Lori Dennis Celebrity Luxury Interior Designer | Blog

A blog about luxury and green living by top interior designer Lori Dennis



Meet the Editors: Two Days with the Top Interior Design Editors at Legends of La Cienega

Celebrity Interior Designer Lori Dennis Meets the Editors: Two Days with the Top Interior Design Editors at Legends

Design Camp Launches: the Premier Interior Design Educational Summit

Join celebrity interior designers Lori Dennis and Kelli Ellis as they share all of their secrets about interior design at the nation's premier interior design educational seminar, DesignCamp.com.

Houzz, Poggenpohl and Design Camp Calling all Interior Designers and Decorators

Los Angeles interior designer talks about an event sponsored by Houzz teaching interior designers and homeowners how to best use the site for inspiration for their redecoration and new construction projects.

The Hidden Hills Interior Designer

Hidden Hills interior designer Lori Dennis writes about interior design, the unique features of these homes and the joys of living in the Hidden Hills community.

Interior Designers at Legends of La Cienega

Celebrity Interior Designer Lori Dennis discusses Legends of La Cienega, the two day event in the high end design district of Los Angeles, featuring the most exclusive showrooms and hottest designers in the country.

Indoor Outdoor Interior Design Trends Spring 2012

It's spring and time to spruce up your outdoor environment.  A big fan of front yard edible gardens,  I consider them the most important design project you'll take on this season. You really don't need a lot of space to create a front yard garden.  Here's mine, next to the driveway to my garage.I've managed to include figs, butter lettuce, red oak lettuce, beets, squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, kale, rosemary, parsley, zucchini, thyme, mint, lavender and sage in this tiny space. Start seedlings, like these tomatoes, inside.  Plant outside after two weeks. Yellow Flowers will soon turn into gorgeous, red, tasty tomatoes. This will be the  first tomatoe to my plate this season. Snails and slugs love to eat cantaloupe and cucumbers, so either use an organic slug repellant orwatch your seedlings disappear. Kale tastes great when it's fresh- I swear! Eggplant is a little hard to get started. I started mine inside for a few weeks, in eggcartons. But if it makes it to a full grown vegetable, it's delightful when it's fresh.   Figs should be ripe in August and then it's on.... JAM time! Squash is easy, it basically grows itself.  Not only is it yummy, the pretty yellow vegetables look gorgeous in your summer kitchen. My grandmother had huge mint patches when I was a kid. Everytime I walk by mint, it makes me think of her and smile. I make mint tea almost every night. We use a lot of parsley at our house, so we're constantly putting new seeds in the ground. In Southern California rosemary, thyme and oregano grow year round and come back yearafter year.  These three plants started 5 years ago as a 6" potted  trio from Trader Joes.Rosemary, salt and pepper are great on roasted potatoes and chicken, so is thyme.Meat sauce is heavenly with fresh oregano. My compost bin, right in the front yard.  Wonder what's growing in there? Lemons Lori Dennis Front Yard Edible Garden The lemons start in February and go through until July. I miss them when they're gone. Fresh orange juice is on the menu everyday at my house. So if I've peaked your interest at all, please find a little spot, even a small potted garden if you're in a condo or apartment, and try out your  gardening skills. It's pretty easy, tons of fun and good for you! Plus, front yard, edible gardens have more benefits than just delicious tasting, fresh food.  They incourage you to get outside, getting crucial things like fresh air and vitamin D production from sunlight. You exercise your mind and body while tending to it.  It keeps you social, as folks love to stop by and discuss what you're growing. Your friends will love receiving bags of fresh produce from your garden. Finally at $1.25 a piece for a medium sized organic tomatoe, you will save a fortune on produce the entire summer.

