Come on by for a Fun and Informative Staging Presentation

First off Happy Friday and a huge thank you for all the love yesterday on my family room One Room Challenge reveal!!  I kinda felt like this one got away from me a bit, with being on vacation in the beginning, Kevie’s First Communion towards the end and a lot of client work in between.  But in the end it still looks a heck of a lot better than it did 6 weeks ago.

So I’ve got an exciting announcement for my local friends!  My friend and realtor extraordinaire, MaryLee Mullins, is hosting a special event in a couple of weeks and has asked me to present on staging your home for the quickest and most profitable sale.

staging present

This is something I love to help my clients with because a few simple steps can really make a difference when it comes to the first impression buyers get from your home.  Especially the pictures in your listing because in today’s market it’s those online pictures that help them decide if they even go look at your home.

I will be sharing real take away tips, such as color choices, floor plans and shopping sources, which you can start using immediately or tuck away in your back pocket until you are ready to sell one day.  These are the goods I charge people for during my staging consultation.  This will even be helpful if you just want to spruce up your home!  So feel free to invite some friends you think might be interested as well. The more the merrier!

So mark your calendars for Wed., May 20th at 7:30 pm (at Keller Williams Village Square Realty in Ridgewood) and give MaryLee a call (201-844-8343) to let her know you are coming.  I am so excited for this fun event and don’t forget to bring your questions!

Have a great weekend y’all and Happy Mother’s Day to all the mommies out there!

I already got my gift for my mom!

Mother's Favorite Daughter Mug

Thanks for stopping by!  – kate

One Room Challenge Family Room Finale

Hello all!  First off I owe you an apology because I did not post a Week 5 update last week.  It was because I was getting ready for this awesome guy’s First Communion and the following party in our yard and house:

DSC_0085So I can’t believe we are here at the Final!  I know you all want to just see the pictures so let’s get to it.  When we bought this house the family room looked like this:

mike's b-day 131  mike's b-day 129

And then six weeks ago we started with this:

IMG_2838 IMG_2842

My goal was window treatments and color.  Now onto the pretties:

willow interiors/family room

willow interiors/family room

So let’s get into a couple of the details.  Here’s the game table area:

willow interiors/family room

willow interiors/family room

Of course the main focal point is the Schumacher drapes.  Then two of my favorite finds are the bamboo bench I found at an estate sale and spray painted white and an old carnival wheel that still spins (after a couple of trips to the hardware store to make sure I hung it properly).  Other sources: game table (Ethan Allen), chairs (IKEA), pillows (HomeGoods), cushions (made with Highland Court fabrics found at Fabric Factory Outlet), woven shades (Overstock), round jute braided rug (Bellacor) and vase (Anthropologie).

Then there is the sideboard that I found from Craigslist awhile back.  I toyed with painting this, but then when I was researching paint versus lacquer I came across one of my favorite designers (that I actually found through the One Room Challenge) Parker Kennedy being featured in Southern Living about lacquering furniture and I was sold.  It not going to be done for a couple of weeks, but please check back in or follow me above and on Instagram so you don’t miss this amazing transformation.  I’ve already switched out the hardware to these lion pulls and I’m leaning towards a navy lacquer.  I can’t wait too see how this piece transforms…

willow interiors/family roomI do love this old lamp I found at a consignement shop a couple of years ago and always thought it would go great with my some day fabric.

willow interiors/family room

Let’s take a quick look at my desk area.  It still needs some work, but it’s getting there:

willow interiors/family room

And the last section of the family room is the television area:

willow interiors/family room

willow interiors/family room

This is where we watch Survivor together on Wednesdays and family movies of Fridays.  This couch is well loved.  But we needed color and art.  We already had the kids’ pieces framed on the left wall that originated the color scheme but I found some other pieces that work in the room and I hope the television wall evolves more over time.  Here’s a closer look:


More sources: sectional (Macy’s), media console and leather ottoman (Crate and Barrel), pillows and throws (HomeGoods), and rug (RugsUSA).

