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.

30 Days, 30 Tips for Budget Friendly Home Decor - Day 4

This is Day 4 in my segment "30 Days, 30 Tips". Again, this tip can add BIG impact for little or no money. Your biggest investment here will be time but it's time well spent! I love looking through decorating magazine and books. I am always drawn to the what's on the walls. Today's tip shares some great pointers on how to get a designer look with just a little effort.
Day 4 - Tip 4:
The look of Big Art
Needless to say, but art tells a lot about you. It sets the personality profile for your rooms and speaks volumes about what you are attracted to and where your passions lie. I walked into a potential client's home and her walls were filled with black and white photography all stylishly framed in modern black frames with ivory matting. The subject of each photograph was a person. Each person was a family member. I knew right away where her heart was. Another lady had me come over to consult about a new color palette for her formal rooms. Tapestries, oil paintings and pottery were displayed throughout her home - each one silently speaking of the Italian countryside and her ancestry.
To get the look of big art in your home assemble similar things in various sizes. Think of paintings, mirrors, plates, vases or photographs. Gather them together in a collage and display them over the head of your bed or behind your sofa or table. They will have much more impact displayed as a collection and they will add big drama to your room. Designer's have known and used this trick for decades.
Perhaps you don't have a collection of similar objects to display in this manner. It's so easy to make your own. Most Photo Labs are able to print quality enlargements of your candid pictures in an hour or less. Pick up inexpensive frames at a discount retailer or outlet store. Use scrapebook paper for matting rather than spending big bucks on custom mats. In a couple of hours you will be set to display your new collage. The same process can work with pressed leaves or dried flowers. My mother once cut beautiful pictures from old cookbooks and assembled a gorgeous collage for our formal dining room! You can pick old cookbooks up at garage sales for pennies!
With a little effort and time invested wisely you can pull off the look of BIG art for little $$$!
Tomorrow I'll share Tip 5. If you can only spend money on one thing, then this is where you should invest! Until then,
Happy Decorating!

30 Days, 30 Tips to Budget Friendly Home Decor - Day 3

Welcome! Come right on in!
Today is Day 3 in my segment "30 Days, 30 Tips for Budget Friendly Home Decor". I was inspired to do this segment after speaking to several people who want to freshen up their home a bit but don't have a big budget. So for 30 consecutive days I will post a tip for making the most of your space by adding BIG IMPACT for little $$$.
Day 3 - Tip 3:
Getting over Matched Sets
For many years the furniture business has made us think that we have to have matched sets - matched end tables, matched bedroom suites, matched dinning chairs, matched lamps and so on. Well, if you want your home to look like a furniture showroom then matched sets work but if you want your home to have a comfortable, evolved-over-time appeal then ungroup your matched sets and pull together a look that is warm, lived-in and inviting.
1. Walk through your home and take note of how many "sets" you have in each room. Where could you use one of the items from the pair and how could you use it differently?
2. Swap out a lamp from your living room and pair it with a lamp from your bedroom or some other area of your home.
3. Try using one of your matched end tables as a bedside table or accent table.
4. Try adding two wing chairs at the ends of your dining room table and use the two dining chairs in your entry or hall.
5. Mix 'n match wood tones throughout your home in a daring manner to add excitement and movement to the room.
Keep in mind that somethings are better off staying together. Grouping a collection of ironstone, vintage clocks, pottery or plates have more design appeal and impact when displayed together rather than scattered throughout the house.
As an update, I am still unable to upload any new pictures from my camera. I hope to have this issue resolved by the weekend. I do have some wonderful pictures of my New Glamour masterbath. The soft palette of yellow-green, chocolate and brushed nickle really added a "wow" factor. I also have a new tablescape to share featuring my Mother's white Johnson Bros. dishes. But before you go, browse through some of my idea file pics for mixing and matching your way to a fabulous home. The chairs and chaise lounge are unified with slipcovers but the glass and iron coffee table plays off the oak accent table in the background.
This living room is a study in "a little of this and a little of that" just like a French chef concocting his famous pastry. Various wood tones, brass and glass cocktail table, black lacquered writing desk - it's all here!

