Nottingham Master Styling

This client has a gorgeous house with gorgeous views and just needed a few ideas to finish her master bedroom styling.  In her heart of hearts she loves the color red, but wasn’t sure how to work it in without it over taking the space.  I found the cutest red chair for her to enjoy those beautiful views out her wall of windows and it coordinated with the other furnishings she already had in her space.  Other things on her wish list included a fireplace, a covered TV, blackout linen drapes and a couch. With some careful space planning, I think we created a cozy elegant space for her and her husband to relax at the end of the day.

pottery barn, pier one, wayfair

This makes me want to turn on some Michael Buble and starting sipping a peppermint hot chocolate! I am totally into the mood of this board. Want to finally LOVE your space? We can make it happen, call me!


Melissa xox



Red Chair: Pier One

Drapes: Pottery Barn

Couch: Pottery Barn

TV Cabinet: Pottery Barn

Light: Pottery Barn

Bedding: Ballard Designs

Throw Pillows: Etsy

Fireplace: Wayfair

The Lil’ Punkin Patch Centerpiece


It’s beginning to look a lot like fall around here!  Can I just say how much I love my reclaimed wood centerpiece?! I love to fill it with seasonal things for the table.  It’s so much fun to see what else I can display in there with every seasonal change.

This season: Real Baby Pumpkins.

(okay so there are a *few* tiny fake ones…okay…okay…sheesh) But most are real. 🙂

I know I could have been more trendy with the white and green pumpkins, but I am going for more of a classic “Charlie-Brown-pumpkin-patch” feel. Is that a thing??? Well….it is now!

Introducing my Pumpkin Patch inspired centerpiece…oh, I mean Punkin. I have decided that baby pumpkins in my house are affectionately now called, “Punkins.”

mini pumpkins

LIFESTYLED TIP:  It’s worth it to dig through the pumpkin bin to find the ones with the longest stems.  They seem more complete to me and more natural. I love a good long pumpkin stem!

Yes, I can’t get over it, they are too cute. You know it’s true when the three-year-old holds them she talks to them in a baby voice!

Come, sit, sip something warm, relax and stare at little nestled pumpkins….now all your problems are gone. 😉

The pic doesn’t do it justice but when I light the candles at night, it really does have that “Charlie-Brown-Great-Pumpkin” thing going on.


Happy Fall Y’ALL!

Now if we can just get rid of this pesky 90 degree weather and add in some fall wardrobe, I will almost be set. Stay tuned more for fall and Halloween ideas coming soon!

Love your LifeStyled,






The Hanover Master

I had a great time working with this client to design a master suite she loves, complete with a shopping list so she can install it at her leisure (see below for sources).  Very quickly we discovered that she loved traditional style mixed with bold geometric patterns and a pop of happy color! Want to uncover your style recipe? I can teach you how to style a space you will love without making costly mistakes.  Click HERE to learn more about what I offer including full service from consultation to overseeing complete installation services!


Master Suite Design Board

I would love to help you really LOVE your home!




Pillow covers and fireplace art:

Lantern on fireplace, fabric desk chair, “Life is Beautiful”:

Leather chair, linen couch:

Navy coverlet:


Floor lamp, table lamps, white table:

Faux fiddle leaf, clear desk lamp, mirrors:

Furniture Collection (Bed, nightstands, dresser): Grand Home Furnishings

Black square wall frames:

Ceiling Fan: Home Depot








DIY Furry Bench

Piano room

With the kids off at school, I am busy getting caught up on all my Lifestyled projects that have been waiting in the wings.  Good things are coming! In the meantime, I did this fun and fast little DIY I wanted to share. Parts of my house are stuck in the stuff-we’ve-had-since-we-got-married phase (like that rug, ugh). Slowly but surely we are updating into this century’s decor.

This room, the “piano room” as we call it, is for sure stuck in that phase of our lives.  I am gradually throwing things in there that are on trend that help me feel like I am moving in the right direction.  Also, I am convinced that a lot of my creativity stems from never wanting to sew anything…ever. This project literally took me 10 minutes. I hope this might inspire you to find a tired spot in your space and give it a new life!

Step #1. Go and get you one of these rugs from Target.  I got mine on sale even, BONUS!

fury bench tutorial, target, piano


Step #2:  Then getcha (like that word? It’s what happens when you live in TN!) four of these large safety pins.