This, as usual, has been so much fun and I love the fact that my family now has a brand new room!  A huge thank you to Linda at Calling It Home for this genius idea!  So that’s a wrap on my fourth One Room Challenge!  To see my first three:

michael 16 michael 15
Michael’s ORC Room

kevin's-room-willow-interiors       DSC_0130
Kevin’s ORC Room

anna'sbed anna's bed3
Anna’s ORC Room

And now I’ve got to go check out the slew of talent over on both pages.  You can check them out by clicking the below logos.


Thanks for stopping by! – kate



ORC Week 4 –They’re Up and Fabulous!

This is me literally sneaking in under the wire (like less than an hour to still link up over at Calling it Home’s One Room Challenge Week 4).  But I wanted to show you what I’ve been up to.  So look what I just hung at 10:56 on a Sunday night!!

willow interiors drapes



willow interiors family room
 I picked these beauties up from my workroom on Friday and have been dying to see them up!  But first I had to spray paint the rod and rings and while I was at it I gave the bamboo bench a fresh coat of Benjamin Moore White Dove as well.

As you can see my rug came in and looks great under the game table.  I must say that I adore when a company has tremendous customer service.  I placed my order for this rug on Bellacor and then noticed that it could take up to 4 weeks to arrive.  I shot an e-mail to my sales rep and she was on it and got it here in no time.  Thank you Lesa!

Don’t worry we’ve got more color coming in over there in the form of bench and seat cushions.  I found these two Highland Court fabrics for $10/yard at Fabric Factory Outlet (my go to place when I need something quick).

DSC_0012So we’re getting there.  Just trying to figure out what I can get done and what I shouldn’t even attempt to start because I’ve got my son’s First Communion next Saturday and a lunch here afterwards!!!  Yikes!

Don’t forget to check out all of the amazing talent this go around HERE and HERE and I’ll see you here in a couple of days for Week 5!  OMG!

Thanks for stopping by! – kate


ORC Week 3 — What I Like to Call, Shop ‘Till Ya Drop Week (I Love This Week)

Okay, it’s Friday and surprise, surprise I’m late to the game again!  I cannot believe that we are at the half-way point of the One Room Challenge and I’m not sure I have much to show for it!  I can tell you what I did do for it this week…shop!

It started last Saturday morning, when I was scrolling through estate sale sights online and saw a picture that sent me running over a couple of towns to snag this bench:

DSC_0174Now I need to figure out what color to paint it and what fabric to use for a cushion…

Then if you follow me on Instagram you saw I hit the rainbow jackpot at Home Goods where I filled a cart full of happiness.

IMG_8021I still need some more pillows, but I love these blue sweater ones for texture.

I did not luck out in the rug department, so I headed online to order these babies:

fam rm rugsThe blue trellis pattern is for the television area and I scored it on Rugs USA.  It’s wool and was 70% off…ummm okay!  And the round braided jute rug from Bellacor is for under the game table.

My favorite find so far is this fully functioning circa-1940’s carnival wheel that I want to install on the wall by the game table.  I think it’s the perfect piece of art for that wall.

IMG_4494And I was even happier with my purchase when I saw that just the wheel (without the spinning mechanism), like practically the exact same one, just sold on a for $1,200!!!!

So that’s where I’m at right now.  Still looking for woven blinds to fit my tricky windows and I have to figure out the best way to stuff deflated couch cushions.  My two main objectives this week are to figure out the best art gallery for the television wall and to decide and act on what to do with my vintage sideboard find.  Maybe you can help with the latter…  Here’s what I’m talking about.


I scored this baby awhile back from Craigslist and it’s perfect for the space and holds all of our games.  I don’t mind the wood, but definitely want to paint or change out the hardware.  But there is a lot of brown in the game area and I kinda want to get funky and paint this like a glossy navy with brass hardware.  Please, any thoughts????
DSC_0172So I must leave you now in search of more goodies, but speaking of which let me leave you with an oldie but a goodie.  The kids and I used to have Friday morning dance parties to this song back in the day (before some of them were cranky morning teenagers).  I think I need to bring back the dance party.  And if this adorable guy’s sign language version doesn’t make you smile and dance this Friday, I’m not sure what will…

And don’t forget to check out all the other amazing One Room Challenge talent HERE and HERE.

