5 Fall Front Porch Ideas Inspired By the Colors of Tuscany

5 Fall Front Porch Ideas Inspired By the Colors of Tuscany


Fall inspires me!  It makes me want to take a walk in the woods, to stay outdoors, and to cook more.  And…it inspires me to drag out that orange storage box filled with decorations and sprinkle them around my home. Sometimes I think I might have to much.  But that’s another story for another day!

What really excites me, though, is decorating my front porch.  Why, you ask?  Because it always says “welcome to my home” for anyone who comes to visit.  And who doesn’t want to welcome their family and friends?

antique cart with pumpkins

This year my Fall inspiration happened on our fabulous trip to Tuscany with our good friends.  We had such a fun time eating, drinking, and laughing our way through Italy!!!  Every view was spectacular with amazing colors, and they were even better than I remembered. 

After a few days, though, I realized there seemed to be a pattern emerging in all the pictures I was taking.  It was the colors.  The beautiful colors of the food we were served, the flowers, and the colors of a Fall harvest. 

the colors of gelato

Gelato display in Sienna

prickly pear

Prickly Pear (Ficodindia in Italian)…you eat the red part!

grapes on the vine

Waiting for harvest!

Italian hillside with lemons and flowers

Beautiful Italian hillside with lemons and flowers

Who wouldn’t be inspired to decorate for Fall when you have these beautiful things to look at?  And with the temperatures on the cool side for this Southern girl,  I was looking forward to getting back home to Fall, football, tailgating and….decorating for the season.  After all, at our house, decorating is usually finished and ready to go by mid-September!

colorful tower of pumpkins

The theme is usually pumpkins and gourds with a special emphasis on adding a variety of colors with heirloom pumpkins.  Don’t you just love this pyramid of Fall color?  I wonder how they did it…

welcome to our Fall home

I love how the white, mum-filled pots are inviting you right up to the front door.  And when you get there, you’re greeted by Mr. Scarecrow himself,  surrounded by bales of hay, cornstalks, and more pumpkins!!!

pumpkins and hydrangeas

Since we always see mums used for fall decorating, I love how hydrangeas are used here instead.  The eggplant and green colors remind me of the grapes we saw hanging on vines in Tuscany.

Hopefully, these beautiful and welcoming porches will give you some Fall ideas to get started on your own home.  And remember to use:

  • Pumpkins – basic orange with some heirlooms added for interest
  • Flowers – mums, hydrangeas, wild flowers from the woods
  • Pine cones
  • Moss
  • Baskets
  • Tin buckets
  • And anything you have around your house to use as containers

       Happy decorating!

Want some help with your own color combinations?  We’re here to help!  Call us today (404)213-8571 to schedule your Color Consultation.



THE COLOR ORANGE:   How We Use It and What It Means

THE COLOR ORANGE: How We Use It and What It Means


For those of us who love the color orange, we see it everywhere and want to use it all the time.  But how we use orange at home and when we use it requires a little bit of information about color psychology.

 Orange is the perfect mix of red and yellow.  And because it combines the energy and stimulation of red with the cheerfulness of yellow, orange radiates a warmth and happiness that draws us in.  Have you ever taken a walk down a path that’s covered with red, yellow, and orange leaves or watched a sunset with shades of reds and oranges?  That is happiness!

orange pumpkin with succulents

What We Know About Orange:

  • Offers emotional strength in difficult times
  • Optimistic and uplifting, rejuvenating our spirit
  • A great color to use during tough economic times because it keeps us motivated
  • Helps us to look on the bright side of life
  • Promotes enthusiasm for life, relating to adventure, risk-taking, independence   The person who loves the color orange is always on the go!
  • It stimulates two-way conversations and social communications
  • Because it’s a warm and inviting color, it’s both mentally and physically stimulating. It gets people thinking and talking!
  • Stimulates our appetite
  • Helps us assimilate new ideas and frees our spirit of limitations…let’s us be free to be ourselves.

How We Use Orange at Home:

Because Orange is such a sociable color, and mentally stimulating, use it in rooms where you want to get people thinking and talking.  A dining room or living room would be the perfect area to paint an accent wall in orange.  If that’s just a little too bold for you and out of your comfort zone, try orange pillows, placemats, napkins or dishes.  When it comes to paint, tinting orange to a soft peach will also have the same effect.

orange dining room accents

If you love Life In the Kitchen as much as I do, enjoying family and friends sitting around the kitchen table, orange will keep them talking and eating for a long time.  Many restaurants use pastel versions of orange like peach or apricot, or deeper versions of terracotta for their décor.  When guests are having a good time talking and connecting, they’ll eat and drink more…and spend more money!

orange accents in a bay window

But the one room in your home that you don’t want to have large amounts of orange is the kitchen.  It’s the worst color to be surrounded with if you’re trying to lose weight!!!!