While the two distressed side tables and lamps match, they play off of the solid center console and tone down the formal feel of symmetry.
Drop by tomorrow for Day 4! Until then,
Happy Decorating!

30 Days, 30 Tips to Budget Friendly Home Decor - Day 2

Hey it's Day 2 in my "30 Days, 30 Tips" segment. The feedback from yesterday's post is great! It's nice to see that so many of you have already found the magic of furniture rearrangement. Today I am going to talk about paint. Color is the second easiest way to add budget friendly style to your room. Day 2 - Tip 2:
Accent Color
Color is amazing! Even the slightest variation of white can change the mood of your room, effect your lighting and show-off your furnishings in a new way. It's like make-up! Us ladies know that a little blush or bronzer can give us that healthy glow we long for. Well, the same is true with your wall color. Choosing color wisely can make a big impact for a little money. Depending on the paint you purchase, you are looking at $12-$50 per gallon. Most quality paints will run around $30.
Rooms dressed in warm colors like yellow, peach, chocolate and beigey-neutrals send out an inviting welcome to come in and visit. Cool shades like blue, green, aqua and cool grays allow us to rest and relax as they embrace us in tranquility. The firey tones of red and oranage promote happiness, excitement and conversation and are perfect colors for any areas of your home where you want to promote socializing.
With today's wide range of modern neutrals, even the color phobic have an unlimited palette of "whites" to choose from. These new whites are tinted with ever so soft shades that lean toward warm or cool. A word of caution though, test your color in the room before committing. Natural and incandescent lighting will change the color once it's on your walls. Other colors can also be reflected from flooring, furnishings and window treatments.
I once made a terrible mistake by choosing wall color without testing it in the room. The room had 4 large west facing windows. At sunset the yellow-orange glow streaming through the windows changed my yellow-green wall paint to a shade that was harsh and unbearable. Repainting isn't that hard to do but it certainly is a time drain so pick wisely.
At $30 per gallon, adding accent color is an inexpensive way to add big impact. Even a quart of color on a small accent wall can be just the lift you need. I'd like to hear from you. Are you a color fanatic or color-phobic? What colors or neutrals do you use most? What's your favorite wall color? Tomorrow is Day 3 and I'll post another tip so check it out and don't forget to comment. Until then,
Happy Decorating!

30 Days, 30 Tips to Budget Friendly Home Decor - Day 1

Hey, thanks for stopping by today for the launch of my new feature called
"30 Days, 30 Tips to Budget Friendly Home Decorating".
These tips are loaded with big-impact for little $$$. Over the last few months I've talked with a lot of Moms, Singles, and Empty-nesters. It seems they all want the same thing - easy, doable home decor updates using what they already have or budget friendly ideas that WON'T break the bank! So that's been the inspiration for this special feature. Each day I will post a new tip. Today's tip is so easy and best of all IT'S FREE! It won't cost you one penny and believe me it makes a huge impact!
Day 1 - Tip 1:
This is so easy! One of the best ways to get an instant "Umphf" from your interior space is to rearrange your furniture and accessories. Just positioning your furniture in a new configuration is sometimes all you need to create a new mood. Always start with the bigger pieces such as your sofa in the living room or table in the dining room and your bed in the bedroom.
I like to clean out the entire room and start from stratch. This might not be doable if you have big, bulky pieces. In which case take out all the small, accent furniture so you will have plenty of room to work. Reposition the key pieces then add back the smaller accents.
A good rule to keep in mind is that every room should have a FOCAL POINT. This could be a fireplace, window or a wall decorated with a gorgeous piece of art. Orient your largest piece of furniture in the room towards this focal point. In my living room I have my sofa facing my fireplace. In my dining room I have my table facing a double window. The den has two focal points and so I have the sofa facing one and the loveseat facing the other. Don't be afraid to angle seating pieces and tables or to pull your sofa, loveseat or bed out away from the wall.
Once you have rearranged the furniture, come back and "sign your name". This is the part I like best! This is when you accessorize your tables, bookshelves, mantles and walls. You will be astounded at the difference you will feel in your own space once you regarrange things. I like to keep my family guessing so every 3-4 months I change it up a bit. During the Fall and Winter months I pull my furniture close together - to the center of the room and place tables and consoles around the walls. During the Spring and Summer, I like to spread things out and allow the air to circulate. No matter how much or how little you rearrange, it will make a big impact for little effort!
Hope you find this tried and true tip useful. I'd love to hear how you rearranged a room to add impact and freshness! Tomorrow I will share Tip 2. Don't miss it! Until then,
Happy Decorating!