Step #3: Now don’t over think this…place your rug on the top of your bench and start pinning up the corners like this…

When you put the flap down it will look like its wrapped around the corner of the bench.  The right side is the “before” the pin and the left is the after, just in case you are confused ;).

Step #5: Repeat step 4 all the way around your bench and now you have made a custom fuzzy bench cover in a matter of minutes!!  Fluff the “fur” around to hide your seams and you can’t tell one bit.

This does come with a warning however, be prepared for your family to give you the third degree….”Um…what IS that?”…”Why do we need THAT?”  Your answer is: We need it because it’s pretty and fluffy things make me happy.

Everyone should have some fluff in their lives. The end.


Hope you all are having a fabulously fluffy week! More tips coming soon, stay tuned.

Love LifeStyled!

Melissa xox


The Hallway Art Gallery

IKEA Dignitet Art wall

TIP: Need a place for all those school art projects coming home at the end of the school year?  Hang a curtain wire with clips and easily switch them out!  (Source below)

This is a fun way to add color and life to an otherwise boring transitional space. Our upstairs hall connects our kid rooms to our playroom, so a kid art gallery seemed quite fitting!  I can’t wait to add more wires on the other side since having this inspires the kids to create wall-worthy art pieces.  I love hearing them say, “Look what I made!  Can we hang it on the art wall?!” And the best part (if they are tall enough) is when I say, “Yes, go hang it up!”  I love when I don’t have to do everything.

ANOTHER TIP: Need to solve summer boredom? Put out some art supplies and let them have at it! They know my favorites get frames, each kid will have one frame for my current favorite art piece they make so they really are only competing with their own previous work. Seeing them do their personal best for that frame makes my mama heart happy!

Source:  You can buy the wire system from IKEA (HERE).  Super affordable! I used a middle support for my wire which they also sell so you can extend the wire without it sagging in the middle.

Have fun inspiring your mini Picasso’s!

Love Life….Styled,

Melissa xox


You Don’t Have to be Perfect to be Amazing

Spring family photo Styling

They try my patience, they make me crazy, they make things come out of my mouth I never thought I would say (“Why is there poop in this plant?”), they keep me up at night and wake me up early, they throw tantrums and I might even throw one back…but once and awhile you get moments like this where everyone is smiling despite the meltdowns and the heartache and my hope is restored, we can do this!!! We are making good memories and sticking it out living, loving and growing together. The good outshines the tough: the yard wildflower gifts with sticky popsicle kisses, the Sunday morning snuggle time with, “I love you, Mommy”, the teenager that confides in you. I am so blessed to be their mom, to have this awesome trust from the Lord to raise them…my cup runneth over. To all the moms in the trenches 👊🏻🙌🏻 you’ve got this and we are in it together. You don’t have to be perfect to be amazing. You are enough and you are amazing. Happy Mother’s Day!


Photo cred: Jenny Lind Photography 

DIY Custom Curtains on the CHEAP!

I am very excited to share with you one of my go-to decorating sources for tricky window dressings!  I must say if you live near an Ikea and have already discovered these magical curtains then feel free to skip this life-changing news.

If not, have you ever needed extended length curtains? By this I mean longer than the standard 98″?  If so, you will know or come to know soon, what a giant pain this is to keep from spending a small mint on a ton of decorator fabric and/or ordering extended length curtains from high-end retailers.  This has been SO annoying to me, so much so in fact, I hemmed a pole pocket and hung heavy weight canvas drop cloths from the home improvement store for years. This worked well until they were just too heavy (they look and feel like heavy linen curtains!) and they started to pull the hardware out of the drywall.  I needed something else, but I didn’t want to spend a fortune.

Meet the Ritva Curtain: You can find it HERE. These are the 98″ curtains embellished with Greek Key trim hung with the tab in the back of the curtain, which is my favorite way since it adds the most height and I like a nice header at the top with soft pleats.

Ikea Ritva Curtains

STYLE TIP:  Have arched or bay windows and don’t know how to treat them?  You can treat the whole shape as one big window, hanging the curtains well above and out from the moulding to still show off their unique shape.  No need for those out-dated fan blinds in the arch!