Advice From Margaret Russell Editor In Chief Of Architectural Digest

Like Margaret Russell, I attend a lot of events where cameras are constantly clicking.  At a highpoint party following my book signing, I asked Margaret, "how do you keep track of what you wear and what was photographed?"  She smiled and answered, "now you know why I always wear black dresses."  I must confess,  I love color too much to go all black, all the time.  But then again, Margaret has had quite a few more photographs taken than I, and I may have to follow her advice in the future.  Interior Designer Lori Dennis (with Elle) and Mariel Hemmingway at Green Interior Design Book Signing   ASID Past Presidents Jean Pinto, Victoria Reitz and Lori Dennis at Green Interior Design Book Signing   Lori Dennis and Tracy Murdock with Sara Plaisted at Green Interior Design Book Signing Influential Women in Design Interior Designer Lori Dennis ASID Interior Designers Lori Dennis and Kim Lukasik at Barclay Butera Interior Design   Interior Designer Lori Dennis and Barclay Butera Interior Design Marta McKay and Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Barclay Butera Interior Design   Interior Designer Lori Dennis and Legendary Hutton Wilkson at DawnridgeI   Los Angeles Celebrity Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Dawnridge   Interior Designer Lori Dennis and Top Blogger Ronda Carman at Dawnridge for Sferra   David McCallen and Interior Design Lori Dennis Creato Finito Luxury Eco Furniture Line Nina Freudenberger at Haus and Interior Designer Lori Dennis Kris Hurst and Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Hauss Interior Design The Real Desiging Women co-stars Lori Dennis and Calico Cooper and Los Angeles Celebrity Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Cherokee Lofts Interior Design Event   Interior Designer Lori Dennis and Sara Plaisted at Cherokee Lofts Interior Designer Lori Dennis in LA Confidential Magazine Interior Designer Lori Dennis at The Rug Company Interior Designer Lori Dennis and Krist Hurst at The Rug Company  

Marketing Your Brand

In a recent interview I was asked, "do you really need to go to all those parties for business or is it just fun?"  The answer is yes and yes.  This post shares years of events I've attended, proving it takes a decade to become an overnight success.  The hardest part is wearing something different each time.   Interior Designer Lori Dennis and Galina Tramposh at Sudaram   Interior Designer Lori Dennis , Eric McCormick, Brook Casey and Tony Murphy at Glabman   Interior Designer Lori Dennis on HGTV Designer's Challenge   Celebrity Interior Designer Lori Dennis Filming for HGTV   Brook Casey, Galina Tramposh, Interior Designer Lori Dennis, Roi Yerushalmi socalcontractor.com and Tony Caputo at Holiday Party     Interior Designer Lori Dennis with Andrea Guardino at Viceroy Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Volvo Sweden   Interior Designer Lori Dennis on Park Avenue   Interior Designer Lori Dennisfor Milgard Windows   Interior Designer Lori Dennis with Rose Tarlow   Interior Designer Lori Dennis with Andrea Guardino in Bel Air   Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Casa Del Mar with Andrea Guardino   Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Fall Market   Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Koroseal   Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Decor de Paris with ASID Past Present Helen Meisel Interior Designer Lori Dennis at West Week   Interior Designer Lori Dennis at Melrose Art Gallery  

