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Smashing Success

April 11, 2012

A few weeks ago I was attending my IFDA (International Furnishings and Design Association) Washington Chapter board meeting, when I spotted the most remarkable necklace on a fellow member, Jeanne Blackburn.  During a bathroom break, I asked Jeanne about her most interesting piece of jewelry.  Her response both shocked and intrigued me. The necklace was made from her parent’s best china for both her sister and her.   She explained that artist and crafter, Juliet Ames, owner of The Broken Plate Pendant Company was the person who allowed her sister and her to create a timeless keepsake made out of one of her parents’ most precious possessions.   The next day I decided to google Juliet Ames (don’t you love that we can just sit down and research most anything now without having to go to the library…. love it!) and here is what I found.

Juliet Ames is based in Baltimore, MD and fashions vintage plates and family heirlooms into jewelry, coasters and other housewares.  Juliet stumbled upon her craft after completing a mosaic that repurposed all of the plates she had collected from thrift shops over the years. When the project was complete, she was left with a pile of broken plate shards that were begging for a new life. Juliet wrapped one in solder and made a pendant out of it.  People loved it and the public demand for more pendants grew. Consequently, The Broken Plate Pendant Company was born.

Juliet’s work has been featured in magazines such as Readymade, Real Simple, Smart Woman, Urbanite, Baltimore Magazine, Style and more. Broken Plate Pendants are currently in wardrobe at the Rachael Ray Show and the Food Network’s 30 Minute Meals.

I find Juliet’s work inspiring and I love the beauty and story behind each of her pieces. If you have a chipped vintage plate from your grandmother that needs a new fate, send it to Juliet and she will provide you with a piece of home décor or jewelry that will be both sentimental and conversational. Here are a few pictures to get you inspired!

Here is Juliet with her plates.  I invite you to check out her site and shop at, or visit TheBrokenPlate on

If you’d like help creating a beautiful home or office you love, contact me today to learn how easy it is to get started.


My Little Rescue, Fit for the Runway!

April 10, 2012

As many of you know, I have been working hard to raise money for Fashion for Paws to benefit the Washington Humane Society for the past few months.  As of a few weeks ago, Jakey and I are definitely walking the runway. We had to raise $5,000 by April 6th to secure our spot on the runway. We are still working on our stretch goal of $10,000 by April 13th, but we are still $3,315 away from our goal. We may not make the stretch goal, but we are definitely walking in the show together this coming Saturday, April 14th.

I have been very excited about the event for months now, but now that it is just a few days away…I am have to admit… I am getting a little nervous.  Over 1700 people will be attending…yes…1700! And, Jakey and I will have to strut our stuff in front of a packed house.  Last week Jake had his fitting at Wagtime with owner, Lisa Schreiber.  Wagtime is one of the sponsors of the show and is not only dressing all the dogs in their doggie couture finest, but also is providing the behind the scenes doggie sitting during the show.  Here are a few photos of Jake’s fitting.

{Lisa fitting Jake’s first outfit…a red tux and black bow tie.}

{Jake in his tux.  He is cute, but the red doesn’t really stand out well against his black fur.  You can see little Edward in the background doing what he does best…licking the floor!}

{Jake in his second outfit.  The pink stands out against his fur, but I didn’t love it.  Jake didn’t seem to mind as long as treats were nearby.}

{Here is a better shot of the pink outfit.  Look how cute his tail is all curled up. They are both intently paying attention because one of the Wagtime staff are teasing them with treats. They LOVE their treats!}

{Here’s the third outfit–a gold tux with gold blinged-out collar and top hat. Don’t you just love the hat? Jake is such a good sport. He really didn’t mind the clothes at all!}

{Here’s a closeup of the final outfit.}

{One of the Wagtime staffers took this amazing shot of little Jakey. Can you see why I love this little guy?  His sweet little face is one of the main reasons I am so passionate about animal rescue. Jake and Edward were rescued by Lucky Dog Animal Rescue in South Carolina just days before they were to be euthanized. They love me unconditionally. I cannot imagine life without them!}

{Edward was a good spectator and sport.  I found these super cute shirts in UVA colors so I had to get them for both of them.  Edward’s size was in stock, but I had to order Jakey’s.  Here is Edward modeling his shirt. Isn’t he just simply adorable? I love him to death!!!}

A few days after Jake’s fitting, I had mine at Anne Fontaine in the Galleria Mall at Tysons Corner, VA.  Brazilian-born, Fontaine, is known for creating classic, chic, upscale styles.  I don’t want to give away too much about my outfit, but wanted to share a few photos to give you a glimpse into what inspired my look.

