Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Room of the Month - The Front Door

“It’s the first impression and it will either open the door or close it.  It’s that important, so don’t mess it up.” This quote by author Nicholas Sparks is a pretty strong statement but one that when it comes to decorating your front door and entry way should be considered.  Although Mr. Sparks was speaking about his break-through into writing, he certainly beings up some fair ideas for us to consider. Your front door either works or doesn’t work to give that first impression of you.  Does yours have the curb appeal that it needs to be something that is an accurate reflection of who you are?

Initially, I intended this blog to be about the entry way - including the front door.  However, I didn’t get past it!  Your doorway is one of the critical items of a home and one that is often overlooked. Frankly, I made the executive decision that I needed to use the whole blog to discuss this important and overlooked area of your home.  So...the room of the month for August is:  the front door.

The front door is the first thing people see when they arrive at your house.  It gives them an idea of who lives here and what the home owners personality is like.  A front door should blend with the existing architecture, yet issue a statement whenever possible.  Great hardware (knobs, locks, door knockers and even kick plates) is an important feature.  A welcoming door mat and the type of flooring found on the inside and outside the doorway are key to giving that complete feel. Examine your door not only when its closed, but also when its open.  Do the backdrop colors work together to promote a cohesive feel?
Several weeks ago on a walk with my family, I noticed an outstanding front door a few blocks away.  After a few minutes of stalking the house, the owners came out and talked with us and I commented to the wife,  “cute door”.  She laughed,”I know. I think I bought the house because of it.  I’m kinda of a door snob.”

After our family walk, I studied my own door.  If Sherwin Williams made a color called “Boring Black” my front door would be the inspiration.  Or perhaps “Barely Black” after all the fading from the Texas sun. I have always wanted a bigger door.  One that takes up both of the rectangular side windows and has a ½ window in it for a little sparkle.  Kinda of like the one from the stalking victims house.  But as usual, it’s pretty pricey to do that -- so it’s on my “if we ever have money or need to replace the front door wish list”.

But I always had this desire to paint it red with some nice brass hardware and a knocker in the middle.  Something like this:

I’d have to get it approved by the homeowners association, but there already is one in the neighborhood.  Maybe I could sneak it in unharmed...

Tangerine Orange front doors are a real favorite of mine.  Take a look at this one from “Pure Style” blogger, Lauren Liess. 
Add in the snow and you have perfection! Peruse Pure Style's blog about the details. If orange doesn’t quite do it for you, browse the “Creamy Life” blog for more inspiration.  

The idea of pink on a front door is probably shocking to most of us.  In my fraternity house that I live in, there would be rebellion if that showed up on our door.  It’s a solid no-go.  But there are instances where it really works with the whole feel of the home.  Read all about the pink door on "Coco Cozy's" blog.
One of the easiest ways to dress up your door is to simply paint it.  And what color to choose?  House Beautiful has a great list of front door colors to consider:

Suggested Reds:
Sherwin Williams 2801 Rockwood Dark Red
Benjamin Moore Cottage Red
Benjamin Moore Moroccan Red 1309 (house beautiful blog above)
Behr Library Red
Behr Cinnamon Cherry
Fine Paints of Europe Tulip Red 1001 (picture of door by Suzanne Tucker)

Suggested Browns: 
BM Mountain Ridge 1456

Suggested Oranges:
BM Gold Rush 2166-10
Behr Maple Lead (250D-6)

My hope is that you are inspired to add some pizazz to your front door -- be it pink, orange, red or even brown.  Make it something that showcases your personality so that your home will make that essential first impression.  After all, it’s only paint and a few dollars worth of light painting.  Once I decide on my new front door decoration, I will let you know.  Perhaps I will even extend an invitation to Nicholas Sparks for tea and get his first impression of my life inside the doors!

To first impressions,


P.S.  And yes, it is my birthday today.  :) Work before play...but believe me, I will play...soon.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Did Someone Say Conference?

