Archive for Design Wisdom Wednesday

Good morning from Tucson! Our visit to Tucson has been extended several times the last few days because of all the winter weather between here and there!  We drove out West in two days with wonderful weather and blue skies. Never in our planning did we figure on ice and snow getting in the way of our return home.  If you have ever driven across the plains of TX you know how desolate it can be.  With limited options for pulling off the road we have been waiting for it to clear.  We plan to leave as soon as we can make it safely.  With the beautiful warm weather here I sorta feel like a kid not wanting summer camp to end but we are coming back the LKG!

I mentioned in last week’s DWW, that our Tucson friends have purchased a beautiful new home on Dove mountain.  The house was built as the Ritz Carlton model when they were developing the area in 2007.  It is an amazing house with so much attention to detail.  We looked at it two weeks ago and they are closing this Friday!  WOW! This real estate transaction has moved so fast!Home-Dove-mountain-ritzcarlton-estate

So, of course, we jumped right into the interior design of this wonderful property. The owner wanted a brighter, more updated color pallet.  As I have always said find your “given”.  A “given” is a piece of art, area rug, fabric or what ever that will lead you into a design direction.  We selected Hayden, a Company C area rug, for the living space to get us started.  company-C-rug-inspiration-focal-point-living-roomWe found the perfect coordinating fabrics with colors that are inspired by the natural beauty of the mountain sunrise and sunset.  fabric-upholstery-desert-colors-nature-inspired-kravet

fabric-upholstery-desert-colors-blue-teal-pumpkin-green-nature-inspired-kravet.JPGAlso, I found inspiration in a piece of local

Here is the pallet and just the beginning of a beautiful, nature inspired, desert mountain interior.  I am so excited to have gotten this opportunity to work on this house.  I have accomplished so much in the last ten days and found many local design resources.  It has been so inspiring!!!


Here’s to many more amazing sunrises and sunsets!

See you soon!



Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!


Designing in Tucson

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Hello loyal MSLL Design Wednesday Wisdom followers!  I am writing this from super sunny Tucson, AZ.  Sorry to gloat but I am glad we are here instead of frigid NC.

I was not sure this was the place for me until this trip.  I am loving the climate and getting excited about our future relocation.

Life is different here because just about everything revolves around being outdoors.  Paul and I are enjoying the 3 mile round trip walk to the community Athletic Center.  I am fascinated by the succulents and cacti in their many various shapes and forms.  Many evenings we have shared time with our friends on their patio and enjoyed the warmth of the fireplace. I have been picking fresh grapefruit each morning from one of our four citrus trees.  We just missed the blood orange season for this year. 🙁  But I have it on the calendar for 2016! IMG_9748

The most exciting news is that our Tucson friends have purchased a beautiful new home on Dove mountain.  The house was built as the Ritz Carlton model when they were developing the area in 2007.  It is an amazing house with so much attention to detail.  The new owner wants to lighten up the interior and make it more transitional.  We are busy planning the interior paint, wallcovering, rug and fabric selections while we are still in town.  If you have to work on “vacation” this is an exciting way to do so.  I will post more about this project as it evolves.Lone-Dove-House-Tucson-AZ-moutain-living-.png

Sorry to say we are coming back to the cold but it is always good to be back at Lake Gaston.

So until we meet again…be safe, stay warm and know spring is on the way!

Warm wishes!

~ Mary


Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!



Design Dilemma. The Quirky Fireplace.

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Hey guys!  Whose ready for more design critical thinking?  I got such a great response with the last project preview which focused on a kitchen design decision: whether to expand or not expand.  I decided to share another design project that I’ve been working on:  The Quirky Fireplace.


The Quirky Fireplace

The Quirky Fireplace is exactly its name, just plain quirky. Let’s take a closer look.

Here’s the existing fireplace. It’s a very small wall.  The master bedroom entrance is to the right and to the left is a wall of windows with a gorgeous view of the lake. The small area doesn’t seem to be working, its elements are not in sync. The niche seems high and the TV is too close to the fireplace. The fireplace also has very little presence.

Here’s the design dilemma: How do you marry the fireplace, TV and the mantel/niche area to make it more functional and cohesive?

What would you do?

Here’s my solution. My first thought was to create a mantle that could house the TV and eliminate the extra piece of furniture. The mantle would extend from the left corner of the left wall back towards the wall above the fireplace creating an obtuse triangle. The left side of the new mantel would be deep enough to house the TV.


Front View. Notice the glass wall art really pops in the niche.

Now you’re wondering, what about the area below the mantel? There will be a void under the mantel to the left beside the fireplace. Yes! However, we thought it would be ideal to tile this entire area. We went a step further to expand the hearth with tile that would mimic the shape of the mantel. This would really sync this area together and create visual interest.


This view gives a good indication of how the hearth of the fireplace mimics the mantel.

What about the niche above the fireplace?  This has many possibilities. First, I would lower the niche to meet the new mantel.  Shelves could be added to create a small bookcase to display momentous. Or, it could be used to create a feature wall. Mary loves to use glass in her design projects. This niche area created a perfect spot to display blown glass art which would also add a pop of color that would in return balance the bulk of the TV. I did leave a small shelf above the mantel to create a home for electronics below such as cable box, DVD player, etc.

What do you think of the design solution?

Would you do anything differently?

This is only a preliminary design I created with a program called Sketch-Up. None of the details are set in stone. This is only  a suggestion to help the client get a feel of the possible solution to her quirky fireplace wall dilemma.

I can’t wait to hear what your design solution is! 

I promise I will share the final design solution!

-Dixie K  (Happy Birthday to me!)  =)

Mary Sherwood Lake Living







Trend Spotting Going Into 2015

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I always get excited about exploring future trends. Based on High Point photos from October here are a few trends I see going forward in 2015.  Some of the highlights of the following pictures include textures, colors. natural elements, and multi-tasking furniture.

These furniture pieces have several of the elements above-color, texture and multi-tasking.  I love to use chests of all sizes and styles because they are so versatile. A chests can be used as a night stand, entry console, and table linen storage, just to name a few.  These chests have texture, color, style and so much more.  Chest A, from Couture, is made with a mother-of-pear veneer in a leafy tropical design.  Chest B, from Couture, has an egg shell blue melange inset which has amazing visual and tactile texture, color and pattern.  Chest C, from Palu, with it’s ribbed vertical texture, is available in several custom color choices. How would you incorporate a chest into your design scheme?


Trendy, preppy, traditional styles with throw backs to the 60’s and 70’s are evident in these two bedding collections from Thibaut and Eastern Accents.  The Asian elements, fretwork, topical motifs and colors of pink and green are cropping up in many areas of home fashion.  Are you ready to go back in time with this new version of pink and green?

Bedding pink green Asian

The application of vertical trims and contrasting fabrics in upholstery is just beginning.  Look for more ways to mix it up with this and other upholstery details.

Upholstery vertical applications

Large art and animal images continue to be shown, coming forward from 2014.



Greenery in the form of succulents and tropicals are the latest in permanent botanical trends.


Looking back and looking forward shows an unending movement of the trends. What do you see as some of the upcoming design trends to watch?

Happy spotting!




As a gardener, although it is the middle of Winter, some days you just have to get outside and get your hands in the dirt.  Sunday afternoon the skies had cleared and the sun was shinning.  I couldn’t resist.

Most of you probably have enjoyed our tulip display in the Spring in our large flower box under our sign.  Those bulbs were planted the first of January after chilling a few months in my extra refrigerator.  I didn’t quite finish the tulip planting chore that day and stuck the rest back in the frig.  Finally, I had a day to finish the planting and hope I didn’t get them in the ground too late.

Here is a picture of the Fall window boxes attached to the front of our building.  They were planted in October with some hardy and some tender plants that I knew would not survive the first frost.  I liked the combination and knew some could endure(the pansies and ornamental cabbage).  With the colder temperature the ornamental peppers and spider plants gave up the ghost.


I planned to used these boxes and plant the tulips around the hardier plants but I had a lot of open bare areas showing.  Years ago my friend Patsy Cuthrell  showed me the reindeer lichen growing along many of our roads.  It’s also called reindeer moss and often used in floral arrangement and terrariums.  Reindeer moss is really a lichen: a combination of a fungus and algae that have a symbiotic relationship and form a new plant. The moss is spongy when moist, but dries out when removed from its natural habitat.  It can be preserved with glycerin and dyed with fabric dye.   How to Preserve Reindeer Moss  Since I was just using it for a short time in the boxes I left it natural.

I am lucky to have access to this lichen right at the end of my road.  Harvesting the plants is so simple because it spreads on top of the other ground cover.  Here is my harvest spot and bounty.  It took all of five minutes to collect.

garden_closeup_lichen_reindeer_moss_winter_ground_cover_floral_arranging_lake_gaston Garden_winter_lichen_inthewoods_reindeer_moss_flower_arranging_material-lake-gaston garden_lichen_reindeer_moss_winter_harvest

Some years I have better luck than others with the tulips in these boxes because they do not get a lot of sun in front of the building and the deer find them very tasty.  Here is a picture of the boxes in 4/2012.


Next I cleaned up the dead plants out of the flower boxes and planted twelve tulips in each of the three planters.



Here is where I used the reindeer lichen to dress up the boxes and hide the bare spots until the tulips poke through and do their thing.


Keep your fingers crossed I didn’t plant the  tulips too late.

On the warmer winter days do you head to the outdoors?  What do you do? Garden, exercise, hike?  Let us hear about your winter outdoor adventures around Lake Gaston.  I am sure some of you sneak in a leisurely boat ride on the lake while the sun is bright!  Send us your Winter outdoor pictures to share.

Happy Winter!  I have visions of the Spring to come!



We are working with a client who wants to renovate her kitchen to be more functional. She loves to entertain and cook.  I thought it would be neat to share some of our preliminary planning for this kitchen that you may not always get to see. We often share before and after photos, but we do not always share the in-between parts that get us to the final layout.

It is our job as interior designers to come up with the best possible scenarios that meet all or most of the client’s needs. This is not always an easy task.  A lot goes into this design development and planning phase before presenting design options to the client.

First things 1st: Before sketching and drawing up new plans we first take measurements of the existing space. 


Mary and I met with the client to go over their initial needs and take measurements. These measurements include interior dimensions, window and door placement, outlets, and appliance sizes (if keeping). Here are the rough on-site sketches taken for this project!  (I always hope we can make sense of all these doodles!)


After the initial consultation with the client and the site visit, it’s to the drawing board. With this we have all the information we need to move forward to create possible scenarios to improve this kitchen. The client was also open to exploring an option of expanding the kitchen with an addition off the back of the house. The first plan features the kitchen and total first floor renovation. The second plan features a large expanded kitchen off the back of the house facing the lake!  (Ooh la la!  This expanded plan helps the client to visualize the possibilities!)

To-Expand-Or-Not-To Expand-Exisiting-Plan



Voila! Here is all the scribbles and doodles converted into a more manageable form. Above is the client’s existing first floor plan.

Here are the Two Preliminary Plans: 



Plan 1: (without expansion)

Includes a spacious new kitchen, wet bar and relocation of the dining and living areas.  The living area was relocated because the existing space was very narrow and limited the furniture arrangement.  A small conversation seating area (shown as Living II) in front of the fireplace works better in the narrow space. The relocation of the laundry area opens up the kitchen.  Additional windows were added to the back of the home for maximum views of the lake. The added wet bar will increase the ease of entertaining. By taking down a few walls, we opened up this kitchen and created a well-functioning living space for entertaining.




Plan 2: (with expansion)

The addition off the back of house facilitates the expansion of the kitchen with a large island and additional storage. This plan keeps the formal dining area and central area (around the staircase) as drawn in the original plan. The living space is rearranged to include a TV viewing area adjacent to the lake and a small seating area in front of the fireplace. The laundry room is expanded slightly for more storage. The kitchen is the focus of this renovation. This plan also includes a large bar/buffet area for entertaining. Large windows are added to maximize views of the lake.  An additional less formal dining area is placed off the kitchen.  This plan truly is for a host that likes to entertain and cook!


After viewing both plans which do you prefer? Would you Expand (Plan 2) or Not Expand(Plan 1)? 

Leave a comment below telling us which is your favorite! I can’t wait to see what the client decides! Stay tuned to see!

-Happy Design Wisdom Wednesday! 

-See you next week!

-Dixie K




The Perfect Bookcase Arrangement

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We recently completed a wonderful renovation of a Lake Gaston home.  It began with a kitchen update.  The project then expanded to include most of the first floor.  All the contents of this floor were stored while the pine floors were refinished.  Moving back-in required a lot of organization so we tackled the large expanse of bookcases first.  Here is the ‘’before’’ picture which we used as a reference to source out additional accessories and to incorporate with the owner’s objects.


Before-The dark painted background, standard book placement and accessories needed updating and organizing.

First, we updated the pine cabinetry by lightening the back of the bookcases with a natural color grasscloth wallcovering. I love the added texture and interest of grasscloth.bookcase-grasscloth-stager-height-books-bookends

We began with the placement of the owner’s books.  We added appeal by placing the books vertically and horizontally and staggering the heights.  Books placed horizontally can also act as risers to vary the height in a collection of items. Interesting bookends completed the look.


Stagger the height of books and add interesting bookends!

Mixing metals, patterns, textures and colors are a must!  We kept the displays meaningful by including several of the owners’ black and white photographs, family photos, career memorabilia and awards.  One of my favorite items in the owners’ collection was the vintage children’s books of the States.


In the lower right hand corner is the collection of vintage children’s books of the States.

Last but not least is lighting the bookcases. If your bookcases do not have built-in lighting, the addition of some type of lighting is a “must”.  Include small bookshelf lamps where a power source in available. Remote control battery operated candles make it easy to place candlesticks throughout the shelves.


Fill that vacant space above a bookcase with large objects and art. Add lighting with bookshelf lamps and remote battery powered candles!

Here it is-the “after” bookcases!  Layering various elements, staggering heights, and keeping items in odd number groups creates a pleasing array. 


After-Bookcase accessorized with assorted photos, candles and collectibles.

So stand back, a take a look at your bookcases.  Shake it up a bit by using the above tips to create you own perfect bookcase arrangement.

Show us your bookcase projects!

Happy arranging!



Happy New Year! Goodbye 2014!

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What a great year it has been for MSLL! It would not be possible without the love and support of our wonderful families, friends, and especially our awesome customers! Cheers to you & the new year! Thank you for making 2014 an amazing year!

Let’s take a look back at highlights of 2014 before we ring in 2015! 


Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!

Autumn participates in The Crossing at Eatons Ferry, Autumn & I enjoy lunch on the front patio, and Mary, Autumn & I enjoyed this homemade salsa from Jeff Miller of Phoenix Finishing Solutions! It was delicious! Thanks again Jeff!



Market Trips! 

Market trips are always so much fun! We visit Atlanta and High Point twice a year! Atlanta is my favorite, even though Autumn would say High Point is hers! Chef Yvonne goes with us to Atlanta to bring back awesome tastings and gadgets for our showroom and cooking classes!



Project, Installs & More!

