Here in the Northeast, we have been fortunate for the past two winters, with only an occasional dusting of snow that melted soon after. But today, this one looks like it might be the real deal, so we are hunkering down with firewood and food, hot cocoa and lots of candles… just in case.


As we sit and wait for what is reportedly to be “a potentially historic storm“, I would like to share some images of warm and cozy spaces from my Ideabooks featuring fireplaces, this week’s design High Five for Friday! These are spaces that invite you in to peel off your hats and coats,  kick off your boots and cuddle up in a warm, fuzzy blanket to sit and read awhile. This space by Peace Design is so grand, but so warm and inviting, using wood and stone to create a cabin-like feel.

Peace Design Interiors

This spicy red walls of this space by Smith and Vansant Interiors envelop you in warmth.

 Smith and Vansant Architects

Who wouldn’t want to cozy up in this lakeside cabin by Lands End Development.

 Stone Hearth Lands End Developers

Who couldn’t dream of sleeping in this spectacular space by Bill Poss, with the snow-covered vista in the background?

Interior by Bill Poss

And this bedroom by Bess Jones Interiors is just plain dreamy

Bess Jones Interiors

I adore the simple bohemian farmhouse style, with white wainscotting and stone fireplace by Bosworth Hoedemaker

Bosworth Hodemaker

And this copper clad fireplace in an eclectic dining space by SF Girl By Bay


Now if I had a library like this amazing one by Timothy Corrigan Inc., I wouldn’t mind those 5000+ books that Coach has collected…

Timothy Corrigan Interiors

OK, time to grab a good book (hey, check out my goodreads section, I have added some awesome decorating books!) and wait for this storm to pass. Keep warm and safe everyone!! Susan

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I am very excited to share with you some recent photographs that were shot at Boston Studio Photography West in Clinton. These are the sets that we have been working on for the past few weeks. Although not entirely finished, a couple of the studio rooms are camera-ready, as you can see in the photographs below. With the models in place, the studio design concepts tell the story.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Granese Photography
Kirsten Photo Courtesy of Paul Granese Photography

Since these are sets and not functioning rooms, the photographers can easily edit and photoshop the images to their liking. These first images were taken in the victorian parlor by Paul Granese Photography.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Granese Photography
Piano Man Photo Courtesy of Paul Granese Photography

This image was snapped in the Powder Room,  with the model seated in the gold and black chair I featured last week in one of my DIY blogs.

Photo Courtesy of Paul Granese Photography
Kirsten Photo Courtesy of Paul Granese Photography

I also created the gorgeous dressing table. It was an old, broken card table that had most definitely seen better days. With some paint, fringe, a glue gun and some amazing pin-tuck fabric,BSP Table Repair BSP Table

BSP Table Skirt     BSP Dressing Table

BSP Dressing Table Top

I was able to transform it into a vintage glam dressing table for just a few dollars. More images to come as we continue with the studio transformations. In the meantime, batten down the hatches everyone in the Northeast! It’s about to get stormy out there! Susan

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Rachel Hazelton Interior DesignIf you are reading this blog, you can thank a teacher…specifically, Rachel Hazelton of Rachel Hazelton Interior Design. One of my Interior Design instructors at North Shore Community College, Rachel is the subject of my second guest blog for NE Home Magazine’s Design Blog. She is an extraordinary designer, well-known for her strikingly glamorous interiors, and the marketing teacher who inspired me to launch this blog. To read more about Rachel, please click here: There are links to Rachel’s blog and website, in the event that you are interested in seeing more of her work. Have a terrific Tuesday everyone! Susan

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For the past few weeks I have been working on a large scale project, helping to transform some rooms in a turn-of-the-century mill building into workable photography suites for Boston Studio Photography West. Using primarily cast-offs, craigslist and antique shop finds-including some “barn finds”, we have been slowly transforming rooms filled with pieces of furniture that will be used as photography props.

BSP Victorian Parlor

Dressing a set for photography is much different than designing a room in a home. The design principles are the same: you define the style of the space, like the victorian parlor above, then you paint the walls, add furnishings and draperies and accessorize. In this case, we are sort of working backwards, using available furniture pieces as the inspiration and designing around them.

