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!

powder room pure style

A few months ago with the patient help of my husband and son-in-law, we finished the new powder room design for our Charlotte home. About a year ago, we closed on a second home with a very basic (and need I say, boring?!) builder’s powder room. I knew that I had a vision that could be created in the short term, and opted for the most basic pedestal sink-boring room! No mirror, no towel holder, no style. That was a bit hard to swallow at the time, but I knew I could design a room I would love!


From the ground up;

Calf hide rug with metallic accents

Floating lacquer gray vanity

Round white lacquer mirror

Metallic drum shade chandelier

Over-sized modern art canvas

My inspiration was the tile selection for the accent wall. I spent several months deliberating on this selection. Some were simple, others more graphic, still others had metallic accents. I considered all white, lots of texture, no texture, mirrored … matte … vertical … horizontal. You get the picture, I deliberated!

I ended up selecting the very first tile I found. This glass tile is from Oceana. It is a poured molten glass. The tile pieces were paper thin and a bit difficult to work with, but as you might guess, Sneelock put his mind to it and tiled the wall for me in about 3 days! I love the tile wall feature. Soft grays and white mixes in color, shiny, and #purestyle.

On one accent wall, I selected a favorite framed letter I purchased from a trip to a Paris flea market several years ago. I’m a fan of manuscripts of all kinds, beautiful hand written script, and vintage stamps. New homes call for new places for your favorite things, and this one made the cut for my new modern-mix powder room! To complete the interest I was looking for, I added three assorted ceramic flower sculptures. (I’m finding so many uses for these wall sculptures for many client projects.) They are popping up in many of my vendor’s offerings in so many shapes and colors. You’ll find loads at my retail store for your own use!

Take a closer look at the fabulous towel bar. Oh. My. I picked up this new line at a recent trade show. Note the flat, rectangular shape. I’m crazy for the style and new look it offers. A hand towel fits perfectly folded in half on the hand towel bar. There is an equally fabulous toilette paper holder, hooks, and faucet selection available as well. I’m loving this new vendor offering. *Sigh* You’ll find select pieces at Black-eyed Susan and more by special order, and you’re sure to notice them often in many of my most current master bathroom and powder room designs.

In the first photo, you will notice the corner of a very large piece of stretched canvas art. The size is a bit unexpected, the colors perfectly selected and the high gloss just the finishing touch I yearned for.

I’m loving the room! Soft gray walls (in Wordly Gray from Sherwin Williams), molten glass tiles, baby hide metallic rug, new hardware, floating vanity and large round mirror. Hot pink accents carry over from my great room accent colors to complete the oomph.

What’s your powder room dream? Research. Ponder. Design. I hope you’re inspired!

#falalalafabulous! Christmas collection tour 2016

Well, here’s to another year of fabulous holiday collections! After a few weeks of long hours, glass glitter cuts, ideas galore and ladder climbing, hanging, decking the halls, lighting and dusting with snow…well, you get the picture! It’s been a long setup, but the results are what I like to call falalalafabulous! Yes. That’s exactly what it is.

A merry beginning!

For a few months, I’d been thinking of a temporary inspiration for my 2016 Holiday Collection. This white temporary wall paper with large random dots filled that vision, and with some expert help from my husband and a darling holiday coworker elf, they made it happen! That’s what I call falalalafabulous!

Final inspiration dot paper

Here’s a shot of the completed visual. White+gold = the perfect formula for a stylish holiday season. Love the wreath. Love the gold. Love the white contrast. Love! Come in while the selection is still complete.

“Turn The Page” art

This favorite art piece found home for several of my tiny tree collections! Those of you who have followed my many years of Christmas collections will know that I have a special place in my heart for vintage reproduction sisal trees. Line them up along the frame of any art, mirror, or windowsill and you have a perfectly quaint Christmas story. I can’t get enough of these tiny treasures.