Where's a Techno Guru when you need one?

Hi there! In case you've checked for my Tablescape this week, I've had a little technical difficulties. For some reason which I have yet to figure out, I can not import new pictures from my digital camera. I really need a Techno Guru to help me out! So until I get this little problem solved I will be stuck posting inspiration pictures from the net or old pictures from my files. On Wednesday I posted about how I am already in the mood for Fall. I thought I would share this simple photo of a lovely Autumn Tablescape. I think the white tablecloth gives a fresh face to this fall table. Many times we think of rich, saturated color during the fall months but this table proves that you can add warmth and coziness to your table without adding heavy color. Here are some tips for achieving this casually elegant look:
  • Keep it FRESH. Build upon table linens that are white or ivory then layer in the warm colors of fall - gold, green, touches of orange and rust.
  • Use variations of SOFT COLOR. Notice the monochromatic color of the dishes. The colors are all within a similar color family and the intensity of each color is ever so slight. This lends a clean, modern look to the table.
  • Feature an EYE-POPPING CENTERPIECE. When using a subdued color palette in your linens and dishes, opt for a show-stopping centerpiece. Here colorful candles, miniture pumpkins and gourds do the trick.
  • Add a touch of whimsy. The single pressed Maple leaf tucked beneath a slim leather strap is all the adornment needed for these classic ivory napkins. The pressed leaves give a nod to nostalgia when as an elementary student, you would gather leaves and press them between pages of a book for use in a science project.

Hopefully, I will be able to correct my camera problem soon. I have some wonderful pictures to share of my NEW GLAMOUR master-bath and a trip to the BLACK LION of their annual Summer Tent-Sale. On Monday I will begin posting "30 Days, 30 Tips to Low-Budget Home Decorating". I hope you will join me! Until then,

Happy Decorating!


Vintage Finds

I love to display items in my home that have meaning! Old, vintage pieces handed down from my Mother and Grandmother are the best. However, every now and then I find something really eyecatching at a second hand store or shop that manages to make its way home with me. Decorating with old or vintage accessories can add charm to any room whether they are classic finds or simply vintage inspired. Accessories are an easy way to add personal flair to your home. Browsing flea-markets, auctions or antique stores are sure to turn up some fun and unique items like these ceramic birds and the old movie tickets. I am so into shades of teal, blue, green, turquoise and aqua this summer. These birds really caught my eye. I love the slight contrast between the birds and the planter. This is what insired my tablescape for this week. Stop by tomorrow for the "reveal".
While we are on the topic of reveals, I am still working on my Glamour Bath. I had a little mishap and injured my left shoulder. I thought it was getting better but I had a slight relapse. We also ran into a little electrical issue that Mr. Panache had to solve. I am hoping that we will have this little project completed by the weekend.
I may be rushing the season, but I am already in the mood for fall. I was out shopping with my Mom last week and was shocked at how many stores have Autumn and Christmas decor displayed. This year I've decided to craft a new Fall wreath for my front door. I've used the same one for about 6 years now and it's ready to be retired. I stopped by Hobby Lobby on Saturday and was inspired by all the fall floral picks and gourds! I usually start decorating for fall immediately after Labor Day. This year I may be a little late because I will holding a Life and Style by God's Design Women's Conference in Largo, Florida with my ministry partner, Melanie Dorsey. The conference is on the 11th and 12th of September. If you are in the Tampa Bay area and you would like to attend, registration is only $28 and that includes a catered lunch and take home gift. You would be most WELCOME! I would love to meet you and I am sure you would enjoy the conference. You can register by calling Patty at 727-595-2034.
Until I see you again,
Happy Decorating!

