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It's Black..It's White

Check out these lovely pics !



Crazy Cool Nursery

I recently came across these photos and literally just stared at them for a moment. 

What a great color combo--coral and light gray!

Thanks to Brick House who designed this nursery for The Animal Print Shop.

Just beautiful.

What do you think?



A Designer's Secret Weapon

Hope everyone had a great weekend !  

I'm working on several projects with families that have children and it can be a challenge for me to find  the right pieces I love, but also be practical for everyday wear and tear.

Let's face it--children can be messy and cause potential stains. So, for those of us moms (and decorators) who love white or light-colored upholstery, it can be a challenge. 

So, here's my secret weapon.  

Either buy slip-covered furniture or for those fabulous light-hued upholstered pieces OR  
use FIBER SEAL.  This professional services company will come to your home and spray virtually any soft surface that needs stain protection--silk curtains, ivory headboard, sofas, and even carpet.

I used them to spray my daughter's ivory silk headboard 5 years ago..and it still looks brand new..not one stain!

I highly recommend them and hope you find this tip helpful!




Hi Everyone,

I need your design questions for my weekly Readers' Design Dilemma series!

Send me your question via commenting on this post or send directly to

Send them in!



1 yr Anniversary of Affordable Luxury!

It's Halloween weekend and I realized that it was this exact time last year that I started this blog!

It's so hard to believe that an entire year has gone by.  I guess time flies when you are having fun!


I put a lot of time and effort into my business and blog and every comment made from you makes my day!

So, now, 1 year later, there have been around 103,000 page views! I am honored to have had my work covered in other blogs I read and love as well as media outlets. 

So, thank you and I hope to offer new things in the coming year, even better content and am ALWAYS  interested in hearing your thoughts on what you what to read and see!

Happy EARLY Halloween! Have a wonderful weekend!



Model Home Pictures

Happy Friday!

Ah, so glad it's the end of the week. I had a great time last night with several clients who have become good friends.. Happy Birthday Anne!  

So, I was on a mission this week to find new inspiration and where better than local model homes.

Check out a few pics I snapped at M/I Homes.

Enjoy your weekend!



Thanks for the Mention-My Tips For Shopping For Small Spaces in The Washington Post

The Washington Post recently called me to ask for my tips for shopping for small spaces. 

Here is the article below and  my tips and some of the reporter's picks for decorating!


Home & Garden

Designer tips to maximize small spaces

Chances are that if you live inside the Beltway, you have limited square footage. Whether you’re in an old rowhouse in the District or a bungalow in the suburbs, space is almost always at a premium.
And though maximizing space while also taking design and function into account might seem to require a little smoke and mirrors (mirrors will, in fact, make a space look bigger), it mostly takes smart shopping for “decorative choices in a scale appropriate to the space,” says Mary Douglas Drysdale, a Washington-based interior designer and 2009 nominee for a Cooper Hewitt Design Museum Interior Design Award. In the living room, for example, instead of a room-dominating L-shaped sofa, a cozy settee might make more sense — especially when paired with slipper chairs and poufs — and will provide more flexibility in function and furniture layout.

When you are ready to shop for quality furniture pieces that will fit your space, “it’s worth it to hire a decorator for a couple of hours,” says designer Jennifer Wagner Schmidt. As owner of Northern Virginia-based JWS Interiors, which focuses on affordable design, Schmidt says that buying furniture is an investment in your home, and hiring a designer is a good way to protect your investment.
Double-duty pieces, abundant lighting and a monochromatic palette are other sleights of hand that will visually expand rooms. But above all else, make sure to edit, edit, edit. “You really have to have organization when you have a small space,” Schmidt says. “I think that should be your first goal.”
Find decorating and organizing inspiration on Local Living’s Pinterest.


Happy Thursday!

Ah... I've been working on the holiday gift guide and spent several hours putting together!

I hope you find something you love for someone you care about!

Let me know which is your fav!



HM Fur bag

jcrew bangle

peter pan collar tee

faux fur wine bag


gossamer scarf

bike snob book

nate berkus design book

monogram ring

birchbox monthly beauty

rattan square charger

city flats
starbucks verismo

tory buch phone case


Sneak Peek: Basement Project

Hi everyone,
So I just got back from a client's home to check on progress of basement. We are waiting on drywall to be finished, then carpet. Paint goes up next week.