Teton trees

This year, I am featuring a new tree design with these ceramic Teton trees! Mix them into your sisal tree collections for a touch of sophisticated modernism. You will find silver, white, gold, and copper in 4-5 sizes each!  Use them with Santas, deer, penguins … sheep?! Or, stand them alone across your mantle, windowsill, or console. *Sigh* (Don’t worry, I already purchased my collection!)

Oh, those trees!

Glass glittered branches and birds … the perfect heavenly combination!

This is one of my favorite tree stories this year. Think soft blue to navy…birds, pinecones and glass glittered branches. Soooooo pretty! I won’t kid you that our hands were filled with tiny cuts from glittering our branches and working them into the tree, but every scratch was worth it! Layers of white, pale blue and navy accents make this tree dramatically chic. I would like to transport the whole tree right into my great room! Birds perch from boughs, branches and limbs, some glass and some glittered feathered friends. I had my creative helpers add some of our glass glitter to the feathered ones to add a little glam! Perfect.

A perfect friendship

After selling through 144 white penguins last year, I brought them back again this year … yes, of course, with glitter! “Tis the season” after all! Two sizes of these darlings are paired with my favorite silver modern  Teton trees. They are all going fast!  I’ll be sad when I have to design another mantle.

Popular penguins!

Another view. See what I mean?!

Our striking ombre tree!

My ombre tree is another realized inspiration! This is a trend in every stylish walk of life …. hair, sweaters, drapery fabrics, cakes, I can’t think of anything that you can’t find this gradual gradation of color in! So why not a dramatic Christmas tree?! (The Rockefeller Center needs to know about this!)  This one is a must see. It’s packed full and has an added interest of deer! Standing, sitting, prancing, and in cream, gold, or champagne. Oh. Deer.

A beautiful story of cream to chocolate

Susan’s coveted sugar pine cones

Every year, I offer these beautiful sugar cone pine cones. They range from 10-15″. I call them my magic wand. There isn’t a surface that can’t benefit from these beauties. This year you will find them used in vases, on trees, on a dining table, mantle or library shelf.  Whether you want plain, snow tipped, gold or silver, they serve to add a touch of rustic glam to any room. These are definitely on my “must have” list. Add them to yours too!

Oh, yes. Gold, gold, gold!

For a modern touch, stylishly simple, try lining them up like this on a windowsill, mantle, dining table or console. Perfection.

Silver glass fillers

One of our biggest selections this year is in glass fillers! Note this tiny silver glass gravel used as a filler here. You’ll find them in assorted sizes from tiny pebbles to large chunks in all finishes to match my retail color stories. These fillers are hip and new, not just for holiday! Use gold in one room, silver in another, or make your own ombre mix! #justgottahaveit

The magic of glass fillers…white, gold, silver, mirrored. Wow.

That’s a little overview of what inspired me when designing my curated 2016 Holiday Collection. I’d love to share it with you.

how to reuse furniture in a new interior design

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 Paint Couture selections we used to reinvent all of the casegood pieces in the room!

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 Couture 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 how everything old is new again!

my new digs progress report

With each trip to our new home in North Carolina, more editing is completed, a few more backorders have arrived, and it begins to feel more like home. I partnered with Bernhardt for the most part in the great room, for chairs, sofas and tables. This trip, I was able to replace the mis-sized art with the oversized pieces (40×60) on either side of the fireplace. This abstract art brings the accent color of hot pink into focus, along with some navy, white and citrus colors. After searching several major markets for the perfect art, I took this custom piece and had one framed in the opposite direction, giving the impression of a coordinating pair. It’s a great trick.

I also decided on the final mix of pillows, including hot pink linen, white tibetan lamb and a fabulous dip-dyed ombre pink and white. The sofas are extra long (106″) and a bit deep for my almost 5′ stature, so loads of pillows give the comfort I need. I love the exaggerated profile of the two wing chairs, and the profile is what greats guests as they enter the room. The 10×14 rug gives comfort to the room. White, soft and striated with gray threads, it is the perfect contrast to the 7″ hand scraped chocolate/gray floors that run throughout the first floor.