Installs can honestly be a designer’s least favorite part and absolute favorite part at the same time! I only say this because installs are a lot of hard work but the end results are totally worth it! We had some exciting projects this year! Thank you for the opportunities. We hope you love your new spaces as much as we do!



Special Events!

Skin Care, Make-up Demos, Mother’s Day, Memorial Day, Sales, Tacky Christmas Sweater Party & Autumn’s Baby Shower-just to name a few of the many special events we held this year at MSLL! They sure did keep us busy! Lots of planning and prep but it was all worth it! Who doesn’t love to party?



Cooking Classes!

Classes were awesome as always this year! I’m beginning to think Chef Yvonne can get me to taste just about anything if she prepares it! There hasn’t been much I have tried that I absolutely didn’t like! She is an awesome Chef.  We are very thankful for all she brings to the table here as MSLL! Thank you Steve and Peggy for being awesome assistants in classes, as well!



And the award goes to…. 

The Reader’s Choice Awards were held at the Lake Gaston Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Center, Inc. earlier in 2014! We received not 1, not 2 awards but FIVE!

1st Place Favorite Interior Designer
1st Place Favorite Place to Buy a Gift
1st Place Favorite Home Decor
Runner Up: Favorite Place to Buy Jewelry
Honorable Mention: Place to Buy Furniture

This is the icing on the cake in 2014!  Thanks to our wonderful customers that made this happen! I can’t wait to see what 2015 has in store! Maybe, just maybe 2015 will top 2014! Fingers crossed! See you next year!

Happy New Year! 



Dixie K 


Mary Sherwood Lake Living 

Lake Gaston


Christmas is All About Family

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merry christmas 2014
As I anxiously await the arrival of our sons and daughters-in-love I am reminded about how important family is at Christmas.  I am so very fortunate to have such a loving and close family.  We are spread out across the country but we make the effort to be together for Christmas.  I am truly blessed.  Here is my playful family last Christmas at Lake Gaston!


Over the years my family circle has grown.  The MSLL gang is a large part of that circle. This is the gang at our annual Christmas dinner along with our new addition, Ethan Campbell Wenger (being held by Ryan, his proud Dad)

My extended family goes much further than just our team.  It encompasses the wonderful friends that grace our showroom, our design clients that invite us into their homes and all the talented contractors that support us.  We get to know them and their families as part of our amazing family circle.

So whether you spend Christmas with family, friends or neighbors it is the people that make Christmas magical. Embrace the moments!

Merry Christmas to you and all your family circle!

Love to all,




Don’t be a Fruitcake this Christmas!

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As a special holiday treat, Chef Yvonne, Y Cook?,  is our Design Wisdom Wednesday guest contributor today for Mary Sherwood Lake Living.  Her tasty recipes are demonstrated and enjoyed frequently at MSLL during her Cooking Classes! Her classes cover a huge range and brings variety to the table!

Tis the season to be jolly….and fruity!

During the holiday season, we celebrate with family and friends by enjoying numerous food and beverage traditions.  There’s eggnog, spiced cider, candy canes, gingerbread houses, and the beloved fruitcake.


Fruitcakes date back to Roman times when the cake was made with pomegranate seeds, pine nuts and raisins.  During the Middle Ages, honey, spices, and preserved fruits were added.  Crusaders were even known to carry fruitcake during their travels to sustain them throughout their journeys.

Most people have a love/hate relationship with fruitcake.  There are those that love the moist cake filled with delectable nuts and fruits, and then there are those that think of it as a dense “brick”.  So whether you love or strongly dislike the familiar dessert, you will surely love my spin on the well-known tradition.

I’ve transformed the generic fruitcake into a bite-size morsel that is moist and full of flavor.  My take on the traditional fruitcake is the Fruitcake Cookie.

Fruit Cake Cookies crop

Fruitcake Cookie Ingredients:

  • 1/2 lb. light brown sugar
  • 1/2 lb. butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 8 ounces pineapple preserves
  • 1 1/2 tbs. Half and Half cream
  • 2 1/4 cups self rising flour
  • 1/2 tsp. soda
  • 16 ounces jar red cherries drained and chopped
  • 16 ounces jar green cherries drained and chopped
  • 1 pound chopped dates
  • 6 cups chopped pecans (walnuts & almonds mixed are a nice change)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp. vanilla


Coat nuts and fruit with 1/2 cup flour.  Mix butter, brown sugar, eggs, preserves, milk, soda, vanilla and flour.  Pour over nuts and fruit mixture.  Mix with hands.  Drop in large spoonfuls on a cookie sheet.  Bake 11 minutes at 325 degrees (depending on your oven).  You can wrap uncooked dough in saran wrap.  Make into tube shape (like a slice and bake cookie).  Cover with foil and freeze.  They will keep for months.


Believe me…I’m aware of all of the fruitcake jokes.  “Why does fruitcake make the perfect gift? Because the U.S. Postal Service hasn’t found a way to damage it.”  But please trust me, these cookies are the answer to satisfy even your toughest fruitcake critic.

Enjoy….and Happy Holidays!


Chef YvonneFruitcake-ycook

Y Cook? 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living



MSLL Holiday Gift Guide 2014

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MSLL has constructed the ultimate Holiday Gift Guide to make your shopping experience a bit easier this Holiday season. We promise with these amazing gifts there will be no returns or re-gifting if you stick to our guide! The following MSLL Holiday Gift Guide features 12 perfect gifts that are sure to bring happiness and make you the best gift giver ever! Move over Santa, I’m giving the best gifts this year! Oh! Not to mention you will have the best wrapped presents around with our fabulous complementary gift wrap!



Mary Sherwood Lake Living Holiday Gift Guide 2014:

1. Fashion Apparel: This year’s apparel seems to be the best we have ever carried! It’s been hard to keep the racks full. We have wonderful travel wear, bright tunics and palazzo pants that have been super popular this year.  Our travel wear is wrinkle free, perfect for your next getaway!  $38 – $78

2. Don’t forget the Captain! Our Captain Rodney’s Boucan Glaze and Peach Barbecue Boucan Sauce are a crowd pleaser! These would make perfect gifts for a neighbor or take a bottle  as a hostess gift for your next holiday party your attending. This sauce is delicious! The bottle has a recipe attached for an amazing appetizer dip! Even someone that tailgates would love this for their next sports event! You can’t go wrong here.  $12

3. Magnolia Casual Indoor/Outdoor Swings: I always have people telling me their child would love this in their bedroom or they are planning on hanging one on their boat dock! Which is a perfect idea for these gorgeous swings! All our swings come in a set which includes: The swing constructed in indoor/outdoor fabric, a seat cushion, back pillow and matching carrying bag which is easy to stow.  $189

4. Sweet & Saucy Caramel Sauce: This happens to be our Salted Caramel Sauce which is my favorite! = ) We have: Spicy Mango Madness, Rum Caramel and even a Raspberry Fudge Sauce!  This is a great gift  for anyone! I would pair my jar with an ice cream scoop for the perfect ice cream sundae package! Simple & Easy! You could always add cherries on top!  $11

5. Lake Gaston Picture Frame: Here is another great gift idea! I’m sure mom or grandma would love this in their lake home! Take it step further and actually put a photo in the frame of the family or grand-kids! The picture corners in the frame make it easy to change out the photos each year!  $49

 6. Mary Sherwood Lake Living Gift Card: The perfect gift! Our gift cards do not expire and can be used towards anything in our showroom! You could even give a gift card for $25 or $35 for someone to attend one of Chef Yvonne’s cooking classes held here at MSLL! Absolutely Perfect!  $ – $$$

7. Lake Gaston Christmas Ornaments: We have several different ornaments to choose from this year. Some even have Lake Gaston printed on them! How cool is that? These would be great if you know someone that gets an ornament for their tree each year or for an ornament exchange party.  $18

8. Jewelry: Our Jewelry display has just everything from necklaces, earrings, bangles, brackets, watches, rings and a few necklace/earring sets. Various style to choose from. We even have a handmade line from a young lady in Virginia Beach!  $10 – $148

9. Handbags: We have the look you want but not the price. Our gorgeous bags look similar to a Micheal Kors’ bag but not the ticket price! I love our bags I think they are age appropriate for anyone 20-something to someone 60-something! We have various sizes and style for fit any ladies taste. $14 – $123

10. Scribble Cloths: Have you seen these yet? Scribble Cloths are amazing! Great for parties, children and events! We have runners that can be scribbled on with chalk! We have used these several times for events here at MSLL! We used the large runner for our food display, labeling all our delicious delights! What a great gift! $38 – $50

11. Lake Gaston Coasters: We have several sets of Lake Gaston Coasters! My favorites are the Lake map and Lake Rules! We have sets of two and fours!  Perfect for anyone that loves and lives on the lake! $32 – $57

12. Add-A-Kid Bibs: Don’t forget the little ones! We have an array of items in our children’s area but, these have to be the funniest! These bibs are one of a kind designs for little guys and girls! All bibs have Lake Gaston on them as well! Such a great keep sake too! $13


Just follow our Holiday Gift Guide for the perfect Christmas presents this Holiday season! Need more ideas? Just give us a call (252-586-2437) or ask me! We do our best to meet the needs of our customers. We are always willing to help!  We even suggest gift ideas for no charge! =)  Join us this Holiday season and Shop Small here on Lake Gaston! Don’t forgot the complimentary Gift Wrap!


Merry Christmas! 

-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living, Lake Gaston 



If you have recently changed your color scheme or updated your interior how do you incorporate the new color scheme into this year’s holiday décor? Look for inspiration where you least expect it.

This dining room had recently been updated using a wonderful blue accent wall (Benjamin Moore #798 Blue Suede Shoes). Could this be our inspiration?

Blue accent wall was the inspiration!

Blue accent wall was the inspiration!


How do you use the common holiday colors of red and green with this blue wall? With very little investment in new decorations the room began to come together with the addition of blue ornaments and a few other blue accents. The new items included inexpensive glass and plastic ornaments, multi-colored small gift bags (including blue), small little gift wrap bows and curly ribbon. Other found items from the owner’s collection were wine glasses, an antique tall pitcher with a blue rim, glass cylinders, glass vases and glass candlesticks.

Blue glass candlesticks, a vase and a pitcher were from the owner's collection.

Blue glass candlesticks, a vase and a pitcher were from the owner’s collection.

The centerpiece was the starting point which used an assortment of ornaments and objects. Heights were varied to create a pleasing arrangement. Hostess gifts were wrapped in the small foil gift bags to later be used as place cards for a holiday dinner. To give the arrangement more length on the 108” long table curly ribbon was casually placed at each end of the centerpiece.

Assorted small ornaments, glass candlesticks and containers are the components of this easy centerpiece.

Assorted small ornaments, glass candlesticks and containers are the components of this easy centerpiece.

When the table settings were placed the centerpiece was adjusted to allow more room on the table. A few of the pieces removed from the table were placed on the serving buffet to carry out the multi-color scheme.

Company is coming table setting-casual but festive!

Company is coming table setting-casual but festive!

The pièce de résistance was the valance, created with Christmas ornaments tied to staggered lengths of curly ribbon, which frames the entrance to the dining room.

Holiday valance made of assorted shapes and sizes of ornaments.

Holiday valance made of assorted shapes and sizes of ornaments.

Each area of the great space was decorated with multi-colors including a touch of the newly added blue. Think about how you can bring a little of your new interior color(s) into your holiday scheme without starting all over.

Happy holiday decorating!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle!


Lots to be Thankful for in 2014!

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There’s so much to be Thankful for here at Lake Gaston! We have the absolute BEST Customers, Clients, Co-workers, Cooking Class Foodies, Chef, Friends and Family anyone could ask for! This year thus far has been amazing! We have the challenge every year to try and “out-do” ourselves for our customers.  Without the local support of friends and family it would not be at all possible! We are truly grateful!

Thank you for all that you do for us! We love our Mary Sherwood Lake Living family, you all mean so much to us!  We would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Here’s just few things we are so grateful for! 

We are grateful for the ability to have our special events throughout the year for our customers to enjoy! Christmas Open House, Mother’s Day, Veteran’s Day, Beauty and Skin Care..just to name a few!


Of course we are Thankful for our amazing, awesome, special, wonderful Clients, Cooking Class Foodies & Customers! We have the best of the best! You guys rock!


We are Thankful for our design projects and the amazing team of guys who help us get the project from a sketch to reality! Our design team is top notch! Here is one from earlier in the year! We are working on a few now hoping to finish up before Christmas!


I am thankful for our MSLL Team! They deserve a Huge Thanks! They are the engine of our little machine out here at the lake. They are my support system, my friends and certainly my family! I thank you for all you do for me!


Last but not the least…. We are Thankful for the safe arrival of Autumn’s sweet new baby boy,  Ethan Campbell Wenger! He was delivered early Tuesday morning! Both Mommy and baby are perfect!

Congratulations Autumn & Ryan!



Again, we hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving and enjoys this special time with their family and friends! Don’t get to stuffed, leave that to the turkey! 


Love, Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living, Lake Gaston


Take a moment to tell us what your are Thankful for this year!  

Thanksgiving Contest - What Are You Thankful For?

I have never been leery about touching up a gilded mirror or a chipped frame.  But this last project was a challenge.  Our client had a very large chandelier that was way oversized for the dining room (left by a previous owner).  She wanted to replace it but hated to “just get rid of it”.  I suggested we lightened up the finish and place it in the large volume of space of the two story foyer.  Open mouth and insert foot… “I said I can lighten this up, no problem”.  I totally lost all sense of how large this piece is and how much it weighed.  The owner had her electrician take the fixture down and she brought it to our door.  When it arrived and she said: “It will take two of us to get it out of the SUV”, I began to realize the error of my ways to be so willing to take on the re-do.

But I had a plan.  My “trade secret” for renewing a variety of products is Rub n’ Buff.  I have used it for years on furniture, metal items, walls and more.  It comes in many colors and is available in many different finishes.

For this chandelier project I used one tube of the Pewter Rub n’ Buff.  Here are the before and afters.  Although, it is not yet hung it shows what a wonderful way you can re-new a piece.


Oversized chandelier for a compact dining space.


Close-up of chandelier part before applying the pewter finish


Finial with brushed on pewter finish


Chandelier almost ready to hang with new pewter finish with hints of the original finish showing through. We also have new drum shades on order to complete the updated look.


I found a great blog site that shows a number of ways to use Buff n’ Rub. Because this product is so easy to use you probably still have time to spruce up something in your house for the holidays.

Happy rubbing and buffing with my favorite Trade Secret!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle!


We had an amazing turn-out this past weekend for our annual Holiday Open House.  Great customers, delicious food, and a lot of gift wrap!  In case you missed it, not to fret.  We still have tons of Christmas wonders to share.  Here is just a sampling to get you excited.  We’ve also started putting these on our Pinterest page, so check that out too – it’s a great way to organize your shopping list.

2014 Mary Sherwood Lake Living holiday open house food


We can’t talk about any event at Mary Sherwood Lake Living without talking about the amazing menu.  Yvonne of Y Cook certainly outdid herself.  She prepared Raspberry Jalapeno Popper Dip, Salted Caramel Apple Tarts, and Sweet Potato Butter Cake topped with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, just to name a few.  Yum!






