House #3 HGTV 100 Day Dream Home

So the season finale just aired Sunday night and I have yet to catch everyone up on the house from the two weeks before. I am sorry as many of us have been trying to figure out this whole quarantine and how to work through the process of moving work and schools to home I will admit I had that same issue. So I am promising to do multiple blog posts this week so that by the end of the week you will be caught up on the houses from 100 Day Dream Home and know what we are doing at Artful Conceptions.

So let’s get into house number 3 for the super sweet DeAnn. As a single woman who has a great career and a vision for her life it was super important to create a “Queendom” for her. She needed a space that was completely hers and allowed her to not only function but be able to thrive. She is a physical therapist so a safe home was super important. She loves to craft and her family and friends are a must have in her life. With those things in mind we went to work to create a beautiful, functional space that she could live, work, entertain and eventually raise children in. We also knew that she needed to be able to be creative and her crafting was a high priority. She had been using a tv tray in her parents home before this. DeAnn also loves the time that she spent in Montana and wanted to incorporate those elements into her house.

Enter my team and how we addressed all of these needs and wants. First, I brought in the fantastic team from Naffco to do the flooring, tile and carpet. They have so many great selections all in one place that it was fantastic to be able to get many of the selections done in one meeting. We found a great tile for the decorative elements that felt like a geode and reminded DeAnn of Montana. We also found this amazing dolomite stone for the countertop. Combining these elements really gave me the perfect direction for the home. Check out this great kitchen, it is so light and airy.

In the “Queendom” we needed to make sure that it was soft and inviting while combining all of the functional needs that DeAnn had expressed. We also wanted to give her some drama and mixed in a fantastic wallpaper that is a deep green with texture to feel like banana leaves and highlighted with a gold leaf touch. The mix between soft, airy and passionate drama is where this house came to life.

For DeAnn we also needed to give her a space to craft and be creative. This was a fun surprise and I was so happy to be able to bring in my guys from ClosetArt to create the perfect craft room. And I got to shop may heart out at the craft stores to stock the craft room!

We cannot forget the outside as we wanted to make sure that DeAnn had a great place to sit and enjoy her backyard.

I love how we were able to mix together the client’s needs with a fun look. Each house we do as in alignment with my design philosophy is all about the client. So many times in design people forget about who they are designing for and only concentrate on making themselves look good. This is the biggest injustice in design and I love that I work with a team that follows my philosophy and truly cares about each client. And I am completely using the word “Queendom” for all of my amazing, driven women clients!

Designing From Home

I know that I am not the only one working from home at this time. So I thought I would update everyone on all that we can still do from home. We have full design capability from our home office. In fact here is my morning view.

I love the light in my home office! It is such a great place to design and it is so full of this beautiful light throughout the day. I love the morning with my cup of coffee, and I am completely rocking the fantastic mug that my daughter got me this past holiday!

I have added lots of new great items to the online store. Check out the fantastic pillows, throws and artwork that are all new today!

There are great options for online design services. We video conference with you, teach you how to measure your room, take pictures and work with you to get all the information that we need to design the space of your dreams. Whether you are bored of your home and want a consult on new paint colors or quick changes to refresh your space to full design plans we have the option for you. Our awesome vendors are working with us to get samples out quickly so that we can create design boxes for you. I want you to be confident on the designs and selections we are making. So on many of the online packages we not only send you digital plans but we video conference with you, create design boards and send samples.

I work with a great questionaire (if you have read or own Designing You you have a sample) so that I can get a full picture of your design style. As you know I strongly believe that your space needs to be about you. These questions help to make sure that we are all on the same page. One of my favorite tips to find your style is to take your five favorite outfits from your closet and see what colors and style you learn towards. I have been using this technique for 17 years and I just saw an HGTV Host use it. (My ideas ROCK!) I use it in my own home!