It’s beginning to feel a lot like home. *sigh*

Over the last few trips, I’ve tried several different mantle designs. While I am often retained to design mantle-scapes, this one presented its own set of challenges: 1. Wide screen TV;  2. Very important (!) sound bar;  3. Only 8″ or so for height.

The design I finalized on is this one: The theme of white vessels, assorted sizes. I arranged them with some unpredictability in depth, clustered some, and then added single stem blooms of my contrast color. hot pink, as well as a few simple stems of greenery. As a last layer, I added tiny mercury vases with succulents. I. Love. Succulents. I’m pleased with the end result on all accounts!

In this shot, you can also take in one if my favorite pendants, Robert Abbey’s Penelope. I choose the high gloss white paper shade with an interior liner of chrome finished paper. It’s a keeper. Eventually, I plan to have the room painted in a high gloss white lacquer. I’m still looking for the right painter to do the job.

Here’s just another shot, showing the Penelope pendant, along with one of my preferred fabric choices from Kravet Fabrics. I used a 2″ highly polished nickel rod with beautiful rings to hang these panels with a unique top pleat. Next visit, I should have window screens installed that will allow the view, yet protect from sun glare and give UV protection. I’ll keep you posted!

In this screen shot from my phone camera, you can see that I am making progress in the master bedroom! I’ve decided on this metallic grasscloth for an accent wall behind the bed. The mirrors will be hung once the paper is installed. I’m a complete convert to my phone, the Samsung Galaxy Note 5. I can annotate on a screen shot to make notes for future use, for contractor notes, or to help with any market search for myself or a client! I’m a big fan. Here, I have recorded the size of the back wall so that my skilled paper hanger in Bucks County will be able to quote roll counts for me to order.

We hung this large-scale favorite piece of art this trip! Soft gray/blues, and a street scene that reminds us of some of our favorite European trips. It’s soothing and commanding at the same time. Love.

You’ll also note another Robert Abbey favorite, the largest Bling chandelier. Three tiers and close to 36″ in diameter, this beauty took Sneelock more than a day to dress in lead crystals! The Bling comes in assorted finishes and sizes, including a flush mount. It works in powder rooms, master bathroom, hallways…many places!

I’m really in love with my acrylic legged Tibetan lamb bench too! It adds texture, glamour and function to the room.

After several months of sourcing a third fabric for a pillow for the master bedroom bedding ensemble. I used several high end Schumacher beauties (above) and have reveled in the luxury of the fabrics, never sorrowing over the expense! I’ve finally found the winner. This textured, open weave, metallic accented choice will complete the bedding. Can’t wait.

My last High Market yielded this rare pale gray hide rug. I love the size and subtle shading. Here’s a “Susan Tip”: Always try to find an angled placement for hides. Unexpected, classic, hip. And that’s how we design!

I’ve had this authentic French bergere chair for many years. I loved it in my last master bathroom, and it fits perfectly in the large master bath of our new home as well. But, the leopard fur doesn’t do justice to the carrara marble coloring of the countertops and floor. I’ve decided to paint it with our new Paint Couture Paint, in high gloss white or maybe even silver.

If you look closely on the tub, you’ll see a fabulously chic Pindler fabric, white with metallic silver animal print. I’ve had this on my “want to use” list for a year, and I think this is the perfect application for it! I’m excited to proceed, and, I’ve demonstrated once again in the following photo, the use of my Samsung Galaxy Note 5 android phone. I’ve taken the measurements that will be sent to my upholsterer to make quoting yardage from afar a piece of cake!

Another place I made progress was in the master hall. Although I have family photos framed in the original old world style (some vintage ones too!), they will bring joy to me each time I pass. Never mind these boys are nearly grown men now.

I suggest laying your grouping out on a nearby floor. Use masking tape or a tape measure like I did to identify your limitations in space. Now begin to play. Sometimes symmetry is pleasing; sometimes something a bit unexpected and unique is better. As you begin to play, you’ll settle on the right thing that makes you happy for the space. If you aren’t a convert to my phone by now, take a photo on your phone, print it and record the measurements. Then, it is ready for your installer to begin. If the installer is you, you’ll be happy about the prep work too! Sometimes, I have to leave a project and come back to it later. At any rate, these notes are invaluable to complete the project.

