100% Return on investment

Did you know per the National Association of Realtors that a new front door is the only thing you can do to your home that provides a 100% Return on Investment 
Of course this is how I justify changing every front door of almost every house I have purchased or my clients home. I am amazed at how many ugly doors there are in the world. (I know I think about strange things like ugly front doors ). 
Anyway this new construction already had a two story challenging front. It was a two story front and I questioned why a builder would do this on the front of a house. Yes I did ask a contractor if we could take off the two story front. The answer was no based on the cost and my sweet husband who said "you have lost your mind!" Okay so two story entrance stays so the question was how to distract from that ugly two story stone monstrosity entrance? 
A new double front door to replace the single door. The double door was made from Cypress  and of course glass to let natural light in. The end result is beautiful and helps distract from the awkwardness of the two story entrance. Plus a nice return on investment 
Hope you had a great Tuesday 

Don't settle for New construction Ugly

I know you have heard me say this before but you don't have to settle for what I call builder boring & boring =ugly. Maybe you think the before photos are perfect if so I am probably not the blog for you! This house was a new construction builders spec house that had a great layout but sat on the market for over 2 years without a buyer. The inside had typical brown cabinets in the kitchen and the bathroom. The bathroom had cultured marble tops, so awful and  light fixtures and brushed nickel faucets. I consider brushed nickel conservative everyone has this type of finish. Or I don't want to be different. It's not for me. Anyway, I don't claim to know why builders pick the selections they do but in my 12 + house  flips of my own and many other updates and renovations  for clients. I am convinced with a little bit of thought and really not much more money you can have a really unique home. Yes you can find tile at Lowes and Home Depot it doesn't have to come from Italy. You can find cool lights online. You can pick chrome or now even soft antique gold plumbing fixtures. It is all in how you mix it up.
You don't have to use what I call the "lick and stick" mirror. The one without a frame of any kind around it. Trim is cheap to add around the mirror. Or at the very least you could buy a mirror at
www.homegoods.com or www.tjmaxx.com or even www.shadesoflight.com  or easier yet www.target.com
This picture below is the bathroom before with brown ugly cabinets, cultured marble tops and brushed nickel faucets. We painted the cabinets, pulled off the 'lick and stick' mirror, changed the faucets to chrome and added two arm library lights in polished chrome from www.circalighting.com 
Plus I found a remnant of granite in Absolute black. Now you have a house someone wants to buy and live in!
Happy Sunday
Before brown boring cabinets 

New granite tops, painted cabinets
Love these mirrors I found at a local furniture store

When you love a house that is just a Hot Mess!!!!

I fell in love with a 1949 Brick Rancher and unfortunately it was a hot mess. Everyone of the bathrooms, the kitchen, paint colors and on and on needed some attention. This tile in the original bath was put on the wall back in the day with concrete lath so to remove this bathroom tile was a huge mess. The pink sinks and tub were out of place and it was time for a new look. Personally in a master unless I can find a spot for a soaking tub I don't  usually put one back. In this bathroom since it was a master we had no room to do a separate tub and I didnt think it would look that great with a tub shower combo so out with the pink tub. Which was so heavy it took four guys to remove. The toilet was in the room for all to view and so we bumped out a wall and enclosed it for much needed privacy. We had room to add a vanity which I purchased on www.amazon.com it came with the carrera marble top and two undercount sinks. I was then left to figure out what to do with the glass block as it caused the new vanity sinks to be off center for a mirror. So I just covered the wall with mirror and pulled the new vendome single sconces from www.circalighting.com in a polished nickel thru the mirror. No more block glass and I didn't have to do anything to the outside brick. Saving money as my husband says that never happens. A beautiful new pendant light by Currey and Company (to the trade only) 
New black marble tile on the floor and subway tile on shower walls with a grey grout. Frameless shower doors and  Benjamin Moore London Fog paint on the walls. www.benjaminmoore.com and Delta faucets in Chrome and this bathroom looks Fabulous! Functions much better and we used a mix of high end finishes and some big box items to save money like the subway tile and the vanity. 
Hope all your snow is melting as mine is have a Happy Friday! 

