Design Tip #3~Mix it up

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Before I share the tip----A few of my favorite blogs did not transfer over to my sidebar when I changed the format.  I sincerely apologize if I have left anyone out...it was not intentional but apparently a few of my buddies did not get transferred.  I apologize and if anyone would like to be listed on my sidebar, please let me know and I will add you when I have a chance.

I know that with the economic turndown, people are spending less money on frivolous purchases and I am looking for ways to decorate for less too. Over the years, people have come into our home and assumed everything was an antique or expensive. And while I admit to having expensive taste, we have quite a few bargains lurking in our home. We do try to invest in quality antiques and things that will last a lifetime BUT I also know how to weave in the inexpensive items too. 

Here is an example....



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I have always wanted an antique Welsh dresser.  So we found one that fit in a niche in the breakfast room of our old house perfectly.  We searched antique dealers in Virginia and finally found the real deal (at a pretty good price too). However, most of the plates that are displayed are from Target or Marshalls. There are two antique pieces on there that were purchased at large antique malls.  Someday, I would love to collect majolica or antique transferware to display here but for now I think these work well.

Another example is mirrors.  We have a few antique mirrors that I love.  This is one....

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We bought it many years ago (10) from a Houston antiques shop.  The owner bought it at an auction in New Orleans and we think it is French. It has gold gilt under some of that paint and one day I will take some light sandpaper to reveal more of it. And yes those are still my Christmas card in a crystal bowl--I cannot put them away yet.

But after realizing that an antique Venetian mirror was way out of our budget right now, I just got this one (below) for our powder room from Wisteria!

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It is not perfect but I think it looks really great for the price.

As an aside, the builder put a sterling silver light fixture in this bathroom (above the mirror). Do you know what a pain it is to polish a light fixture regularly?  It is pretty but very high maintenance.

Okay, my last example of the post.  Artwork.  We love oil paintings and original artwork but the price tag can be hefty. So we mix it up.

Below is an original oil painting by a Texas artist that I love.

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But then right across the hall, I have this beloved piece that was purchased at a Belgian flea market (not by me though).  I did not pay much for it at all.  It is a signed watercolor and very charming in real life. 

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So, when possible, I think that mixing in high end and bargain buys really works well in a home.  To find the bargains, go to large antique malls with various dealers.  Look for the less than perfect item.  The one with a chip or scratch and make an offer. Frequent auctions, flea markets and antique fairs (Roundtop in Texas is a great one for accessories).  For art, look up local beginning artists in your town. Get to know you local art gallery owner.  And don't forget to utilize catalogs such as Wisteria and Ballard, Williams Sonoma and even Pottery Barn.  Be careful though.  A few pieces look okay but you do not want your home to look like a catalog photo.   In sum, if everything is the best of the best, a house looks fussy.  If everything is bought just because it was a great price...well, that doesn't work well either.  I have more great tips on decorating on a budget planned for the future.

Please let me know if you enjoy these decor posts. (or not).  I feel really funny doing them sometimes because there are so many talented designers out there with blogs.  I am trying to offer more practical tips for those who cannot or would not really use a designer.  But I need to know if I should keep these coming or just go back to my normal posting.  I enjoy doing these especially since I am really working hard on our home now.  I will show you before and after photos of our home as I complete the rooms.

93 comments:

  1. I love your decorating posts. One of my best friends is a designer, and has helped me, but I have many strong ideas about what I like. I am glad you are posting about design, and I think it speaks to who you are, and your family will love reading about it too someday...

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  2. Oh... and I LOVE that watercolor of the cow! Your furnishings are so pretty, cozy, and classic. I agree wholeheartedly, that a few investment pieces give everything more character.

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  3. I enjoy reading your posts about design. I lack in that area, and I love getting practical tips that I can use.

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  4. i really love them. I never though about mirrors, but i really just noticed that we do have a LOT of mirrors especially downstairs (to make the hall look bigger and reflex light). I don't like them because they are hardware store typical, but i will definantly be showing this post to my DH. A nice antique mirror is something that even at our young age we could invest in! Thank you so much for the tips. I want my house to look nice, but as a beginner it is very very hard to know where to start. keep them coming!