Your Design Homework:

  1. Take a walk through your house and make a list of how you can use the color orange in a room or two.
  2. How can you incorporate orange to red accessories for Fall?
  3. How can you use lighter and/or brighter versions of orange for Spring and Summer?

Want to learn more about using color in your home?  Call us today and schedule your personal interior color consultation.  (404)213-8571

5 Ways To Have Great Design On A Budget

5 Ways To Have Great Design On A Budget


Most of us have been here before.  You’ve stretched your budget to buy the perfect new home in a great location.  It has the space you’ve been craving for family visits and that new craft room you’ve always dreamed of.  But there are still some things about it that need to be updated to make it your own.  Unfortunately, the amount of money you have left to invest in this makeover isn’t as great as you hoped.  Don’t worry!  You can still have great design on a budget if you follow the 5 ways listed below.

Whether you’re downsizing or up-sizing, have more wall space or less, design can (and should) be good at any price point.  Your new home design should always keep your needs and lifestyle in mind.  And it should always speak to your personality and your approach to life.  This is always how you get started…even when you want great design on a budget.

The WOW Factor

decorative tile backsplash

Choose that one luxury feature or item that will make the most impact and become the focal point or memory detail in your home.  This could be a treasured antique piece that’s making the move with you.  Or you might want to spend a lot of your budget on a gorgeous vent hood and range. 

No matter what you decide on for a luxury focal point, the rest of your design elements will need to be adjusted accordingly.  We all place different values on certain things.  For some, a blow out kitchen is more important.  And to get there, they’re willing to pinch pennies in other areas.  It’s important to spend some time thinking about your lifestyle and your values.  This will help you decide on your luxury item.

Less expensive materials used in unique ways

Subway tile in different patterns

The tile in your shower is simply too dark for you.  Not your style, and it’s dragging you down. There are so many gorgeous tiles on the market, but you’re really committed to staying within your budget.  Some simple 2×3 subway tile would work.  But what about a 4×8 subway tile installed in a herringbone pattern?  That simple change will make a huge impact.  And you haven’t blown your budget.

Hardware and Lighting

I want you to think of hardware and lighting as the jewelry for your home.  Updating your cabinet hardware to a new finish or different shape will make a world of difference in how you feel when you look at your cabinets.  Consider different hardware for a bar area or hutch area…just to be different.

One area to make a big impact is with pendant lighting over an island.  If the “new” home your moving into hasn’t been updated in years, it’s probably time to make that investment for yourself.  Keep in mind the size of the island and how dark it gets in the kitchen.  That will determine the size of the light, the color of the shade, and the type of bulb that you use.

Color, Pattern, Texture

color fan decks

Each of these three design elements can be applied with very little added cost.  A fresh coat of paint on walls or cabinets will make a world of difference.

Pattern and texture can be added with wallcoverings.  They’re back in a big way right now!  But if wallcoverings are still not your thing, casually drape a throw over a sofa or chair to bring in new colors and textures.  Accent pillows are another way to update your new space.

Use Only What You Love

use only what you love

Moving to a new home always brings the dilemma of “what should I keep?” “What should I take?”  The number one thing to do is only keep what you absolutely love.  And when you’re making a purchase, only buy what you love.

When you’ve finished this list, you can start a second list of things that you absolutely know you don’t want in your new home.  This can also include furniture pieces that you know won’t fit in the new space.  This always requires measuring walls and furniture.  Sometimes it means moving pieces to different rooms than you had them in before.  Furniture and colors that can flow from one room to the next give you the option of moving them around to suit your needs.

Moving to a new home is an exciting time.  Sometimes you have the luxury of completing your makeover before you move in.  Other times you’re moving in on the tails of the last homeowner.  But whatever your situation, always remember that you CAN make this work if you take your time, don’t panic, and follow the 5 ways to good design on a budget.