Carol Diehr Nana's Jams


We also had the pleasure of welcoming Carol Diehr of Nana’s Jams and CD Delicacies.  She presented many ideas for her delicious jams.  They are also a great gift idea!




Will Pedersen Love You Like A Rock


During our morning seminar, we presented many new ideas to add something unique to your holiday decor scheme.  Among them, we featured Will Pedersen of Love You Like a Rock.  His one of a kind creations make great gifts and can be completely customized for your needs.  He also donates all the proceeds to the MS Foundation.






Holiday decor and gifts mary sherwood lake living lake gaston


As always, our showroom was all a bustle with gifts and shoppers.  Here is just one of our many displays, which features a unique design technique Mary presented during the seminar.  Ornaments hung from ribbons at different lengths can frame a display, act as a room divider, or highlight a doorway.



We hope you enjoyed this small peek into Christmas here at Mary Sherwood Lake Living.  Come by and see it first hand for yourself!

HO HO HO and Merry Christmas from all of us at MSLL!!!

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!


‘Tis the Season to be Tacky!

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'Tis-the-season-to-be-tacky-bottle-tagIt’s the week of our Christmas Open House here at MSLL! I have been blinded by Christmas lights, covered in glitter, and the bows just keep coming and coming. Whoops!? I’m sorry that was just my tacky sweater! HaHa!

'Tis-the-season-to-be-tacky-beer‘Tis the season to be Tacky!  & we are embracing this Tacky trend this holiday season at MSLL! We even have a whole tree dedicated to this Tacky Christmas trend! Why Tacky!? Well because it’s FUN! There are no rules, no guidelines and just about anything works! It brings out the kid in all of us!

The holiday season is a great time to gather with friends and family. Special festivities take place and this year Tacky Christmas Sweater parties top the chart as the most popular party theme to host this holiday season.  However, this may require you to wear a tacky sweater that you may not own. NO FEAR! There is even a website now that sells ONLY Tacky Christmas Sweaters! Like I said, this trend is taking over the spotlight!


Tacky Christmas Sweaters can be for your beverages too! Like the ones shown here!

Tacky Sweaters can be found at thrift stores, eBay, or if you’re feeling creative construct a one of a kind sweater of your own! I think homemade sweaters are the way to go. Just like homemade Halloween costumes, they always make a better lasting impression. 


Check out these Mini Tacky Christmas Sweater Ornaments from our Tacky Christmas Tree in our Showroom!

Not sure how to create a Tacky Christmas Sweater? Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Start with a good sweater for the base. Bright bold cheerful colors in shades of green or red will work best! Any sweater with an over-the-top print or pattern are great as well.

2. Ornaments are second. These can be found at any dollar store or thrift store. The more unique the better! Stay away from breakable ornaments – this could get messy in the middle of your party, PARTY FOWL!

3. Add a little Flare to your sweater. Sequins, tinsel, shiny bows, garland, what ever your heart desires here!

4.Patches and other appliques can be a quick and easy fix! Hot glue them or even iron-on’s will do the trick! Wah LAH! Your Done!  You have a one of a kind Tacky Christmas Sweater that is sure to be the highlight of the party.

'Tis-the-season-to-be-tacky-christmas-tree-sweaterHere are some of my favorite homemade Tacky Sweaters I’ve come Across Online: 

Christmas Sweater Tree– I have seen this several times, it’s so clever. When she puts her arms above her head her sweater becomes a beautiful Christmas tree.



The Abominable Snowman Tacky Sweater- I love this! Rudolph is a classic Christmas movie and this fuzzy guy will steal the show at your next Tacky appearance.

Tacky Couple of Sweaters– Get the Hubby involved! I think this is adorable and even tackier that they match!


Which Sweater is your favorite!? Or do you have a Tacky ensemble you would like to share?

We hope to see everyone this Saturday at our Christmas Open House! Seminar beings at 9 AM! Shopping 10 AM! 

Have a Tacky Holiday Season! 

-Dixie K 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!



Beautiful and Exotic Stones

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Exotic stones are such an amazing work of nature.  When selecting natural stone for a project, I am always drawn to the unusual and rare.  Not all budgets and applications will allow the use of exotic stone but let’s explore the possibilities.

There are basically two types of stone compositions used for interiors.

Siliceous Stone is composed of silica and quartz-like particles.  It is very durable.  Granite, slate, sandstone and quartzite are a few examples:


Calcareous Stone is composed of calcium carbonate.    Marble, travertine, limestone and onyx are stones in this category. These stones are more sensitive to acidic foods and cleansers.


Josh Garskofthis from This Old House Magazine expresses my sentiments about natural stone:  “Every rock pulled from the earth has its own mineral color, veining, and speckles, brought vividly to life by stone-workers’ saws and polishing wheels. It will be as distinctive as an original work of art. A stone countertop will last as long as your house—maybe even longer.   It needs only a little routine care and forethought to ward off water marks, stains, and etching typically caused by acidic foods. But even if the worst happens—a chipped edge, a red wine spill—most stones can be restored by a professional. Unlike almost every other building material, stone does not decay. Rather, its natural beauty only enhances through years of use.”

Here are some larger images of amazing exotic, natural stones.

Granite can have incredible depth, visual texture and color.  The “movement” or the flow of the veining in the stone and the contrast of light and dark  mineral deposits place these granites in the exotic category.







Onyx has patterns and colors not available in many other stones.  Some onyx, like the Honey onyx, has translucent characteristics that are great for backlighting countertops for a dramatic visual effect.





Marble is softer than granite. It will age and develop its own patina over time.  Although not always recommended for kitchen countertops, with proper care it will retain its beauty for years.  The more “visual texture” marble has, the better for camouflaging any minor small imperfections.  One of my favorites is the pattern of Rainforest marble, resembling the limbs and twigs of trees.







So dream big with these exotic stones from far-away places! In your dream, which is your favorite and where would you put it?


Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle! 


The MSLL girls just got back from the Fall 2014 High Point Furniture Market – Here’s are some of the highlights!

creative display ideas high point fall 2014

Market is a great place to find creative display ideas – how fun would it be to have a cool ride like this one as a conversation piece!  Plus, funny enough this showroom is for the company Go Home!

creative eye catching display ideas high point fall 2014

More creative display ideas – think back to your childhood with this one. The art of balloon animals!  This display is by More Council.

Unique expandable table high point fall 2014

We also look for unique engineering in furniture design. Check out this stylish dining table by Creative Metal that folds out to expand.

unique functional drawer detail high point fall 2014

This unique chest by Uttermost features drawers that function more like doors by swinging out rather than pulling straight out. Just another example of the creative features we find.

finish options in a wide range of colors high point fall 2014

This Palu chest is available in all these finished, plus any custom color!

finished drawer interior detail high point fall 2014

What a great detail! Each drawer features a different lining for an unexpected design.  Chest by More Council.

metallic finish options and creative hardware designs high point fall 2014

We are always on the hunt for ways to make furnishing even more unique. Here we have a wide selection of metallic finishes and hardware creations by Tritter Feefer Vintage to inspire our designs.

wore out after a long market high point fall 2014

All right, we’re excited about everything that was seen at market, but whew!  We’re wore out!

We hope you enjoyed seeing this small peek into the 2014 Fall High Point Furniture Market.  What was your favorite?

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!



Easy Ways to Cozy Up Your Home for Fall

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Fall is here! It’s that time of year again to stow away our favorite summer fashion and accessories and bring out our warm fuzzy Fall and winter attire for the transition from Summer to Fall. Why not do the same in your home? Welcome in the cool weather months by transforming your home with these simple interior decorating ideas.

Warm Up your Living Room with Plush Throws 

There’s nothing cozier than a warm blanket while hanging out on the couch watching TV with the family. It’s always a good idea to have more than one on hand to ensure guests have their own to keep them warm and comfortable during their stay. Cozy throws are also a great opportunity to bring color into the room, the more contrast the better!



Ambiance with Candlelight

We all know the days get shorter in the cooler months and there is less daylight to enjoy after a long day’s work. However, try to embrace the early nightfall and light a few candles.  Candlelight brings an instant warmth to any room and the ambiance can help relieve stress and anxiety.


There are some great battery powered options to ensure safety. Try a candle with a Fall scent.  I love the current candle I am using, sweet cinnamon pumpkin. Yum! 


Try an Area Rug

There’s nothing I hate more than my feet being cold, especially when my feet hit the cold bare floor in the mornings. Yikes! Try adding any area rug to your more traveled areas to ensure your toes are nice and cozy. Layering area rugs for an even more cozy look.



Hang Heavier Draperies 

Another idea to warm up your living area is to switch out your lighter draperies and hang heavier drapes. This will help keep out drafts and add warmth to the room. Try using a heavier weight material or letting them pool an inch or so on the floor.

Switch out Bedding

Some of you may already have seasonal bedding, Bravo!  It’s a great idea to switch over your bedding to prepare for the cooler nights to come. Layer with warm throws and additional pillows with decorative patterns or seasonal colors. It’s an instant way to transform any bedroom without the full overhaul.

 Dress your Table

Don’t forget your dinning room! While bare tables are ideal in the summer months it’s not exactly the right look for Fall. Add heavy tablecloths, runners, or even a scarf will do the trick.  It’s a great time to bring out the formal wear. It’s fun to dress up your table with seasonal decor. Add a charger under the dinner plates, use more elaborate centerpieces and heavier napkins with festive napkin rings.



 Cozy Up the Patio

Everyone’s favorite outdoor spot here at Lake Gaston is the patio! Let’s transition this space to be used on the cool evenings with warm blankets at each seat as well as comfy pillows.  Outdoors heaters are great for these spaces and a toasty fire pit if space is allowed.  Watching the sunset can be even more enjoyable under your warm fuzzy blanket taking in mother nature’s beauty.



With layers of throws, heavy draperies in warm tones, candlelight, fuzzy rugs, and comfy pillows your home is on it’s way to being the coziest spot on Lake Gaston. We ARE interior designers so don’t forget to enjoy the indoors just as much as we enjoy the great outdoors! We hope you have a warm and cozy Fall! Enjoy!

-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living



Fall 2014 Interior Design Trends

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outdoor accessories indoors cotton stones mason jarWith the Fall 2014 High Point Furniture Market only a few weeks away, we are eager to see the latest trends first hand.  The style spotters have made the following predictions.  We’ll be keeping our eyes peeled to see if they are right, but we’ll also be looking for any other trends they may have missed!

Merging Indoor and Outdoor with Decorative Accents – Fall is such a beautiful time of year, so it’s no coincidence that it is a big trend right now to bring some of the beauty of nature indoors this season.  Try dried leaves, stones, cotton, or twigs.  Or collect some of each in a mason jar or antique canister for a lovely arrangement.

glamorous master bath


Glamour and Glitz – Clean lines, polished finishes, and luxurious touches continue to be in high demand for design clients.  Where the light colors give an airy and open feel, there are certainly no shortage of accents to finish the look off with high end class.

Metallics: Bold Gold, Brass and Mixing Metals – Metallic finishes have flourished into a wide spectrum of colors.  And throw out the rule book – combine several finishes with stainless, bronze, and pewter to name a few.

Corduroy Bear

CorduroyWoops, not that Corduroy (I guess I have children’s books on the brain)!  This cozy fabric adds a fun texture and clean lines to upholstery.  There are limitless color options and even different widths and varieties to the texture.  It’s also perfect for fall since we’re wearing more clothing to protect us from getting the indentations from the pattern on our legs and arms!



blue accents trend 2014Blues – You name the blue and it’s hot right now.  Everything from light turquoise to deep navy.  You can even mix several shades for a monochromatic look.  Blues are also everywhere in fashion right now.  I was pleasantly surprised the other day when Ryan came home with several new shirts: one in navy and another in a very handsome sea-foam blue.  He’s fashion forward and didn’t even know it!

Grays – This is still the trending neutral.  Grays are everywhere and in every shade.  Gray washes and stains are very popular in wood finishes as well.  We have also seen a range that even incorporates grays that lean somewhat into the beige family.  


Stay tuned for our market finds to see if these trends hold true for the styles to come!

Do you have a design need that you just haven’t been able to find?  Give us the mission to find it at market!


~ Autumn

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!


Autumn’s Baby “BEE” Shower

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Autumn, her husband Ryan with their surprise guest , Autumn's mom and sister who came all the way from Indiana!

Autumn, her husband Ryan with their surprise guest , Autumn’s mom and sister who came all the way from Indiana!

Buzz! Buzz! This past Saturday we hosted a Baby “BEE” Shower for Autumn and her husband, Ryan who are expecting a little boy this December.  The shower was a BEEautiful sight. Everything came together better than I had imagined. Autumn and Ryan received wonderful gifts and had a surprise visit from Autumn’s mom and sister ALL THE WAY FROM INDIANA! It was a great day and I would like to thank everyone who helped and attended Autumn’s shower.

 Here are some of the highlights from this past Saturday! 

The guest of honor, She loves her sweets!

The guest of honor, She loves her sweets!

How did the “BEE” theme come about? 

Autumn was telling us at lunch that one of her and Ryan’s favorite TV show is Pushing Daisies, where the bumble bee theme derived from.  There are a few quotes the Parents-to-BEE had selected to be placed in the baby’s room which were selected from a few of their favorite episodes.  There is also a custom side table Autumn constructed inspired by a beehive with a tiny bee painted on the top. To see Autumn’s Complete Nursery Click Here!  

Preparing for the Baby "BEE" shower

Preparing for the Baby “BEE” shower

Now, we have the BEE theme… What’s next?

When planning a baby shower having a theme can BEE a great way to give the party a direction. This helps when searching for party favors, decor, your menu, etc. A theme can be anything, the sky is the limit here! All themes don’t have to be so defined, use your imagination here! Something more personal for the mom-to-BEE gives the party that special touch.

Mini Lemon Tarts with Lemon candies striped with chocolate icing to resemble bees!

Mini Lemon Tarts with Lemon candies striped with chocolate icing to resemble bees!

I spent A LOT of time on Pinterest. It’s my go-to place for inspiration and to really see what is out there. In my search, the “BEE” theme seemed to be quite popular. This was a plus because I had lots of inspiration to draw from. Creating a story board is a great way to collect ideas for your party, you can do this on Pinterest or simply collect pictures from magazines. This will also help share your vision with your team as well!


If you haven’t tried Scribble Cloths, your missing out! We used the large chalk board runner for our tablescape. Using a stencil and chalk markers we were able to add bees to our table and cute honeycombs for an added detail.

It’s important to have a team who are there to help you every step of the way to execute the perfect party. Yvonne, Peggy, Lu, Mary and I all contributed to Autumn’s shower. It was great having such a wonderful team to work with. Everyone contributed and no one felt like they did very much, which means a great deal. You don’t want anyone feeling like they did all the work, it’s a team effort! Thank You ladies for all your help, You are one in a million!

Baby Bumble Bee. 

Guest were asked to sign a white matted picture frame which served as our guest book.

Guest were asked to sign a white matted picture frame which served as our guest book.

