simple, lovely home


Often, a room just needs a simple, lovely thing to make it feel more like home. For me, a vase of freshly-picked flowers on the dining table does the trick.

My garden at home is purely decorative. In spite of my design focus of function over form, there is not a single edible plant in my garden. Flowers just make me happy.

What simple, lovely things make you happy?


got toys? storage that’s easy on the eyes

As someone who knows what it feels like to step on an errant Lego barefoot, I’m passionate about attractive and functional storage solutions for toys. DailyCandy has handily served up 17 options that are fun, stylish, and don’t require you to work primary-colored plastic into your decor.

My personal favorite: these Swoop (TM) toy bags are perfect for every kids' vast collections of trains, blocks, Legos, dolls, and stuffed animals. via

via 71 Places to Put Things Away – DailyCandy.

and it was all yellow

Whether bright or subdued, yellow says sunshine, smiles, sunflowers and springtime. I love it as a statement color — used generously ALL OVER a room — or as a pop of color in an otherwise neutral room. Here are some favorites I’ve collected on my online travels.

It’s not often you see a fireplace given a fun, vibrant look. This one looks so cheerful — like a smiley face across that white wall.

~ bright.bazaar

A yellow kitchen can be too kitschy, and the wrong hue may bring back bad memories of your parents mustard appliances. But done well, a yellow kitchen is the perfect companion to your morning coffee. This kitchen incorporates budget-friendly laminate cabinetry with dramatic black and white wallpaper. The rest of the furnishings are simple, with yellow accents to carry the color across the narrow space.

~ This Lovely Home

These tiles remind me of honeycombs. I’m picturing them in a small bathroom, on the floor and walls, with everything else white. They would also make a funky backsplash in a retro-style kitchen with aqua and red accents. What would you do?

tiles by popham design. ~ design sponge

Hmm… I’m not the only one who loves yellow with aqua and teal. The high-gloss lacquer finish on the walls reflects the light and really amps up the color. The minimal use of dark woods — in the side tables and accent chairs — help ground the room while keeping it fresh and airy.

By designer Jamie Drake. ~ Elle Decor

Another yellow living room, in a softer palette with grey and white accents. The more saturated yellows of the sofa and lamp stand out against the creamy wallpaper. I like the graphic florals in the toss pillows, and would swap out the prints for something more modern — black and white photography or a pair of abstract prints with more grey tones.

~ Architecture Idea | Modern Home Design | Room Inspiration

This living room takes yellow to the edgy, sophisticated level. Proof that yellow can be sexy.

~ decor pad

If you think yellow is too bright for your bedroom, and you want a more soothing color palette, think about your bedding. Bed linens are not a major commitment or huge expense, but a way to bring a little sunshine into your room when you want it. Here, a blanket and matching shams do the trick. I would recommend the Denyse Schmidt design below with coordinating shams.


Denyse Schmidt is an amazing artist, craftsperson, and business owner, based in Bridgeport, CT. Her designs are based on traditional quilt patterns, with irregular shapes and color combinations that give them a modern art feel. I would style whole rooms around one of her quilts.

"Roots" quilt designed by Denyse Schmidt. ~ DS Designs

I love yellow because it makes me feel optimistic, which I generally am not. And don’t we all need a little extra optimism these days?

What are your favorite yellow rooms? I’d love to see them ūüôā

not everyone reads e-books

Books are not made for furniture, but there is nothing else that so beautifully furnishes a house. ¬†— Henry Ward Beecher

I am one of the few people who still read actual books. I have a hard time letting go of them, too, so I understand the need for walls lined with bookshelves. Whether or not you sort your books by color, a floor-to-ceiling built-in is my favorite flavor. Here are a few from around the web that inspire me:

source unknown

by Techentin Buckingham Architecture
Photo: Bookcase from Maison de Verra by Dominique Vellay
O'Neill Rose Architects, NY. Photography by Chuck Choi.
source unknown

My opinion on color-sorting: If your collection warrants shelving of this scale, then you’re better off organizing library-style by genre, subject, and alphabetically by author. Smaller collections of books, e.g. one or two bookcases, can be arranged by color without making impossible to find something.

what is ROI Design?

What better day for the inaugural post on my design blog than the birthday of Mies Van Der Rohe. His maxim, “Less is more,”¬†is a principle that can be applied to nearly every project, even beyond the realm of design.

Barcelona couch, Knoll, Inc.

My design philosophy is that interiors should be functional as well as beautiful.¬†I believe that your home ultimately has a utilitarian purpose, so¬†I design spaces for living in, not just for looking at. I’m far from minimalist, yet you generally will not find swags and jabots in my designs.¬†Ornamentation, if applied at all, has an aesthetic purpose — to carry a color throughout a space, to accentuate an architectural element in a room, or to simply make those using a space happy.

Above all, our homes should¬†work with the way we live.¬†We invest so much into them: time, money, energy, emotion.¬†In return — the ROI, if you will — our homes should bring us beauty, comfort, organization, and functionality.¬†If the carpet in your living room is the perfect shade of dark grey to match the toss pillows on the sofa, but you have a yellow Lab and you hate vacuuming, that is not good design.¬†Good design solves problems, it does not create them.

Before making any recommendations, I make sure I understand your lifestyle and personal taste. In the end, my design will help to make your home work for you. The name of my firm represents the process I follow to achieve this:

  • Reflect on your goals for your space and the existing elements to incorporate into the design plan
  • Observe how you and your family live to identify the practical needs for your space
  • Inspire you with colors, patterns, and textures to determine your aesthetic for your space

Are you ready for a home that works? Keep checking back here for ideas, inspiration, and projects in process.

— cheryl