Peace out and Happy Friday!!

Thanks for stopping by! – kate

One Room Challenge — Week Two…Kinda Week One (Fourth Time Around this Block)

Here I am, a glutton for punishment or a smart cookie that knows that Linda (from Calling It Home) at the helm equals me a pretty room in 6 weeks.  I’ve been around this block (here I go with the lyrics again “holla back girl”) three times already and it’s always a blast!.  Those of you new to me, my name is Kate Monroe and I’m an interior designer from New Jersey (but a New Yorker at heart).  For those of you new to the One Room Challenge, it is a challenge where designers or design enthusiasts redesign one room in a six-week timeframe and document their highs and lows each week.  A huge thank you to Linda, who has managed to keep this a huge and fun foray out here on the wide world web for all to enjoy, even as she has left me high and cold in New Jersey for sunny Florida.

To be completely honest, I am currently sitting on Megans Bay in St. Thomas on Spring break with my family.  I may or may not have already indulged in a painkiller (I love my job).

I had a complete plan to e-mail myself photos to write you an amazing kick-off post to my One Room Challege (ORC), but I did not get around to it in my efforts to deplete New Jersey of it’s entire stock of sunscreen (we are Irish).  So we are going to work with what I’ve got here on my iPad, but I can promise you that this challenge is going to be awesome!  Why you ask?  Because for the last three challenges my clients have been children…my children…two of which were teens!!!  This time around, I’m the client and I was tossing around finishing up our master bedroom but then this happened:



I have been coveting Schumacher and Celerie Kemble’s Hothouse Flowers for ages, so I finally decided to bite the bullet and order some for my family room.

BEEP   We interrupt this post to tell you the truth…at this point last Wednesday the kids were out to dinner with my folks and Kevin and I were going out for a nice dinner. But my husband patiently waited for me to finish this post and then the next morning everything after my two measly photos had not been saved. 😦

So here we are Wednesday night again, back in chilly, rainy New Jersey and this seems like ages ago:


So back to the family room.  When we moved in 10 years ago (wow, where did that time go?), the room was a random addition with beautiful wood paneling, no air conditioning and very little heat sitting on an un-insulated crawl space.  It was completely set apart from the rest of the house with it’s own door leading to the kitchen.  Here’s are some old pictures I found. Brace yourself!

mike's b-day 131

mike's b-day 129mike's b-day 130It’s hard to see, but it’s an L-shaped room.  You used to walk in to the television on your left and the couch to your right.  If you made a right once you came in the room there was the playroom area.  This is the back room of the house and there was an inside staircase before this room in the kichen that would bring you out to the driveway.

So five years ago (wow, again) we knocked out the wall between the kitchen and family room, made the kitchen larger and the re-did the entire family room also adding french doors out the back to the patio.  We also added a small mudroom and made the bathroom smaller.

Here is how it looks now when you enter the family room off the kitchen (but kids are much bigger now!)

My “office” is to left, after the mudroom and powder room.
IMG_2838To the right is our tv area.

And behind the couch is a game table.


DSC_0446The room is great and we live (I mean LIVE) in this room, so it needs more of “us” in it.  I think we are a pretty fun family so I want this to be a fun and colorful space.

The main jumping off point is the kids artwork.


So my goals for the ORC are:

  • A new rug (I love my two combined rugs, but it gets too dirty so I need something with less white).
  • Organize my “office”.
  • New window treatments and throw pillows.
  • Update some furniture, including stuffing existing couch pillows.
  • More colorful and fun artwork!
  • Fix desk chair and new cushions on game table chairs.
  • Update lighting.
  • And, if I have time, organize mudroom.

