Party Tips from House Beautiful

As we were perusing the new House Beautiful (which is SUCH a good issue) we came across these party tips.  With the holidays (a.k.a. parties galore) right around the corner, we thought these “Do’s and Don’ts” were just too good not to share!  Here are a few of our favorites!

Go grab the November issue of House Beautiful to see all 101 tips!

99.  Don’t be afraid to set up a dinner table in an unconventional or not-the-usual spot for a more interesting dinner or lunch—in the library among the books, out on a porch.  -Gil Schafer, Architect/Designer

51. Have beverages visible from the moment guests step in the door.  -Matt and Ted Lee, Chefs/Cookbook Authors

35.  Seat guests next to someone they know and someone they’d enjoy meeting.  -Alex Papachristidis, Designer

85.  You can never have too many white plates, platters, and bowls.  -Cheryl Katz, Designer

57. Don’t be afraid to use your finest china, silverware, and crystal pieces outdoors.  It can make a casual event a bit more special.  -Ty Burks, Designer


8.  Don’t come to a party empty-handed.  -Jayne Michaels, Designer

86.  Serve an amazing dessert.  Even the worst main course will be forgotten if it’s followed by a spectacular dessert. Extra points for making it yourself.  -Michael Devine, Shop Owner/Textile Designer

22.  Never, never, never run out of ice.  -Bryan Batt, Actor/Shop Owner

94.  Don’t move people around too much.  If you move people off the dining table it can be sort of a cue to leave and can break up the conversations.  -Michael S. Smith, Designer

49.  No colored candles! Only ivory and white.  -Jan Showers, Designer

1.  Create a music playlist that’s ready to begin as soon as the doorbell rings and doesn’t end until the last guest departs.  -Colin Cowie, Event Planner

55.  Never use paper napkins. -Judi Roman, Shop owner

28.  You should always have a cold bottle of bubbly stashed in your refrigerator in case friends drop by, and a bottle of something sparkly for nondrinkers.  -Christopher Hirsheimer, Co-founder, Canal House Cooking

97.  Don’t set the table with a single pattern of china or silver, as though you just unearthed your bridal registry.  Mix it up, get creative.  -Eddie Ross,

68.  Stick your candles in the freezer for a couple of days prior to using them.  The freezing will eliminate most of the messy dripped wax all over your furniture.  -David Stark, Furniture/Textile Designer

9.  Don’t try a new recipe at a party.  -Tricia Foley, Designer/Author

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Pumpkin Cupcakes

As we were perusing the House Beautiful website, we came across this Barefoot Contessa pumpkin cupcake recipe that sounded too good not to share!  Fall is here in full force, so it is time to start cooking fall goodies!  These would be so good as an option for Thanksgiving dinner dessert…. Yum!

Pumpkin Cupcake (picture from

Pumpkin Cupcakes with Maple Frosting

Makes 10 cupcakes

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin purée (8 ounces), not pie filling
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • Maple Frosting (recipe follows)
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped Heath bars, for serving (2 1.4-ounce bars)

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Brush or spray the top of 10 muffin tins with vegetable oil and line them with 10 paper liners.

2. Into a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg. In a larger bowl, whisk together the eggs, pumpkin purée, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vegetable oil. Add the flour mixture and stir until combined.

3. Divide the batter among the prepared tins (I use a level 2 1/4-inch ice cream scoop) and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Set aside to cool completely.

4. Spread the cupcakes with the Maple Frosting and sprinkle with the chopped toffee bits.

Maple Frosting

  •  6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon Boyajian Natural Maple Flavor
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the cream cheese and butter on low speed until smooth. Stir in the maple flavoring and vanilla extract. With the mixer still on low, slowly add the confectioners’ sugar and mix until smooth.

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Today we are celebrating two birthdays!! Lisa and KC both claim to be turning 28 today 🙂


We are so thankful to have Lisa as such an amazing leader! She is an wonderful designer, manager, singer, mother, the list goes on….!  She always keeps us laughing up here, which I’m not sure can be said about many bosses! Hope you have the best day, Lisa!! You deserve it!

