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Everything Old is New Again!

Everything Old is New Again!

Several months ago, a darling client came to me to do a few updates. It happens, you know! She had an entire office full of traditional office furniture with all the necessary file storage, function and visual display options needed for the home office she and her executive husband share. But it looked dated and average, at best, in the pecan stain finish we found it in.

A fresh coat of paint to the room was the beginning. Sherwin Williams Wordly Gray brought things current and was the perfect backdrop for the Amy Howard Paint (we carry a complete line of colors) we used to reinvent all of the casegood pieces in the room!

You will find both classes on how to reinvent your own pieces, or our service of a professional to come to your home and do it for you through the retail store, Black-eyed Susan. We call this service Black-eyed Susan Painted Style! My trained and skilled staff member, Betsy Both, went on site for this office project and in a matter of days, we had the room restored, reinvented, and ready for my magic touch to place the final details. It’s a complete change!


My client’s husband is a big fan and collector of vintage vinyls. His collection is extensive and this is where I took my inspiration from to begin to put the personality into this room. You’ll see below the beginning of the a small bookcase, painted in a two-tone finish to spotlight generational photos, vintage books and the vinyl record jackets I selected.

I don’t mind telling you, I would love to adopt that hairdo Madonna is sporting!


Below is the finished bookcase. Note the smaller 45’s stacked pancake style on one shelf and one hanging above the two jackets to give just the right scale in height. My client’s husband was thrilled that his prized collection was used! It seemed the perfect way to personalize this office and add a unique theme to the room.


I used large plate hangers for these covers, selecting some favorites by taking color, interest and drama in consideration. (It helped that I’m a big James Taylor fan!) Tiny potted succulents, leather bound books and several personal sculptural pieces completed the work space.

Not shown is the current, stylishly hip and comfortable leather office chair, executive desk and new draperies in a gray and chartreuse ikat pattern. If you watch my Instagram account, I’ll post a photo of these elements soon!


A small lateral file was one of the pieces included in the painting project. I added a stylish and manly oil rubbed bronze lamp, several accessories and a darling baby photo of a now grown son to keep things personal and tender. I had the traditional frame painted in our Amy Howard Paint as well, to bring it into the here and now of the new room.



The re-invention of this home office was strikingly dramatic! It’s amazing what a few days of labor and this Amy Howard Paint can do. Come see for yourself and join us for a class to learn your own techniques for making changes in your own home. Everything old is new again!

Designer Party Tips for Summer Entertaining

Designer Party Tips for Summer Entertaining

Summer entertaining is as easy as taking as few hints from the master, Susan Taylor of Black-eyed Susan! Get the party ambiance every host craves with her expert tips.

1. Start with lighting


Let’s face it, any party speaks the language of style when it begins with lights! Any season of the year lends itself to outdoor patio lights, Christmas lights…lights! You name it, put lights as your number one item to begin with.

2. Add color


I little trick that I have used for many years is water colored with food coloring. I am beginning with this…ONE drop of blue food coloring in a pitcher of water…yes, just one. It creates the most magical color!


Here, I have taken a collection of assorted glass cylinders and stacked them inside each other. Small within larger, and occassionally a taller one within a shorter one — as seen on the right, second from the end. Choose your sizes carefully for a varied look. Then, fill each outer container with water in a range of heights. (You can see the slight tint to the water. Too much is garish. ONE drop!)

If your glass containers are not flat on the bottom, use Kosher salt to level the candle. It’s also quite pretty! I used our very popular Luminara candles in varying sizes to create my magic. Think buffet table, poolside, front porch, mantel. This is always a delightful way to add instant atmosphere. Try pink for a toddler girl’s birthday, blue for summer pool parties, and green or yellow for summer graduation parties!

3. Raid your garden


Vintage containers filled with garden cuttings are quick and easy party decorations too! Float an abundance of David Austen rose heads for a beautiful effect. Now, go raid your garden…or a neighbor’s!

4. Cascading centerpieces


I gathered this collection of themed glass and candleholders from my store inventory. Black-eyed Susan speaks the language of party style! Note the assorted sizes and they are all connected by the silver bands and chrome finishes. Fill these with candles and flowers…succulents, simple ferns or hostas. You will find three sizes of the chrome and glass candlesticks and three sizes of the glass vases. A series of assorted sizes spread down your island or dining table will create pure drama!

Here’s a closeup of the vases I used…they look gold, but it must have been the light of day! Pure silver. Just fabulous and I’m saying these won’t last long! Think spring, summer, or even the holidays….totally versatile!

5. Use vintage plates


Nothing says party and festive like pulling out your vintage china to celebrate! I love this lovely petal pink set I recently uncovered while unpacking my new house! I. Love. Pink. This set is bound to make anyone feel special. Party on.


This is another of my vintage sets that I love to pull out for dinner parties, birthday parties and cake tastings! Chartreuse laurel wreaths say it all….pure style! Try serving dessert in a tea cup! Chocolate mousse, ice cream….it tastes divine in these beauties!

6. Save cake for breakfast


One last hint…when the party’s over and the cleanup complete, I look forward to this little bit of heaven. Yes, eat cake for breakfast! (I always try to stash a piece away in hiding to reward myself the next morning). I recommend it! It’s all about me and the motto on my Kate Spade mug the next morning!

