Peonies blooming in my garden

I must admit that I was a little sad when I saw arrangements of peonies at our hotel in Paris. It made me realize that I was going to be missing our own peonies blooming at home while my husband and I are on vacation. However, thanks to some really wonderful neighbors, we’re able to enjoy our pink and red peonies through pictures kindly sent to us via e-mail. From the pictures, it looks as though the pink ones are blossoming more so than the red ones. Judging by the photographs, we’re missing a stunning show! I may not be…

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The Louvre @Simone Design Blog

Paris, oh how I love thee!

Paris! Just saying the name conjures up images of love, fashion and fine cuisine. Ooh, la la! To me, however, Paris is more than that. This is the city where my husband Christopher proposed to me. He did it on my birthday at the Versailles Palace, in August 2007. Tres romantique, n’est pas? We arranged for this trip to coincide with our 6th wedding anniversary, which was on May 17th. We celebrated our special day with a marvelous and romantic evening cruise along the Seine. The Eiffel Tower helped make the evening all the more special, with thousands of lights sparkling in the night sky at the top…

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Flowers in bloom @Simone Design Blog

What I’m loving now!

Clockwise from top left: NET-A-PORTER Tibi’s blush dress // STEWART WEITZMAN CHANEL sunglasses // AMAZON // MARC BY MARC JACOBS Decoder Ring //  YSL Top Secrets All-in-One BB Cream // NARS COSMETICS Monoi Blody Glow II // CHANEL Hydra Beauty Nourishing Lip Care //CRATE & BARREL Orb Aqua Ice Bucket How about you? Are you craving anything new for the spring/summer season? Have a nice weekend, Simone

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stunning summer rooms designs @Simone Design Blog

Stunning summer rooms: It’s all about color

According the 2014 Farmer’s Almanac, this summer is going to be a scorcher! With this kind of weather, we’ll spend a lot of time indoors, taking advantage of the air conditioner. Now is the time to think about adding bright colors into your home to give your house the feeling of summer.  Bring in the sunshine with a bold yellow color! Like black, it adds drama and character to a space. If you’re a little uneasy about painting a wall yellow, you can use it in artwork. In a bedroom, there’s nothing more inviting than a cozy comforter. In the…

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A love affair with peonies

They’re to starting flower! Peonies are popping up all over! Have you seen them? I have some in my garden, and any day now I expect to see these absolutely fabulous and extremely colorful flowers bloom. Ah! The anticipation! But they’re totally worth the wait. They are so delicate and beautiful. You can’t help but stop and admire them. When they’re displayed in pretty vases, these flowers really stand out for their stylish and sophisticated look. Flowers this lovely should be complemented with a beautiful vase. They deserve nothing less. These pink peonies really make a stunning statement in classic blue…

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garden statue inspirations @Simone Design Blog

Garden inspirations: statues

Now that spring has arrived, the weather is warmer and the colors of flower blossoms are popping up in the garden; therefore, it’s the perfect time to add some playfulness and unexpected touches to your outdoor spaces. Lately, I’m finding myself drawn to garden statues. Looking at them, I stop and think about getting one for my own garden. I think they give the outdoor area a special touch of personality, since they often say something about the interests and beliefs of the homeowners. Garden statues are great conversation pieces and add a special mystique to a property. When a garden…

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Rolling kitchen islands @Simone Design Blog

Decor inspirations: rolling kitchen islands

For this post, let’s talk about kitchens! My own kitchen isn’t huge, and it doesn’t have an island countertop built in to it. I’ve always wanted to have an island countertop, and recently I had this idea: why not invest in an island countertop on wheels? Such an island can be easily moved from the kitchen to the living room or maybe even the back deck. It can also serve as an extra buffet table, as well as extra storage space. Since the time I got that idea, I’ve been researching island countertops. The variety in designs, finishes and materials…

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DC 2014 Design House Tour @Simone Design Blog

Home Tour: The 2014 DC Design House

What a delightful week we’ve had here in the DC area! The sun is shining, the garden is blossoming and the birds are singing outside my window as I write this. I’m so happy to see spring here at long last! And the cherry blossoms along the tidal basin have now peaked, just barely overlapping with the Cherry Blossom festival. Although this weekend’s top attraction will be the cherry blossoms, another important attraction will be the opening of the 2014 DC Design House. You can find more information on this house here and here. It’s a six-bedroom, eight-bathroom house that is full of features coveted…

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Fashion Wednesday: The D’Orsay Flats

I have a confession to make: I’m a “shoe-aholic”. I just love a good pair of shoes. My favorite shoes are flats; I prefer them for their practicality and comfort. You can just slip them on and go. You can go do your errands or have a coffee at the cafe and still be stylish. Last year I was in love with ballet flats, which are fun to wear and easy to pack in a suitcase (just fold them up and put them in). This year, however, my new shoe style is the D’Orsay flat. These shoes are pointy toe numbers…

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spring is blossoming in my garden @Simone Design Blog

My beautiful spring garden

My garden is starting to blossom! I see the beautiful colors of spring popping up every day and it’s so exciting to experience it! Slowly but surely my perennials are flowering. This is the moment I wait in anticipation of every year. The color in my garden tells me that winter is gone and spring is here! Can you tell I’m excited? The first flowers to pop up are always the crocuses. We have them in several different colors: yellow, purple and this white one with purple veins. Hello, lovely yellow daffodils! We have them planted in a circle around…

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Andrea's Kitchen

Design inspirations: a touch of blue and white

Happy Monday! What a great weekend we had! It was sunny and relatively warm, making it a great time to spend outdoors. Christopher and I enjoyed this beautiful weather by spending some time adding some new flowering plants to our front stoop and back deck. Now they’re full of color! Today I’m in the mood to talk about one of my favorite color combinations: blue and white. There’s something about this combination that really draws me in. Its classic for both home and fashion design. This combination reminds me of the colors of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean seas. It…

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design inspirations outdoor kitchens @Simone Design Blog

Home Tour: An updated Boston Brownstone

I came across this colorful, modern home in the latest online edition of New England Home. My impression was “wow!” I was immediately drawn to the home’s design. The colors, furnishings and accessories are just spectacular. It’s a traditional Boston brownstone that’s been completely renovated by Boston-based interior designers Catherine Skaletsky and her daughter Danielle McClure. And what a fabulous job they have done! The homeowners gave the designers carte blanche to design as they wish, knowing that the end result “would be glorious.” Such an arrangement is every designers dream! They set out to create a light and airy ambience with a…

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home office renovation @Simone Design Blog

Finally, my home office reveal!