{The designer herself…Anne Fontaine}

{Here is one of Fontaine’s classic looks–black pencil skirt and fitted top with flowy collar.   Don’t you just love it?}

{This top is absolutely fabulous and comes in white.  I LOVE the white flower on the shoulder. Don’t you?}

{When you go into the store at the Galleria in Tysons Corner, they have about 25 of these fantastic collars displayed on the wall. They are exquisite and quite amazing!  They truly are a signature design of Fontaine’s.}

I hope this gives you a glimpse into what Jakey and I will be doing this Saturday night.  The show starts at 9:15pm on Saturday when Jakey and I will strut our stuff for Fashion for Paws to raise money for the Washington Humane Society to help save 30,000 animals this year.

If you want to help our cause, we would greatly appreciate your donation!  All donations are appreciated (no matter how big or small) before April 13th via our webpage.  We are a little over $3K away from our $10K stretch goal that we have to reach by this coming Friday.  Jake and I would greatly appreciate your support!

Love your animals unconditionally as they love you!  Hug ’em, kiss ’em, take ’em on long walks and give them lots of TREATS!!!

If you’d like help creating a beautiful home or office you love, contact me today to learn how easy it is to get started.


Spring Closet Cleaning: Tips and Inspiration

April 5, 2012

Spring is here in Washington, DC! We have been having unusually warm weather…much to my delight. All of this sunshine is amazing, but it also reminds me I still have a lot of spring cleaning left to do. I went into my closet this past weekend in search of my favorite pair of Hudson jean shorts and they were nowhere to be found! The time has come for my semi-annual: purge, pack and donate-closet clean up.

For those of you who still have yet to clean out your closet for the spring and summer months, I have noted a few of my spring closet cleaning tips below. Furthermore, to help you get started I have gathered a few pictures of my favorite closets to serve as inspiration. Enjoy!


  • Purge anything that is beyond repair.
  • Take your winter boots to the cobbler for repairs and cleaning and then pack them away. I like to use an under the bed shoe storage container, you can find one at Bed Bath and Beyond.
  • Fold and pack your winter sweaters and don’t forget to use mothballs or cedar blocks.
  • Get rid of anything you have not worn in over a year.
  • Use garment bags to pack away fur, leather and suede jackets.

Closet Envy:

{Plush, Ivory Perfection!  Love the tufted seating…don’t you?}

{I love the decorative glass knobs in this upscale closet.}

{Black, gold and pink…oh my! Looks like a fun place to hang your threads.}

{I adore a gorgeous chandelier like this one outfitted in a walk in closet. Note the sign above the door, “Fairy Tales Do Come True.” Oh my!!!}

{What a great idea–framed designer bag art featured in this closet–genius!}

{This closet is packed and organized to perfection. Check out all those handbags lining the top of the closet, great use of space.}

{Fergie’s closet is expertly rockin animal prints and plush carpeting. G.L.A.M.O.R.O.U.S.}

{It looks to me like Ms. Hilton’s closet is ready for spring.}

Whether your closet is as glorious as these upscale spaces or more humble (like mine…boo hoo), I hope the tips and inspirational photos in this post help you get started on your spring closet cleaning.

If you’d like help creating a beautiful home or office you love, contact me today to learn how easy it is to get started.


Decor by Denise Featured in Today’s Edition of The Washington Post – Plus Get Playroom Ideas for Your Home!

March 29, 2012

Check out my guest appearance in today’s edition of The Washington Post – feature article “A Playroom Makeover in Annandale.” My work is featured in the special design segment, “House Calls” in the Home & Living Section.

The Washington Post pairs local readers’ design challenges with an interior designer. The result is a before and after makeover with tips and tricks for making the most out of their space. A sketch artist from the Washington Post brings my ideas to life and thus a virtually designed room is born. I love participating in this feature! This is my third time and I always find the experience to be rewarding.

My assignment for this edition of “House Calls” was to help the Bremer’s, a local family from Annandale, create a fun and bright play area in the basement of their home. The final results are amazing! We worked within our budget and created a wonderful space for the Bremer children to enjoy. Here is the sketch of the completed room:

To learn about the design process of this room in more detail, please see our previous blog post: Sneak Peak at Our Design Feature in the Washington Post. Additionally, in the spirit of children’s play rooms I thought I would share a few more pictures of my favorite cozy kid nooks. Enjoy!

If you’d like help creating a beautiful home or office you love, contact me today to learn how easy it is to get started.


