I love Meg Ryan.  I think I have seen all of her movies.  She seems like she’d be the same friendly, regular person in person as she plays in the movies.

When I was looking for a photo for this series, I stumbled across a photo tour of Meg’s home on Martha’s Vineyard.

Dining room in hamptons

Look at this little dining area!  It is so sweet and simple, we don’t even have to boil it down to get its essence. We can duplicate it literally.  What do we need?

Table, chairs, simple light fixture and  ideally, shiplap walls.  (Any Joanna Gaines fans out there?!?! You know she loves shiplap!) I’ve not done shiplap walls myself, but if you Google it, a ton of info, including some DIY’s, will come up.

Meg’s table is probably custom made.  It looks like a marble top with a wrought iron base.  I think the key to duplicating this table is just copying its simplicity and clean lines.  Add in four slip-covered parsons chairs and an old fashioned  pendant light.

Here’s a pendant light to try:light


Or if you don’t want to wire it, try this one:corded lightDo you have a room that you want me to duplicate?  Go to the contact page of my website and let me know:  http://calmandcollected.us/contact.html


So, I knew I wanted to make our Christmas cards on Minted.com. I also knew that even though I really like to do a collage of photos, this year I wanted one simple unique photo. We were going to visit my dad in Maine for Thanksgiving. They have a big field behind their house and beyond that is a lake. I thought it would be fun to have my dad and stepmom take a photo of us in the field with the lake in the background.

First my middle child, step mom, and I scoured the garage for different levels of things to sit on. (I think I could have convinced them to let me take their sofa outside if it hadn’t been kind of muddy!) So we found some foot stools, went out to the field and I lined everyone up for a test shot:

Notice the red everyone is wearing…it will become important later on…


Ummmm, where’s mom?


Pretty good, but dad’s eyes are closed.


I think we’ve found a winner!

Next I just needed to make a little adjustment…like removing all of the color from the photo except for the red…_0005Then I started to play with the photo on Minted!  Here are the card selections I narrowed it down to and how they look with my photo:mintedUltimately, I liked the one on the left best and here it is!minted final

And here is a photo of the photography crew with their grandchildren:_0006Incidentally my dad writes a blog, too. It is about his life since he was diagnosed with Multiple Myloma, an (as yet) untreatable form of cancer.  If you want to check that out here is a link: http://findingthepony.blogspot.com/

Those of you who know me know that I love Christmas cards.  I especially love giving and receiving photo cards!  I actually place all the photo cards that our family receives in an album. It’s fun to see how my friends and family have changed over the years.

Last year I made our Christmas cards on Minted.com.  Here is how they looked online:

card 2014I think they turned out gorgeous in person (though my photo doesn’t do it justice):


I was so happy with the whole process.  It was fun and easy to add my photos and personalize my card.  The hardest part was choosing a design!

I’m using Minted to make my cards again this year and I have to say…choosing a design is still the hardest part.  There are so many to choose from!  I do like that I can see a preview of my photo in several cards at once:

card 2014 2

I’m excited to get the jump on Christmas this year!  It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and I’m already finishing up my Christmas cards!  AND this year I’m going to take advantage of Minted’s feature of Free Recipient Addressing.  They have lots of designs to make the outside of the envelope match the inside.

Stay tuned to see my chosen design!

I have a new job!  I will now be working as a designer for Decorsit.com!

decorist site


I’m very excited to be doing design work for people all over the country.  You can request me, if you’d like me to design your space.  Click on the photo above to check out my bio on the Decorist website.  =)

I thought it might be fun to have a regular feature on this blog that lets me talk more about design.  I’m thinking of taking photos of rooms I like from the internet and analyzing them from a design standpoint.  I’ll talk about what elements to copy to achieve a similar look in your own home and maybe provide shopping links for similar items at an affordable price point.

Where to start, though?  There are sooo many great photos on the internet!  How about we start with a celebrity home that looks fairly simple to duplicate?

jlos NYC penthouse bedroom

I love this little beauty!  It is a bedroom in Jennifer Lopez’s NYC Penthouse.  Let’s talk about it!

