A Guest from "Always In A Southern State of Mind"

Nancy's voice on her blog
Always In A Southern State of Mind
rings with honesty, humor, 
good ideas and friendship.
I got to know her better working with her by e-design.
She has great taste.
But, sometimes it is good to get advice 
from a second opinion.
Here is the story of how Nancy updated her 
beautiful kitchen in Houston...

So the major part
of our kitchen rejuvenation
is finished!
Out went the black granite
{the roosters flew the coop too}
during construction
and in came
the new countertops -
Caesarstone in London Gray...
almost finished...

It took the contractors
double the time
they originally projected.
I'm now on first name basis
with all the construction guys...
If they had stayed any longer
I would have started making them breakfast.
Surely THAT would have made them
hurry up and leave :)
The last thing they did was paint the walls.
In the end I just couldn't
make a final decision on the island
and I just couldn't let them stay
in my house any longer...ha!

I knew I wanted to paint the island
a different color
but of course
being a Libra
I just couldn't decide.
Major anxiety attacks...
over paint.
Give me a break right?
So I decided to wait until
we figured out the roman shade.
Confusing right?
When I first started
sending my hubby subliminal messages
thinking about a reno
I created a pinterest board
called, duh, "kitchen reno"
It was easy to see a trend among the pics I pinned.
I was obviously drawn to marble countertops,
subway tile,
Rowe and Perrin faucets,
and farmhouse sinks.

I had a plan in my head.
But I was afraid of making
domino decisions
like I've done before
which I define as
one bad decision that leads to another.

So I started an idea notebook.
I'm a listmaker at heart.
Here's a page from one of my many notebooks...

Kitchen renos are not cheap you know.
I wanted to avoid creating a big hot mess.
This is where asking for help is highly advisable.
I've had friends who've asked me why?
Why would I hire somebody to help me.
Because they know that
I am addicted to LOVE
design and DIY.
Did I mention that
I wanted to avoid
domino decisions?

From my blog surfing and pinterest
I knew what I wanted.
{You can read my ramblings on it here.}
There were some things that
I just couldn't decide on myself...
things like paint and fabric...
because I'm a Libra and
have trouble making a final decision.
I'm pretty sure you already knew that about me.

I pinned many pictures that inspired me.
Some were designed by the same person...
Mary Ann from Classic Casual Home.
If you read her blog then you know
how gorgeous her taste is.
If you don't read her blog
well, you are definitely missing out.
Go now.

So I wrote her a novel emailed her
and asked for her guidance.
Even though I had ideas
and I knew a lot of what I wanted
I still wanted somebody to
help me avoid disaster
push me to go outside of my comfort zone.
I love her taste.
Did I say that already?
Well, it bares repeating.

You can go to this page on her website
to see how an e-design works
or I can tell you how mine worked...

I emailed Mary Ann with a list
of what I knew I wanted
along with
a list of things I was unsure of.
Oh and loads of pictures.
She looked it over and agreed to help :)
We set up a time for a telephone consult.
I had my notebook above
and I took more notes
hanging on to
frantically trying to write down
every word she said.

I spoke to Mary Ann after the contractors left
 to give her an update on how things were rolling
and where we stand now...

the 1980's called
and got their electric light box back.
in its place went these two
large Hicks pendant lights...

the new roman shade
{by Lynn Chalk}
in Schumacher's Chiang Mai Dragon
is finally installed

We added trim to the island
and two ends of the other cabinets
for a nice finishing touch.
Its amazing what a little bit of trim can do.
A lot of sizzle
for a little bacon $ :)

Let's not forget about the
 beautiful Kohler farmhouse sink
that started it all...
and the Rowe and Perrin bridge faucet

The little herringbone rug
{from Target}
may or may not stay...
you know nothing is static
in this house.

and the last thing on my list...

the great debate with what to do about the island.
Mary Ann suggested a great idea
for the kitchen island color...
something I would not have picked myself
{another reason to ask for help}
More on that soon...I'm excited to do this one last thing.
Just three little things standing in front of that.
They're back in school now
after a long holiday break
and I'm ready to get my paint on!
Thanks, Nancy!
My advice is to have fun with trends 
but make sure the investment pieces
like the gorgeous pendant lights, backsplash
and classic fabric shade
(nice how it covers the demi-lune window top)
will last.   
PS.  Love your new rug, the clock and the trim you added to your island! 

Looking forward to more inspiration from

Always In A Southern State of Mind!


