WELCOME to CAROLINA PANACHE! I believe our homes should be a haven, a place of beauty and peace that reflect who we are and what's important to us. I'm on a journey to add personality and panache to every corner of my house. For me, good design evolves, grows and changes with the needs of one's lifestyle. I want my home to be creative, to be stylish, to be entertaining, to be real. I hope you will join me on my journey. It's always more fun to travel together.
This blog is all about bringing style and elegance to the home. The art of dressing your home goes beyond hanging a few items on the wall and arranging furniture. Much like a fabulous set of earrings or a new stylish handbag may take your little black dress from fine to fabulous, home accesories and key furnishings can take your rooms from ho-hum to singing the Halleluiah Chorus! Join with me as we discover new ways to add panache to every room of the house.

Relaxed Summer Style

Summer! Lazy days of summer!
Something about summer makes all of us long for a slower pace, more casual surroundings and bright, crip colors. This week I will be adding relaxed summer style to some spaces in my home. I'm going to start with my sunroom and deck. These two areas will get a lot of use over the next few months especially with the kids home from school. Pulling a little inspiration from Pottery Barn, I think I will be off "shopping" the house and the garage later today to see what I come up with. Red, white and blue is a classic color scheme but for my house these colors won't work. So, I am going to modify them to a color pallette of orange, cream and turquoise. All of these colors are just various hues of the primary basics. Let's look at some pictures from my idea file. While these aren't the colors I will use, the look and style is what I'm going for.I'm going for a similar look with the mix-n-match pillows in my sunroom. I love the stripes, floral and geometric prints combined. Shopping the house for the right mix will be fun and challenging! I love the pop of sunny yellow thrown in the mix.

I have several pieces of older wicker. The plan is to paint it chocolate brown. My BFF, Bella~Mella, recently painted a wicker piece an espresso brown at my suggestion. After seeing pictures, I loved it so much that I think I'll take my own advice and paint my pieces. In the picture above I love the mix of wicker with metal folding chairs. The mix of pattern again caught my eye. I think mixing up patterns has a natural casual appeal perfect for the hot, sticky days of summer.

The bright navy blue of this umbrella is what drew my eye in this photo. I guess it's my association of blue with water that makes me lean towards shades of blue during the warm weather months. I have three umbrellas in the garage. A leopard print, a terracotta floral print and a solid golden yellow. Depending on what I pull together from my "shopping" trip, will determine which one is featured in the months to come.
I would LOVE to have an outdoor sectional like this! The whole set is just perfect for entertaining outdoors. Cushions so thick you can just sink down and daydream the day away.

Oh, to have a functional outdoor kitchen! We would eat every meal outside! This kitchen is covered by a porch. Whenever I get around to designing an outdoor kitchen, it will need to be weather proof since we have an uncovered deck.

At the end of a long day, to lay and relax on this summery chaise lounge would be perfect. Especially if your back yard bordered a lake or the coast.
Well, I better get going if I'm going to get a start on that deck today....
Until I see you again,
Happy Decorating!

TABLESCAPE THURSDAY - French Country Flair

Hey, it's TABLESCAPE THURSDAY again! Don't you just love this weekly get-together? I do! Thanks to Susan at Between Naps On The Porch. To see more lovely and inspired tables pop over for a visit. This week I'm showing a little French Country Flair. I brought out some Roosters, Toile and Red, Black and Cream! They are the perfect elements for this French Country breakfast table. Cream placemats, Toile napkins, Ivory plates and Toile bread or fruit plates from Williams Sonoma set the table with French flair. Clear and Ruby crystal goblets and juice glasses add the sparkle. Flatware with Bamboo handles completes my placesettings.

Love this distressed white Rooster. I've had him for many years. Usually he sits on my counter but for today he's made his way to my breakfast table.
This spotted Rooster was a gift from my SIL, Teresa. Thanks, T!
Red, Black and Cream are so FRENCH to me. Red roses were the obvious choice for my centerpiece.