Here are some of my inspiration photos:Tim-clarke-interior-design-portfolio-interiors-beachcoastal-traditional-great-room-living-room-family-roomsource


my dream fabric for fam rm panels!  hothouse flowers  Cherry Hills Home of the Year  O Interior Design

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harrissource


And or course my favorite from Something’s Gotta Give:
Something's Gotta Give in Architectural Dig/willow interiorssource

We got this! You can follow along here every week and more frequently on Instagram.

If you want to check out my other three ORC rooms, here they are:

michael 16 michael 15
Michael’s ORC Room

kevin's-room-willow-interiors       DSC_0130
Kevin’s ORC Room

anna'sbed anna's bed3
Anna’s ORC Room

And finally, you check check out all the other marvelous things people have going on in there challenges by clicking the below images.  That’s where I’m headed right now!!


Thanks for stopping by! – kate

All Things Green

Top of the morning to ye all!!!  I apologize for the extended absence…it’s been a wee bit crazy around these parts!

First things first (I’m a realist!!!  There I go with the lyrics again…nothing’s changed!), my Michael became a teenager on Saturday!

DSC_2242Photo by Alicia Simone

Yes, I now have two teenagers (but I’m not getting any older!).  Michael wanted to go skiing, so that’s what we did.

mikey b-day

We had a such a fun weekend in Vermont and Michael was psyched that my sister and two of her gang were able to join us!  Here’s how I felt last year when Anna became a teenager and of course the same goes for my Mikey.  I am so blessed!! ❤

So in honor of the high holy day, here are some of my favorite rooms that have incorporated green.  It could be as little as a house plant, towels, a lamp or fabric on some chairs.  Or you could envelop a whole room with  green hued wallpaper or paint.  As you can see it works in all designs; traditional, modern or eclectic.

ashley whittakerAshley Whittaker
source unknown

greensource unknown

Grant K. Gibson green chairs--cool light fixture
Grant K. Gibson

Rebecca de Ravenel Laura Laurent Salon

source unknown

source unknown

Coddington Design love the colors especially the window treatments and back of chair
Coddington Design


Savvy Home: Designer Crush: Ashley Whittaker
Ashley Whittaker

art wall with tv {perfect way to blend in}

Ritz-Carlton Showcase Apartment by Samantha Todhunter - Traditional Home
Samantha Todhunter

Another Design by Melanie Turner
Melanie Turner Interiors

Design Addict Mom

kate spade's apartment=love (would make a neat kids bathroom)
Kate and Andy Spade’s Bathroom

Atlanta Homes Magazine


source unknown

grey and green bathroom
House Beautiful

great bunk beds
Kristen Panitch Interiors

Southern Living Magazine

Grant K. Gibson | Interior Design
Grant K. Gibson

Thanks for stopping by and Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!  – kate

Livin’ Large in a Harlem Brownstone — Architectural Digest Goes Inside the Home of Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka

Happy Friday y’all!!!  Okay, if you don’t know this already I’ve always had a huge crush on New York City!!!  I was born in Queens (but moved to NJ, when I was like 3).  I always say I’m a New Yorker and the only time I feel like I’m from Jersey is when Bruce sings Jersey Girl. 😉  I also have a thing for brownstones.  Kevin and I originally talked about doing the brownstone thing and raising our kids in the city, but the suburbs came calling with it’s promise of a driveway and a backyard…  We always talk about retiring in the city…hopefully one day…

So I love when I hear about Hollywood Royalty heading back from California to New York.  So Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka are back and have renovated a gorgeous brownstone in Harlem!  It’s been published in March’s Architectural Digest and I might need to pick myself up a hardcopy of this baby, so I can dissect it further.  But here is a look:

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

The ceiling height and that woodwork!!  I also like the stairwell gallery wall in a tight arrangement.

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

Okay, I love this room!  The sunlight from those gigantic windows and you know I have a thing for chaises, but that artwork is killer!  I have to read up on the artist, Annie Lapin.

A Jonathan Adler light fixture crowns the living room, where Room & Board sofas are grouped with a high-back chair designed by Powell & Bonnell for Dennis Miller Assoc., Arteriors nesting tables, and a bespoke Trace Lehnhoff cocktail table; the blanket is by Hermès. An artwork by Brian Wills is mounted over the mantel, the small orange painting between the windows is by Noah Davis, and the seascape on the wall at right is by Annie Lapin; the rug is by ABC Carpet & Home.

