Archive for Dixie’s Doodles


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






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




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


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 




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?


‘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!



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



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!


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!


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!



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!


“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


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


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!


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!?


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!”


“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


10 Ways to Make a Small Room Look Larger

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Everyone has those rooms in their home that they wish were a tad bit bigger, but not everyone has the allowance to do so. We have all heard the saying “Bigger is always better,” so we naturally crave the extra space.  But what if you could transform a small space by making it appear bigger without adding the extra square feet? Here are 10 tips to making your small space appear bigger than it actually is!

Wow! This mirror is absolutely beautiful in this space, It almost looks like an entrance into another room rather than a reflection! This is one of the best tricks into making a small room look larger.

Wow! This mirror is absolutely beautiful in this space, It almost looks like an entrance into another room rather than a reflection! This is one of the best tricks to make a small room look larger.

1.  Mirrors. Mirrors are a great way to enlarge a small room. They help reflect light into the space as well as open up the room. You can even try placing mirrors across the room from each other to really trick the eye into giving the illusion of a vast space between them.

2. Make the ceiling pop! Adding a pop of color to your ceiling draws the eye upward, giving the room added height, making the room appear larger. You can also bring the eye up with a really unique and different light fixture. Just remember don’t overwhelm with large and bulky, go for the WOW piece.

3. Draperies. Try hanging your draperies all the way to the ceiling, not where your windows begin. This will make your eye feel like the space has been lifted. Floor to ceiling draperies give the illusion of added height to the space.

4. Multipurpose furniture. It would be wise to invest in a piece of furniture for the room that has many uses. This will save you from needing another piece of furniture that would take up valuable space in your small room.

This room is a great example of how to make a small room look bigger. I love the pop of color on the ceiling and the floor to ceiling draperies that give height to the room. I like the storage under the bed making use of what is sometimes considered wasted space.

This room is a great example of how to make a small room look bigger. I love the pop of color on the ceiling and the floor to ceiling draperies that give height to the room. I like the storage under the bed making use of what is sometimes considered wasted space.

 5. De-clutter the Walls. Avoid using too many small paintings or photos. One prominent framed piece works better in a small space.

6. Accessories. Try to beware and limit the number of accessories in the room.  Too many interruptions to the eye can limit a clean line for the eye to follow, which helps make the room appear larger.

This home office is another good example of a great small space. Here we have exposed leg furniture, floor to ceiling draperies, and also vertical storage. Not to mention the uncluttered desk!

This home office is another example of a great small space. Here we have exposed leg furniture, floor to ceiling draperies, and also vertical storage. Not to mention the uncluttered desk!

7. Pastels.  Lighter colors will always make any room appear bigger and brighter. These colors help reflect light into the space giving the space an open and airy feel.

8. Open Furniture. Try using furniture with exposed legs; this lets the light flow under the pieces adding a sense of additional space. 

9. Reduce Prints and Pattern. Usually we use patterns to add visual interest.  Yet, they can create too much contrast in the room breaking it up and making a small room seem even smaller.  Stick with solids and neutrals for upholstery and possibly add a few patterned accents.

 10. Think Vertical. Take advantage of your vertical space. This could be custom built-in storage, or a tall vertical cabinet.  The taller the better and the more storage space to take advantage of!

This Kitchen appear 20 ft. tall due to with floor to ceiling cabinets, another great use of a small space.

This kitchen appears 20 ft. tall due to with floor to ceiling cabinets, another great use of a small space.

Voila! Its magic, and you’re the magician. With these ten helpful hints you will have your guest fooled into thinking your smallest room in your home is now one of the biggest!  Have fun with it, but just remember that magicians don’t reveal their best tricks!

-Dixie K 

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


Merry Christmas 2013

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It’s that special time of year again, the holidays. The stockings are hung with care and Christmas spirit is in the air! Loved ones near and far come to together to celebrate this joyous holiday.  We would like to wish each and every one of you,

a very Merry Christmas from our Mary Sherwood Lake Living Family to yours!  

Please be careful in your travels and don’t forget to leave cookies for Santa!  