These bamboo handles are rugged yet refined. I've used them with my best china and I've used them with paper plates! These Toile napkins also came from Williams Sonoma. They are luncheon size but they work just fine for breakfast.
My clear juice glasses came from Dollar Tree. I've had the Ruby Crystal Goblet for several years. I have 8 in all and usually they only make their way out of the cabinet at Valentine's Day and Christmas. But I liked the way they added glamour to this table.
This salad / bread / dessert Toile patterned plate came from Williams Sonoma. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the pattern and colors! See the little Rooster?
I think I will serve Eggs Benedict, Crisp Bacon and warm, flaky Croissants with fresh squeezed Orange Juice and fresh Melon. Hmmm!
I hope you've enjoyed this week's French Country Flair. Until I see you again,
Happy Table Setting!

Patriotic Decor & Happy Memorial Day!

Happy Memorial Day! I hope you are having a wonderful day with family and friends and have taken some time to remember the fallen soldiers who have given their lives to ensure our freedom! I am so thankful for their sacrifice! There's just something about Summer and Red, White and Blue! It just goes together like peanut butter and jelly or ketchup and fries. I find myself automatically reaching for clothes in my closet in these shades from May through July 4th! Adding a little patriotic flair to our decor during this season seems pretty natural too! From the weeks leading up to Memorial Day to the fireworks finale on the Fourth, we Americans just seem to gravitate to the classic of all classic colors schemes - Red, White and Blue! Here's a little home tour to give you some inspiration for adding American Spirit to your summer holidays!Ever since I was a little kid, I've loved patriotic buntings! They look so festive and regal! Paired with Old Glory, the front of the house is all decked out and can stay that way through Flag Day in June to Independence Day in July!
Love this family room! The white slipcovered sofa is just the right backdrop for displaying these Flag pillows. Wanna know a secret? The reverse side of the pillows are a floral print that the homeowner simply turns around when the summer holidays are over.

A light filled dining room painted white is the perfect setting to showcase this red, white and blue tablescape. I love the fresh blue and white ginham check napkins and the punch of red Gladiolas.
Glorious color, beautiful frabic and crip white wicker makes this sun room by the sea the ideal place to lounge during the hot days of summer. The only place more perfect would be by the sea shore itself. I love the use of blue and white stripes paired with the red rose chintz.
Kick back and relax with your family and friends at the end of the afternoon on this All-American screened porch. A collection of mismatched furniture gets a "pulled-together" look with lots of blue and red paint and fabric. You just can't go wrong! Various shades of blue paired with red, tan and white lends a preppy panache to a family friendly space that can be enjoyed all summer long!
I hope you enjoy the rest of your holiday! Be safe! Until I see you again,
Happy Decorating!


This week I thought I would share some summer inspiration for outdoor tables and centerpieces. Using ordinary items in extraordinary ways is the best part of setting the table. During the warmer months of Spring and Summer, I opt for casual over formal any day but that doesn't mean you have to sacrifice on style, creativity or beauty.
I love the way the lemons are balanced on top of the candle holders in the picture below.
Simple but lovely.A silver ice bucket becomes the perfect container to hold fresh blooms cut from the garden.
A silver teapot is the perfect accent to Mexican Heather.

A double stack takes on new meaning. A silver cake plate topped with a silver bowl makes a pretty display for silverware.

Used and repurposed, soda bottles clustered with happy Sunflower blooms make a fun and casual centerpiece.

I have to thank Susan at Between Naps on the Porch for hosting this fun little party every week! For more table top creations, please pop over to vist her.
Until I see you again,
Happy Decorating!

Defining Your Style

Are you like me?
Torn between two styles, feeling like a fool? Having worked in design for several years, I am always on the look-out for new styles, trends and classics. I have decided that I simply appreciate good design regardless of the style. Staying true to my personal style, however, is critical to making my home a haven. Discovering your personal style can be a little tricky but once you've decided to be true to yourself, the process gets a lot easier.
Discovering your design starts with defining what you love and why you love it. Once you have that established, mixing and matching other styles can add whimsy and relief to your decor.
I teach 5 basic design styles - Classic, Country or Cottage, Contemporary, Chic and Cultural. To read more about these styles visit LifeandStylebyDesign.
Over the years I've learned that when a client is unhappy with their surroundings, it's usually because their personal style was not defined. Upon visiting in their home, it becomes clear that with a little editing, a personal style begins to emerge that feels like "home". I share the following BIG 3 with all of my clients. These are rules to live (and decorate) by:
  1. If you don't LOVE it, don't buy it!
  2. If you can't see yourself using the piece 3, 5 or 10 years from now, don't bring it home.
  3. Stay true to yourself. No two people are the same and no two interiors should be the same. Use other's style as inspiration and for ideas, but create spaces in your home that tell YOUR story.