Los Angeles Interior Designers Leading the Trends for a Century

1920s - Los Angeles Interior Designers make their debut on the world stage with Spanish Colonial Revival interiors that still impress today.   1920 Spanish Colonial RevivalInterior Architecture by A.F. Leicht   1930s - A nation in depression looks to  Hollywood set design for escape by glamour. Thanks to the Los Angeles Interior Designer, elaborate  Art Deco style soon dominates interiors around the globe.   "] 1930 Art-DecoOviatt Building by Walker and Eisner     1940s-  Hollywood Regency's premier reign  is introduced by Los Angeles Interior Designers.  Fifty years later  Kelly Wearstler, Mary McDonald and Woodsen Rummerfield (all Los Angeles Interior Designers) lead the second wave.   1940s Hollywood Regency Schonlaw-Entry-Beverly Hills by Mary Burns   1950s - Case study homes by Los Angeles Interior designers, Mid Century design is born.       1950 Mid Century Entenza Residence by Charles Eames 1960s Modernism features bold colors, graphics and shapes pushed to the limit by Los Angeles Interior Designers.   1960 John Lautner Chemosphere Residence   1970s Unfortunately Los Angeles Interior Designers will have to take responsibility for this decade too.   1970 Post Modernism Brady Bunch House 1980s   Los Angeles Interior Designer Rachel Ashwell's Shabby Chic Style convinced the world to fall in love with romantic flea market finds and white slip covers.   1980 Rachel Ashwell Shabby Chic   1990s  California Casual style makes its way into interiors from Malibu to Madrid thanks to Los Angeles Interior Designer Tom Kreiss. 1990 Tom Kreiss     2000s  Luxury Green style steals the scene, a movement led by eco-conscious Los Angeles Interior Designers. Hollywood Hills project by Lori Dennis   2010 North African Bazaar Style by Los Angeles Interior Designers Martyn Lawrence Bullard and Nathan Turner penetrate so deeply that even mass retailer West Elm couldn't resist. African Bazzar by Martyn Lawrence Bullard                                      

How Much Do Interior Designers Cost?