Back to the lovefest:  Notice the price of these at $24.99 a PAIR!  That’s $12.50 a panel folks, $12.50!!!! Not to mention they are actually long enough to graze the floor. Good-bye capri length curtains (not cute!). Buy the iron hemming tape and you have perfectly customized curtains without sewing (unless you decide to put a lovely trim on them, of course). But wait it gets better….they also come in 118″ as well for $34.99 a PAIR!  That, my friends, is cheaper than drop cloths. They come in different colors and they have the perfect amount of weight, structure, texture and light filtering. I know, I sound like a commercial, but I promise this is not a paid post and I truly do love these.  Here is a photo showing the light filtering and the linen-like texture:

Ritva curtain Texture light filtering

Now, let’s get down to business.


This is pretty simple and, like I said, it’s my favorite because it draws your eye up and lengthens the look of your windows, not to mention it gives you a very nice, soft pleat.  There are these stringy tabs (why they are stringy, I have NO idea), but slip your curtain rod through the tabs and your are done!

I will say this about this style, if you need your curtains to function everyday like opening and closing, I would suggest Style Way #’s 3, 4, and 5.  These first two are great for framing a window but not so great for sliding back and forth particularly over the seam in a telescoping rod.  Using the rings or track system is much better for this capability.

Ikea Curtains



This is basic but it’s nice that this option is still built into these curtains if this way is your jam.  This gives you the most “gathered” look and I think it’s a bonus that its not just a fold-over hemmed pocket, it still gives you a cute header at the top for a more tailored look.

Ikea Curtains




This is really fabulous.  There is this pleating tape on the back of a lot of Ikea curtains which allows for all these options OR you can just buy the KRONILL pleating tape sold separately and sew it onto any fabric! It is THIS.  I discovered this by accident when I saw it sitting there in the fabrics dept at Ikea, it was a serious lightbulb moment.

Basically to make the pleats, you put the first part of the hook in, count over eight notches, pinch and insert the other side of the hook on the eighth tab.  Fold both ends in half, find the middle of the panel and do the same thing, counting four over to the left from the middle and four over to the right.  Fold it again from the middle to the end and do the same thing until they are all in.  If this doesn’t make sense I will link a tutorial for the triple French pleat under Way #4 and once you read her tutorial, it will make a lot more sense.  Which brings me to the hooks and the rings.  You will need the SYRLIG rings and the RIKTIG hooks. I wasn’t sure how many rings I would do, but I ended up needing nine per panel for the single pleat.

This is how it looks when you pull them across, check out the pretty pleat and I didn’t even get out a machine!


Sorry for the bad lighting, but I wanted to show what it looks like with the tall header next to the single pleat with rings. Which way do you like it best? I am still going back and forth between these two for this room!


This way is extra fancy and is such a cool option without sewing!  For this you will only need five clips and rings per panel.  The one caveat with this way is that this photo you see is the entire panel pulled out, so unless you buy more panels to extend across the width of your window, these will only be used to frame a window for added softness.  I think this way is super cute and designer looking…very tailored.  I found THIS awesome tutorial with amazing pics from Visual Vocabularie. Her tutorial will also make any of these pleating options make a lot more sense.  Also, check out those yummy velvet drapes, I am using these in my bedroom next! Velvet triple pleat drapes

Ikea velvet drapes


I am currently remodeling a room in our basement to be my new office!  Exciting, yes, but unfortunately this room doesn’t have a built in closet and I REALLY need one.  With five kids’ clothes rotating seasons and sizes I am constantly making piles for a consignment sale twice a year.  I really needed a place to just hang and store all my consignment stuff to get ready for tagging for the next sale…but I didn’t want to have to look at it all year round either.  Introducing VIDGA.  Take what you have learned here about different pleating options and hook it onto a track as a solution to many design problems like this one I had for the closet.  I opted for a single pleat, not using the metal hooks but I just gathered the material and used the plastic rollers used in the rail HERE, called glides. (Note:  This comes standard as a wall mount but can be mounted to a ceiling by using their ceiling brackets sold separately for $2.49).

Notice how you don’t really see the rail when the curtain is closed?!

