Kelly Christakos Stivers


front porch refresher

Welcome, January, in all your blustery cold glory!  I wrote this post with the intention of sprucing up your front porch and beating the after holiday decorating blah's once the Christmas decorations have all come down, but that was well before I realized it was going to be one hundred degrees below freezing!  I'm going to post it anyway because, now that the wreaths are all down from my windows and front door and the cheery pillows and lanterns are put away, the porch looks bleak and empty.  And also because, no matter how beautiful the inside of your home is, making a good first impression at home really does start outside.  Here are a few picks that can make a big impact; whether you pick one, two or all, they will be sure to freshen up your porch!

Myrtle Wreath / Brass ring door knocker / Metal garden orb / Brass house number /

Planter / Woven door mat / Lantern lights

Paint is the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to make a dramatic impact on a budget.  If you only do one thing to change up your porch, painting your front door a bold color in a high gloss finish is the way to go!  Glossy black is not only timeless, but is a gorgeous backdrop for an emerald green myrtle wreath (which is festive all year long!)  The combination is stunning! 

A shiny brass door knocker like this one is divine.  I also love this one and this one, too!

I scored a pair of metal garden orbs like these on clearance last summer at Target and they've been such a beautiful compliment to my porch and deck!  I set them in front of my ferns and now the leftover tree clippings (which are still going strong!)

These 6 inch brass house numbers make an elegant statement!

These fiberglass planters look like zinc; a pair flanking a front door would look gorgeous!

Something as simple as swapping out your door mat is a fresh way to make a change. I love this one (and I love the price, too!)

Nothing makes a dramatic statement as much as lighting.  And for the front porch, I'm a firm believer that the bigger, the better.  I bought these lantern lights last summer (see my post here) - they are 27 inches and not only do they make a dramatic impact, but, at around $100 EACH, they are super easy on the wallet, too!

How do you freshen your porch after taking all your decorations down?  I'd love to know!


wednesday wish list: winter whites

Good morning and happy hump day! In the past I've posted randomly about design and decorative accessories that I'm loving lately so I decided that, in the new year, I would post a weekly wishlist of sorts of all the goodies currently on my radar.  Right now I'm crushing on winter whites - at home and in the wardrobe, you just can't go wrong with snowy whites, soft creams and muted greige mixed with gold accents and a little bling (I'm seriously crushing on the Cleopatra bib necklace below!)  Retail stores and online boutiques are having major sales right now to make room for new inventory, too, which makes shopping a little easier on the wallet - especially so soon after Christmas.  Here are a few soft whites I'm loving lately:

Faribault wool throw / Valencia stool / Faux coral / Cleopatra bib necklace / Cable throw pillow

Ball and chain mirror / Vanilla diptyque candle / Gold monogram wine stopper

How to be Parisian book / Ivory quilted vest / Gilded agate coasters / Creme velour pebble pillow

What are you loving lately?


updated east coast chic: the zhush

As promised, a return to all things design and decor is in full effect and I can't think of a better way to kick off blogging in 2015 than with one heck of a beauty of a home tour!  As an east coast girl myself, I've always had an affinity for homes that echo traditional east coast style, so I was delighted to see that Domaine Home was featuring the lovely new home of Sue de Chiara, owner of the online home decor boutique Zhush and who also pens a blog by the same name.  I've been following Sue on Instagram as she conquers decorating her new Connecticut home and am beyond thrilled to see the full tour today!  Her style is classic and elegant with a little bit of prep and a knack for mixing traditional pieces with more modern elements like fabulous patterned wall coverings and abstract art for a sophisticated feel that is also fun and fresh.  It's not easy making a family home both elegant and chic, but Sue absolutely nails it!