How Much do Interior Designers Cost? In the age of 30-minute house fixer upper shows on HGTV and new on-line interior design services, it’s understandable if you think remodeling your home would be fast, easy and surprisingly cheap.  While these outlets are really fun and make interior design more approachable, they can also create a bit of a misconception regarding what a project will actually cost, what you will get and how long it will take – all leading to unrealistic expectations that could set you up for disappointment. So let’s break it down... Get an interior design cost quote by email   Before You Call an Interior Designer Ask Yourself These 3 Things: What would you like to do? Are you looking for new furniture in your living room, or would you like to remodel your dated kitchen?  Do you want all new flooring and fresh paint, or would you like to gut the whole place and start over?  Be specific in your goals, and at the same time, be realistic. You may just need a little advise on what to do and where to go to buy things, or you might need someone to run the whole shebang for you. For Example: This home was remodeled with new materials and finishes, including this kitchen which has new flooring, cabinetry, counters, backsplash, lighting, paint, plumbing and appliances. To save money, we kept the original floor plan and left the plumbing and appliances in their existing locations. What is size of your project? Is it one room or the whole house?  What’s the square footage? For Example: This walk-in closet had no organization and zero style.  We designed custom cabinetry for optimal storage, and added beautiful elements like a mirrored armoire, crystal knobs, decorative lighting and floral wallpaper on the ceiling. What you would like to spend? Your budget could be $5,000 or $500,000.  Here’s where being realistic comes into play.  Your budget dictates what you’re able to do, and you decide what is most important.  Give yourself a little wiggle room for unexpected items (like water damage in a wall that’s discovered during demolition and construction, or that chandelier that you absolutely fell in love with). For Example: You could spend $150 for the chandelier on the left, or $40,000 for the 1850 Victorian English Crystal Chandelier on the right.   WHAT YOUR BUDGET SHOULD INCLUDE: Cost of Materials and Finishes: These are items that will be attached to the structure of your room or home.  It includes countertops, cabinetry, plumbing and appliances, wall tile, flooring, windows and doors, hardware, custom cabinetry, architectural details, etc. Cost of Furniture: These are decorative items that are not attached to the home.  Think of it this way: if you were to flip your house upside down, your furniture and accessories would fall out.  This includes, upholstered furniture, casegoods (tables, buffets, dressers, etc), lighting, rugs, art and accessories, etc. Fees for Interior Designer (Concept Look & Feel, Overall Design,  Floor Plans/Construction Documents, Purchasing, Project Management and Installation) See examples below for examples of how some designers charge. Fees for General Contractor (Labor and Project Management). Miscellaneous Fees (Permits, Taxes, Shipping, Storage, Installation/Delivery, etc.)   HOW MUCH DO INTERIOR DESIGNERS CHARGE?   1. FLAT RATE Based on your project size and needs, an interior designer would quote a flat fee for their services.  The contract would clearly list what would be included for this fee, along with how many revisions are available and the contract's expiration date (when the project will be completed).  If someone has a budget over $50,000, this is our preferred way of doing business because it's transparent and both sides win.  You know what you'll be paying in fees, and the designer knows what they will be earning - this creates a service based contract.  This way, you won't feel like they are in the dark or blind-sided as you continue to be billed for never ending design costs, and the designers know exactly what is expected of them and how much time they need to work on a project.  When we do flat rate contracts in our firm, we don't mark anything up or collect a commission from our vendors for items sold.  We extend our designer discounts to our clients.  Our clients appreciate this because they know that we specify an item that would be perfect for their project, not our pocketbooks.   2. COMMISSION Most Interior Designers charge 30-35% commission on items purchased at their reduced cost.  This commission is in addition to a low service fee and/or retainer, which seems attractive to clients at the beginning of contract agreements.  We're not a huge fan of doing things this way because it can put designers and clients on opposite sides of the table.  For instance, if two items are comparable and one is more expensive, a designer will make more money by presenting the more expensive item and the client would never know.  It has the potential for the client to question why selections are being made.  A designer can also suffer when a client purchases an item without their assistance in order to save money.   3. SHARING THE DIFFERENCE Similar to the commission based fee, but the the cost savings is split between the the Designer and Client.   4. MONTHLY RETAINER This arrangement is based on an agreed amount to be paid each month before work is done on a regular basis (let's say $5,000).   The contract must be very clear on what is expected of the designer (ie. services, communication, hours, etc.)     5. HOURLY RATE The most simple of all ways to pay an Interior Designer.  This rate structure works best for smaller projects with limited amount of time required for completion.  Rates can run anywhere from $75 per hour for a student to $1,500 per hour.  We like to use this structure when my clients only need a little bit of our time and expertise.  Our firm charges $500 per hour.     6. SQUARE FOOTAGE This fee structure takes into account the amount of square feet that will be covered on a project.  For example a 10,000 square foot property with 6,000 square feet of exterior space that is being billed at $6 per square foot, would have an interior design fee of $96,000.  This is generally the structure that interior designers use when they work on hospitality  and commercial projects. 7. PERCENTAGE  A percentage interior design fee takes into account the total budget that the client will spend, including things like: construction, materials and furnishings.  This fee structure is multiplied by a percentage to calculate the interior designer's fee.   8. BARTER If you have a service or item that an interior designer would find of value, they may be willing to trade with you.  For example, a spa owner who is interested in the interior design of their shop may give their products and services to the interior designer in exchange for interior design services.   Get an interior design cost quote by email     9.  COMBINATION Any combination of the previous fee structures can be used to come up with a combination fee structure.  Interior Designers and Clients can get very creative  and specific in the fee structure by combining rates.   CONSIDER THE STATUS OF THE DESIGNER:  Do they have decades of experience? Are they professionally trained, licensed, accredited? Have they been published? Do they have a body of work that reflects a client's particular needs -style and type of project? Are they in demand and able to charge a premium? For a better idea of What a Remodel Might Cost check out our post here. For more information on How to Hire an Interior Designer and the Process of an Interior Design Project check out our previous posts here, here and here.    

Interior Design Trends 2012-2013

  Last Week at the Metropolitan Builder's Association Expo, I revealed the latest and greatest for 2012- 2103 interior design trends.   1.  Man Cave moves from the basement and dominates the entire home.We're seeing a James Bond sophistication with plenty of menswear inspired fabrics and accessories. The spaces are filled with over-scaled, comfortable furniture upholstered in English styled, cigar leathers.   Man Cave Trend 2. Personalization of a homeowner's own style is seen in natural curiosities (found objects like bones, animal skins, drift woods), monograms and chalkboard paint.  These elements allow a space to reflect the personality, history and daily experiences of its homeowner.     3. Personalization Indoor Outdoor continues to thrive.  Front yard,edible and roof top gardens are popping up all over urbanity.  The line between indoor and outdoor continues to blur with live wall planters and interior planters that occupy entire rooms.   Indoor Outdoor Trend   4.  Nostalgia via old time transportation(railway, air and ocean liner) reigns supreme in today's interior.   As times have been tough for the last few years, people recall "the good ole days", when American industry was at it's zenith.   Nostalgia Trend   5.  Jewelry expressed in precious metals (gold, silver), gemstones and jewel tones are being used on every space imaginable from fabric to furniture to accessories to wall cover to murals.  This trend is the glamorous Yin to the Man Cave's Yang.       Jewelry Trend