At last, my home office renovation is completed! Yeah! I’m so happy. I now have a space that’s all my own, decorated in styles that I love: traditional, minimalist and contemporary. Everything fell into place quite nicely once the furnishings arrived and, thanks to the generosity of RugsNow. One of my new additions is a rug from RugsNow. This rug, which is under my office chair, accentuates the colors of the nearby Persian rug. I love the texture that this neutral rug has. With its lovely texture, it’s a perfect complement to the new decor. It’s amazing what the neutral…

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colorful design @Simone Design Blog

Decor Inspirations: tinge

Hello everyone! We had a very rainy weekend which culminated with a surprise snowstorm yesterday. My spring flowers didn’t appreciate it at all! My ranunculus blossoms were covered in ice. I felt their pain. However, there’s still hope that spring might actually arrive soon. The weather forecasters are promising a week of sun and warmth. I’ll do my part by completing my spring home decorating, which I began last week. Ever heard of the word “tinge”? When used as a noun, its definition is “a tendency toward or trace of some color”. This reminds me of my favorite design saying:…

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Happy SUNday! @Simone Design Blog

Happy SUNday!

How is your Sunday going? Here, in Maryland, we’ve had nothing but rain the whole weekend. Not fun. I needed something colorful and bright to cheer me up. These lovely flowers, delicious fruit and jelly beans are just what I needed. If your weekend is a damp one like mine, I hope that these pictures will make you smile and add some sunshine to your day.   Happy Sunday! Simone

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House tour of Steven Harris and Lucien Rees @Simone Design Blog

Home Tour:Steven Harris and Lucien Rees Roberts

While thumbing through the latest edition of Architectural Digest , I came across this small but well-designed home of architect Steven Harris and his partner, interior designer Lucien Rees Roberts. These two designers have been living together in this Manhattan studio apartment for nine years and counting. Using muted colors from Sherwin-Williams and Benjamin Moore, they have created a 1,600-square-foot space that’s well scaled and beautifully decorated. Take a look. What a spectacular living room and fireplace. The walls are made of sandblasted white oak. Just gorgeous! I’m really drawn to this living-room/dining-room combination. The tall bookcases and vintage Vistosi pendant lights are so eye-catching and…

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Designer Insights Q&A with Terry Blinds @Simone Design Blog

I’ve been featured

I’m delighted to mention that I’m currently being featured in the series Designer Insights on the blog site of the online blinds store Terry’s Blinds (based in the UK). They have been a follower of Simone Design Blog’s Twitter site from almost the beginning. One of their representatives, Tudor Davis, contacted me and asked me if I’d be willing to be part of this new series. How fabulous is that? Thank you, Tudor and Terry’s Blinds, for honoring me by featuring me on your site! Have a really fantastic Wednesday. I’m off to celebrate. Simone

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Adding sunshine to my home @Simone Design Blog

Adding a little sunshine to my home

It’s a gorgeous sunny spring day and I’m loving it. I still can’t believe that the weather prediction is for more snow tomorrow. When it’s spring, there should be sun and warmth, not cold weather and snow!! Despite this, I’ve decided to begin the process of swapping out my winter home accessories for some spring ones. I can’t wait to see how the house will look when they’re all in place. Here’s just a little progress report. I’ll save the rest of the makeover for when we actually get that warmth and sunshine.   I also bought some seasonal indoor plants and flowers to…

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outdoor entertaining spaces @Simone Design Blog

Decor inspirations:Outdoor Entertaining Spaces

What a beautiful warm day we had yesterday! It was a welcome break from the chilly days of the past week, and my husband and I enjoyed ourselves doing some garden work. Anyway, now that we’re finally into spring, it’s time to think about being outdoors and soaking up the sun. One of the nice features of warmer weather is being able to enjoy your back deck or yard. There’s nothing more ideal for parties than an outdoor space that has been outfitted for entertaining. Here are just a few images to help you in getting your space ready for…

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Welcome spring @Simone Design Blog

Hello, Spring! So glad to see you

Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love! Sitting Bull At last! The first day of spring is here! I’ve been waiting so long for this day to arrive! It’s so nice to know that the weather is going to be getting warmer soon. Many beautiful spring colors are going to be popping up everywhere, in gardens, home decor and fashion. I cannot wait to put away all my winter belongings, exchanging them for light, bright, colorful linens and accessories! I’m looking…

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These pretty things make everyone happy

It’s raining in the DC area today, so I’m cheering myself up by searching the internet for some pretty things. I’m looking for things that will make me smile. Here are a few things that have caught my eye so far. I think they’re beautiful and stylish. Just looking at them has helped me forget about the bad weather. Image sources: 1) The moment I saw this glamorous salt-and-pepper set from Kate Spade, it was love at first sight! 2) When the sun finally makes an appearance, I want to capture it with sun catchers like these ones from Ahalife. 3) The name…

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spring color inspiration lovely lilac @Simone Design Blog

Spring color inspiration: lovely lilac

I’m really looking forward to spring and all the pretty pastel colors I see during the season. I like all the pastel colors and I’m happy to have any of them adorn my home. Lately I’ve been noticing lots of lovely home-decoration designs that include a lilac color. I love both the scent and look of lilac blossoms, so I look forward every spring to their appearance on the lilac shrubs in my garden. Lilac one of the prettiest shades of purple and you can pair it with just about any of the spring pastel colors, especially whites and creams.…

