Prepping for Hanukah with Yours Truly

Prepping for Hanukah with Yours Truly

The most festive time of year is fast approaching.  If you haven’t seen my Halloween or Christmas prepping posts, you really should check them out for some great tips.

This week though, I’m sharing Hanukah decorating ideas and photos from a party I pulled together for a client last year.   I have to say that this was a challenging project. I had a short amount of time to make the space feel festive and sophisticated while incorporating all the elements that the holiday embodies. I wanted to use decorations not typical with what you would find for Hanukah. I was inspired by metallics, acrylic, and objects as well as the color blue. The feedback that my client received on the sophisticated decor was amazing. You will see how I incorporated these elements throughout the home.

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Gelt coins and chocolate kisses with LED glitter branches in the mirrored tray feel playfully fun as the centerpiece  for this coffee table.  Candles, beaded garland and a gold star accessory add additional warmth and interest.

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Who says that ornaments are for Christmas trees only? An acrylic Star of David and gold sparkly stars look festive for this mantel decor.  I like the simplicity of these elements together – they feel perfect for Hanukah without looking cluttered.

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No explanation needed.  What Hanukah party would be complete without fancy cocktails and a couple of mercury glass vases filled with little glittery sprigs of dried greenery. Now all you need to add is a cute bartender and the party can begin!

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The color silver and blue throughout feels bright and bold against the warmth of the wood table.  Candles add sophistication and a warm, inviting glow while the acrylic dreidel and silver leaf magnolia leaf garland complete the look.

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Blue candles, a navy blue table runner, and beautiful crystal goblets make this table sophisticated, bold, and beautiful. The silver branch menorah was a great addition to the table scape.

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Rich, velvet fabric and sheer fabric  against twinkling lights and silver serving platters provide the perfect backdrop for delicious food. We ran battery powered LED lights around the various lifts and levels and covered paint cans with the fabric.  The flower arrangement in this table scape ties all the differing elements together.

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 A lovely flower arrangement on top of a beautiful coffee table book with gold candy coins and glowing candles create such a relaxing ambience as guests gather to celebrate Hanukah together.

This was certainly one of my favorite Holiday decorating projects that was fun to pull together.  Below are additional resources for you to throw the perfect Hanukah celebration!

The Best Hanukah Recipes from Food Network.

Haute Hanukah Decorating Ideas from HGTV.

What are some of your favorite decorations, recipes, and traditions for Hanukah?  I would love to hear from you!

Have Hanukah decorating questions?  Email us at

 Have a fabulous week!

Design Defined: High Gloss Paint Paint Sheen or Lacquered Walls

high gloss

High Gloss Paint Sheen:

With a glass-like, shiny, incredibly durable finish, high gloss paint sheens are perfect for high traffic areas as they allow dirt and grime to be wiped clean with ease.

Word to the wise… When painting with a high gloss paint, prep, prep, PREP.  It will show EVERY bump and imperfection on the wall, so I highly recommend you hire a professional painter to do the job.  High gloss lacquered walls are quite beautiful, but as all women know, with beauty comes pain, and this paint sheen is a pain to apply correctly.

Its important to note that in regard to paint sheens, the higher the sheen, the higher the shine, & the more durable.

This is a video going over high gloss paint and its most popular use:

Here is an additional video outlining how to paint a vintage dresser with a high gloss paint:

What do you think?  Do you like a high gloss paint sheen?

For interior design inquiries, please email us at

Have a smart, stylish and sheeny… I mean SHINY day!

Prepping for Christmas with Yours Truly

I do realize its still September and we haven’t even hit Halloween yet, but Christmas is around the corner and its never  too early to start planning.  Avoid decorating stress with these ideas so you can simply enjoy your Holiday Season.

Below are some Christmas decorations I used in my own home a few years ago.  You can see I stuck to a traditional green and red color palette as you cannot go wrong with the classics!

I love to use real greenery in holiday decorating but this year I went with a faux greenery from Ballards. I was amazed with how real the garland looked.  And even though I do lean toward a more contemporary look in my interior designs, I like to change things up year to year for the holidays. I have 5 different types of Christmas decorations that I rotate through. This particular year I wanted a more traditional look.  The garland, stockings, a Santa, and the candles in the old coal fireplace produce that feeling I wanted to achieve.


I love the silver leaf mirror against the preserved boxwood wreath and the whimsical Santa Claus.  It looks so festive, bright, and eye catching.

This wooden horse adds a touch of the unexpected.  Its necessary to take risks when decorating.  I love how this simple addition added to the overall look of the mantel decor.

Festive burlap ribbon is a great way to add visual interest in addition to the pine cones and greenery.

These stockings are very playful and fun.  I like a touch of whimsy when it comes to Holiday decor.

Below you will find fabulous Christmas recipes, decorating color palettes, festive ideas, and fun songs to ensure your Holiday Season is a HIT!