As I mentioned, adding personal touches is a great way to make the day even more special than it already is! We knew Autumn’s favorite soup is clam chowder. Chef Yvonne created a fabulous clam chowder that was served in mini bread bowls. Absolutely delicious!  Autumn likes sweets too! Autumn would say, “If it’s a cookie it should taste like a cookie!” We added the candy bar and chocolate fountain to the menu for her love of sweets. A bumble bee diaper cake served as our table’s center piece with other delightful bites centered around the BEE theme, complete with mini cupcakes with small bees and sunflowers, chex mix made with honeycomb cereal, and mini lemon curd tarts with bee accents.

Our gorgeous tablescape

Our gorgeous tablescape


Mini honey jars, our favors for the baby shower

Baby BEE diaper cake

Baby BEE diaper cake

To complete the “BEE” theme, our party guests received mini jars of honey. We added a custom sticker to the top, with a little bee saying, “It’s a boy!” The mini jars were purchased from one of our vendors, Cloister Honey, a North Carolina honey company.

Autumn and Ryan recently ventured home to Indiana where her friends and family hosted a baby shower as well. At that time, they did not know they were having a boy. So for this shower there were a few necessities for the baby boy that were needed. Also a shortage of diapers was also mentioned! Even though we wanted to have a shower that our clients and customers could also partake in, we did not want them to feel like they needed to bring a gift. A hug and well wishes would have suited just fine! But, we included in our invite that if they must bring a gift, diapers and story books were welcome. The diaper cake contributed to the collection of diapers as well! I love the idea of using books as cards and signing the inside of the book with a surprise message.


Books! Books! Books for the parents-to-bee to read to their new little one.

This shower was certainly Buzz-worthy. It was one the best I have been a part of! It was also great to see the support of our customers, and we have the best of the best! The love and support from our community is fantastic. Thank You again to those who came and spent their Saturday afternoon with us! It was a great time with great friends. We can’t wait to meet the little fellow! Congrats Autumn & Ryan!



Do you have an experience hosting baby showers or attended one you would like to share? We would love to hear about it! Share with us in the comments below!

Enjoy the rest of your week!

-Dixie K


 Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!



My Favorite Closet Accessories

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We have several custom closet designs on the drawing board for clients.  As I was researching closet accessories I found a few that I would like to incorporate into our next closet project.

All closet customization should include the following:

  • Long and short hanging rods
  • Drawer storage, shallow and deep
  • Shoe storage (and lots of it)
  • Open shelving for odd size items

Now comes the fun part…The closets accessories!  They will make keeping your closet organized a cinch!  Here are a few of my favorites:






What are your favorite closet accessories?  Join the conversation.  Send us pictures if you like!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle!



Mudroom Must Haves

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With the changes in the season and school starting up again, it’s a great time to think about how to help your family stay more organized.  Whether you have a designated mudroom or a small nook just inside your entry, this high traffic area requires organization, function, and style.  Here are some key elements for a successful space for your comings and goings.

Entry cubby with shoe storage, seating, and hooksShoe Storage – Whether you choose cubbies, shelves, or baskets, pick something that will keep your shoes accessible, tidy, and in good shape.  Throwing them in a closet in a heap reduces the longevity of your footwear and causes more work cleaning them in the future.  This is a real nuisance when you are planning to wear a particular pair and find another shoe’s foot print on top of it as you’re trying to run out the door!

Seating Space – A large bench isn’t required.  Just as long as you have a spot to sit to put on and take off your shoes.  Personally, I find that the larger, more open the surface I have, the more likely I am to use it as a catch-all and it gets too cluttered to actually use for it’s intended purpose.  (I just discovered I have a dining room table – who knew!)  So a small bench, ottoman, or stool will work great.

mudroom with low maintenance floors, cubbies, and hooksLow Maintenance Floors – It’s called a mudroom for a reason.  Traditionally these rooms are located at the back of the house and used to shed the filth of the outdoors rather than track it into the house.  With so many tidy designer mudrooms in trend right now, it’s hard to imagine living in them and keeping them that way.  So pick a flooring material that will hold up to the scuffs and the muck.  Here’s a great article on Houzz about the best flooring materials for mudrooms.  I’m always a sucker for a classic black and white tiled floor!

Mudroom space with message boardOrganized Storage for the Family – Everyone has their own going out accessories, so keep it somewhere you’ll remember to look if you’re running out the door in a hurry.  Giving each member of your household a designated space keeps book-bags, purses, and briefcases available without taking over.

Space for Damp and Dirty Items – Going back to the traditional intent of the mudroom, designate storage for the muddy stuff.  Provide a hamper for dirty cloths.  A tray for the grungy shoes works great to let them dry separate from your nicer footwear.  Some wall hooks are great to dry jackets, sweaters, and umbrellas.  I also like to keep an old towel handy for my soggy pups after a walk in the rain.

Keep You on the Go! – Don’t forget to keep other necessities organized.  Use hooks for your keys so you’re not searching in hand bags and pockets.  Where are you going?  A message board with a calendar and to-do lists is great to have just as you’re running out the door.  It’s also a great idea to have your mail organization visible as a reminder of what’s come in and what needs to go out.

How have you organized your space to make it more functional for your family?  We’d love to hear about it!

Or do you need a little help in this department?  We’re here to help!


~ Autumn

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!

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Shag, Tufted, Woven, Spun, Flat Weave, Felted, Indoor/Outdoor, Round or Rectangle, and Runners! There are so many options.  Where does one begin when searching for the perfect area rug? It seems a bit overwhelming but following these guidelines you will be placing the perfect rug in your home in no time!


What are you using the rug for?    

This will help determine the kind of rug that will best suit your needs. Will the rug be used to protect your beautiful hardwood floors or simply to add color and style to the space? Rugs can create a great pop of color or help ground or tie a room together.  Area rugs often provide sound proofing qualities when used on hard surfaces. Rugs also add softness to a room. The additional cushion of a rug is great for anyone with children. Often overlooked, one benefit of area rugs is insulation from cold surfaces. Rugs with dense fibers can trap heat on cool winter nights keeping your area warm and cozy.


What size is best?

There are several standard sizes for area rugs. However, the size of the rug always seems to be the trickiest to determine. The rules vary depending on the room. So let’s take a look at how you would place a rug by the type of room.

Dining Room- The main rule to remember here is: The rug should be large enough that all the legs of the dining chairs sit on the rug while the chairs are pulled out or when someone is seated. You wouldn’t want your guest chairs to be half on and half off creating a wobbly chair while dining. Typically the rug should extend at least 30″ beyond the edge of the table on all sides. A common dining room rug size is 8′ x 10′.  However, it still depends on the size of your dining room table. Synthetic fibers or polypropylene rugs work well in this area because of their stain resistant qualities.


Bedroom- Think about the key pieces of furniture in the space. The bed will most likely be the prominent piece. The rug size should reflect its size and its placement. Ideally, you would want a rug that extends about 18″ to 24″ on all three sides of the bed (assuming your headboard is against the wall).    Also, you would want the rug to be wide enough to accommodate your nightstand beside the bed. Common sizes used in bedrooms are an 8’ x 10’ under a Queen sized bed, and an 9’ x 12’ under a King sized bed.


There are a few options for rug placement in the bedroom. The most popular would be to have the rug start just in front of the nightstands and extend past the foot of the bed . Tucking the rug slightly under the nightstands to ground them with the bed is even better.  If you have a large bedroom that can accommodate a larger rug, GO FOR IT! Get an area rug large enough that both nightstands can be placed on it and still extends beyond the foot of the bed a couple feet. This will keep your room feeling and looking proportional.

Family Room/Living Room- Typically, the furniture in a living room or family room is arranged to form a conversation area or seating around a focal point. The key here is the area rug must encompass all pieces of furniture within this seating area. For example, a living room arrangement may consist of a sofa, a loveseat, several chairs, a coffee table and end tables. All of these items should be on the rug – at least partially – in order to provide an ideal balance.  A room generally looks more pulled together if all the furniture legs are planted firmly on the rug.


Hallway/FoyerHere the rug size is determined by the amount of floor space available. For larger open areas try leaving a perimeter between 12″-24″ space around the rug. For smaller areas leave 6″-8″ between the rug and the wall. 



If you are stilling having trouble visualizing the proper rug size try the trick of painters tape before you go shopping.  Tape out the size of the area rug you are considering placing in the space on the floor. This should help you clearly see if the rug is big enough to accommodate your pieces. If not tape out the next size up until you are satisfied with your decision. Keep in mind rug sizes vary from different manufacturers.  You can probably fudge a few inches up or down on size for your space but try to stick to the most common sizes for best selection and price. Then you will be ready to go rug shopping! If you do not have a room configuration that fits with the standard sizes there are always custom rug options available.


Just one last thing to consider…before heading off to the magical land of rugs and buying the absolute best rug on earth just remember the above rules are mostly guidelines. You are the one that has to live with the rug you choose so by all means if you feel the need to break any rules or guidelines, PLEASE DO! With that said, I’ll leave you with one of my favorite design quotes. 

“Creativity is allowing yourself to make mistakes,

Design is knowing which ones to keep.”-Scott Adams

-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living-Working with you to create your lifestyle on

Lake Gaston and Beyond!


The Complete Nursery Design on a Budget

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It’s been a while since my last posts on the progress of my nursery make-over… and it’s finished!  Great timing because we just received some amazing news to share also – we’re having  a BOY!!!  Check out the finished space in the pics below.

(You’ll also notice our pup Oscar in several of these pics making sure we have everything perfect for his little brother on the way!)

Budget Nursery Design Completed Project

(Oscar says “Mom – don’t forget to take the tag off that bear in the chair! Big No-no for little brother!”

We decided to stay with the sunshine orange walls that we already had in the guest room, but added punches of lime green and turquoise.  The color palette was inspired by the indoor/outdoor fabric I used to recover the chair and for the crib bed skirt.

Nursery Chair Before

Rocking Nursery Chair Before – in all it’s original 1970’s glory!

Here is a “fabulous” chair I found in my parents’ attic.  Besides the unattractive fabric and the decades of dust and grime, it was in really great shape and the rocking mechanism still worked smoothly.

After I removed the arms and original fabric, refinished the legs, and began recovering it, we decided to leave the arms off!  It feels more open in the space and it’s more versatile to get in and out of.

I paired it with an inexpensive storage ottoman that will double as a toy box.  It even has a convenient little pocket on the side for story books.

Budget Nursery Design Completed Project View #2

Here’s a view from the other side of the room.  The two dressers were revamped and featured in previous blog posts, which you can check out here: Dresser to Changing Table and Tall Dresser with Shelves.  I covered the changing table pad with vinyl – easy cleanup for the inevitable from our messy little man!

With the inspiration of a great friend from college (Thank you, Cheryl!), I was reminded that I needed to incorporate one of my signature furniture styles with the small table made entirely out of multiple layers of plywood.  I sculpted the body of the table in a beehive shape and stained it with yellow food coloring.  The yellow blended with the warm brown tones of the wood gave it the rich orange color that worked so well with the rest of the nursery.  Painted on the top is a tiny bumble bee (like the ones painted on the walls).

Adjustable Crib Bed Skirt Detail

Detail of how the crib’s bed skirt is adjustable with the use of large paper clips.

Our crib is adjustable to grow with our little man.  So I wanted the bed skirt to have the same flexibility.  I made the skirt in 3 separate panels (don’t need the 4th side because it will always be against the wall).  Then I just clipped each panel on with the large paper clips.  As we lower the bed in the future, I’ll just fold the extra fabric at the top and re-clip it into place-Super Easy!


Budget Nursery Design Completed Project View #3

Bee is for Boy! The hexagonal shapes on the wall are chalk board decals – fun to write messages and easily removable for the future.

The bumble bee theme was inspired by one of our favorite TV shows – Pushing Daisies.  (Not a really well-known show, kinda a cult classic – only aired for 2 seasons, but we still love it.)  The quotes on the walls are pulled from some of our favorite episodes.

  • “A Happy Hive is a Happy Home” is over the crib.
  • “The Facts Were These…” is over the book shelves.
  • “That’s Terrifying… That’s TERRIFYING!” is over the changing table (enough said!).

I only have one design feature left to complete.  The blank canvas hanging on the wall shown above will soon be a portrait of “Pigby”, a pig from the show and the fun pet-name we’ve been calling our little porker until his arrival.

We are so excited about the upcoming arrival (due December 4th) – and even more excited and grateful to have the love and support from my amazing MSLL family.  You all ROCK!

I’d love to hear from you in the comments below if you have any tips or memories of raising a little boy.  I’m sure he’s going to be a handful, but in our fun-loving family he’ll fit right in!

Thanks! ~ Autumn

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!

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Tips to Get Ready for Back-To-School

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Summer has almost come to a close and fall is peaking in. The new school year is just around the corner and it’s the perfect time to get organized before the chaos of homework and after school activities begin. Organization is key! Here are a few tips to keep you and your growing minds on track this school year.

Back-to-school-closetWho doesn’t love back-to-school shopping! Well some may dread it but, I loved it! It was my favorite part of going back to school! Getting a new backpack, new outfits, not to mention I couldn’t wait to show them off to my friends!

With all those new outfit choices, getting dressed in the morning may take more time than normal. Here’s the solution, Closet dividers!  Here all outfits are pre-planned for the week! What a time saver in the early morning rush hour!


It doesn’t get anymore organized than this! I love this idea! Here a fellow organizer took a behind the door hanging shoe rack and created this mega school supply wonderland! All the pens, markers, pencils, & paper clips have their own space! Don’t forget to label to ensure they get put back in their proper place! Such a great idea and inexpensive as well!


back-to-school-pack-itWhether it’s snack time, lunch or those late afternoon sports activities these are great bags! PACKit is a personal cooler that folds up to be placed in the freezer over night and then removed to be used during the day keeping it’s contents cool for up to 10 hours! These bags come in great prints and different sizes to meet your personal needs! It’s a back to school must have and we have them right here in our showroom!


Back-to-school-homework-areaIt’s also a good idea to have a designated space to do homework. Any place away from the TV and heavy foot traffic is better for less distractions.  Isn’t this homework area great?  It’s bright, fun and inviting to get those little thinkers going and inspired. Check out Autumn’s blog, Elements of a Kids Work Space to see other ideas and tips for kid’s work spaces.


Back-to-school-back-upGo the extra mile and stock up on school project supplies. This will be a life saver for those last minute projects! No one wants to be at the craft store at 9 pm at night looking for poster board when your son’s project is due at 8:30 in the morning. YIKES!








My roommates’ and I used this last tip often, a Menu Board. We ate most nights together in our apartment at Radford. This cut down on the cost of our individual meals and kept variety on our plate. Plus it was a great bonding time, two of us cook and two cleaned.

We rotated depending on who was home who cooked dinner for the night. We also went the extra mile and incorporated a chore chart. Each person had an assigned chore they took care of during the week. When the week was up we reassigned the chores for a new week. This kept us on routine and held everyone responsible for their part. I honestly can say this may have saved an argument or two! We by far had the cleanest apartment around for four girls living under one roof!  It’s worth a try in the home, dorm or apartment.

I hope you have enjoyed these back to school tips for the upcoming school year! Hopefully they will come in handy! Good luck to everyone this school year no matter what grade that may be!