Love the bright modern feeling of this room!  I love Jonathan Adler chandeliers and this one is no exception.  I can see they have had better luck than I had at keeping their fiddle leaf tree alive and there is Annie Lapin’s work again on the right.  I love the pops of orange in the room including the small Noah Davis artwork that draws your eye to the back wall.  While it’s not my favorite piece in the room, the piece over the mantle was created by Brian Willis, who creates artwork out of wrapping brightly colored thread around thin wood and mounting them. (Fascinating and I know for a fact that I would go out of my mind!!)

I love the furniture placement in this room and the white walls are perfection!

Holly Hunt pendant lights are suspended above the Caesarstone-top island in the kitchen, which is equipped with a Wolf range and hood.

They have 4-year old twins, so there is no way the floors are always that shiny in the kitchen…I’m just sayin’.  I love me a waterfall countertop and that Wolf range is amazing!

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

Okay that chair is adorable and can be yours in multiple colors.  My son would love that Flash Gordon lithograph…I mean what boy wouldn’t?

See Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka's Renovated (and Amazing!) Harlem Townhouse (PHOTOS)| New York, Kids and Family, David Burtka, Neil Patrick Harris

This is quite a cozy family room and office.  Neil is very into magic and they both claim to love odd artwork and taxidermy.  I think my kids would be terrified to hang out with a weird rat-squirrel-thing-with-wings on the bookshelf, but hey, to each his own.  I do love the RH Chesterfield couch and the colorful circus artwork.

I love that Architecural Digest also has a video of Neil and David talking about their home and parenting (they are hysterical).  It also features the architect and designer.  I found it fascinating to hear the architect talk about the challenges of renovating a brownstone because back in the day people lived in many different rooms.  But that you have to be careful opening it up.  While you want it to be more open, you have to make conscious breaks or it can look like a long bowling alley.  True dat!  They talk about working with the clients’ aesthetics to make things like a secret door to a magical office or designing a piece of furniture at the front door with hidden drawers to hold treats for people.  I need to get this publication because the quick peek the video gives you of the master and master bath looks awesome!

You can see that  video here:
Video: Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka’s Harlem Home

So a welcome back to one cool family to the coolest city ever!

Hopefully this family will tire of their brownstone and the cold winters right at the perfect time of my retirement so Kevin and I can move right in.  I’ll probably need to put in an elevator, if there isn’t one already (the one downside of aging in a brownstone).

Have a great weekend everyone and thanks for stopping by!  – kate

PS  I hope you’e all been entering every day…and don’t forget about the deal we made!


The Motherload of Vacation Homes–The HGTV 2015 Dream Home

It goes against my better judgement, but I feel I must tell you this…

Do not pass Go.  Do not collect $200.  Go directly to HGTV and enter to win their 2015 Dream Home in Martha’s Vineyard!  This house is pretty much everything I love about beach houses wrapped up one beautiful package (oh, and it also comes with a GMC Acadia Denali and $250,000…umm okay).

Seriously!!!!!?  I love everything about this house.  I love the circular gravel entrance that leads you to what looks like a small Cape Cod-style cottage that’s been added to over time.  I love the shutters, portico and painted clapboard in the middle portion, but my favorite beach homes are the ones that feature the white cedar shingles you see on the side additions.  I love when they change to a soft gray overtime to give that quintessential New England vibe.  I also really like the stone chimmneys and the architectural railings up top (they add a little twist with a chippendale-style feel).  So it comes with the car, but I didn’t notice any mention of the bikes.  I hope I get the bikes…

Shall we head inside?  First, here’s a lay of the land:

The Great Room and Kitchen:

The architects and designers nailed it in here.  The attention to detail is gorgeous.  And of course you cannot go wrong with a blue and white and sand color scheme in a New England beach house.  I love the recessed paneling everywhere and the timber beams show off the high ceilings.  Check out all the details, such as the built-ins with dark backs, the fireplace, and all the great accessories and furniture and fabric choices!!