15 Spectacular Christmas Palettes Beyond Red and Green from Houzz.

Best Christmas Recipes from Food Network.

Festive Christmas Decorating from HGTV.

100 Best Holiday Songs from Billboard.

Do you have any special plans for the Holidays?  Are there any decorations you absolutely love to use every year?  I would love to hear from you!

For Holiday Decorating help, please email us at

Have a fabulous day!

Design Defined: Semi-Gloss Paint Sheen

semi-gloss paint

Semi-Gloss Paint Sheen:

A semi-gloss paint sheen has a sleek, slightly reflective finish.

It is great for trim and walls but requires careful application as it will show roller and brush marks readily.  It is also a great finish for high traffic areas.

Its important to note that in regard to paint sheens, the higher the sheen, the higher the shine, and the more durable.

Here are a couple examples of a semi-gloss paint finish on trim (during a Christmas celebration):

semi gloss trim



(Designer and photographer: Minhnuyet Hardy)

Mixing paint sheens is a great way to add visual interest and depth in a space.  For the space above, I used an eggshell finish on the walls and then this semi-gloss paint on all of the trim.

Have you ever mixed paint sheens?  What was the result?

Have a fabulous day!

My Favorite Masculine Accessories for September

I’ll be the first to admit that I love accessory hunting… it is the jewelry of the home.  But to some, there are so many options to choose from that the search for the right accessories for your space can feel very overwhelming.  When it comes to masculine inspired accessories, however, the pool of options is limited, and those jewels are harder to find.

Fortunately, one of my jobs as an interior designer is to make your life easier by alleviating the burden of choosing from so many options.  This month, I’m honing in on my favorite masculine accessories that will add depth, interest, and a contemporary touch to any space.

1. Nouvel Vessels by City Collection

City Collection Furniture Nouvel Vessels

City Collection Furniture Nouvel Vessels

These brass vessels are the ultimate male accessory.  They are contemporary, yet the 14K gold lining adds a touch of warmth that catches the eye (they come in a silver leaf version as well!) They look fabulous grouped together making the perfect vignette in a bookcase, on top of a coffee table, or next to a lamp on a console. Let’s be honest, they are masculine show stoppers no matter where you place them…

2. Square Acrylic Risers

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Fixture Zone Acrylic Block

These little guys pack a punch!  When you are accessorizing a space, you want lots of differing heights to add visual interest and that is exactly what acrylic risers do.  Use different sizes to show off your three dimensional artwork, or buy two of the same size to display a set of eye-catching vases on either side of your mantel.  The possibilities for these are endless – just use your imagination.

3. Choras Antique Lock on Stand from Studio A

Chorus Antique Lock on Stand from Studio A on

Chorus Antique Lock on Stand from Studio A on

These hand made, bronze finished beauties are great in any space.  Even in more contemporary interiors, I like to bring in a touch of old world aesthetic.  The juxtaposition of old and new adds warmth and interest.

4. Petrified Wood Trio on Marble stands from Interlude Home

Interlude Home Serang Small Petrified Wood Trio

Interlude Home Serang Small Petrified Wood Trio

Every room needs a natural element and these do just the trick.  Petrified wood is so beautiful and this unique trio are a great addition to any space.  These also work well within many different color palettes because they are neutral.

So there you have it – my favorite masculine accessories in time for Fall.  What are some of your favorite masculine accessories?  I’m always looking for fresh and inspiring pieces. Remember, you can always email me and we can procure the items listed above for you since some of the items are sold to the trade only.

Should you have any interior design inquiries, do not hesitate to contact us at

Happy accessorizing!

Design Defined: Eggshell Paint Sheen

eggshell paint sheen

Eggshell Paint Sheen:

The eggshell paint sheen is similar to the sheen of an egg, hence its name, and it has a soft, somewhat velvety appearance.

It is fairly dirt resistant and durable, so I would recommend it for moderately trafficked areas.

Its important to note that in regard to paint sheens, the higher the sheen, the higher the shine, and the more durable.

Here are a couple photos of a room with an eggshell paint sheen (at Christmas time):

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(Designer and photographer: Minhnuyet Hardy)

Do you like an eggshell paint sheen or do you prefer more of a gloss?

Have a great day!

Men's Spaces: Coffee Table Books for the Modern Man

In the world of interior design, coffee table books are a MUST.  They are like the cherry on top of a beautifully designed space.  These books are also incredibly useful.  They create a focal point, they are conversation starters, and they provide stimulating reading material for a rainy day.

That being said, not all coffee table books are created equal.  So how are you supposed to filter through the thousands of options? Glad you asked!  I’m going to do it for you.

