Limed, smeared, slurried, painted… the possibilities are endless when it comes to exterior brick treatments. It seems that every Pinterest Board and Instagram account I follow are filled to the brim with images of stunning light hued brick exteriors surrounded by lush green landscapes and accented by the all coveted black steel doors we dream about. I probably have thousands of images stockpiled for my masonry crew to reference once they start to lay our brick. But, not until it came time to start picking brick styles and choosing between washes, smears, paints and coats did I truly fall down the brick rabbit hole. There are literally SO. MANY. OPTIONS. And I’m excited to share all my research, tips and tricks for achieving the perfect chic brick exterior we are all craving at the moment.
I love a lime wash; it has an old world Charleston vibe and instantly gives an exterior a feeling of provenance. Lime wash is a traditional brick application that was originally created to protect ancient monuments. Once the mixture is applied over the brick, it creates a tough coating that resists satins and mold. Many times, the lime wash is additionally sprayed with water before it dries too much which reveals more of the original brick color in various areas. Lime washes always create a historic look that gives a home instant character.
This look is achieved by tactfully smearing a combination of mortar and cement onto the brick leaving some areas exposed reveling the original brick. This decorative application creates a textured look and is more often than not used on high end and historic properties. Once again, this look has more of an old world charm and creates an aged look instantly.
Slurry Mortar Wash
A slurry wash is achieved by applying several thick layers of loose mortar over the brick. This creates full coverage of the masonry, but still allows a slight glimpse of the brick texture to show through. From far away a slurry wash has a stucco like appearance. Colored powders can be mixed in the mortar to achieve a custom color, which sometimes varies from section to section once the wash is applied to the brick. You can also use a pre-mixed mortar color, which insures color consistency.
Insider tip: if it rains, the mortar soaks up the water and takes on a bit of a transparency and lots of tonal variations. Some people love this as it really adds to the old world elegance, but if you are looking for a uniform color for your exterior, this might not be the application for you.
Parkinson Building Group, At Home in Arkansas
This application is seen a lot today. It creates a uniform look with consistent color, while allowing the full shape of the brick to show. My favorite version of painted brick is when a king size antique or tumbled brick is used and the mortar is allowed to protrude out of the joints just a bit. Word to the wise…you have to make sure the brick is properly prepared for the paint and do your homework on breathable masonry paints. If this application is done right, it has vintage charm while still reading clean and contemporary. I LOVE it!!!
After exhaustive research, multiple visits to the brick suppliers, hundreds of pictures and days of driving through neighborhoods stalking brick applications; we have decided to do a painted brick. Although the architectural style of our home has a bit of a Modern Tudor feel, I tend to lean a bit more contemporary when it comes to finishes and want a uniform color on our home. I love a chalky matte paint on brick, it’s what I continually gravitate towards and will be the perfect compliment to our exterior design.
After the craziness of our holiday season each year, I long for a calm, clean space to rest and recharge for the new year ahead. When I think of calm, serene spaces, I always gravitate towards tonal whites, creams and neutrals. Layered, monochromatic rooms recharge me and are a palate cleanser for my sometimes over stimulated visual compendium. I love to surround myself with plush bedding, serene upholstery and sumptuous rugs and try to keep artwork, accessories and lighting, visually calm and quiet as well. I’ve collected my favorite serene and dreamy winter white rooms to get my creative juices flowing as I begin to choose elements for our new master bedroom design. I know I could just jump right into each one of these gorgeous spaces and get right down to the business of successful R&R! I say lets all treat ourselves this year with a personal space that calms, relaxes and restores us! I think we deserve it.
Dana Wolter, Birmingham Home and Garden
Jose Solis Betancourt & Paul Sherril, Architectural Digest
Kerri Rosenthal, Lonny
Mark Cunningham, Mark Cunningham Inc.
Mark D. Sikes, House Beautiful
Scott Carson, PHX Architecture- Luxe Magazine
Architect Jeff Dungan & Designer Richard Tubb, Atlanta Homes & Lifestyles
We are launching a new series called Dream Home! 5 years ago Garrett and I bought 5 acres in an absolutely gorgeous gated neighborhood. Our lot is filled with large oak trees and overlooks an equestrian center, where the horses frolic in the fields. I have literally dreamed about this land and the beautiful home that would one day sit on it for years. You know what I’m talking about, the home you think of every time you see a Pinterest image that makes your heart flutter or open a glossy magazine only to find the most perfect example of the vaulted great room that you thought only existed in your imagination.
To say that I was excited to break ground and start construction is an understatement. I am over the moon and can’t wait to share all my inspiration sources, the process of how I designed each part of our new home the products I am most excited to use!
Each week I will cover swoon worthy architectural elements, new and sought after construction materials and the classic design principals and trends that guide each design decision I make. Follow along each Friday and watch our Dream Home come to reality, I can’t wait to share it all with you!
Here’s a sneak peak into a few of my inspo boards and images of our land and our progress so far!
