How to Repurpose a Dining Room into a Ladies Lounge

Ladies Lounge with peonies
Hot pink peonies in a creamware pitcher

Almost 10 years ago, we were searching for a home where we could live as two families — me, Mr. and Miss Bee and my parents.  We weren’t quite sure how we could make this home work for us, but we did.  Our home had the typical set up with formal and separate dining and living areas but we knew these spaces would not be used in the traditional sense.  I put a twist on the dining room and turned it into my “ladies lounge” – a place for a small group of my friends to meet and gather while the men are in the family room.

ladies lounge
Ladies Lounge

I needed it to also be functional space for my serving pieces and cookbooks so I added two Emerson bookshelves from World Market. I took inspiration from open shelving where you can go right to the shelf to get what you need to set the table.  There are tons of ideas on Pinterest.  Just type in “Open Kitchen” in the search field and photos like this from Oak House Design Company will pop up.

open kitchen
Oak House Design Company
open kitchen2
Oak House Design Company

I love stacked glassware, utensils standing up in tumblers, a variety of cake stands, and assorted plates and bowls.

dishes on shelves
Emerson Shelving from World Market

If you are considering shelving, I highly recommend the Emerson bookshelves. You do have to assemble them, but they are very sturdy and high quality.  Look at the fun hardware on the front and a kick bar on the bottoms.

Chalkboard Bin from Magnolia Market

I had my friend Megan from Cleggraphy Designs letter the fronts of these chalkboard boxes from Magnolia Market.  I use the boxes to hold a variety of my cookbooks into categories like French cooking, baking and cookbooks good for weeknight dinner recipes.


lets bake boxfrench cookingwhats for dinnerRemember to take the covers off your cookbooks to expose the beautiful colors publishers use for the spines and covers of the books (you can tuck the covers away in a storage box or file if you don’t want to throw them away).ladies lounge 2

The wall color is Sherwin-Williams Quietude.  It’s the perfect blue for this space.  I had the sofa recovered into a fun animal print.  The Erin Cute-as-a-Button chairs are from World Market.  The tufted chairs have colorful buttons that add a touch of whimsy.

cute as a button chairs
Erin Cute-as-a-button Chair

The chairs are neutral enough that I can move them around the house to different rooms depending on my mood.  That gorgeous Chiang Mai pillow on the sofa was made by Stuck on Hue.  Hollie does beautiful work.

ladies lounge with curtains

Yes, there are three different types of animal print going on in this room and I love it!  I had the orange animal print bolster pillows made from left over fabric from this chair in my family room.  The blue animal print pillows I purchased at Target, but I don’t think they are available anymore.   The beautiful antique library table is made of tigerwood.  It’s been in our family for years.  The plant stand has a marble insert and belonged to Mother. The cream ottoman is from HomeGoods and is perfect hidden storage to hide out-of-season decor.

Shelves in Ladies lounge

The prints on the top shelf are by Janet Hill Studio of my favorite things — cake!

janet hill cake
Janet Hill Studio

I love my Ladies Lounge.  It’s filled with light, fun colors and is a perfect spot to read through my cookbooks and have iced tea with friends. Thanks for taking the tour!

Photo credit:  Rooted in Love Photography

Getting Ready for Guests — Home Tour, Checklist and Free Printable

We’ve made the food and picked out what to wear  Now it’s time to ready the space your guests will slumber after a delicious meal.  Here is the room I have created for guests when they come to stay…

Guest Bedroom

And an easy checklist to help you ready your guest room:

