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Susan’s Holiday House Tour Part VII Outdoor Living Space

Susan’s Holiday House Tour Part VII Outdoor Living Space

On the Eve of Christmas Eve, let’s take a tour of my outdoor living space…a 20 x 20 screened in porch that really extends our living space. The weather in North Carolina allows the outdoor living space to be used a good deal year round. With the addition of a sizeable fire pit (Ecosmart which runs off clean burning ethanol) , we enjoy this part of our home greatly!

The outdoor living space should not be ignored when it comes to Holiday decor! With a four panel telescoping door that opens from the kitchen, it is visible and accessible as an extension of one of the most used gathering spaces, the kitchen. Take a peek with me  to see how I kept my Christmas theme going in this inviting spot! I love it.

The tree is a very natural “from the forest” shape with a lot of open space and long boughs that fool many. We often use this tree in a taller specimen for my retail store, Black-eyed Susan , as an organic- themed tree where it gets loads of attention and acclaim. My pre-lite 9′ tree has been a favorite for years and continues to find the perfect home this year in our North Carolina space. I have kept a rather simple, organic theme here as well, with oversized pine cones (ever popular on my retail floor) , birch branches tucked in among the boughs, and additional large lights added in for some punch. I nestled in some of my favorite large snowy kale and larger cuts of sycamore at the base of the tree. No gifts find their way out here with the humidity and occasional rain.

The table for 10 hosts a centerpiece of white painted pinecones and snowy succulents. The strand of mercury ornaments light to bring a special ambiance to this area. Assorted votives can be lite down the center of the table. It is a favorite spot for family games and evening meals.


An oversized deconstructed basket holds a similar assortment of large pinecones, snowy kale and wood cuts and the three- wicked Luminaire candle can be remotely lite for our evenings outside with the flick of a remote! Perfect.

I added several seasonal pillows in a contrasting white to this hot pink-themed exterior room and it really completed the Christmas decor for this space!

I took a photo after the sun set to give you another vision of this inviting space with the tree lite. I suggest a remote switch to make lighting the tree easy and make it a part of each day throughout the Holiday. Placed in the corner of the porch, it is visible from the street and is inviting to all. I love it, and often feel a bit lonely when the tree comes down at the end of the season. *sigh*

A week ago, I badgered Sneelock into hanging this branch (curated from the near by wooded area) to the side wall and trailing up onto the ceiling. With the addition of multiple strands of mini LED lights (the same ones I hung in the Black-eyed Susan front window display!) it turns this into a bit of magic. I intend to leave the branch throughout the year for some additional atmosphere and charm!

I hope this little tour has given you some inspiration to carry your Christmas Decor to the exterior of the home as well. These living spaces become inviting areas to entertain and bring the joy of the season into the house just by observation! Go for it. I love this space and it deserves your best effort and creative ideas.


Susan’s House Tour Part VI: Don’t leave out the guestroom!

Susan’s House Tour Part VI: Don’t leave out the guestroom!

The guestroom is always a space to be remembered when decking the halls! Take a moment to welcome the season to all guests who appear during the holidays and spread a little Christmas cheer here! It so happens that my guest room enjoys a rather prominent spot in our home, just inside the front door. It’s a cozy and intimate spot and I designed it to be warm and welcoming in deep hues of amethyst with just a bit of glam.

Universal Furniture casegoods, Robin Bruce upholstered bed,

The sun was not my friend when I first took these photos, but I have some closeups and tight shots that should clarify the mood for you as we progress. One of the first things I did was add this totally appropriate pillow in cream wool felt with gold stitching, “Falalalala”. (One of my favorite hashtags…#falalalafabulous !

Let’s take a  closer look at some of the details…


I saved most of the gold themed of my Christmas collection for this room, as it is the place I have my gold accents in the furniture, lighting and accents. Gold is trending in a big way, and I love using this room to share in the warmth of this finish. It is rich with the dark wood finishes and sets the tone for the moody hues I selected.