All of our pieces are in! 

Here are a few sneak peek pics! I can't wait to show you more in the coming weeks!


New flat screen TV was hung. Check out the awesome media console I found at ABC Home in New York!

This is console table for back wall.. I added baskets which will hold blankets, pillows.
 A wall gallery of family photos will cover a majority of the back wall. 
We'll flank the console with 2 West Elm floor lamps..

This is the bar cabinet in another part of the basement where the poker table will go


It's That Time of Year- Help Me Choose!

I don't know about you, but it always seems like October through December fly by.

Between work, school, after-school activities and well, life, time flies by.

Which brings me to my point. This time of year, my family always has our picture taken for our annual Christmas cards we send out. No matter what your religion, if you send out holiday cards, especially photo ones, it adds one more thing to your to-do list.

My good friend Meredith Puzenski of Puzenski Photography takes fabulous family photos here in the DC area.

This year we went downtown (DC) to have our taken.  Here are two of 3 photos I am debating to use for our Christmas card-both very different. 

Which do you like best? HELP ME DECIDE!


This one is very different from our normal photo cards. We actually only stood here for a few minutes and she snapped away.. We are under a bridge!

I like the architectural element here of the steps..It's a closer up photo too. 


Readers' Design Dilemmas: Matching Interior & Exterior Paint

Happy Monday folks!

I hope everyone had a relaxing weekend!

Today's design dilemma question comes from Sarah :

"How important is it to match your interior paint with your exterior? (Especially the first room you walk into from the front door.)"

I think this is a very good question. My answer would be that your exterior paint does NOT HAVE to match your interior paint. 

BUT, as with all design, if your exterior colors are coordinated with the interior--and specifically the first room--then you are definitely going to have a very nice FLOW upon entering your home. 

 More specifically if you are painting the outside of your home, for example, dark gray with black shutters, it could look really nice in your foyer/entryway to bring in those colors with furniture, accessories such as indoor rug, indoor paint, etc. 

On the other hand, you could choose a bright a red for high impact in the interior entryway. This doesn't exactly "MATCH" the exterior, but it would give it character and a certain panache!

I hope this helps Sarah!


And, on since we're on this topic, here are some great entryway photos! 


The Scoop on Goop Birchbox (And A Little Sneak Peek of My Holiday Gift Guide)

Morning! It's early Saturday morning here (approx. 6:11 am)..You ask why I'm up so early? I fell asleep with my daughter last night at 8pm..

Ok, so I received my Goop Birchbox in the mail!

Now, this is a sneak peek of one of my holiday gift guide items.

 Ladies (and gents)..this is a monthly $10 subscription that you can cancel anytime. You receive beauty items in a pretty box once a month. Yes, they have a guy version too! 

Click here to subscribe and get more info.

Wanna know what was in my box?

Here are a few pics! I won't spoil the fun with specifics on all of it so that those of you who are waiting for yours will still be surprised.

And, remember, next week my HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE will come out. You won't want to miss it!



Help Me Decide! Acrylic Counter Stools

I've been dying to buy new counter stools for my island. 

I bought inexpensive ones when we first moved in because my girls were toddlers at the time, but they are getting older and now I'm ready for an update. 

While I still need something easy to clean, I want something a little more sophisticated. 

So, I think I want acrylic counter stools. Visually pleasing to the eye, I can wipe them down after kid messes and they are very design friendly.

Here is a pic of my kitchen island with the current counter stools.

Now, here's what I think would look fantastic!




What do you think? Help me out here..Yes??? No??



Modern Runner

So, I've been in the process of helping awesome client L on her foyer, stairway and more. 

We had a custom runner made to coordinate with the newly painted gray walls.

Check out our progress!

Don't you love this runner?!! I think it makes such a statement..

If you are going to get a runner and are willing to "break the mold" from the traditional solid carpet or sisal ones, I recommend you try out a modern, patterned one to make a statement.

It's usually the first thing people see when they enter a home.



Former Domino Stylist Starts New Magazine

For all of you design junkies, you remember the good old days when Domino magazine was hot!