Do you have any back-to school tips you would like to share?

If so please post & share below!

-Dixie K .

Mary Sherwood Lake Living-Working with you to create your lifestyle on

Lake Gaston and Beyond!



The Reason Why to Design-Before and Afters

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Interior design has been my profession and my passion for almost thirty years.  That means there are lots of pictures of projects before and after.  It is always fun to look back and see what a difference an update or total re-do can make.  These are not all recent photos.  The pictures were selected so you could see the before and the after in the same perspective.  This may help you to visualize the changes more easily.  We will start with the simplest project to show how some minor changes can make a major impact. The client’s dreams and design needs are highlighted for each project.

Fireplace/Bookcase Accessorizing

Before and After FireplaceThe client wanted to liven up her stone fireplace to coordinate with the new furnishings in the space.  Using some of her own things, items from Home Goods and custom ordered pieces we achieved a bright and pleasing display.  The stone fireplace and bookcases serve as the neutrals for the addition of multiple colors.  Collecting the accessories was the only time-consuming part of this project.  The installation took about 2 hours.

Great Room Makeover

Before and After Great RoomThe client was ready for a change from the 18-year-old rattan furniture and pale colors of this great room.  The project revolved around the selection of the Company C rug, (Pattern Lounge-color Lake).  The sectional was upholstered is a neutral khaki so accessories could be updated in the future without a total re-do.  The tropical fabric on the window treatments pairs well with the colors of the rug and tied together the other accents of sea glass green, turquoise and green.  Comfortable and casual for lake living.

Kitchen Update

Before and After Kitchen KSThe client was ready to make her kitchen into her own style without replacing the original ash cabinets.  The Cambria quartz countertop, the glass subway tiles and stainless steel appliances made an amazing improvement.  The new look was highlighted by new LED undercabinet lighting.

Coastal Dining Room Transformation

Before and After Dining RoomWithout moving any walls, this dining room was brought back to life with bright yellow paint, a Company C rug (Pattern Rise and Shine-color Marigold) and casual dining furniture for a fun Coastal cottage.

Traditional Kitchen Renovation

Before and After Kitchen RBThe client loves to cook and entertain.  The house did not allow for expansion so the new kitchen fit in the original footprint with an addition of a small window and minor wall/door modifications.  The outstanding elements in this kitchen are the custom mullion design of the cabinet doors and the curved island.  Because the sizes of the glass transom cabinet doors varied, each set of door insets were custom-made.  The island is has a curved raised panel back (sorry it is not shown here).  Hand painted ceramic tile backsplash, leather finished granite, backlight glass countertop and LED lighting make this kitchen shine and perform!

Contemporary Kitchen Renovation

Before and After Kitchen GGThe client is an exceptional cook who entertains all her extended family at Lake Gaston.  She terms the kitchen as her “mid-life crisis”!  She wanted lots and lots of storage and light.  The enlargement of the picture window and the addition of a skylight gave us exceptional natural light.   The extra storage was achieves by floor to ceiling cabinets on the opposite wall.  The kitchen was enlarged by 5′ by relocating the laundry room.  The piece de resistance is the stone, glass and stainless steel mosaic tile backsplash.  Wouldn’t we all like to have this as our “mid-life crisis”!

Looking back at these transformations is a lovely walk down memory lane.  It’s also a wonderful inspiration of how creative problem solving and our ever evolving resources have lead to some amazing spaces for our clients – let us see what we can do for you!

 Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle on Lake Gaston and Beyond!

August is just a few days away, so make the most of it and take it outside! Here on beautiful Lake Gaston, we have the perfect back-drop for a picnic.  So enjoy National Picnic Month in style!

Earlier this year, we discovered a fun website that lists holidays for everyday. It’s been nice to stop for a second and pause in reflection of some of these specials days.  Other days, however, have been really creative and quirky – like “Something on a Stick Day” on March 28th (I celebrated with corn-dogs for dinner and pop cycles for dessert!).  Here’s the link to the site I use:

picnic on the boatWith August just a few days away, I was searching to see what we have to look forward to.  There are many special days, like “Sister’s Day” (1st Sunday of August, Aug. 3rd 2014), “National S’mores Day” (Aug. 10th – YUM!), “Relaxation Day” (Aug. 15th – Always important), and “National Dog Day” (Aug. 26th).  But August is also National Picnic Month – so celebrate all month-long by dining more casually and enjoying the scenery.


Picnic on the move – One of the most fun things about living on the lake is the opportunity to dine on the boat.  Pack your basket and head to the water!  Just don’t ride the waves too fast while your guests are trying to eat and drink.

picnic hat


Be aware of the sun and heat – Try to pick a shady spot to settle and wear sunglasses and sun screen.  Invite friends to bring large brim hats – fun way to beat the heat!  I always forget about the part in my hair and it gets burned, so wearing a hat would solve this issue.  You could also go really classic and bring umbrellas or parasols.




packit cooler bagConsider the longevity of the food – How long do you plan to be outside?  Be aware of any dairy products that could get a little questionable in the sun and heat. Plan to take a cooler, like these great PackIt cooler bags. They are great to keep in the freezer all the time so they are ready when you need them.  And they fold up small when not in use.


breakfast picnicDon’t forget the most important meal of the day – Enjoy a breakfast picnic!  Start the day off right by packing up some muffins, scones, jams, fruit, and juice for a romantic meal at sunrise.  Just don’t forget a thermos of coffee for those that need that extra kick in the morning!


indoor picnicWeather not cooperating – Picnic Inside!  Don’t let a little rain dampen the occasion. Pack up your basket just like you normally would, but lay your picnic blanket out on the living room floor! Weather so bad that it knocks out your power? Even better – Picnic by candle light.  Another added bonus of dining inside is that you won’t have to worry about ants and other insects.

Picnic on the road with Tailgating! – Just around the corner, we also have football season.  Take your love of picnics with you!  Need more inspiration?  We have a great tailgating cooking class coming up.  The menu will feature a Little Bites Tray including Sweet & Spicy Deviled Eggs, Bacon Wrapped Pineapple Bites, & Stuffed Peppadews, as well as Marinated Chicken and Hot Peppers Sandwiches.   Join Chef Yvonne for this delicious Tailgating Cooking class to show your team spirit!

How do you enjoy the great outdoors?   We’d love to see pics of you enjoying National Picnic Month!


Thanks! ~ Autumn

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle on Lake Gaston and Beyond!


Interior Designer or Party Planner?

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2014 has kept this girl busy. As Mary would say: “How do you even keep up with your social calendar, I would go crazy!”  You could say I’m a bit of a social butterfly. I love parties, entertaining and being around friends and family. My mom has six siblings. Four of them are my next door neighbors. Naturally we have lots of family events and my house is party central.

This year so far I have helped host four baby showers, a bridal shower,  served as maid-of-honor and attended several other weddings, birthday parties and cookouts. We are only at the halfway point of 2014! I am also a bridesmaid in another wedding in September. I am looking forward to helping host a baby shower for our very own, Autumn Wenger, due in December! However, I’m not complaining! It’s my next favorite thing to do besides designing.

I wanted to share some of the highlights and advice I could give from my experience with these parties. It’s nice to be behind the scenes, I always take mental notes of “what would I have done differently.”

1. Focal Points-something that catches the guest attention

It’s important to have a focal point at your event. This helps bring a “wow” factor to your party. You are certainly welcome to have more than one focal point depending on the size of your venue. Focal points come in all different shapes and sizes. A focal point could be the wedding cake,  a floral arrangement centerpiece or a rustic chandelier placed above the dance floor.


My Aunt and I created the Wagon Wheel/Mason Jar Chandelier for my cousin’s rustic country wedding this past April. We also created the crystal silver tree centerpiece. It really brought the “Wow” factor and romantic atmosphere to the wedding.

2. Personal Touches-Additional touches that bring out the qualities of guests of honor

I would highly recommend this for your next party or event. Personal touches are a great way to add a special touch to make your event more memorable. Your guest will recognize and appreciate that you went that extra mile adding these into your planning and decorating.

The charming young man holding the sign is my little cousin Chance. He stole the show when he walked down the isle as ring bearer holding these signs.  I love the bottom/center sign. The hors d'oeuvre placed on this table were in memory of past loved ones who couldn't attend this wedding. so special! The fruit bassinet was created in honor of the future Dawson twins and lastly I created the shadow window frame for my cousin's wedding in April.

The charming young man holding the sign is my little cousin Chance. He stole the show when he walked down the aisle as ring bearer holding these signs. I love the bottom/center sign. The hors d’oeuvre placed on this table were in memory of past loved ones who couldn’t attend this wedding. So special! The fruit bassinet was created in honor of the future Dawson twins and lastly I created the shadow window frame for my cousin’s wedding in April.

3. Recruit A Team-Support system

No matter how small of a party you are planning, try to have a team. It’s okay to have a team of one or many, as long as you have someone by your side. I have been very fortunate to have been apart of some amazing teams this year already. It’s always nice to have a second opinion and a second set of eyes. Even if your teammate has possibly never planned a party, surely they have been to one. Their past experiences combined with your expertise makes a great team to help you create an amazing event. You will be glad you had these people to help you along the way.

Cheers to having an amazing team and group of friends to help create these memorable events with friends and family! Again, having a team is a plus when party planning, Nothing wrong with opening a bottle of wine and brainstorming ideas!

Cheers to having an amazing team and group of friends to help create these memorable events. Again, having a team is a plus when party planning, there’s nothing wrong with opening a bottle of wine and brainstorming ideas!

4. Don’t loose sight-Try and remember “Why” you are doing this.

Sometimes the stress of projects can get to us. It’s hard to find time to plan these events between our normal daily routines. It can become stressful and tiring. However, it’s okay to take a break! We need to sometimes take a step back. I have been told many times in design school to walk away from the drafting table, go do something fun for a few hours and then come back to it. It’s almost like getting a second look or putting on a new set of eyes. One more thing you should do is take a moment and think about the people you are having the event for and the purpose. I’m sure there is a special reason behind the madness.  This can usually help push you through.

Here are a few of my reasons "Why" I go the extra mile! When you think of all the hours, late nights, hot glue guns burns, and the million-and-one emails, these people make it all worth while.

Here are a few of my reasons “Why” I go the extra mile! When you think of all the hours, late nights, hot glue gun burns, and the million-and-one emails, these people make it all worth while.

 5. Last but no least-ENJOY!

Once the party planning has come to an end and it’s now the day of your event. However, your behind the scenes duties may not be completely just yet. Please, remember to take a moment and enjoy the event you helped create! This is where you take all of your hard work in. This is important! There’s nothing more satisfying than realizing your efforts are appreciated. Trust me, the smiles you have put on your loved ones faces are a priceless, picture perfect memory. The months and prep for these parties that only last a few hours always seem to go by way too fast! So take a moment and enjoy them!

I hope you have enjoyed a glimpse of some of the parties and events I have helped create! Party planning is my second love right behind design. However, my design degree sure comes in handy. I look forward to the other parties and events 2014 has in store! If you ever need advice or help creating your memorable evening, don’t hesitate to ask!

-Dixie K

 Mary Sherwood Lake Living-Working with you to create your lifestyle on Lake Gaston and Beyond!


Finding fun and finds in Atlanta!

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We just returned from our semi-annual market trip to Atlanta.  Boy did we pack a lot into this trip!

We were pleased to be invited to a Retailers Round Table Breakfast sponsored by Home Accents Today Magazine at the Capital City Club.  This was a small group of retailers ranging from one of the largest online home fashions companies (Wayfair) to independent interior designers.  We shared insights about consumer buying trends, the use of social media and other business issues.  It was a great to take part in this forum and express our ideas amongst our national peers.

icon awards banguet honoring exceptional vendors and retailers at americasmart atlanta

Later the same day we were invited to the largest awards event in the gift and home industry, The Icon Awards.  Thanks to Home Accents Today magazine, we were guests at their table to hear the presentations of the awards to so many deserving companies.  Most of the award winners have built very successful, large companies that are very involved in local, national and international causes.  It makes one feel very fortunate to be involved in this industry. Entertainment for the evening was a performance by the band Heart.  Do you remember their most popular song in the 70’s?  Here is a short clip of part of their performance.

Now for the finds.  Here are a few of the interesting displays and items we found.

Solaria 26″ Globe Chandelier was amazing.  They just introduced this fixture in multiple colors.

Solaria chandelier 26 diameter painted gold or silver finish stunning

Contemporary large art was everywhere.  Here is a pair of prints from Paragon.

americasmart art contempoary paragon wall-art

This window display at Mud Pie was still showing the chalk board theme for the holidays.  Santa, Mrs. Claus and the reindeer have their places marked on this chalk board runner.  We are not over this trend just yet.

Set your holiday table with a chalkboard motif

This cute display of stuffed animals on inner-tubes and slides was quite eye-catching. Great merchandising…we bought some of these cute Knitzie animals.

kids play at Americasmart Atlanrta with Knitzies stuffed animals

Dixie was into head-gear as evidenced by her many poses in various hats and headbands.

Dixie modeling head gear at americasmart atlanta

The girls and I did manage to have some fun with an afternoon glass of champagne with floating Wild Hibiscus Flowers…soon to be available at MSLL.

Girls having fun in Atlanta at Americasmart Kehe booth hibiscus flower champagne cocktail

One more shot of our late evening play-a ride on the Atlanta ferris wheel at Olympic Park, adjacent to our hotel!

Atlanta ferris wheel at Olympic Park downtown


So-these girls do know how to have fun mixed with a lots of work!

You can look forward to lots of new items starting to arrive any day!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!


Stay-cation on Lake Gaston

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A Stay-cation is taking the time off for some R&R, but staying close to home to save a little cash.  This is a great idea, just as long as you actually rest instead of catching up on your to-do list.  I just read a great post on Houzz about ways to get the most out of your stay-cation.  It really hits home because here on Lake Gaston, we have the opportunity to enjoy many benefits of the stay-cation just about anytime!  Here’s the link to the full post on Houzz: Simple Pleasures: 25 Ways to Make the Most of Your Staycation.  Below is just a sampling of my favorites from their list, showing how you can take some of this list and apply it everyday on Lake Gaston!

Life is better on Lake Gaston

1. Savor the Outdoors:  This is a no brainer!  Enjoy the view, sit outside with your morning cup of coffee, and be thankful for all that is around you.

2. Host a Movie Night Outdoors:  This can be done simply with a portable DVD player or a tablet.  Or with a bit of creativity, you can engineer a temporary movie screen with a white sheet or tarp and a digital projector.  Relive the days of Drive-In Movies.  (This is something Ryan and I love to do a couple times a month.  We just watched “Underdog” under the stars this past weekend!)

5. Enjoy a Massage:  There are some amazing resources around the lake to enjoy some “me time.”  My personal favorite is Healing Kneads.  You can do as little as a relaxing pedicure, or you can go all out for a full day of pampering with a massage, facial, pedicure… the works!