In this day and age, there is conference for everyone.  I’m no stranger to conferences as there were plenty to attend in my former career as a business consultant.  Just a few weeks ago in Dallas, the annual Mary Kay convention was held - where schlepping make up is brought to the national stage.  There are conferences for being a better person and ones for buying property with no money down. But this one was different.  This was my first interior design conference!  Metrocon 10

Flanked by several of my classmates, I made my way to the Metrocon here in Dallas.  Being that our History of Furniture professor was attending as well, we got to skip out on our Thursday class – yipppeee!  One of the purposes of Metrocon is to keep up with your interior design certifications.  It’s actually a fun and great way to do just that!

With my “girls” (L TO R: Myself, Erin and Lisa) at Metrocon.  No, we’re not drunk…the Design Guide encourages us to put on costumes and then dance around for 7 minutes.  Afterwards, we each received our own flip books full of our images.  Perfect for your next party or wedding by the way.  Goofy but absolutely memorable…

In addition to being held at the Dallas Market Center, Metrocon is essentially the big trade show for interior designers.  Along with 245 vendors and 360 booths, they also offer 29 continued education courses that you can take (which I didn’t, as 3 classes at the Art Institute is enough for me right now).  The show draws professionals from all over the southwest (20 states to be exact) and they cover everything from hospitality to healthcare and retail to residential.


For the client wanting the latest and greatest for their media room, this was the place to be!  By inserting a blue-ray disc into the sound system, you were synched up to a website that would download the movable chairs in the room.  Truly amazing…In addition, you got to see everything in the virtual room in 3-D.  It’s not just for kids movies anymore.  Needless to say, my classmates and I were very impressed!

I also chatted with Sherwin Williams. They had a spectacular shiny textured paint finish on display.  (I actually think I might use it in my dining room ceiling – get your shoulders ready, sweetie!)  In addition, Sherwin Williams also offers coordinating paint for the Robert Allen Fabrics.  This allows them to perfectly match the seemingly limitless combinations of paint and fabric.  What a fantastic partnership!  Not only does this simplify the process for us designers but also for those color challenged clients.
Below are a couple of examples of the SW/RAF combinations:

The Terrain Collection
The Leaf Collection:
But what really made my day was the offer to send me a new and usable fan deck for me personally – with samples that I can actually use in my business Carla Moss Interiors.  Yeah!  Samples and vendors were bountiful.  I dropped in my card and the vendors handed over the goods.  This is much easier than sitting at my desk and begging for samples.  I even talked with the Steinway piano dude – remembering that sometimes I may actually have to order a piano for a client.  How cool is that?

All in all, it was an interesting experience.  Billed as large and exciting, it was almost fit the bill.  We anticipated being there a lot longer than we actually were but that was just the icing on the cake for the night.  We were tired!  For my first interior design conference, it was fantastic.  I was glad to get my feet wet and when school is over (very soon, I hope) – it will be a convenient place for my continuing ed classes.  So, for now I bid adieu to Metrocon 10 and to all the spectacular wares that I saw.

Outta here,


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

The Dress

Every girl dreams of the perfect dress.  We dream of our Easter dress, we dress up in our princess costumes and we even have a whole television show dedicated to finding just the perfect one for our wedding day.  Dresses mean a lot to women.

For those of you who are crazy-in-the-head for Veranda magazine like I am, you have probably already devoured this month’s issue along with me.  In this particular issue, there was “the” dress that I have been dreaming of for years...It has absolutely nothing to do with clothing and everything to do with design.  “The” dress is a Todd Murphy creation. 
September 2010 issue of Veranda, page 106. Notice the dress in the painting over the mantle. 

Todd Murphy makes the perfect dress - in artwork form! I remember when this infatuation with the dress began...Christmas 2006, and I’ve been dreaming of it ever since.

The movie “The Holiday” had just hit the theaters and I was (unabashedly) one of the first in line for it.  Nancy Meyer (the set decorator for the movie) is one of my favorite inspirations.  She was the creator of the sets in “Somethings Gotta Give” and I wasn’t about to miss out on this one.
Nancy Meyer’s living room in Something’s Gotta Give. 