I are here. I am still designing. I can still video conference with you. I can still put your plan together. I still have contractors that are working, so we can still get a remodel going. I can still do a video conference on how to stage your home for sale. I can still put together a staging plan for you. You can shop online adn I am here to answer all of your questions about my curated items!

Artfully Curated

With all of the craziness that has been going on with the Covid-19 virus so many of us are at home looking around and realizing that we would love to do some updates to our homes. So with that in mind I have reopened the online store. I had gotten away from posting all of our available products online because I really wanted to focus on the the design aspect. However, I have been getting so many requests to know what are my favorite products, what accents I love for a quick update and how my clients and their friends can get my advice and wisdom when we are all stuck in our houses. So with that being said you can now find some of my favorite things available on the website. I have started with the easiest items such as wall art and accessories. These categories will be growing but I want to keep the category items small and unique. I will be changing out the items regularly. So if you like what you see make sure to order right away because it may not be there next week. I want to offer curated products to my clients. Pieces that are unique and that will bring you a smile. Here are some of the recent adds:

Each item will ship directly to you. Super easy no worries and we will give you the full update as to how many are in stock and when you should expect your items.

The upcoming add will be the option for online design services. With these services you will have the ability to work with me through email, skype and phone. Depending on the level of package that you choose you will get one to two drawings of your room design, an online room board, an online design and if you select I will send you a box of samples of all of your fabrics, wallpapers and finishes where available. I will give you specific direction as to how to measure your room, take pictures and how to implement the plan. Everything that is suggested in the plan you will be able to purchase easily when you open your online proposal. Expect to see this feature soon.

But, in the meantime, check out some of my current favorite pieces many of which inspired or were seen on the recent HGTV show 100 Day Dream Home.

Be safe, stay healthy and be inspired! Love the Space You’re In!

100 Day Dream Home – House #2

Did you watch last night? Were you in love with this fun family that was clearing a jungle lot to build their dream home for their family? Want to know more about the process and how it all came together? Well let’s talk about this fantastic home.

The first step is getting all the background information on the homeowner. Watching videos to get to know them and asking questions of the builder to find out all about their budgets and style. This means lost of research and meetings to make sure I have all the right information. Then I get to work pulling samples and putting together three different options to be presented to the homeowner. Here is the set up getting ready for Jaclyn and Jon to see the selections.

Once we have everything selected it is time to talk about special projects and what we will be doing for the homeowner. For this house the very first thing that came to mind was to create a living wall. For Jon being a chef I couldn’t think of anything better than being able to grab the freshest herbs while cooking. I am in love with live plants in homes. If you have been reading this blog you know that. So I was adamant that we really needed to do this for this family. Besides making it easier for cooking it also was going to be a great way to help keep the air cleaner which is so important with a new baby. Ok it is important no matter who is living in the house. Adding design harmony to a space is essential! Thankfully the network and producers agreed with me and I got the green light to get the process started. Luckily as I got into the project we found that it didn’t cost as much as the original quote so we had more money for other gifts for Jaclyn and Jon. Which meant I got to work with Moe to design and create a raised bed garden along with hand-making a beautiful crown for the baby’s crib.

Now it was time to start planning the furniture layouts and what would be needed for the home.

This is the starting point. It is a fluid design as we have 24-48 hours to completely furnish the home. So this is how we start the shopping and selecting of the items. I put these together for each house that we do. Working with a stager has been so helpful so that I don’t have to completely empty my showroom and warehouses and have more options available.

Here is how it all came together! This beautiful painting behind the sofa and the gerber daisies were the inspiration for the entire color palette. And one of my favorite decorations are family pictures. Adding them to this home was extra special as it brought tears to their eyes at the reveal.

Do you absolutely love it? We had a great time designing and creating this home for Jaclyn, Jon and their growing family! Want to make your home your “dream home” we can help. Whether you are local or not we have an option including online plans and consultations. I want to help you to “love the space you’re in.”

