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Good morning, hope everyone is having a good week, hard to believe we are practically in October! Don’t know about where you are, but around here, its been raining cats and dogs. Humidity off the charts, NOT a good hair day lately! My hats have been seeing lots of use. My week has been busy and overwhelming. Lots of decisions still being made, and now that we are at last starting to tackle the decorating end, I REALLY feel overwhelmed! There has been non stop work going on over at the house but I don’t feel the pictures of this weeks progress will fully reflect that so I am just enclosing less than the usual amount of pictures as well as a few things I am loving this week, next week promises to be a full mega packed post of things as many things are happening next week! We are still aiming to move in by late October, so we are forging ahead fast and furious! Here we go…….

HOUSE UPDATES. Though there has been a lot going on this week, the pictures might not fairly show the progress being made. Come next week however, there are going to be big changes on the horizon. For one the countertops start getting put in, the biggest though is that the limestone..yes that LONG awaited limestone for the front entrance that we have been waiting on for many months is coming!!! Due here on Tuesday and cannot wait! You can be sure I will be snapping away. So this round might appear a little light, I dont’ want to bore you with more repetitious pictures so just trying to capture whats new…..

Awaiting counterops coming in next week, and cannot wait to lift the covering on the floor!

Refrigerator/freezer handles…woo hoo!

This is the display cabinet that is between the kitchen and butlers
Breakfast room done!
TV unit above fireplace in family room done!
Vestibule leading from family room to dining room

Beautiful herringbone floors upstairs
Sons vanity done and countertop in place!

New finish for my bathroom cabinetry, think we are almost there, this is whiter, has less yellow
We are still tweaking it…..
Bathroom starting to shape up…..

The reeding detail under the chair rail

A little peek at the stair rail, the only part that’s not covered…..

The curved wall detailing is completed, waiting for paint (and not to worry that’s a temporary sconce)

TOPIARIES. Long been a fan of them, always have a few in the house and outside by my front door. There is no limit as to what you can do with?a topiary….you are only limited by your imagination as you will see here with some most unusual ones. I love green on black, don’t you? This first picture is so pretty, of this trio of topiaries on a black metal tray. Here are a few that I found particularly inspiring….

A topiary gazebo? WOW!

The Beatles? Imagine!
The circus has come to town…….

A GREAT BAKING ITEM. A baker I am not, but you hardly have to be a genius to figure out how to make a banana bread or pumpkin bread, and one of these warm out of the?oven is pretty hard to beat on a cool crisp fall day. The only thing that could make it any better is to have it look amazingly beautiful and thanks to this nifty and beautiful loaf pan I found from Crate and Barrel of all places, I will oohing and ahhing everyone! I have yet to use it but plan to next week as a trial run and then will make something for the Thanksgiving holidays. Isn’t it neat?

DARKER GROUT ON SUBWAYS. Now that I decided I am going with Calacutta Gold subways for the backsplash in kitchen and butlers pantry, ?I have been toying with the idea of giving it that old world touch by going darker with the grout. True, light grout gives it a fresh, clean feel which compliments the white marble beautifully but the darker grout gives it a certain presence, makes it feel instantly older and allows it to stand out a little more. I am going to experiment, but wondering what your thoughts are on using a darker grout with a lighter stone or tile? Here are some examples to show you…..

A MUCH ANTICIPATED BOOK COMING OUT. I LOVE Phoebe Howard, her style is very much like my own and I have yet to see a room of hers that I haven’t just drooled over. So needless to say, I am SUPER excited about her new book coming out spring of 2012. I will be one of the first to line up to get this book….I just know its going to be chock full of amazing interiors and inspiration. ?The cover is the ultimate tease to what I can only guess is one heck of a great design book! Are you a Phoebe fan?

CREATING LITTLE VIGNETTES. Oh how I miss doing this! I must be getting really desperate because my poor little overworked to the bone blue and whites are doing serious overtime! I am constantly changing out with seasonal flowers and greenery. I love them but ?cannot wait to unpack all my things so I can start “playing”. In the meantime, I played around with the little I do have…..

AN AWESOME GIVEAWAY. Down to the last two days to be eligible for this amazing French table!! Here is the lowdown…..

This giveaway is AMAZING with a capital A! Thanks to the generosity of

Safavieh Home?

It is for a stunning painted black French end table with an antiqued wood top! How beautiful is this? I cannot think of any room that wouldn’t look simply incredible with this wonderful side table!!

So…how to win this amazing giveaway? Simple!Safaviehs Facebook.?
FIRST…….Click?here?for their website and then?here?for theirFacebook?page. Good luck and thank you?Safavieh!

