library walls can talk

Let’s take a look at the library walls!

In part 2 of my recent art collection installation, I am going to take you to Nancy’s inspiring library! As a real lover of vintage leather-bound books, and this room did not disappoint. A beautiful bibliotech had been part of my original design years ago to house Nancy and Bill’s beautiful collection of fine books. I’ll include a photo of this at the end.

A fresh paint legend was part of the recent update and this room took little thought as I looked around. Fine wool plaid valances were to remain. Taking this into consideration as well as selecting a strong contrast to the more neutral surrounding rooms, I selected a deep not quite navy, rich blue color (Sherwin Williams 7624 Slate Tile). When I came back to complete the art after the painting update, this room was a personal favorite! In my years of room designing, I continue to love both walls and ceilings the same color — there is hardly a time I can be talked out of this! Nancy agreed and the room was wrapped in a warm, rich hue that begs one to enter and enjoy.

This little corner of the room combined unusual sizes, with one piece leaning, and again were tied together with color and subject. Collaging art is half the challenge with the use of an eye for scale and design … but hanging the pattern is really the key to success! This is real teamwork. The shape and interest of the long, narrow needlework and the addition of the small chinoiserie plate completed the arrangement.

Another view of the same wall.

Inspired bibliotech.

While there were obviously two more walls that completed this room’s art interest, to end this post, take a look at this lovely collection! Once again, size, color and tender memories come into play to create interest and a favorite gathering place.


Watch for a few more areas of collected favorites from this delightful project!

the art of hanging art

Twelve years after a major downsize to a charming custom apartment, my darling, vibrantly active and passionate client wanted a fresh renovation. When we first met and reviewed what had been designed those many years ago, I’ll admit I wondered to myself what could be an improvement over the original! But guess what?! The few changes in paint, carpet, and bedding, ending up with re-hanging and redesigning Nancy’s art fine art collection of 110 pieces (oh, yes), was a thrilling and tender project.

I’d like to walk you through several of the rooms of art and the process (undoable without the help of my expert assistant, Fred). A total of 14 hours went into the design process, with almost every piece of art finding a new home for a fresh look. It was indeed a satisfying project and a fine example of the perfect placement Black-eyed Susan clients count on.

We started in the personal office (a very active place!) of Nancy’s home. As a designer, the experience was exceptionally delightful because she was so trusting in my approach and most agreeable to every suggestion. She listened to my “eye” and gave me free artistic license to complete the project using the best practices of scale and design, with a little bit of whimsy thrown into the mix!

black and white etchings interior design

I began by taking a visual inventory of the whole collection (remember the count, 110!) Some rooms were designed by color, others by subject. Size certainly comes into play and the addition of several items such as mirrors, plates, and vintage silver brought the unexpected!

Two things came into play for this room:

  • Mix things up a little
  • Nancy’s colorful hat collection needed something that would compliment this art form in itself. The black and white seemed perfect.
  • This wall is the focal point when entering the office, and really upon leaving the foyer. This collection of favorites fit all the qualifications and together, she and I were thrilled!

Excuse the working shot including ladder, paper patterns, and hammers! This collection was all about the beautiful aqua color, and personal memories of family and favorite places…a tender and delightful desk view.

In the beginning, there was this!

This is a screen shot from my can’t-live-without Samsung Note 9 phone. Using this, I can write measurements on the photo, document placement and have a pattern in place. (Once you begin taking one photo out of your layout to mount on the wall, it’s a necessary piece of the puzzle.)

Next, comes this…

Paper patterns keep that design you laid out on the floor in perfect formation when transferring it to the wall

Fred’s template for each wall design … genius!

Kitchen art! Hens, roosters and cows.
Kitchen theme with chickens & cows

Nancy had pulled all of these images (some her own photographs, others drawings and top center a fabulous abstract painting. A wall in the kitchen featured this group of favorites. I always start with arranging the grouping on the floor, giving me a chance to mix things up and get the perfect placement my eye is known for.

