Belly Up to New Bar Stools


As I write today, I’m listening to Jennifer Hudson wail “Whatever Makes You Happy” from the soundtrack of the wildly popular television series, Empire.  And what makes me happy is that now I can belly up to new bar stools this fall.  Small changes make for big impact in our homes as you and I prepare to spend time indoors during cooler weather.

Before Mary E

So I finally attacked my pitiful bar stools at our bar and kitchen counters in preparation for holiday entertaining.   Stools of substance can cost upwards of $800 to$1500.  That’s why I elected to have my favorite upholsterer not only recover the seats of the ones shown above, but also perform some much needed surgery on the legs and braces of a couple of them.

After Mary Etta Designs bar stool

As you can see, they are more than ready for the next person who will belly up to the bar.  And when we tiptoe from the fridge to the counter in the kitchen, we can perch on my favorite newly designed  kitchen barstools. Before the remake, though similar in color,  they didn’t really match.

Mary Etta Designs Before Kitchen Bar Stools

It was so much fun to mix the geometric fabrics from Maxwell with the linen-like fabrics from Fabricut.  The nail heads elevate the chairs to the  casual elegance that I enjoy. I wanted a solid fabric where stains were most likely to occur.

Mary Etta Designs Kitchen Barstools

The fall makeover is just beginning.  Stay tuned for more fall updates at my home.  If you would like help with redoing things around your home for the holidays, contact me about One Day Re-Design.  Details about this new service offering can be found here.


One Day, One Room, Re-Design

Yes.  One Day, One Room, Re-Design and Done.


Image Source

You’re hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year? Yikes!  Its time to get cranking on returning your what is now a dumping room back into a dining room.  Sign up for my new service designed just for you and your home or office.   One Day, One Room, Re-Design

You’ve thought about it all year.  In your mind, it would only take a minute to find a fun new fabric for that chair that the kids have climbed all over with muddy shoes, chocolate covered hands, and their favorite crayons and glue sticks.  And…it is time to brighten that corner of the family room so you and family can get cozy during the fall and winter months.  

So why are you dragging your feet?  Why?  Because your plate is full.  And all you need is one more thing piled on to make you topple over from the stress of getting ready for the winter season.

This year, get the help you need.  Let Mary Etta Designs help you to make that one room that you want to look balanced, warm and inviting a reality this year.  After all, the holidays are just around the corner.

Sign up for my new service designed just for you and your home or office.  Call Mary Etta Designs for  the service of One Day, One Room, Re-Design.   Together we can tackle the floor plan, shop your home for items to be repurposed, declutter, and discuss options that you want to incorporate.

Sign up as soon as you can because my calendar is filling up. There are just a few days left before we welcome the holidays.  Let’s do this!

Decorating a Room? Where To Start ?


Where Do You Start When Decorating a Room?

               W.R.A.P. Your Room

It is getting warm and you’re ready to spruce up the nest at home, right?  Are you are ready to start decorating a room? But where do you start?  You can stop turning around in  circles going from floor to walls to floor again.  I have a really simple W.R.A.P. method that I suggest you follow.


Living room design.
It should come as no surprise that I like to start at the windows with window treatments in a room. Why?  It is the single most defining element in your space.  Windows are the eyes to your home. Our eyes naturally go to the light of these openings.  It can definitely be a finishing touch or the jumping off point. Pattern, texture or colors can dramatically affect the design of a room.

Do you need privacy, sun protection, heat control? Or do you need sound absorption, easy lifting controls, or a decorative finish? Once you answer these questions, what form the window treatments take is made easier.


precious Middle Eastern rugs Handmade wool for sale in the antiq
Another textile that can be an inspiration for style direction is the rug you choose.  Rugs ground a space, defining where key furniture pieces will be placed.  Though rugs act as a backdrop, that is a foil for how important a part rugs play in color and texture in a space. Start with your choice of rugs and the choices you make for paint, accessories and furniture can flow easily.

interior details in rustic style

Definitely the most fun part of decorating, accessories should tell a story.  We get to know who you are, what are your interests and where have you been in your travels.  Accessories should reflect your authentic self.  This is the last step in the order of decorating a room.  I list it here so that the W.R.A.P. list makes sense.


Home renovation
While this is not your very last step, it should not be your first.  It should follow your selection of textiles.  You will make the process of decorating so much harder trying to find fabrics that match your wall color. Start with a pattern taken from your draperies, furniture, rug, or pillow fabrics.  Pick colors from one of these and adapt it to your paint color.

Follow the W.R.A.P. method to decorate a room and you will be able to plan your decorating with less confusion.


Save Energy, Control the Light


Hunter Douglas Designer Screen Shades

How is my Apple iPhone 6+ connected to helping an office save energy, control the light, and increase productivity?

In my last blog I  mentioned a problem that sent me to South Coast Plaza Apple Store.  Remember the faulty camera on my Apple iPhone 6+, that problem?  The upside was that I happened upon a great Home and Garden Show.  My phone took great pictures. See those pics in the blog post below.  Today’s post is proof positive of how much that camera was in need of repair.


What should have been the best “before and after” shots of an installation of solar window shades for Mary Etta Designs this year turned out less than perfect.  Think of last week’s  pictures as an “after” testament on the wonderful repair Apple Genius Bar employees performed on my iPhone 6+.  And this week’s photos, sadly, are the “before” pix.