1)  Dust everything, including the headboard.  No one wants to sleep in a dusty room.
2)  Vacuum the floor.
3)  Put on clean linens and wash or put your comforter in the dryer with a laundry sheet to freshen it up.  Make sure there’s an extra blanket for guests that are always cold and fan for those who are always warm (that would be me!).
4)  Make sure the bedside table is equipped with a new box of tissues, bottled water, and a clock or device charger.
5)  Gather up toiletries like toothpaste, a toothbrush (my friend Kathy NEVER remembers her toothbrush), hand lotion, a razor, chapstick, mouthwash and put them in a basket in the drawer.
6)  Make sure your bathroom is clean, with clean towels.  Is there extra toilet paper handy.
7)  Is there a new bottle of shampoo and conditioner and bar of soap in the tub?  New bottles look fresh and inviting rather than half used ones with soap dripping down the side.
8)  I always have a first aid kit ready with band aids, alcohol wipes, antibacterial ointment.  Tuck it into a clear box.  The Container Store has a cute one here.
9) Windex the windows so they have a clear view.  You would be surprised how dirty your windows get from keeping the house closed up during winter months.
10)  Most grocery stores have $3 bouquets of flowers.  For a minimal investment you can put a pretty bunch of flowers next to their bed making your guests feel welcome.
11)  Light a candle or run a diffuser in their room with something soothing like lavender.

Other nice touches are new issues of magazines, some treats for late night snacking like an apple, granola bar or chocolates in a basket at the bedside or on the bench at the end of the bed along with their fresh towels.  I usually try to keep bottled water or a carafe and glass with filtered water so guests don’t have to make a late night trip to the kitchen for something to drink.



In the bathroom, monogrammed hand towels are such a personalized touch, with fresh flowers and a candle.  It’s like treating your guests to a visit to a day spa.  Kohls and Kirkland’s always carry inexpensive, monogrammed towels.  You could purchase a few with your guest’s initial and send them home as a thank you gift.

I also have an apothecary jar full of travel sized toiletries for guests to choose from.  Fill your soap dispensers, too.


Another nice touch is your Wifi password in a pretty frame on the nightstand.

wifipasswordsample28129I found a printable from I Rock So What several months ago and saved it to my Pinterest Printable board.  There are so many creative people out there willing to share their talents by pinning them to Pinterest.  Please check out my board.  There are tons of cute tags, printables and art.

You can go to her site and download the image and add your own WiFi passcode.  I used Paint and it was super simple.


Remember…”Hospitality is when someone 
feels at home in your presence.”

Home Tour: My Creative Space


I like to refer to my home office as the “Honeycomb Hideout.” Reminiscent of the 70’s television commercial with the Honeycomb cereal, the kids hung out in their tree house talking about grown-ups and ate cereal.   Unfortunately, if you look it up on Urban Dictionary they define Honeycomb Hideout as a “place to smoke weed and hide until the cops come.”  Clearly, I use my space for something totally different.

My office walls are painted “Dragon Fly” by Behr.  The color and the wall quote are a carry over from when Miss Bee used this as her bedroom before she migrated to another bedroom in the house.   I wanted the inspirational quote to be the last thing she saw each night before she drifted off to sleep.  The wall color plays well with orange, yellow, lime green and teal.

books can be the best source of color for your room
I love the unexpected touch of the fern

business-cardsThese little glass boxes were popular back in the 70’s and I am enjoying seeing them on trend right now.  It’s the perfect place to tuck my calling cards.

I used Mother’s collection of milk glass to display Sharpies and other office supplies.


I am giddy over colored ink pens
use milk glass as vessels for office supplies

Surround yourself with things that tell a story and give inspiration. The shells came from Gulf Shores, the place I found refuge the first Christmas I lost Mother.  The sea glass was found on Orcas Island in Washington during a trip with my girlfriends.  My niece gave me the succulent and it loves sitting under my desk lamp.  The “hope” rock was given to me by a member of the grief support group I lead at church.


I have a stack of Nancy Drew books from childhood.  The vintage windup clock I found in an antique store.  It is very worn on the back from winding it up.  I like to imagine it was used by Doris Day.


Which leads me to Doris’s phone… See the blue one in the mirror, too…

i found the light box at Ace. I love it.



The yellow paperweight and turquoise perfume bottle were Mother’s.  The other paperweight is vintage.  All sit atop a mirrored tray.  I love the peacefulness of the meditating Buddha statue.

The last touch I want to share is a little plaque Mother found for me. It hung on the door to my childhood room on 4617 Meadowbrook Drive.  She saved it when we moved from that house when I was a senior in high school.  I found it in her things after she passed away.



All of these touches — some new, some familiar, evoke the energy and calm I want in my blogging retreat.  I’ve got some other fun finds in this room I will share another day. I hope you enjoyed the tour!