BSP Velvet Settee

Each suite is being styled in a different genre and era based mainly on the furniture available to us, so we are pairing together, then transforming chairs, tables, beds and lamps so that they work harmoniously to achieve an overall “look”.  Perfection doesn’t matter to a photographer-photoshop takes care of that. Illusion is what we are after. This powder room chair before: red and yellow floral brocade with a blonde wood frame that had an almost plastic appearance.

BSP Gold Chair Before

The chair now: burnished gold frame and a black brocade seat and back, easily accomplished with $3 worth of paint and a bit of sweat equity. BSP Gold Chair After

For the frame, I mixed artist’s gold metallic acrylic paint with some darker gold craft paint along with some metallic spray paint in my tray, but didn’t blend it completely.

BSP Gold Paints

Brushed it on, heavily in some areas and more sparingly in others. The effect I was going for was glam but worn. For the cushions, I used regular black acrylic craft paint (2 for $1 at AC Moore : ), mixed with Plaid Enterprises Textile Medium.

BSP Textile Medium

This is a thinner that helps the paint absorb into the fabric rather than just sitting on top, so the fabric texture remains soft to the touch. The piece is transformed, not only to the eye, but for the camera as well. Perfect for our new powder room installation. Will keep you posted on the changes as we move along. Have a SUPER SUNDAY everyone- and since the Pats are not playing…go 49’ers!!! Susan

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…And Tons of Money.Killer Stuff and Tons of Money

If you are into the whole flea market, estate sale and Brimfield Antiques Show scene-as Coach and I are- then this book, penned by Maureen Stanton, is a great read and this week’s High Five for Friday! Of course, if wandering through miles of pop-up tents in blistering heat looking at old stuff leaves you bleary-eyed and and bored to tears, then this is definitely not the book for you! For those of us who fill our homes with the old and the new, enjoying the hunt as well as the find, this book is a tell-all expose, focusing on one particular dealer (his pseudonym is Curt Avery, but he is never identified in the book, apparently to protect his livelihood). It’s entertaining and filled with valuable information about the deals and dealers that work the antiques and collectibles circuit for a living (and yes, apparently you can make a living doing this- but you have to know what you are doing!)

Killer Stuff Hardcover

Each chapter is an essay on a nomadic way of life that seems, at first glance, pretty stress-free and easy, but is really quite strenuous and fraught with disaster. The author cites so many instances of dealers (these are the people that are supposed to know what the heck is going on!), losing thousands of dollars by purchasing faked pieces, or selling a piece at an undervalued price, only to have it turned over 2 or 3 times, with the price doubling each time. This is the seemy side to the world of antiques and collectibles. Who knew that unscrupulous dealers would figure out how to age colored glass or recreate perfectly turned wooden legs on an antique chair, only to sell them as original and intact? Well, I guess I did assume that this happens, but not nearly at the frequency and by so many reputable dealers cited in this book.


The author spent seven years following Avery around to flea markets and shows, spending weekends sleeping under the stars in Brimfield, no showers or bathrooms to be had. Hours and hours spent waiting in line, pitching the tents, unpacking and setting up, only to turn around and re-pack everything that isn’t sold in a weekend- this is the life of a dealer. It is interesting to note that Avery, the dealer featured in the book,  got his start as a kid collecting bottles- the kind you find when you are digging in an area where old homes are still standing. Like this collection on my windowsill that we found down behind the barn while digging for garden and fence installations.  Not worth a lot, but still fun to learn the origins of Kikapoo Indian Oil.

Antique Bottles

The takeaway from this book? Buyer beware. Don’t judge a book by its cover. Because it may have been altered. Buy something for its charm and beauty, not because you think it is a good investment. (How many times have you seen an episode of Antiques Roadshow where some unsuspecting guy drags a supposedly priceless piece of artwork all the way from Timbuktoo thinking that it’s worth a million dollars, only to find out what he has is essentially worthless?!) And if you happen to venture out to the next Brimfield Show (it’s coming in May), look for the guy with the curly dark hair and the collection of bottles. He’s honest, extremely knowedgable and respected in his field.  Happy Friday everyone! Susan

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Inspired. Rustic. New Country the suburbs. Because you don't have to live on a farm to create a warm and inviting country-styled home. Follow my DIY junkin' journey as I give tips of the trades and inspired fresh country design ideas to create your own Country Design Home.

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