And we can’t forget about KC! She does such a great job, not only at answering phones, but at keeing things running smoothly with customers and designers!  She is the best at making all of us feel funny, even when we tell a bad joke.  Her laughter is contageous! Thanks for everything, KC! Hope your day ROCKS!!

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New from Schumacher

Our fabulous Schumacher rep, Jim, stopped in last week to show us what’s new from them this season!   There were several fabrics we absolutely fell in love with.  Beth was able to pull together an entire project just from what he showed us!  We saw a lot of patterns, particularly florals, that we liked.  Here are a few:

Palampore Embroidery. Tobacco
Florentine Bargello. Olivine
Eastbury Manor Print. Tapestry
Cambourne. Honey
Avebury Floral Vine. Citrine
Rosegate Embroidered Print. Chartreuse
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Designer Spotlight: Meagan Burks

Meagan Burks

Meagan Burks, one of our amazing designers, is faced with design challenges on a regular basis (as most designers are!)  Where does she turn when she needs inspiration? Meagan has several designers, including Kelly Wearstler, Suzanne Kasler and Bobby McAlpine, whose styles really inspire her.  All of them have books that help refresh Meagan’s sometimes depleated creativity.

“First and foremost, Bobby McAlpine is an architect; and his new book, “The Home Within Us” is my favorite new architectural design book.  I have been an admirer of his architecture and interiors long before I knew he designed furniture.  The upholstery collection he designed for Lee Industries, one of our manufacturers, perfectly showcases his use of gracefully sculptural lines that are as timeless as they are unique.”


Slipcovered chair for LEE by Bobby McAlpine
Chair for LEE by Bobby McAlpine
Sofa for LEE Industries by Bobby McAlpine

In contrast to Bobby McAlpine, Meagan also finds inspiration from Kelly Wearstler.  Kelly Wearstler’s HUE is a reminder of how to properly incorporate daring color into interior design.  As The New Yorker so eloquently put it, Kelly is “the presiding grande dame of West Coast interior design.”

“You can always tell it’s a Kelly Wearstler room.  Her mix of pattern, color, and texture is so bold, but it always works.  What shows through in her interiors shows through in her textile designs.”

Faux Bois in Ocher Cream by Kelly Wearstler
Soro Velvet in Oro Bark by Kelly Wearstler
Ombre Maze in Saffron by Kelly Wearstler

Somewhere between the earthy, natural Bobby McAlpine and the bright, bold Kelly Wearstler falls Suzanne Kasler.  Her versatility is endless.

“Suzanne Kasler is known for her classically inspired rooms, soothing palettes, and casual elegance.  Her lighting fixtures bring Southern charm, European sensibility, and a respect for architectural details to her interiors.  Her work is polished and refined, yet casual, relaxed and effortless”

Suzanne describes her own style as “a fresh mix of continental flavor and classic style, emphasizing light, scale, and architectural elements of space, creating collected interiors.”   Her book, Inspired Interiors, beautifully showcases the mix that Suzanne is known for.

Thornton Floor Lamp by Suzanne Kasler
Garson Table Lamp by Suzanne Kasler
Quatrefoil Floor Lamp by Suzanne Kasler

Check back often for more Designer Spotlights!

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A Visit with Brian Fuente

Brian Fuente

Brian Fuente is a really cool guy.  He is a creative powerhouse.  As well as being an amazing musician (much thanks to his mom, Lisa Palmer!) he is an extremely gifted graphic designer.  Brian, founder of Zest Creative, manages our website and designs all of the ads for SummerHouse.  He does an amazing job!  We recently took a moment to talk with him about what all he has going on…

SummerHouse: How long has Zest Creative been around?

Brian: ZEST first began under the name “Blue Creative” in January of 07′.  The name ZEST came about last December.  I was inspired to change the name because I wanted name with a little more attitude.  At that time, I also changed my vision for the business.  The real name of ZEST is “ZEST CREATIVE MARKETPLACE”.  I am the only employee of ZEST but I have a group of people that work with me on projects.

