Anchors Away!

Between this hot hot summer which makes me want to spend all my free time on the boat and the Hurricane currently bearing down on the Panhandle, anchors have played a very important part of keeping us in place.  From earrings, iPhone cases, and tank tops to pillows, sheets, and driftwood wall art, anchors are everywhere this year!  I even noticed Mozzie wearing anchor PJ’s on the latest episode of my summer guilty pleasure- White Collar on USA.  See some of my favorite examples below!Image

J. Crew iPhone cover

anchor shell art by Karen Robertson Collection

anchor shell art and other coastal art by Karen Robertson Collection


Shape up your kitchen backsplash!

While searching through scores of absolutely amazing glass tiles for kitchen backsplash, one thing I found was that squares were living up to its boring name.  There are so many other shapes and patterns out there that can make a great statement, why stick with square 1×1 or 2×2 tiles just because that is what is most common.  I am loving the Oceanside hexagon shaped tile to start, but diamond patterns, chevrons, and even brick pattern rectangles all add so much interest in a small space such as a kitchen backsplash.  Since typically you don’t need that much material, I think this is a great place to splurge in your home and make the most of the area you really live in.  Also, everyone knows kitchens have great resale value, so keep that in mind when you are renovating or remodeling.  Check out some of the options below that I can’t wait to use on upcoming design projects!  I think I am going to use the hexagon shaped Tessera Oceanside Glass Tile in “Beach Blonde” first, so I will be sure to post before and after pictures upon completion!

Arabesque Walker Zanger


Quatrefoil Walker Zanger

Oceanside glass tile

Artistic Tile

Oceanside offset waters

Artistic Tile

Oval glass tile

Ann Sacks

Ravenna Tile

Ravenna Chevron Tile

Ravenna tile

Love them all!  What’s your favorite?

Tivoli Townhome in San Destin, Interior Design by Andrea Maulden

A few years ago I began working on a new design project for a client’s vacation/rental home at the newly built Waterscape Condominium on Okaloosa Island.  Fortunately, everything went so well, she decided to hire me to give her other property in San Destin’s Tivoli a facelift also.  Since this property was a rental, it had been treated harshly over the years and was in desperate need of repairs and renovation, so we dove right in and came up with a plan.  The first step was to patch holes and paint the entire unit top to bottom to cover the existing soft yellow.  We chose Sherwin Williams Relaxed Khaki for the living spaces and saved pops of color for the bedrooms.  After also painting the beadboard under the bar, baseboards, and ceilings the place already had a freshness it was lacking before.  Next was to replace the broken tile flooring and crumbling grout along with the dirty, ripped carpet with a cost effective and great looking new tile throughout.  Then we could add a rug in the living area that was more durable.  It will be a lot easier and faster in the future to replace a worn rug in a few years than will be to have new carpet put down, which could cost my client valuable rental days!  We also replaced the formica counter top with granite, complete removed the “dreaded Tivoli columns” and replaced all the appliances with stainless steel.  Sorry the before pictures are so grainy!  My memory card was damaged, so I had to upload the printed version.

Kitchen before (but with new tile)

Kitchen before

Kitchen after

Kitchen after

Kitchen columns before

Kitchen after removal of columns

Kitchen bar after

Kitchen island after removal of columns

Kitchen after

Kitchen after

The final step was to tackle the furniture and accessories.  For some reason, unbeknown to my client or myself, there were over fifteen silk plants in corners, on ledges, and various other places making it seem a bit like a faux jungle.  She immediately told me to get rid of all of them, which I was happy to oblidge.  For the living and dining area we chose to use a dark rich wood and mix with textured fabrics in hues of caramel, cream, white, and navy for a sophisticated coastal palette.  We replace the yellow and royal blue striped sofas, white wicker furniture, and cheap prints with warm slipcovered sofas for durability and oversized dramatic abstracts to emphasize the soaring ceiling heights.  We then added simple white drapery panels and tasteful accessories to complete the living area.  For the dining room we replaced the white set with woven seagrass chairs which can hold up despite wet bathing suits, spilled food, and sticky fingers!  Paired with a dark farmhouse table, the area is now timeless but still has that coastal atmosphere we were shooting for.

Living and dining room before

Living Room before


Birdseye of living after

Living room after

Living room after

Living after

Sand dollar pillows and french script pillows help plump up the sofa and a cozy throw encourages vistors to curl up on the couch and relax.  The rug is a natural fiber which is stain resistant to begin with, but the various tones throughout help to hide any other damage that may occur.  The rattan panels on the side tables and accent chairs add another dimension of texture to the room, which we furthered by raffia accent pillows, and linen drapes.  Texture is one the best ways to add warmth to a room, even when keeping the color palette and furniture clean and simple.  By using the same dark tones on all of the casegoods we created a nice flow that helped tie this large room together.  But an important note is that we didn’t use everything from the same collection and company, which I feel is vital to making a room feel unique and personalized and not just a catalog page or matchy matchy.

Living room after

Living and dining after

Dining room after

We also added a bar/desk section near the spiral stairs that lead up to the bunk room.  This was previously wasted space with (no surprise!) just silk plants in a grouping.  With the fold out desk available for a laptop, and the bar on top to serve cocktail hour, this area now serves a function and looks great too!

Desk/ Bar after

Bar/ Desk area

Bar this sign's irony!

