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All Posts By Sarah

Durham Project: Progress City

The homeowners at the Durham project really steamrolled through this quick update with the help of their contractor who actually listened when they said, we have to finish this in a month before our baby is born.

What happened in about 3 weeks time? Interior paint, new flooring throughout most of the downstairs, kitchen cabinets painted, quartz counters on!

The Cosmos Carrara Classic counters are in, as well as their new faucet and single bowl undermount stainless steel sink. Subway tile backsplash awaits a light gray grout.

quartz countertop


Newly opened up space, combining the kitchen with the family room, the hub of the house. New flooring and paint color unites the space.

Flooring & paint progress

Unfortunately, the client couldn’t put hidden hinges on the existing cabinets, so they went on a quick hunt for polished nickel hinges to match our chosen kitchen cabinet hardware.

hardware matchup

Family room looking extremely fresh with new recessed lighting, Benjamin Moore Moonshine on the walls. The fireplace is primed in this photo. The homeowner liked the washed brick look and in a clutch decision decided not to paint the fireplace brick white.

Family Room moonshine

Horizontal backsplash border, some folks opt for a vertical bullnose border on the ends of the backsplash.

vertical backsplash border

Primed fireplace brick up close.

brick fireplace close

The TV is now mounted on the fireplace and the built-ins were repaired and got fitted with new shaker style cabinet doors.

TV installed2

Picking the right light gray grout for backsplash.

grout choice


Durham Project: Kitchen Plan

Here’s a little work up I did just to make sure the client and I were on the same page. As it turned out we were. This is the general direction we’re sending that 1980s colonial kitchen at the Durham project,

Lighten up baby.

Durham Kitchen plan

You know why you see white subway tile and marble or a quartz that looks like marble’s second cousin everywhere? Because it’s a winning combination that looks great for a long, long time.

This is where we came from,

durham kitchen before

and here we are in progress,

Durham kitchen progress

Things are moving swiftly at the Durham project. Remember time is of the essence there because there will be a baby girl there in the first week of November. They expect appliance delivery this Friday.


Asheville Project: Vanity Decisions

In addition to the Durham Project, I’m also working on another little design project called the Asheville Project.

The Asheville friends/clients are putting an addition on to their house which will house a guest room, guest bath, walk-in closet and perhaps the most exciting part–a double pocket door entry in to the guest room framed by built-ins. I know you like the sound of that. I cannot take credit for that though, it was already in the plan when I arrived on the scene but I’m gonna help finish them out and we’re going to light those built-ins with some library sconces–oh yes.

We’ve been formulating a plan focusing primarily on the bath because plumbing & electrical rough-in are taking place and my friends/clients need to determine the general look of their single vanity.

What would you choose?

Asheville vanity color



African Textiles in Your House

teot pillows

Mud Cloth & Indigo take stage

Are you hip to this must have home decor trend?

You may have noticed the bright blues of indigo and the tribal patterns of black and white mud cloth sneaking into all of your most recent fav home tours. These patterns are doing heavy duty in the Bohemian Home Decor scene right now.

We believe these african textiles are equally at home when at play in the modern farmhouse, early twentieth century cottage and even in your classic east coast traditional. So if you aren’t living in the land of Sunny Southern California with washed out white walls, don’t let it stop you from getting the look in your space!

Our vintage African textiles and pillows add a layer of global boho appeal and classic indigo in any atmosphere. They are soft, faded and familiar like you’ve had them for ages, bringing a depth to your room.

Not sure how to incorporate it in to your home, let us illustrate!


amber interiors blue stripe pillow

Mix our Dreamboat Annie pillow, a soft, indigo and denim blue stripe in with a vibrant kilim, like Amber of Amber Interior Design.

TEOT dreamboat annie stripe pillow


coastal living indigo pillowsvia Coastal Living

Our Mendel pillow is a variation of the accent pillows like these, perfectly at home in a coastal setting with traditional shiplap walls.

TEOT Mendel pillow


african indigo pillows sofa


Layer the indigo on as shown above with TEOT’s versatile solid indigo pillow,

TEOT solid indigo pillow

and while you’re mixing & layering, you’ve got to include everyone’s fave, one of our indigo throws.