Here is a little sneak peek from our

Mary Sherwood Lake Living Christmas Party.   Enjoy! 


Rocking around the banana tree? Yes, Mary doesn’t have your traditional Christmas tree every year.  She likes to think more outside the box. What do you think of her non-traditional tree?  Check out Mary’s blog about non-traditional Christmas trees. 

Merry_Christmas_Napkins    I love when people have interesting or humorous cocktail napkins. They are a great conversation starter! Here are Mary’s from our get together!

Merry_Christmas_PresentsSo many great presents! We opened our gifts before indulging in our fabulous meal prepared by Chef Yvonne!

Merry_Christmas_SleighI even decided to make my Christmas Candy Sleighs!  I featured them in the past Design Wisdom Wednesday on Christmas Party Planning Guide. I think they came out great?  What do you think?


Our dinner was amazing. Chef Yvonne out did herself as usual! For appetizers, we raved over  the Buffalo Chicken dip and mozzarella cheese sticks wrapped in salami on a balsamic jelly. Did I mention the balsamic jelly came all the way from Italy? YUM!  Our first course of the night (shown above) was bay scallops on a sweet potato puree with pickled corn and roasted sunflower seeds topped with micro greens. What an incredible combination!

Lasagna_ Marinara_sauce_cream_spinach_Merry_Christmas_Main_Course

For our main course we devoured this delicious homemade creamed garlic spinach and lasagna. By now my buttons are about to pop off my pants!  But Yvonne’s food is so good, of course I didn’t turn down dessert, especially when we had two choices!  She even let you choose both, if you wanted!  Many of us shared our decadent treats! We had a choice between eggnog bread pudding with an eggnog glaze and chocolate pate with a cranberry coulis. Outstanding!


I am truly blessed to be a part of the Mary Sherwood Lake Living family. I’m the new kid on the block, but I have been so fortunate to have met such wonderful people who I get the privilege to work with. I can not only call them co-workers or my boss, but also great friends!


Again, I would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas &

a Happy New Year!


-Dixie K

Mary Sherwood Lake Living – Working with you to create your lifestyle at Lake Gaston and beyond!


Christmas Party Planning Guide

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I attended an amazing Christmas party this past weekend, which gave me the inspiration for my blog this week. When I attend parties I am constantly taking mental notes of my favorite things. I’d like to think of it as a mini Pinterest board in my head. I’m constantly “pinning” these ideas to have for when I decide to host my own holiday party. Here are a few things I would keep “pinned” when planning your holiday gathering.


Party Planning Guide

It’s always a good idea when you’re sending out your invitations to include a way for guest to RSVP, especially when you’re going to serve food.  The Christmas party I attended this weekend was scheduled at 7PM  with cocktails and heavy hor d’oeuvres.

Here are a few party planning rules of thumb to consider when planning your holiday menu: (refer to the chart to the right)

If you are planning to feature hor d’oeuvres, here are some other tips:

-3-7 bites per person when accompanied by a large dinner

– 10-12 bites per person when accompanied by a light dinner

-20 bites per person if hor d’oeuvres only

Remember to provide a variety of foods to please everyone.  Try to have hot and cold foods, but also be considerate of vegetarians, vegans, and food allergies to keep everyone nibbling throughout the night. Don’t forget to have something sweet, too!

Learn How to make these adorable Santa strawberries to serve at your next holiday celebration, Just click the image!

Learn How to make these adorable Santa strawberries
to serve at your next holiday celebration,
Just click the image!

The Themed Christmas Party.

Tacky Christmas Sweater Party I must say this party makes for the best holiday photos! I have been to a few of these, I try to make it a personal challenge to find the tackiest of Christmas sweaters. Just about any sweater with a Christmas tree, reindeer, or snowmen on the front will do. This would be the easiest of parties to host, just ask your guest to please wear a Christmas sweater.

Christmas Cookie Swap:  This would be a great party with your girlfriends during the holidays. Invite your friends to bring their favorite Christmas cookies with their favorite bottle of wine, and you have an instant girl’s night.  Don’t forget to have goodie bags for your guests to take their favorite cookies home at the end of the night.  You can also ask the guest to bring copies of the recipe to share.