SummerHouse: What all can you offer a client?  I know, for us, you have done web and print stuff.  Is that mainly what you focus on?

Brian: ZEST is your creative marketplace or one stop shop for Photography, Web, Print, Public Relations, Television and just about all things creative.  My focus is print and design.  For example, I’ll design and project manage a website and I’ll have my programmer program the site.

SummerHouse: What is the most unique client you’ve ever been approached by?

Brian: A couple of years ago I took on a client that was a Pole Dance Fitness Instructor.  I have come to find out that Pole Dance Fitness is extremely popular here in Nashville as well as all over the country!  After launching her site and ad campaigns her business grew by 75%!

SummerHouse: What else can you tell us about Zest?

Brian: ZEST utilizes a “new” business model.  Everyone that ZEST contracts out has a home based office and are spread out.  For example, my web developer is in Boston, MA!  With the power of the web, there is no need to have the overhead of an office.  We can all do this from home and keep our costs down!  I also think that it creates an environment allowing us to all work comfortably, therefore working efficiently and creatively.  There have been times where my band has been on the road and I am working in the back of the van.  We can do everything we need to do as long as we have an internet connection!

Here are a few of Brian’s favorite SummerHouse ads from over the years:

VIP Holiday ad from 2008
Gulf Coast Wine and Dine ad
Delta Magazine ad from August
Northside Sun Holiday ad from 2009

SummerHouse: Give us a little plug for Newmatic. What exciting stuff do you have going on, and when will you be playing in MS again?!


Brian: Ha! So my band Newmatic is based here out of Nashville.  We have currently signed 7 deals with Fall reality television shows (i.e. Keeping up with The Kardashians, The Real World…).  Television placement deals can break a band and we are excited to hear our music on television.  Also, we have just currently recorded 2 new singles which should be on iTunes by next month!  You can check out the band at

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Save the Ta-tas!

As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Lots of stores and businesses in the area (and all over the country!) do displays and fundraisers to raise breast cancer awareness.  We were recenlty asked by the ladies at Annelle Primos to design a bra for a “Save the Ta-tas” display in their store!  We happily accepted the challenge and got to work on picking fabrics.  After getting input from all of our designers, we got to work on actually making the bra!

Katie went to Wal-Mart and got the most simple bra she could find.  Then Lisa gave Laurel specific instructions what fabrics to put where.  After working on the bra on and off for a couple of days, here is the final product! We thought it turned out really well!!

Our lovely creation!
Save the Ta-tas
Its all in the details!
"Save the Ta-tas. They feed the world!"

Fabrics/trims used in our bra design:  Raoul Zoo Dance, Cocoa.  Raoul Coverlet, Lavender.  Etamine Fersen, color 893.  Osborne & Little Taisho Button Braid, color 07.  Designers Guild trim, Discontinued.

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Around Jackson with Flat Katie

SummerHouse is getting a new neighbor in The Township:  Millie D’s Frozen Yogurt!! We could not be more excited!  Millie D’s is set to open around the end of October/first of November and will feature numerous flavors of frozen yogurt and lots of toppings!  It will be a “create your own thing and pay by the ounce” type of place.

So excited about Millie D's!

We spoke to Laurie, the sweet lady who is opening the shop, yesterday and she is very excited to be coming to The Township! Construction has taken a little longer than originally planned, but that’s ok! It will be SO worth all the time she’s invested once Millie D’s opens! Laurie, rest assured that all the SummerHouse girls will visit OFTEN.  There are so many days when we say, “I really wish Millie D’s was open!”

We will keep you posted on Millie D’s progress! 🙂

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Beautiful New Things!

We just got in some great new furniture and accessories and wanted you to have the first look!   We are very excited about it ALL!