If you find yourself overwhelmed and stressed about how to make it all come together when you move, call Randi today at (404)213-8571





Most of us love a good DIY project every now and then.  I mean, who doesn’t love the challenge of planning a project and seeing it through to the end?  And then there’s the added bonus of saving a little money.  But lately, I’ve been hearing from a lot of Design-It-Yourself’ers that they’re disappointed in the way their remodels are turning out.  As I listen to their concerns, one common thread stands out loud and clear.  The biggest mistake they’re making is not communicating EXACTLY what they want to the people who are helping them. 

Being over-the-moon excited with your finished design project is what you dream of.  The vision you have in your head is sometimes the only thing that keeps you going when the dust and drilling is getting on your last nerve.  But unless you get that vision out of your head and onto paper, you might be headed for disappointment.  No one can read your mind, so communication is the key to your project’s success.

Somehow, in the rush of our crazy lives, the small details seem to get lost in the shuffle.  We assume  “they should know that”.  But they don’t.  Everyone working for you has their own idea of how something should be installed.   It might be standard in their industry, but not how you want it to look.

Here are just a few of those little details you need to consider:

 1. The height of your shower head.  Where do you want it?  Be sure to tell your plumber or contractor.

2.  The height of the tile in your shower.  Do you want it to go to the ceiling?  Is there crown molding?

3.  Garbage disposer…Do you want it on the small bowl side or the large?  On the left bowl or the right?  There is no right or wrong answer here, but you need to communicate this with the plumber.  If you think about how you like to work at your sink, and plan accordingly, incorrect installations won’t happen.

4.  Counter top overhang.  Standard is 1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″.  Make that clear with your counter top people.  Check it for consistency once it’s installed.  In my own kitchen, the first installation had different overhangs all around the island and had to be re-done.

5.  How high do you want your window treatments hung?  To the ceiling?  To the top of your trim?  Somewhere in between?  You need to decide this before they’re constructed and then communicate this to the installer.

6.  Placement of pendant lights.  Size of the pendants and size of the island usually determine how far apart they should be.  Your installer may have a different opinion than you do, so make it clear ahead of time.  Also, ceiling beams or joists may throw a wrench into the plan.  Keeping an open line of communication with your installers and contractor will make these last minute changes less stressful.

7.  Exact placement of mirrors and vanity lights.  This is determined by ceiling height, backsplash height, size of the lights, etc.  Plan and ahead and then communicate this plan to everyone involved, especially if you can’t be there when they’re installed.

To avoid miscommunication on your design project:

  • Ask a lot questions about the little details so you know what to expect.
  • Understand that, if the details aren’t spelled out in advance, you’ll get calls for last minute decisions.  If you’re not available to answer, something might get installed where you don’t want it.
  • Plan out every detail of your project before construction begins and make sure your contractor and subs are on board.
  • Arrange to have daily or weekly updates on progress.
  • Hire an interior designer to handle these details for you.  A designer will make sure they’re installed according to your vision.

Always remember that how well you communicate your design vision determines how happy you’ll be in the end.  And that’s exactly what everyone wants for you!

If you’re finally ready to begin your own home makeover, contact us today to schedule a Design Success call and get your project started in the right direction .  Info@RandiDestefano.com  


Antique Market Finds: Trench Art

Antique Market Finds: Trench Art


Shopping at antique and flea markets can be a hit or miss thing. One time you might not see anything that you love. And then another time you see something that you just have to buy. That’s how it was with me the last time I went to one of my favorite antique markets.

I was walking along the aisles, I was stopped in my tracks by these beautiful and very unique vases. Hanging below them was a sign that said “TRENCH ART.” I had never heard of it before so I asked the dealer, and this is what I learned…

trench art vase

Trench art first appeared in 19th century wars during Napoleon’s wars. During WWI (1914-1918) it was an art that flourished in the trenches of the Western Front. Notice the “1917” engraving on the bottom of the vases.

trench art engraving

Soldiers would transform whatever scrap metal littered the so-called no man’s land, as well as behind the lines. Usually it was empty cannon shells.

trench art engraving on bottom

photo of artillery shells

Because they were confined to their trenches, they needed to keep themselves busy during the long lulls between deadly attacks. Brass cannon shells were changed into vases for dried flowers and often sent home to loved-ones.

trench art example

At the end of the war, those living around the devastated battle-grounds crafted commemorative vases and other mementos which were brought back home by war veterans.