Melting Snowmen Sugar Cookies

Melting Snowmen Sugar Cookies

I love these cookies.  I think they would be a great hit at your next Cookie Swap event!

There are lots of other kinds of parties you can host such as: 12 Days of Christmas, Winter Wonderland,  Gift Wrapping Party, Ornament Making,  and many more.  Don’t forget the little ones. Let them join in the fun and host a gingerbread house making  party or cookie decorating event.  



Keep your guest active by adding games to your party schedule. I thoroughly enjoyed the games I part took in this weekend. Here are just a few games with their rules you should try to incorporate in your party planning:

White Elephant, Dirty Santa, & Chinese Gift Exchange:  I have heard this game called by several different names, but these are probably the most popular. It’s ultimately a fun re-gifting exchange game, Click the link to find out how to play.

The Reindeer Antlers Balloon Game will be your new holiday favorite. I had never played this game before until this weekend.  Let’s just say I wasn’t on the winning team but I had a great time participating!  Here’s how to play:


Reindeer Antlers Balloon Game

The 12 Days of Christmas:  We were divided into groups and given one of the 12 days of Christmas. We started off the song and when your number came up it was your turn to sing and act out your number! I must say this was a great hit, I definitely enjoyed seeing my cousin acting like a “french hen” for the third day.

There are many games out there, just make sure they are appropriate for the crowd you are hosting.  There is no time limit to the games, but give your guests breaks so they don’t feel like Santa on Christmas Eve!



Favors are not something you have to do, but they are always a great way to say thank you to your guest for attending your party.  Favors do not have to cost you a fortune. They can be easy to make and become little mementos for your holiday fun filled night. Here are just a few to consider:

Red Tic Tacs can be transformed in to “Reindeer Noses”. Just add a cute little label and  “Wah Lah!” a party favor that will have your guest smiling all the way back to their homes. I have even seen green tic tacs labeled as “Christmas tree seeds.” So Cute!

Try tying a cute bow on different Christmas Cookie cutters for an instant easy party gift as well.


Christmas Candy Sleigh Party Favor

 If you have a little more time on your hand, these sleighs made of candy are an awesome Christmas party favor.

Click the picture to find out how to make this tasty sleigh!

Good Luck Party Planning.

Just remember no matter what you decided to serve, what theme your party is, or what games you play, your party will be a success only because of the loved ones that attend. Tis the season to remember our friends and family which is the true meaning of Christmas! I wish you the best of luck and safe travels to all your holiday celebrations! Last but not least, I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!

Dixie K

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


Slipcovers are something I personally may have never considered before I began working at Mary’s. I now can see the benefits and versatility of slipcovers.   I was familiar with the slipcovers you can buy in the store that never seem to fit just right and are always wrinkled.


Having had a chance to observe the use of slipcovers in several of our projects my opinion has changed. Four Seasons Furniture is our favorite slipcover company.  There is a huge difference in the look of a custom slipcover made to fit a particular chair or sofa compared to a slipcover that is a standard “one size fits all”.   Four Seasons does an excellent job with their tailored fit and endless fabrics. I had the opportunity to visit their showroom in High Point and learn from the “slip cover pros”.

Slip-Cover-Chair-DramaticHere are four reasons to consider your next furniture update or purchase to be a slipcover piece.

Versatility.   If you are like me, your taste tends to change often.  You may crave a fresh new look. Slipcovers can help fulfill that need without breaking your budget. I like the idea of owning two different slipcovers for the same piece of furniture.  The idea of having two different looks at the tip of your finger is really fantastic. Two options may allow you to have a causal look for every day and a more dramatic look for another occasion.

There isn’t an easier solution to updating your look than a slipcover. In minutes, you can drastically give your room an update.  There’s no need to worry about falling behind on trends. A chair frame doesn’t necessarily go out of style.  It usually is the fabric. Slipcovers give you the ability to stay current whenever you’re in the need of a change.