Perfect for a house with a beachy feel!
Candles and tabletop by Canvas
This is just a sampling of our new pillows!
We are all in LOVE with this new table from Bliss!
These barstools are SO cute! Sadly they are already sold...
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Meet Elizabeth Gullett

Elizabeth Gullett

Meet our newest designer, Elizabeth Gullett!  She and her husband recently moved from Memphis, TN and seem to be loving life down here in Mississippi.  Elizabeth has jumped right in as a designer here at SummerHouse!  With several years of interior design experience under her belt, her transition was easy!  Elizabeth got her design degree from University of Memphis, then moved out to Los Angeles to do graduate work at UCLA.

Laurel:  So what was your favorite part about design in LA?

Elizabeth:  Well, I started working in real estate right when I moved out there and this really affected my design asthetic. I fell in love with the fresh, clean, open feeling that the west coast embraces in their homes. Outdoor spaces are a priority, not an afterthought… And the interior flows into the exterior beautifully. (The 70 degree weather must factor in here somewhere!)  Even in many of the most expensive houses, families enjoy a casual, relaxed, “lived-in” look, but still keep their homes sophisticated and stylish in the same moment.

Laurel:  So what are some principles you learned in working out there that you can bring back to your work here?

Elizabeth:  Their blend of style with comfort, and sophistication with life, is what I love to help people achieve. I want to know about my client’s hobbies (Do you dirt bike, or do you host book club? Or do we do both?), their pets, their friends, their entertaining style… and of course about their children (or plans for them!)  Most people know what they like when they see it.  It’s cliche, but true.  Most people don’t know how to organize all of these thoughts and things that they love into a single room, or an entire home. That’s where we as designers come in.

“Their blend of style with comfort, and sophistication with life, is what I love to help people achieve.”

You know how you buy that perfect shirt, or that perfect jacket, in that perfect color, and think, “Wow, this is so ME, I feel so great in this.  It’s perfect!”  Think if you felt that way about every item in your closet… Never a Monday with nothing to wear!  Now think if you felt that way about every item in your home!!  My goal as a designer is to do that for my clients.  I want my client’s home to be their favorite place; an escape from the outside world into THEIR world where it really is all about them.  My primary job as a designer is research, and digging!!  I need to know what they love better than THEY know what they love.

Laurel:  What is the most rewarding part of working in interior design?

Elizabeth:  My favorite words to hear from my client are these, after they see their new room for the first time:  “I had NO IDEA it would look this amazing! I mean, I saw things by themselves…but together….How did you know I would love it all?”  My answer: It’s my job…and I love that it is. That is SO rewarding!

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THE BIG REVEAL: A Big Success!

Thank you to everyone who came to THE BIG REVEAL on Tuesday night! We had a great turnout and saw lots of new faces! Now that this event is behind us, time to move on to the next one! We have a couple of things in the works so we will definitely keep you posted on what we come up with next!  Here are a few shots from the party:

Melanie did a beautiful job arranging the flowers!

Door prizes!
Viking did a great job on the food

Mini strawberry and chocolate tortes by Viking. Yummy!

Mike Williams and his adorable wife!

Lisa Palmer, Judy Denson, Elizabeth Gullett

Phyllis Geary and Dotty Butts

Barbara Sulser, Vicki Overstreet, Betty Wells

Lisa Palmer, Will Longwitz, Brian Ramsey, Beth Black
Katie and Taylor Phillips
Bill and Camille Morris, parents of Kathryn Trotter (Our new artist!)

Trent and Elizabeth Gullett
We love Dyann Gunter!

Chip Walker, Michele Myers, Tony Antoon

Carla Palmer and Shelia Myles

Christy Crockett White, Catherine Payne, Kim McCormack

Back Row: Melanie McGee, Laurel Donahoo, Katie Phillips, Elizabeth Gullett, Beth Black. Front Row: Marty Smith, Betsy Pevey, Lisa Palmer, Meagan Burks
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Hey everyone! We are gearing up for the big event tonight! Hopefully all of you will be able to attend THE BIG REVEAL this evening from 5 to 7 p.m.  We are really looking forward to it!  The changes around here are pretty phenomenal, if we do say so ourselves 🙂