Finding Zen

It is International Women’s Day and I thought it was important to talk about how we as women handle so many things. It is also super important for us to stop putting ourselves last. As a Mom and business owner it can be so hard to find time for myself. It is super easy to do for everyone else. To make sure that the kids are not only getting everything that they need but that I am a few steps ahead of the game, making sure the schedules are all taken care of, that they are prepared for tests, have enough time with their friends, make sure their lunches are perfect and they have the best balanced dinners. Special snacks, desserts, crafts, extra curricular activities and family time are all part of the routine. But what has not been part of the routine for a very long time is Sara time. With work I am constantly thinking about and working on client’s projects. I am completely guilty of not charging for all of the extra time and putting their projects first. This happens when I forget my value because it is easier to take care of others than to stop and focus on my needs.

So for the past week I have been working on creating the perfect space for me to work from and in my home. I am in love with white and organic design and it helps me to calm my mind and focus. Here are some of the designs that inspired me to change up my living and work spaces.

Neutrals, organic textures and forms give me peace. I have found over the years that the longer that I have been designing the more I gravitate to whites. I love color and I love creating beautiful colorful designs for my clients but for me I need a break from all of it at home. Here are some of the changes I made in my spaces.

Adding in crystals and plants add to the depth and the organic nature of the design. Crystals help to clear the energy in the space and plants are all about regenerating and growth.

Designing is about combining the elements and energies to create a feeling in the space. It is about creating a place to be comfortable and achieve all of your goals and vision. This can be as simple as having a place to rest and as complex as having a inspiring space that drives you. Whether you want to call it feng shui, hygge, design harmony, or zen we all function better when we are in balance and our space is in balance.

So take a moment or a week. Celebrate who you are and be ok with putting yourself first. Stop putting off updating your home. Update your wardrobe. I made the decision today to celebrate the 35lbs I have lost and go get some new clothes. I had been in full mom mode and didn’t think that I needed to spend any money on me. But the reality is walking around in clothes that are too big or cycling through the same few outfits doesn’t help to raise your own self esteem, it doesn’t help to remind yourself of your value. And women we have so much value! We keep so much together and are constantly the rock for so many. Be your own rock and celebrate who you are!

Happy International Women’s Day! Celebrate your value!

Let’s Talk Design Process

So often I am asked what my process is and what trends I am loving. So I thought I would talk a little about the process and one of my favorite design directions right now. As many of you know I have been talking about how maximalism is a lot of the current trends that we are seeing. These looks are fantastic and the depth of the colors and pieces make them great items to mix with other looks. I love a black and gold design like no one else. But not every client can pull off that kind of fantastic rich look. It is definitely not for everyone. There are some great elements to add to a more natural and organic look and so I thought that I would show you a design board that I was working on for a client that brings in some of these maximalist pieces but softens it and adds the muddy color for depth.

I love to start a design with a inspiration board like this. I may not use any of these pieces or I may use every one of these pieces. This look is taking that black, white and gold style and softening it with the textures from the rattan chairs. Mixing metals with the console table. Keeping it organic with the linen fabrics on the sectional mixed with the wool pillows and rug. The patterns are soft, geometric and organic. Adding in the gold and glass wall shelves along with the gold and crystal chandelier the whole room just took a major step up and the casual atmosphere has an understated elegance. These idea boards are huge and how I work with not only clients but especially the production companies for HGTV.

There are a few things I always have to add to every design. The first are live plants. Every home/office/work space needs live plants. There are so many reasons but the main reason is the health of the end user of the space. When I talk about health I am not only talking about the physical health but also the mental health. Plants help the clean the oxygen in the space but they also help the body to release endorphins simply making you happier. The technical term for using plants in the design process is called biophilic design. This encompasses more than just plants but also the lighting and the energy usage of the space. This in itself is another topic and I will definitely do a whole post or series of posts about it. But to get started in the biophilic design world start by bringing plants and colors of nature into the space.