How to Create a Dish Pantry

dish holderWe all have them in our house…a closet filled with random stuff.  We throw things in there we don’t have space for.  Company’s coming, just throw it in the closet.  Before you know it, the closet is full to the brim and you have no recollection of what lies beneath.

I had one of those closets and decided enough was enough.  It was time to take charge because this was prime real estate for my dishes and party supplies reminiscent of a butler’s pantry.  Mother loved to entertain.  We had so many parties growing up in our house on Meadowbrook Drive and with that came her collection of dishes, glassware and serving pieces.  I am glad she passed down her love of hospitality to me but I was running out of space to stick things.

This is the empty closet.  I should have shown you a before photo, but you get the idea if you have an overstuffed, random closet in your house.  I don’t need to remind you what that looks like.

January 2016 ipad 056

It’s not too big, but enough to walk into.  I enlisted the help of Elizabeth Jones with Nest & Transformation to help me design the pantry.  We talked about how I would use the closet and what my vision was for the finished space.  She is one of The Container Store’s independent organizers and they worked together to design the space. The highlight for me was the inclusion of drawers and racks to hang my table linens. The genius part is Elizabeth recommended installing pull-out pant hangers as my linen holders.  They slide out and I can easily access and put away the tablecloths when I am done.

While the installation was taking place, which included removing the existing builder grade shelving and a fresh coat of paint, Elizabeth helped me to gather everything from the attic and around the house that I wanted to be stored in the new dish pantry.  We sorted everything, decided what I loved and what I could part with and developed a plan to create zones in the closet.  Smart solution — dividers to house my platters.

January 2015 ipad 063

January 2015 ipad 061My mother and Grandmother both had sets of Johnson Brothers Friendly Village dishes. I have fond memories of eating Thanksgiving meals off these plates and enjoy using them during the fall and winter months.  Mother also collected milk glass, patriotic dishes, and several patterns of Wedgwood china.  It all had to go back into the closet, along with my own collections of dishes.

The drawers house my linen napkins and inside the drawers are compartments for napkin rings, salt and pepper shakers and silverware.

This is the finished product.  Yes, I have a lot of candles and this exercise made me realize I don’t need anymore until I use what I have!

dish pantry

One of my favorite products from The Container Store is multi-purpose bins.  I have a million of these around my house.  They are super affordable and since they take up vertical space you can store them from one end of the shelf to the other.  Wait till you see how I use them in my kitchen pantry!  In the dish pantry I use them to store paper goods like plates.


The only thing about this photo is the teapot sitting askew on the shelf. Elizabeth will see this and her mind will be blown because it’s out of place. I think I set it there because I pulled something else off the shelf and forgot to put it back.  Please forgive me, EJ.

dish pantry 3

The final, special touch, is my custom plate rack.  Elizabeth commissioned a carpenter she works with to make it.  I got onto Pinterest and found this inspiration from Remodelista.


I wanted to use the space on the right as you walk into the closet and it made the perfect spot for my dish display. These dishes belonged to Mr. Bee’s mother, so they are a real English treasure.

dish holder

It has been a breeze when I am hosting a party to have one place to go to retrieve my supplies and return them when the party is over.  I hope you enjoyed the tour and find some inspiration in our own space!

Home Tour — The Powder Room

By definition, a powder room is a small bath for guests with a sink and toilet, but not a tub or shower. My powder room has gone through the most makeovers in the house.   A tiny bath for just one person is hard to keep light and airy.  I’ve painted the walls, the ceiling, tried different art work, mirrors and finally I decided the only solution for this room was wallpaper.  And, not demure paper, but the type of wallpaper Blanche Devereaux would have (you know, the gal on Golden Girls?).

Powder Room

Growing up, my mother loved wallpaper.  At 4617 Meadowbrook Drive, my childhood home, we had a distinctive bamboo green and white paper in our entry way.  So it was probably imprinted on my brain since birth to have bold wallpaper in my own home.

It’s a light aqua blue, with a grass cloth texture and shimmery gold, bronze palm fronds.  I knew the minute I received the sample in the mail it was what a I wanted.