When you get here, be sure to register to win some door prizes! Many of our neighbors have been so generous to donate some items for us to give away.  Here is what you have the chance to walk away with tonight:

1. A gift certificate from Kosmos for a 30 minute massage

2. A gift certificate from View Gallery

3.  A bottle of wine from Calistoga Wine and Spirits

4.  A gift card from Fusion Coffeehouse

5.  A gift certificate for 3 facials from Faces

6.  A gift basket from The Everyday Gourmet

7.  A leather recliner from SummerHouse

Thanks also to Viking for catering the event! We know they will do a phenomenal job, as always.  We are so thankful for our great neighbors!  Below are the websites for all of them so you can find out a little more about them! SEE YALL TONIGHT!!

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Our New Look!

Hey everyone! Sorry this blog post is a couple of days later than we had hoped! After being closed for 5 days in a row, we have all been playing catch up! Now that the dust is finally settling (literally…), we have a few minutes to pay attention to the blog!

We are SO pleased with the changes that took place in our showroom over our break! The ENTIRE floor got re-merchandised and it looks amazing.  We brought out a lot of new furniture, lamps and accessories (and will have even more new stuff by Tuesday at THE BIG REVEAL!) and touched up all of our walls.  Our accent walls have also been re-done by Virginia Weathersby and her talented helpers!

The modern room

Greys are so gorgeous all mixed together!

One of our new Kathryn Trotter paintings!

The modern room

Some pretty new pieces

The front room

The Cleo bed is looking prettier than ever!
Bottom of the stairs

Our two favorite changes are (1) our back wall behind the front desk and (2) the built in’s to house our pillows and bedding.  Here are a few pictures of the built in’s and of the new wall getting accessorized!

Kim, Mario and Lisa working to get our new OLY mirror hung! 🙂
The new front desk turned out SO well! In addition to the wall being new, the skirt around the front is new, too!

Look at all those pretty pillows in our new built in shelves!
Ta da!! It just sparkles 🙂

We will see everybody at THE BIG REVEAL on Tuesday! Can’t wait!

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Face Lift: Day 2

It has been a BUSY day! We have gotten so much great stuff done, upstairs and down! (For those of you who may not be familiar with our setup, we have our showroom downstairs and our offices upstairs.  For the BIG REVEAL, we are going to have both downstairs AND upstairs on display! Guests have never been able to go upstairs at a party before, so we are working hard to get things presentable up here!)

Hot Mess upstairs...

Elizabeth and Laurel refolding fabrics like there is no tomorrow!

After lots of TLC, the fabric library is looking much better!
Katie and KC weeding out lots of old books. We found one from 2004... WOW!

Take a peek at what all has gone on downstairs!  While we were rearranging furniture, we ended up needing to put some outside our back door.  As luck would have it, the weather decided to change from very pretty to very nasty.  So we had about 3 minutes to move LOTS of stuff inside… Thankfully, the only stuff that did get rained on was wrapped in plastic so there was no harm done.  But how bout that for a quick jolt!?

Hot Mess downstairs...

Hot Mess Part 2

Part of our new built in shelving unit! We are so excited about it!

The new built-ins!! Not painted yet, but looking beautiful nonetheless

The new wall stencil behind the front desk is looking AWESOME

The Modern Room is starting to take shape. SO exciting!

There is a chance that this’ll be the last update until Tuesday… We will try to squeeze in one more but no promises!! Remeber to mark your calendar for Tuesday, September 14! THE BIG REVEAL is going to be so much fun! Food and wine by Viking Cooking School, and lots of great donations for our drawing.  Thanks to Calistoga Wine and Spirits, The Everyday Gourmet, View Gallery, Fusion Coffeehouse, Kosmos and Faces for all your support! 🙂

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Welcome back from the weekend! We hope you had a great one!

We wanted to remind everyone that we are going to close this Thursday (Sept. 2) and will not re-open our doors until next Tuesday (Sept. 7)  You are welcome to stop by and look in on our progress through the windows, but the store will be closed!