The master bedroom started out with all white louvered furniture and floral pink and green bedding.  While the furniture was in nice condition, it didn’t really suit the rest of the redesigned condo, so we decided to replace everything in the room (and remove silk plants!)  We also painted this room in Sherwin Williams Liveable Green which created a nice spa like atmosphere for us to build on.

Master bedroom before

The before nightstands and lamp

Master before

Master bedroom draperies before

The new king bed is a black cane piece by Palecek, which we paired with reclaimed lumbar open nightstands and a neutral duvet and standard shams.  The euros have a multi-colored coral print on them which brings in the green on the wall as well as shades of turquoise.  The new lamps have a beautiful iridescent shine to them, that is enhanced when the sunlight comes in off the balcony which overlooks the golf course of San Destin.  Notice in the picture above, while cute, the draperies in the master were out of place, too short, and didn’t treat the transom which allowed for harsh morning sun to shine right on the master bed.  We solved this problem by replacing them with a solid wheat colored linen which we lined with black out and hung above the transom.  We also made a panel for the door which can be swagged back out of the way when going in and out on the balcony.

Master bedroom after

Master bedroom after

Master bedroom after (flat screens were installed later)

More to come!

The upstairs loft started with the same yellow paint as the rest of the unit, which was also repainted.  We then replaced the beds, bedding, and accessories for a whole new look.  Since this overlooked the living room, we kept the same dark wood as below to create a sense of unity.  We also kept the navy and white color scheme and added a small pop of lime green for a touch of fun.  Check out the before and afters below!

Twin loft before

Twin loft after

Twin loft after

Adding another layer of texture with wallpaper!

Ralph Lauren wallpaper

In my latest search for a modern wallpaper I have come across some new textures and designs that I just had to share.  Though the options are limitless and I could list pictures for days, I have narrowed it down to these as some of my new favs.  I love how you can really play with dimension and depth with wallpaper and transform a dull space into something to talk about.  A professor of mine in college told us that the only appropriate place for wallpaper was a powder bath, but I couldn’t disagree more!  Wallpaper can be great in any room when done right so check out a few of these examples and see what you think!  Also, wallpaper is a great way to hide flaws in older homes and buildings that may not have perfectly smooth drywall or level surfaces.

Wallpaper by Thibaut

Watelet from Designers Guild

Anthropologie wallpaper

Though a bedroom can be a bit riskier to make a commitment to printed wallpaper, I think in this case it looks amazing.  Also, with wallpaper you don’t feel the need to cover the wall with art, so a simple series like above can be plenty for the room.

dining room designed by Suzanne Kasler

Grasscloth wallpaper is a timeless and classic way to add sophistication to a room while keeping things simple.  With this look, the grasscloth allows for more layers such as sconces and art and drapes without things getting too busy or hectic. 

A drab entry way is a terrific place to try wallpaper.  Since usually this space sets the tone for the rest of the home, a dramatic wallpaper can let guests get a great first impression.

Christmas decor on a dime

I was recently asked by the local newspaper for some ideas to decorate for Christmas on a budget.  This got me thinking of ways to use local and household items in different ways for the Holiday season to transform you home without breaking the bank.  Also, if you are like me, you don’t have a ton of storage space to put away decorations after January 1st, so you don’t want to be stuck with bulky fragile items you won’t need again for 11 ish months.  Of course, nothing says it’s the Holidays like cookies baking and Elvis Christmas music playing, but even a minimal amount of decorations can really get you and yours in the spirit of the season.  Before you hit the stores however, check your yard for some great decorating staples absolutely free.  Leafless tree branches and pinecones are great ways to bring nature indoors and creat a stunning centerpiece or mantle displays without leaving your own front yard.  Pinecones can be dipped in leftover paint, sprinkled with glitter, stung together as garland, or simply placed in a glass bowl.  Meanwhile tree branches can be quite a showstopper as a dramatic centerpiece all by themselves or mixed with a strand of Christmas lights.  See several examples below!

Another great way to glam up your home for Christmas, New Year’s, or even Hanukkah is to stop by a Dollar General and pick up a few of their glass candle holders and then spray paint them with Krylon’s “Looking Glass” paint.  This simple project can certainly add festivity to you home as well as a little sparkle.  Mix with Christmas lights or flameless candles and watch them twinkle!  This paint would work on any glass object so get creative with some pieces you have laying around and be amazed by the transformation from drab and boring to festive and reflective!  I think it was Jeff Foxworthy that said “say it with Krylon.”  Of course I don’t think he meant Merry Christmas, but it still applies!

Finally, don’t buy on impulse or just because something is on sale.  Sometimes we end up with tons of small objects and pieces that don’t work with our homes which can make for a junky display.  My home is decorated in khaki, white, aqua, and touches of chartreuse therefore I decorate for Christmas in similar colors and play up the silver and gold so that things still are festive but don’t clash with my everyday decor.  I can’t and won’t pack up half my house just to make room for Christmas.  Who has the time and energy for that?  By intergrating my home for Christmas with neutral colors and natural materials, I accentuate without creating stress and chaos for myself and my family.  Every year I can’t resist buying new decorations for the house, but I try to always make sure they will work in the bigger picture and not just because it is a great deal or the last one left.   Also, I consider spending a bit more if the item is a neutral and constructed with quality, since I may can use it year around.  For example, I have a creamy white shaved wood wreath for my front door with a green holly ribbon for Christmas.  But all I have to do is change the ribbon and I can use that same wreath for other holidays and seasons.  Same goes for some interior decorations that you may find. 


Pillow available for saleChamplagne, Gold, and White are great neutrals that can be used year around!