Master Bedroom:

Now we are getting into more a sea-glass color in the master areas (yea, Kevin and I get a whole wing).  And yes there is another fireplace.  I love the chandelier and fabric trim.

Master Bathroom:

And my bathroom! Nice job on the curved ceiling and fixtures and marble choices!

Master Closet, Dressing Room and Private Patio:


Guest Bedroom, Bathroom and Patio:

Okay, I’m definitely partial to navy and orange (check out Kevie’s room) and it works perfect in this guest space.  Love the anchor and again the fabrics are killing me!  I also love that floor lamp!

Kids’ Bedroom, Bathroom and Patio:

Okay this is very cute, but once I move in I’m going to have figure this room out.  I’ve only got one little lady and a giant family (I mean what’s the point of a beach house if you can’t invite tons of family and friends up to enjoy it??  I can just picture the giant Lobster Bake going on on the back patio!)  I’m going to need a lot of bunks in here and there are a decent amount of walls with darn windows…hmmm, maybe I can work on a loft space with a ladder up to more beds.  I’ll start working on that… 😉

Powder Room and Laundry:

Love the neutrals here.

Now, welcome to my back yard!!!!!!

Back Patio:

Keep in mind the teak furniture is going to gray over time, just like the shingles.  I love everything about this, but I’ll probably have to add an outdoor fireplace/kitchen area as well.  Okay, now the doghouse is adorable!  Maybe I’ll even get a dog!?  (On second thought, who am I kidding?  I’m not getting a dog…I’ve got enough things to keep alive.  That settles it, the doghouse is going on eBay.  Let me know if you are interested.)

So there you have it.  What do you think?  It’s probably going to be mine, but you’ve got to be in it to win it, so you might as well give it a shot.  Enter HERE.

PS  If you do win, could I please have 2 weeks every summer?  I mean, I did share…

– kate


Let it Snow and Cozy on Up to the Fire–Some of My Favorite Fireplaces and Mantles

hedgerow7Laura Ashley

I love a good snow day!  And we escaped this one with only a couple of inches here in New Jersey!

Our fireplace will be roaring for the majority of the day and I thought I would use this snow day to exclaim my love of fireplaces.

I love traditional fireplaces,

Color/Fireplace/Bookshelves source

Westbrook Interiors

eclectic ones,

Step Inside an Interior Designer's Greenwich Village Town House • Ariel Ashe via @SavvyHomeAriel Ashe/Domino/photography by Brittany Ambridge


 and rustic ones.

Fireplace. Buffalo check.

Traditional Home


I’d love one in the bathroom,

100 Beautiful Bathrooms With A Copper Tub.  In my dreams!  Can you just imagine what the rest of this house must look like? source

 or in the bedroom.

Stephen Willrich Design

Alpine_Dancing-Hearts-5.jpg source

 I love them in the dining room,

One of the coziest dining rooms I've seen of late. Love the fireplace, the layering of the pictures above it, the windsor chairs in black and those luscious floors (why cover them with a rug?). Windsor Smith/House Beautiful

 the library,

erin gates design portfolio living roomErin Gates Design

 and the kitchen!

The Ultimate Cozy: Kitchen Fireplaces I'd love a fireplace in the kitchen, meat roasting on a spit!
Oz Architects

Sasha Seymour/House&Home

Sure, I’ll also take one in my awesome lighthouse wine cellar!!!!??

S.R. Gambrel

Have I mentioned I love fireplaces? 🙂

Stay warm!  I’ve got to go make some hot cocoa for the troops…

– kate

There’s a Storm A-Brewin’!

If you are on the east coast you’ve probably got your milk and eggs and wine already.

I keep reminding myself that I love living with 4 seasons…I mean come on, how boring is San Diego with it’s beautiful weather every single day?

We got this Jersey!

Now I’ve got 3 hours to get everything I need done for the next 2-3 days.  Ready, set, go!

Be safe. – kate