I’ve Instagrammed this wall of my silver platter collection previously, but this is an example of change and revolution of design. I had hung a favorite portrait of my daughter here the first go around. I decided this time to use her in another generational photo gallery, and additionally, I was having trouble finding the perfect placement for this important and tender favorite. I’m liking the change so far…we’ll see if it becomes permanent.

THIS is the project I will tackle next! Ok, I love the small hide rug. Love. I installed that simple and horrid pedestal sink as a temporary measure to enable me time to design and ponder. I’ve got some ideas…floating vanity….tiled accent wall…and a favorite lucite radial mirror.

You’ll have to stay tuned for that one! Come see the magic. I won’t disappoint.

Moving is hard! Get a front row seat

It’s hard to believe it’s almost been two months since this day … deliveries from Bucks County storage, and deliveries from a North Carolina receiver with an entire household of new furnishings! Below is my bare great room with the simple beginnings of two sofas and two booked coffee tables. As exciting as the move is, after several months and several trips for a week at a time and a 24/7 effort with hard work as a team with my supportive and hard working husband, It’s really just plain hard work! (I guess my run-on sentence is a pretty good description of how I feel!)

For months, this miniature floor plan traveled with me almost everywhere! I made legends with multiple options for furniture placement, anticipating our deliveries. I pondered measurements, heights, widths and overall style of my favorite pieces of furniture, most collected over years of several homes.

As the deliveries began to come in, changes were made more than several times! Stacks of boxes dressed every corner of the house, and my joyful anticipation quickly turned to frustration and exhaustion. Let’s face it, I own a lot! I’ve been a collector for 30 years…dishes, vintage linens, art, vintage silver, books, books, and more books.

Where to put my valued treasures? Each day seemed to bring renewed challenges and the need to edit.

I will admit, it was delightful to reconnect with favorites like this vintage china set and box after box of vintage silver that has been stored for the last 9 months. How pleasing indeed!

I’m documenting this space as an empty beginning in order to show you the progress I have made in the last several months. It actually does make me feel better to recall the house in this state of affairs! Even now, each time we visit, I feel like I’m spinning my wheels and it is difficult to imagine a time when our most anticipated North Carolina retreat becomes just that!

I’ll be going down again in a few weeks, and I’ll give you an update that should prove interesting. Lots has been done and lots yet to do!

And so, I’ll say it one more time…moving is hard. *sigh*

All is merry and bright

The Black-eyed Susan team proved successful and ever-creative in another lovely home in Princeton Junction, NJ today! Splitting into 3 teams, we spread merriment throughout the house from a beautiful walk-in closet to the majestic foyer with curving staircase. Each room in this large home was trimmed, draped and decked with holly.

Yours could be next!

White pine garland+icy maple leaves+white tipped sugar cones+white stag horns+Luminara candles = Pure Style!

And that’s what you’ll find happens with the BES team making merriment in your home!

What can I say…this friend was found among the specialty ornament collection. May the force be with you…

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Two more Christmas setups tomorrow! Come see the magic.

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas

This favorite project just got decked with holiday glam! The garland was added and then this spectacular shatterproof silver ornament garland was added-in a blink of an eye, fabulous style! Anyone can do it! Get yours in gold or silver. We secured the shimmery wreath to the mirror with a giant command hook…tied a double faced satin bow and stepped back to admire our design! #ohsosusan

This mixed green garland has white pine, magnolia leaves and tiny green pepper berries…add this stunning white satin ribbon in a simple looped bow with multiple tails and a trio of shatterproof ornaments…Wow! (This will definitely weather the 4 active children who frequent this stairway!)