This project took a total of three days, with 14 hours to design and hang–so watch for my next installment of The Art of Hanging Art, when we will continue with the dining room and living room! Can’t wait to see you again.

why to shop on Thursdays

I have made a career based on details. Perfect placement has always been a trademark and specialty that I cherish. Every Wednesday night, barring travel of grave illness (!), I work with a great team to rework the retail floor, add fresh merchandise that has just arrived, and turn all the surfaces into new inspirations. #purestyle

I’ll try to give you an update each week and give you a glimpse at the newest and favorites that have hit the floor! There’s a lot of magic that happens each Wednesday night. It’s a lot of effort, but keeping the Black-eyed Susan home store new and inspiring is at the top of my list! You will always find new offerings, ideas to take home for your own creations, and the pick of the newest selections. Thursdays should be your day! I hope you’ll be a regular Thursday visitor to see the #wednesdaynightmagic.

create a cozy bedroom in 5 steps

Design a cozy bedroom in five steps! We share how-to’s from a recent installation so you can follow along.


This cozy retreat was created for a lucky 8-year-old girl with the intent for her to grow with the the room for years to come! (Her dad’s hope is the room will make it through college!) We first selected a color palette, largely developed around these fabulous new Kate Spade by Kravet fabrics. Sooooo inspiring!


A lively but soft aqua paint color was the perfect backdrop for the white washable bedding and cozy fur pillows. One of my design signatures has always been painted ceilings. Especially when dealing with an 8 foot ceiling on the second floor…it wraps the room in color and takes away any ceiling site line. I seldom vary from this popular paint tip!

bedding and drapery

The fabrics gave easy thought to the entire palette of coral, white, and aqua with splashes of black contrast. They are youthful enough to please this cute gal, yet sophisticated enough to not be juvenile. Springing into create mode was easy enough with these selections! Having the throw be completely washable makes using white sensible, even for a youth design.

Although the photo doesn’t demonstrate it, these drapery panels are a shimmery white linen with a bit of a metallic thread. Topped with this coral Kate Spade trim … a double row of dots, the effect was perfection and glamour all at the same time. What is it about polka dots, anyway?!


We selected white lacquer bedside tables and a coordinating cool dresser, added this matte silver Libby Langdon pendant, and found the perfect wall sculptures from my home store to complete the look. White ceramic lamps in a hip octagon shape added a youthful degree of style.


Often, when in the final stages of installation, something new comes in the store to make our vision sheer perfection, and the Tibetan Lamb throw in mint above was just that! That’s the beauty of having a fabulously current home store to back you! Wow. Perfection.

This is a view of the bathroom accessories as I was making my pattern template for hanging. She has her own bathroom off the bedroom and instead of doing a small bathroom renovation, we blended them together to make a suite of exciting design.

So, go for it! Select your pattern, make a statement with color, choose bedding and drapery and add the accents to complete your own personal look. But then again, you could always leave that to us! We’re full of ideas all day long.

how to win at color

white always works

One of my favorite formulas has long been, “white plus one color always works.” Any palette welcomes the bright contrast of white as a striking and bold accent. I find myself buying a larger mix of white accessories for my home store than most … I can use it with any vignette. White plays off of bold color, or black, equally well. White is fresh and clean. White is classic. It’s a perfect formula for success.

pink rules

Whether it’s in accents such as these stunning peonies, or the happy cherry blossoms below, or a pale pink wall covering or painted wall … it’s all about pink! Any color of pink. PINK! And it doesn’t have to be a girl’s room to sing this color! We are using it in living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms … it’s a HOT trend for sure. *sigh* Love. It.

add a pop of color

Maybe it’s a brightly colored accent lamp … orchid plant…

… or bright contrast towels in the master bathroom. A bright pop of color brings personality and your unique stamp to a room. Don’t be afraid to add pops of color. Remember the “white plus one color” rule? Here, it works perfectly, and if  you decide orange or chartreuse is the right “pop,” well, what’s wrong with that?!

I recently helped a friend add these bright pillows (in teal) to a basically neutral room for the summer. We added a pretty coral as a contrast welt for even more fun. Color just make me happy. Change it up a bit for different seasons and take it all in. I recommend it! I’m well known for color. Try it and I think you’ll be a believer. #colorcrush

mixed patterns rock

Mixing patterns is all about color and scale. It’s easy to see when you have a winner if you place fabrics side by side. The color palette marries them together and the scale of your patterns makes them work…or not! Above, three fabrics I recently used in a stylish young family’s great room for pillows on a mid century navy velvet sectional. Navy + teal = #purestyle! Great trending color palette.

home decor formulas to try

I couldn’t fit all of my favorite trends right now in one blog post! These ones are the winners for designing your plan of attack for decor.

lose the mantel

Mantels are losing in favor of entire accent walls … shiplap, tile, stacked stone, brick, plaster … any and all of these are climbing the style trend fast. Above, a photo of a new construction home where I am removing the mantel in order to create an entire wall of stacked stone. Quite extreme for someone who has made a living at detailing mantels! Yep. It’s all about style. NO mantel takes the cake!