That being said, I am still proud of the installation of Hunter Douglas Designer Screen Shades for my clients at Emerson Process Management in Irvine.

Emerson Process Management – Before Mary Etta Designs

Companies worldwide turn to Emerson Process Management for technologies, services, and expertise to solve problems that are immediate and important to them.  The last thing that this state-of-the-art company needs is reduced productivity amongst its employees because of the light and heat at the windows in their beautiful, newly renovated facility in Irvine, California.


Before – Sheets of Paper At the Window, not the best solution for heat and direct sunlight.

Before, not only was there glaring sun streaming in on the East side of the building, but the Southern California heat was making concentration a bit hard for some.  I proposed a solution in Hunter Douglas Designer Screen Shades. The goal was to allow a level of view-through so that employees would not feel claustrophobic.  But I also wanted to help reduce the amount of heat coming into the office to help control energy costs.  Additionally, controlling the direct sunlight would greatly reduce the glare on monitor screens and into employees’ eyes.

Installation Day is a Happy Dance Day.

Installation Day is a Happy Dance Day.

Now that the Hunter Douglas shades have been  installed, energy costs will be positively affected.  And light control and increased privacy has immediately contributed to increased workplace productivity and comfort.  Emerson Process Management employees could not be happier.


No more glare in her eyes at sunny times. But still light and pleasant in the office.


Cooler, more comfortable and productive.

The Result is a Cooler, More Comfortable and Definitely a More Productive Environment.




A Private Dinner With Vern Yip

Mary-Etta-Designs-Visits-Vern-Yip-in-Atlanta Recently Fabricut, a designer fabric line that I use quite often, reached out to ask me if I would be attending this year’s Design Bloggers Conference  in Atlanta February 25 – 27.  If so, would I like to be included in a private dinner with Vern Yip , HGTV superstar and judge of the hugely popular HGTV Design Star tv show?

Design Bloggers Conference or DBC is billed by the event creator, Adam Japko, as the event of the year for interior design bloggers, I wasn’t sure if the expense was in the budget this year. But suddenly, the possibility of dining with Vern Yip turned my on-the-fence position of attending the event into a quick “of course I’m going!”

As one of the DBC sponsors, Fabricut provided transportation to and from the host hotel to the venue off site for the dinner. Imagine the collective squeals of 22,  already excited, designers (men and women)  when we were told en route that the dinner location was Vern’s Atlanta Residence (yeah, I call him Vern).

Master Bedroom Suite

Master Vern Yip Mary Etta Designs

Why his private residence?  Fabricut features  the Vern Yip Collection under  Trend Fabrics  specifically aimed at providing  “exceptional value without compromising style.”  And every single drapery, upholstered furniture piece, and even the linens, were fabricated with fabrics  from the collection that features an array of prints, solids, and geometrics.   The contemporary and traditional mix fits perfectly with the Asian antique furniture and sculptures in vignettes scattered throughout the 1925  original home and it’s 1940’s and more recent additions.


Foyer Vern Yip

Touring of the traditional southern home started immediately in the foyer and showed off a design style that is not only spot on, but flows beautifully from the living, breakfast and dining rooms downstairs throughout the bedrooms on the 2nd floor.

Play Room

Playroom Vern Yip
Elephants play a large part in the residence, antique, sculptural or for fun.

Dining Room

Dining Room Vern Yip


After appetizers and wine, we enjoyed a chef-prepared delicious meal with Vern, his partner, Craig Koch and company reps.  The couple live in their beautiful home in Georgia with a mix of the couple’s expansive art collection, antiques and traditional furnishings.  The antique furniture and sculpture carry through his design tips to add the things you love in your home.  There was a fascinating family heirloom on the dining room table that I asked Vern to share with us it’s  history.  See it here.

Son Gavin’s Room

Son Gavin's Room Vern Yip

Pattern on pattern play works beautifully in a collection that features geometrics, Ikat,  solids layered with multiple textures. Most impressive, is the extensive photography and contemporary art collection that is highlighted and only enhanced by the traditional and contemporary fabric collection.

Daughter Vera’s Room

Daughter's Bed Vern Yip

There was so much to see that I had to break this blog into a series.  Stay tuned.


Color Coral Reef – A Softer Red



When customers ask me what is the latest trend in colors for their home or office, this year’s Pantone Color of the Year, Marsala, often leaves them cold.  It’s a little dark, reminds them of the wine colors of the past decade and their eyes tend to glaze over at the mention of this color.

In my profession looking for clues as to what you, the customer, want to live with in your environment is par for the course.  And luckily  there is always an alternative.  If you are emptying a room to do a re-model and you’re starting from scratch, consider Sherwin Williams’ pick for their Color of the Year – Coral Reef.

Bathroom Vanity in Coral Reef

Coral Reef is the perfect shade to transform your bath into a tropical retreat right in your home.  This color is a great pop to add to the cold neutrals that have been the norm for the last few years. Though it’s in the red family, it’s much softer than red.  It’s not pink, so it is not too feminine.


Spring is a perfect time of year, albeit all the snowstorms in our country’s east coast right now, to think about updating not only our indoor spaces, but also our outdoor patio furnishings like pillows, chaise loungers and rugs.  Have you thought about adding the color Coral to your decor?

SW 6606 Coral Reef