Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Wrapping Up...

Today's post is going to be a bit longer than normal because I have just so much to tell you! 

It's been three and a half years since I started this blog. In that time, I have sold one house and bought another, gotten married for a second (and final) time, and watched my littles grow into bigs -- in fact, as of yesterday, I am now officially the mother of a teenager!

Over the last three and a half years, I have also taken a lot of chances with my decorating, learned some new skills while honing others, and shared my favorite interior designs with all of you!

In July I began working with my friend Erica, who is the most brilliant and compassionate professional organizer I have ever met, doing interior decorating for local clients. It is the most fun I have ever had!!! 

All of which leads to today's announcement: Cosy Carolina is done. Over. Finito! 

I'm working on building a more comprehensive website to feature my portfolio and services. It will also have a blog because I think this is a fun way to communicate. Ultimately, though, my heart yearns to decorate, not blog. *I will put this message out into the universe, though: if the Better Homes & Gardens team wants to bring me to NYC next fall for the Style Maker Event, I'm totally open to that.

It's sad and a little scary to end this phase of my life. So many good things have come from this blog. But I'm hopeful that even better days are ahead!

Sequin Pants / Leather Jacket / Sweater

Before I sign out, I have a fun NYE outfit to show you above. No shoes because we're not actually going out for the holiday... As I always say, creating an outfit is a lot like designing a room. I did recently sign up for Stitch Fix and LOVE it. Why not have a personal stylist dress you and avoid the craziness of the mall?!

I also have a quick review of Apartment Therapy's latest book Complete + Happy Home. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review (getting free books from them is at the tip-top of my list of "perks" from this gig).

Complete + Happy Home, by Maxwell Ryan and Janel Laban, is everything I aspire to be: pretty on the surface but full of beauty and practical information on the inside, too. It is their largest book to date and really comprehensive.

The book is separated into three sections: setting up your home; living in your home; and maintaining your home. The text is all straight-forward, no nonsense advice, much like their website, but without the annoyingness of their "cures." The images are a mix of regular people's houses (who are the Castellis of New Jersey? Gorgeous house!!!) and the homes of the ultra-stylish (Ruthie Sommers, Christiane Lemieux, and Erin Williamson). This gives the book an across-the-country feel, with no specific region or style left out.

One of my favorite rooms is "the Scandinavian living room" of Anne Ziegler and Scott Mason of Los Angeles, which includes throw pillows and an armchair in crazy-fun Josef Frank fabrics.

There are also some handy checklists like: 5 (semi-) indestructible houseplants; 8 ways to supercharge your style; and 8 ways to make a small room look bigger, among others. And tips on art, window treatments, flooring, and lighting. Everything you could possibly want to know about making a home homier.

Erica and I popped in at the Bloom Workshop for West Elm last week and a copy of Complete + Happy Home was prominently being sold there. It's definitely a good resource, whether you are a design professional or a homeowner.

Anyway, follow along on Instagram to keep in touch. Happy holidays!!! Thanks for all the love! Xoxo ~Carrie

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Real Life Inspiration

I am so excited for today's post, and I really think you all are going to LOVE it, too! 

Today I am showing you the home of a real life renaissance (wo)man! Carin is all-around amazing! She is a writer, photographer, and fantastic mom

She is also a thrifter extraordinaire who seems to have a magic touch when it comes to decorating her home! The first time I saw her house I knew I had to share it here. I hope you will be as inspired by her style as I am!

One of the first things Carin did when she bought her house two years ago was to paint her front door yellow.

It is so bright and cheery, and I love the addition of this wreath with its Parisian-feeling black-and-white striped ribbon.

The house is a cozy Cape Cod in the Chesterfield Hills neighborhood of East Lansing, Michigan. On a Saturday afternoon in the fall you can hear the crowds inside Spartan Stadium. Carin's street is full of lovely older homes and friendly families. 

Most of the artwork has been picked up from thrift stores Carin visits on her lunch hour. This beach scene above her fireplace reminds me of the beach at Lake Michigan. The three perfect pears bring some vibrant color to the otherwise moody color scheme.

I think Carin made the pillow cover on the right using fabric paint and a potato-stamp. It references the larger hot pink cross on the pillow opposite it (see it poking out down there??)

The gallery wall over the fireplace includes a mix of landscapes and portraits. 

Here's a glimpse over the back of one sofa toward the front door. Carin knew she wanted to have two sofas facing each other in the living room to create symmetry.

Looking toward the other corner of the living room you see this beautiful piano that she recently acquired from a friend.

A gallery wall hangs around the TV, directly across from the gallery wall that hangs over the fireplace.

Coffee table books and a photo of one of her three daughters as an infant further soften the TV area.

This built-in display case near the kitchen is one of the first things you see when you walk into Carin's house. All of the vases are items that she has picked up while thrifting. Isn't this mix of neutrals perfect? I love the way Carin has arranged these pieces!