Greener.  Yes, greener, but not the color green! I have read that about 8.5 million Americans throw out old furniture each year. That’s a lot of waste that may not be necessary.  We are trying, slowly but surely, to be more conscious of our planet and its welfare. The fact is it is more cost effective in the long run to purchase a well made custom fit slipcover or two, than to constantly have to replace your furniture. Think of it as “up-cycling” your furniture. This is basically the same as refinishing an old wooden dresser but without the hassle.Slip-Cover-Chair-Coral

More Hygienic.   This is probably the main reason most would choose a slipcover over an upholstered piece of furniture. The ease of being able to quickly remove a stain by simply removing the slipcover and placing it in the wash is ideal for most. I’d have to say this would be my favorite reason to own a slip covered piece of furniture. It’s just not fun to have your brand new couch ruined by a glass of wine that was accidentally spilled when you hosted girl’s night last Wednesday.  No, not ideal at all. Not to mention slipcovers are great when you have kids or pets.

A Look for All the Four Seasons. Slipcovers are versatile, practical and comfortable.  It is enough to make you want to have a different slipcover for all four seasons!

Am I convincing you to use slipcovers yet?   I’m not saying every piece of furniture in your house has to be slip covered because slipcovers tend to create a casual look. This may not be appropriate in your grand dining room, or sitting room fit for the queen.  But they are great for your everyday areas, such as the den where the guys sit and watch Sunday football, or the kids play room where comfort is key.

They make slipcovers for just about anything!    I have seen slip covered chairs, couches, ottomans, stools, and headboards!


Now, like I mentioned before with all of these options for slipcovers, it’s easier than ever to update your look at the drop of a hat.

Also, I think slipcovers are great for our lake area.  Lake Gaston is a great place to sit back and relax.  Nothing embodies that “I’m home” feeling like slip covered furniture.

So the next time you decide you want to update your look, try a slipcover on for size. You may be surprised with the end result. And if you are a first time buyer, think about the advantages of a slipcover and decide if it’s something you may want to invest in. It may be worth it in the long run.

-Dixie K


Faux Painting Ideas

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I have never been a fan of white walls in a home. It’s obvious how much we love color here at Mary Sherwood Lake Living.  Finding a color to paint on the walls isn’t always an easy decision. There are so many colors to choose from, one may not know where to begin.

There are other options for using paint to create one of a kind walls that will have your guest in awe.  Faux painting has become a trend in the design world. It can be seen on furniture, walls, and now even counter tops!

Here are a few techniques that will have your wheels turning for your next project.


Crackle-even the name is fun and unique.  The rustic, antique feel it brings to a room creates an instant feel of ease.  I actually have used this faux finish in the dining room.  Crackle can be a creative way to mix two colors in a room.  The top coat would be the primary, and the secondary color would be displayed between the cracks.  Depending on the method you choose to use, you can create a look that seems weathered or delicate, like porcelain.

Faux Painting Ideas-Crackle


Dragging and Linen Weave

Linen weave faux finish looks exactly as it’s name, like linen! This has to be my favorite of all of the faux finishes. This finish will give any room that homey, warm and fuzzy feeling. Linen weave may require a bit of extra work but in the end the results are worth it. I would suggest using this finish in a navy to give the illusion of blue jeans.  This would be an awesome look in either a boys room or the laundry room.

Faux Painting Ideas-Dragging and Linen Weave


Wood Grain

I love this finish! The black in the first photo is pretty remarkable. I might use this in a niche in my kitchen or in a bar area. The rustic look and detail in this faux finish is impressive. I like how the detail shows up in brighter colors as well. Even on the furniture this faux finish works well, like the dresser shown below. This finish is easy to achieve, there is a rocker that acts as a stamp that can be purchased to help you have the exact wood grain with out hardly any effort. Too Easy!

Faux Painting Ideas-Wood Grain


Terra Cotta

WOW! This effect can be achieved in many ways and with more than two colors. Although, this finish may be one of the harder finishes to prefect, it defiantly produces a dramatic effect.  It is advised to practice first before beginning. This will ensure you are getting the look you want to achieve. When your hard work is all over you will have a unique beautiful room worth bragging about.

