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even when saving money is the objective, great and mighty things can be achieved. Housing Works hosted the fifth annual Design On A Dime. ticket and furniture sales from 46 designer vignettes raised big money at the benefit’s opening night at new york’s metropolitan pavilion.

Mark-Stephan Design

can’t you just imaging sipping a glass of wine in this space with your very best friends before hitting the club scene?  i don’t care what they say on bravo tv’s the fashion show…black is the new black as evidenced in this space. tee-hee!

black on black on natural with just a touch of red

black on black on natural with just a touch of red

you have to visit the original article in the interior design magazine for images of some of the other spaces in this gala.  the event was held from may 7-9, bringing in $600,000!  beautiful!  even images of the president became part of the design. read  more here.

no one should have to abandon good design just to look wonderful.


the console i used for this project was fine in its original condition.  it was just all wrong for my purpose.  the space needed an injection of color and i wanted an old weathered looking piece.

console in its original condition

console in its original condition

i spotted it at a local consignment shop.  i didn’t really notice it until the second time around.  the dimensions and price were perfect.  it just needed a makeover which resulted in a fabulous very custom looking piece of painted furniture.

E+O’s step by step from blah to beautiful:

1- lightly sand the entire console

2- primed it randomly so the crackle texture and original finish peeped through

3- 3 colors of  paint were applied using equal parts of acrylic paint, water and glaze.  it was important for all the colors to show. the darker color,  indigo blue  was applied first.  random fluid strokes were used. the creamy color was second and the  prominent color, periwinkle was applied last.

4- highlighted areas of excessive wear and tear (in edges, near the drawer pulls) received a concentration of  dark umber antiquing glaze while all other areas received a very light coat. after it was applied i used a soft white rag to wipe it off.  make sure the rag does not release loose fibers that  will remain on the furniture.

5- in some areas i used a badger brush to distribute and remove the glaze. (to do this i dabbed a foam brush with glaze in certain areas and used the the badger brush to spread it over the area. after a few strokes i removed excess glaze from the brush with a rag.  i repeated this process until the glaze was uniformed)

6- along the edges of the table top i used my fingertips to rub on metallic antigue gold rub and buff i purchased on-line from  (these are handy to keep around for toning down bright metals and to add a depth of richness to almost any home decor item) .  using your fingertip gives you more control.

7- i switched out drawer pulls to coordinate with the new look

8- the last step was to apply 3 coats of varnish

Distressed console using acrylic and metallic paints

Distressed console after the makeover using acrylic and metallic paints

i enjoy dressing  foyers with distinctiverecycled finds, unexpected and dramatic pieces.  the entrance sets the tone for things to come by creating anticipation with fluidity.  i am such a lover of old things reclaimed and used in fun and exciting ways.

the root chair in my foyer was rescued from a disparaging life in a field on the side of a highway.  at first glance the herd seemed like nothing special since there were so many pieces (100+).  but as i approached the area, i was amazed at the gracefulness of each piece.  the owner of the store (the mahogany man) said the pieces come from Indonesian plantations which promote the preservation of the life of the plantations.

i’ve seen root chairs used outdoors but increasingly they are used indoors as shown on the cover of veranda magazine.  where ever you put it, plan on it staying there – these pieces weigh a ton!

root coffee table used indoors

root coffee table used indoors

each piece is unique and one of a kind.  the roots and stumps are removed so new replacement trees can be planted. they are left outside to dry for approximately one year, depending on the thickness of the root.  after drying, craftsmen examine the shape of the root and determine whether to design a root chair, root table, bench or other unique furniture to accentuate it’s natural beauty to a functional show piece.

my chair serves double duty as a work of art and support for my coffe table books.  i placed it on an old tattered prayer rug I found while shopping at an antique store in hilton head. even with the frayed edges i loved the colors and pattern.

the leaning shutters i found in high point, nc at blue ocean traders.  i had planned to replace my pantry door with these shutters but it was off by a couple of inches so i found a new home for them.

blue ocean traders

the pedestal in front of the shutters was found at a local vintage store that has since gone out of business.  it’s a little gaudy but that’s what i like about it.  i paid $90 bucks for it.  stealer deal!  it has an over the top look, like it may have been designed by a custom prop company.  (by the way – use prop companies to source out unique custom items that you may otherwise have a difficult time finding on regular buying trips.)


this iron linden accent table is also from Grandin Road.

what a great buy for $199.00.  catch it while it’s on sale for the best deal.

i see this table being right at home in any style room.  to make it uniquely yours you could

silver leaf the base for a decidedly contemporary design

+  paint the base in a high gloss or satin white for a clean modern look.

+  replace the glass with a round cut of granite or some other stone.  this would be simply elegant and very tuscan inspired.

+  place the glass on top of a hand painted wood top.  go totally traditional with a unique stencil design on top or just around the edges.

+  personalize the wood top with your monogram.

+  cut an MDF board to size, cover with fabric or decoupage really vibrantly colored leaves on top and add decorative nail heads along the edges for a tailor-made design.  Be certain to raise the glass 1 inch or 2, above the board with standoffs of your choice.