The second thing that every design needs is a touch of black. This design has more than a touch, but black is a must for all designs. It grounds the space and adds depth. It makes all colors truer to their actual color and is the perfect neutral. It can be as small as picture frames and as large as the sofa. Just find a place to use it!

Lastly, no space is complete without a rug. Working in Florida I hear people say all the time that they don’t want one because it is a tripping hazard. I say BS. There are options to use rugs without the being a hazard and most if the time there is an issue because the rug is too small. We do not want coasters for our cocktail tables! Rugs are there to ground the space and create a conversational area. Use them and don’t be afraid to layer them. Let them bring in the needed texture to the space. The can also be the source of pattern for a design. Area rugs speak to the room and make it all come together, so don’t leave them out!

So these are my favorite trends right now with some of my new favorite furnishings. Love the pieces you see on the inspiration board let me know and I can have them shipped directly to you! Have a design project you want to get started on but don’t know how to start? I’d love to help. I can get you started with the design boards and the plan or go all the way through with completing and installing the design.

House Number 1 for HGTV 100 Day Dream Home

The first episode that we designed aired on the 16th! I think the house looked amazing, if I do say so myself! We worked with a fantastic team from Home Frostings to achieve this fantastic look mixing my designs with pieces from Artful Conceptions and Home Frostings for this fantastic outcome. Check out this great room!

Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Great Room
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Great Room
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Great Room
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Great Room
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Great Room

This house has a huge front room, in fact it is almost like two great rooms and a dining room put together. Not your typical floor plan. So to create the look, feel and function that we wanted for the homeowner we added a bar to the end of the room, went with a huge sectional, oversized white painted chairs and console and lots of great finishing touches. This meant we also had space for a second large console in the space, one of my favorites from Sarreid Ltd made from reclaimed wood and blue stone. We did a lot of mixing in this house of natural elements and touchable fabrics with clean whites to keep it light and airy.

Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Dining Room
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Kitchen
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Coffee Bar
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Breakfast Nook and Kitchen

This new homeowner was a “coffee snob” so we not only gave her the top of the line built in coffee machine (yes we did the Wolf built in) but we created the perfect space for all of her coffee accessories!

Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Master Bedroom
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Master Bedroom
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Master Bedroom

A master bedroom always needs more than just a bed. This master had a great space for a sit down vanity and two sitting areas. We love the white, blue and natural wood tones that tied everything together and gave this house such a nice Florida feel.

Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Guest Bedroom
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Guest Bedroom

The guest bedrooms got the proper treatment as well with great pieces of art (all original canvases plus fantastic pieces from Palacek) and fantastic want to sink into beds. You don’t have to do the typical dressers in every bedroom you can have fun with different console pieces like this one with the sliding barn doors.

Karen (Home Frostings) and myself (Sara Chiarilli)
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Hang Out Room
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Study
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Study
Mike and Sara 100 Day Dream Home Study

So are you as in love with the house as we are? We had so much fun creating this fantastic living space for Mike and Sara both inside and out. I know you didn’t get to see Karen and I on screen (just me moving rugs and Karen’s leather skirt) but I think our work speaks for itself. And so you remember what we look like and hopefully you will see us a whole lot more on the upcoming episodes here we are when we had just completed everything.

Sara Chiarilli (Artful Conceptions) Karen Post (Home Frostings)

4 More Days Until HGTV 100 Day Dream Home!

If you have been following on Instagram and Facebook you have probably seen a bunch of posts about HGTV and some new things that we have been working on. The biggest thing is that I have been honored to be the designer on 4 of the upcoming houses on the brand new show 100 Day Dream Homes. The show airs on Sunday at 10pm EST on HGTV and I am so excited to let everyone know that the first house is one that I worked on! I can’t show pictures yet, have to wait until after you have all seen it premiere, but how about a couple behind the scenes photos.

Special projects sometimes require us to get our hands dirty!
Having the right teams makes all the difference!