TEOT solid indigo throw


furbish suzani & african throwvia I Suwannee

Proof of the mix, African indigo gets draped on the headboard for a quick style change & we agree with Jamie, it combines nicely with shibori and a suzani.

TEOT African throw

white mud cloth bed

Such a fantastic look and simple accent, white mudcloth lumbars on the bed.

TEOT white mudcloth pillow





Through my Dad’s lens

My Dad is an inspiring person. He’s creative, musical, loving, sensitive, optimistic–sometimes to a fault, silly, good-hearted, strong willed and principled, always principled. I’m celebrating him today, not because it’s his birthday and obviously its not Father’s Day but because I can. Because simply…I love him.

Dad driving

My Dad took up photography for a while about the same time he took up furniture building and not long after he’d given up trying to be a drummer in a rock and roll band. He was better at furniture and drumming but his short-lived hobby with the camera left him and the rest of us good visual memories.

He photographed some of his romps around North Carolina in the mid to late 1970s and his transition in to married life with my Mom shortly before 1980 rolls around. These are some of those images that my Dad took with his Minolta in the 1970s, mostly in rural North Carolina. We converted all of these from slides in to digital format and we found some real gems. To me, this is art, maybe you’ll enjoy them as much as I do.

Imagine some of these enlarged.

Dad buies creek house


dad orange truck


dad tobacco field



dad friend quarry


vintage battleship



Annual Old Time Fiddler’s Convention,















I always make a top hat part of my festival wardrobe…






















fiddler mud

Let’s camp here,

fiddler mud2


shoe in tree








Blue Ridge


abandoned house

my Mom and their new puppy…Rosie

rosie puppy


rainy day





Notice the magazine on the couch,

Dad sofa


Durham Project: TV Placement

You were introduced last week to the Durham project, thats the neo-colonial getting a little update. We want to tackle the determination of where to place the TV and how to improve, repair or remove the existing built-ins on either side of the fireplace in the family room.

Here’s the current space,

durham family room


Hmmm glad to see those lines in the carpet so that we know it was freshly vacuumed! I think this image definitely draws focus to the fact that the carpet needs to be replaced with hardwood which the homeowners plan to do.

What we know we have to do-

  • paint brick fireplace white
  • paint built-ins (if they remain) white
  • replace cabinet hardware on built-ins (if they remain)
  • paint room trim white

TV placement is what we’ve got to figure out and I’ve narrowed the inspirational images down.

Durham TV placement


My official position on the built-ins is KEEP them. After that, I would recommend that they ask their carpenter or cabinetmaker to create new bottom cabinets for the right side.

As much as I am intrigued by the last inspiration image with the TV to the right of the fireplace, I don’t think we have the width on the side to accommodate a 55″ flat screen. So we’re saving that idea for another day.

The TV is best placed over the fireplace and then the sofa floats in the middle of the room. The homeowners have a 55″ flat screen and we have enough space if the mantel and brick corbels are eliminated.

There was some concern about building code’s spacial requirement between a mantle or in this case a TV and the top of the fireplace. Some quick internet research on the part of a general contractor tells us that we are required to have a minimum of something like 6″ if the TV is more than an inch deep. If for some reason we did not meet the code requirement, I think the clients would consider not using the gas logs. It’s not really that big of a loss in North Carolina unless the power goes out in an ice storm and then gas logs are helpful.

This change really makes me excited for these guys because I think this change and layout rank high on the importance scale. It updates the main living area and changes the way the house feels and lives.



Durham Project: Introduction

Allow me to introduce you to my newest gig, the Durham project. The Durham project is a neo-colonial, two-story house constructed in the 1980s. It’s the first home for this growing family and they’ve saved and budgeted for some remodeling and updating and that’s where I come in.

We’re on a tight timeline with this remodel because the aforementioned growing family is expecting a baby girl at the beginning of November and the construction is just getting underway. Some might say they are nuts to have a newborn AND a renovation. But I’ve assured them that they can handle it, it will not always be easy and it will be unpleasant at times but it’s certainly do-able.