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decor inspirations green and metallic combinations @Simone Design Blog

Decor inspirations: green and metallics

Hi everyone, happy St. Patrick’s Day!! To pay homage, today’s post will highlight the color that’s associated with this day: green. This color is very fitting for today, because not only is it iconic of Irish traditions but also of spring (which starts in only 3 days!). I’m going to go one step further and pair it with metallics: gold, silver and brass. Mixing and matching the various shades of green with metallics creates an extremely sophisticated, luxurious, stylish, and glamorous ambience. Here’s a little St. Patty’s day inspiration for you!             So, what do you…

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design inspirations outdoor kitchens @Simone Design Blog

Design inspirations: outdoor kitchens

This is the time of the year when we start planning for the warmer weather. Home decor magazines, websites and television shows are all in “spring design mode”. For me, as I see my garden start to blossom, I’m inspired to plan my first outdoor barbecue. I just love the tempting smell of meats and vegetables cooking on a grill. My husband and I have a standalone grill that works well for us, but it’s always been a dream of mine to have an outdoor gourmet kitchen. Being able to cook and entertain my guests outside in the fresh air…

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Happy Wednesday: lovely inspirational room

This bedroom really captured my attention because of its softness and neutral color palette, which give it a very feminine look. I love everything about this scene, especially the way the natural light seems to create a halo effect in the room. The subtle hint of pastel color in the wallpaper adds to the softness of the space. I also love the crown molding and architectural detailing around the ceiling. Finally, crystal the chandelier is absolutely stunning! It goes perfectly with the room’s color scheme and the natural lighting, and it isn’t too distracting. I would love to have a…

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decor inspirations poufs @Simone Design Blog

Decor inspirations: pouf ottomans

I’ve been seeing a resurgence of pouf ottomans recently. These pieces of decorative furniture are a great finishing touch for any room in a home. They can be used as a bench, footrest, or small table–the possibilities are endless. I like to think of pouf ottomans as a more refined version of a bean bag. There are many types of poufs. Their traditional shape is round, but they now can also be found in square shapes. Poufs are extremely versatile and can easily be adapted to complement your existing home décor. You can have them upholstered in a variety of materials, including…

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Happy Tuesday

The happiest people are those who think the most interesting thoughts.Those who decide to use leisure as a means of mental development, who love good music, good books, good pictures, good company, good conversation, are the happiest people in the world. And they are not only happy in themselves, they are the cause of happiness in others. William Lyon Phelps Have a great day, Simone

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Happy Saturday  early spring morning @Simone Design Blog

Happy Saturday

It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold~when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade. Charles Dickens It’s Saturday, and the temperature outside is steadily warming. My garden seems to be responding, with the crocuses and daffodils starting to make their presence known. The trees also seem ready for spring, with buds developing at the ends of the branches. Could it be that mother nature is getting the message that winter has overstayed it’s welcome? I hope so. Simone

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decor inspirations accessorizing with gold @Simone Design Blog

Decor inspirations: accessorizing with gold

Recently I’ve been scouting out accessories to complement all the renovations we’ve been making on our home this year.  I’m looking for things that will add a touch of glam and style, so I’ve been tempted by accessories featuring gold plating or gold leaf.  I’ve seen some really beautiful interiors where gold accessories add a stylish pop of color and I’d love to achieve that in my own house. However, my home décor has a mixture of traditional and contemporary styles and the accessories will have to complement it. I’ve put together a selection of images that I found to…

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a beachfront resort seating area @Simone Design Blog

Happiness Is…

After yesterday’s snowstorm, it’s hard to believe that spring is only 16 days away! To help put you in the mood for the spring/summer months, I’m posting this picture, which recently caught my attention. Can you imagine yourself sitting in this beach chair watching a beautiful sunrise? You’re hearing the calming sounds of the breaking waves, the squawking seagulls, and the billowing of your umbrella in a gust of wind. You’re enjoying the taste and aroma of a morning Cappuccino while feeling the comfort of a warm, humid sea breeze all over your body. All around you is the beauty…

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architectural home extensions @Simone Design Blog

Design inspirations: architectural home extensions

I love it when homeowners needing extra space decide to build an extension to their house rather than buy a new home altogether. Usually this involves adding new architecture to the home, giving it an entirely new look. The home is modernized, giving it new life and sometimes a real wow factor. I love seeing the juxtaposition of the old and the new. I’ve seen houses like this popping up around my community and to me they’re like breath of fresh-air. The creativity which the homeowners and architects have shown is fantastic.   Architectural extensions can be as simple as…

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Film set designs

Happy Sunday: the set designers winners are…

Tonight is the big event! The fashions! The set designs! Of course I’m talking about the Academy Awards. The world will be watching the actors and actresses as they wait with anticipation, hoping their names will be called to accept the golden statue. And everyone will be waiting to see if their picks for the Oscar were correct. I love movies of almost all kinds (OK, I’m not into the horror genre). I particularly like the movies that have great scene designs. I enjoy seeing how the designers put together interiors to match an era or a time period. I…

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hot air balloons

Happy Saturday

Welcome to the first day of March! I’m starting the weekend off with a visit to our local lighting store to look for pendant lights for our kitchen along with a new ceiling fan for the master bedroom. Afterwards I’m going to spend part of the afternoon on a date with my incredibly handsome, adorably cute, rambunctious 1 1/2 year old nephew Noah. The finale will be dinner with Christopher with a movie afterwards. I think we’ll watch the nominated Academy Awards film 12 Years a Slave. We meant to see it when it was in the theatres but never found…

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Thursday fashion blog@Simone Design Blog

Thursday Fashion Blog: getting ready for spring

There’s a charming little boutique in the Rockville (MD) Town Center, The Cottage Monet, that I occasionally visit. The owner has an eye for unusual home decor and fashion pieces from the United States, Italy and China. She definitely knows what her clientele like, and she never disappoints them. I’ve been admiring an orange purse in this boutique for a long time, and this week I finally bought it. I can’t wait for the right occasion to use it! I didn’t just buy the purse, I also bought a set of bangles and a eye-catching off-white glossy plate that I can…