The house in “Father of the Bride” - also another Nancy Meyer creation.

More recently in “It’s Complicated”

 Back to the movie, “The Holiday”....I easily identified with the character Amanda Woods played by Cameron Diaz.  Being a bit of a workaholic, Cameron’s role hit close to home for me.  Despite the fact that I enjoy a challenge as much as the other person, I am really quite fun!  The scene where her character is singing at the top of her lungs has happened to me a time or two but I digress.  The movie was something that I truly enjoyed but the one thing that I couldn’t take my mind off of was “the dress”. 

The artwork in the entry way of the LA home in the movies was spectacular and so simple.  I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.  While others were watching the movie unfold in front of them, I was gawking at the artwork.  Nerdy, I know.  When I finally purchased the DVD, I would stop it when the scene below came up with the dress in it.  It’s breath-taking.  
Surely, I couldn’t be the only one who noticed this?  And this can’t be the only photo of the artwork..I have no idea if this piece in the movie is a Todd Murphy or not but it did further solidify my longing for a collectable such as this.

Then slowly I began to see more of those dress pictures.  Isn’t that the way it always works - an artist gets a big break in the movie and goes on to fame and fortune. 
This is another one of Todd’s pieces in Metropolitan Home Magazine (also featured in an entry way).

This is one of three of the dresses at the Jackson Fine Art Museum in Atlanta form Murphy.

This one, gracing an Atlanta Home, is a prize possession of the owner named Best. The following is a quote from the article: “Best purchased this Todd Murphy painting after a fortuitous meeting with the artist at the restaurant Two Urban Licks. Among Best's considerable artwork, this piece, to which he was instantly drawn, is his favorite. ‘The way it jumps off the screen is so real,’ he says. ‘If I stand here for a while, I could almost envision a face above the dress.’”

I think that sums up the beauty and draw of Todd Murphy’s dresses.  They are designed to insert the perfect woman (whatever your vision may be) into the artwork.  So simple, so stunning.

Although only a few paintings of the perfect dress exist, this Chicago native Todd Murphy is truly outstanding.  But I had to move on..with 2 young boys and a large school bill, there was no way that a Todd Murphy was ever going to come live at my house.  Until 
Enter Restoration Hardware.  Recently, in the their catalog, I spotted the Todd Murphy dress!  Being a print of an original, it’s a tad more affordable at $1795.  Not exactly small change but totally doable if all the forces in the universe align just so (are you listening loved ones-- think birthday, Christmas, V-Day and all other major gift-giving events combined.)  With a little creative thinking, I am sure that 100 or so gift cards to Restoration Hardware could ease our sticker shock.  Wouldn’t that make for an interesting blog....
The perfect piece on the Restoration Hardware catalog pages.  It would look so yummy in my house!

No need to even think about where this should go.  I have a huge  niche in my entry way that I have been saving for just the right thing for several years now.  Coordinating with the black upright piano, a Todd Murphy would perfectly enhance the space.

All of the current decorating faux pas aside, the space that currently holds the fake flowers and the trunk would be the new home for “the dress”.  Hunting Coat Red also disappears next month...patience is a decorator’s virtue.

The perfect dress.  I think its time to take the plunge.  Quit dreaming of it and start living it.  Long gone are the days of princesses and brides - replaced by grown up realities.  Perhaps I should stop dreaming and start studying with the hopes of earning some new clients and thus being able to finally get the dress of my grown up dreams.

TTFN (ta-ta-for-now),

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Room of the Month - Dorm Room 101

College Freshman Year.  If this is your first year of college, you know the butterflies you are feeling.    McKenzie Stapp is one of my small group girls is headed off to Baylor University this Fall.  Thus, she is the perfect candidate for our first room on the month….


McKenzie and I after chatting about life and her college future….