Fashion for Paws Fundraising Events and Raffle Winners!

March 26, 2012

As many of you know on April 14th, at the National Building Museum, I will be modeling in the Fashion for Paws® (F4P) Annual Spring Runway Show benefiting the Washington Humane Society (WHS) with my rescue dog, Jake. Each model is required to raise a minimum of $5,000.  Last week Jake and I had a very busy and successful week of fundraising at our two fundraising events: a happy hour at Sushi Rock and Spring Accessories for a Cause…Paws shopping event. We raised a total of $1,525, reaching our goal and helping to save animals one donation at a time.

Here are a few pictures from our events:

{Sarah, myself and Tuyen – the Decor by Denise team having a good time at Sushi Rock raising money and awareness for animals.}

{Many friends came out to show their support and help raise money at our Sushi Rock Happy Hour event. Thank you to all!}

{Some of the ladies shopping at our studio for spring accessories by Stella & Dot .}

{The Beijo purses looked wonderful in our studio at the Spring Accessories event!}

{Jakey attended the Spring Accessories for a Cause…Paws event.}

As you can see, we had a great time reaching our fundraising goals. We also sold many raffle tickets and without further adieu, the winning numbers are:

1) 269012 – Private Wine Tasting for 12 at Tarara Winery
2) 269037 – A Wine Trio for Tasting
3) 269061 – Exclusive Verve Fitness Membership
4) 269036 – Charge Your iPhone or iPod While on the Go
5) 269081 – A Day on the Bay for Six
6) 269095 – Toast to the Tunes Concert Package for Six
7) 269063 – Toast to the Tunes Concert Package for Six
8) 269046 – Designer Pillows by Annie Selke
9) 269104 – Beautify with Botox
10)269025 – Beautify with Botox
11) 269074 – Relaxation Massage

If you have one of these numbers please contact Tuyen at to claim your prize! Congratulations to all our winners. Also, thank you to everyone who has supported us. I look forward to seeing some of you at the show April 14th. Fashion for Paws has only raised 79% of their $625K goal. If you haven’t bought a ticket or made a donation, but still want to help save animals, go to our website today and show your support:

If you’d like help creating a beautiful home or office you love, contact me today to learn how easy it is to get started.


Saving Animals through Fashion!

March 23, 2012

On April 14th, at the National Building Museum, I will be modeling in the Fashion for Paws® (F4P) Annual Spring Runway Show benefiting the Washington Humane Society (WHS) with my rescue dog, Jake. Fashion for Paws® (F4P) began in 2007 with the first spring Runway Show. In just its first 5 years, the annual Fashion for Paws®  spring Runway Show has been a smashing success, selling more than 1700 tickets each year and raising more than $1.5 million dollars for WHS and animals.

This year’s show will feature 60 illustrious personalities as the models, who raise $5000 for the Washington Humane Society to participate, with many escorting fashionably dressed dogs down the runway. Designer doggie couture will be ready-to-wag spring 2012 organized by Wagtime. Women’s and men’s ready-to-wear spring 2012 apparel will be provided exclusively by Tysons Galleria, home to the world’s most luxurious retailers.

When I was asked to participate in the event, I was elated because it is a natural extension of the work I have done as a volunteer for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue. Several years ago I began volunteering for Lucky Dog Animal Rescue, an all-volunteer, non-profit animal rescue organization dedicated to saving the lives of homeless animals and educating the community on responsible pet ownership. I have dedicated my time working as a foster parent and someone who conducts home visits of prospective adopters. I also participate in “transports” where I pickup 8-9 dogs in Fredericksburg, VA and transport them to the next pickup spot in Fairfax, VA.  These transports are weekend-long rescue missions to get dogs from as far away as South Carolina who have wound up in high kill shelters transported all the way up to as far as Maine in one weekend.  They are often just a few days away from being euthanized when they are rescued.  They are transported either directly to a loving home or to a rescue organization that will work tirelessly to find a forever home for them.

Through my volunteer work with Lucky Dog I met my great loves: Jake (a 15 pound Chug-Chihuahau/Pug mix) and Edward (a 7 pound Chihuahua). They are super sweet, loving, unconditionally loyal and have a special way of saying thank you each and every day as if they know that they were rescued from near death several years ago.