Each project has been inspired about the families we are designing for and what they find important. For some of these homes that means nature, design styles and moments in their lives.

The starting point for a beach inspired home
Nature brought together this color palette
Lifestyle started this design
Each design is about creating moments

Check back after Sunday to see the images of the first house you will see on 100 Day Dream Home! Each week that we have a home being revealed we will post the pictures after and let you know how we achieved the looks you saw and why we did what we did. So get your questions ready because I am looking forward to talking with everyone about the process!

Year in Review

It has been a super busy year at Artful Conceptions. We have worked on some amazing projects and had some fantastic things happen!

Here are some pictures from some of the amazing homes we worked on and designed this year!

There were some amazing opportunities that I got to experience such as IFDA Selects and the Insider’s Tour at High Point Market.

There were trips to see amazing architecture and inspire new designs.

There has been the designing and filming for HGTV’s 100 Day Dream Home.

Not allowed more pictures than this from set… airs in February!

And then the big honor or being nominated and elected to the board of directors for IFDA!

I never expected all that has gone on this year but it has been truly abundant. And for those on you who know me my word for 2019 was abundance. So what will 2020 bring, I don’t know but I know it will bring some really amazing things and so much more than I can ever imagine. Are you ready for the ride!?!

Let’s Build Together!

So here I am again apologizing for not keeping up with the blog. Yup, it has been crazy here at Artful Conceptions. We have been working on so many amazing custom homes that I had to stop for a short minute and share some of the process. I know we all think that is easy peasy lemon squeezy and blue prints arrive, LOL! So reality is we draw and redraw all of the little details over and over again to make sure all aspects are just right. Sometimes it can be into the evening when kids are in bed, or while they are doing homework that it becomes time to pull out the plans and work on the details.

Working on drawings while kids do homework
Drawings after kids go to bed.

I know there are designers that finish at the end of the day, I am just not one of them. If it is going around in my mind it needs to be looked at, adjusted or worked out. It means lugging around samples to all over the world. Yes, my car almost always has tile samples, wood samples, fabric books and sometimes even plumbing in it. No need for that super luxury car. If it can’t take a beating without feeling insanely guilty, not a good fit. LOL! And yes my phone is filled with pictures of samples almost more than my kids, Shhhh don’t tell them!

Walking the job sites is always fun for me to see how things are moving along. I love seeing it go from plans to slab, to framing to cabinetry and tile to the finished product.

Check in a few months out from completion
Almost done blue tape time!
Hardware details that make me swoon!
Fireplaces!!!! And of course the blue tape!

All the fun details and little touches make such a difference. It is what takes the design from good to AMAZING! I want every project to be amazing. Whether you are building an 8,000 square foot house or a 1,500 it is all about you and how we can bring together all that you love in one place. So when you see me on instagram obsessing over a cabinet handle or a piece of baseboard know that it is because I am thinking about how it is going to be the touch that changes everything in the design. It is that little detail that makes it feel perfect!

So when you are ready to build your own custom home we want to be there to hold your hand. And I promise I will be up late redrawing, obsessing and adjusting until we have the perfect design for you. All so that you can “love the space you’re in!”


Architecture, History and Fun!

I have been making travel a huge priority in our lives recently. Partly to see new things but mostly to be inspired for future designs. I know we keep seeing all of these modern, open floor plan super clean looks. But honestly I am so in the mood for some traditional design, defined rooms and details. Check out these doors!

I am so in love with the details! Remind you of some of the ones we saw in Italy!?! And the colors! Many of these doors are actually shades of green! And the columns framing the doors, how divine! The mixing of the iron with the wood give such depth and makes he entry feel so stately. Sometimes with the rush to have a contemporary look we forget how some details and combinations can add such power to a design.

Brick, brick and more brick! Ok this is Savannah so we should have expected all of the brick. But oh my, I am in love and the patterns that could be found are fantastic. Not just your typical running bond or herringbone but mixtures and inlay designs. Details were everywhere, including dolphin downspout covers! These beautiful sculptures are made of iron and cover the gutter downspouts so that ghosts can’t get in. Did you know that most of Savannah is built on top of graveyards?