Before we can start to duplicate this look, we need to look at what elements make this room what it is.  How does this room make you feel and what elements contribute to that feeling?  Your answers may be different than mine!  I see a serene, neutral bedroom.  The tone-on-tone, mostly white palette is grounded with dark brown.  I believe the mix of texture is what makes this room so luxe.  To get a similar feel in your own room, here are the elements I think should be duplicated:

  1. The walls.  Start with a light colored neutral.  White, off-white, pale gray, light beige or even a subtle pink or lilac would give you this same airy feel.
  2. The white. Go crisp white on the drapes and go floor to ceiling if you can.  They should definitely touch the floor and then go as high as you can.  (My home has 10 foot ceilings. It’s tough to find pre-made drapes that would go floor to ceiling and they are super expensive when I do find them!)  Go crisp white on the bedding, too.  Comforter, quilt, duvet cover…it doesn’t matter, so long as it is crisp white.
  3. The textures.  This is super important for a tone-on-tone room!  Here there is a nubby, natural jute rug, a fluffy fur throw, what looks like a plush velvet sofa and the sleek smoothness of the bed, table and desk. And of course, lots of soft pillows!  If you don’t have space or budget for a velvet sofa, try a tufted bench instead.
  4. The dark brown.  You need a dark color to ground all the ethereal lightness of the rest.  The dark bed, the table and the desk chair ground this room and keep it from being whimpy and whispy.  You could also use black or a deep charcoal grey.  You can ground your room with different elements.  It doesn’t have to be the table, bed and chair, but the dark elements to need to spread across the room.  You could use black or oil-rubbed bronze drapery rods.  You could have a lamp with a black base on the desk, rather than a black desk chair.

I suspect that Jennifer’s bed is actually bronze, but here is a bed with similar lines that could ground an all-white room.  Click on the photo for shopping info. (I get no compensation for sharing these links!  I just thought it might be fun to help you shop!)

canopy bed

Modern, four poster bed

That beautiful carved table is probably custom made.  I could not find anything like it on the internet!  Nothing!  I’m embarrassed to tell you how long I spent looking for something similar.  I’m sure it is a dining table.  It appears too large to be an accent or end table.  If you wanted a table similar to this, your best bet would be CustomMade.com.

Let’s look at that white desk in the corner.  It is a white desk trying to balance a black table in the opposite corner.  It is able to do that because it is so chunky and is paired with a black chair. This writing desk is a great match and it’s under $200!


Chunky, white writing desk

What do you think of Design:  Duplicated?  Do you have a photo you’d like me to duplicate?  Please let me know!







_0001Guess where I went on Monday!  If you read the title of this post, then you know:  I went to the Blogger Block Party hosted by HGTV Magazine!  Since my middle son, Matthew has been functioning as my assistant in some of my DIY projects, I brought him along.  (It is surprisingly cheap to take a bus from Philadelphia to NYC!  Both of us got there and back for about $24 each!) Being at the mercy of the bus schedule, we arrived a little bit early and were the first ones there!  So we had time for a few photos in the lobby.


We got our picture taken when we got in and that photo made it onto the big screen where it rotated in and out all day._0003_0004There were stations set up on three floors and speakers/demonstrations every hour. There was a Flea Market Flip contest between Brooklyn Craft Company founder Brett Bara and HGTV magazine lifestyle editor Jodi Kahn.  We were welcomed by Editor in Chief, Sara Peterson:


Laurie March demonstrated a DIY art project using burnt matches similar to some art projects she did in the DIY Network’s Blog Cabin:_0006

Jason Cameron’s talk was a bit more of an infomercial for Wagner paint’s spray gun, but he’s pretty cute, so it was easy to watch!_0010

I actually got invited to the stage with Stephanie Marchetti of the blog Sandpaper and Glue to help Danny Seo make an upcycled home version of Candyland using scrapwood and Wilsonart laminate sample chips.  _0011

We both got a copy of Danny’s book Upcycling: Celebrations and Stephanie got to keep Danny’s pre-made version of the game:_0016

We saw season 7 Design Star winner, Danielle Colding._0013

Matthew and I did the Chinet Challenge where we had 1 minute to do a pretty table setting.  The photos were tweeted or Instagram’ed and printed out and Sara Peterson & Genevieve Gorder judged the best one.  I’m pretty sure we came in second place. 😉
tableGenevieve Gorder shared her thoughts on coming design trends.  For 2016 she thinks we’ll be seeing more of a Scandanavian influence with black and white contrasted and timeless tribal print patterns with an emphasis more on triangles and less on circles and squares. For 2017 she thinks we be seeing a big Cuban influence with tropical green colors and bold leaf patterns with pops of coral-ly pink.