This is not hemmed yet…I mean, iron taped, since I am allergic to sewing 😉

Plunk around on Ikea’s website with the track systems and you will see all the options with this system.  I would have much preferred to use their panel curtains but I have to go around a corner, so fabric it is!  I will post a few pics below of the panel curtains. But first, this can also solve another design dilemma I am currently having…how to dress a corner window!  I have this going on in my bedroom:

Imagine this instead: But I am planning on doing single-pleated velvet blackout drapes wall mounted and I will be able to glide my curtains seamlessly! I can’t wait and of course when I get around to it, I will be posting all about it. In the meantime, check out these ideas below using the track systems with panel curtains and/or combined with fabric curtains backed with pleating tape, the tracks come in single, double or triple for all kinds of layering options:

And there you have it folks! Really if you think about it, there are SO many ways you can use these curtains but I hope with outlining these five it can help you solve some of the window, closet and divider problems you might face without spending a fortune and without sewing a stitch!  Still too overwhelmed?  I am here to help! Just contact me and we will figure out the best solution for your space!

Love Life…STYLED!

Melissa xox

Easter Family Photos

I am not going to lie, family picture day is never fun but having the outfits all picked out is a big relief. I get asked a lot about photo styling and this is how the sausage is made folks! I have to gather things all season long as I see them, hiding them to make sure no one wears them or loses them and then lay it all out to see what I need to change, who should/shouldn’t stand together for color and texture reasons and make a list of any final purchases. This time I only need one pair of shoes, yay! Then hope and pray for perfect weather and no one is sick…let alone no meltdowns. It’s seriously like a miracle if everyone looks and smiles at the same time. Realizing we only have a little over 4 short years together until my oldest leaves, I have made it a goal to get two good family photos a year. So here’s to praying for a miracle on Saturday!

We tried out some vintage looks today, she actually posed for me! I hope that’s a good sign for the real deal!

How the sausage is made:

Stay tuned for the final result!

Make Life Beautiful,

Melissa xox

The (Enchanted) Garden Story + 3 Lovely Plants to Create Whimsy & Romance in Your Garden

Today I am excited to open my new category, Outdoor Styling!  As I sat wondering if I should include outdoor living and gardening into Lifestyled, I thought of this longish, short story and decided, yes, I do need to include it. I wanted to share it with you because this and other stories like it are the reason I do what I do and it truly fills my heart with happiness!  Hang with me here, it might take you a few minutes, but I hope you will find it worth it in the end.

Introducing the true story of…

“The Garden”

Once upon a time there was a little girl who was friends with a weeping willow named Willy who was truly a Giving Tree with a rope that was great for swinging and a half-finished tree house. And the biggest tree she ever saw: a Eucalyptus named Jamie, whom she was convinced was taller than a skyscraper and was a kind, watchful king over all the trees in the garden. And an apricot tree that had branches just low enough to umbrella over the garden entrance where she was barely tall enough to pick the fruit as she walked by. She jumped from stair to stair down to the gully, where she would get a running start to see if she could make through the half-pipe- the dry, empty pond bed…down and back up again, propelling her like a pegasus into the grassy meadow with her apricot, to the shade of an old almond tree.

And when she was finished with her juicy apricot, she would creep carefully over to where the treasure tree was, which was a secret since it grew magical geode fruit. When you cracked this magical fruit open just right, numberless edible juicy rubies would be your reward…automatically making you a queen, since after all, what else would queens eat? After her apricot and her magic rubies, she would lay in the grass smelling the sweet breeze coming through the citrus orchard, watching the clouds………..daydreaming about nothing and everything all at once.

She nurtured the garden and the garden nurtured her.  She even rescued a baby palm tree one day from the side of the road and planted him right near the gate where he would get the dry, hot sun and welcome all who came. She spent her summer days singing happily in her garden, mastering her skills at stalking those tricky fast lizards and making flowery crowns from Willy’s tender branches.  The garden was her sanctuary from the world, its where she went when she was happy, its where she went when she was sad, its where she went when she was unsure, to the outside where the adults never wanted to be and where it was bursting with dreams, beauty, adventure and hope.

The little girl got older and instead barely reaching the apricots, she had to duck under the umbrella to walk through. The pond bed was covered in vines and the garden seemed so much smaller now.  Willy had gotten sick and his all limbs were amputated just above the tree house platform…at least there was the rope and his sturdy, old, huggable, but sad trunk.  He needed consoling just as much as she did and they were always there for each other.  The garden was a sacred place of a time gone, a time on Golden Star Ave where the bus came everyday down the dusty road and back again to get the girl for school.
A time before all the other times.

