many holidays and celebrations, we can often forget the true meaning of the occasion. Father's Day can sometimes be clustered with graduations and beginning of summer festivities. Dads need to be celebrated too!

I spoke to several dads last year about what their dream Man Caves would look like and the main responses were surprisingly very simplistic. Most dads just want to relax and feel appreciated. Sometimes this is hard for me to process because I often forget that the most precious things in life are priceless. This Father's Day instead of giving dad something he won't use or doesn't want, take the pressure off the actual holiday and give dad something he really wants. Here are some of my simple suggestions to making this Father's Day special.

Give the Gift of Relaxation. When home dads usually want to do one of two things: relax or work. Relaxing can mean being left alone in front of the TV in his favorite chair. Working can usually mean doing something to pass time, something of enjoyment or taking on a DIY challenge project. If Dad likes to relax, a great gift is to allow him to be comfortable and setting the tone for something he loves to do. If you don't have room in your home for a Man Cave then maybe create an area with a chair and ottoman or recliner for him with a small table for his drink of choice.

Give the Gift of Appreciation. I often forget the power of "Thank You". We tell our kids to say thank you when someone does something for them but as adults, we either don't say it enough or we don't say it genuinely. Dads play an important role in our children's lives. As a mother and wife with a busy schedule, I often question, "Does anyone appreciate what I do?". Dads can feel and question the SAME thing, therefore a simple Thank You or words of gratitude for what Dad does is more meaningful than any mug, tie, cologne money can buy. Again, don't go overboard with the words but be authentic and appreciative. 

I hope you are able to create an atmosphere for Dad that makes him feel appreciated! How are you going to make Father's Day special this year? Share your comments below.

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Q & A: Creating a Gallery Wall with Quality Photos

Your home is all about telling YOUR story throughout. The style of your front door, the placement of your furniture, the colors on your walls, the fabric draped on your windows, the photos and artwork displayed on your walls, the style of your lighting fixtures, and the flow from one room to another all make your home unique to you. 

When someone walks into your home the one thing that differentiates your home from anyone else's are your portraits and family photos. Photos make a home personal. A gallery wall allows you to easily display all the special images important to you like your family pictures, precious moments/trips, or beautiful portraits. This can be done with as little as 2-3 framed pictures to 15-20 images grouped together. The number of frames depends on your wall size and how many images you want to display. 

I took this opportunity to ask portrait photographer, Kirsten White of Kirsten White Photography to share her expertise of using quality portraits can tell YOUR story.  

Sabine: How long have you been a photographer?

 Kirsten White, Owner & Photographer of  Kirsten White Photography

Kirsten White, Owner & Photographer of Kirsten White Photography

Kirsten: I've been a professional photographer for 7 years. Prior to that, I always "played photographer" for my friends and family since around middle school. I studied any book I could find on cameras, light, and photography. I spent my free time replicating photos in fashion magazines. About 10 years ago, I had a short stint doing makeup as a side hustle and liked to promote my makeovers with before and after photos. Soon, women were calling me more for the photos than the makeup and I really loved doing the mini photo shoots. I started getting more and more elaborate with my "after" sessions with lights and wardrobe. Lol! That's when I decided to go focus on photography. 

Sabine: What type of photography do you specialize in?

Kirsten: I specialize in photographing women. I love helping women to celebrate their beauty and express themselves with portraits. There's a hashtag that I love to participate with - #ExistInPhotos. That movement is important because so many times women simply don't exist in family photos or on the walls at home because she's either taking the photos or she's hung up on some aspect of her appearance and fears she doesn't look good. I think we're all guilty of hiding from a bad hair day or wanting to avoid pictures until we lose a few pounds. Sometimes, however, this avoidance goes on for years! I like to have a meaningful consultation with my clients and find out where they are regarding self-image and draw out strengths and ideal experiences. With that information, I can design a dream photo shoot showcasing the woman looking and feeling her best! I also really enjoy doing headshots and branding images for women and their businesses. It's so important to have fantastic images to make a great online first impression! 

"A great portrait is timeless and captures the uniqueness and beauty of the moment." - Kirsten White

Sabine: Why are portraits so important?

Kirsten: Portraits are important because they last forever. One thing we can never replace is time. A great portrait is timeless and captures the uniqueness and beauty of the moment. As a mother, I absolutely cherish my photos of my children. They grow up so quickly and I love looking at each portrait and candid photo and reminiscing about them at the age in the image. As a daughter, whose mother is deceased, the photographs I have of and with my mother are easily my most precious possessions! Same with my grandmother. I'm so glad I insisted on doing a generational photo session with me, my daughter, my mom, and my grandmother several years ago. My grandmother passed away about a year later and I lost my mom 2 1/2 years ago. Every time I look at our portrait, I remember how much fun we had together that day!