Tablescape Thursday - Life is just Beachy

Welcome to TABLESCAPE THURSDAY! We're right smack in the middle of summer and I thought I would post a table this week that reflects my love for the beach. Cool water, sandy white beaches and vibrant shades of blue and turquoise equal paradise on Florida's west coast. Since moving to NC, I get to enjoy the beach two or three times per year so this tablescape takes me back home ...I can feel those summer breezes right now! Sea shells, an ecru crocheted tablecloth that resembles a net and a color palette of blue, turquoise and ivory provides the perfect backdrop to my Life is Just Beachy table.

A silver shell serving dish, turquoise glass beads and a star fish add panache and beachy flair.

Blue and white shell coasters add some whimsy to a laid-back, khaki shorts and white linen shirt type of affair!

I started with a turquoise placemat and layered a round placemat on top woven from blue straw. My favorite IVORY dishes are paired with my white sea shell salad plates. I love to use various shades of white and ivory together. The subtle variations are just like the sand on the seashore.
A turquoise candle plate in the center of the salad plate adds more color and a little romance when the candle is glowing as your guests come in to dine.

Brown lanterns in three sizes are the focal points of the centerpiece. Each contains an Ivory pillar candle and offers a soft glow of candlelight.

Starfish, conch shells and other treasures from the sea are scattered along the tabletop. Small cut crystal votives hold small ivory candles and enhance the soft, summery mood.

I found these Starfish napkin rings at Bed, Bath and Beyond while I lived in FL. The bronze-y, brown color is a nice complement to the other beachy shades.

I hope you've enjoyed dinner at the beach! Even more so, I hope you are enjoying your summer. I can't believe that we are halfway through July! Wasn't it just the 4th? Before you know it, school will be back in session and the lazy days of summer will be but a memory. We better enjoy it while we can!
Be sure to pop over to visit Susan at BNATP for more inspiring tables! Until I see you again,
Happy Tablescaping!

New GLAMOUR - Edgy & Elegant

I'm so fickle! Just recently (about 9 months ago) I updated my Master Bed and Bath with a blue, brown and gold color scheme. It had been years since I had used blue in my personal decor. Blue was just not a color that I was naturally drawn too. Mr. Panache on the other hand LOVES blue. It's his favorite color so I decided to update our Bedroom and Bath and add blue. Now I'm blue...it's just not getting it for me. Back in May my BFF, Bella~Mella, came for a visit and we attended a conference together. In her bag she had packed a copy of Home Depot's "Connect with Color - Design and Color Trends by BEHR". As we flipped through the booklet we talked about colors, design, personal style and what we liked and didn't like. Now, I'm not a trendy decorator but every now and again a trend will actually get it right and go from trendy to classic in a flash. I knew when I saw their "New Glamour" palette, it would eventually work its way into my house. NEW GLAMOUR is tradition with a twist, a look that's relaxing and unabashedly luxurious. Living with a house full of guys I try not to decorate or furnish our home with too much "fem" appeal but luxury isn't necessarily feminine so off I go to pull together a NEW GLAMOUR look without spend more than $100! Think I can do it? I do! Let's look at the Color Story: Here's BEHR's tips for New Glamour:
  1. Popular colors for this style include natural yellow-infused greens.
  2. Accents are expressive browns, soft yellows and color-touched whites.
  3. New Glamour lends itself to mixing and matching traditional design elements with metallic embroidered fabric and eye popping accents.
  4. Natural motifs such as flowers and leafs are popular.
  5. Strong accents are added in ceramics of all shapes and sizes.
  6. Walls should be clean and netural.
  7. Luxury should be added through accessories and high-end, quality fabrics such as damask and brocade.
  8. Subtle contrasting tones can be introduced through fabric, wallpapers and accessories.