    <3 amy

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  5. I love your posts please keep showing your finds and your decor since it's breathtaking.
    Also let me tell you that a couple of weeks ago I found the list of design blogs on the right and being curious as I am I decided to check them out.
    Wow!!!Since then I have decided to part ways with my modern minimalistic not so cozy furniture and In with the shabby, flea market finds and antique shops. I love it is soo much fun, now I know why people like to refurbish and redecorate over and over again adding new pieces to already existing ones. BUT also it's a vice I can't stop thinking about antique shops or flea markets and my husband is not so very happy about it. So thanks again for the inspiration!!!

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  6. I too love to mix it up. The posts are great, keep them coming please.

    Maybe you could do a post for those of us who have no experience buying antiques. I am always afraid I will be ripped off. :)

    I do have my great-grandmother's dining room set (table, chairs, buffet, and china cabinet) and I am glad to know that it is ok to incorporate new stuff with the old.

    Thanks,
    LA

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  7. Hi!
    First of all I love reading your blog. Your kids are darling! We also have a daughter from China.

    I wanted to tell you that I have been really enjoying your design posts. I love your taste and the photos of your new home look beautiful. My favorite design magazine is also House Beautiful. My Mom always passes it on to me when she is done - along with several others, but House Beautiful has always been the standout. It is fun to see the details and styles that you like. This post was great - I love reading about how you were able to save money in areas. I also agree that if you mix in a few high end buys that it is a lot easier to pull off.

    Please keep them coming and thanks for sharing your blog!
    Katie

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  8. I love your design posts. Would you mind posting where you got your new dining room chairs? Are they antique or reproduction?

    Gigi

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  9. I just recently started reading your blog (I think I found it through Denise at Love Keeps Growing More Love), and I LOVE the decorating tips! Especially mixing and matching with items that you can afford on a budget. Thanks for the time and effort put into the posts too!

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  10. Loving the posts, Kim! You have fabulous taste, thank you for sharing your home with us.

    Tamara
    NY

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  11. Please continue posting decorating tips. I love reading them and getting great ideas for our home.

    Linda
    Bruce's Mom

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  12. Kim,
    I hope you do continue your design posts. As I'm decorating my home and finding my own taste, I find them helpful! I'd also love to hear how you tastefully mix different woods/finishes. How do you do it so that it doesn't look matchy, but not completely random?

    As always, I love your blog...thanks for being brave enough to share your life. I learn a lot of great things from you.
    Kathy

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  13. I enjoy your decorating blogs and find them extremely useful. It truly is an art (in which I am lacking) to be able to mix the high end and low end. Please keeping posting pictures -- it really helps.

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  14. And a question? Are the silver candle sticks real? I'd like to some but they can be so expensive.

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  15. Kim,

    I just LOVE LOVE LOVE these design posts! I think you have remarkable taste and I love seeing the pictures of your home and hearing your advice.
    Keep them coming!
    Ally

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  16. Hi Kim! You know I love the decorating posts so please keep them coming!

    Your powder room has some of the exact features of what I've chosen for our master bathroom. I found a good website for mirrors if you're interested!

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  17. I really enjoy your tips on decorating. It is nice to get the perspective of someone who just has a talent for it, not someone who gets paid for it!

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  18. I REALLY love peeking into your home and seeing your work. You are so very talented! I may be e-mailing you when I get to Mexico!!

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  19. I think you should keep them coming.....you have a lot of wonderful ideas and since you are in the middle of decorating your new home....it is the perfect thing to share with your readers!!

    I for one look forward to your decorating posts and cannot wait to see some before and afters!!

    Just promise you will continue to mix in some cuteness.....we still need to hear updates on all the peanuts:)

    And BTW, you would never know by looking at these pictures, that there were some bargains mixed in with some high end pieces.....it looks rich and elegant....very beautiful Kim!

    Enjoy your week!!

    Lisa

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  20. I love these decorating posts! Keep 'em coming!

    ALso, I'd love for my new blog to be added to your blogroll when you get the chance! :)

    http://mjkfamily.blogspot.com/

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  21. I love your decorating tips. You have good tips that translate well into many decorating styles. Love to see the pictures of your (old and new) homes, examples of how you group items, the interesting antique pieces you've picked up, artwork examples, holiday decor ideas, decorating items/ideas that didn’t work, etc. I even loved seeing the pictures of the homes you were considering in your new city. I always think that you never know when your next great idea will reveal itself, so keep your eyes open. Keep up the good work. Bring on the inspiration!

    Blessings, Tracy

    P.S. I love all of your posts……your kids, your wonderful husband, party ideas, cooking, & even the simple post when you were struggling over where to place your television (we all have these thoughts).