7. Hire the professionals


Of course, you can’t host a room full of guests and still enjoy the party if you’re stuck prepping hors d’oeuvres or collecting dishes. That’s why we’ve partnered with Party Host Helpers to present our clients with an exciting giveaway: a $160 gift certificate, redeemable for one helper for up to four hours at your next event! All it takes is one LIKE on the giveaway post from our Facebook page to win. Get an extra entry when you leave a comment about an upcoming party you’re planning! The contest ends at 11:59 p.m. on June 13. A randomly selected winner will be announced on June 14.

Party Host Helpers provides staff for any occasion, big or small. They work in homes or event spaces and allow you to enjoy your own party. Their job is to make you, the host, look good while eliminating your stress. As far as I’m concerned, there’s nothing more stylish than hosting a stress-free party!

Lights + candles + silver + glass + vintage plates + cake for breakfast + bringing in the pros = Black-eyed Susan Style! Party on.

My mom’s style influence: Susan and staff share tributes

My mom’s style influence: Susan and staff share tributes

Inspired by our Mother’s Day giveaway (check Facebook for details!), Black-eyed Susan staff share how their moms influenced their style.

Susan selected the Facebook giveaway — a classic set of 8 and 16 oz. measuring cups in white ceramic — to acknowledge her own mother, who was one of the greats when it comes to cake baking. Every year on her mother Charlotte’s birthday, April 1, Susan will stop whatever she is doing to go to the kitchen and bake a cake to remember her. We’ve thrown in a handwritten cake recipe from Susan to the Mother’s Day giveaway — it’s the perfect inspiration to put those measuring cups to use immediately!

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In thinking of the style influences in your life, Susan points out that a mother or grandmother’s style legacy is not just about interior design! “It can pertain to things like mothering style, gift giving style, cooking style, reading style, or even character style,” Susan said. In a tribute to her mom’s style influence, Susan acknowledges the many ways Charlotte made a lifelong impact — without even getting to her career in interior design!

Susan Taylor, Owner and Lead Designer:

“There is not a joy in me that has not been awakened by her loving touch.” This partial quote from Helen Keller describes perfectly the influence my darling mother had on my creative life! From the time I was a small child, I can recall a stylish mother in every way. Linen draperies with ball fringe trim; chartreuse walls; stylish pencil skirts and high heeled shoes; finely set tables with a full set of forks, knives and spoons — and I’m just getting started! Mother was a wonder and she had a magic touch with style in all things.

I often feel a debt of gratitude for being exposed to as much style as one could take in, along with perfect refinement and fine taste. I have always known that this early exposure to style with my mother, Charlotte Jane Hunter Petersen, instilled within me a true passion for it. Style. I really did learn it from this wonderful woman. How much I miss her influence and how much I love what I learned from her.

Along with her love of style in all things, she was a fine cook who loved cake-baking. I can’t wait to share one of her favorite recipes with you with a heart full of memories. Happy Mother’s Day, Mother. I love and miss you.

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John Gibbs, Retail Manager:

My mother had a positive impact on many aspects of my life including my appreciation for art, clothing, entertaining, the importance of friends, and tidyness — I love and miss her dearly. My friends often joke with me as I fluff pillows throughout our house. If you leave your chair, your pillow has been straightened by the time you get back! When I have to explain myself, I remember as a child my mother flying through the house on a Sunday morning fluffing pillows on the sofa and chairs, creasing the drapes as we rushed out the door while my father impatiently honked the horn of the car because we were late for church. I knew we weren’t having company to the house after church, so I’d ask my mother why she took the time for the extra fluff. She’d always say, “you never know when someone might stop by.” This made so much sense to me and I can’t help but follow through. Love you, mom.

Ann Van Scott, Retail Associate:

Ann Van Scott, Retail Associate:

My mom’s style did not manifest in fashion or home decor. Instead, it came from:

1. Her grace in accepting that she could not bear children of her own.
2. Her unconditional love when she chose to adopt and raise me with all the love of a biological parent.
3. Her strength when she had to move away from all of her relatives to start a new life in a strange city.
4. Her inherent divine passion for gardening and playing in the dirt to grow all things green and beautiful.
5. Her quiet courage when she said goodbye to me as I left the home of my parents to get married and start a new phase of life.
6. Her devotion to loving and caring for my children (her grandchildren) and never saying “no” to an opportunity to babysit, to give them gifts like baby girl onesies and to take them out on their stroller from http://babystrollercenter.com/baby-trend-range-review/.
7. Her fortitude and fearlessness as she battled ALS the last three years of her life.

I hope when I grow up I will be just as stylish as she was.

Juliana Ferrazzi, Designer

Juliana Ferrazzi, Designer

My mother is an artist and I come from a family of artists. She has paintings from great aunts, a famous uncle, her own art, her travels, my sister and myself. NO wall is empty. I never understood that as a kid. I would always ask, why does every wall have something on it?? I never did get an answer. In the end, it turns out that I’ve done the same thing! The few walls of mine that are bare, won’t be for long. Cheers to surrounding yourself with people and things you love. Moms are always right, even when they don’t answer your question.

Now it’s your turn! How has your mom, grandma, or other mother figure influenced your style? Answer in a comment on this Facebook post before Mother’s Day on May 9 and you’re entered to win! Happy Mother’s Day!

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