Here's my plan:

  1. I plan to start in the Master Bath and work into the Bedroom.
  2. I am going to re-stain the maple vanities in a rich Espresso polystain.
  3. Replace the cabinet hardware with Brushed Nickle.
  4. Replace the blue and beige fabric curtain with a pair of green, silk taffeta panels.
  5. Refinish my Mother's antique chandy in Hammered Silver and hang it over my garden tub.
  6. Shop the house and add a few accessories to glam it up.
  7. Stay within a $100 budget.
Here are a couple pics from the former bathroom re-do.

Yes, the cheetah print stays!
Tomorrow I will start working on the vanities using some great tips from Rhoda over at Southern Hospitality. Next, I will refinish that old chandelier and get Mr. Pananche to hang it up. I'll finish up with painting those walls and accessorizing the space. If all goes well I will have the reveal posted next Monday. Until I see you again,
Happy Decorating!

Stylish Decorating with Monograms

MONOGRAMS! They are making a big comeback! For me, nothing is more stylish or sophisticated than monogrammed bath towels and bed linens. Done right, monograms can lend an air of elegance to a room like none other. Done wrong or overdone, monograms can be tacky. I recently learned of a Monogram Party being given for a Bride-to-Be. What a fresh twist on the traditional Bridal Shower! What young women isn't enthralled with her new married name and initials? I remember when Mr. Panache and I were married. I would spend what seemed like hours scrawling my "new" name on sheets of plain paper. A friend gave me stationary of ivory linen with my newly wed monogram. For the longest time I wouldn't even use it. It was too beautiful for use or at least that's what I thought at the time. Years have past and I have learned to appreciate such fine, personal gifts and the joy you get from indulging in such a luxury. Monograms always add such lovely touches. They are almost as personal as our signature for very few of us have the same three initials as those in our circle of family and friends. When you think of the array of products that may be monogrammed, the list seems endless. Silver is always a great choice but my very favorite is linens. Imagine being able to pass them down through the generations - how soft and supple quality linens become with tender care and gentle use. The pictures that follow are some from my IDEA file. Enjoy browsing around. I hope you are inspired to add a monorgram or two to your personal space. This is may favorite! I LOVE monogrammed pillowcases or shams. This is DONE RIGHT! White bed linens with just a touch of subdued color and the monogram kept elegantly to the pillows.

Here's a great idea. If you want the look of a monogram but don't have the time nor the talent to embroider it yourself, try using fabric paint and a stencil. This wooden bench features decorative linen pillows that have been stenciled. You can pick up stencils, paint, and even fabric at Hobby Lobby to make your own.

I adore this idea! Rather than adding your initial, try something different and fresh - number your dinning chairs. How fun!

Notice the big letter "B" on the shower curtain? What an elegant touch and great accent to the black and white damask wallpaper. The monogrammed shower curtain doesn't compete with the pattern on the wall, but compliments it perfectly and with personal flair.

Here is another fabulous way to personalize your dining room. Tone on tone monograms in the center of the chair's backrest. For me, anything white or ivory can be decked out with a monogram in the same tone.

This glass canister is properly dressed with a family monogram on frosted glass. Understated but elegant.