Our wooded lot the week before we broke ground!
Dozers day 1
Week 2 cutting in the long driveway
Week 3, foundation starts
Week 4, more foundation work
It’s Atlanta market time and we are so excited! We just love seeing all our customers and friends pop into the showroom to hang out and see all the Emporium Home goodies. Atlanta has a special place in our hearts, we took a leap of faith when we leased a tiny temporary space 4 years ago, and now we have a gorgeous permanent showroom in Building 1 of AmericasMart in downtown Atlanta. I get excited for each new market because not only do we get to introduce new products to the line, but I also have the opportunity to create our showroom vignettes and overall scheme for each market and I always try to do something fresh and different each time. This winter it’s all about neutrals, metallics, original artworks and of course our signature natural stone and mineral lighting. The showroom has a chic, cozy vibe this week, we are sipping on cranberry orange mimosas and listening to all our favorite jazz songs, we are in heaven!
I sometimes have to pinch myself when I come to market, I get the opportunity to be surrounded by all our products, beautifully displayed to our exact vision. But, getting to spend time with our customers is the best thing of all, talking design trends, inspiration and learning about their latest projects is a dream come true!
Happy Market Week!
I have to admit, I am one of those ladies that starts shopping for Christmas presents in October and have my tree up, fully decorated with loads of coordinated packages underneath by December 1st. I just can’t help myself; I love the Christmas season so much! I remember as a teenager I would save the money I earned teaching dance classes so I could buy each of my family members the perfect gift, and would take care to wrap each one of them in gorgeous art papers, big fluffy bows and personalized gift tags. So, of course, the tradition continues! I loved coming up with 4 gift-wrap themes this year: Geo Glam, Vintage Va-Voom, Cabin Chic and Christmas Classic. Each theme has it’s own unique personality and could totally be expanded on!
Geo Glam: I used gorgeous art papers in metallic marble and stone texture and then adorned each gift with cream velvet, gray satin and gold glitter ribbons. All topped off with an agate slice and selenite stick, the outcome is as glam as it gets.
Vintage Va-Voom: I am constantly collecting vintage Christmas items and last year I scored an entire stack of vintage Christmas Cards! They are totally awesome and make for the perfect present toppers. I used Rose gold, white and copper wrapping paper and coordinating gold and cream ribbons to accent the gorgeous cards.
Cabin Chic: I have to say, anything miniature and tiny makes me giddy, and these tiny trees and miniature copper reindeer are no exception. I found some great antler art paper and masculine plaid to pair with my velvet, satin and leather ribbons. I topped everything off with the tiny trees, reindeer and cedar sprigs and love how it all turned out!
Christmas Classic: It doesn’t get more Christmas classic than red and white. A few years ago my daughter, Brighton, carved an awesome linoleum block of Santa. I love using it year after year to create unique prints and this year I made custom wrapping paper with it. I wanted to let the prints take center stage, so I tied a simple red and white stripe twine bow and topped it off with two sparkly jingle bells. For the classic red wrapped gift, I created a pom pom topper with fluffy white yarn, and the result is precious!
Happy Wrapping, Joyful Gifting, Merry Everything!
Our family loves spending Christmas morning together. We have an annual Christmas brunch at our home where we host everyone, open presents, watch the kiddos play with their toys and spend the entire day laughing and enjoying each others company. We usually do presents for everyone; I absolutely love finding the perfect gift for each of my family members, and usually start my shopping in October. But this year, we decided to do something a little bit different!
My mom, my sister and I are pretty much die-hard vintage shoppers. We delight in the perfect vintage bar set, squeal with glee when we sniff out a glorious Murano glass bowl and swoon over all things milk glass. It’s an obsession. So, we decide we would mix things up a bit this year, and instead of our longstanding tradition of a family gift exchange on Christmas morning, we would start a new “Vintage Dirty Santa” tradition!
I for one am completely jazzed about the whole thing and kinda crack up every time I say the phrase “Vintage Dirty Santa.” It just sounds so hysterical and conjures images of jolly old St. Nick in some sort of 1950’s Pin Up ad, too funny! I’ve been scouring my go to vintage shops and have found so pretty fantastic things for our day of merriment. Check out what my crew will be gifting during the game and let us know if you have any fun and creative traditions you share with your family and friends throughout the holiday season!
Vintage Brass Tea Set
Vintage Milk Glass Punch Bowl and Cups
Vintage Silver Bells engraved with personal sentiments
Vintage Shiny Brite ornaments
year! The day after Thanksgiving my family heads out to the Christmas tree farm to select our live Christmas tree and pick up all our fresh wreaths and garland. I love the smell that fills our house as we decorate, there’s just nothing like it. We play Christmas music, make hot cocoa, and jump start our very favorite season.