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small balcony decorating ideas @Simone Design Blog

Design Inspiration: small apartment balconies

If you live in an apartment or condo, you may have a small balcony or back deck. If so, you probably spend time there enjoying some fresh air during the warmer months. By adding the right design elements, you can create a charming and appealing outdoor living space for entertaining friends or for relaxing by yourself. Balconies and decks are extensions of your home, so when considering their design and decor you should take this into account and make them consistent with the design elements from indoors. You don’t need to spend a lot of money or time to make your…

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decor inspiration entryways @Simone Design Blog

Design Inspiration: light-filled entryways

With spring approaching, I’m in the mood for some warm sunny days. I’m looking forward to seeing daffodils and tulips outside in my garden. I’m also looking forward to smelling the aromas from my lavender and jasmine shrubs. I already see the daffodils springing up–they’re ready for spring too! I just love watching my garden grow and blossom for the season. It’s a sign of new life. I feel like a mother watching her children grow. I love to nourish my plants and make sure that there’s nothing around (e.g. weeds) that will hinder their beauty. I feel the same…

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Thursday Fashion Blog La Vie En Rose @Simone Design Blog

Thursday Fashion Blog: Rosy Hues

Mark your calendars: spring officially arrives March 20th! That means a lighter and brighter wardrobe. I’ve been paying attention to the fashion shows over the past few weeks and I’ve noticed a new color that seems to be trending. It’s a soft, romantic shade of pink, one that reminds me of light pink roses. Fashion designers have been providing many examples of how dazzling this color looks as part of a spring wardrobe. Light pink has been seen in fashion shows on coats, dresses, shoes and accessories. It can be used for a fashion statement or a classic look. To…

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design style, globes @Simone Design Blog

Design style: globes

If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I love to travel, especially in foreign countries. Experiencing the culture, food, and sights of a new city thoroughly fascinates me. When I travel, my camera gets a real workout, as I take literally hundreds of pictures. Because of my love of travel, I bought a desk globe for my office. It’s wonderful! I get a trip down memory lane whenever I look at it. Another nice aspect of a globe is that it gives a 3-dimensional representation of what the earth looks like, something an atlas or 2-dimensional computer…

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Saturday inspiration decorative vanity trays @Simone Design Blog

Saturday Inspiration: vanity trays

When researching for yesterday’s post, I was inspired when finding pictures of beautifully styled vanity trays. Now I want to get one! I would absolutely love to organize my vanity to look pretty and feminine. How nice it would be to easily find a brush, perfume bottle, or eye-shadow container without searching through drawers! Whenever I visit a cosmetics store, I always admire their presentations. The cosmetics are grouped together on decorative trays in a very aesthetic fashion. Why not replicate that in your own home? Vanity trays come in a variety of materials, and you can even get them…

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Adding the finishing touches to your home @Simone Design Blog

Decor inspiration: Finishing touches to make your home welcoming

When I consider purchasing an item to decorate my home, I try to imagine I’m a guest visiting for the first time and ask myself whether it helps my home exude warmth and welcome. Is the home colorful? Is it comfortable? Do I feel attracted to stay for a while? A great way to make a home attractive is with some nice finishing touches. Hands down a favorite is an arrangement of fresh flowers everywhere. Arrange flowers in the same color family in pretty vases with various heights. I love how these white flowers are paired with white candles. So…

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pink grapefruit color walls

Color Snapshot: Pink Grapefruit is HGTV color of the month

I think HGTV is in a fruit-color frame of mind. Why? Well last month they chose Lemon Zest as their January color of the month and for February they chose Pink Grapefruit. This color was chosen because, according to HGTV blogger Liz Gray, “We love how this color bridges the gap between winter and spring.” Also, HGTV special-projects editor Marianne Canada states “I like that it’s a winter fruit, but the color feels fresh and springy.”  As for me, I just like it because it’s pink! I don’t think there’s anyone who can resist that color, as it brings to mind a…

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summer kitchen

Weekend Inspiration: Summer Kitchens

Are you having the winter blues? Are you in a summer frame of mind? I am. I’m in the mood to feel sunshine and hot, sticky air, wearing clothes that don’t require layers. I want to cook in my kitchen with its sliding door open  so I can smell the aromas of the lavender plants in my garden. Cooking in the summer season is so nice, because fresh local fruits, vegetables and herbs are available. And during those warm months, it’s wonderful  to have a kitchen next to a deck or garden, allowing you to go outside while your meal…

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DVF wearing her wrap dress

Fashion Blog, Diane von Furstenberg’s wrap dress turns 40!

Can you believe that this year marks the 40th anniversary of the iconic wrap dress from Diane von Furstenberg? She was 26 years old at the time she designed it! I do remember wearing one or two of them growing up and I’m sure a lot of you do as well. It was hugely popular in the 1970s, a period when women were becoming part of the work force and wanted to dress for success at work. This dress was the answer. It made women feel professional, yet still sexy and feminine. Women were looking for clothes that were bold…

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food presentation on a kitchen chopping board

Food presentation, rustic style

I recently went to a restaurant in my neighborhood where they served my sandwich in a rustic way. They served it on a small cutting board with a sheet of wax paper cut to fit the board. I thought this was fabulous! I never would have thought of doing that myself. It got me to wonder if there are other ways to use a cutting board as a serving platter or place setting. We can place a piece of parchment paper or a paper towel below the food if we don’t want direct contact with the board.  An advantage of…

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whimsical wallpaper

Decor Inspiration: Whimsical Wallpaper

Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of wallpaper that has a touch of whimsy. This kind of wallpaper can add a sense of fun, character and personality to just about any room in your home. It captures your attention and draws you in, perking you up every time you walk into the room. So express your unconventional side with stylish and witty wallpapers! Bring a cheerful spirit to any room by creating a fanciful home using a medley of colors, patterns and textures. Let me show you some of my favorite whimsical wall coverings. Just by adding wallpaper with a…