_0014After she spoke, Genevieve posed for photos.  She was very gracious and took the time to chat with everyone in line.  I hate to post this photo because she looks like Barbie and I look like…Mrs. Potato Head, but here it is…

_0015We did some fun activities throughout the day.  We created mini terrariums and painted tiny canvases with stencils.  Matthew won a Snuggle teddy bear by spinning a wheel and naming the flower that the spinner landed on.  We had some fun designing a shopping board on a giant smart board using products from Overstock.com.  The event ended with a reception during which Matthew and I hung out in the lounge.  Quite a fun day!




So…here is something we haven’t talked about on this blog yet.  In addition to my design business, I own a retreat house.  You can find it here:  Legacy Retreat House, if you care to take a peek.  IMG_5448

It started out as a weekend retreat house for scrapbookers, quilters and other crafters and has begun to take on vacationing families.  When we furnished it, we put in a luggage rack for every bed figuring no one was staying more than a few nights.  Now with our vacationing families, people are beginning to stay for a week or two at a time.  As I was out running errands one day, I thought, “I really need to start looking for dressers for the retreat house.”  No kidding, on my way back home, there was a dresser on the side of the road with a big “FREE” sign on it!


Of course, I stopped and put it in my van with the help of a nice teenage boy who was riding by on his bike.  It’s an interesting little dresser.  There were originally four knobs on each of the three drawers, but many knobs were missing.  There were three left on the top drawer, one on the middle and three on the bottom.  I really didn’t want to invest in new hardware… and four pulls per drawer seemed excessive, so I decided to redistribute the hardware I had and fill in the holes where I was not going to replace the pulls.

See all the holes for the missing hardware?

See all the holes for the missing hardware?

Let me tell you… this is a really nice, high quality, much-heavier-than-it-looks dresser! Look at the stamp in the drawer and the dovetail joints!

Ethan Allen!

Ethan Allen!

Dovetail Joints

Dovetail Joints











So here is what it looked like after I filled in the holes:


I sanded the drawer fronts and spray painted them with Rustoleum Ultra Cover 2X Spray in gloss white.  The dresser top was looking a little beat up, so I decided to sand and spray that, too.

_0013_0005While the paint was drying, I tackled the hardware.

With salt and lemon juice...before adding the Bon Ami. Compare the top three to the bottom one.

With salt and lemon juice…before adding the Bon Ami. Compare the top three to the bottom one.

The knobs are real brass.  The pulls are brass plated.  Not that it matters, you clean them the same way.  First I tried a little Bon Ami, a natural cleanser that we use for cleaning our copper bottom pots and pans.  That didn’t really do much.  So I tried a mixture of salt and lemon juice with a tooth brush.  That did a pretty good job. THEN…I added the Bon Ami to the salt and lemon juice…score!








Look at that hardware shine in the photo below!





And lastly, a photo of the dresser in it’s new home:

photo 1 (2)Here’s a before & after side by side:





What do you think?

Want to know a cool and perhaps unexpected perk to having a blog?  You can use it as a portfolio to show off some of your work!  Want to see what I’ve been working on?

Jennifer Terry The Everygirl Mood Board -min

This design is for a company I’ve done some work for. The company will be featured on a well-known blogging site in the near future!  I can only hope that my design is front and center! They asked for a living room for a young, urban woman interested in hip, chic design. Here’s a 3D view of how the room will look:

roomI just did a nursery idea board for a woman who asked that the room feature an elephant.  She already had the rug and the crib and she really liked a $4000 version of this chandelier (this one is only $380!):

Odalis nursery - Page 001-minHere is a living room for a gal in NYC looking for a bit of contemporary design.  The white cabinet is her existing TV stand:

Calm & Collected Mood Board for Michiko -minWhat are you looking for?  I can do a mood board for you, too!  We’ll discuss what you are looking for, what you like and don’t like.  Then I’ll make you a board similar to those above.  We’ll tweak it until it is exactly what you are looking for.  Then I’ll provide you with a floor plan (so so know where to place everything) and shopping list and you’ve got yourself a new room all at a budget that you set before we begin!