6.  Sign Up for a One Day Class:  Here at MSLL, we offer cooking classes a couple times a month on a variety of different topics.  If they don’t fit your schedule, we can do a private class for you and some friends.  Chef Yvonne Hoffman of Y Cook? is very talented in a variety of different cuisines to suit your tastes.  We are also hosting a skin-care beauty event with Patty Bunch (Make-up Artist to the Stars) in a couple weeks.  Check it out here!  There are also fun seminars at many of our special events, so just let us know what you’re interested in and we can see what we can do!

14. Have the Post Office Hold Your Mail:  It seems like a simple idea, but go through the prep of a true vacation even though you’re staying around.  By eliminating the everyday distractions and chores, you will feel more free to relax and enjoy your time.

15.  Hire a House Cleaning Service:  This is a must!  Use your time off to really relax.  Get out of the house for a few hours (maybe during your spa time) and come home to a clean house you don’t have to worry about.  Someone else has done the dirty work!  One of our favorites is Angel Watson of Angel’s Professional Cleaning.  She does a wonderful job and is very courteous.

20.  Bring Home Fresh Flowers:  Another subtle touch that can made a big difference.  There are many sources for this as well.  We have been working with Pam Ballew of Petals by Pam.  She brings us fresh cut flowers on Friday mornings, and they stay fresh for days!

25.  Take Pictures!  It may seem silly, but if you’re having a great time, you should capture the moment!


How have you made your time special so far?  We’d love to hear about your adventures in the comments below!

I hope you had an amazing 4th and hope you can continue to enjoy your summer on beautiful Lake Gaston!

Thanks! ~ Autumn

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle on Lake Gaston and Beyond!


Born in the USA

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The 4th of July holiday weekend is approaching! It’s the highlight of our Summer season here at Lake Gaston.

Dock parties, amazing fireworks, boat rides with friends and family are to be expected! We all will be proudly sporting our red, white and blue as well! As the saying goes, “I’m proud to be an American!”  I know I am!

I wanted to shine the spotlight on some really cool products that are made right here in the good ole’ U.S. of A!

Orbix H Glass- Fort Payne, Alabama


Orbix Hot Glass is a small studio and gallery business owned by Cal and Christy Breed. Opened in 2002, Orbix Hot Glass pieces are all hand-made by a team of experienced glass blowers.  I love that they pay great attention to their customers and the quality of work really shows. I took this quote directly from their site, “We are making one-at-a-time glassware for individuals who want one-at-a-time attention.” I think it sums up their work perfectly.

Fiesta-The Homer Laughlin China CO.- Newell, West Virginia


Fiesta China Co. I think has the perfect company name! Their china is bright, bold, fun and colorful just like a Fiesta! The Home Laughlin China Company introduced Fiesta dinnerware in 1936. Fiesta was designed by Frederick Hurten Rhead and became a major hit soon after hitting the market! Each year Fiesta releases a new color into their line! This is perfect because you know we love color here at MSLL! FIESTA is a major contender in bridal registries as well as the leading casual dinnerware brand across America.

 Meissenburg Designs-Bigfork, Montana


 We love this company! Meissenburg is a great all American company right here in the states. They create custom signs that can be personalized with no extra charge along with various materials and designs! The designs are endless and greatly appeal to our area! They have a big selection of boating and lake theme signs which have become very popular with our customers!

Poor Boy Woodworks-Saginaw, Michigan 


We just discovered this company a few weeks ago and you may have already seen some of their products in our showroom. Matt Hunter is the owner of Poor Boy Woodworks, a company which creates wood signs with over 3,000 designs to choose from. We recently got these items name-dropped with Lake Gaston on them just for our showroom!

Company C Furniture- Various USA Cities


 Company C is a fabulous company that carries creative colorful furniture, rugs, bedding, and decorative accessories.  Chris and her husband Walter developed their business in 1994 after realizing the rug business they were running out of their garage was a huge success.  Company C’s furniture line is handcrafted and upholstered here in the US. Even their hardwoods are sustainably harvested and kiln-dried here in North Carolina!


What did you think of those awesome American made products? Do you have a favorite product that is also made in the US? We would love to hear about it!

We would also like to wish everyone a Happy 4th of July!

We hope you have a safe and fabulous weekend with your friends and family! Get out there and enjoy the lake!

-Dixie K

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Summer is an amazing time here on beautiful Lake Gaston.  It’s always wonderful when the weather allows us to enjoy some time out in the sun and water.  But sometimes we can also use a much-needed break.  You can take advantage of the wonderful view from inside, but what if you have too much sun to appreciate it?  Here are some different window shading options to suit your different needs.

– Draperies – A classic and versatile design feature that can reduce or eliminate the impact of the sun’s harsh rays.  With a wide selection of drapery fabrics, the design options are limitless.  Plus, these fabrics can be paired with standard lining, interlining, or blackout lining to work with the amount of light filtering you need.

Hunter Douglas Silhouette window shades detail

– Hunter Douglas Silhouette window shades – This has to be one of our favorite shading products.  It functions similar to a roller shade, but combines the softness of sheers with many versatile light control options.   As they are rolled down, they appear to be a solid panel that can provide anywhere between light filtering to room darkening.  When all the way down, the shade pops open to reveal the true construction – it is actually a series of light controlling veins that are suspended between two layers of sheer fabric.  Plus, when rolled all the way up, it is all contained within a compact head-rail, leaving your view virtually unobstructed.

Hunter Douglas Duette energy efficient shades

– Hunter Douglas Duette honeycomb shades – These shades, with the honeycomb construction, give you more than just light control.   Duette shades are also very energy efficiency to keep heating and cooling costs under control.  Air is trapped in the pockets, controlling the escape of air around windows.   Hunter Douglas offers lots of color options and construction configurations, giving you exactly what you are looking for.  They also fold up very tightly, giving you little to no view obstruction.

Hunter Douglas Shutters

– Hunter Douglas Shutters – For a classic traditional look and full light blocking, consider custom built-in shutters.  They are available in many finishes and can be custom shaped for any application.  As you can tell, we love working with Hunter Douglas products – they offer great customer service and a life-time warranty.

– Solar Window Film – Want to enjoy your view but are suffering from the blinding sun?  Solar window film gives you full view through your windows and can control the amount of glare and/or heat.  There are many film options to suit your needs.  This is also a wonderful option if you want to keep your full view, but are concerned about your interior furnishing fading in the sun.

These are just a few of the options available.  We have many other options that could work for you as well.  Let us know how we can help!

How do you like to enjoy your time at Lake Gaston inside?  Is there a special shady spot where you like to kick back for a summer afternoon nap?  We’d love to hear about it!

Thanks! ~ Autumn

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!

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“Thank You DAD”

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Happy Father's Day

Father’s Day is this Sunday! Let’s take this moment to say,

“Thank You Dad & Happy Farther’s Day!”

Let’s face it – sometimes being a dad isn’t the easiest of jobs! Fatherhood is full of responsibilities and never-ending list of fatherly duties.  Dads are the advice givers, teachers of life long lessons, Mr. Fix It of all jobs, and even the checker for monsters under the bed!  The list of dad’s duties goes on and on! Dads should not be forgotten or be taken for granted for always being there, it’s their job! Whew!  You see why we must say, “Thanks Dad!”

I would like to wish my dad and all the other fatherly/superhero figures out there this special weekend a very HAPPY FATHER’S DAY!

 Happy Father's Day, Autumn's Wedding Day

Here is just another one of dad’s duties, getting to walk his daughter down the isle! Pictured is Autumn and her dad, Micheal, sharing a special moment on her wedding day in June 2008.  This is an amazing photo!  (“Your little girl will always look up to you!  Thank you for always being supportive and lending a helping hand.  Love you Daddy.”  – Autumn)

Happy Farther's Day, Mary's Dad

Let’s also pay tribute to the Dad’s that risk their lives for our country past and present. Here is Mary’s dad before he served in World War II. Shortly after his return, he married Mary’s mother. He passed when Mary was very young however, she very much enjoyed the time they did have together.

Happy Father's Day, Dixie's Dad

I’m sure I have the silliest of dads! I spend most of my time with my dad in the great outdoors.  We enjoy fishing together, riding his motorcycle, and many other things. He has been a great supporter and biggest fan in my life! I don’t think he has ever missed any of my softball games! Believe it of not, but my dad actually braided my pigtail in this picture.

Happy Father's Day, Paul

Last but not least, our dad in the office Mr. Paul Sherwood!

Here is Paul, Aaron and Jake hanging out at Epcot in Walt Disney World!

I hope all the Papas, Pops, Grandpas, Fathers, Daddy’s, Step-Dads and Dads have a wonderful Father’s Day!

How are you honoring Dad this Father’s Day!? Do you have an amazing Dad you would like to recognize?

Tell us about the special superhero in your life!

Have an amazing weekend! We love you dad!

-Dixie K



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IBS / KBIS LogosThe 2014 Kitchen and Bath Show in Las Vegas exceeded all expectations.  For the first time the International Builders’ Show (IBS) and the Kitchen & Bath Industry Show (KBIS) co-located to create Design and Construction Week. This is one of the world’s largest gatherings focused on new ideas, products and technologies for designing, building and remodeling homes.  An estimated 70,000 people came to Las Vegas for this show.

Here are a few of my favorites from the show.

Technology based items were everywhere from blue tooth enabled key locks to docking stations for all our electronic gadgets.  The new KEVO deadbolt locking system was amazing.  Programming the entry into your house for workers or guests from anywhere with the use of your smart phone is just one of the many functions.

Control passage into your home with blue-tooth enabled dead bolts.

Control passage into your home with blue-tooth enabled dead bolts.


Charge all your electronic gadgets while stashed in a drawer!

New cabinet organization products are always of great interest at this show.  Pullout details in upper and lower cabinets make full use of interior cabinet space.  Cut-out roll out shelves in a vanity cabinet insures easy access and better space utilization.

Pull out utensil storage!

Pull out utensil storage!

Vanity base cabinet with plumbing cut-out to optimize pull out storage.

Vanity base cabinet with plumbing cut-out to optimize pull out storage.

New LED lighting options were everywhere.  We have been using LED fixtures for about two years but we learned a few more tricks about incorporating lighting in all the nooks and crannies of cabinets. My favorite was interior lighting for cabinet drawers and a Lazy Susan base cabinet.  With LED’s you will never be without light in hard to see interiors.  I am really a fan of this technology.  For more lighting tips checkout our blog:


No more dark drawer interiors!


LED lighting in a base lazy-susan cabinet.

Many appliance manufacturers returned to this show with some great new products. Induction cooking surfaces, steam ovens and many “smart” control features were the highlights.  With Thermador’s steam and convection oven you can cook a moist, golden brown 14 lb turkey in just 90 minutes.  This would surely make holiday food prep easier!  I also love the Thermador Freedom Full Surface Induction cooktop.  This cooktop allows you to place four pots or pans anywhere on the cooking surface and adjust the heat to the size of the pan.  The Wine Station by Dacor would be a wine enthusiast’s dream come true.  There is perfect temperature controls for up to four bottles of your favorite vino.

Cooking will never be the same after you cook with steam in this new Thermador steam oven.

Cooking will never be the same after you cook with steam in this new Thermador steam oven.

Store and keep four different types of wine at the correct temperature with Decor's Wine Station.

Store and keep four different types of wine at the correct temperature with Decor’s Wine Station.

Of course it was not always all work and no play!

Dixie and Autumn trying their luck at the slots in it wasn't all work and no play!

Dixie and Autumn trying their luck at the slots in Vegas…so it wasn’t all work and no play!

Let us know if you would like more information on any of these innovative new products!  How would you use these new products?  What is your favorite?



Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle! 



So happy and excited about the upcoming addition to our little family! If you missed the big announcement a few weeks ago, Autumn’s having a baby! Feeling great too, so doubly blessed!  While I have high energy and creativity, I’ll keep working away at the updates to “baby-land.”  Today’s update: A New Life for an Old Dresser.

Nursery dresser re-do beforeHere you see the before:  This dresser had definitely seen better days.

  • It wobbled when you sat something on top of it or opened a drawer – very unstable.
  •  The drawer glides had been damaged from years of rough use.
  • The overall aged looked was not going to fly for this unique space.
  • Also wanted to achieve some variety in storage with shelves.

So what did I do?  First for the repairs and modifications:

  • Took out the top 2 drawers and removed the dividers in this section.
  • Removed the back panel.  Same as the previous furniture piece, the thin back panel was providing little support.
  • Removed any broken or bent nails at vulnerable joints.  Then re-glued, nailed and clamped these joints to secure them.  Even though I planned to replaced the back panel with a thicker, more supportive sheet of plywood, I wanted to make sure it would be as stable as possible.  It is important with taller pieces like this.
  • Removed and replaced the old drawer glides.  I went back with wooden drawer glides again, but this time it has a hard plastic female piece that attaches to the drawer.  Keeps it secure and won’t break as easily.  TIP: Rub wooden drawer glides with a bar of soap.  This helps them slide smoothly with no friction so they last longer!
  • Built new shelf compartment.  I made this as a  completely separate cubby-style box.  Even made sure to measure some of our books to make space for the different sizes.  Secured box to furniture piece with screws.
  • Attached new back panel.  I made sure to do this last so that I had full access to the inside from both sides during the other fixes.
  • Filled holes for old hardware and drilled for the new.
  • Filled any scratches or holes and sanded everything in prep for painting.  Wipe clean with a clean, damp cloth.

Nursery dresser re-do afterNow for the fun part, the finishing touches that lead to this amazing after:

  • Prepped everything with one coat of white primer.  Note: Lightly sand with very fine sand paper between each coat.  This makes sure each coat strongly adheres.
  • Continued to paint all the white areas with the necessary number of coats.  The raw new areas (back panel and cubby shelves) needed 4 total coats including the primer.  The other white areas (drawer fronts, top, edges) only needed 3 including the primer.
  • Painted accent colors – the green required 3 coats of its own while the turquoise only took 1.  Different styles of paint brushes will cover differently, so you will learn from experience.  I used small artist brushes for the turquoise details.
  • Attached new hardware.

Voila!  A creative “new” dresser for baby-land.  Then we had the fun of loading it up.  Tall books in the left, shorter books stacked on their sides in the center, and records on the right.  (Had to include vintage classics like the Mary Poppins soundtrack!) Then added even more fun with the stuffed characters – gotta love Cookie Monster and Snuffleupagus!

One more piece checked off the list for our little one’s room.  It’s coming together, one bit at a time.  If you wanted to see the changing table in the previous post, check it out here!  We’re so excited to see it complete and share it with our bundle of joy.  This is definitely going to be one fun-loving kid!

CALLING ALL EXPERIENCED MOMS:  I’m asking for input again – I’d love to know how you relax and unwind.  With the exciting (and somewhat terrifying) changes approaching, I could use a little release.  With my projects and very supportive hubby, most of the stress has been under control.  I just want to make sure I keep it that way!

I love you all for the support and encouragement during this time in my life. Looking forward to the future and all that goes with it!

Thanks! ~ Autumn

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!

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Let’s Remember

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Let's Remember-Flag

Memorial Day weekend is approaching! I thought it would be nice to take a moment from design tips and reflect on how important this weekend really is. Our upcoming extra long weekend as we all know is a great time to visit the lake and enjoy outdoor activities with friends and family. It also marks the beginning of our lake season. We love welcoming back our lake lovers!