This pair of orange chairs was a recent acquisition for Carin. She wanted something with a lower profile to sit behind her pair of sofas and add to the seating in the house. And see that mid-century modern Eiffel chair in the background? Also thrifted!

She removed the skirts at the bottom of these chairs to give them a cleaner, more modern look. Don't they have amazing lines?? LOVE them!

This is the dining area. I like how Carin mixed the dark wood with white chairs. 

The shelving system was a utility shelf left behind by the former occupants which Carin painted gold and styled. She is a fearless painter!

I think Sojourner Truth, Eleanor Roosevelt, and a first edition of one of the finest textbooks on art history there is tell us a lot about who Carin is.

The view from the kitchen through the pass-through.

A detail shot of the cups inside the built-in corner cabinet. These cabinets are common to the era in which Carin's house was built and add to its character.

Carin used chalkboard paint in her kitchen and has some inspiring quotes posted around

As a mom, I really appreciate this one.

 She DIY'ed these concrete countertops. 

... and also did the subway tile herself. Using this small lamp in the corner of the kitchen is  a charming alternative to under-cabinet lighting.

This is the second wall color that Carin has used in her hosue and it makes the space feel bright while still adding a nice hint of color. She is thinking of painting again, though. The airy drapes are from IKEA.

Upstairs is a huge room that Carin and her daughters use as a studio.

More Parisian-inspired black and white stripes. This is simple to do with paper wrapped around tin cans. Using multiples of the same makes it look so cohesive.

This home is so full of creativity!

This little nook looks out on the street in front of the house.

And this window looks out on the private backyard.

"Create your best life with your consciously chosen thoughts and words." This quote sums it up perfectly! Carin inspires me to live this way. I hope she has inspired you, too!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Wedding Wednesday

December is the most popular time of year to get engaged, according to The Knot.


And what could be better than a destination wedding to somewhere that is always beautiful?!


I'm talking about Santa Monica, California, and specifically the super glamorous Fairmont Miramar Hotel. Doesn't it have an old Hollywood vibe??


An outdoor wedding is almost guaranteed to be perfection under the palms and the Fairmont's unique fig tree.

Camels & Chocolate

Can't you just imagine this twisty, centuries-old tree strung with twinkle lights?!

Style Me Pretty-Hawaii
An indoor reception can also be elegant in a gorgeous setting like the Fairmont Miramar.

Style Me Pretty-Chicago
These magenta table linens and tall florals make the room. And I am such a sucker for Chiavari chairs... Worth the splurge!

Studio DIY
Depending on the time of day and level of formality, a piece of fruit might make a sweet place setting.   

One Love Photography via

This gorgeous flower bouquet includes figs and berries! It's a nice nod to the giant fig tree in the courtyard at the Fairmont Miramar and to other aspects of the area's history. Mixing magenta, pink, and orange makes the color story more interesting.

J. Crew
It would be so fun to let bridesmaids choose their dress from a store like J. Crew and have a mix of colors and styles. Especially since the Fairmont Miramar is so close to the beach...

Other local attractions include Knott's Berry Farm, an amusement park on the site of the former berry farm that made the famous jams and preserves.

... which would make these tiny jars of jam such a cute idea for a wedding favor.
Style Me Pretty
My own (2nd) wedding day was the happiest day of my life!!! And it's so fun to think back to that celebration.

Wednesday Wrap-Up

Per usual, I have just. so. much I want to share with you all! But where to begin??

There is this beautiful sale; I literally want one of everything. The white walls and blonde flooring remind me of my house, but the bright repeating accents, stacked art and layered accessories, as well as the cozy textures (fur! velvet!) are inspiring me to change things up for the holidays. And how great are those wreaths above the beds?!

River City Mrkt

Speaking of wreaths, one of my favorite flower vendors from the East Lansing Farmers' Market will be selling wreaths at the River City Mrkt, a pop-up holiday shop in REO Town that starts tomorrow. You can see her gorgeous dahlias here -- and I changed my profile name on IG, which has had a cascade-effect and now I'm going to have update links all over the place... #oy

Fast Company

The weather in Michigan has been over the top amazing lately (sunshine and sweaters instead of snowsuits). However, I am beside myself with excitement for Christmas and all things alpine!! I think it has a lot to do with this article's message of embracing the cold and snow. Whatever the reason, I have been counting down the days until the local radio station switches over to Christmas carols and I think we may get our tree earlier than ever this year!


Of course, I am also still looking forward to Thanksgiving. This year we are hosting my parents at our house so I get to dream up the menu. I may not love making dinner every other night of the year, but I do love planning a Thanksgiving feast. Isn't the way Gwen mixed the traditional dishes above with the magenta candles so fun?!

Finally there is this stool, which I reluctantly passed up in my local Freecycle group. I love its square steadiness and the aged brown leather and the 1970s shape. Truly, it was love at first sight. But there is only one and I really don't have a place for it and I really need to avoid even thinking about it. 

That's what's new in my world. What's new with YOU?! {Linking up with Jessi and Jenn for What's Hap"pinning" Wednesday}


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