Master Bath 1950 Vintage green tile

Nice Potty for all to view

500lb pink iron tub 


Bumped out wall to enclose the toilet


Built ins: Go Big or Start over

I love adding built ins to a home. New construction or existing I think it makes such a difference. I can't imagine the following images without these built ins. The first photo is just simple painted shelving that was added to the recessed area inexpensive but huge return on how fabulous it looks. 

This hallway would have been so boring without this bookcase. We added the library lights for even a more custom look
This family room we stepped out of the box and didn't do open built ins. One on left hold the TV. Other side blankets and books and kids toys. Painted a color by Benjamin Moore called Sea Haze with glaze. 
The bunk room was added to this very long bedroom. Adding the windows help with light and make it fun like being on a cruise ship!
Hope everyone is staying warm. Ice and cold weather where I am. So ready for spring!!

New construction don't be Boring

Yesterday was a great day. Having a major design blogger Joni at www.cotedetexas.blogspot.com feature one of my renovations is like being on Oprah or winning the golden ticket ! Joni has a beautiful blog I have followed for as long as I can remember so please check out her blog. It's beautiful and informative. Love her style .
Well now back to reality. Here is a new construction project I want to share. I tried to make this more of a custom home vs a new construction boring as I like to say . I love using marble and this was a gorgeous piece of Carerra with a fabulous grey vein running thru it it's polished vs honed. I have used both and love both equally. I get asked if polished or honed is better at hiding spots and imperfections. I think they both show spots equally. I don't worry about the spots marble is just so beautiful and no other counter top product can take the place of this beautiful marble. I also like to paint my interior doors and here I used Benjamin moore paint in high gloss black. Painting interior doors makes your home look more custom and gives it instant character. This sink is one I searched for and found at www.signaturehardware.com
It's a nickel plated farm sink and it's another great find to add to a home 
It's unique and so much prettier than just an undermount stainless sink.
Add two pendant lights and you have a beautiful look that doesn't feel like new construction. Who doesn't love that !
Happy Tuesday 

What I would do with $3000 dollars to update

Here are a few things I would do if I had a $3000 budget either to update my home or get it ready to go on the market.

New Front Door 

A new front door, double or single. This one is a custom cypress door designed by me and handcrafted by my favorite door man Sam out of Morristown, TN. He is amazing.


I also think when it comes to updating or getting your home ready to sell new lighting makes all the difference. Lighting to me is like a great pair of boots or shoes. Spend wisely and your return on investment will be magical. You will get a buyer quicker and or enjoy your home more with a beautiful light. I think most builders miss the mark in this area and one of the things I do immediately when flipping a home or advising my clients.

Low Country Originals light fixtures: 1, 2


Don't underestimate using paint to change a  space. This ugly pink brick and paneling once painted looked amazing. This is an  old 1969  home that just  needed a little paint to increase the value of this home. Two gallons of paint a new light  and you have a brand new space.

Take that ugly oak handrail and say no to the husbands who say "its wood we can't paint it" yes you can!It  looks so amazing when you paint it even regardless if  you have iron  spindles or even white spindles. Paint the handrail and even the white skirt in front of each step it  is an  inexpensive  option that can  update your space and make it more unique. Hides dirt and looks amazing.

White Dishes

I love dishes. Period the end. I love all types of white dishes. Home Goods, Tj Maxx have  great options very reasonably priced. Pottery Barn and even Walmart and Target. Start your collection now they go with anything and work with any house if you stay or if you go white goes with everything and never goes out of style.

Optimizing Unused Space 

We took this dead unused space and created a  butlers pantry. We used inexpensive unfinished cabinets from  Lowe's. Sprayed them with Benjamin Moore high gloss white dove paint. Added a marble top  and a tongue and groove back splash with a open shelves = an  amazing space. We Added a pretty light from Pottery Barn and this space is ready for everyday families or entertaining. We even left space for a wine fridge. This  space brings a huge value to this home . When this homeowner  get ready to sell this will help it sell for more and quickly.

Cow Skin Rug

I know I keep talking about the cow skin rug. It is virtually indestructible and looks awesome over another  rug, in a foyer, bedroom, or bath. You can't go wrong plus they make the space fun. It works in all decors and it goes with anything.