Here is  closeup of the white stacked stone we’re using. A bit of quartz puts a glisten in the finish and I’m loving it! I’ll create an entire post on the process and end result when completed. #ohsosusan

oversized art

Oversized art is on point. We often work one extra large, striking piece of art into our designs. Statement pieces take first place in the field of art placement. As always, don’t be afraid of color! In this case, a statement piece with a bit if whimsy found a home in my laundry room. That wall covering is a strong contender to complete the vibe!

Another trend in custom art is a bit of glamorous glitter! No kidding. We started to notice this unique trend almost 18 months ago, being shown at the finest of our art vendors in major markets. We mused over the demand for such a thing in custom home design. To our surprise, we were told the category was growing every market and they were in the top sellers for each trade show, continually growing! Well, they are beautiful. Glitter…what’s not to love?! It’s a trend!

Consider bold color in modern abstracts … oversized, yes! I love this one.

make a statement with a colorful rug

You may have a calming, neutral palette, or a strong and bold one with deep hues, but most rooms can come to life with a colorful rug. The one above and below are examples of making an art statement not just with your walls, but with your rug. More and more of our vendors are using synthetic yarns which makes these bold statement rugs very affordable, so it’s a smaller style investment for you! These price ranges help you indulge in current style without breaking your budget. So fun.

add something organic

We’ve been using and selling basketfuls sycamore wood cuts for the past few years! It’s honestly a part of every day’s sales at the home store. We can’t get enough of these organic charmers. Slices, log cuts; small and large. There are so many uses for these. You’ll find multiple ideas for them in my visuals throughout Black-eyed Susan and they work themselves into almost every installation — all styles, all budgets! Love.

Succulents are another trend in the organic movement. There’s no reason to struggle with growing your own when these fakes can fool the finest green thumb. There isn’t a room in the house that can’t make room for succulents.

I love doing a fresh flower design installation. Several times a year, I will take a wedding or grand party project when fresh flower design is involved. It’s all about style and trend here as well. This simple, yet striking design using fresh, colorful kale is simplicity at its finest. Organic style, and sooooooo easy! Try it.

collage a wall

If you want to create an interesting statement, tell a story with a wall collage in like or the same objects, using perfectly placed, random (but planned!) dimensional art.

A good tip for your design that I use: lay your design out on the floor within a measured and marked space . When you know how much width and height you have to work with, start laying out your objects. Try multiple options. Keep moving things an inch at a time until you love your design and placement. You’ll know when it’s just right! Take a photo of it with your phone and record your measurement spacing. Refer to your photo as you transfer your design from the floor to the wall. You won’t believe how quickly your frame of reference is lost as you take away each piece of the puzzle. Some unexpected placement is always a good plan for interest!

A few months ago, I helped a friend design this collaged collection in her master bedroom. The wall was quite a large expanse, and I suggested the use of mirrors along with about 8 different sizes of the ceramic flowers. This is a great example of perfect scale, color theme, and unexpected placement for a personal and unique wall grouping.

5 easy home design trends

Trending reports are always on my radar! Here are the top 6 of my own design trends to watch for this spring. These ones aren’t going away!

performance fabrics

The trend of performance fabrics is pretty basic, but not to be overlooked. Pay attention and incorporate several of them in your next redesign or new design. Your room will sing with #purestyle!

Performance fabrics make using light (even close to white) upholstery a real option for often-used seating. Be it dining or family room, all of the sudden it’s perfectly sensible! Crypton fabrics are the newest introduction. Found in solids, textures and patterns, this newest introduction to market is the answer to pets, grandchildren and teen hangout areas! They are soft and pretty, found in a wide range of colors. Oh, happy day!

Just another place you may want to try these performance fabrics. The master bedroom at our house is a movie, snack-and-drink kind of place. It’s the perfect answer!

mixed metals

These beautiful vessels are just one way of showing this never-fail trend. Mixing metals with leg finishes, lighting choices, accessories, lamps and mirrors makes perfect sense. Don’t limit yourself with all silver or all gold …find your perfect mix!

tile an accent wall

Accent walls are perfectly stylish again, and who doesn’t love an entire wall of tile? Horizontal, vertical, subway, mosaics, mirrored, mixed metals … there’s plenty for the taking. Big box home decor stores and fine tile stores alike offer a plentiful selection with more choices than you may want! Master bathrooms, powder rooms, water closets, art niches … I can find multiple places to design using these beautiful tile accents.