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colorful orchid arrangement

Saturday Inspiration: The Beauty of Orchids

Welcome to February! My weekend has started with a beautiful, sunny and relatively warm Saturday. I’m taking advantage of it to go my local nursery for some fresh flowers for my home. And, speaking of flowers , one of my favorite flowering plant families is orchids. I love their beauty, delicacy and charm. My home has one that’s currently in blossom and I’m treating it with all the tender-loving care that I can. Whenever I see an orchid in a home or nursery I always stop to admire it. Orchids come in a variety of styles, colors and  shapes and…

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valentine day wedding dress

Thursday Fashion Blog: Valentine’s Day Wedding Dress

Valentine’s Day is two weeks away and love is in the air! What could possibly be more romantic than to be married than on Valentine’s Day? A Valentine’s Day’s wedding gives the bride-to-be the perfect occasion to wear a red wedding dress. She’s got to stand out on this day whether the wedding is an elaborate affair or just a small intimate one. She’s got to glow, and to do so, she needs a few fabulous details to make her look great from head to toe. If you’re one of those lucky ladies to be walking down the aisle that day, I’ve put…

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exclusive plum bedroom

Color Snapshot: Sherwin-Williams Exclusive Plum

Even though it’s still winter, I know that many of you are thinking about and updating your home for spring. For those of you thinking about what colors to use, you may be interested to know that the paint manufacturing company Sherwin Williams has announced Exclusive Plum as their 2014 color of the year. I must say I really love it–this color conjures visions of royalty, sophistication, elegance, and serenity. According to Jackie Jordan, Sherwin-Williams’ director of color marketing, “This dusky, filtered violet is refined without being stuffy, elegant yet easy, and layered with romantic potential.” Sherwin-Williams describes Exclusive Plum as a blend…

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ice cream

Sunday Musings And Wishes

  Well, it’s already the last Sunday in January. Can you believe it? It seems like only yesterday we were celebrating the beginning of a New Year and putting away the decorations from Christmas. Our Sunday has been very relaxing so far. I surprised Christopher by baking a delicious quiche. That, along with a mimosa and a fresh-brewed coffee, made for a delightful breakfast. We discussed summer vacation plans and laughed over silly things found in the Sunday comic strips. Of course, we will soon doing our daily chores and after that we will do whatever else our hearts desire…

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Travel to Paris

Saturday Inspiration: Dream A Little Dream

Coffee and soup served in elegant china cups. Flowers presented in a beautiful bouquet. Gold-glitter cupcakes. A trip to Paris. These are a few of my favorite things to dream about on this cold Saturday. How about you? Have a really great day and stay warm. If you cannot find something to do to keep yourself warm, browsing through my blog will certainly warm your heart and give you enough inpiration to fake it. Well, at the very least, I hope it will!         Simone

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key west homes

Touring Homes During My Travels

It’s Friday and the weekend is here! It’s been quite a week for me, going on a marvelous long-weekend jaunt to Key West, Florida, with my husband Christopher. We usually take advantage of the MLK holiday weekend in January to go someplace warm and sunny. It’s a great way to take a break from the cold. Whenever I travel to a new location, I always love to take pictures of homes and interesting scenes. Every place has something unique to offer, be it natural scenery, architecture, or food. Key West is no exception. This island has beautiful homes called conch…

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Fashion Inspiration: Actress Lupita Nyong’o

Lately, I’ve become enchanted by a woman whose grace, style and beauty just draw me in: Lupita Nyong’o. She’s an actress that’s gaining accolades for her role in 12 Years a Slave.  Although her parents are Kenyan, she was born in Mexico and given a Mexican first name. In a recent interview with Yahoo! she stated that her bi-cultural upbringing has “gotten me into a lot of trouble: Kenyans want to claim me and now Mexicans do, too.” That would make Nyong’o the first Mexi-Kenyan to be nominated for an Academy Award. She has a smile that lights up her whole face. Her sense…

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clear blue wallpaper

Color Spotlight: Light Blue

It’s chilly outside but at least the polar vortex chill is one for the history books and one we won’t soon forget it. I’m here to cheer you up, I want you to mark your calendars as spring arrives on March 20th! Yeah! A mere 61 more days and we can start thinking all things bright and beautiful. No more dreary browns and layering of clothes and bed linens. To help get you in a more cheery mood, I’ve put together a collection of light blue color images. Light blue is the used in our homes in warmer months as it’s…

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Holiday Weekend Resort Style

Fashion Thursday: Holiday Weekend Getaway

This Friday is the start of a holiday weekend!  For my husband and me, it’s the an opportunity for a quick getaway from the cold. We’re taking a much-needed break at a Florida beach resort to enjoy the rays of sunshine, spending time at the poolside and feeling the warm sand of the beach between our toes. Waking to early morning breakfasts with fresh fruit, coffee and maybe a mimosa. Afterwards, we’ll be walking around, taking in the sights and sounds of the local culture, stopping and smelling the colorful flora. We’ll be ending our day delighting in an evening…

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Fendi living room furniture

Luxurious Furniture Designs

Drum roll, please. I’m pleased and excited to introduce you to my newly redesigned blog site. There are so many wonderful improvements to tell you about that I just don’t know where to start. Before I do, however, I have to say a big THANK YOU to my web designer guru, Madeline Foster of SEO-Social Media.  She and I worked tirelessly for weeks to come to this final moment. She’s been a great asset to me professionally and I couldn’t have done this without her. The change in the layout of Simone Design Blog accompanies a change in content. The…

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Dom Perignon champagne celebration

Wishing You A Happy New Year!

Well, the time has come to say “adieu” to 2013 and “bonjour” to 2014. It’s almost surreal that I’m sitting here writing my very last post of 2013!  It’s been a great year for me, with many wonderful and exciting experiences in the world of blogging. Whatever your plans are to ring in 2014, I hope you have an evening filled with gaiety, enjoying champagne and midnight kisses. Whatever your dreams are for the upcoming year, I give you my best wishes for fulfilling them and enjoying the new experiences and opportunities that come your way. I leave you with a…

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New Year's Eve

Wishing You A Merry Christmas!