I recently had a reader ask for help with a problem.  I thought that could be a new feature on the blog!  If you have a troublesome spot in your home- please ask for help! I’ll see what I can do to give you a solution.

Qj soap” I beg of you! Please help me find a creative and fun way to make these accessible on my husband’s side of our master bath double sink without looking, well…like this! He insists on keeping leftover hotel soaps and using them up. But I end up with a pile of these in my sink or I find them under the sink years later because he forgets. I think he’d die if I came up with a way to stage them so he can remember to use them instead of secretly throwing them all out. The theme in the bathroom is nautical. We have a wooden ships wheel and some light house stuff. Ideas?”


I’d take the ones he is currently using and put them in/on a glass soap dish. Could be shaped like a seashell or just round. I have one that is shaped like a leaf in my bathroom. (The glass ones seem to clean off easier, but the glass part is not exactly necessary.) Then, I’d take the ones that are under the sink and display them on the sink in a glass apothecary jar–with a lid! If the wrappers are pretty, leave them wrapped. If they are ugly, unwrap them. You can have a mix of both. When he needs a new one, he can just reach in and grab one. You may still need to throw away the bits in the soap dish when they get icky, but the unused ones will have a nice dust-free, easy-to-remember-them home.  I think I’m going to start looking for a pretty apothecary jar at yard sales and Goodwill so I can do this myself!







As I was putting together a summery front porch I noticed we had two rather large “blank” walls.And from the other direction...I realized that if this room was an indoor room, I would hang art on those walls.  I thought, “Why not?!?”  I had the perfect way to do it, too!

When Hometalk asked me to curate a board of budget DIY wall art ideas, I found an idea that used a shower curtain to create art.  You can see that project in the graphic below: the one with the whale.

My very own pinnable graphic! Please pin it!

My very own pinnable graphic! Please pin it!

The problem with this particular version was that it is an indoor project using a cloth curtain and a wooden frame.  I didn’t see any reason that it couldn’t be adapted though! I knew I could use a plastic curtain, but what to wrap it around?  Why not foam core?  It seems kind of indestructible.

Here are my supplies:

3 pieces of foam core, a shower curtain and packing tape.

3 pieces of foam core, a shower curtain and packing tape.

I bought 3 sheets of foam core, the only plastic shower curtain at my local Walmart that fit my decor, and a roll of packing tape.  I wanted 2 pieces of art in 2 different sizes.  For the smaller wall on my porch, I used the foam core as is ( 22″ x 28″). For the much larger wall, I decided to attach 2 boards together making a piece that is 28″ x 44″.  My middle son helped me! We taped the boards with the packing tape and added additional support with 2 used paint stirs from our basement (free!).


Attaching 2 pieces of foam core with 2 paint stirs

When I opened the shower curtain it was very wrinkled and full of fold lines.  This is the one step I would do differently next time:  I decided to use my steamer to get the wrinkles out.  It did get the wrinkles out, but the steam also puckered the curtain in a few places when it got really hot. I’m not sure HOW I would do it it differently, but I wouldn’t steam it next time.  Please feel free to leave suggestions in the comments!

We just cut the curtain in two pieces and then further cut it so each piece was slightly larger than the foam core pieces.  We wrapped the curtains tight around the boards and taped them to the back with packing tape.  I taped down all the loose edges, so no bugs or debris would be able to get inside- this was especially important here because my shower curtain is actually clear on a white board.  The curtain is not white.  Any speck of dust that would get in there would be visible.

And the finished product:




With a different pillow…

I hung them with sticky back Velcro squares:  4 squares on the small one and 6 on the big one- not because they are heavy, but because I didn’t want the wind to take them.  The package said “For indoor and outdoor use”.

I would love to see if you decide to try this yourself!