{Here are my sweet boys on a long road trip to my parents’ house over Christmas.  Jake (aka Jakey) is the black Chug on the left and Edward (aka Eddie or Eduardo) is the little Chihuahua on the right. Aren’t they precious?  My life would not be the same without them!}

Jake will be walking in the runway show with me and we still need your help to reach our fundraising goals! We are almost there with 85% of our goal raised thus far, but we are in the home stretch and have to have all our donations in by April 1st.  We have one last fundraising event tomorrow that will hopefully put us over the top!   Please join us at our Spring Accessories Shopping Extravaganza tomorrow and help us help the Washington Humane Society save 30,000 animals this year!  Here’s the scoop on the event:

Spring Accessories for a Cause…Paws!
Saturday, March 24th, 1-4pm
Decor by Denise Studio
340 Mill Street, NE, Suite F
Vienna, VA 22180
Come Shop with Us and Help Save Animals!
We invite you to spend the afternoon with us to raise funds for Fashion for Paws. Come see all the latest spring designs from Stella & Dot and Beijo. Learn some amazing new beauty techniques and enjoy a consultation with a fashion stylist to help you put your best look forward this spring. Amazing door prizes.

In addition to donating 10% of all product sales to Fashion for Paws, we will be raffling off some fabulous prizes:

  • Private Wine Tasting for 12 at Tarara Winery
  • A Wine Tasting Trio
  • Exclusive Verve Fitness Membership
  • A Day on the Bay for Six
  • Toast to the Tunes Concert Package for Six
  • Designer Pillows for your Home from Annie Selke
  • Beautify with Botox
  • Relaxation Massage
  • Charge your iPhone or iPad on the Go

Raffle tickets are $5/each.  Purchase 5 and get the 6th free.  All raffle ticket sales will go to Fashion for Paws.

Please help Jake and me make a difference in our community by sponsoring Us in the Fashion for Paws® Runway Show.  If you cannot attend our event tomorrow, but love animals as much as I do and want to show your support, check out our fundraising page and make your donation today!

If you want more information about the event tomorrow or Fashion for Paws, please email me at

If you’d like help creating a beautiful home or office you love, contact me today to learn how easy it is to get started.


Eco-Friendly Bathroom Products & A Giveaway

March 17, 2012

Eco-friendly bathroom products are on the rise.  The design, aesthetic feel and overall functionality have dramatically improved in recent years and increasingly my clients are asking me to consider these options when redesigning their bathrooms.  I am currently working on a few bathroom remodeling projects, so I thought I would share some ideas for how to make your bathroom more eco-friendly. And, be sure to read on to learn more about our Green Giveaway!

{Change out your current shower head for a low flow shower head like EcoFlow model by Waterpik.  Yes, Waterpik!  I recently met a few of their reps at the Design Blogger’s Conference in LA and was elated when they offered me an EcoFlow showerhead as a Giveaway for our readership. Read on for more details on how to get yours!}

{Use alternative healthy paints on your walls and trim. These include: Low Odor or Low VOC Paint, Zero VOC Paint, and Non-toxic or Natural Paint.  My FAVORITE is the Natura line from Benjamin Moore. It has no VOCs and is available in all Benjamin Moore colors.  That means you don’t have to sacrifice color when going “green.”}

{Purchase a low-flow or dual-flush toilet to save water–which means you will save money on your water bill!  You can find these toilets at your local Home Depot or Lowes}

{Choose energy-efficient lighting.  It used to be that these light fixtures were boring, but not anymore.  I like Stacy Garcia’s line of energy-efficient bathroom lighting at  Check it out!}

{And, incorporate a countertop made out of recycled products.  Green Countertops Direct offers some great options.}

By going green in your home, you will help to reduce emissions and excess waste that damages the eco-system and atmosphere. More importantly, in hard economic times being more eco-friendly in your home can help you save money. Being green does not have to be expensive (or ugly) and is in fact very cost effective if done correctly.

Our Green Giveaway!  Ok, now to share the details of our giveaway.  Decor by Denise is pleased to announce the giveaway of an energy efficient Waterpik shower head. The innovative design of the EcoFlow Waterpik showerhead allows for water-saving efficiency while keeping the water pressure comfortable. To enter your name in the drawing and to reduce your carbon footprint:

1.   Leave a comment here before March 30th at 6pm Eastern Time.  Be sure to leave your e-mail address so we can reach you to get your mailing address if you win!

2.  Like us on Facebook!

The winner must be a subscriber of DreamDesignLive and a follower of  Decor by Denise on Facebook, and must live in the United States or have a shipping address in the United States. will be used to choose the winner, who will be announced here and on Facebook.

Happy St. Paddy’s Day!!!

If you’d like help creating a beautiful home or office you love, contact me today to learn how easy it is to get started.