Living With Intention

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you enjoyed a wonderful holiday season and found some time to relax, entertain, and bond with friends and family.

I am always filled with great anticipation in January. I look forward to thinking through all that I hope to accomplish in the coming 12 months. This year, I am taking this process VERY seriously and centering all of my aspirations around the following theme: living with intention.

I am looking at everything with greater questioning and intentionality. I’m asking important and sometimes hard questions in many areas – including our home, finances, possessions, physical health and even travel plans. I think many of us are often on auto-pilot or worse, functioning in the reactive mode instead of living with forethought and planning. I’m guilty of it in some areas as well, so I’m definitely not pointing fingers.  Instead, I’m hoping to bring awareness to the table and approach each month with greater planning and intention.

I’m hoping you’ll join me on this journey. Each month my goal is to challenge myself and inspire all of you to tackle a project that will help us achieve greater productivity, peace and joy at home. I’m going through all the rooms in our house with fresh eyes and asking:

  • How can we increase the functionality of this room?
  • Do we want/need everything that takes up space in this room?
  • How can we feel more inspired in this space?
  • What can we add/take away to increase our enjoyment of this room?

A Year of Intentional Living at Home

Here’s what you can look forward to in the next 12 months:

  • January ~ Home Office Challenge: How to Create a Space that Supports Productivity and Creativity
  • February ~ Bedroom: Your Place to Recharge, Relax and Sleep
  • March ~ Bathroom: Order, Storage and Function
  • April ~ What’s in Your Closet? Wardrobe Organization and How to Maintain Long-Term Order
  • May ~ Kitchen & Pantry: Where Zones are Key
  • June ~ The Great Outdoors : Porches, Patios, Decks and Balconies
  • July ~ Bon Voyage: Summer Travel Organization
  • August ~ Kids’ Spaces: How to Keep Them Clean, Organized and Functional 
  • September ~ Foyers, Entry Areas & Mudrooms: Where Function and Form Work Together
  • October ~ Living Room: Sit and Stay for a While 
  • November ~ Dining Room: Gather Around the Table (Also ideas for holiday entertaining!)
  • December ~ The Organized Home: Organizational Systems that Sustain Themselves

I will be doing a lot of work and reporting back to you to make your work easier. I will also be sharing resources, tips and strategies regarding both organization and design (both home- and life-related!), so you won’t want to miss the blog. Make it easy on yourself: SUBSCRIBE! That way everything gets delivered right to your inbox.

Here’s to a new year filled with greater awareness, productivity and intentionally driven decisions at home and life in general.  




Holiday Decorating Ideas

Happy Holidays, everyone!  It’s been a while, but I wanted to wish all of you who have supported me through 2016 a happy and peace-filled holiday season.  Since so many of us are busy with gatherings, errands, entertaining, etc. I thought I’d share some simple ideas for decorating your home for the holidays and creating a festive mood for you and your family.  The following ideas were just featured in this month’s Durham Magazine, but I’m including some bonus photos that didn’t make the magazine.  These beautiful photos were taken by the amazing, Merritt Chesson.  (Thanks, Merritt!)

* * * * *

Simple Ideas for Holiday Decorating


My holiday decorating shortcuts are based on a simple, pre-set color pallet and natural, seasonal elements.  I usually go with various shades of silver, gold and white (keep your colors to 2-3 selections).  Because the color pallet is simple, you can play with and add various objects that fall into the pallet and still have a unified look. I might take ornaments in shades of golds and silvers and sprinkle them along my table runner and then flank either end of the table with a few candles (of all sizes) in shades of white and silver.  The charges might be gold or silver with white linens laid neatly on top.  Then, I always add a natural element: magnolia leaves, pine cones, herbs, or something of this genre.  A little touch like this goes a long way in creating a festive table.
Decorating with a few colors means you can carry the pallet throughout your house (at the entry, with the fire place mantle, on your front porch, etc.) and everything feels collected and unified.  Use creative color combinations like fuchsia and green or gold and blue, to keep it interesting and unpredictable.  This approach is also an economical way to decorate because you can switch things around and collect over the years without feeling as if you need to start over every time. I add something to my collection every year, but don’t need much since it’s easy to integrate into the collection I’ve been evolving over the years.
With this approach, everything works together because the colors are the unifying factor.  And – adding natural elements such as flowers, wreathes, garland and berries warms things up and makes your home feel more cozy.  I usually just clip branches from the magnolia tree in our front yard!  How’s that for easy and economical?
Silver Trees, pine cones and some fresh Magnolia leaves from my front yard.