I guess I'm rather like Dorothy -" There's no place like home". I love to travel and to visit wonderful places but at the end of the day, I'd rather be home than anywhere on earth. Until I see you again,

Happy Decorating!


Tablescape Thursday - Sweet and Simple

WELCOME to Tablescape Thursday!
Thursday's are one of my favorite days! I love looking at all the creative ways that we design tables for all types of entertaining. Tablescaping and beautiful dishes are two of my passions. Recently, I've been seeing alot of paper and plastic plates and dishes designed for pretty but casual entertaining. Sometimes it's good to have the convenience of paper - when your event is through, clean up is SO easy! I'm having a few girls over for lunch and wanted a pretty table but I didn't want to spend an hour afterwards doing dishes! This week's table is "Sweet and Simple" and it features paper plates and napkins I found at Pier 1 while shopping with my BFF before Easter. Let's take a look: The white lace tablecloth is actually made from a soft, drape-y plastic. I found this at a yard sale for $1. I used my Tiffany blue placemats and the metal flower chargers that I picked up at Target after Easter. They were on clearance. I love the wrought-iron and distressed look.
The paper plates are so sweet. The dessert/salad plate is rimmed with a Tiffany blue border and there is a little bird's nest in the center with Robin's Egg blue eggs. I am using my Bamboo flatware today.

A simple pot of silk tulips was just the right scale for my "scaled-down" table. I had Mr. Panache collapse the extra leaf. The table is a unique design and instead of removing an extra leaf, you just collapse it underneath the table. When I have a larger group, the table expands to seat 8.

In keeping with the Bird theme, I found these two iron bird statues that I used last year on my outdoor table. They are a little weathered but they work perfectly with the chargers.

The paper luncheon plate features a damask border designed in Tiffany blue with a chocolate brown ring around the inner circle. A single bird - is that a Wren?- is printed on the plate.

Here is a better look at the dessert / salad plate. The border is speckled just like a bird's egg.

Remember my Dollar Tree goblets? These are by Libbey and each one was $1. You can't beat that!

The Bamboo flatware is perfect for Spring or Summer tablescapes. I picked up a service set for 4 at HomeGoods then a few weeks later, I found the same set at Ross and they were $5 cheaper! Yeah, I brought them home. Now I have the perfect 8.

Having a pretty table can be simple, inexpensive and easy. Keeping your eyes open to great colors, shapes and materials will give you plenty of inspiration. The other day I was at TJMaxx and they had an entire shelf filled with colorful and patterned paper napkins, paper plates and accessories. Most of the packages were $1.69 each. I picked up several packages in different colors and patterns. One is a cream and black toile with a red border. I can't wait to use them in an upcoming 'scape. Don't forget to go over to see Susan at Between Naps on the Porch and visit each Tablescaper for inspiration! Until I see you again,
Happy Decorating!