 It was my favorite shelter magazine at that time.

Well, here's the good news.. 

Former Domino stylist Lili Diallo is launching a new online magazine, billie, focusing on travel, home stories and market round-ups.

The magazine will be online with monthly feature updates and market updates. 

Click here to sign up for an email when it launches!


My Favs

So, I took a fabulous French cooking class last night with a girlfriend and I got home late...

Which leads to my point ..I'm tired, so posting some of my favorite rooms. No particular reason other than that I love them all, despite their differences.

Which is your fav?



JWS Interiors Interview on DC by Design Blog

Thanks to DC by Design blog for interviewing me on designing a room on a budget !
I spoke with editor Jennifer Sergent on how you don't have to break the bank to design a beautiful room. 

Check out the article , here below.


Jennifer Schmidt’s Affordable Luxury

For the past couple years, I’ve been so immersed in the “to the trade” culture of interior design while working at the Washington Design Center that I always passed off retail design options as a much lesser form of, well, LIVING. Not that my house is filled with anything remotely trade or custom, of course (save for one amazing piece, but that’s another story), because a $10,000 sofa isn’t currently in the budget.
Imagine, then, how my eyes virtually popped out of my head when I saw these before-and-after pictures of a project by Jennifer Schmidt of JWS Interiors — all done on a shoestring budget (TARGET, anyone??).
Virtually the entire house was painted this color yellow.

What an amazing transformation, using Benjamin Moore’s Cosmopolitan and Decorator’s White.
Jennifer was lucky, in that this family of four with dogs wanted to get rid of everything in the family room (adjacent to the kitchen at the right), and start fresh. But again, they didn’t have a ginormous budget. “I try not to do a lot through the trade,” she says, noting that her slogan is “Affordable Luxury.” Instead, she says, “I try to find those diamonds in the rough to pull that room together.”
Here’s what she did. First, the family wanted the TV and stereo on the far wall, so they could watch TV from the kitchen. That meant a long sofa (big enough to seat the entire family) would have to go on the smaller wall. She found the right one at Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams. Then she mounted the TV on the wall above this lovely Bennett console by Zinc Door (which can be customized in any one of 25 colors!):
The house has lots of gold accents, Jennifer says, so the door pulls here were perfect. In addition, she chose two of these chests from Layla Grace, the companion site to Zinc Door:

The cream leather ottoman is from Room & Board, and the throw pillows on the sofa are from Z Gallerie.
Here’s the shocker: Jennifer found the two X-benches online at Target, and had them recovered, and also found the two leather club chairs there!
The rug is from Wisteria; the mirror is from Ballard Designs.

You can just see the club chair in the foreground, but here is a better view from Target — the pair costs a total of $400:
Nolan club chairs by Target
Now, I tend to walk right by the furniture section at Target on the way to get stuff like toiletries, clothes for my kids, or DVD’s. Jennifer swears they are comfortable, and “for what they need” the price was right on. I’m fairly sure these chairs won’t last through the decades, but for small children and a dog, it might be just the ticket for right now.
What’s worth noting here is that every single piece of furniture in this room is available to all of us — any of us could go online and purchase any of these pieces. But would we, in just the right combination, with paint colors that are dead-on for the space where they are arranged? Of course not.
That’s why (again, I think I sound like a broken record sometimes), it’s so beneficial to hire a designer. Jennifer goes into Home Goods at least four times a week because the inventory changes so often, and that’s how she finds the perfect pieces for her clients. Do any of us have the time to do that? No. “Average consumers can’t do that, and that’s why they’re paying me to do that for them,” she says. I totally agree.
Jennifer started out her career in corporate PR, but it grew old when her priorities changed.  “Corporate PR wasn’t the type of job I wanted to do when starting a family,” she says. So she took some classes, worked for a while at Ebanista when it was still at the design center, and then ultimately went out on her own.
I’ll sign off with more of her designs from other projects. Clearly, she made the right move.
I love the quiet elegance here, and the way the lines of the mirror and chandelier play off each other.

I really like how she tackles this big room with tons of windows, bringing it down to size with the molding along the top windows and the treatments on the bottom.

Jennifer’s own kitchen, something to file away for when I redo my own!

Have a great week, everyone.