As always, I have fresh cedar and pine wreaths on my front doors and windows and fresh garland around our front doors. I used a chartreuse silk ribbon for my bows this year, and the color is absolutely perfect! I adorned my tree with the same chartreuse ribbon and loads of mercury glass ornaments and tiny boxwood wreaths. I love to mix things up a bit, so I opted out of a traditional tree skirt and used fur rugs instead, and I love how it turned out. Our packages also keep the theme going with various papers and ribbons in cream, gold, gray and silver.
For the front living room and dining room, I kept things simple with small boxwood wreaths, fresh greenery and a sprinkling of vintage brass reindeers and Shiny Brite ornaments. I think small touches go a long way and love the feeling of stepping into a room that has been thoughtfully decorated for the holiday season!
- Keep it chic and gracious… you can never go wrong with this combination, take my word for it!
- Opt for fresh trees and greenery if you can, there’s really nothing better.
- Don’t feel confined by the traditional red and green color palette of the season. Creams, grays, gold, silver and chartreuse are gloriously gorgeous!
- Mix in vintage finds when you can. Brass figures and vintage ornaments can add the perfect touch of whimsy and interest.
- Think outside of the box for your tree skirt. Maybe it’s a lively plaid throw blanket, fur rug, or a vintage trunk… the sky’s the limit.
- Use your wrapped packages as a part of your holiday décor. They are the perfect opportunity to reflect the colors and motifs of your home.
Happy Decking the Halls!
The non-stop cooking and entertaining of Thanksgiving week are over, and now to focus on my favorite month of the year, December! There is not a more perfect way to welcome friends and family into your home for the holiday season than a gorgeous wreath on your front door. I adore wreaths, I believe they instantly make a home gracious and inviting and can give a home owner the perfect opportunity to express their style! I have rounded up some of my favorite Christmas wreath ideas. Classic, minimal, natural, kitsch… they are all here, and they are all fabulous!
Happy wreath making and merry everything!
Thanksgiving is hands down one of my absolute favorite holidays! There’s something so special about spending time with friends and loved ones, celebrating everything that we are thankful for and making precious memories. We started the tradition of Merry Thanks 13 years ago. It’s our come one come all, eat good food, laugh and love, be thankful for one another, count your blessings kind of celebration. This tradition holds such a special place in my heart, and some of my most cherished memories with my family and friends are made at Merry Thanks.
I start getting excited about hosting this annual celebration as soon as the weather begins to cool, and start planning my tablescape and menu in early November. This year my vibe is vintage chic. I love incorporating vintage treasures in my decor and pairing them with fresh flowers, greenery and candlelight. There’s always something special about a candle lit table, it’s just magical! I went with deep burgundy mums, dark navy berries and silver dollar eucalyptus for an easy, fresh fall vibe. I’m generally not a huge fan of colored candles (I say cream is classic) but for this year I decided to do a deep oxblood for the pillars on the dining table as well as for the taper candles on the buffet. I love how the colors of the flowers, cranberries, pomegranates and candles all work together.
Last but not least, instead of placing a menu card at each place setting, I decided to go with a printed card with my favorite Thanksgiving verse on it. I think it’s the perfect reminder of what this season is all about. I can’t wait until my house is full with all the people I hold most dear, sitting around this table eating, laughing and enjoying the most important things in life.
Merry Thanks and Happy Thanksgiving!
When the air starts to get crisp and the leaves start to fall, my family’s first request is my classic Pumpkin Roll. It’s their all time fav and the perfect compliment to morning’s first cup of steaming coffee. Ahhhhh. All that pumpkin goodness, combined with the perfect blend of cinnamon, cloves and a vanilla cream cheese filling is a seasonal must! I will be making multiples for next week’s Thanksgiving festivities…they don’t last long! One without nuts for my not so nut loving 12 year old and several with a pecan sprinkled crust for the rest of us. If you want your guests to ohh and ahh, and then come back for seconds, give this recipes a whirl!
3/4 cup of all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. salt
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup pure pumpkin puree (I use Libby’s)
1 cup chopped pecans
Preheat over to 375* and grease a 10″x 15″ jelly roll pan. Line with wax paper and the grease and flour wax paper. Lay out a smooth cotton kitchen towel and sprinkle it with powdered sugar. In a medium bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix well. In a separate large bowl, beat eggs and sugar until thick, then beat in pumpkin. Stir in flour mixture and spread evenly into the jellyroll pan. Sprinkle the chopped pecans on top and bake 13-15 minutes until the top springs back. Immediately turn out onto the sugared towel, pecans side down and carefully peel off the wax paper. Quickly roll the sheet bread up lengthwise and place on a wire rack to cool.
Vanilla Cream Cheese Filling:
1 8oz. block cream cheese, softened
1 cup sifted powder sugar
6 Tbs. margarine, softened
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
combine all filling ingredients in one are bowl and stir until smooth. Unroll cooled bread and spread the filling evenly over entire inside surface. Carefully roll the bread back up, wrap in plastic and place in refrigerator for al least 4 hours. Remove, slice and sprinkle with powder sugar. Serve immediately.