I popped some gold tipped tinsel trees in existing containers and added an icy succulent into the everyday mix.If you look closely, you will see that there is a small space just under the glass top of the night stand. I slipped a narrow tray with the sentiment “JOY” written in gold under the glass. Perfect size and perfectly placed Christmas detail!

On the long dresser, I collaged a few favorite things just under a dramatic piece of art in the colors of the room. On one side of the chest, I added some precious little gilded acorn ornaments into a Kate Spade accent bubble bowl and leaned a framed vintage ornament behind it. So darling.

Here’s a little bit better view of the acorn ornaments…and I love this little stag block print too!

Often, side tables are a great place to use smaller accents of interest. On the opposite side, I placed a coordinating elongated tray “MERRY” under the glass (last season’s BES curated Holiday) and the trio of white ceramic trees accented in gold from this year’s BES curated Holiday collection. Perfection. More snowy succulents and another small framed vintage ornament. Leaning and propping these small pieces of art prevents unnecessary holes in your walls for seasonal art, and they still get admired and loved!

As a last minute accent, just an hour before guests arrived, I decided to add a smaller but favorite everygreen wreath to the mirror over the bed. Assorted sizes of suction cups for the weight needed does the trick here, Since my soon expected guests are my son and grandson, I decided to forgo any delightful ribbons!

And lastly, I’ll share with you my freshly installed barn doors, compliments of my son in law, Timm Tanner. My Christmas gift in the making for months, they were installed yesterday, just in time for our annual celebration and crepe soiree! Again , I used the satin brass of the bedroom to set the tone for the dramatic and rich color I selected for the doors (SW Stunning Shade). I designed the look with the mirrored panels and Timm so expertly carried out the vision. I love the drama of the mirror in the front hall, along with the deep amethyst hue and functionality of the doors. They are sheer heaven and I couldn’t be happier. It was really a significant labor of love.

I hope this bit of my Christmas tour has inspired you to leave no room untrimmed and find the joy in using your favorite collections as I have. There’s still a bit more to come and I’ll continue my tour tomorrow, don’t forget to check the JoovyZoom360UltralightJogging stroller by the way, it helped me to maintain my baby girl in the same place while I did the decorations!




After nearly 3 weeks of non stop intense Christmas setups and making merry for my personal home and clients alike, I’m finally getting to the task of sharing some of my favorite inspirations with you!

The Season started with decking the halls at my Charlotte, NC home just before Thanksgiving and ended with 10 complete home installations in Bucks County. Each year, my elf team and I arrive at our destination armed with every possible creative tool, a keen designer looking bluetooth speaker for Holiday tunes and enough energy to get us on the path to a personal, custom Christmas story for each home. It’s truly a team effort and in some homes, the homeowners get involved as part of the creative team! It really is #themostwonderfultimeoftheyear  .

I’ll start with my home! Even though we don’t spend much time there yet, we will be there for a week or so during The Holidays and I always think the effort is worth the reward of warmth and the glow of my rather extensive Christmas collections! I’m not going to lie though, during the 5-6 day set up process, at times I wonder…so just press on, or you can hire the Black-eyed Susan merriment team!

Taking inspiration from my great room accent colors (navy and hot pink) i decked my tree with ornaments from oversized navy, white, hot pink, and a good sprinkling of glitter! Glitter is the secret to making any tree pop!  I have a great collection of glass birds in white and blue hues and this year, I made it seem like a large flock of birds landed in the very top of the tree. So darn cute! The trend of ribbon in trees is not as fashion forward these days, but I wound some flexible white curly willow branches into the mix and it is a great place to dangle smaller accent ornaments from to give additional interest and motion.