Silver Trees, pine cones and some fresh Magnolia leaves from my front yard.  We have white a Nutcracker because I’ve taken my girls to see the performance every year since my oldest was 3.

Natural elements warm this up.

Natural elements warm this up.

Even my butler’s tray get’s a little decor…


I use the same formula in every space: white, silver, clear glass, light, and some natural elements (here pine cones).


And the buffet shares peace…


Again, white, silver, light and some natural elements! This easy formula leave you with time to focus on what’s really important: sharing time with your loved ones.


I hope this has inspired you and helped provide you with some ideas for your home.  Questions?  Reach out and comment!

Happy Holidays, friends!  xo Maria

Going up…STAIRS!

So lately I’ve become a little enamored with modern stairways.  I’ve been noticing that a lot of designers and builders are straying from traditional wooden spindles and banisters and replacing them with new materials such as wire, steel rods, creative iron shapes, and even glass.  Take a look…


Steel rods look amazing in this space and are a surprising detour from wooden spindles.


My friend, Jenny Hoffman, designed this home and used cables for the stairwell to create a clean, modern look in this home she built.

My friend, Jenny Hoffman, designed this home in Durham, NC and used wire cables for the stairwell to create a clean, modern look.  Clearly everyone agrees it was an amazing look because this home sold is less than a day!




A fresh, modern take on spindles. Love how simple, but creative this look is.

A fresh, modern take on spindles. Love how simple, but creative this look is.


This is probably not for everyone, but wow…it is a show stopper.

I am in LOVE!  We have a traditional stairway in our home, but would love any of these modern takes on the stairwell.  What about you?  Do you have a favorite?

Another idea — if you don’t have the desire or budget to replace your entire banister turn to paint.  You can use black or perhaps a dark blue to create new look.  Think outside the box of plain wood or white.  Need more ideas?  Head over to our Pinterest board entitled, STAIRS where I’ve pinned dozens of examples of cool, modern stairwells!  Are you following us on Instagram?  We are sharing lots of other tips and ideas there (@goldenrodplaceinteriors) and on our Facebook page.  Subscribe y’all!

Have a great week!

xo ~Maria


Look Up!

Happy Monday, y’all!  I hope you’ve all been doing well this summer.  Things over at Goldenrod Place Interiors have been busy over the last few weeks.  We are working on many new client projects and prepping to open up a retail space so that fans can shop the Goldenrod Place aesthetic!

But first off, we have some new blog formatting and Social Media things to announce!  We have hired an amazing person to manage our Instagram and Facebook feeds which provide daily, weekday inspiration, tips and features.  So, if you aren’t following Goldenrod Place Interiors on either of these platforms, you need to be!  Our handle on Instagram is @goldenrodplaceinteriors.  Like our Facebook page for daily home styling tips and inspiration, like this…


Photo Credit: Huntington House Furniture

Each week, we are focusing on a central theme, like statement chairs (two weeks ago) or home office spaces, like we did last week.


This week, we are focusing on ceilings. Ceilings are often just painted white or even worse, ignored!  But, a room’s ceiling is just another opportunity to add interest, texture and dimension to the design plan.  It’s unexpected, so when you do something unique with this surface, it delivers extra drama.  You can paint the ceiling a different color from the walls, paint stripes, add wallpaper, add moulding to frame out a light fixture or paint a design with stencils.  Check out these magnificent, creative ceilings…


I LOVE this office space…so much going on: wallpaper ceiling, bold chair, fantastic chandelier. PHOTO: Home Adore



PHOTO: Greg Natale


Wallpapered ceiling

Add seagrass wallpaper to a ceiling and finish it off with a dramatic light fixture: pure perfection! PHOTO: Lilly Bunn