Faux Painting Ideas-Terra Cotta


Rag Rolling

I used this technique in our living room. I have to say the finished product came out really well. I actually had fun doing it.  The fun came with the allowance for imperfection. I don’t think you can possibly go wrong with this faux finish. There are many ways to create this look. We actually used cheese cloth and rolled it like in the picture below.  You can also use a plastic bag to create an interesting effect.

Faux Painting Ideas-Rag Rolling




There are several companies that make tools, kits, and glazes to achieve these looks. Martha Stewart and Ralph Lauren are the two that I have had experience with using.  There are special rollers, brushes, sponges and stamps that can be purchased to help make your project easier.  They even have glitter and sand that you can add to your paint for an even more dramatic look!


Faux Painting Ideas-Products

Whatever faux finish you choose remember to have fun with it! It can be a long process but just remember in the end you will have a masterpiece to be proud of for years to come.

If tackling a faux finish project is daunting  there are several professionals in our area that can handle the job.  Ask us for a referral.

-Dixie K

Have you used any of these techniques before!? If so we would love for you to share them with us and your recommendations for perfecting the style.

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




Painting Shutters like a Professional

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The original shutters on my home were a  light robin blue, which I really didn’t care for. This robin blue was popular when my home was built, but I was ready for a change in scenery. I decided to change the color of the shutters to a burgundy red that I think blended well with my cedar siding.

I changed the color of the shutters about 7 years ago to a colonial red. But, the shutters now are ready for a touch up. Most of them face direct sunlight and other elements all year, so as you can see they were overdue for an update.

Before you begin make sure you have the necessary supplies you will need to complete this project.  I used rubber gloves, spray paint, a paint scrapper, sandpaper, a ladder, drill or screwdriver and drop cloth or tarp.

First. Begin by taking the shutters down. This is necessary because you do not want to take the risk of getting paint on the siding.

Painting Shutters Like a professional/Before

Second. Use sandpaper and/or a  paint scrapper to remove dirt and excess flaked paint from area.  You want to get the surface as smooth as possible before painting. Some cases may require you to use a primer as well. I would suggest wearing protective goggles during this process to avoid any debris such as paint chips and dust getting into your eyes. After sanding, remove dust with soap and water, and wipe clean.

Third.  Designate an area where you would like to paint your shutters. I used a work bench outside our garage that I covered with a tarp to protect it from the spray paint. It’s always important when painting to do this in a well ventilated area. Remember, when using spray paint you don’t want too much of a breeze when working outside.Painting-Shutters-Drop-Cloth


Fourth.  Make sure you are using an exterior paint, I prefer to use spray paint in this project. I decided to use Rust-Oleum spray paint. This particular spray paint gives twice the coverage, saving you time and money. As you can see, I needed all the coverage  I could get because these shutters have been neglected too long.  Again, the color I choose is a colonial red with a satin finish.Painting-Shutters-Spray-Paint

Now would be the time to wear your rubber gloves to avoid getting spray paint on your hands. When spraying, make sure you are about 8 inches away from the surface, this will prevent runs and saturation. You want to try to have even stokes while spraying. I started with the sides, and then went towards the center. In the center, I begin at the top and sprayed from side to side gradually going towards the bottom of the shutter. You may have to turn the shutter upside down to make sure you are getting in the angles of the slats, like in this particular style shutter. Once you have sprayed your shutters, I would allow them to dry at least 4 hours. Check the shutter after the first hour just to make sure all areas were covered evenly, or if a second coat needs to be applied.


Last.   After you have allowed the shutters to dry and are satisfied with the finish, you may hang the shutters back in their original place. This may require a ladder, depending upon the placement of your shutters. Once you have the shutters in place, you are DONE!

Here is the finished product. I am completely satisfied with the  overall project. It was so simple any DIY-er could do it. The results speak for themselves. I am so glad I had time to tackle this project right before our family reunion this weekend.  I hope I get lots of compliments on the fresh look!



 I love the finished product! How do you think I did?