Simply Chic Bedding Update

Okay, I was surfing the net for a quick bedding update. A friend of mine has a daughter who just turned 16 and she wants to "update" her daughter's room to reflect the young woman rather than the little girl who daughter used to be. She asked me for some "inexpensive" ideas because money is tight. Obviously the first thing I suggested is PAINT. I love paint! Paint is our friend! You can paint almost everything. Paint can add panache, personality and pizzazz! The next suggestion was bedding! New linens can get expensive so I was looking for some crafty ideas on how to rework some of the current bedding when I discovered this clever idea. I just love it! Notice the bedskirt? It's made out of TOWELS. Yes, that's right! Hand towels and bath towels. My friend's home is a little cottage and she and her daughter live there alone. They really like fleamarket finds, ShabbyChic decor and most things white. This quick and easy bedskirt fit perfectly with their decor and the best part - NO SEWING!
All that was needed was:
4 - Bath Towels (any color or pattern you choose)
6- Hand Towels (I suggest matching versions of your bath towels)
2 yards of 2-inch wide ball fringe
Fabric Glue
Bedskirt Tacks
Place 2 Bath towels on top of the box spring. Allow to hand over the edge to desired length. Center the bath towels in the middle with approximately a 4" to 6" separation between the two. Next, take the Hand Towels, embellish one end with the ball fringe using fabric glue. Allow to dry. Place the embellished Hand Towels on top of the Bath Towels overlapping the edges. Adjust the towel to the desired length. Repeat these steps for the other side.
If your bed is centered the room and you want to over the end, simply use 1 extra Bath Towel and 2 extra Hand Towels. If the bed sits against a wall then dress the side and end only. Use bedskirt tacks to hold the towels in place, then place your mattress on top.
All that's needed next is a few coordinated toss pillows and an inexpensive blanket or coverlet. We picked ours up at TJMAXX. We actually used two blankets in contrasting colors and standard white sheets. The bedskirt and the pillows add all the drama. The bedskirt project took less than 40 minutes. When you get tired of the color or pattern, remove the fringe, wash the towels, then send them back to the bathroom for standard duty.
Have fun with this little project. It's so simply and cute.
Until I see you again,
Happy Decorating!

Today is all About Precious Moms and Sweet Boys

I hope that each of you MOMS are taking it easy and being spoiled just a bit by the loved ones in your life.
Just wanted to post a quick entry in honor of MOM. Enjoy a quick peek at my Mother's Day goodies and pause to read a little poem at the end. I hope you all have a wonderful and blessed day!
Bright green, hot pink and white - the perfect color trio for a Mother's Day bouquet!

Spider Mums, Daisies, Roses and Carnations

A basket of goodies - a little Black Book of Style, seed packets of my favorite blooms, scented candles and chocolates.

A real-life acronym for M.O.T.H.E.R.

To Honor the two very special Mothers in our life, Mr. Panache and I
dedicate this poem to our Mothers.
Virgina Lucas and Ann Brown

As I Look Back...
As I look back on my lifeI find myself wondering...
Did I remember to thank you for all that you have done for me?
For all of the times you were by my side to help me celebrate
my successes and accept my defeats?
Or for teaching me the value of hard work, good judgement, courage, and honesty?
I wonder if I've ever thanked you for the simple things...
The laughter, smiles, and quiet times we've shared?
If I have forgotten to express my gratitude
For any of these things, I am thanking you now...
and I am hoping that you've known all along,
how very much you are loved and appreciated.
With much love,
Happy Mother's Day!

Foodie Friday - Strawberry Dream Cake with French Vanilla Whipped Frosting

Welcome to my very first FOODIE FRIDAY!

This week's theme is CAKE so in honor of Mother's Day I wanted to share a lovely Strawberry Cake recipe from my M-I-L, Ann. I've modified the topping a little by adding some "fluff". I love strawberries and during the season I can eat them almost non-stop. This recipe features fresh picked berries and strawberry puree and syrup.


1 package yellow cake mix
2/3 cup water

1/3 cup oil

4 eggs

1 package strawberry jello (3-0z.)

1 cup fresh strawberries

Combine cake mix, water, oil, jello and strawberries. Blend well. Pour into prepared 9x13" cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees.

For the French Vanilla Whipped Frosting I used:

2 cups French Vanilla flavored Cool-Whip

1 package instant Vanilla pudding

1 cup cold milk

1 cup strawberries

1/2 cup strawberry flavored syrup (the type used for ice cream)

Combine the pudding mix with 1 cup cold milk. Beat until thickened. Fold in Cool-Whip. Mix well.

Puree fresh strawberries with 1/2 cup strawberry syrup. Spread mixture on top of cooled cake. Then spread French Vanilla Frosting on top.

Garnish with fresh sliced strawberries. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Store any leftovers (most likely you won't have any) in the refrigerator to prevent the frosting from melting.

For a creme-style cake take 2/3 box confectioner's sugar, a little juice from the strawberries, just enough juice to make a glaze. Mix well. Pour over the top of cake and let it drip down the sides. Yummy!