Sabine: What's the key to quality photos?

Kirsten: The key to quality photos is to relax and enjoy the moment. It's all about the sparkle in the eyes. Whether you're smiling or not, a strong connection in the eyes can take a portrait from good to great!

Sabine: What's your advice to creating a story through a gallery wall?

Kirsten: The best thing about a gallery wall, to me, is the story being told through the pictures. When I photograph a client, I'm actually shooting with this in mind. I like to do flow posing where each pose seems to naturally flow into the next. In a gallery grouping, it almost looks like she's dancing or moving right in front of you. You can also make a great gallery wall with lifestyle portraits so when displayed in a chronological grouping, it tells the story of the day. 

 Gallery wall and Interior Design by Georgette Marise Interiors.

Gallery wall and Interior Design by Georgette Marise Interiors.

Sabine: Can someone combine portraits, family pictures and scenery photos all on one wall?

Kirsten: Yes! You can absolutely combine portraits, casual family pictures, and scenic photos on one wall. I like to see this especially in homes where each family member gets their own row. The rows are separated with a row of family pictures, and the wall is anchored with the scenic photos that provide cohesion by showing what they like to do together or where they like to visit/vacation as a family. 

Sabine: What's the key to selecting the right frame? Do you recommend a mat inside the frame?

Kirsten: Framing is very important to galleries and to portraits in general. To me, it's like the finishing touch that elevates the art. I always prefer mats inside frames. It just adds a beautiful high-end touch, in my opinion. With frames, I like them to be the same color and texture, even if they aren't all the same size or shape. My mother had a more eclectic approach and liked walls with different frame colors, shapes, sizes, and sometimes different materials. She looked for the frame that she felt best complimented the photograph. It's all about personal preference and what makes you happy. The big takeaway is to print your photos and do so through a professional lab (easily done through your photographer). All photo paper is not the same and while you may save a little money at the time, you don't want your precious photographs fading from the sunlight or over time. You also don't want to "just get the digitals" to save money because in most cases you'll never get around to having the photos printed. There are millions of photos trapped indefinitely on CDs or thumb drives! In my packages, I include the digital file for each portrait that's purchased. That way, I know my client is getting the best in both quality products and service. 

Want to schedule a photo shoot with Kirsten? Book online here or email Kirsten at kirsten@kirstenwhitephoto.com.  Comment below and share with us on Facebook your gallery walls! 

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Turning your New House into your New Home

As someone who has moved a lot over the years, I can understand the emotional transition and countless decisions that come with moving into a new home. How do you make your new place of living feel like its your home?

"A house is just a shell composed of multiple spaces, but it's NOT a home until it has your personality reflected throughout its entirety." -S. Hayes 

Define Each Room. Decide what the function of each room in your new home will be. Whether you are downsizing or upgrading, your new home is different than your old home so you will have to make adjustments. For example, if you are going to work from home and need dedicated work space maybe you want to turn the formal living room into your home office. The key is to start with your needs and everything will fall into place. Once you've defined the room, place your boxes (that were hopefully labeled by room) in their designated rooms. Moving isn’t easy, but if you unpack a few boxes every day you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.

 This home office, designed by Sabine, was originally a formal living room.  

This home office, designed by Sabine, was originally a formal living room.  

Find What Fits. If you are downsizing into a smaller home you will be donating, selling or throwing away a lot of your things you had in your larger home. However, if you are upgrading determine the things that are on the “must keep list”. After you have defined the function of your rooms/areas, decide what furniture and accessories are appropriate for the spaces. For example, you might've had a sectional in your last living room but now your current room is shaped differently, what do you do? If the sectional configuration cannot fit in the space you may have to replace it with a sofa and 2 chairs, or 2 sofas, instead. This is where your designer comes in to assist with a furniture layout. 

 Furniture Layout

Furniture Layout

Finish One Room. Accessorizing is one of the most important elements to designing and decorating a room. I personally have moved to 4 states, 6 cities in 18 years, and from my experience, there’s nothing more comforting than having a few completed rooms in your new home. Even if you are still in transition or getting settled. Be sure to take one room that’s important to you, add your large essential pieces then be sure to personalize the space by adding accessories. Design Tip: To reduce the amount of echo from the walls focus on adding artwork to the walls.

What has your moving experience been? Did you find it easy to transition into your new home? I want to know, so please share your thoughts in the comments below. If you are stressed with trying to create a home in your new house contact me TODAY at sabine@georgettemarise.com to get started on your new chapter. 

À la prochaine,