The girl went to college in a far away place and visits became fewer and fewer.  On her last visit, she brought her boy to meet Willy and Jamie (as well as the people in the house).  As they arrived at the gate, she had forgotten about that baby palm tree she had rescued from the side of the road and who now stood as a monument of coming of age. They had both reached adulthood, they both made it despite all the odds.  She asked her boy to pull over, she bounded out of the car and she hugged her giant childhood friend.  The boy was confused but happy for his girl in her garden.

The house got sold away and the girl from Golden Star Ave married that Golden Boy.  After having a bunch of Golden babies she decided its time for them to know the magic of a grandmother’s enchanted garden.  And so the story goes she hopes….one day her grandchildren will come and swing from her willow and walk through romantic paths imagining the fairies flying through the grassy meadow, past the dry creek and into their dreams where they will stay until they tell their babies of memories…in the garden.

The End.

This is such a fitting (and true!) story for my first outdoor styling category post.  The beginning of my garden!  Last year, we had major excavating going on to fix a yard drainage issue. We basically live at the bottom of a mountain, so guess where all the water goes?! Yep, right to the house! Not any more, friends, not any more.  We have dug ourselves out (with some professional help) and now it is time to re-plant!  We worked VERY hard to plant a new (sloping) lawn, something we haven’t ever done, let alone sloping.  The kids and I started a dry creek river rock drainage creek which captures rain water and we watch it cascade down with tiny waterfalls every time it rains…the magic begins!

This last week, we cut down some giant poplar trees that were just too close to the house for how tall they were and they were threatening some brick walls.  It was sad to see the scarred stumps and the bare earth, we wondered what we had done!  But it opened up a new space for a willow tree right next to our creek bed who will be named, Willy Jr.  I haven’t been posting much because of the plant research I have been doing, not to mention the hundred other projects I have going on! But today I hope to pass along three spring plants that might bring a little whimsical romance to your garden and maybe give you some great foliage and florals to bring indoors for fresh flower interior styling!

Weeping Pussy Willow Tree

If you can’t tell I love weeping willows. This tree is currently in my front yard (not shown) and I have had it for about three years.  I love this tree.  Unfortunately it has stopped blooming catkins and its trunk has started to split down the center, not from a cut but from some sort of defect or scar from when it was much younger.  Its still alive and beautiful and putting out new growth, such a cute ornamental tree.  I will be moving my non-bloomer to a different spot in the garden soon and replacing it with another, healthier tree if all my efforts prove not to help it bloom again with it’s cute mini catkins. There isn’t a lot online about this tree because not very many people have one. If you happen to find one BUY IT! (make sure it’s healthy first, I got excited and bought the last one at my local nursery).  These small ornamental trees are perfect to add some variety to your flower beds and almost be like a plant sculpture.  The first photo is one that is almost completely mature at 7′ tall. They don’t get any bigger than 8′ feet!

^This is what it looks like after its bloomed catkins and when its been properly pruned. I found this wonderful gardener who has videos all about it, click the pic above.

They can be pruned longer or shorter, and those are little tiny soft fuzzy catkins (so cute!). Without pruning, they get VERY bushy so be sure you know how to prune one.

Magnolia Little Girl Series 

Botanical name: Magnolia hybrids

What they are: A line of eight dwarf, April-blooming magnolia trees bred at the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington. Showy big-petaled flowers open before trees leaf out. All have female names and flower colors ranging from pink through purplish-red. The three best: ‘Ann’ (plum-colored blooms), ‘Jane’ (lavender-pink) and ‘Betty’ (reddish-purple). Leaves drop in fall but fuzzy flower buds remain over winter.

Size: 12-15 feet tall and wide in about 10 years.

Check out these beauties!  If you are wanting an enchanted garden, look no further! GUYS. These lovely little Magnolias practically grow tulips!!! How cute that this is the ‘Little Girl Series’?! I plan to name mine after my little girl, its just too perfect. I found a Magnolia Jane at Lowe’s this week for $32. I haven’t planted it yet but I can’t wait and I have the perfect spot!  I will keep you posted with how it goes!!