So, next time you look up, consider the possibilities!  For more inspiration, check out our Pinterest board on Ceilings.

xoxo ~ Maria

A Roundup of Ottomans & Foot Stools

I’m currently working on a client project and we have all of the “big pieces” in: the sofas, coffee tables, consoles, etc.  But, the thing I’ve had the hardest time finding is the perfect foot stools!  You’d think this little piece of furniture would be easy, but it’s actually trickier than you think.  Here are some things I’ve been trying to balance during the search process:

  1.  We have all upholstered pieces so I wanted to introduce a new texture, like leather, velvet or wood.
  2. The stools have to be pretty “clean” — as in a big, lumpy ottoman is not going to look cohesive in the room.
  3. We wanted the height to be around 17″ – 19″ tall, so that one’s legs would not end up higher than the chair seat heights.
  4. Price point in the $300 – $350 range.

This turned out to be a tall order! But luckily, some of the big retailers have just released some great options over the last month and they were worth the wait!  Check these out:

West Elm Mid-Century Upholstered Stools. On sale: $135-169! Love the clean legs on this stool.

West Elm Mid-Century Upholstered Stools. On sale: $135-169! Love the clean legs on this stool.

This fabulous Tufted Stool from West Elm comes in over a dozen fabric options and is right around $300-350. I'm swooning! I'll take two, please!

This fabulous Tufted Stool from West Elm comes in over a dozen fabric options and is right around $300-350. I’m swooning! I’ll take two, please!

Cb2 Cubed Leather Pouf: $199! Sophisticated, interesting and comfy. Sold.

Cb2 Cubed Leather Pouf: $199! Sophisticated, interesting and comfy. Sold.

I also love this “Director’s Stool” from Cb2 — such a great deal for $199!


Finally, while this pouf wasn’t going to work for this particular project, I recently used this for another project and am in LOVE.  This Moroccan Pouf from Wayfair is all that, y’all…seriously soft and fabulous to look at.


I hope this has given you some ideas!  As they say, “The devil is in the details” and this was a tough nut to crack.  I’m excited to reveal this project later this spring.  I’ve been working on it since OCTOBER — so it will be truly fun to show you what patience and time can do to transform a space!

Happy Wednesday! xo ~Maria

Welcome Spring: Creating an Inviting Outdoor Space

Happy Monday!  Last week, I decided I wanted to reclaim our screened-in porch from what had been a long winter and pollen-filled spring.  After a thorough power washing, it was ready to be transformed!

Creating an inviting outdoor space is relatively easy if you think of your deck or porch as a mere extension of your home.  The same elements that make the inside of your home inviting will make your outdoor area a relaxing retreat:

  • Colorful throw pillows
  • Outdoor rugs
  • Throw or light blanket (for cool nights)
  • Candles & Lanterns
  • String lighting and/or lamps
  • Art
  • Accessories
  • Tables for various purposes (dining, end tables, coffee table, & even console tables)
  • Plants and flowers of various sizes and colors.

I made it a point to approach this space just as I would my living room or bedroom, wanting it to reflect our family and what we enjoy doing outside: dining, entertaining and reading.


BEFORE… The pollen is strong in the South, y’all!

AFTER: I stored all of the pillows and cushions in large, plastic garbage bags over the winter so they were ready to go!

AFTER: I stored all of the pillows and cushions in large, plastic garbage bags over the winter so they were ready to go!  No cleaning or anything required because I did it all last fall.

Our new puppy, Gypsy, thinks it's pretty great to be out here!

Our new puppy, Gypsy, thinks it’s pretty great to be out here!

A fun tablescape adds SO MUCH to your table.  Use elements from the outdoors like shells, sand, stones, lanterns, candles and more.  Vary the height of the objects on the table and mix up textures.  Here’s a close up of the one I created on our porch.


Ready for dinner on the porch – one of our favorite things to do in the spring!

Finally, I decorated our old console table with art and candles to create a vignette that adds interest to the porch and makes it feel more home-like.