Here’s a few favorites I’ve used in some recent projects:

I’m pretty much hooked. I think you will be too.


THE most popular medium currently trending for kitchens and bathrooms alike is quartz. Easy maintenance, keen copycats for Carrara Marble, stain resistant … all the best reasons to use quartz. Subtle veining to shimmery accents, light to dark, quartz is taking center stage. Try mitering the edge of your island to create the look of a double thickness. You’ll find it a bit more expensive than granite, but well worth the look and function. Go for it.

Most of our favorite granite yards are stocking slabs of quartz for you to choose from right on site. It’s a win-win.

add a midcentury touch

The midcentury trend is deeply entrenched in much of today’s design. Your mother’s dining room set, coffee table, or “his and her” chairs are in great demand. Hopefully, you put your name in for a few of these beauties to restore and use in your home! If not, there are plenty of reproductions to make a great modern statement in either a corner of your room or an entire home! This style plays well with most modern mixes and today’s timeless classics. Most rooms can benefit from a touch of midcentury glam.

I placed this new kitchen set in my daughter’s home this Christmas and it was a big hit with every member of the family as well as visitors!

These are my picks for home design trends to know! We are always trying to design timeless rooms, using trends that won’t be dated before the paint dries. I hope you’ll find my tips useful. Select several to add into your own personal design and enjoy the delightful ride of personal style!

centerpiece inspirations

I seem to be on a roll this week about changes in interior design trends. It happens in all areas of design … trends change! I guess this keeps the design trade in business — and for those of us who love making our homes pretty, we’re happy to oblige!

Tonight, I’m talking about centerpieces. No longer are we putting together large Dutch Masters-like oversized florals, but something more like these …simple statements for the most part. Let’s take a look at some recently spotted or installed favorites.

narrow trays

This 52″ narrow metal tray is a favorite for myself and many Black-eyed Susan fans. Here it is loaded with Bucks County wood cuts, fabulous succulents, floral heads and mossy spheres, artfully arranged in the dramatic length of this container. This particular design landed in a stylish dining room  recently installed in Highlands, NC. I won’t kid you, though…you might need a helper to take it off the table! The good news, it’s plenty low enough to allow perfect conversation across the table during a dinner party. It is an often-requested custom design for a dining room centerpiece. I have several in stock currently.


Another current look is to use multiples of the same vase or vessel. Simple. Striking. Stylish. Use them with or without delicate cuttings. This narrow console is the perfect surface for this look. Try it in a foyer, hallway or stair landing. Love!

fresh flowers

This is the stylish way to arrange fresh flowers. Exotic dendrobium orchids, miniature calla lilies, grasses and waxy leaves. Bunch like flowers together instead of spreading or fanning. Cut stems, exposed in a clear vase is chic.

I do unique fresh floral designs for events (and an occasional wedding!) with enough notice for ordering and designing.


Coffee table decor has followed in line. Note this collection bound together by color and similar contrast, white and gold … you know it’s a favorite for me! Assorted sizes and heights, but similar finishes. Unfilled vessels stand on their own as sculptures. Left empty, they are a fine example of understated, tailored style. Filled with fresh cuttings, gilded stones, or Luminara candles, they lend beauty and style to your favorite surface.


Who knew a bowl of smooth, assorted organic stones would ever be in demand?! Yep. We use this look often to complete Bucks County (or Florida, NC, or Chesapeake Bay) tablescapes. Subtle colors, and assorted sizes and shapes make for an interesting centerpiece.


This unusual low bowl makes a home for various preserved mosses. That’s it! Organic, simplified #purestyle . The vessel has a beautifully designed edge and being filled with mood moss lets the vessel shine and take center stage.

Do you have a favorite centerpiece that speaks of today’s look? Send me your designs for more inspiration!

Now, go forth and create. And, if you want a little inspiration, stop by my home store, Black-eyed Susan, for some personal attention and designing! *Sigh*

best chandelier finds

Just like everything else in the home fashion world, chandeliers have current trends. Of course, that vintage solid brass 12-arm chandelier, laden with lead crystal spears or drops will always have a place in even the most modern room! That being said, the most current chandeliers have some of these features.

natural crystals

Natural crystals and stones are showing up all over the industry. While shopping for a unique statement for several areas in a posh NYC high rise apartment, I came across these beauties that fall into that category. Take a look and tell me what you think!

