It’s All About the Undertones

Have you ever noticed your “neutral” beige wall, carpet, or couch change color depending on other colors next to it? I seriously had never given this any thought until we moved into our condo (our last house). The carpet color seemed like all the other beige carpet I had dealt with over the years in the white walled apartments I rented. It wasn’t until I decided to paint the room green that our previously “neutral” carpet turned pink. How did that happen? Below is an example from Houzz.


It’s all about the undertones. Around the same time my carpet was magically changing colors, I started following a blogger and color expert Maria Killam. She teaches that we (the consumer) make assumptions that by using beige in our home we will have no problem matching other colors or other beiges to it. This is what I thought. Little did I know that my seemingly neutral carpet was pinky-beige. So…once I introduced green to the walls, the red/pink undertone in our carpet was more pronounced. This was not the look I wanted. NOTE: Maria says that pink-beige carpet is the most commonly used, but is the most limiting undertone because it doesn’t work well with other beiges or other colors. She calls it “bossy”.

Lesson Learned: Fast forward 5 years. We bought our house before it was built so we were able to choose the fixed elements (tile, carpet, flooring, etc.). This was an exciting/stressful task, but I was able to use what I had learned about undertones to make thoughtful, cohesive choices. This included the carpet upstairs which is a yellow-beige. It works with our wall color which has a yellow undertone. No more pink-beige for me. EVER!!!


If you’re like I was and have never noticed the undertones in beige, look around your house and see what you have. You may see gold-beige, green-beige, pink-beige, yellow-beige or grey-beige (taupe). Is the color next to or on it bringing out the undertone in an unexpected way? If so, it may be time to make an adjustment. Let me know what you find out in the comments below.

Take care,


What is happening to me?


Today I thought I’d talk about Menopause. I know, for many of you this topic sounds like TMI or not relevant. That’s what I thought 5 years ago. In fact, I never really thought I’d be affected by it. You know what it’s like when your a teen and you think that you’re invincible so why not take that risk? Well, that’s what Menopause or The Change was like for me. I’d heard the jokes about hot flashes and mood swings (from TV sitcoms), but it just wasn’t something that I was going to have to worry about. Or maybe I just was never going to be that old. Ha ha.

Anyway, 6 years ago I started to notice two things that were out of the ordinary for me. The first was that my formally flat stomach (even after have a baby) was now becoming poochy. Just a little…but enough that I started to worry. Usually I would be bloated one time a month and then it would go away. This time it stayed. The other change was the night time sweats. I’m not talking about your run of the mill sweaty feeling. No, this was an internal fire causing my entire body to break out in a sweat. I would get up in the middle of the night to change. That’s how bad it was. It worried me. I couldn’t figure out what was happening.

I spoke with my nurse practitioner about it. She just chalked it up to having a warm room or too many blankets on my bed. I was 44 so I don’t think it dawned on her that it was in Peri-menopause. In case you’re not familiar with that term it is the time before menopause when symptoms start. It’s not Menopause until you haven’t had a period for over one year. I suffered through for the next 5 years as my symptoms became progressively worse.

If you’re reading this and thinking “Oh Lord is this going to happen to me?”, just know that each woman is different. My understanding is that some breeze through this stage of life with no problems. Kind of like some women do with pregnancy. I’ve also read that if you have taken good care of yourself when younger ( you know, exercise and eating right) the symptoms may not be as pronounced. Anyway, for me that has not been case. Needless to say I have started a bioidentical hormone which had to be tweaked a bit to get the right dose. Now my life is so much better. The brain fog has lifted, the mood swings have quieted and best of all my creativity is back!

I could probably go on and on about this topic. If you’re someone who’s going through Perimenopause and have questions, let me know. I’m not an expert, but I may be able to point you in the right direction. Just know that you are not alone. You may find that a lot of people do not want to talk about this stage of life, but it is normal and you are normal. Trust your gut, ask questions and research your butt off!

Take care,


Why Modern with a Twist?

What’s in a name?

Over the last 10 years I’ve followed tons of interior decorating/design/DIY blogs. One of my favorite bloggers is Jackie Hernandez from School of Decorating. I have learned so much from her over the years and have been the recipient of her e-books, blog, and classes. One of my favorite classes is called Define Your Style Lab.

Before taking the class, I liked and appreciated many interior design styles. But they didn’t necessarily go together and definitely didn’t all work in my home.  What Jackie teaches is that there is a big difference between liking a style and loving it if you’re going to use it in your home. One way to figure out what styles you love is to figure out what you hate and why.

After going through a series of activities, I narrowed down what my interior design style is not: minimal, monochromatic or antique and what my interior design style is: modern, layered with contrast, repurposed, and comfy.

The living room below, designed by Emily Henderson is a great example of my style.

Emily Henderson

Now that I had words to describe my interior design style it was time to break down what each word meant in detail. This level of detail is so important since it ensures that I’ll be thoughtful about each purchase I make for our home. No more impulsive, random buys just because it’s on sale or “cute” or in all the magazines.

This is My Style Description written for the class. Even though I took the class a couple years ago, my style has not changed.