In the end, creating an inviting outdoor area is all about mindset.  If you approach this space as an extension of your indoor space, you’re bound to create an area that seamlessly integrates into the rest of your home.  It doesn’t have to cost a fortune, either. Most of my throw pillows and even the furniture are from Target.  I used Pottery Barn to source interesting accessories for the tablescape, but went to Home Goods for other items.  Look around your own house….you’re bound to find something that you can use outside. (I repurposed our old living room console table and discovered it was perfect for the porch!)

Finally, I want to leave you with this lovely and appropriate quote from Melissa Michaels of The Inspired Room…


I hope I’ve inspired you some.  Have a great Monday!


Beauty is in the Details

They say, “The devil is in the details,” but I believe that beauty lies in details. It really is the little things around your home that can make a big difference in the feel and mood. For example, add a simple ficus tree to a corner and you can transform the feel of a space, or light a candle with a warm, citrus scent, or a fill a vase with fresh tulips…all of these little details create the overall feel of your home. Moral of the story? Pay attention to those little things.

With that, I thought I’d share some of my favorite home items –- small in stature, but big in creating impact and mood.

  • Linen Bathroom Hand towels – I love putting out special linen hand towels for guests. I have about four sets that I rotate depending on the season. I feel as if they let my guests know how special they are.

Monogramed linen hand towels for your guest bathroom make your visitors feel special. Available at places like Pottery Barn, Wayfair and



Matouk linen hand towels.


  • Fine Paper Hand Towels – I also provide a small basket of fine paper hand towels for guests that would rather have something fresh.  Caspari makes lovely, patterned disposable hand towels in hundreds of patterns and colors, like these…

Caspari hand towels

Check out the collection at Amazon.

  • Mer Sea Diffusers – My husband says I have a bionic nose. I’m not kidding. And he’s actually right. I am very sensitive to scent – both good and bad ones. I love clean scents, and Mer Sea Co. makes the BEST diffusers. I put them all around my house – and in my guest room, which everyone comments on! They are available at fine home stores or online. I wish I could permanently have my house smell like the “Crisp Sails” collection. It’s $40 well spent – I promise (they last for months).  Available at
Mer Sea Crisp Sails Diffuser....smells like a crisp ocean mist.

Mer Sea Crisp Sails Diffuser….smells like a crisp ocean mist.

  • Molton Brown Hand Soaps – This hand soap is my favorite. It’s definitely a splurge, but like so many things, the British get this right. My favorite scent is the Mulberry & Thyme. The brand makes all sorts of other soap and wash products, but I love the hand soap in particular. I have a special bottle I always reserve for the guest bathroom to have visitors feel extra loved.
The British know how to make scones, tea and hand soap.

The British know how to make scones, tea and hand soap.

  • Linneas Lights Natural Soy Candles — This is another splurge item, but the scents of these candles are amazing.  Locally, I purchase them at Vintage Home South in Durham, but they are available online as well if there isn’t a retailer close to you.  My favorite scents are the Persian Lime and Vetiver.  The candles even come with a little box of matches.  Details, I tell you.
Linneas Lights Candles are naturally made from soy and smell incredibly clean and beautiful.  Truly worth the splurge -- and make wonderful hostess gifts.

Linneas Lights Candles are naturally made from soy and smell incredibly clean and beautiful. Truly worth the splurge — and make wonderful hostess gifts.

So there you have a few of my favorite things.  What small things do you add around your home to make it feel special? Do you have something you swear by?  A favorite plant? candle? or something else?  Please share! I’m always looking for ideas to incorporate into my home and client projects.

Happy spring!  xo ~Maria

Custom Framing Without the Custom Cost

Hello Everyone!  I have missed you over the last few weeks.  We have been migrating the site and blog from Bring Home Order to Goldenrod Place and it’s taken much longer than I anticipated.  Luckily we are just about there and I can now resume sharing inspiration and ideas with all of you!  Thank you for hanging in there with me.

Today I’m sharing a creative way to approach custom framing for art and photography.  If you’ve ever used a custom framer, you know that this is not an inexpensive endeavor.  Costs for a matted, 8×10 print with anti-glare and UV protection glass can cost around $400-500.   It can be more depending on the size of your matting and grade of the frame.  If you want to use double or triple matting, the cost will be even higher.