Top 5 tips on decorating dorm rooms:

1) Edit! -  Remember its small.  Smaller than you think.  Seriously.  You just don’t have room for everything you are hoping to bring, hang up, etc. So be strategic.  Avoid clutter.  Get measurement or a picture of your room from your university.  Then, talk a ton to your future roommate immediately and avoid any duplicates.

Unfortunately, this is what most students will be working with.  But at least you have a blank slate to make your own!

2)  Storage – This is the time of your life you need to get organized.  I’m not just taking class time.  Where will your books go?  How can you best arrange your clothing?  Your makeup?  You shower stuff (even when your roommate is fast asleep).  It’s important to consider every piece of space.  The space above the bookshelf.  Under your bed?  Will they allow you to loft your beds?  What can go on top of the refrigerator?  Consider raising the beds, stacking plastic crates, buying closet organizers and investing in cheap plastic hooks.
 I love these white stands from IKIKEA I actually have two in my master bedroom.  They are perfect for anywhere, especially when storage and budget are key.  And remember, stack stuff to the ceiling!  Make use of all the space.

3) Scrapbook Paper, Fabric and Posters Oh My! – Some dorm rooms you can paint others you can’t.  But remember, you can always use posters, maps, wallpaper (no officially hung), fabric and scrapbook paper to add a little punch your walls.  Consider frames, French memo boards, a laundry line, magnets and dry erase boards too!  Sports Illustrated will work fine too!
I love this method of stacking books. An ugly desk is easily hidden with a piece of fabric. Don’t’ forget your add some zing to your bulletin board.  And take mom up on her offer of the funky chair, after all you can always paint it red!

4)  Good lighting – Sure there is an overhead light and a light by the sink.  But what if your roommate is asleep?  A good task light near a desk or bed will come in handy!  Or even a string of fun lights around your bed.
I love this clip on light from Pottery Barn Teen.

5) Sleep!  - Sleep is key in college, so think through what you need to get a really good night sleep.  Start with the window, perhaps blinds or drapery to shut out the early morning light, as many dorm rooms don’t have anything on the windows.  Task lighting for late night studying.  A rug on the floor for the winter when it cold.  A fan for those hot days.  Fantastic bedding that makes you feel at home.  Consider a duvet that can can wash occasionally without having to wash the entire comforter.   And a pillow that will go the distance!  And maybe even a twin feather bed from between you, the sheet & mattress pad and that awful mattress you get stuck with. And finally, the comforter you have always dreamed of…because you will use it for years! (I actually STILL have my pink United Color of Benetton comforter from college, it gets used on camping trips and slumber parties…I still can’t part with it!)
Here is what McKenzie's picked out for bedding.

* IKEA – Great for nightstand, shelving and organization
* The Container Store – Organization of course!  They even have a checklist you can download. 
* Pottery Barn Teen – Great for task lighting and bedding
* Target – Bedding and school supplies
* Hobby Lobby – Scrapbook paper and cheap fabric

AN INTERVIEW WITH MCKENZIE…and now what advice does our college freshman have for us.  Here are a few questions I asked her...
1) What do you think of when you talk about decorating your dorm room?
-When I think of decorating my dorm room, the first thing that comes to mind (besides color scheme) is definitely organization. Every dorm flyer I’ve received advertises some sort of organizing contraption and actually having a reason to buy one of those makes me excited! Up until now I haven’t needed to cram my stuff into small places so strangely enough, that’s usually what I end up talking about.
Get organized with stuff like this from the container store….