In the spirit of the season, I’ll be taking the next few days off, celebrating Christmas in North Carolina with my husband Christopher’s family and ringing in the New Year at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. I wish you a  most delightful and festive Christmas as you enjoy the company of family and friends in a day filled with laughter and reminiscences. Keep warm and enjoy all those moments with your family that can be so fleeting. This year has been quite remarkable and exciting for me as I’ve researched new design styles, refined my blog writing, and seen my readership…

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wine bar and cafe decor

A Delightful Break From Christmas Activities

Yesterday I took a break from all my Christmas activities. I needed to relax, and I found the perfect place to do just that: a newly opened wine-bar/café in my neighborhood. From the moment I entered the place I was blown away its rustic decor. It was simply decorated and yet so warm and inviting. Upon entering I was greeted with a wine barrel decorated for the holidays. It had a delightful gallery wall composed of empty wine crates with wine bottles resting on top of some of them. The crates surrounded a television that was showing slides of wine-related…

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the sound of music poster

Holiday Movies & Prize Giveaway

We had a winter storm over the weekend and today as well, giving the outdoors the look of a winter wonderland. On days like this, all I want to do is sit in front of television and watch holiday movies, especially when the movies are classics and musicals. I don’t feel I’ve really experienced the holidays unless I’m able to watch at least a few holiday movies! I’ve seen my favorite holiday movies so many times that I can recite the words from a given scene almost word-for-word. Indeed, I started a tradition many years ago to see a select few…

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winter white interiors

Design Inspirations: Winter White Interiors

Winter is nearly here! The falling snow of last week reminded us that we’re going to be seeing it for the next few months. Soon we’ll be having “snow days” where we stay indoors, light a fire and keep warm. Snowy weather makes me think of cozy interiors, especially winter-white interiors. When the ground outside is gleaming from freshly fallen snow, winter-white rooms provide the beauty of the snow but without the freezing cold temperatures. White is a dramatic color but it can also be subtle. If designed well, winter-white rooms can add texture, visual interest and warmth! In the spirit…

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Christmas Time Is Here!

My husband Christopher and I spent our Thanksgiving Holiday weekend in Asheville, North Carolina, and we found that Christmastime is well in progress there! During our visit we spent a great deal of our time exploring The Biltmore Estate, one of its major tourist attractions. The Biltmore House was built for George Vanderbilt by the architect Richard Morris Hunt, who had previously designed homes for the Vanderbilt family. Construction of The Biltmore House took place from 1889-1895, taking 6 years to complete. Designed to mimic a French Renaissance chateau, it is the largest house in the United States, boasting 250 rooms. The home…

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Happy Thanksgiving!

As we express our gratitude, we must never forget the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them John F. Kennedy     Happy Thanksgiving to you, my readers. I’m extremely grateful for the time you take to read my posts and to comment. Your encouragement keeps me going. Thank you, Simone

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Dazzling Blue living room

Be Dazzled By Blue Interiors

I’m not a person who likes cold weather very much, I so look forward to the spring and summer seasons. When I think of décor for these seasons, I think of sunlight, colorful accessories and airy fabrics. But next year I won’t have to wait for spring to get this. Pantone, the color experts, have given me an early spring present by making Dazzling Blue their February 2014 color of the month! The Pantone Color Institute describes dazzling blue as “scintillating”. Its executive director, Leatrice Eiseman, noted that this color was chosen for its practicality. Who doesn’t love blue? Everyone…

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New Series: Design Inspirations!

Today I’m beginning a new series called Design Inspirations. It will feature both home and commercial interiors that are stunning and eye-catching. I’m fascinated by how interior designers get their inspiration to design a space, putting together various items of different colors and textures in a way that makes the space look cohesive. Design inspiration often comes from nature. For example, it can come from seeing an evening sunset, the reflection of trees on a river, or the feathers of a peacock. These color schemes work well in nature, so, why not use them in our own home? My hope is…

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Thanksgiving tablescape

Your Thanksgiving Tablescape: Take It Up A Notch

It’s almost here! Thanksgiving! We’re all on countdown mode. Our planning is underway, that means the menu is still being finalized. The invitations to family and friends have been sent. Now it’s time to think about decorating for the event. Of course, the centerpiece of our Thanksgiving decorations is a festive tablescape to showcase our turkey and yummy side dishes. Let me show you some of my favorite ideas for a Thanksgiving tablescape, with warm fall colors and nature inspired elements to kick-start the holiday spirit.   When we imagine Thanksgiving decor, we immediately think of pumpkins. They make a…

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My Weekend Project: Updating My Home Accessories

With the coming of fall and the installation of new doors in my house, I’ve been inspired to do a decorative makeover on many of my rooms, including my living room (below). Want to see what I’ve done so far?   The first thing I did was get a bigger vase to replant my kitchen terrariums. The plants were growing leaps and bounds, so they needed a bigger home. I got my terrarium supplies out: decorative pebbles, Spanish moss and charcoal pieces.   The entryway vignette already had some pretty yellow vases. To add a little more interest, I just…

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Interior doors painting progress

Painting Interior Doors in Two Colors: See How We Did It!