Top Interior Designers Decorate Beverly Hills Mansion

Please enjoy the opening night videos of Maison de Luxe  from our friends at Editor At Large featuring  huge design stars like Martyn Lawrence Bullard, Mary McDonald, Nathan Turner, Jaime Drake , Holly Hunt, Jeffrey Alan Marks , Phillip Gorrivan and me!                  

Greystone Mansion What Really Happened in Beverly Hills

Tonight is the big gala for the opening of Maison de LUXE.  Throughout our install and for almost a century, there have been a lot of rumors swelling about the murders and ghosts at the mansion.  I received an  email from my good friend Kris this morning. It could not have come at a better time!  Please enjoy guest blogger Kris Hurst's recap of what went down at the haunted mansion. Greystone Mansion "I haven't been able to stop thinking about that house and the murder.  I poured through hundreds of pages of police testimony, actual newspaper articles from the period and etc.  It's obvious to me what happened in that house and it's the exact opposite of what everyone was led to believe.  Theodore was gay and Lucy was his "beard" of sorts, as all three of them met at the little gas station that her dad owned and Theo worked at changing tires.  They were all close friends before the marriage and that's how the gas station guy came under employ at Greystone as the valet.  Ned Doheny was a total daddy's boy, hence the house and his life given to him on a silver platter. He did everything he could to appease dear old pops including marrying, having children and ultimately getting into big trouble for delivering a whopping check with Theo to bribe a top official for dads budding oil businesses.  They ALL got caught in the middle of scandal, so Ned Doheny concocted this plan to send Theo to an insane asylum just for the duration of the trial, to occur days later.  That was a popular thing to do at the time and it would have been one less witness.  Well, poor Theo was off cavorting with every gay in town including Ramon Navarro (who was also tragically murdered) and Theo was not down with this plan at all.  I can only imagine a big big fight ensued and Theo probably made threats of revealing the true nature of the relationship to Doheny Senior or who knows.  Whatever... it was it sent Daddy's boy who had been loaded up on liquor for days due to the impending trial into a tailspin.  My thought is Ned Doheny went nuts because he couldn't deal with the disappointment to his father of botched bribery, homosexuality and more than likely a general dislike of himself an. So it comes to a head. Greystone Mansion Bathroom It all went down in that downstairs bedroom. The one with the elaborate green tiled bathroom that Theo chose himself because he was paying all the contractors at the time.  Kaufman didn't design that bathroom, Theo did. Ned shot Theo who had a cigarette in his hand from a distance and he went down.  Then Ned shot himself at close range, hence the contact wound and bloody face.  Theo could not have done it because he had a long distance contact wound.  Lucy and the Doctor entered the room and Ned Doheny was still alive probably uttering forgive me.  They wiped the gun clean of prints of put it under Theo's body because of the shame it would cause a devout Catholic family to have someone commit suicide and the fact that they had already set Theo up to be crazy. Both bodies were entered practically next to each other in a non-Catholic cemetery and the case was hushed up with money.  There's the story. "    

Free Interior Design Advice, Paint Color

 Hello Everyone, This week's question comes from Joyce Anthony.  I encourage all of you to offer your feedback for Joyce in the comments section below. Interior Design By Lori Dennis   In the creative process, we all learn from each other.   She writes, "I love the black red and white in this photo and was curious if you could tell me what the wall color is? I am doing this theme for my dining room/kitchen and am having a hard time figuring out what to paint the wall to match yet not be boring white or crazy red! Thanks so much! Joyce Anthony" I am a big fan of white walls like the room I designed in the above photo.   I find them clean and not boring at all.  They work especially well when there is a lot of accent color and texture in the space. What are your thoughts? I'm sure Joyce would love to know. Thanks, Lori  