The Main Components of the Durham project remodel:

durham master bath


durham master bath2

Remodel Master Bathroom

The master bath is a narrow space where currently you’ll find that you can sit on the toilet and lean over to the shower to wash your hair at the same time. How do you say…ah not cool. We’ll expand the room just inches because the room is sandwiched between an exterior wall and the stairs but we’ll eliminate that whole simultaneous shower/toilet situation. Dated cabinetry goes bye bye, things get shifted and we add more glass to provide the illusion that the room is larger.

durham family room

Focus on Family (Room)

This couple isn’t shy about telling you they like their TV and I like mine too and I recognize and value the importance of a comfy, stylish, well constructed space to watch the new season of Game of Thrones in. They’ve inherited built-ins in the family room but they are a little off. They need paint, hardware and a little tweaking. We need to create a fireplace/TV/built-in dynamic that makes this a functional gathering space for the whole fam.

durham kitchen

Kitchen Update

A lot of the budget will be spent in the kitchen and it needs an update. Stainless appliances, rehabbing and painting cabinets, bringing the hardwood flooring in, new electrical, countertops and a backsplash will move us in the right direction.

durham wall

Open Up

A wall stands now separating the dining nook and the family room. If removed all of the important main spaces will benefit. You will be able to see all the goings on in the family room from the kitchen, the space will feel modernized, receive more natural light, feel more open and spacious.

durham dining nook

Banquette on Wish List

A banquette in the dining nook in the kitchen is on the wish list.  Everybody loves them and it’s a great little character add-on. Once we open up that wall between the family room and the kitchen, it’s a great opportunity to add on a banquette or window seat on to the bay window.



A Robert Stilin kitchen

I’ll be quick and to the point, you need to put the work of designer Robert Stilin on your radar. It’s subtle, a little masculine, collected and just all around genius.

Over the holiday weekend I got obsessed with the kitchen in an East Hampton village farmhouse Stilin designed that has been featured in House Beautiful. It whispers of what my house could one day become.

What I think is unique about it is that it openly melds the mudroom, sitting area and kitchen all together making the kitchen a space other than just a place to cook. It reminds me of another kitchen that I love, the kitchen of Mark Sikes. And I like that space because of that beautiful sitting area framed by built-in bookcases.

So often I sit in my Mom & Dad’s kitchen in a wicker chair, feet propped on an ottoman and talk to whoever is milling around in the kitchen. I choose the wicker chair over the bar stools every time. I find that a lot of the time, we hang out in there rather than in the living room unless we want to watch something on television.

This leads me to conclude two things,  1) I like eat-in kitchens  and  2) a comfortable sitting area in the kitchen is important, more so than barstools

Here’s the kitchen I’m drooling over-

aah those industrial pendants and that island hard at work,

robert stilin kitchen


View of island in other direction,


robert stilin kitchen island


painted floor in the kitchen and the mudroom wall,

robert stilin mudroom wall


Have a little bite or sit and talk to your peeps working behind the island,

robert stilin sitting area






Kitchens with Vaulted Ceilings

I recently noticed kitchen spaces where the opportunity was seized and the resources were there to expand the kitchen space and reach for greater heights in a cathedral or vaulted ceiling.

You may find that you love kitchens with vaulted ceilings too, once you really dissect the examples to try and figure why it is that you like the room so much in the first place.




































Jenny Wolf Interiors

I have found quite a bit of inspiration in the designs of Jenny Wolf Interiors but I wasn’t properly identifying the source until recently.

There are so many spaces and vignettes that people pin sometimes without the source identified and that’s why I wasn’t aware of my appreciation for JWI but now I know where to properly direct my kudos and so do you.

I love Wolf’s work for moments and spaces like these,

jenny wolf aqua door


jenny wolf interior


jenny wolf match


jenny wolf interior 2



jenny wolf bar tray



jenny wolf hamptons cottage kitchen


jenny wolf chicken wire


jenny wolf breakfast nook



jenny wolf living room



jenny wolf bamboo dresser



jenny wolf trestle table