  There are changes happening in our home that are making me feel downright giddy! The major one, so far, is the installation and ongoing painting of our interior doors. Previously, we had builder’s grade doors for what seemed a lifetime and have now decided to upgrade to paneled solid-core wood doors. The doors all have three panels with the exception of the bedroom and entryway closet doors, which are mirrored.   For the pantry doors, we’re going to put a stain finish on them. Color to be decided. We still need to find a way to get the doors…

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Create Your Own Autumn Inspired Hand Designed Cushions

Hello everyone, today it gives me great pleasure to introduce my guest blogger, Kate Leonard, who is a fellow blogger at Terrys Fabrics. She’s also an illustrator and designer. Kate very kindly referenced one of my blogs on her site a few weeks ago and recently offered to write this guest blog for me. I think you’re going love it. She illustrated the blog, which should make it all the more special. *********** Hello my name is Kate and I’m a fellow blogger over at Terry’s Fabrics, I have a real creative spark and enthusiasm for all things DIY home…

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breast cancer support

Supporting a Cause: Breast Cancer Awareness

I had the most delightful afternoon yesterday on the island of Madeira. As I’ve said before, whenever I’m traveling I always make time to treat myself to an afternoon high tea. Yesterday’s tea was at a really lovely setting: one of the most famous hotels in Madeira, Reid’s Palace Hotel. I like to call it the Pink Hotel because the exterior is painted pink. The tea was a special event: it was a high-tea fashion show with some of the proceeds benefiting an organization promoting breast cancer awareness. How fitting to have an event supporting breast cancer at a pink…

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Exterior Doors With An Artistic Flair

Walking through the old town of Funchal, Madeira, I came across the most incredible sight. Exterior doors that were painted to depict scenes or persons. The doors were so creatively and artistically painted that I had to stop, admire, and of course, take pictures. I mean, how could I resist? Seeing these doors tempts you to go home and liven up your own front door by painting  flowers, animals, or some exotic design on it. These doors are certainly not lacking in character and are extremely eye catching. They are located on the walls bordering a charming alley in the oldest…

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hotel seating area

Autumn Vacation: Why I Love October

My husband, Christopher, and I are enjoying an impromptu autumn vacation this year. We are in Funchal, the capitol city of the Island of Madeira in Portugal. It’s a picturesque island in the Atlantic that is  about a 1 1/5 hours flight from Lisbon. It’s an island formed by volcanoes and one of two autonomous islands belonging to Portugal. Another claim to fame is it’s wines. Take it from me, they’re delicious! We arrived here Sunday afternoon and have been discovering the food, people and attractions in Madeira. My report? You need to visit to really appreciate its natural beauty.…

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autumn throws why I love October

Autumn Home Accessories: Why I Love October

Changing over your décor from summer to autumn means putting away accessories that contain whites and bright colors. Gone are the lightweight linens, drapes, pillows and bedding, and the fragrances of roses and lavender. You can give your home a fall/winter look by using earthy colors, thicker layers and organic elements, and a fall/winter fragrance using candles with fragrances of cinnamon and pumpkin. Because the weather is cooler, you may want your home to have some things you and your family can snuggle up with. Below are some decorative ideas to help you transform your home into a comfy environment…

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Simone Design Blog|Autumn Tablescapes: Why I Love October

Autumn Tablescapes: Why I Love October

Today we’re focusing on home interiors, specifically autumn tablescapes. The dining room is one of the most used rooms in our homes. It’s the place where we laugh and exchange stories as we eat a delicious meal. Our time there is much more special when we decorate our dinner table for the season. This is particularly true when we’re entertaining guests. So why not celebrate October by creating a nice tablescape with seasonal colors.                

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Autumn Wreaths: Why I Love October

Because of the welcoming appearance and colorful curb appeal it provides during any season, a wreath is a wonderful embellishment to the front of your home. It’s especially nice during the fall/winter season, giving a rich texture to your front door.  A wreath gives your front door pizazz and can make it the focal point of your home’s exterior. It can also give your guests and neighbors an inkling of what’s to be expected inside your home, showing the materials and colors you use for embellishments. I’ve seen wreaths decorated with small gourds, silk flowers and feathers. I’ve also seen…

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pumpkin decorating

Pumpkin Decorating: Why I Love October

Pumpkins are a staple for autumn decorating. Everyone’s creativity is tested when it comes to carving and embellishing pumpkins. It’s so much fun walking around neighborhoods and seeing homeowners’ masterpieces. For today’s post, I went searching for a more modern approach to pumpkin carving and decorating. Here are some of ideas I found for giving a home a seasonal look that’s unique, creative and inspiring.                       These are just a few pumpkin decorating ideas that caught my eye. Aren’t they just fabulous? Some of these ideas don’t require any carving…

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apple centerpiece

An Apple A Day: Why I Love October

Who doesn’t love apples? Think of all the things you can make with them. Hot apple cider! Apple pie! Caramel apples! Apple preserves! And the list goes on. There are so many different varieties of apples, each with their own unique taste. My favorite varieties are Gala and Red Delicious, but during the fall I prefer Braeburn. Last year my husband and I went to an apple orchard for the first time and came home with so many apples that we couldn’t eat them all ourselves! We shared the rest with our neighbors. The trip to the orchard was so…

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Autumn Curb Appeal: Why I Love October

I love homes with beautiful gardens. A well-dressed garden inspires me to imagine what the interior of the house is like, wondering if it is as creative and colorful as the home’s front yard. A garden is the first impression a visitor sees of your home. In the fall months, when the grass is not as green as in the spring/summer seasons, you can still add color and depth to your home with plants and shrubs. Chrysanthemums, also known as “mums” are the most favored autumn annuals. They can instantly improve your home’s curb appeal because they’re available in so…

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autumn glow

New Series: Why I Love October

If there’s one month that I really enjoy in the fall, it’s October. I love seeing the rich vibrant colors of the falling leaves. Or taking a drive or hike in the mountains to enjoy the beautiful landscape alive with color! Or stopping at a local restaurant to sit in front of a fire and wrap my hands around a cup of hot cocoa or a glass of warm cognac. Those are things that make me look forward to autumn. Because I enjoy this month more so than any other month of fall, I’m starting a new series just to…

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A Perfect Fall Day

We’re having a perfect fall day in Maryland, filled with sunshine and warmth. I’ve opened the windows to let in some much needed fresh air. For days like this, I’m reminded of the song, “Aquarius/Let The Sunshine In”. I’m singing to myself: Let the sunshine Let the sunshine in The sunshine in     I  hope your day is equally beautiful. Simone  