Powder Room above toilet

Powder Room (2)I added Mr. Bee’s collection of water color prints, each painted by his father of his childhood home in the Cotswalds of England – one large print above the toilet and four more prints on the entry wall.  I framed them in matching gold frames with a light blue mat.  It’s lovely to walk into the room and see my father-in-law’s signature on his art.

We installed a sink and cabinet from Home Depot.  A brass towel ring and toilet paper holder from Pottery Barn, a candlestick lamp, and fringe hand towels.  The mirror was Mother’s and is probably 50 years old.  I love the gold, ornate features.

But, something fun as an unexpected treat for your guests…

Powder Room Candy Dish

I placed a blue and white ginger jar on the counter and had my friend Megan Clegg calligraphy “Take One” on a tag sale sign..and when you open the lid…

bowl of cherries

A bowl of sour cherries!  One of my favorite things.  I thought it would be a nice gift for my guests – kind of like after dinner mints.  And another conversation piece…A bathroom guest book from Knock Knock — please sign in while sitting down.  My friend Terry has this book and I couldn’t wait until I got one for my powder room, too.Knock Knock Guest Book

It’s the funniest book…guests can rate your amenities, leave comments and doodles.  After a party I love to see what messages people left.

So, that’s the powder room.   Hope you enjoyed the tour!

Home Tour: The Family Room

Family Room

With the help of Andrea McDonald from Rooted in Love photography, I am able to share photos of my home with you.  Andrea has been taking photos of me and my family for the last few years and I love spending time with her.  It was a fun day shooting each room, just like a magazine!

I would describe my style as classic with a twist.  I find inspiration for the colors I use in my home from the sea — coral, turquoise, sand and the vivid colors you’d see during a summer sunset — orange and pink.  One of my favorite settings is to be cozy inside my house during a cold rain — so the shades of grey and blue also appeal to me.  And, I have a fondness for animal print using a touch of it in almost every room of the house.

Navy Chair
Margaret’s Slipper Chair

The slipper chair belonged to Mother’s best friend Margaret.  This is what I refer to as my classic with a twist.  The chair was a lovely sage green silk when Margaret gifted it to me while she was downsizing and moving to Colorado to be closer to her daughter.  To freshen it up for my color scheme, I had my upholsterer cover it in a velvet navy.  I found the blue and white garden stool at Pier One and it makes the perfect spot to set a drink.  I added a fun pop of color with the Schumacher’s alabaster Chiang Mai pillow.

Orange Chair
My orange crush

This orange chair is my favorite.  I bought it on a site similar to Craig’s List.  You should have seen me and the lady I bought it from trying to get it down her 1,000 steps on her front entry and into my van.  This was the before…


IMG_1269I was tempted to keep it in its original beautiful blue and white print.  But, then I started looking through fabrics on Etsy and dreamed of this combination.

Of course orange animal print…I had leftover fabric for throw pillows on the sofa.


Family Room

As far as home decor, I find accessories at Target, Home Goods, Pottery Barn, Pier One, Hobby Lobby and Kirkland’s.  I sometimes find good stuff at a consignment store in my neighborhood.  That’s where I found the Chinese Ginger Jar lamp next to the orange crush.  It was only $28 and all it needed was a new shade.  Fab find.  The reclining chair with the turquoise pillow in it…I got at a church rummage sale for $75.  Brand new with the wrapping from the furniture store still on it.  I may recover it someday, but for right now it’s perfect for Mr. Bee to lounge in while he watches television.

overhead of family room

The Turkish rug was our treasure from our travels last summer.  It has touches of blue, tan and orange in it and pulls everything together.  As you can tell, I gravitate more toward a variety of pieces and fabrics rather than matching everything.  I painted the space above the mantel, but for the most part we’ve kept this room neutral to allow the furniture and accessories to be the stars in the show.


A trick for that orchid on the mantel?  The green leaves are real, but the flower is faux.  I never have luck getting the gorgeous blooms of an orchid to return.  So, I just stuck a silk orchid stem into the soil and topped it with green moss.  And of course, the photo on the mantel is of my sweet parents, Earnie and Ray.

I’ll be sharing more photos this week…stay tuned…