I most frequently use Michael’s for my custom framing projects because they run promotional sales which can provide savings of 50 – 65%.  That’s a lot of savings! But even so, it’s not a bargain.

Recently, I was scouring the PTA thrift shop and came across two framed prints that were $6 each!  The framing had been customized, as evidenced by the matting and backing of the frame.  I purchased these two pieces with the intention of repurposing the frames and ditching the art and mats.


Lovely custom frames for $6!

I had photos from my wedding that I wanted to frame and these frames were perfect!  I took the frames and my photos to Michael’s and replaced the matting and glass.  For less than $200 I had custom framed two pieces for less than half of what ONE piece would have cost!


I have long since gotten rid of my dried up wedding bouquet, but this photo reminds me of its beautiful colors.


I framed a collection of smaller photos depicting walking down the aisle and being greeted by husband under the chuppah.

These were a perfect addition to our foyer…


So, check out places like Goodwill, The PTA Thrift Shop and consignment stores for framed art that can be up-cycled.  It can save you hundreds!  The search is really fun, too!  Let me know if you find something good.

Happy hunting… ~Maria



#100…Lessons Learned

I can’t believe this is blog post #100. One hundred times I’ve come to you hoping to inspire and share things related to creating a home and life that comfort and fulfill you. I’ve learned A LOT along the way, and met some amazing people, too. I’m so thankful to all of you for your encouraging words and the inspiration you reflect right back to me.  Thank you, thank you.

Today, I wanted to share the top 10 lessons I’ve learned as I’ve attempted to create a home and family life. In no particular order, here they are…

  1. Let your walls tell your story. The walls of our home are covered in photographs of our family, kids’ artwork and other pieces of personal art we’ve collected through the years. If you walked into my home and had never met me, you’d know we love our kids, prioritize family and have an appreciation for art of all kinds. You’d also see fingerprints in the kitchen from lots of cooking and a bulletin board with funny notes, inspirational quotes and more family photos. I love it that our walls tell our family’s story.
  2. Consider Scale. Simply put, scale refers to proportion. I didn’t realize how important scale was when designing a space. This became abundantly clear to me as I tried to find a sofa that wouldn’t look too small in our living room, which is 17’x17′. Got a large room? You’ll need furniture pieces that don’t look like they belong in a doll house. Have a small room? A large sofa or an overpowering piece of furniture such as an armoire will make it feel even smaller. So, in addition to color and texture, consider the scale of your pieces.
  1. Pick a sturdy kitchen table and chairs that can be easily cleaned. I honestly think that so much life happens around the kitchen table. In our house, it’s where we regroup after long days and share our “oyes” and “joys.” Sometimes our kids share things at the table that they’ve been holding in all day long. A strong and sturdy kitchen table = a strong and sturdy family.
  1. Keep a basket of cozy blankets in your living room. We love movie nights, slumber parties and curling up with a good book, so our basket of cozy blankets gets a lot of use. I didn’t always have this, but as soon as I added it to our living room, it literally changed how we lived in that room.
  1. Invest in beautiful light fixtures and lighting of all sorts. This has been a lesson learned along the way of updating our home. As soon as I started swapping out old fixtures, I was STUNNED with the immediate impact it had on the feeling of the rooms. Consider overhead, mood and task lighting.
  1. Buy original art as much as possible.  And, try and meet the artist if you can, even if it’s just by email.
  1. Take time and spend money on one or two professional photo sessions for your family. This is some of the best money you’ll ever spend. I am so, so thankful I did this when my children were young.  It’s never too late to do this.
  1. Set a pretty table once in a while, even if company is not coming.
  1. A good sofa is money well spent.
  1. Create an entry that is both functional and organized. You’ll never lose you’re your keys if you have a hook (or bowl) for them as soon as you walk through the door. Hooks, baskets and benches are all fair game in this space. This will make coming and going so much less stressful.