The squares all throughout Savannah are so fantastic! There are statues, benches, open areas and fountains all around. It has such a feel of a small town in a big city. The old southern elegance can be seen everywhere. And so many stories about each square and the area. The history throughout the city just drips from the walls. And speaking of walls check out this amazing old wall.

This is down by the river and was built so that the boats of olden days could navigate. And guess what it reminds me of? Your guessed it Italy. This set up is so similar to the was that boats would enter into the castles back in the day in Italy. Since most of the city was built by Irish Immigrants I am guessing they brought with them the European style of building cities and water entrances. You can totally see it in the stone that was used and the style.

So how does this inspire for new interior designs? For me I love taking these elements and using them in new homes. I love the inlay doors and even on a contemporary home you can bring in a detailed design for the front door. Marble and iron are great elements for design, and they don’t have to be columns! And brick, well I am in love with brick all colors, whitewashed, chiseled you name it. I love it for a driveway, a front porch, exterior accents on the front of the house, in a kitchen and so much more! These elements stand the test of time! So the next house you are looking at, think about looking back in time for design elements that never go out of style!

Let’s Get Real!

Ok, I have to apologize again for my slacking on recent posts. It has been crazy on so many fronts. And to be truthful I want to get really real here. For those of you who just want to talk design this may be the blog post you just skip. For those of you who have picked up Artfully Curated ( available on Amazon!) and want to know more about how we somehow manage to balance everything or just the carziness of our lives, this is your kind of post.

First, let’s talk about the projects we are currently working on. We have quite a few new construction homes going on, ten in fact. They range from $700k – $4m. And each and everyone is unique and totally fun to be working on! This also includes probably my favorite spec project ever so I am dying to complete this one by the middle of the summer. Here are some pictures of the projects in process.

There are four remodels going on. These range from full complete gut and redo to redesigning.

Yup, that is me on the plane drawing out my thoughts. And yes, I fly first class (as often as possible) so that I can continue to work while on the plane. Way too much time to lose due to lack of space.

We are consulting on multiple projects, have a few that are scheduled to start this summer and have a bar in the construction phase. Business is awesome!

It is also May and that means one last week if school for my kids! If you have not seen the Holderness Family Maycember video check it out here:

This is so true on so many levels! It is awards, and field trips, and end of year parties, teacher gifts, and so much more. Yesterday I woke up at 4:30 am to make enchiladas for my son’s world culture day. Ok truth I get up at 4:30am everyday. But making enchiladas first thing in the morning not my thing. Loving, caring and supporting my family, completely my thing! And I am exhausted but happy and enjoying seeing them grow.

I used to think that being a working mom meant that I was missing so much. But the reality is I am teaching them so much. I am teaching my kids that it is ok to be a business owner and a force in your industry. I am teaching them that independence and deep meaningful connections are vital. I am teaching them how to be present for the big things and the everyday while showing up for yourself. I am teaching them that quality is so much more important than quantity. But mostly I am teaching them how to be authentic.

All of this has meant not a ton of time with my husband Greg, although we did get an evening away for a drink and some painting!

Running a company, parenting and being a wife is hard. It is managing clients, managing expectations, managing anxiety, managing time, managing employees and managing stress. It is also being insanely grateful for so many things. It is being grateful for the support of my family. It is being grateful for the amazing clients that work with us and refer us. It is being grateful for the ability to take time off to be at my kids events and it is being grateful for a husband who supports all my huge business goals and visions.

Life is messy and scary and hard. But it is also fun, adventurous and joyful. I wouldn’t have it any other way! So, I will keep pushing, keep designing, keep supporting, keep showing up. And keep apologizing for not blogging as much as I had planned on!

Be you, be real, be authentic and just show up!

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