Luckily, during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, I had some time to wrap a few gifts for under the tree. I love coordinating my wrapping paper colors with the tree decor and collect beautiful papers as I find them early in the season. You will note that there are a few pink accents in the bibliotheque as well. No need to go half way! Carry your theme throughout


The family room is white…yes, I said white! I know, it’s quite a departure from my usually normal lively color! I did select one wall to paint a deep high gloss navy, which ties nicely into the navy over-dyed rug I selected for the dining room which is a completely open concept room. My accent color is hot pink, using it in pillows, art (as seen below) and small accents as found! During the holiday season, I have incorporated my collection of Christmas items (tinsel trees, Santa and smaller accent Polish glass ornaments) on consoles and my coffee table.


These darling white flocked bristle trees have found a home atop my oversized, striking art pieces and I giggle every time I glance at them. I love this! One of the tips I offer for Christmas decor placement is to try to incorporate them into objects (i.e. lantern) that are everyday things to avoid having to find homes for these items when you place your Christmas things out. I did replace my everyday greens and botanical leaves with pine sprays and flocked picks, and another tip is to place your everyday items in the storage bin you took the Christmas things out of! That makes for easy replacement when the holiday comes down.

For the Christmas season, I removed my normal hot pink pillows from the great room and replaced them with metallic silver and white seasonal pillows! You will see little accents of the hot pink ornaments under the table and dropped in vessels here and there to complete the story.


There’s the beginning of the tour and I promise a few more in the next few days to add to your Christmas inspiration and encourage you to file away ideas for another year. I love being inspired by other designer’s ideas and sometimes we take you to a creative vision beyond what you would think of yourself.

So stay tuned and tomorrow I’ll continue the ” Susan tour” with more inspirations and my personal favorites!

Falalalafabulous, and then some!

















Susan’s Christmas Details! Browse through her North Carolina Home.

Susan’s Christmas Details! Browse through her North Carolina Home.

Today’s post deals with more details in the great room and the importance of unexpected placement and personal accents that bring additional interest to your room. Think outside the box and let your ideas abound!

I often start with clearing my dining table and getting my assortment of favorites together to see my options! Don’t feel the pressure to use every single thing you have. It’s fine to give certain collections a rest for a year, then re-introduce them into the mix again next year. Let’s take a look at some details in my 2017 Christmas design.

Using your drapery rod to hang finials or special ornaments like this. These ornaments are oversized and dramatic and hanging them over the rod is an easy peasy way to add this drama! Tie your cord or ribbon the length you want using a double length. Tie a knot in the top and create a slip knot over the rod. This makes it super easy to take down and just as easy to put up again! One key to making this interesting is making each of your ornaments at a pleasingly different length. Use any special ornaments that work together and make sure you have several diameters to create interest. I used a beautiful gray velvet ribbon, about 3/4″ wide. Tinsel cord works equally well.

Also note the use of seasonal pillows to put seasonal spirit into the room!


Last year I added these beautiful blue-hued pinecone ornaments. They found a home on my tree last year, but this year I re-invented them by laying them in a bed of snow, using three identical tall glass cylinder vases. They sit on a console that divides the great room from the dining room, and so the sight line between the two rooms is not compromised at all. When I was finished, I laid these glittery starbursts right on the top and was super pleased with the design! Note that I have a variety of shapes and sizes to create interest. This may make the cut again next year! Love.

I have stated before that using your everyday accessories to place your holiday accents is a great idea! See below the addition of the Polish glass ornaments (mini/pink) in the white ceramic vase collection. It’s just a cool, unique way of putting the finishing touches on. Generally, I do this at the end of a design session when the brain and feet need a rest! I also re-dressed a small cloche using a pink tinsel tree and placed it on top of a pink Kate Spade coffee table book. So cute!

The bowl in the center of my two banked coffee tables has been refilled with ornaments, icy succulents and bristly pine boughs. This simple reuse of an existing container becomes key to my centerpiece drama and remains ready to return to everyday use next month!

Tomorrow I will show you how to bring Christmas cheer into personal rooms such as your bedroom or bath! A simple and quick touch in these rooms makes my spirit soar! Look for these ideas in tomorrow’s post.


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