This striking chandelier will grace the formal foyer. Wow! It’s pretty much a one-of-a-kind piece. I’ll post a photo once we install it for some drama you will love.

Behind this one, you can see another multi-arm chandelier with shades made from these natural crystals. Nature’s #purestyle!


Another vendor introduced these similar three-tiered pendents. Picture these in master bathrooms, master bedrooms, or even a glamorous closets. How about a powder room? Whether you find a home for this in a rear hallway or one of the above suggestions, it’s sure to be a favorite and one to cherish for years to come. These are very much a new interpretation of the old wedding cake style that can be found in many historic collections and settings.


Here we have yet another style dressed in crystal drops. Note that the arms are branches…dripping with crystals in assorted lengths and shapes. Very much an art piece, available in one moderate size (approx. 23″ diameter) and one extra large (with a 50″ diameter). These are hand crafted and provide a striking work of art, worthy of the finest penthouse, beach house, or organic chic dining room setting.


Orbs continue to be among the favorite chandelier shapes. Our preferred vendors are introducing more unusual shapes and pairing glass or acrylic with mixed metals. This unique one has the crystal feature as well! For a guest room or powder room with gold accents, this would be spectacular!


This retro-inspired style combines the very current gold finish with poured glass rods. I remember the first time I saw this at market several years ago … I was intrigued, but wasn’t ready to put it on my must-have list! It took me about two years to fully embrace it and now, it’s a consideration for several projects, including my own new guest room! I did decide against the master bathroom just for the cleaning headache. But I can honestly say, it’s on the top of my must-have list now! It’s also available in polished nickel. If you have a place to use it, I’d be happy to oblige!


Bubbles, baubles, and clear globes of all kinds are showing up in almost every manufacturer’s collection. This was one of the most recent introductions I spotted while doing some custom shopping for a client on my last Market trip. So much to love! Gray globes, spiral blown globes, and assorted sized globes, all perfectly clustered.

To wrap up my top favorites list, I’ll give you a glance at the oversized pendents I recently hung in my own new kitchen!

I’ve been a fan of chandeliers my entire career! I never miss an opportunity to add a ceiling junction box to every rooms in the house. That way, you can always add a a chandelier or pendant as a striking piece of jewelry to the room.

Turn the light on for style with your own chandelier pick. Stylish lighting is inspiring, personal and at the top of any design must-have list in my book. I’d love to hear about your favorite!

Tibetan lamb trend

Tibetan lamb accents in every form have been trending for some time now. I chose to use this delightfully stylish, soft, curly, textural treat in more than one room of my new home!

master bedroom

In the master bedroom, I threw a small lamb rug over an ottoman between two comfy chairs. It brings a certain chicness to an otherwise plain ottoman, and let me tell you, it’s delightful on bare feet! Try tossing one in an asymmetrical way over the end of a chaise, over the back of a chair, or at the end of a bed. And, just a hint, you can find these colors right now at the home store, in mint green; chrome gold; navy; light gray; and dark gray. Yep, I’m a fan!

If you look closely, under the window, behind the far chair, there is an acrylic based bench…you guessed it, Tibetan lamb. Oh. My.

Here’s another view of the throw over the ottoman. I’m crazy for this look!

I haven’t spent much time blogging about our new home, so take a look at this view of one of my favorite bed frames. Polished stainless steel makes this bed glamorous and hip. The sexy little side tables are from a favorite collection I sells loads of! Available in several sizes and styles — chests, dressers, accent tables. Beautiful and chic. And it’s not only bedrooms we are using these in … try your living room, hallway, or foyer! There are multiple pieces from this collection right now on the retail floor for you to love. In the center of the room, you’ll also find the Bling chandelier (33″ diameter!) calling my name. Just about all of my favorites found a home in this space.

master bathroom

What master bathroom is complete without a polished nickel Tibetan lamb director’s chair?! With ample room to add an accent chair beside the deep soaking tub, this room becomes a personal space and a real favorite. Don’t be afraid to add real room furniture in the master bathroom! Love.

family room

Two places spotlight Tibetan lamb in the family room. Look closely at the sofas for pure white lamb pillow accents! Since this photo was taken, I’ve also added a navy lamb throw over the hide bench in front of the fireplace.

Natural fibers give that organic flair to any space. I’m loving mine and have multiple selections for you to try right now on the retail floor. I hope you’ll stop in for a little Tibetan trend to call your own.