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  22. I know I have told you already but, I love these post! Another great place to watercolors or prints is Etsy.

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  23. Hi Kim~

    I have really enjoyed your decorating tips. I love seeing how other people live, it's so interesting. Your home is beautiful. I love the hutch with the white dishes. The brown and white contrast is perfect.

    Jill

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  24. Hi Kim,
    Enjoy reading these and love your tips so please keep doing them if you have time. As others have mentioned in your comments posting, we may be less likely to comment on these so thanks for asking if we still want these!
    Thanks, Wendy

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  25. I love the tips too and look forward to more pearls of wisdom from you (and seeing pics of your gorgeous home)!

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  26. I love your design posts! I love design and always love to see what others are doing...
    Would love to be added to your sidebar if you want.

    Gabi

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  27. I enjoy reading each and every one of your posts. Your photos are simply beautiful. Thanks for sharing all your wonderful design tips.

    Have a wonderful day.

    Susie

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  28. i love these posts. I'm trying to figure out my own style right now and seeing how others do it so helpful!!

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  29. I love these posts Kim...even though our tastes are different in some ways, these are practical tips anyone can use...I too love the mix of highs and lows in decorating...it is what makes a home not too fussy, but lived in...and in the end that is what we all want, a home that reflects our family and the things we love~

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  30. I love your decorating posts. It is a passion of mine too so I love the ideas. Keep 'em coming -

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  31. I love your design posts! I look forward to more!

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  32. Love the posts and the white hand towels look great in my powder room - thank you very much!

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  33. Please keep posting! I love these! They help me a lot!

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  34. I enjoy the posts. Your style differs so much from mine that I love getting fresh ideas to use!
    Keep them coming.

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  35. Wow, your mirrors are gorgeous. You have such great taste.

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  36. I love reading your posts! The pictures are great and your home is beautiful!!

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  37. Kim:

    Okay -- I'm going to fess up! I LOVE your decorating posts just as much as your others. In fact, we are just about three weeks away from closing on our new home and your old kitchen was such an inspiration to me. I actually printed some of the pictures you posted, took them to my builder, and said "this is the type of window I want over my sink." Likewise, our cabinet our countertop selections were based on your own. I so admire your clean put very personal and charming look. I'll send you some photos once we have it finished!! Thanks so very much for sharing your time and talents!

    jana

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  38. Keep it up Kim!! I love hearing your desing perspective! I also love hearing all of the different things that you and Dave have collected over the years. It give me hope! I want everything now, and I know that sometimes I am just going to have to wait!! XO, Clare

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  39. Hi, I have never written before but I enjoy your blog - you have a gorgeous and fun family. I really enjoy your decorating posts. I love to decorate and I, too, like to mix in expensive with bargain items. I love a deal! You never know what you will find digging around at Marshalls. I adore antiques and treasure the ones I have, esp the character and history of them. Thanks for all the great tips.

    Laurie

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  40. I, for one, really enjoy these posts of yours ~ I also love the one with the kids too :) It's fun and interesting - keep it up!

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  41. I also like reading about your home/style. But it really does not matter what your readers think! After all, it's YOUR blog and you can write whatever you choose.

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  42. i love the posts about design. the way you arrange your home is so peaceful and it's really helpful for me as i continue to find my groove for what i like and don't like! =)

    i bought red tulips last night and thought of ya'll!

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  43. I enjoy the design posts. It is great to have new ideas how to decorate with more style. You do a great job! I also really enjoy your normal posts about your dear family.

    Best wishes,
    Cindy

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  44. Although I don't own a large home right now - we are renting a small renovated townhome - I love the ideas!! Like I have said before - I put all your tips in my "future" folder!!

    Thanks for all your heartfelt thoughts - they are truly appreciated :)

    Ashley

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  45. i love these posts. from what you've shown us, your homes are beautiful and so tastefully decorated!

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  46. Could you come decorate my house??? I just don't have an eye for decorating but LOVE all your ideas....you can wait until after the snow melts :)

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  47. Kim, you have flawless taste and I LOVE these posts. We are downsizing and placing our home on the market. I am packing away everything I can. Your posts make me anticipate nesting again!

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  48. I love your posts on decor, so keep them up! I would probably never hire a designer so I really enjoy learning from 'real people'! Can't wait to see some pics of how your house is coming along!