Gretchen Bonaduce and Crystalarium Host Toy Drive For Children of Fallen Soilders

Come one, come all.  Bring your unwrapped, new toy to enjoy food, drinks and music from Gretchen Bonaduce at Crystalarium, November 29, 2011.  8500 Melrose Avenue, Suite 105, 7-9PM. Plus there's a silent auction with your chance to win a free consultation ($500) or a signed copy of my book Green Interior Design. Hope to see you there!!

When A Stranger Comes Knocking, Open the Door, It Could Be CSA

 Lately I've been watching a work colleague show up with all sorts of unusual fruits and veggies for lunch,  discussing things like how to cook fennel what to do with turnips .  So I inquired, "Sara, why do you keep buying things you don't even know how to make?"  She told me," it's from CSA. "  For those of you who haven't heard, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture.  Basically, it's a bunch of local farms keeping it old school by delivering in-season, non-toxic produce to your doorstep. Fresh From the Farm     Now, as much as I'm an advocate for having an edible garden, yields are sometimes lacking and the weekly produce run to Trader Joes or the farmer's market is still a reality.  It was fortituous when a stranger with a daisy in her hair showed up, knocking at my door last night.  She was from CSA.  Although there have been a few robberies in my upscale neighborhood lately and my very good, but very paranoid friend was over for dinner and was vehemently opposed to talking to the unannounced stranger, I opened the door, invited her in, signed up immediately and sent her on her way with a jar of my now famous, homemade fig jam. Organic Food I am all for the CSA warriors in their crusade against corporate greed and the systematic poisoning of our population via chemical laden, unseasonable, non-nutritious "fruits and vegetables" shipped from thousands of miles away and picked at the height of not ripeness. Anyone who knows me, knows I grew up without much.  When we did buy fresh produce, it was always what was in season, only because it was abundant and therefore, cheap.  But there's something to eating what is in season and nature has a funny way of giving us exactly what we need, when we need it.  The CSA works the same way.  You get a weekly or bi-weekly package with seasonal, local and fresh surprises.  Because they send what is abundant in their field, it's affordable.  I thrown down $60 plus a week for organic fruits and veggies at Trader Joes or farmer's markets. CSA is half that.     My first shippment comes next week.  I can't wait to see what I'll get. Bring on the turnips and kale (good thing they come with suggested receipes). I've got a sense of adventure and one hot husband who can cook in the kitchen too!   Organic Food      

L’Occitane Ladies First

As far as body products go, if I wouldn't eat it, I wouldn't wear it.  Olive Oil is pretty much my go to product for body, face, eye make-up remover, hair and cuticle conditioner and anything in need of moisture.  Olive oil is cheap, non-toxic and it works.   But there is one brand for which I will make an exception and splurge, L'Occitane.   L' Occitane Products I always loved the smell, the feel, the metal tube and the fact that it came from France.  ( Doesn't everything French seem more luxurious?) It's also non-toxic made of mostly shea butter and almond, lavender and coconut extracts. But I just learned that since 2006 L'Occitane has been working hard at doing good in Burkina Faso,  providing literacy and micro-credit programs to foster economic development for the women of this African country. Sustainable Corporate Action       Sustainable Corporate Action A new limited edition collection with packaging inspired by traditional African graphics, celebrating regional tribes, is an homage to the women who grow the ultranourishing shea butter- the heart of the L'Occitane lines. Twenty dollars for a tube of hand cream that supports women (who just want to support themselves)  is a pretty inexpensive luxury in today's economy.  That combined with pair of Tom's shoes could give real meaning to "giving"  this coming holiday season.    