  1. What a fantastic story! I have enjoyed getting to Nancy as well, so sweet! Your guidance has really turned this into a beautiful updated space. Love all her quips-alot of sizzle with little bacon. The countertops look gorgeous. You have wonderful taste, proven and documented! Have a great week. xo Nancy

  2. Nancy really made excellent and classic choices with your assistance, Mary Ann! Love the Chiang Mai shade!

    The Arts by Karena

  3. Hi Mary Ann,

    When you asked me if I would write a guest post for you a few months ago I seriously wanted to turn around and look behind me because I thought for sure you'd made a mistake and meant to ask someone else. I am honored :) The pictures I shared in no way do it justice...I'm no photographer that's for sure, just a girl with a phone who barely knows how to use it. :) Thanks for your guidance with the updates in our home and for pushing me to think outside my comfort zone. I think we all need that in design and in life :)


    1. Nancy, I admire you so much...you are a great wife, mom and writer with so much wisdom and I wish we lived closer!!!

  4. Her kitchen is gorgeous! Thank you for this introduction!

  5. It's the wood floors that get me every time! I love them so much, and long for them (someday??) I say keep the herringbone runner!
    Just lovely and so contemporary and clean and easy to live in….

  6. Beautiful kitchen Nancy and so smart of you to reach out to Mary Ann for help! Mary Ann is the best....her taste is impeccable!

    I could not agree more about e-design (as you well know, Mary Ann!). I even blogged about how awesome e-design is and how much it helped me last year.

  7. What a classic beauty! I think it was totally worth the wait, and you have the best attitude about the whole process Nancy!

  8. Like Nancy I am a Libra and can totally feel the indecisiveness that plagues our sign!!! Calling Mary Ann was the best decision ever!! I love the new look ... congratulations! xo

  9. Beautiful kitchen!! I can't wait to see the rest of her blog :-)

  10. Nancy sounds adorable and like a fun client. Can't wait for the island color reveal.

  11. I love Nancy….and boy can I ever relate to her! We are cut from the same cloth, good ideas, but just need that little reassurance that we're doing the right thing. And who better to consult…than you! I know first hand that you are "superb" at helping people like Nancy and me who need a vote of confidence and a few suggestions to keep us on track!! Thank you for sharing Nancy's blog and I can't wait to see how the island turns out!!

  12. Calling you was a smart move! The Hicks pendants are fab and the roman shade is beautiful. Looks great!!

  13. What a beautiful transformation! Simply love it. And the roman is to die for.

  14. Love the backsplash and the Schumacher. Nice way to finish off the space!

  15. What a beautiful transformation with just a few subtle changes. Trim and changing the counters made such a huge difference. I kept scrolling up and back to see the differences. I know first hand what a genius Mary Ann is! A second pair of eyes is always helpful. So beautiful.

    1. I am just so lucky to have people like you, Linee, in my same line of vision…I found an antique print shop here in SF that you may like. Hope to keep in touch.

  16. Love EVERYTHING about this. Cannot wait to see the island color.

  17. Great job. I love the fabric on the windows against the white, it is so pretty.

  18. Love the counter top color change!

  19. y'all work well together-i love it all!!!!

  20. Beautiful kitchen...I'm loving the pendant lights!

  21. What a beautiful transformation and you both must be thrilled. I love the whole feel - so relaxed and inviting. The countertops, farmhouse sink and beautiful faucet all came together perfectly!!

  22. looks fantastic! I absolutely love the window treatment and the backsplash - what a great way to freshen up this kitchen~

  23. Gorgeous kitchen...just a few changes...and it looks brand new! Btw, your posts are not updating on email...I haven't received any updates since your post on updating your office. Just thought you'd want to know! I had to hunt you down....thought you might have stopped blogging! (And I am signed up!). ;)

  24. I love it when two blogs I follow come together! I have followed you for some time and recently found and followed Nancy. You both have a similar style and I love both your blogs. It is a small world!

  25. Love all the changes it has that lovely Maryann flair! Fresh, fun, and classic!

  26. Lovely makeover! Thanks for sharing! Now I just feel like painting something in the house!

  27. Adding the trim to the island was a genius moment. What a huge difference that made.

  28. I absolutely adore the white and blue in the kitchen! Classy, classic, and crispy. I bought a lot of blue and whites when we lived in Japan, and also find that it mix very well with dark hardwoods and whites.
    Lovely blog!
    Kind regards from Sweden!

  29. One hell of a beautiful kitchen! What a great team you both made.

  30. Love all the blue and white, makes me double think about the green accents I want in mine! Thanks for sharing this gorgeous Kitchen!


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