This recipe is sure to please Mom and what could be prettier than a Pink cake for Mother's Day?

I hope all of you MOMS have a wonderful and restful day! Blessings!

Until I see you again,

Happy Cooking!


TABLESCAPE THURSDAY - An English Garden for Mother

This week I've pulled together a table to honor MOM. I'm calling it "An English Garden for Mother". I was looking through my dishes, linens and crystal trying to come up with a new combination that I haven't shared before. While I was pondering this week's table, my eyes fell on a new picture that I've just acquired. I was admiring the coral, peach and orange tones in the background and suddenly I knew what I would do. Let's take a look at my inspiration picture and go tour this table I've set especially for Mother's Day. This picture is called "Magnolia Estate" and it's from my Celebrating HOME line of interior accents and home furnishings. The creamy white flowers against the coral and peach toned background were my inspiration this week.
My Mom loves an English Garden. Tea Roses and Peonies are her two favorite blooms. This table features creamy white peonies in the centerpiece and lovely Tea Roses on the floral napkins. I had a lot of fun pulling this table together and with each layer I got more excited to see the finished product. The explosion of color across our dining room table even pulled a few compliments from Mr. Panache and our boys. Wow!

Earlier this year my Mom came to visit over a long weekend and as we girls do we took off to shop. I found these Ralph Lauren napkins at BELKS. The background is a soft Robin's Egg Blue and the floral print features roses in shades of coral, peach, pink and rose.

I started with a creamy white quilted placemat. I tend to use placemats more than tablecloths during the warmer months. Next, I added my woven wicker chargers. I have had these for several years and love the texture they add to any table. I love the way they add a sense of casual elegance to an otherwise formal table. I then layered three different stoneware patterns in three different colors - Ivory dinner plate, Robin's Egg Blue salad plate, Coral dessert plate - a slight nod to the classic of RED, WHITE and BLUE but with a modern mix.

Elegant Ivory Soy candles cast just a hint of glow around the table.

I had 3 yards of Peach silk fabric left over from a project for a client. I simply placed it in the center of my table and turned the unfinished edges under. Viola! A tablerunner. The ivory platter featured here is part of a new pottery line from Celebrating HOME. It is called VERANDA. The pattern is a basket-weave embossing with an English Ivy motif layered on top. Now I have to decide was yummy entree I will place on this lovely platter for a Mother's Day lunch.

A matching covered casserole.

This is what we call a BEAN POT. It is oval shaped with a deep well and narrow opening. Perfect for serving baked beans, pasta salads, soups, stews or chowders.

A couple fine feathered friends find their way to the table.

I tried several ways of displaying my napkins. I liked this triangle fold laid across the dessert plate. But, I was afraid it covered to much of the plate.

Each one of the different stoneware patterns are embossed. I purchased these coral dessert plates at TARGET about 6 years ago. They were on the clearance table - 4 for $5! What a bargain!

When my eyes fell on these salad plates it was love at first sight. The soft Robin's Egg Blue was unlike any dishes I had in my cabinet and I knew they would match my napkins perfectly. I found them at TJMaxx about a month ago. You will see these in many more tablescapes I'm sure! (Smile!)

And again! My tried and true IVORY dinner plates from BHandGardens.

I settled on displaying the napkin inside the crystal goblet. I liked the way the fabric fanned out and added some height to the table. The smaller crystal goblet is actually a sorbet cup. I wasn't sure about the proper placement so it ended up to the right of the glass. If you happen to know the correct spot for it, please share. :-)

I am reading a wonderful book called "Creative Hospitality" by Nancy Van Pelt. The book is on loan from my dear friend Peggy Morris. One quote from the author that I will share is this:
'To know how to create a beautiful table setting and pull it all together in an
inviting manner is a talent from God".
I never really thought about it that way but after participating in Susan's Tablescape Party and viewing all the gorgeous tables that everyone posts week after week, I have decided that I agree with Mrs. Van Pelt! So for more inspiration and to visit some very talented ladies, pop over to see Susan at Between Naps on the Porch! Until I see you again,
Happy Table Setting!


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