All white in the family room is a beautiful backdrop for a STUNNING navy velvet sofa and navy and white toile wingbacks.  A touch of animal print in the form of two zebra footstools are the perfect finishing touch:

Benjamin Moore Cape Hatteras Sand on the walls in the living room look exactly like wet sand.  Love the Amanda Talley above the fireplace and the ribbon trimming the sofas:

I love me an all-white kitchen and this one is no exception; the brass bridge faucet is breathtaking, but my favorite feature is the little sneak peek into the navy blue lacquered jewel box of the butler's pantry beyond:

That faucet.  Swooooooon........

Is there anything more stunning than walls and cabinetry in a high gloss navy blue?  The coral adds a beautiful, feminine touch to the otherwise masculine space and it's my favorite spot in the house!

A spherical chandelier is a modern touch to a more traditional farmhouse table, ladderback chairs and a windsor bench in the eating area:

There's so much to love in this little niche, from the grass cloth wallpaper to the antique gilt mirror and blue and white ginger jar collection:

Farrow and Ball's Lotus wallpaper will always be timeless and here it looks even more striking in charcoal paired with another gilt mirror and a fabulous lucite and brass sink in the powder room:

A pretty little sitting area for homework (or blogging):

Marble herringbone floors and a stunning chartreuse wallcovering in the master bath.  Simply stunning:

An envy-inducing master closet fit for a queen:

To see more of this fabulous home, check out the feature on Domaine!  And to follow Sue on Instagram, find her @zhush.


2014: oh, what a year!

Happy New Year!  I hope you all had an amazing Christmas and are off to a great start in 2015!  Christmas for us this year was MAGICAL.  Even though Lydia is too young to remember any of it, we will never forget the look on her face when we turned the tree lights on for the first time or when she saw her teepee on Christmas morning.  As exciting as all of it was, (and it really, really was!) it was also very bittersweet.  Two days after Christmas, my baby girl turned ONE.  It seems like it all happened in the blink of an eye.  I rang in 2014 with a days-old baby girl and here I am kicking off 2015 with a walking, talking, adventurous, mischievious toddler! 

I learned so much this past year - to be patient with myself, with my husband; that it's okay for the house to be a mess and laundry to sit in the dryer for a week at a time; that there really isn't anything more important at any given time than sitting on the floor reading books or stacking blocks with my baby girl.  The hubby deployed when Lydia was just seven weeks old and my mother kept telling me to relish that time with her instead of stressing over the fact that he was gone and no family was around, and so, I did just that.  I took my time going back to work. We took long walks, went swimming, I played dress up with her...I waited forever for this sweet baby girl to come into my life, there was no way I was going to miss a moment!  It's hard to believe that the sweet newborn stage was a whole year ago; inulge me for a moment while I get sappy and revisit pictures from her newborn shoot and then I promise to get back to design and decor posts!

It's going to be pretty hard to beat this last year we've had, but as we head into 2015, I'm reminded that we have so much to celebrate, so much to be thankful for.  I'm so looking forward to the year ahead and for all the exciting changes to come, both personally and professionally, and I wanted to thank you all for continuing to follow, read, comment and interact here on my blog!  From my family to yours, I wish you all a year of health, happiness and success!


snippets of christmas around here

Simple has been my motto for Christmas decorations the last few years.  Last year, I was 50% effaced and 2 cm dilated two and a half weeks before Christmas and, because I worked right up until then, I had to punch it into high gear to get the house decorated in case she arrived early.  I wanted a festive homecoming for baby girl, who ended up making her debut two days after Christmas, so I went all out with fresh greens, simple garlands, bowls of clementines, strings of white lights, berry sprigs and all my favorite ornaments.  Simple, yet perfectly cozy and lovely.  This year, with a mobile little one with a penchant for all things glittery and shiny (just like her momma!), I focused on the tree and mantle, keeping treasured pieces waist high or above to avoid temptation! Before my greens completely dry up, here are a few snippets of what Christmas looks like around my house this year:

And I can't forget a shot of this little one, who loves the Christmas lights as much as her momma:

What are your favorite ways to decorate for the holidays?