Here is another one of my favorites - a black lamp shade embroidered with a white initial. Sophisticated and personal - the perfect touch in the Master Suite.
Monday I will be starting a new bathroom project. During the packing up of my Mother's things, we found an antique chandelier decked out with 8 arms and dozens of dangling tear drops. It's an Old Gold finish presently but the plan is to refinish it in a Hammered Silver and hang it above my Jucuzzi garden tub. I'll share pictures along the way. Another little master bath project is a mini-makeover on my maple vanities. Yeah, I know! You are going to think I'm crazy but I am painting them a deep, rich espresso and installing new brushed nickle hardware. A small change but it will make a huge difference. Stay tuned.....
Until then,
Happy Decorating!

Farmer Panache - An abundant harvest

Happy Friday! TGIF! I can't believe another week is almost over! Oh, the plans I had for blogging this week! Well, sometimes things just don't work out like you plan, right? I've spent most of the week helping Mom and Dad get settled, choose a new bank, a new pharmacy, find boxes with important papers or items, and so on. Thank God we're almost done!
While I was away Mr. Panache was busy playing in the dirt. I came home to a wonderful little plot we call a "garden" which was teeming with baby vegetables. Our first crop of cucumbers were harvested this week. I was amazed at how many we took in from our "first fruits". Of course, we are rather proud of our little garden. It's the first time we've ever planted one. Like a proud mama, I thought I would share some pictures of our little ones. :-)
I love, Love, LOVE cucumbers! We eat them fresh - sliced with a little salt and cracked black pepper. We eat them as Quick Pickles - a recipe that my Mom gave us. I eat them as Cucumber Sandwiches with cream cheese and garlic, onion and dill. Of course, we eat them in salads - every salad!
Our neighbors didn't raise a garden this year but they are receiving benefits from living next door. We have so many cucumbers that we can't use them all. It's kind of neat to be able to share. I can remember when I was a little girl going to my Grandpa Lucas' house during the summer - we would ALWAYS go home with arm-loads of fresh veggies and fruits and plenty of canned goods to last for months.

I really like the whole thought of organic fruits and vegetables. No pesticides or funky chemicals have been used and they have been cared for and nurtured daily by Mr. Panache himself. We also planted greenbeans, tomatoes, corn, watermelon and banana peppers. We picked our first "mess" of greenbeans yesterday and while our tomatoes have not yet ripened, we've had some good old down-home Fried Green Tomatoes. Although, I had a little difficulty not thinking about the movie and the infamous BBQ dinner served - yuck! I hope to share more pictures with you as our garden comes in along with some new Country-style recipes that would even make Paula Deen proud!

If you have any special cucumber recipes, I would love to hear about them. Truly, we have an abundant harvest and I'm game to try something new with them.
Thanks to everyone who dropped by to welcome me back. I've missed you all and plan to make my round of visits later today and tomorrow. I have so much to catch up on! :-)
Oh, and thanks for the "tips" for helping my parents make this big transition!
Until I see you again,
Happy Homemaking!

I'm Back!

Whew! Three weeks and 2 days away from blogland but I am officially "back on the job". My parents have officially retired and I've spent the last three weeks helping them pack-up, load-up and move from West Virginia to North Carolina! What a big job. It is amazing what one can accumulate in 21 years of living in the same house.
Neither of my parents have ever lived outside of WV. They were both born and raised in that great state and have lived there during their entire lives together. This year they celebrated 45 years of marriage. I convinced them to move to NC to be close to me, Mr. Panache and our two sons. I didn't have to twist their arm too hard!
But what transition is ahead! If any of you have ever helped your elderly parents through this type of change I would love to hear about any tips you have.
I am starting a new interior design project this month - a family room for empty nesters. NO, not my parents but another client that wants to freshen up her space to reflect sophistication and panache. I hope to share step by step details once the project is underway.
Until then, I will be working on a couple of home organization projects and a mini-makeover for a master bath. Don't forget that Thursday is TABLESCAPE THURSDAY. It's been 3 weeks since I've participated. I hope to pull together something fun and fresh!
Hope to see you around this week!
Happy Decorating!


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