However, this Memorial Day weekend we should take a moment from our busy schedule to remember those who have fought and lost their lives for our freedom.  Without these sacrifices this would not be possible. In honor of these fallen heroes, Mary Sherwood Lake Living has partnered with the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation to organize the donation and handout of 250 long stem roses on Saturday May, 24th.

Memorial Day Flowers Foundation

Click the image to learn more about the Memorial Day Flowers Foundation

This is our 1st year participating in this event! We are inviting anyone who would like to receive a long stem rose to honor a Lake Gaston/Roanoke Valley Veteran to come by our store this Saturday, May 24th  from 10 AM – 4 PM to pick them up.

In addition to our efforts this Memorial Day, Mary Sherwood Lake Living has arranged for 150 headstones at Arlington National Cemetery to receive roses in remembrance of our fallen troops. Donations are also accepted in support of the Roanoke Valley Veterans Museum.

Well, I couldn’t totally keep myself away from design. Have you ever considered how or who our war memorials were designed by? I recall a presentation  by a fellow classmate at Radford University about the Vietnam War Memorial designed by Maya Lin. Maya Lin was only twenty one and an architect student at Yale University when her design was chosen out of 1441 submissions in a public design competition for the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

Maya Lin Design Presentation Board

Maya Lin’s Design Presentation Board and Steve Oles rendered perspectives

The v-shaped black granite wall she designed has the names of over 57,000 fallen soldiers carved in chronological order. One side of the wall points to the Lincoln Memorial and the other points to the Washington Monument.   The monument gradually descends into the earth to a depth of 10.1′ and reascends to a  height of about 8″ where the entrance to the memorial begins.  This concept was to create a wound in the earth  which symbolizes the loss of our soldiers.

Memorial Day, Vietnam War Memorial, 2014

Vietnam War Memorial

Her thought process and symbolism behind the design is truly remarkable. She even chose the granite stone for its reflective surface, so when you gaze at the wall you see your own reflection and the surroundings reminding you what these fallen soldiers sacrificed their life for. Lin’s design in 2007 was ranked # 10 on the list of America’s Favorite Architecture by the American Institute of Architects. I have yet to see this monument in person but it’s on my bucket list.  I hope everyone enjoys this holiday weekend and remembers to take a moment to understand why this holiday it so important!

Happy Memorial Day!

 -Dixie K 

Mary Sherwood Lake Living- Lake Gaston


Garage Organization-The Before and After

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I am about to open up and share a very scary sight.  This is our garage before ORGANIZATION!

Before garage organization-yikes!

THE BEFORE Garage-does this look similar to something you might have?

Sooo…about two years ago we outfitted our garage.  It was a big investment but worth every penny.  It does not stay perfect but it is amazing how easy it is to straighten up and keep it tidy.  Paul even has his “garage man cave” with kegerator and lounge chair.   Pictured here is the Sherwood’s garage re-do.

How to start   

Make three piles…what to keep, what to donate and what to throw away.  Get rid of the items to donate and to throw away immediately.  If you don’t part with them after you sort, they just seem to migrate back into a “comfortable” corner of the garage.

How to Get Organized

Arrange items in groups of how you use them.  Car care supplies, sporting gear, lawn care tools, hobby materials and do-it-yourself tools are just a few suggestions.

Drawer for garden tools.

Gardening tools at the ready!

Pots and potting supplies.

Pots and more pots!

Assorted paints for craft projects.

Painting and Craft Project Supplies


Storage for cleaning gear organized for easy access.

Cleaning Equipment Storage

Tool drawer for working on the vehicles

Motorcycle tinkering equipment drawer!

Plan a place to stash seasonal stuff that you use infrequently.  Measure items that will need to be sorted and stored in labeled closed bins.

Storage planned to house seasonal decorations,

Great Christmas Decoration Storage

 Storage Options

Every guy lusts for a Diamond Plate cabinet storage systems. It is beautiful but an expensive option. (Photo: My Great Garage)Diamond-Plate-Storage-garage-organization-cabinetry

There are many other garage storage systems on the market that may better fit the budget.  Open shelving systems are less costly and make items more visible.  Closed cabinets keep items cleaner and concealed but also may give you an excuse to stay disorganized.  Try to keep as much off the floor as possible to avoid the debris and dirt brought in by vehicles.  Wire shelving, peg board and overhead storage all will help with your organization plan.

Cabinetry, countertop and sink provide a great space for potting plants!

Storage, work surface, and sink for projects, potting and easy clean-up.

 Garage Floors 

Painting or covering the garage floor will help with clean up and track-in to the house. An epoxy concrete floor coating provides a cleanable surface which can hide flaws in the existing bare concrete.  Vinyl, interlocking squares can be an easy quick fix.   Another option is an auto floor guard containment mat which protects the garage floor as well as contains moisture dripping from cars.

Creature Comforts

If your garage space allows and there is no other room for a “man cave,” add some creature comforts in the garage.  Include things like a cooler, beer frig., seating, and music to create a relaxation zone after a hard day’s work in the great outdoors!

Kergerator and acoutrements!

Kegerator, created from a vintage GE refrigerator, barware and necessary acoutrements!

Paul's garage man cave with his two wheel ride and comfortable lounge chair

Paul’s “Garage” man cave complete with motorcycle art, beer kegerator and lounge chair!

If garage renovation is on your list of home improvement I highly recommend it!  Never again will we let our garage get to the “BEFORE” state.  What would you tackle first to get your garage organized?

Happy organizing!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle! 


BIG NEWS – Ryan and I are expecting!  So with the upcoming pitter-patter of little feet, I’m getting started with my own creative energy.  I love giving furniture and accessories new life with a little elbow grease and paint, and the nursery will be no exception.  We’re due the beginning of December, so I’m getting started now – before my belly gets in the way!  Here’s the first of a series of the different projects I’m undertaking to make “baby-land” unique!

Small white dresser before


Changing Table from Dresser

I started with an inexpensive white dresser given to me by a friend (similar to the one shown to the right).  Overall, it was in pretty good shape, but it did wobble a little bit.  To stabilize it, I replaced the thin back board (not much more than card board) with 1/4″ ply wood.

For the top, I added a frame of trim to keep the changing pad in place.  Next, I filled any scratches or dents and gave the whole piece a light sanding before paint.

Top of Changing Table Dresser RedoMy favorite color is green, Ryan’s is orange, so we’ve decided the overall color scheme for the room will be bright orange, green, and turquoise.  Another pro of using our favorite colors – I’ve used them before and had left-over paint, so no money spent there!  The body of the dresser was painted bright green, the drawer fronts and the top crisp white.

The knobs are where I really had fun!  I re-purposed over-sized button Christmas ornaments (that’s right, Christmas ornaments!).  I had 5 in total, 4 bright colors and 1 white.  I used the colorful button and attached them to old wooden spools to stand off from the drawers.  Worked Great!  For the last 2 knobs I needed, I painted fun swirl designs to the existing knobs and it pulled it all together.

Here’s the finished piece in front of the bright orange wall.  This poor child is never going to sleep in this bright room – or maybe it’s poor parents!  Oh No, what have we done!

Finished Changing Table from Dresser Transformation

This is just the first of many projects I have in the works for the nursery.  Here are a few, and we’ll see what else I come up with:

  • Tall dresser updated to include shelves for book and records
  • Custom mobile (including that large white button I have left)
  • Re-upholster chair that rocks (both physically and colorfully!)
  • Custom changing pad (has to be custom for this custom changing table!)

CALLING ALL EXPERIENCED MOMS: I’d love to have any advise or pearls of wisdom you might share!  Any must haves that saved you in a time of crises?  Any so called “baby necessities” that you never ended up needing?  Please share – I can’t learn everything from books and Googling!

Thanks! ~ Autumn

Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!

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Trends for 2014, 2015, & 2016 Continued!

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We learned so much about the upcoming design trends at the “With It”  breakfast  during High Point market a couple of weeks ago that one Design Wisdom Wednesday just didn’t suit.  Mary took notice of the unique hardware displayed all over market last week and Autumn highlighted the major Asian trend that is currently moving into the design forefront last week.  But, there are still trends left to be covered, keep in mind we are dishing out trends for the next three years!

Here are some other trends worth highlighting.

Punk is on the rise! Look for home accessories with an edge. Home accessories were accented with metal and metallic finished along with studs, spikes, and zippers.

Design Trends Punk Accents

Jungle Fever: Lush greens, tropical birds, and animal prints are still on trend now. I had to take this picture of this parrot lamp.  This really hits the nail on the head with this trend.

Design Trends with Jungle influences, banana leaves, animal prints, and tropical birds

Baroque Influence: dramatic, opulent, and luxurious, intricately designed furniture, gilded and ornamental accessories, and high-end textiles. As you can see some of our upcoming trends hold overlapping characteristics. Luster and large scale elements could all be found in more evident baroque pieces.

Baroque, Large Mirrors, Luxurious, Heavy, Ornate

Earthy:  Biggest Story for 2015! The younger generation is more aware of the need to take care of our planet. This has lead to this “earthy” trend in design. You will begin to see more of a country blend, modern mixed with urban, as well as warmer greens and yellows, and of course terracotta.

Design Trends: Earthy, Modern mixed with urban, country blend

Imperfection: Organic forms, aged wood, worn patterns, watercolor and faded ombre designs are all trends that show wear and life.  Furniture and accessories show evidence of a human touch.

Imperfection: Aged wood, ombre effect, drifting color, organic forms

By now you are on your way to becoming a trend expert! You already know the trends before they hit the press for the next three years! Exciting, isn’t it!? Just remember these are trends not fads. Trends have a tendency to last longer than a fad and have more influence on future markets. So staying up with the current trends is a valued piece of information!

Have you seen any of our trends we have highlighted? 

-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living, Lake Gaston -Working with you to create your lifestyle!


Statement Furniture Hardware

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Over the last few Design Wisdom Wednesday blogs we have been discussing trends from the High Point Market.  I would like to continue this trend spot discussion.

While in the Hooker Furniture showroom I was drawn to all the amazing hardware applied to the chests and credenzas.  This was not any ordinary hardware. Many were super-sized and elaborately designed.  Looking at the furniture and the enlarged hardware will give you an idea of scale of these pieces.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Black credenza with rectangular dark pewter hardware pulls. Crackle mother of pearl veneer and over sized hardware embellish this chest.

Serpentine credenza with burnished gold hardware Leather covered credenza with gold door knocker hardware. Classic black three drawer chest with intricate and large pewter hardware. Small ocassional chest, painted pewter finish and hardware. Chest with black embossed leather, pewter nail head trim and buckle pulls. Turquoise painted chest w brushed pewter hardware

All the furniture pieces shown above are available as photographed.  We are trying to source out options for purchasing individual hardware pieces.  Hooker Furniture is kindly researching their availability. Many of the pulls are specially tooled for them.

Which is your favorite?  Are you as excited as I am about this new hardware trend?  Let us hear from you!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!



Asian Inspired Design Trends in 2014

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At the 2014 Spring High Point Furniture Market, we saw many trends popping up and learned of others that should be emerging over the next few years.  A main theme we certainly saw a lot of was the influence of traditional Asian concepts in contemporary design.  Here is just a glimpse at ways to incorporate some Asian influence into your decor.

Asian fabrics collage high point spring 2014

Asian influenced fabrics were seen all over market. Although they definitely show Chinese or Japanese motifs, they can also be sprinkled into transitional designs to add conversational interest and even whimsy.

Last week, Dixie posted about many sweeping trends we heard about while at market. Here’s the link if you’d like to see the article.  Some concepts that she discussed that can be used with the Asian trend are: Scale, Luster, and even blended with Neutrals.  

Asian designed rooms and accents high point spring 2014

Here are some room arrangements showing transitional furniture with Asian influenced accents. Also shown is how to incorporate this theme with other trends like deep blue walls, lustrous finishes, and large scale focal points.


How could you bring in some the Orient into your design?  A dragon fabric?  A lustrous lamp?  Traditional calligraphy?   There are many ways to have fun with this formal design trend.  So much fun that you may bring it into other areas of your life.

 “Domo Arigato!” (“Thank You Very Much” in Japanese)



Mary Sherwood Lake Living -Working with you to create your lifestyle!

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Trend Forecast for 2014, 2015, & 2016!

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We’re back! We ventured to High Point, NC for the High Point Furniture Market this week. It’s always exciting to go and explore the showrooms to discover new designs and trends! High Point has a lot to offer designers. It’s important to see what’s out there and stay current.

Sunday morning we attended the WITH IT (Women In the Home Furnishings Industry) educational breakfast seminar, featuring guest speaker Michelle Lamb. Michelle did an excellent presentation on trends. She is the editorial director for The Trend Curve which talks about world influences that drive future trends.

It’s nice to know the forecast of what’s going to happen next. We don’t always get this opportunity so we are running full speed ahead with it! We wanted to share this with our own MSLL trendsetters and wisdom lovers.

Here is a sneak peak  of the trends that will be stealing the spotlight in 2014, 2015 & 2016:

The Rise of Neutrals: Neutrals are making a comeback, a BIG comeback! Black & whites, browns, warmer grays and taupe will all be in the forefront. Earth tones will command attention in 2015.Design Trends 2014

Pastels are also becoming more apparent especially in the warmer tones. Pink will be the ring leader in this category. Look for combinations of purple & yellows as well as pink & greens.

Design Trends, Pastels

Scale: Seating is being made wider and deeper. Prints and patterns are larger than life! A lot of greek key designs were incorporated in furniture and fabrics.

 Design Trends/Large Scale Prints and Fabrics

Luster: Reflective surfaces, foil, burlap, sequins, metallics and metals all are on trend.

Metallics, Metal. Foiled, Luster, Design Trends

Cover Up: Fabric covered headboards, woven raffia applied to furniture, even leather covered furniture make it into the spotlight.

Leather Finish, Design Trends

Farm to Table: Earth tones, hand-made looks, imperfections, country blends, a mix of modern to urban styles, many accented with warm tones of terracotta and green, are emerging into home fashions.

Design Trends, Hand Made, Farm to table. distressed


These are just a few trend highlights to look for in 2014, 2015 & 2016. We will be forecasting these trends and others in more detail in our upcoming Wednesday Wisdom posts. It’s so exciting to be in the know! See you next week for more trend colors and inspiration!

Happy Wednesday!

-Dixie K Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living, Lake Gaston -Working with you to create your lifestyle!

**Check out our post on FACEBOOK, Can you match Mary, Autumn & Dixie’s favorite High Point Market Find!?

Lighting is so important in creating the mood and function of the interior of your home.  Lighting that is too bright and harsh creates an uncomfortable glare that is hard to live with.  Lighting that is too dim can create other problems such as difficulty reading, safely working in the kitchen and navigating stairs.   So how do the 2014 Consumer Bulb regulations really affect us?   It certainly makes shopping for light bulbs more challenging.

Only 10% of consumers feel knowledgable about the new lighting bulb options.

Only 10% of consumers feel knowledgable about the new lighting bulb options.