SummerHouse // Ridgeland, MS

Be sure to go ahead and mark your calendars for THE BIG REVEAL party on Tuesday, Sept. 14!  We will have a drawing for a beautiful leather Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams chair, as well as some items donated by our fabulous neighboring businesses!  And we would like to give a big thank you in advance to Viking Cooking School for catering the event!

 Can’t wait to see you on September 14th! 🙂 To learn more about THE BIG REVEAL, check out last week’s blog post about it:

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To help you get your weekend started off right, and to celebrate the beautiful weather we’ve had in the SummerHouse area lately, here are some sunny fabrics to keep your spirits lifted!

Do you have a favorite?  Have a great weekend!!

Sea Cloth Swell Buttercup

Donghia Carly Mustard
Donghia Carly Mustard
Nina Campbell Delphine
Nina Campbell Delphine
Studio Bon Sally Sun
Studio Bon Sally Sun
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The Big Reveal


Ok, it is officially time to announce our big news!

Since we are nearly 5 years old, which is 50 in design years, we have decided to get a little work done…  We have reached the point where we are in need of a face lift!  We are going to make a few little changes around the store that are going to make a big difference!  With that being said, we are going to have to “disappear” for a few days.

SummerHouse // Ridgeland, MSWe will close our doors late Wednesday night, September 1 after regular store hours and won’t re-open until the morning of Tuesday, September 7.  During that time we will be working hard on our update!  Our doors will be locked, but you will be welcome to come peek in the windows and check on our progress!  We will frequently post pictures on the blog to keep you updated!

To celebrate our new look, we will have our BIG REVEAL on Tuesday evening, September 14 from 5-7 p.m.  You, your friends and your family are all invited to join us as we celebrate our new look.  Bubbles and bites will be catered by our wonderful neighbor, Viking Cooking School, and we will have a couple of drawings that you won’t want to miss!

Mark your calendar for Tuesday, September 14 from 5-7 and be sure to bring friends!  Please feel free to come in before we take our little hiatus so you will be able to fully appreciate everything once we re-open!  We look forward to seeing you!

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New Items Are HERE!

Tuesday, we gave you a little sneak peek of some of our new merchandise.  Today you get to see lots more! These are just a few pictures of some of the beautiful new stuff we brought over Tuesday and yesterday.  Do you see anything you absolutely love?  Don’t hesitate to call the store and ask a designer to get you more details– We are here to serve you!

We are getting such a great response from all of our new Dwell bedding!
Beautiful new accessories!
New Vanguard dining chairs around a Tritter Feefer table
Don’t you need to vamp up your dining room for the upcoming holidays…?
Some of the more modern stuff we have on the floor
New Vanguard cabinet
Lots and lots of great pillows!
Shell rings by Ann Taylor Duease. We love her!
We added a few new chairs to the Random Chair Sale
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Sneak Peek

Here is just a quick little sneak peek at the showroom update that went on today!  Tomorrow, once everything is finished, we will post more pictures of all the new stuff.  Stay tuned!

OLY lamps, Bungalow 5 Polo Chest, Mitchell Gold Nikki Chair and Shine prints make this space so pretty!
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New Dwell bedding is here!

Our new Dwell bedding has finally arrived! We are so excited about it, we can hardly contain ourselves!  Check out a few of their many patterns here:

This is the new peacock pattern we have been hearing so much about!

The oh-so-popular peacock pattern in a more subtle colorway.

This great graphic also comes in black and white.

This pattern also comes in charcoal and white.
We have this duvet cover on the showroom floor for you to see for yourself!

This taupe trellis pattern is so handsome in person.

Check out our new Vanguard Hastings bed with some of the new bedding! Katie and Marty did such a great job of getting the bed together.  And accessorizing was part of initiation for our new designer, Elizabeth! Good job, everybody!!

Katie and Marty making sure the duvet cover is JUST right!
Katie and Marty working diligently.
Such team work!
The finished product. Gorgeous!
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