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  49. I love them :) and since this is a journal of sorts for you and you have this going on right now it's a perfect fit! Thanks! :)

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  50. I love them!! Keep them coming!! Finding a number of great ideas and inspiration as we think about building a new house. Thanks!!

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  51. Love all your ideas and design posts!! Keep em coming!! And, what font is it that you are using in your sidebar? I love it and am trying to work on some of my own blog designs eventually!

    And, feel free to link my blog too... I am way behind in updating my own! It is http://kissthefrog4me.blogpsot.com.

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  52. I love these post!!! When I shop for our home I shop all over the place and I buy what I love!!! I just recently went in to a large art gallery that is going out of business.I bought four original paintings and got a great deal!!! I don't know the artist but I fell in love with the paintings.
    Keep these post coming!!! I love them!!!

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  53. I like this post. It shows how you can make your home look complete while you are still searching for the perfect pieces that it may take years to find.

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  54. I love these posts. Keep 'em coming. I didn't see me on your list. Feel free to add me if you wish. =)

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  55. Boo Hoo - I am not on your sidebar anymore ;( I am so hurt~~~

    I love the Trudeau Mirror and I just got one about three months ago - it was a very special treat and surprise. The shop was going out of business and it was a steal!

    Let me know if you got the link to the flickr group -

    Ladybug hugs,
    ;D

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  56. I love reading your post and I also love Wisteria! I have a few things from there. You have great ideas!

    Sandy

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  57. Please keep these kinds of post coming. I have very similar taste and it's fun to see how other people decorate and what ideas they have.

    BTW, I am a collector of antique whiteware and transferware and would have NEVER thought your Welsh dresser was not filled with antique pieces. I agree it's fun to mix it up.

    Can't wait to see your befores and afters. :)

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  58. We LOVE your tips! Don't stop posting them! I love this latest post about art work. I love to paint - don't have much time for it now but did lots of oils and watercolors when I was in my 20's and 30's.

    I did notice that Katie's blog dropped off the sidebar but I don't blog much so don't worry about adding it back if you don't want to. We will always drop in to check on the Peanuts!
    Love,
    Kim and Katiebug

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  59. I really enjoy your decorating posts! I completely agree that you can be tasteful on a budget and that mixing bargins and nice is a must in a home! This creates a unqiue, welcoming atmosphere and your home is such a great example! Also, I ADORE majolica. There are several stores in Dallas (near SMU) that have wonderful collections if you are interested. Also, Wisteria has some great items! I am dying for this side table from them. It has such great lines and is under $100!!

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  60. Love them...
    And I don't think I am on the sidebar..
    Please add me..
    Hugs...
    have a great evening..

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  61. I share your philosophy. I'll buy a really nice piece, then something from a rough room/flea market or Target. Then with the money I've saved, I feel I can justify really nice fabric and custom window treatments. Love all your decorating posts.

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  62. Love, love, love these posts! Please keep them coming.

    Keri

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  63. I'm commenting for the first time to say I love your decorating posts! I've started a blog of my own to keep track of progress on our new house, and I've bookmarked several of your posts for reference.

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  64. I'm commenting for the first time to say I love your decorating posts! I've started a blog of my own to keep track of progress on our new house, and I've bookmarked several of your posts for reference.

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  65. Your design tips are great! I had a decorator spend hours in my home and I did nothing. Interestingly, my favorite pointers have come from you and my dear friend Nancy a photojournalist. Thank you!

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  66. I would be honored and excited to be on your friends list, even though I wasn't before. Will you add my blog?!
    ally

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  67. I think this post is great....and I do the same thing with mixing things up.....I have very expensive furniture that I have had made and yet can find a bowl to set on the table that I think looks great and it's from Target....I believe it's all about presentation.....and you have mastered that well my friend...

    Hugs,
    Steffie

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  68. Love the decorating posts!! Keep them coming!!!


    Blessings,
    Robin

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  69. Well, since you got 70 comments I think that we like your decorating advice! I still need some about my kitchen..I am wavering on the white cabinets! Any good websites that you can suggest for ideas? Or maybe I should go peruse Lowe's for some kitchen idea books...

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  70. I, too, love your decorating posts so keep them coming! Maybe Kate could pose in front of some of your artwork! HA HA!

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  71. I love them! I love seeing how other people decorate...it's like an Open House, on the internet! Thanks Kim!