-Dixie K

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

Lake Gaston, NC


Top Interior Design Trends for Fall 2013

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I hope everyone had a fun and safe Labor Day weekend. I enjoyed my time on Lake Gaston having fun with friends and family. Despite the advantage of an extra long weekend of fun, Labor Day weekend marks the end of summer and the beginning of fall. I enjoy the summer months but fall is definitely my favorite season. With that said, I was curious as to what are some interior design trends for fall.  I have to say, I’m loving what I’m seeing.


Emerald Green.

Green certainly isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. It’s everywhere! I read in Harper’s Bazaar that they are calling it a “Green Movement.” This fall, I suggest going with a deeper green, it will make an even bolder statement.





Brass, Gold and Metallic Leather?

I have never really been a fan of gold, but the more I see it, the more I’m starting to give it a try. I really like the elegance it brings to a room. I especially would use this brushed gold book shelf.  Brass and Gold are on everything! Lamps, chandeliers, faucets, and of course nail head trim.  I like the brass railing on the staircase below.  gold rush - brass bookshelves_habitually chic_phoebe howard



…………and yes I did say, METALLIC LEATHER! I’m not really sure if I’ll follow this trend.  It seems more like a fad than a trend.


natuzzi 3


High Contrast

Black and White are daring together. These two are bold, drastic, and adds the drama! I like these two together and adding a pop of another color.  If you do use a pop of color, remember to be sparingly, rule of thumb is “three is all you need.”






I wasn’t expecting to see this one, but they are in fact feathers! Feathers are showing up in a vast amount of home accessories.  I like the less literal interpretation, like this wall paper.Screen-Shot-2013-05-15-at-11_51_31-AM

Living-500 imagesCAIUX5XH………Oh yes they did!



Move over beige, Gray is the new neutral. This crisp, clean, modern look is to die for, and not to mention it can be paired with almost any color!  This could be my favorite look for fall.





Last but not least.

Pantone has selected these paint colors to be the trend this Fall. Emerald Green was chosen in January as the color of the year. I’m more attached to the bright orange named, Koi. That color would be great as an accent wall or maybe as a couch?

Okay Trend Setter, which color or colors will you be using this fall?


– Dixie K

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


Orange, Front DoorDid you know that the color of your front door can say a lot about your personality? Who knew! With that in mind, I’m sure your anxious to know, “Well, what does the color of my door say about me?”

Does your front door say, “I’m fun and trendy?” or does your door say, “I’m a risk taker?”  Why not match the color of your entry door with your personality so folks know what to expect?

Kate Smith, president of Sensational Color, highlights nine popular front door colors. Find out what your front door shouts to the world!

1. Red: Just like you’d probably guess, this hue tells the world to “look at me!” Red is a bold choice for those who are not afraid of standing out on the blockRed front door

2. White: A crisp white door is for those who are (or would like to be) organized, neat and clean.

3. Green: If your door is green, you care about your home and your community and you have more traditional values.

4. Black: This is a timeless look, and you don’t waiver for trends. You’re consistent, conservative and reserved.

5. Blue: You have an easy go-with-the-flow personality and people flock to you.

6. Yellow: If you choose this sunny hue, you’re most likely a leader of the pack.

7. Purple: You’re comfortable taking risks and dreaming big. Some may call you a “free spirit.”Yellow, Door

8. Orange: Says “I’m friendly, fun loving and enjoy getting together with people”

9. Brown: Says that “the homeowner is stable and dependable. This down-to-earth color matches the earthy personality of the homeowner who is also seen as very open and approachable.”

Does your front door color match your personality? If not, consider grabbing a paint brush and showing the world your true color.

So what colors have the Mary Sherwood Lake Living crew picked for their doors?

Mary“RED of course!  What more can we say about that!”

Autumn“I picked a bright yellow with white trim.  I’m sunny, cheerful, and happy to see you!”

Michelle –  “My front door is black, and true to this philosophy, I’m a tad on the classic and timeless side.”

Dixie – “When I own my own home, I want my front door to be orange… Fun, Friendly, and Inviting for all the parties I intend on hosting.”

 -Dixie K

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