First and foremost my style is modern. Furniture is chosen for its clean lines, low profile and comfort. Fixed elements are neutral and create a light and airy feel to the space. Industrial materials like stone, metal and wood are layered throughout to create texture and depth. Textiles such as rugs, fabrics and blankets are used to keep the space from becoming stark or cold. Pops of color (primarily green, blue, and yellow) are sprinkled throughout to further create contrast. Art and accessories are styled thoughtfully and are meaningful to our family. That includes items that are re-purposed or restored to bring out the beauty or to create a unique piece. Overall, our home feels bright, welcoming, comfy and uncluttered.

Laure Joliet Spaces

I have to say that by being so specific about my interior design style I have opened up a whole world of possibilities. You would think being so detailed is boring and doesn’t lead to creativity. For me, it has the opposite effect. It keeps me from getting swayed by all the shiny objects out there. It keeps my home looking cohesive and well designed. And it saves money because I’m no longer purchasing items that don’t work with what I already have.

So, in the end I have called my style “Modern with a Twist”. I encourage you to define your own style and let me know what you come up with in the comments.

Take care,


5 Tips for Choosing Finishes/Upgrades for Your New Build


Today I thought I’d talk about 5 lessons we learned when choosing finishes/upgrades for our newly built home. First of all, our home was built by D.R. Horton in 2016. They are a large and well know builder all over the US. After living in our home for over two years we really don’t have too many complaints. A few of our neighbors ran into problems, so they may not give this builder such high marks. However, we didn’t have too many things for them to fix at our year-end walk through. Knock on pretty teak wood that it will stay that way.

Buying a newly built home was so much fun for Chris and I. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to buy our house until the foundation was already up. This meant that we missed out on getting a sink in our laundry room and an air purifier in our central air system. Other than that, we got to pick the finishes and upgrades like flooring, granite, grout color, fireplace style, etc. I’ll talk more about what we chose in another post, but for today I’d like to tell you 5 tips for choosing finishes/upgrades for your new build. These are based on decisions we wished we made up front. Fortunately, they’re decisions we can live with, but they’re worth mentioning.

Pay for the builder to install the garage door opener.  At the time we thought it would be no biggy to buy one and install it ourselves. We’re fairly handy and we have family who can help. What we didn’t bargain for was that our garage has a 10′ ceiling. Typical garage door openers come with parts for hanging the motor from 8-foot-high ceilings. For higher ceilings, the system must be upgraded to provide additional support that prevents the motor from moving from side to side. Needless to say, for a year we were manually opening the garage door until Chris got his booty up there and installed it.

Visit the design showroom in advance of your appointment. You would think that 3 hours would be enough time, but we’re talking about finishes for a 2700 sq ft home. It’s a lot to consider in one sitting. It helped that I have knowledge of interior decorating and had a good idea of the look we were going for. However, if I were to do it again I would have asked to come to the showroom prior to our appointment so that I could get a better feel for what the options were and take pictures to mull over later. I’m happy with the majority of our choices, except for the kitchen backsplash. My dream has been to have a kitchen with subway tile. We weren’t shown that option so we went with the design below.

It’s not terrible and the accent tile is less showy with a working kitchen. However, it’s not the clean, modern look I wanted. I attempted to request no accent tile, but the tilers had already been there and it was a done deal.

Choose a waterproof carpet pad for all carpeted areas. We chose a waterproof pad in the basement where we assumed the dog and kids would be tracking in water, mud, etc. But we decided to forgo it for the carpet upstairs (mostly due to the added cost). This turned out to be a big mistake since our dog, cat, and kid are up there and “spills” happen all the time. Let’s just say that we’ve invested in a carpet cleaner. If I were to do it over I would get the waterproof carpet pad for anywhere I had carpet.

Make changes to finishes in person, not from a photo. When we met with the builder’s designer at the showroom we chose granite for our kitchen counters that was black and white with no other colors mixed in. This was the look we were going for. A few weeks later I received an email saying that the granite we had chosen was now out of stock (they warned us that this could happen with any of the finishes). We needed to make a new choice quickly.

Granite Samples

The sample at the top is the original. We had to choose between the two on the bottom. In my mind the one on the right looked like it had more white with some black and was less busy. It seemed like a perfect substitute. Well, this is what it looks like IRL.

Dallas White Granite

Isn’t that crazy how much burgundy is in there? Who would have thought. So lesson learned!

Upgrade flat paint to an eggshell finish. Don’t get me wrong. I actually like the flat finish look. However, if I were to do it over again I would request eggshell finish in areas where there’s a lot of traffic. One year later there are scuff marks all over the walls in the stairwells and the entry hallway. The builders used Sherwin Williams washable flat paint, but it doesn’t wash off the same way eggshell finish does. Another lesson learned!

I hope you’re able to learn from the mistakes we made and have a much smoother process choosing finishes/upgrades through your builder. It’s definitely an exciting, stressful time that flies by.

If you’ve worked with a builder and have other tips or lessons learned please share them in the comment section. 

Take care,