The Los Angeles Interior Designer – Celebrity and Cinema

What is it about the Los Angeles Interior Designer that is so captivating? When your daily drive includes views of the Hollywood sign, when the guy sweating next to you in yoga class is David Duchovny, when your client dresses Angelina Jolie, when you are surrounded by film crews, set designers, writers and producers at every turn... you realize you simply can not escape the glow of the silver screen.  It forces the Los Angeles designer to create and compete with multi-million dollar productions and events that mesmorize the entire world.   Everything is magnified in High Def, and the Los Angeles interior designer constantly responds by inventing new ways to impress.  And if you want to rise to the top of the pack in Los Angeles, you must add acting to your list of design services.   It's exciting to watch winners Martyn Lawrence-Bullard and Kelly Wearstler transform from mere interior designers to bonafide celebrities.  And I can't wait to do the same!

The Simple Pleasures are the Ultimate Luxury

I've just returned from an idyllic trip in the Cotswolds, the English Countryside.  A great part of my trip was working for Volvo, "recording luxury through my eyes".  (In the works, the ultimate, luxury SUV.) ELLENBOROUGH PARK HOTEL ELLENBOROUGH PARK DINING ROOM RANGE ROVING AROUND THE COUNTRY We stayed in fabulous Ellenborough Park in Cheltenham Spa and drove the sheep dotted, rolling green, hilly terrain in a Vouge Edition Land Rover, visiting charming villages, castles and palaces.  Breakfast served on freshly pressed linen, china by the Queen's designer and formal attention from Sandro, our Italian maitre d, began each day.  It could not have been more pleasant.  But I noticed I was most impressed by the simple things, like yogurt served in ceramic jars and water in glass bottles instead of plastic.  And the bald, old, tire swing in the front "yard" overlooking the manor and the Cheltenham Horse Track, brought immense joy to husband, daughter and me. TIRE SWING AT ELLENBOROUGH PARK LA FERMIERE YOGURT IN CERAMIC JARS Visiting stone clad, charming villages and cities with their fine cathedrals,  manors, historical treasures, castles, palaces and more palaces was, of course, delightful, even surreal. But it was the little things like the candy shop displays, glimpses of a dragon or two and the way the sun glowed against the buildings, warming us at the end of a chilly day that  felt like slices of heaven cake. BLENHEIM PALACE GLOUCESTER CATHEDRAL CLIVEDEN FANCY SWEETS WHAT A DISPLAY WHIMISICAL DRAGONS THE SUN ON THE GLORIOUS CRESCENT IN BATH So the lesson is, at home or away, look out for the small things that make you smile.  They are the truest luxuries in your life.  Of course if you have the miles or can afford it, going first class doesn't suck either! VIRGIN UPPER CLASS- FULL RECLINE BABY!

Time for a Big Girl Bed

Anyone close to a toddler is familiar with the big boy/girl bed right of passage.  In an effort to minimize the "shock of the move", a big deal is made out the bed, bedding, pillows, their design and decoration.  With the best of intentions,  brand new mattresses, bedding and pillows are purchased- chock full of toxins. What people might not realize is that one of the best things you can give your child (and yourself) is a truly clean place to sleep and rejuvenate at night.  The space should include organic materials- free of pesticides and toxic petrochemicals. Here's how I did it. Step 1. Find a kick-ass head board that someone decided to put out for the trash man. Step 2.  Paint in non-toxic color that coordinates with your scheme. Step 3. Design a fun bedding set with organic cotton fabric. Step 4. Sew away. Step 4.  Enjoy In this endeavor I was also happy to learn about Naturepedic.  They make one of the best twin mattresses I've encountered.  In addition to being made of high quality,  organic materials that will last until college, it's ultra comfortable and has 2 sides. One side is plush, organic cotton and the other still comfortable but it's pee-pee proof so the matress isn't destroyed during middle of the night accidents.  It's also hypoallergenically designed to protect against dust mites.   FYI- all these steps will work with adults beds too. Sweet Dreams!

Lori Dennis is a top Interior Designer, speaker, best selling author, star of HGTV’s The Real Designing Women and co-founder of Design Campus.




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