Magnolia Jane ^

Magnolia Ann ^

Magnolia Betty ^

Where to use: Excellent front-yard specimens, especially in small yards. Small enough to soften house corners if kept 8-10 feet away. Also nice out kitchen windows and next to patios. Full sun to light shade. These bloom in April and then they are done blooming for the year, just like the Weeping Pussy Willows. The two should both be in bloom about the same time, just something to keep in mind. Next up…..

Eden Climbing Rose
(or Pierre de Rosnard Rose)

This!!!! This stunner will hopefully one day be the grand entrance to my outdoor sanctuary. Okay so this rose business is serious. This will be my first time planting roses so I have spent the majority of my research dedicated to roses, specifically climbing roses.  What is more romantic than this (in your garden)?!  Um, nothing.

I spent a lot of time trying to figure out roses that fit my criteria, are you ready?

  • Must be blush pink, like #1 has to!
  • Must tolerate some shade.
  • Must be almost thornless because of the kids.  (“Almost” I thought was good, a few prickles might deter them from picking all the flowers!)
  • Must be able to climb to the height of an arbor, as this will be the entrance to my backyard.
  • Must not be too fragrant.  Hubby does NOT like the smell of roses and is highly sensitive to strong flowery smells.  If I want to use these inside as cut flowers, the smell must be very subtle and not over powering. If you want a fragrant rose, try A Shropshire Lad by David Austin.  This is my second choice and seems to be very similar to the Eden with the exception of fragrance.
  • Must be resistant to disease…I am all about low maintenance.  Do you know what I have to do every time I take five kids to the pool?!!  I do NOT like spraying down my plants too!

And the winner is EDEN!  I ordered two from Edmunds Roses.  We will see how they do, planting something like roses bare root is a little scary for me, but I am taking the plunge!  Wish me luck and any tips are always appreciated! Hopefully in a few years we will have the photo below…..(insert angelic chorus)

^I can picture a wedding right there! Awwwwww!  So pretty!

Eden’s as a cut rose, perfect!

Just a few more pics….because this is my blog and I can….

Isn’t she lovely?!

Here’s to dreams People! I hope you feel inspired to create something beautiful…now go out and get your hands dirty!

Love Life…Styled!

Melissa xox

No Mudroom? No Problem! Solution: Board and Batten Wall

Hello Spring!  It’s official, this is the first week (insert fanfare chorus)! To celebrate I did something probably a little premature, but I did it nonetheless, in hopes of hurrying up the warmer weather which doesn’t make any sense. I put all the winter coats away, hooray!!!  I can now actually see the wall underneath all the coats! Hello, you beautiful board and batten!

My mom and I did this together all by ourselves, which was awesome, we love power tools and doing she-power projects like this. I found THIS wonderful tutorial and I followed it exactly, as you can see, from Censational Girl. If you need a good real-life application of a pinterest DIY, this is it and it literally took a day to put it up!  It was all to solve this little problem:  I have five kids and nowhere for all their stuff to dump after school.  I also, don’t have a good place in the garage or a designated “mudroom”.  I do have a hallway, right as they come into the house from the garage (not pictured, it’s behind me) and before they head up the stairs. I love how a useless hallway space can be transformed into something functional and beautiful.  My feature photo looks like what it would be if I didn’t have kids or what it could look like while I play house when all their jackets and backpacks are at school, but let me just say, it NEVER looks like that.

This is what it looked like literally an hour later (and when a teenager coming out of the bathroom realizes I am taking a picture)! I seriously don’t get dabbing.

Just also as a side note, this is the other side of the hall with my cute growth chart ruler which was a gift from my mom. Yes, she made it herself, she is amazing, and she is convinced my four-year-old son is going to be seven feet tall lol!

It’s a battle to make sure they don’t think its their personal closet with jackets over bags over jackets and shoes everywhere, so I am am happy to pretend with this pretty photo!  Spring challenge (weather permitting): put your snow stuff away and style a functional mudroom space, even if its somewhere unusual. I would love to see your ideas! Happy Spring and Happy Styling!

Styling sources:

Paint: Benjamin Moore – Gray Owl

Accessories:  Brown bag –, everything else is from Target including wreath and doormat.

Frames: TJ Maxx

Photos: Jenny Lind Photography


Love Life…STYLED!
xox Melissa