So…how about you? Whats exciting you this week? Would love to know! Don’t forget to enter the giveaway from Safavieh by heading to their Facebook page, click here.
Enjoy your day!


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Tina, the gorgeous pictures of your house never cease to amaze me in how incredible this house is! It gets more beautiful every week!
LOVE your kitchen and really like that newer lighter/whiter finish for your bathroom, your persistance is paying off!
The woodworking is amazing. Love topiaries too, that Beatles one is incredible as are your pretty vignettes. You definitely have a great eye.

The view coming down the stairwell is AMAZINGLY beautiful…… out of a movie! Anticipation is awesome when it comes to seeing your home completed! I want that loaf pan! We make banana and pumpkin bread all the time (like a breakfast or snack staple). I have the muffin pan that’s almost identical, but the cake/bread pan would be fantastic! I love either grout choice, but the darker does give an old world feel! Your vignettes with your blue and white are lovely but I completely understand your desire to play with new things!


Your home stays in mind for the whole day after I see your pictures. I’m that impressed with its beauty and elegance. The people working on it are really amazing. Everything is done to perfection!

By the way, I also cannot believe it’s almost October. How come???!!! 🙂 This year is going by too fast. 🙂

Enjoy your day, my dear friend!


Luciane at

thanks for the idea of darker grout! i have glazed white cabinets, cherry floor and black island and range hood. i love subway tile, but the white shiny look does not match my kitchen. dark grout to the rescue!!!

Don’t worry- I don’t think we could ever get bored looking at photos of your house! I’m just loving all of the fabulous details.

It’s so funny that you brought up the idea of darker grout. I have been vacillating between gray and white for a project I’m working on. Still, I cannot make up my mind!

Although I’m sure it doesn’t seem so, you will be in your beautiful home before you know it.

I’d love to enter to win the table but alas I don’t have facebook.

The attention to detail is just incredible! I have always been a fan of white grout, but lately I have been very drawn to the contrast of a darker grout. I really do love that look! Can’t wait to see the amazing progress next week!

Everthing is looking great at the house. That island is huge! So jealous. Floors, paneling, tile…it’s all going to be stunning. Quality does show, doesn’t it?

Yes, I love Phoebe Howard’s work. Can’t wait to see the book.

Oh it’s so amazing, I am gasping at your staircase, I tell you hubs and I picked the wrong business, never will I live like this! Just invite me for coffee then, ok?

Oh and that panic so lovely, I’ve never seen anything like that here.

This time next month, you will be putting your plates in the kitchen, linens on the beds and flowers all around!!!! So exciting! I must say….I need a soak in that gorgeous tub of yours.

Love Phoebe…so thrilled she has a new book coming out!
Love vignettes and oh, from the other day, I love Peet’s coffee too!!!

This week I’m excited to have Ty in school full days. Everything else is gravy.

Happy Day, Tina!
xoxo Elizabeth


I’m so exited and happy for you. Everything is coming along so well and beautiful. The final details always seem to never reach an end but hang in there and get lots and lots of help. Delegate!

Oh. My. Goodness. I know that you are biting your nails, tina. Not really, but you know what i mean. IT IS SO CLOSE! Just beautiful.
I love topiaries. That reminds me of something I can do.
I hope that you have a nice day, and TRY to relax.

I swear, we were separated at birth! 🙂 We seem to have a lot in common! We are in the early (early– as in just having the second meeting with the arch. tomorrow!) stages of building our (French, of course!) house (This will be our third to build and hopefully our last!). My mom (and decorator) found your blog and told me about it. While this time around we are going smaller (already did the big estate thing– fab for sure, but not for us), I am getting all kinds of great ideas from you! I am doing a white kitchen this time, so I love your posts on them! I am also loving your son’s bathroom (we have 2 boys) and ideas for decorating boys rooms! I look forward to more inspiration form you! Take care!

My favorite thing are the windows in your breakfast room… I would really look forward to starting my day in that room!
LOVE Phoebe Howard and the store Mrs. Howard’s in Atlanta is one of my favorite haunts…
Your house is really coming along!!

Hi Tina, I would not like the dark grout in the subway tiles. Your kitchen already has many details and I think that if you use the dark grout it will make the backsplash very busy looking and grab attention away from your beautiful cabinets & countertops. Just a suggestion.

Something tells me you’ll be doing a lot of soaking in that tub!