LIVE. In the end, the most important aspect of a home is living. It’s not about the sofa, the table, the rugs or the artwork. It’s about shared meals, slumber parties, movie nights, birthday celebrations and all of the other events that when taken together equal a life well-lived. When I look around our home, I love recalling the place where my daughter first pulled herself up to a stand or the cabinet where she used to hide when we played hide-and-seek. These memories are the best part of my home. The furniture and décor are just the backdrop to something so much more important: life.


xo ~Maria


Bedroom Side Tables – A Few of My Favorites!

When you think of the main “pieces” of a bedroom, you probably imagine a bed flanked by two side tables.  Those side tables are pretty important because they provide the surface for your reading lamp, books, glasses, phone, etc.  In days gone by, many people purchased bedroom “sets” which consisted of matching beds, end tables and dresses, BUT NO MORE.  Trends today call for a more “collected” look composed of pieces with different finishes.  Take a look…

I love mixing finishes, like in this bedroom: brass side tables with mirror & glass surfaces paired with an upholstered bed. Photo Credit: West Elm

I love mixing finishes, like in this bedroom: brass side tables with mirror & glass surfaces paired with an upholstered bed. The heaviness of the bed is balanced with the lighter end tables. Then, a whole new finish is introduced with the lamps.  Perfection. Photo Credit: West Elm

Today I’m sharing some of my favorite choices for bedroom side tables.  You’ll notice some choices aren’t “traditional” bedroom furniture, but I actually think that’s kind of fun.  Like in this room, where they used a small, glass console table… Pretty cool, right?

Photo Credit: House Beautiful

Photo Credit: House Beautiful

Things to consider when selecting a nightstand:

  • How High?  In general, you want the height of your side table to match up to the height of your mattress.  That way, when you reach over, you can easily get what you need, set down a drink, etc.
  • Storage: The big toss-up for many is whether to have a drawer or open shelf style nightstand.  This is totally a personal preference. If you tend to keep things at your bedside like medicine, notebooks, books, ear plugs, etc. you probably want something with a drawer (or two!). As always, consider how you live first, then find something that matches your aesthetic style.
  • Finish:  Today’s night stands come in a variety of finishes – not just wood!  You can even get fabric-covered nightstands.  You can always have a piece of glass made to cover the top of your nightstand so that you don’t damage the finish with water stains, etc.  Any glass/window store can do this for you at a nominal cost.

Without further adieu…these are a few of my favorites:

  1.  The Terrace Side Table from West Elm – Brass finish with glass and mirror shelves.  I love how light this table is.  It looks great paired with wood or upholstered beds.  (I have them in my bedroom!)  At just $299, you can’t go wrong — unless you need drawers.  This is also a great piece for living rooms.
The Terrace Side Table from West Elm.

The Terrace Side Table from West Elm.


2.  The Hestton – From Ethan Allen.  Love this one!



With this side table, you get the best of both worlds: open shelving AND drawers to store all of your things. This was featured in the HGTV 2016 Dream House.

3.  A few from Bungalow 5 – Bungalow 5 makes fabulous furniture pieces.  I love all of their offerings. They tend to be unique in design with a modern aesthetic.  They incorporate some surprising elements into their designs, like this nightstand, which is made of lacquered grasscloth…


The Bardot 3-Drawer side table has a deco-inspired design that appeals those who want polished, decorated rooms. The romantic, serpentine front profile is finished with lacquered grasscloth that resembles the look and texture of a painted strié finish.


A closer look at the finish.  This night stand comes in 3 colors and you can customize the hardware. LOVE!

Other options from Bungalow 5…  These come in various colors/finishes and you can select other finishes for the hardware.

Night Stands from Bungalow 5

And last but not least…this one from Zinc Door:

The Redford House "Fiona" Nightstand. It comes in over 2 dozen colors/finsihes!

The Redford House “Fiona” Nightstand. It comes in over 2 dozen colors/finsihes!

I hope this has given you lots of ideas for that little table next to your bed.  Though it be small, it plays a mighty role!

Stay warm today….and TUNE IN tomorrow for a great Friday Find.  You are going to LOVE it – especially if you are a Durham local.  Hint: It’s another food-related find!

xoxo ~Maria