How To Shop A Flea Market For Fun and Success

How To Shop A Flea Market For Fun and Success



It’s that time of year again…  The weather turns warm, school is winding down, and everyone wants to be outside on a beautiful, sunny day.  That’s what happened to me last weekend, and I took full advantage of it by stopping at a local antiques and art festival.  I wasn’t looking for anything special.  To me the fun is seeing what’s available, what is a good deal, and what I can re-purpose to use at home.  But sometimes, it’s a good idea to know how to shop a flea market for success and…fun.  Because if you’re a newbie to this adventurous activity (Yes, I do call it an adventure!), you need to know the drill.

Decide if you’re going alone or with a friend. Sometimes going alone is easier and faster if you’re in a rush.  But when you shop with a friend, and stay together, your eyes will open to things you might never have given a glance.  And friends usually add their own extra creative ideas on how to use things.

Be prepared for success. Check the newspapers or websites in your area to see which flea markets and antique fairs are happening.  Explore their website to see which vendors will be there and what categories are being sold. Sometimes you’ll even find a map for the show that lets you plan your route ahead of time.  This is a great time saver if you’re on a tight schedule. 

Set a budget and make a list. Decide how much you’re willing to spend on an item.  I always find that you’re willing to pay more for something that you absolutely love.  You’ll know it right away.  If you have to walk away to think about it, then it might not be for you.  We all value different things.

Don’t forget to measure your space at home if you’re looking for the perfect piece to fit it.

Think about how you’ll be transporting your perfect “find” back home. Do you need to bring a truck?  I once bought a darling antique wicker baby buggy at an auction in Newport, RI for $25.  I was so excited!  I had the plans all laid out for refinishing it and adding a cute fabric lining for my granddaughters.  Imagine my huge disappointment when I took it to the UPS store and learned it was going to cost $250 to ship back to ATL. 

Dress for success. You never know what the weather will be like, or where vendors are located…unless you’ve done your homework and scoped out the market ahead of time.  Usually flea markets are outside, so use your head and dress appropriately.  Don’t forget sunscreen.  But the biggest thing to remember is to carry a bag for water and snacks to sustain you throughout the day.  If you’re like me, and on a mission, or simply browsing and enjoying your time there, it’s nice to not have to stop for a meal. 

Fill your wallet. Most places will only take cash or checks.  Some won’t even take checks.  Make sure you have plenty of cash.  Though some markets will have an ATM or two, it’s always best to be prepared. 

Pack the right gear. Some people suggest bringing a folding cart to carry your purchases.  But first know the layout of the market or festival you’ll be attending.  Some festivals have vendors on either side of a narrow winding path in the woods.  This is hard enough to navigate with strollers and hundreds of people, so a cart would not be a good idea.   But bringing your own shopping bags should definitely be on your checklist. Remember to have a charged cell phone with pictures of areas in your home where you need something new.  It also comes in handy to take a pic of that special item that you want to remember.  Don’t forget your tape measure to check dimensions so things will fit. I once had a friend purchased a huge armoire for her bedroom, only to discover that it wouldn’t fit up the stairs or through the doorway.  This became one of those “Oh no! What was I thinking?” purchases.

Get there early!  It’s always best to arrive when the market opens.  Dealers out shopping for their own clients and shops will be there as soon as the doors open.  If you hate to buy the first thing you see, take a pic of the booth number and the item you love.  Then you can scroll through all the photos after you’ve done a quick run through of the market.  If you still love it, you know exactly where to go.

Never pass by the special stuff.  When you see something that absolutely screams “buy me”, you’d better do it immediately.  If you love it, someone else will too.  Remember the mantra “if you snooze, you lose”.  I’ve found some beautiful treasures using that philosophy.

Check for quality.  Before making your purchases always be sure to inspect the piece carefully.  Check for chips and dings and dents that affect the appearance and the value of whatever you’re buying. 

Stay Clean.  Sometimes you need to be prepared to dig through piles of dirty items to find the gem you want to take home.  I did that once, and uncovered some treasured antique wood blocks used to print fabrics in India.  I had them framed with velcro on the back so that I can remove them to actually use them if I want.  And if you do this, be sure to have a pile of Wet Wipes in your bag.  I mean, who want s grubby hands all day?

Get to know the vendor.  You never know what piece of history they can tell you about the piece you’re looking at.  To me, that’s the fun of flea market shopping…only buying items that have a story.  Once I learned the background of my  trench art pieces, I was sold!

At this point you should be well on your way to planning your first flea market/antique fair excursion.  Have a fun… and adventurous time!!!