In one of your older posts I made a comment about dark grout and white subway tiles being a very personal choice…you either love it or hate it. I’m mostly a H8R, and I think it comes from all those years of commuting on the NYC subways that makes it look dirty to me. Would it distract from the warm gold veins in the Calacatta marble…hmmm can’t remember if yours will be mostly gray or gold? Your pics show it with different countertops and a gray-veined marble. On the other hand, I’ve been in quite a few Parisian bakeries and bistros where it looks perfectly Old-World. Maybe you’ll make me a LvR 🙂

Your house is shaping up beautifully. Love all the finishes you’ve chosen. You asked about grout color preference. I say light grout. I just don’t care for the high contrast and I think it looks dirty.

Nothing I can say about your house that hasn’t already been said,its perfect, grand, and gorgeous. So enjoy watching it take shape and boy its really looking coming together.
To echo what a few others have said, think that the darker grout may be too much in a such a grand kitchen with so much else going on. I would keep it simple, in my humble opinion. Love topiaries, and that loaf pan is so great, am going to go to their site now!
Thanks for another wonderful Thursday post.

Everything looks amazing, Tina. The kitchen looks beautiful, as does the display cabinet near the butler’s pantry. I don’t recall seeing that before. I love, love, love the woodwork. How fortunate that you have access to such excellent craftsmen.
My opinion on the dark grout for the kitchen is that I like it in a country kitchen or with soapstone countertops, but I prefer the lighter grout with you Calacotta Oro countertops. I wouldn’t want anything to detract from them.

Love topiaries and Phoebe Howard.

Have a wonderful, exciting week. We all look forward to next week’s post.


PS Really like the “whiter” version for your bathroom, think its a much better compliment to the marble.

I will never get tired of looking at pictures of your house! It makes me so happy! I can’t wait to see how you decorate! The good thing is the house alone is gorgeous and meticulous so you won’t have to do any “distraction decorating” I do a lot of that, look here not over there kind of thing 🙂 love the topiaries and that baking pan from Crate & Barrel. I’m so copying you on that. I love your little vignettes! You and The Suze should start a vignette designing company. It is definitely an art. Have a fabulous weekend!!!

Dying over your upstairs hall and the border with the herringbone…magnifique! I’d go with the medium grout with the marble on walls and floors…especially a backsplash–keeping that clean??!
You must we so proud of your work, Tina. Left a comment on FB for Safavieh. I know just the place for that pretty French table.

Your stair railing is gorgeous and how glamorous are you going to feel walking down that staircase? Love all your barrel doorways and your barrel ceilings, fabulous. What’s exciting in my week…I woke up this morning….;)

It is so exciting to have something to look forward to inOctober. I can’t wait to see all the amazing pictures. Your sneak peak today is thrilling . The herringbone floors are still my favorite;))))

Wow, thing are moving along at a good clip Tina. I am loving all the details coming together. Your kitchen cabinets, gorgeous and the island will be fabulous for family and parties.The staircase is awesome, do you have a daughter? It would be perfect for a grand entrance for a bride……

The French Hutch

Things I am Loving Today: Your house and every detail in it! It is spectacular. I am most impressed by all the little details, like the escutcheons and such. And yes, the dark grout is perfect.

Have a great day Tina, hope you remember to carve out some time to relax in all that chaos!

Oh my, now this is what I call magazine worthy! So glad you stopped by so that I could find you. I love your new kitchen, even if it is not complete! I am following so that I can see the finished product. Would love for you to follow back.

Everything is really coming along! I am so excited that the end of October is move in day for you, I am sure this is an anxiously awaited date!

I love Phoebe Howard, she has designed many homes in Jacksonville, FL where I moved from. Love her work. She also did the work on a design home in VA, I hope to visit that in the coming weeks. I am sure that her book is going to be out of this world.

The pumpkin pan is great! You can never have enough good baking pans.

Have a great day! HOpe your hair is looking better than mine, with all of the rain and the humidity and the flooding yesterday I need more than a hat.

Thank you as always for your kind comments. I am amazed that you find the time to comment on all these other wonderful blogs with all you have going on. YOu must never, ever, sleep.

Take care, ELizabeth

This one is chock-full of goodies, I enjoyed every word and photograph. The upstairs herringbone floors are stunning, no other word does justice, I absolutely adore them. The reeding under the chair rail is a lovely touch of elegance, and your son’s bathroom is looking wonderful. Having said all that, bring on the limestone! (Heh, heh, heh.)

Can we talk about how fabulous topiaries are? Regardless of size or subject matter they offer amazing opportunities for personalization and character in a space, I am very much a fan. The Beatles one is new to me, I am off to look for even more pictures of it!