2) How do you think you will use the space?
-I am going to try to be as clutter-free as possible, so in extra spaces I will have little things in containers and organizers. But there’s a huge bulletin board for each roommate to decorate so I know where I will be putting most of my artistic effort! :)
3) What are the top 5 things you will purchase specifically for your room?
-New bedding (thanks Carla!), closet organizer, a very cute rug, mini-fridge, and a laundry basket. I got towels and d├ęcor for graduation gifts so all I need to buy are basics.
Like this mini refrigerator from Sam’s Club

4) Is this the same 5 things your boyfriend would list?
-Well, seeing as how my boyfriend isn’t really sure how dorm rooms work, I’ve had to help him out a little bit. His initial list consisted of new bedding, a laptop, and a Nerf basketball hoop (that’s Nathanael for ya!). I’m thinking he will need some kind of drawers to stuff clothes in and a giant can of air freshener :)
And if you don’t think men care, check out this New York Times Article.  Yes, he will be an interior designer….

5) What makes a dorm room attractive?
-I think dorm rooms that bring out personality are the most attractive! You might have the rocker chick on one side and the beach lover on the other, but it’s all about being comfortable and showing your style by how you decorate.

6) What are you worried about most when it comes to your dorm room?
-Trying to remember everything I need to take with me to college overwhelms me the most. I need to keep in mind that if I forget something, I can always go to the store in Waco. For some reason I have in my mind that if I leave an object here, the world will end. But I know it will all work out even if I have to take additional trips to Walmart :)

And you’ve heard it…straight from the college freshman’s mouth.  I hope that helps you plan for the college freshman you know best!  Next month our room will be – The Entry Way!

Until next week,


Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Room of the Month

22 weeks since my first blog entry and guess what?  I still love it!  Among the things that I have learned:  you can write about anything but your audience expects something.  Your readers are actually your customers and with that in mind, they will determine if they like or dislike the product that you deliver each week.  Keeping my audience at the forefront of my blog, I have decided to spice things up a bit.

If you’re reading my blog, it’s most likely that you have some sort of interest in interior design or you are a member of my family who is forced to subscribe. :) Either way, I want to provide a quality product to you with the hopes of getting you excited about my passion.  You want to learn more about the topic, see fresh ideas or just giggle as I fumble along my merry way.  Blogging is all very “today’s technology”  - heck, i hear even teachers in their masters programs have to blog!  But, it’s also extremely akin to reading an online magazine.  (I should know a lot about magazines as I tear through 15-20 a day, ripping out pages as I go.)

Since the inception of the "Why Not" blog, I have gotten responses and emails from all types of “consumers” of my product.  They come from my best friend cheering me on, friends of friends, church people who also write blogs, family friends who loved my latest entry, a classmate from high school remodeling her home....the list goes on.  Despite the fact that they come from all walks of life, they all have one thing in common --- they want to know what is coming next.  This is where the spice comes into play.

I have to admit when I started, I couldn’t tell you what was coming next.  My initial conception was to write about what’s going on in the here and now.  My every move documented for all to see.  Over time, however, my readers have come to expect something more.  Something to look forward to in the weeks to come. As we all know, future knowledge is very helpful to keeping we humans satisfied.  So...instead of just solely blogging about the here and now, I will be adding a feature on a regular basis called Room of the Month!

Each month, I will highlight a particular room in the house and offer: ideas, thoughts, pictures and resources.  Not only will it be spicy but also something to keep my readers coming back for more! Structure is so satisfying....

Here is the Room of the Month schedule:

SEPTEMBER -  The Entry Way
OCTOBER – The Guest Bath
NOVEMBER – The Dining Room
DECEMBER – The room with your Christmas Tree
JANUARY – The Nursery
FEBRUARY – The Master Bedroom
MARCH – The Kitchen
APRIL – The Office
MAY – The Backyard
JUNE – The Guest Bedroom
JULY – The Pool

Upcoming articles will also feature: The Media Room, Kids Rooms, Basements, Family Room, Jack and Jill Bathrooms, the Garage, the Pantry, and the Porch.  And as always, I would love any input that you would have for future articles.  I want my blog to be applicable to your life.

We will start with The Dorm Room in August as a salute to McKenzie Stapp beginning on her freshman adventure at Baylor University. So appropriate -- don’t you think?  McKenzie was there with me to purchase her comforter for the place and believe me...that’s a story in the making.  Stay tuned.

Until next week  -