Here are my Top 5 Coffee Table Book for the Modern Man:


1. Apollo: Through the Eyes of the Astronauts

Currently listed at $20 on

Currently listed at $20 on

The photos in this book are literally other worldly.  Chanel and Louis Vuitton can move their lovely books over for this show stopper.  In addition, the gray cover is great for spaces with a gray palette.

2. Who Shot Rock and Roll: A Photographic History

Currently listed for $30

Currently listed for $30

Who doesn’t love music?  And who doesn’t love the history of rock ‘n’ roll?  I think that is all I need to say about this book.

3. Edison and the Rise of Innovation

Currently listed for $18 on

Currently listed for $18 on

Thomas Edison helped to engineer the world as we know it.  He literally brought light to our lives and this book gives us an intimate portrayal of the man himself.  I recommend it for all men, but especially those with an entrepreneurial spirit.

4. I Judge You When You Use Poor Grammar: A Collection of Egregious Errors, Disconcerting Bloopers, and Other Linguistic Slip-Ups

Currently listed for $10 on

Currently listed for $10 on

This book is great for a laugh!  Its a collection of public service announcements/road signs/miscellaneous items that in no way, shape, or form are grammatically correct.  It is one linguistic slip up after another – making me wonder if the invention of spell check really was such a good one… If only we could ask Edison…

5. Star Wars: The Blueprints

Currently listed at $60 on

Currently listed at $60 on

This book goes beyond the average Star Wars fanfare – it is an in-depth look at the blue print set designs from deep within the Lucas film archives.  It also highlights the engineers, designers, and artists involved in the creation of these iconic movies.

So there it is, fire up your Amazon Prime account and order away.  I know you won’t be disappointed!

Do you have a favorite coffee table book?  I’d love to know!  Leave me a comment in the section below.

For interior design inquiries, email us at

Have a smart, stylish day!

Design Defined: Matte Paint Sheen

Matte Paint Sheen

Matte Paint Sheen:

A matte paint sheen has little to no shine.  Scrubbable mattes are the best of both worlds as they are durable and easy to clean like an eggshell paint sheen, but they hide imperfections like a flat sheen.

A scrubbable matte is great for highly trafficked areas.

Its important to note that in regard to paint sheens, the higher the sheen, the higher the shine, and the more durable.

Here is an example of a scrubbable matte sheen:


Designer: Minhnuyet Hardy, Photographer: Christina Wedge)

Do you prefer a matte or glossy finish?  I’d love to hear from you!

Have a great day!

Fee Based or Hourly Rate Interior Design: What's the difference?

fee based or hourly rate

Interior Designers charge for their services in a myriad of ways.  However, fee based and hourly rate billing is very common.  Today, I am going to break these two types of payment styles down for you to alleviate confusion.

Let’s begin!

Fee Based Interior Design:

1. This is an upfront cost.  You will know in advance how much you are going to be charged.  It may seem steep at first, but you will not be presented with an onslaught of what seems like never ending hourly bills.  (Interior Designers spend hours and hours creating your space – from running errands, to creating sketches, to phone calls, to consultations – every detail is exchanged for time.)

2. After consulting with you and gauging what your needs and desires are for your space, fee based interior designers typically create several options for you to choose from.  Normally, if a client is still not satisfied after 3 options, the designer will start charging an hourly rate or his/her time investment can get out of control.  Great designers are highly intuitive though, and 2-3 options should be plenty for them to create the perfect space.

3. Because fee-based interior designers charge per project, rather than hourly, they are highly motivated to complete your space so they can be compensated.  This usually results in a finished space in a shorter amount of time.

Hourly Rate Interior Design:

1. Hourly rate designers cost less up front as they do not charge a fee to begin.

2. Hourly rate interior designers are great for clients who want to be highly involved, but have difficulty making decisions quickly.

3. Be aware that hours add up quickly.  In the world of interior design “speed” is an uncommon word.  The creative process requires time and energy, but in addition to that, all the activities associated with creating a lovely space take time. – Designing, running errands, painting, arranging, etc. all require time and time costs money.


There are several things to keep in mind when choosing a fee based or hourly-rate interior designer.  They are as follows:

  • Choose a designer whose portfolio you absolutely love!  It won’t matter whether they charge a fee based or hour rate if you do not love the space you end up with.  Go with your gut!
  • Choose a budget you are comfortable with and be upfront with your interior designer regarding how much you are willing to spend. If they know how much you are willing to spend, they can adjust accordingly.  Its always best to be honest and upfront.
  • If you are doing a large scale project, a fee based designer will most likely be more economical.
  • If you are highly involved in the decorating of your space, but would still like a second opinion, an interior designer who charges an hourly-rate will most likely be more economical.


I hope this demystifies fee based and hourly rate interior design!  My goal is to be helpful, while also being incredibly honest.

What do you think?  Did you find this post helpful and informative?

For interior design inquiries, please email me at

Thanks for stopping by!