Sending you a smile,

Just installed subway backsplash…I wish I had done a darker grout. Testing grout is a good idea:)

Gorgeous as always … can we have an “on-line” party when you move in??? We have to celebrate with you in some manner!! I vote on lighter grout … you have so many beautiful elements that you don’t need to the tile to stand out. My opinion!! I know you must be getting so excited!

Oh, my… you have outdone yourself again. The house is really coming together and can’t believe you’re finally moving in at the end of next month! As you know, I love a darker grout with lighter subway tiles. That’s what I did in my own kitchen and always get so many compliments on it. It adds a nice contrast, but test it out before you commit. I think your bathroom is actually larger than my kitchen! It’s spectacular!

Fabulous update. I cannot wait to see your home
finished and decorated.I cannot decide on the grout I will be faced with the same dilemma when
we start on our new home next year.I love the subway tiles I am leaning to pale grout preference.Have a wonderful weekend it is a long weeekend in Australia for us.

Well I love the kitchen and everything you are doing, but I think that dark grout has the effect of a more graphic punch and then you see the shape of each tile vs a wall of tile. I would go with light grout if it were my dilemma, and how I wish it were my dilemma!! I will be standing next to you in line for the Phoebe Howard book~she is the dreamiest designer of pretty rooms.

Tina- Well, it is really moving along now-starting to shape up and be a home rather than a house being built! Love the detailing in the bathroom….the reeding under the chair rail…the wood work on the tub surround. It is all just perfect.

okay–could you please send me that gazebo topiary? I’ll pay shipping!;>)

Great post- xo Diana

Tina, I know you must be so excited that this long building process is coming to a close. The architectural details in your home are gorgeous. I can’t wait for you to move in so we can follow along as you decorate.

Fantastic! Please Do not use the darker grout, it will look dirty and I think you would regret that decision. Focus on the beautiful countertops and those wonderful cabinets to display blue & white porcelain ..that will be gorg!

The sort of faucet you use for your utility sink is largely determined by the location and type of utility sink you choose. Give some thought, therefore, to the utilizes and requirements for your sink just before you purchase the sink itself.

Yes, a phoebe fan 😉 Was looking at tile in Atlanta recently and the two colors suggested for the carrera subways were white and moonlight. . . moonlight is just slightly gray and was beautiful. It was slightly less stark than the white and would be easier to keep clean, I think. I wouldn’t go any darker than that though . . . otherwise you bring out the geometric lines in the tile rather than the beauty of the tile themselves . . .

Tina, your house is a work of art. All those details are just so beautiful and carefully thought out. You have an amazing eye for detail and it is going to look incredible. I love your dark kitchen island, and am thinking of something like that for mine now. Your marble tiles in the bathrooms are to die for. I wish I could get my hands of some of those topiaries in the black urns, that are gorgeous.

Love the millwork in your home….the craftsmanship is just beautiful.
So glad you went whiter on your bathroom cabinets. On the tile in the kitchen, too dark a grout gives the feel of the the 1050’s or 1960’s in my view. I like what Annon said just above my comment, just a little darker than stark white, a rich creaminess.

Beautiful updates as always, Tina. As for darker grout with white tiles – to my eye they give the appearance of not being clean. Unless properly sealed, grout is porous and absorbs stains easily. White on white has a crisp, clean appearance, and a warm white is definitely the best choice for a classic and elegant interior.

I am obsessed with your house. It is totally my taste and I would have chosen the exact same things. Amazing. So excited to see it finished!! xo

A dream home doesn’t get better than this. Your kitchen and bathroom, leave me breathless as does all the woodwork, your flooring selections, the paneling, I could go on and on.
Love that loaf pan! Yes to topiaries, I have a few herb topiaries in my kitchen at the moment. As far as darker grout, my sister used a light brown with white subways and honestly I didn’t like it, it always appeared dirty, also it really makes them stand out and with all the gorgeousness you have going in the kitchen, I don’t think you want the subway tiles to be the thing to stand out, just my 2 cents! Have a great weekend.

LOVE LOVE your progress reports! On the grout question: I’ve done a pale blue, a pale grey, and a cream with subways. The pale grey looked the best with solid white tile, but antique white looked the best with marble subway. It’s not as harsh as stark white.

That being said, it really depends on the light in the room. I’m sure you’ll pick something wonderful as you have such fabulous taste. Everything you pick seems perfect.

Have a great weekend!

Tina…I would literally be frothing to get in that fabulous house and start decorating!!! And I can just see Phoebe’s style being yours…..I know I speak for everyone when I say that we have so enjoyed this journey with you 🙂

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