These shatterproof ornaments on thin tinsel twine (mercury looking, no less!) updated this chandelier and added the drama we needed to complete the foyer. My 8 foot ladder was none too tall for this task…

This lantern was filled with giant sugar cones and snow…add a little “Joy” and you’ve got the perfect eye candy for a darling family!

Christy’s ever favorite dining room was trimmed with glee. I added frosty greens to the succulent trophy vases, a supple, realistic garland to the art and several large sprays to the side board. A pair of silver deer grace the surface., With these practical dining chairs, covered in Sunbrella performance fabric, this room is ready for guests!

At the end of the day, we finished the design and met our fitness goal all together.

Another busy day for the Black-eyed Susan design team! Tomorrow, more halls to deck! Stay tuned.

a week of Christmas magic

Tomorrow marks our first day of holiday setups for our design clients who have booked our service to deck their halls with our merriment and magic! Six days packed full of fun. (Really!) Don’t be surprised if we show up with music and bags of snow. We take this seriously!

The Black-eyed Susan dream team (magic elves, basically!) arrive at your doorstep with a van full of tricks and inventory specially selected for your home. This platter consists of a gold shatterproof garland, glittered, bronzed pinecones, stag horns, candlesticks and our fabulous tiny battery operated lights! Oh. My. Whether this is for your island, coffee table or dining table, is it an instant centerpiece.

While you may not want our featured hot pink (!), we embellish lots of chandeliers with lush greens and ornaments. It’s a favorite request from clients each year. Pick your color and we will show you how!

You will always find a large selection of cloches…tall, small, dotted, etched, mini, oversized…I have them all!  This one is protecting a snowy owl with a garland of snowy, sparkly pine cones. A personal favorite, all around!

This is my second year for the snow-tipped sugar cones! We sell box after box of the plain ones, and this year I also have fabulous metallic gold ones! They are going fast, so come in soon! They are magic in a tree, on a mantle, tied together in a deep window or piled on a tray. Pour a little snow over them and you have a real statement!

I’ll try to keep you posted with a tiny vision from each setup we do this week. My team will be doing one day long setup or two half day setups all week! (Did I hear manis and pedis come at the end of the week?!)

Stay tuned for pure style and pure magic. It’s sure to be a week of high energy, high style and sheer exhaustion.

Oh, Deer! Dream Christmas installation

We installed our first client setup today! Yep. November 10. Since my store is all decked out, we’re in the mood and this cute family can’t get enough of the Holiday spirit. I dressed the dining room chandelier with ornaments, packed to the gills. Oh. My. An already glamorous and sparkling chandelier became even more delightful with glittering ornaments, silver…champagne…mercury glass…I love this!

Looking from the dining table…just see what I tied into this light fixture!

I piled my beautiful sugar cones in this unused firebox and added a gaggle of silver balls in a garland (shatterproof!). Then I added one strand of our LED tiny lights with a battery pack! Voila. Pure magic!

A lovely foyer with an open staircase, much in the style of Gone With the Wind, was the perfect stage for the most beautiful greens I’ve seen! I added some favorite boughs cascading at the cap of the newel post and my favorite satin ribbon with multiple tails for drama. Ahhhh!

This stately fireplace mantle was calling for a row of teeny, tiny sisal trees…who says you can’t curate a “collection” all at one time?! This just melts my heart. A vintage map below grounds the whimsy. #ohsosusan

This collaged wall of favorite framed art was also the recepient of a trio of tiny trees! The perfect Christmas touch.

I took this 50″ tray from my personal stash (!) to complete the dining room centerpiece. The table is dressed with our Kitchen Papers chevron gold and white paper runner. The tray is reflecting the runner! Filled with an oversized silver punch bowl footed container and oversized ornaments, frosted pinecones, silver accents and snow, this is the perfect statement for a fully extended dining table for 10. Oh, what fun it is!

My 10,000 square foot store is decked out with holiday throughout! Whether it’s a gift for a friend or for your own personal home, it’s all here for the taking. Until it’s gone, that is….

Come see the magic. Susan’s biggest, best Christmas collection ever! Hope to see you soon.