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  72. This past Sunday I went to a FREE decorating class at Pottery Barn. It was one hour. It was well done. It gave two girlfriends and I an excuse to go do something fun and I got some really great ideas.

    Plus, they give you a discount coupon that can be used for anything in the store that day.

    Oh, and I do like the decorating posts. :)

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  73. I'm like everyone else & love these posts!

    Please keep doing them-

    Carolyn

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  74. I am very excited to have the link to my blog on your list. Thanks for adding me. :)

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  75. Are you kidding??? I look so forward to your decorating tips. I feel like I am getting a great subscription to an interior design mag. I love it! You have such exquisite taste and I get lots of inspiration from you.

    Like others, I would always like to see pics of the peanuts, mixed in with your beautiful home, too : ) Wink!

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  76. I love all of your posts! You have such an eye for decorating..... :)


    Jennifer

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  77. Kim, I also share a passion for good design (I graduated in the field) and have enjoyed your decorating posts as well as your cute family. I've wanted to paint my alder cabinets white for sometime and your kitchen post inspired me to get it done. We are now antiquing our island in a lemon pepper color (greenish). I'll post before and after pictures soon. Thanks for sharing your blog.
    Sure, add me to your blog list when you have time.

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  78. I love this post Kim! You have so many beautiful things in your home and your taste is impeccable!

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  79. I love this post Kim! You have so many beautiful things in your home and your taste is impeccable!

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  80. LOVE the design posts. Keep 'em coming! (Oh, and love the cow. That is too sweet!!)

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  81. I love your posts on design. First of all you have a great eye and I learn a lot, but secondly, it's fun to see more details about your house. I wish I had taken in more when I visited you, but I think I was too engaged by you and your family! I also think these posts will be a great record for your family of the history of pieces in your home. I sometimes tell Dots, "If something happens to me, don't let Daddy sell ___ (my Audubon prints, for example) at a garage sale!" because I'm the only one who knows the value of most things in our house (and that's by design, LOL).

    Can't wait to see you Saturday!

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  82. I love to hear your decorating ideas! It's a reflection of you and what is going on in your life right now...turning that gorgeous house into a home. That's good and it will be enjoyable, just as the rest of your posts, to look back on one day.
    I love the mirrors, both of them and I LOVE, love, love the Belgium Flea Market print of the cow!! Fabulous! Such style you have! :)
    Have a great week!

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  83. I love the cow painting and bathrooom mirror! Thanks for sharing. I love getting ideas from blogs to keep in mind for future use. Another cheap cheap art idea is to frame those fun handmade cards that you can find everywhere these days. Two or three together are a fun way to cheer up a bathroom or kitchen wall.

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  84. That antique Welsh dresser is gorgeous... the first thing I thought was my great grandmother's Haviland (bone white china, laced in 18k gold) set would look SO gorgeous on it!!! Unfortunately it just sits in a cabinet... there is TOO much of it... I actually think it belonged to my great great grandmother originally, 12 pc setting with all those servers, and big plates, salad plates, butter plates, tiny bowls, mini bowls, you know? In this day and age, I have no use. Now I want to find a buyer for it but have no idea how!

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  85. Kim,

    I am late to this post...but do you know the paint color on the walls of your new house??? Is that the color that you suggested to me on my blog? It comes across exactly like what I am looking for. I am just not going to be able to live with the color I had painted on my family room walls...it is too "cool". So I need to be sure I have picked the correct one when I have the little "discussion" with Jim about re-painting it. I feel pretty certain it is going to end with a paintbrush in my hand...but still...better to do it now rather than wait for the furniture to get here, right???? :-)

    Thanks for all of your decorating inspiration!!!!!

    Kate

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  86. I LOVE these posts and thank you for sharing with us! They are so fun and practical and we get to see some of your favorite pieces and hear their stories. I get tired of seeing scanned photos from magazines and books on some of the decorating blogs.

    I think my mother had a sterling silver chandelier at one point...I'll have to ask if she has any maintenance tips. Must be hard to polish the fixture against the wall. Doesn't the polish get on the wall?

    Thanks for your prayers for my cousin...she's improving slowly!

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  87. Keep the decorating posts coming- love them!

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  88. You have a great eye, love what you have shown here.
    Love that cow! Makes me smile.

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  89. I love your beautiful home!
    Do you really ever live in it??
    It is so beautiful and very well decorated!!
    Truthfully I am not envious but I love everything about it!
    Great Job!
    Cindy

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Thank you for your kindness.