Here are some insights provided by Lutron Electronics:

  1.  Only 10% of adults feel very knowledgeable about bulb options after the latest phase-out.
  2.  There seems to be a lot of resistance from consumers to use anything that resembles fluorescent light.
  3.  72% of consumers do not realize that not all CFL and LED lamps are dimmable.
  4.  Almost two-thirds (65%) of consumers say that they are likely to use new technology bulbs (such as CFLs, LEDs, and halogens).

As of January 1, 2014 the final phase of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 went into effect banning 60 and 40 watt incandescent bulbs.  There is a myth that incandescent bulbs are disappearing altogether.  This is not true.  Most decorative bulbs  such as candelabra bulbs and three way bulbs will remain the same.   It simply means the 100, 75, 60 and 40 watt will no longer be manufactured or imported into the U.S.  Many retail sources will still have these bulbs available through 2014, but isn’t it time to help save the planet.

So what are the choices?  It can be really confusing. The common incandescent light bulb is inexpensive, dimmable and produces warm light, but it uses more electricity and has a very short life span.

A few examples of light bulb choices with kelvin rating and approximate costs.

A few examples of light bulb choices with kelvin rating and approximate costs.

Here are some of the pros and cons of three replacement options as compared to incandescent bulbs.

Compact Fluorescent Bulbs-CFLs:

Pros-use 75% less energy than incandescent, last 7 – 10 times longer

Cons- Often take longer to warm up, most are not dimmable, contains mercury, & provides marginal light quality.

Halogens Bulbs

Pros- These are a form of incandescent bulb (not being phased out) that give off instant light and good color rendition. Most are dimmable

Cons – Create heat, have a short life span and are more expensive than CFLs

Light-emitting Diode Bulbs-LEDs

Pros- Use less energy than CFLs.  Last 18-46 years. Instantly brighten. Some are dimmable

Cons- Unusual shapes, heavy fixtures, expensive (but prices are coming down)

What else do you need to know about making the right bulb choice?

  1.  Not all types of bulbs will fit all fixtures.  A-type bulbs will fit standard screw-in fixtures.
  2.  Not all are dimmable, check the label.
  3.  Check the lumens (the measure of brightness).  450 lumens replace the 40 watt bulb.  800 lumens replace the 60 watt bulb.  1100 lumens replace the  75 watt bulb.
  4.  Choose color of light by the Kelvin number.  For example: Warm light is 2700K. Bright White light is 3000-3500K.  Cool bright light is 4000- 4100K.    For the best general effect use 3000-3500K bulbs.
From warm to cool LED lighting and Kelvin ratings.

From warm to cool LED lighting and Kelvin ratings.

LED’s are the best options for variations in brightness, color rendering, energy conservation and long lasting.  In all of our recent kitchen design work we have been specifying LED accent and task lighting.  Here is an example of a beautiful wall of cherry cabinetry and onyx countertop/backsplash totally illuminated by various types of LED lighting.

A beautiful wall of cabinetry  illuminated with LED lighting.

A beautiful wall of cabinetry illuminated with LED lighting.

 If you would like to try simulating the differences in lighting options here is a useful app, LightSmart, available for:



that lets you see the effects of changes in Lumens and Kelvin numbers.

For more information about light bulb choices go to these links:,2817,2428279,00.asp

The abundance of new lighting choices presents a wealth of creative possibilities.  We are constantly learning new ways to incorporate more lighting into your home for function and beauty.

Do you have a lighting issue that may benefit from some creative lighting options?  Let us know and we will see what Brilliant Ideas we can suggest.

Don’t be left in the Dark!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle!



2014 Spring Color Trends

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Spring-2014-color-trendsIt’s officially spring, no matter what the weather decides to do.  In honor of the season, we posted this picture last week on Facebook, showing the current color trends.  The colors chosen for spring 2014 range from neutrals, pastels, and bold colors.  So how can you use these in your home design?

Neutral sand wall color bedroom designNeutrals are wonderful to use as wall colors because they really become timeless.  By choosing a color like Sand with Paloma trim, the warm walls will work with many color combinations.  Here you see it paired with fabrics featuring grays and deep blues (close to Dazzling Blue), but Sand could also work well with Violet Tulip,  Radiant Orchid or Cayenne.


Placid Blue Neutral BackdropSome interesting choices in the pastels can actually be treated as neutrals also.  Hemlock or Placid Blue are found in nature, so they both work seamlessly as backdrops for many color palettes.  For example, here is Placid Blue as the wall color in this bedroom, with pops of the more vibrant colors of the season.  Freesia, Celosia Orange, and Cayenne would be lovely and energetic in contrast to this calming shade.

Blue Accent Wall at Mary Sherwood Lake Living


Of course, here at Mary Sherwood Lake Living, we love pops of color!  These cheerful hues of spring are very inspiring for us.  Every year we select a color to feature on the accent wall in our front sun room.  This year we chose a deep, rich blue, close to Dazzling Blue.  Whether you have bright artwork and accessories or more light and neutral pieces, this deep tone creates dramatic contract and interest.





How else could you use these fun colors of spring?  How about your wardrobe and accessories!  We’ve teamed up with Soldsie – a unique shopping experience on Facebook where you have a limited time to purchase items before they hit the showroom floor!  “Tease-Me Tuesday Sales” will be on Tuesdays at 8:30 PM (eastern time) starting April 1st.  We’ll even have a give-away on Monday, March 31st for a coupon.  And it’s so easy to shop – once you’ve registered with Soldsie, all you have to do is write “Sold” in the comments of an item you want to purchase.  So check us out on Facebook for full details and register today!

Soldsie Tease Me Tuesday Sale at Mary Sherwood Lake Living


Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with You to Create Your Lifestyle on Lake Gaston, on Facebook, and Beyond!

Everyone always loves “before” and “after” shots of project work.  I searched the archives of thousands of pictures to show you some of the kitchen projects we have done over the years.  Some of these projects go back about 10 years but still seem almost timeless today.  When a project can stand the test of “style” time you have done your job.  Yes, cabinet finishes, countertop preferences, backsplash tile trends and lighting are constantly changing.  But it was amazing to me see how many of these kitchens still work today.


Contemporary Kitchen for 2003 and Today Transitional KitchenTraditional Kitchen with Timeless Elements

Greensboro Traditional Kitchen

If you know your comfort zone (of style and color) when planning your kitchen it will be something you can enjoy for many years.  Good planning is the key. There are lots of options to consider.  Making the right choices are critical.  Working with a knowledgeable kitchen designer can insure your kitchen will easily stand the test of “style” time.

Let us work with you to fine tune your likes to create your style!

Show us pictures of what is in your kitchen or “dream” file that illustrates your style!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle! 





5 Tips to Picking the Perfect Paint Color

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5 tips to picking the perfect paint color, benjamin moore

Whether it’s your kitchen, master bedroom or bath, finding the perfect paint color can seem overwhelming. There’s so many to choose from! Having the perfect paint color is the easiest way to add that “WOW!” factor to your home without breaking your budget.

Here are five great tips to the in’s and out’s when choosing the perfect paint color.

5 tips to picking the perfect paint color, game room, benjamin moore seagrove

 Tip # 1

Think about what space you are going to paint. The floor finish in the room is what we would consider your first color. The other secondary colors to consider would be any of the fabrics, furnishings and accessories in the space.

While in design school at Radford University,  I would always want to choose the paint color first. I thought paint made the most impact and  excitement to the room. Later, I learned it’s better to decide the paint color after your major room elements have been decided. This is because there are a million paint colors to choose from. It’s a lot easier to match a paint color to your favorite chair than having to recovered the chair because you’re in love with a particular paint color.

5 tips to picking the perfect paint color, master bedroom, benjamin moore white sand

Tip #2

Inspiration. This is a very helpful way to decide the perfect paint color! Maybe you recall a certain vacation spot that you would like to recreate. Artwork is a great way to draw inspiration. Using the colors of a particular painting or photograph can help set the tone for creating your room’s color story.

5 tips to picking the perfect paint color, girls bedroom, benjamin moore jamaican aqua, calming cream

Tip # 3

When in doubt try sample paint. It’s a lot cheaper and easier to make a decision when seeing the color actually sampled in the room. This will cost you around $5.95. This is not a bad price for such a big decision if you are still having a hard time choosing. Seeing a bigger swatch of your color than on a paint chip will help make your decision easier. Remember when looking at a paint chip in the store hold it next to something that is white to get the true color.  Holding it next to other colors may trick the eye.

 5 tips to picking the perfect paint color, kitchen, benjamin moore pale sea mist

Tip # 4

Live with your color. It’s a good idea to give your colors a test run. Test out your colors in the room you want to revamp. You can apply the sample paints or just hang the paint chips.  Either way, this will also help you see how the colors will react in both day and night lighting. Remember to label the swatches so you can remember which color you liked best during your test run.

5 tips to picking the perfect paint color living room, benjamin moore huntington beige

Tip #5

5 tips to picking the perfect paint color, sheen chart

Don’t forget the finish. This can also change the look of your color whether it appears shiny or matte. Here are some finishes and their characteristics.

Flat or Matte: has the least shine and the least reflective surface

Eggshell or Satin: has  slightly  more sheen than flat, usually used in high traffic areas or kids room because it can be cleaned more easily

Semi-Gloss: holds up even better than eggshell and is also easily cleaned, yet more prone to showing imperfections

Gloss: better for trims, has a high shine quality 



I really hope these tips make your next painting project a bit easier.   When I was a teenager, my mom and I were both hooked on HGTV.  As such, we often tackled home improvement projects together from laying ceramic tile, laying laminate flooring to creative faux painting techniques.    As my mom would say:  “Never fear a paint project.  If we hate the paint choice, it’s not the end of the world.  We can always paint right over it!”


-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living, Lake Gaston

“Working with you to create your lifestyle!”

Lighting is one of the most vital elements of kitchen design.  Here’s a link to a previous post about the 5 Ways to Light Up Your Kitchen.  While functional lighting is truly important, accent lighting really pumps up the “WOW Factor”. Pendant lighting over an island, peninsula, or small dining table is a great way to add style and shine.  Here are 3 different styles of pendants to consider when designing your kitchen.

Series of Pendant Lights in Lake Gaston Kitchen DesignIndividual Pendant Lighting

Pendant lights come in a wide range of colors, styles, and sizes.  A series of pendants over an island or peninsula act as suspended jewels in your kitchen.  Depending on the light chosen, pendants may not be enough light to be functional on their own, but they really add detail and life that draws your eye upward.  They can be hung all at the same level or they can be arranged at different heights, depending on the look you are trying to achieve.  Pendants are truly a versatile and engaging design feature.




Linear lighting in Lake Gaston kitchen designLinear Suspension Lighting

Linear suspension pendants can hang beautifully over kitchen islands or over rectangular dining tables. They work best in kitchens that are spacious enough to handle a fixture with more length and presence. For both bright task and decorative kitchen lighting, use a decorative suspension along with recessed lights and undercabinet lighting.


drum shade lighting in lake gaston kitchen designDrum Pendant Lighting

Instead of mini pendants, consider placing 2 or 3 drum pendants over a kitchen island.  Drum pendants are a current trend in kitchen design for their beautiful touch of elegance–elevating the charm and warmth of your kitchen when entertaining guests.

What is your style of pendant lighting?  We’d love to hear about it and see it in the comments below!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle!


Creating a Fabulous Wall Collage

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At times you may be perplexed by how to arrange a collection of objects on a wall.  One of the best rules for arranging art is to throw out the rules!  But if you feel uncomfortable with that approach here are a few guidelines that may help.

* First and foremost do not hang wall art or an art collage too high or too low. Consider how the art will most often be viewed, sitting or standing.  Art should be hung so the center is about eye level for the average person. There are some exceptions such as hanging art over a bed.

Wall art may need to be hung higher than eye level in some cases.

Wall art may need to be hung higher than eye level in some cases.

*Very small pieces of art can sometimes drown in big expanses of bare walls. Try arranging a collection of small art to fit the space.  Or find a cozy spot on a small wall that compliments the size of the art.


Small art works well on small walls in bathrooms.

*When building a collage of various size art start with the larger piece in the center.  The other items in the collection can radiate around the central item.


The owner’s collection of wall art arranged around a central numbers collage adds interest and memorabilia to this home office.

*Test an arrangement of pictures by laying everything out on a large table (or on the floor), playing with combinations until you hit upon one that works.


A collection of family photos, assorted frames, a fun sign, large clock and large family initial “S” make up this wall collage in a casual game room.

*Add unlike objects such as a wall shelf, mirror or other collectibles.


This wall collection was created using a variety of the owner’s objects. The shelf, the mirror, the small collectibles and the framed art pieces all come together on this smaller wall space.

*Symmetry adds a more formal feels.  Asymmetrical arrangements tend to be more casual.


This small guest room was visually enlarged by spreading out a collection of four canvas art pieces that compliment the window treatment and bedding.

Do you have a special wall collage you have created.  Send us a picture so we can share your creativity!

Happy hanging!


Mary Sherwood Lake Living – working with you to create your lifestyle!



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“Plug In To This Furniture”

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We live in a world full of technology.  We carry many different gadgets and widgets in order to keep up with the fast paced, ever-evolving lifestyle.  It seems that now one device isn’t enough.  I myself own a cell phone, tablet and a laptop!  It’s quite funny because they all can do just about the same thing.  It’s the world most of us have become accustomed to.

I don’t think these devices are going anywhere anytime soon.  With that being said, the furniture market recognizes our need for storage for our various devices. Having a place to store our gadgets as well as be able to charge them without all the tangling cords is ideal.  Here are some great pieces that do just that!


Here is a beautiful piece by Hooker Furniture, called the E-Charge Center. This is one smart piece of furniture! It’s able to charge 4-6 different devices, with sleek drawers lined with felt for each gadget to be stored away.  Now your widgets all have a place in the home and no more tangled cords!


At the recent KBIS trip to Las Vegas, we discovered this tech savvy drawer called the Docking Drawer. The docking drawer is a drawer that can be installed in your office desk, vanity, or kitchen to reduce the clutter of cords while providing a convenient place to store devices being charged. The Docking Drawer provides two USB outlets as well as two ground outlets. I think these guys are definitely on to something here!










Home office furniture is also coming equipped with built in power strips. This makes is easier to access plugs which in most cases are hidden behind the piece of furniture in hard to reach places.  Here are more beautiful pieces by Hooker Furniture company perfect for your home office.

Speaking of charging gadgets……Now this is cool! 


Feast your eyes on the Electree by Vivien Muller. The Electree is a small solar powered bonsai tree look alike.

This cool charging device is equipped with 27 small solar panels capturing the suns light, turning it into energy to recharge your mobile devices.

The Electree is for indoor use only, and ideally should be placed close to a window for optimum solar energy.  It’s not only beautiful but energy efficient! Just think of the money you would save recharging your devices with the Electree!

It just goes to show: the world is constantly evolving and technology is sitting in the drivers seat!  It effects our lifestyle in may different ways!  With the help of these furniture pieces and devices, we can still function in a beautiful home without being overwhelmed by the web of wires.  I wonder what they will think of next?!

How do you keep your gadgets and widgets organized? Share with us your innovative techniques to storing these devices.

-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living, Lake Gaston

Working with you to create your lifestyle