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fall foliage decor ideas

Getting Into A Fall Fashion Mode

Hello fall! I’m not sure if I’m quite ready for you yet, but the weather outside is definitely making me aware that you’re here for the next three months. One thing I’m inspired to do is update my fall/winter wardrobe. I’m seeing so many tempting and gorgeous colors and fabrics! It will definitely be tough to decide what to purchase. As my husband will attest, I’m a conservative dresser. I like clothes that are traditional and classic, and I like to mix and match my outfits. Also, I enjoy putting together a daytime outfit that can easily be transitioned to…

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Friday Color Quote

Friday Color Quote

I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way–Things I had no words for. Georgia O’Keefe   I had the most delightful afternoon yesterday on the island of Madeira. As I’ve said before, whenever I’m traveling I always make time to treat myself to an afternoon high tea. Yesterday’s tea was at a really lovely setting: one of the most famous hotels in Madeira, Reid’s Palace Hotel. I like to call it the Pink Hotel because the exterior is painted pink. The tea was a special event: it was a high-tea fashion…

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fall bedroom decor

Decorate Your Bed For The Fall/Winter Season

The air is crisp and the mornings and evenings are chilly. The air conditioning units are turned off and the windows are opened to let in the crisp fall air. No longer are we feeling the heat and humidity. It’s time to say au revoir to the summertime and embrace the seasonal change. In our home decor, it’s time to swap out the bright summery colors for the warm luxurious colors of fall. One room that needs extra tender loving care is our bedrooms, specifically our beds. Transitioning from a light summer look to a cozier fall/winter look requires some…

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Simone Design Blog|Home Tour Design Inspiration

Home Tour Design Inspiration

When I saw this beautiful home featured in Traditional Home, I immediately fell in love! It is shown in an article called “Art-Filled and Eco-Conscious Home”. The architect is William H. Harrison of Harrison Design Associates, and the interior designers are Bill Musso and Lauren Dott of the Musso Design Group. I am really drawn in by the neutral color scheme. I love the fact that furnishings and accessories were carefully chosen to be eco-conscious. Reading through the pages of Traditional Home, I learned that for this house the owners acquired museum-quality collections of Chinese tapestries, sculptures, and a set…

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fall foliage decor ideas

Fall Foliage:Easy Decorating Ideas

I’m finding it a little difficult to believe that the official start to fall is just 12 days away when the temperature is currently reading 90 degrees! But the signs are there: the leaves are slowly falling and beginning to show their fall colors. With all these fresh, colorful leaves steadily covering my deck and patio, I’m inspired to think of ways to decorate using them. I’ve gathered images to give you some design ideas on how you can use them in your existing home decor. Tuck in some leaves into a twig wreath for a colorful and simple look.…

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Decorating with Orange

Friday Color Quote

Orange is the happiest color Frank Sinatra The color orange is synonymous with the fall season. It’s the color of pumpkins and one of the colors you see on tree leaves when they’re changing colors. Orange is very versatile; it’s delightful as either an accent or background color. It goes well with blue, white, brown and black. Don’t shy away from using orange with vibrant colors such as red, pink, yellow or green. Let the fall color palette seen in nature help you determine what to pare orange with. I’ve put together some images to show you how you can use…

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Simone Design Blog|Decorating with Baskets

A-Tisket-a-Tasket::Decorating with Baskets

I love to decorate with baskets! I love their texture, shape, versatility, style and colors. The beauty of decorating with baskets is that they go well with all design styles. They’re extremely stylish and they never go out of fashion. They can make any room look charming and well organized. The most common use of baskets is as a storage accessory. They keep a room looking very neat and tidy.    But you can also take advantage of the different sizes, colors and shapes of baskets to decorate your home in a way that’s totally unexpected. Let me show you…

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Getting Back Into The Blogging Groove After A Vacation

Getting Back Into The Blogging Groove

At this time of year all thoughts are on the approaching fall season. For me, it’s time to get back to work. I took some much needed time off during the latter half of August to regroup and recharge my batteries. Inasmuch as I love blogging, it’s time consuming. When I work, the day goes by so quickly, and many days I forget to eat lunch! I’m so grateful for all the mentions and supportive comments I get from all of you. It’s an ego boost that I can’t get enough of! With each new blog post I keep pushing…

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Paint Color Trends for the 2013 Fall/Winter Season

Fall is almost upon us and it’s time to think about changing the colors of our home decor from the bright bold colors of summer to warm outdoorsy colors of fall. Designers are often inspired by the outdoors when choosing the colors for paint, accessories, and furnishings. I’ve been researching the Fall/Winter 2013 trends by paint manufacturers and I’ve found a myriad of choices. I’m pleasantly surprised to see that Sherwin Williams has partnered with West Elm to come up with some really exciting and eye-catching colors for Fall/Winter 2013. They’re so modern and so chic. Names such as Indigo Batik…

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Simone Design Blog|Amazing Vignette and Conversation Area Designs

Amazing Vignette and Conversation Areas

My husband Christopher and I are staying at the Stanley Hotel’s Lodge while on vacation in Estes Park, Colorado, located  at the base of the Rocky Mountain National Park. Much to my pleasure and surprise, the Lodge has a rustic decor, and I think they’ve done a marvelous job of creating vignettes and conversation areas throughout the three level Lodge. I was totally impressed with the materials and design styles used throughout. There are so many places for you to stop and admire, and they all have a mountainous view. Let me show some of my favorites. Love the native…

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Simone Design Blog|Designing an Eco-Friendly Bedroom

Designing an Eco-Friendly Bedroom

Let’s talk about making a bedroom more environmentally friendly. Why should we bother to do this? Well, we spend approximately one-third of the day in that room and we want the air we breathe to be as healthy as possible (eco-friendly means health-friendly). Also, we want to make sure that in the future our children live in an environment that’s as healthy as the one we’re in today. Being eco-friendly is very much in our own self-interest. Remodeling a bedroom to make it “green” is not as challenging as you may think. There are a number of ways you can…

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