From drab to fab – how to decorate a bedroom with a 4 piece matching bedroom set

Ahhh, the dreaded 4 or 5 piece matching bedroom sets. You know the sets, the one where the chain furniture store gives you shiny wood furniture, all matching, and they even include cheap metal lamps. And, after the movers move in the set, you look around and think “gosh this room still looks bad”, not at all decorated or improved. That’s exactly what happened to my latest Edesign client, Wendy.

First things first, I encouraged her to change the wall color to take the room from looking like a piece of caramel candy to a room that was given a bit of thought. Adding a peel and stick wallpaper behind the headboard would give some texture. A round mirror over the dresser would break up all the angles in the room.

Let’s remove the old bedding and replace with one with beautiful patterns. Let’s add drapes too to compliment the patterned bedding. The room is looking better already, isn’t it?

Getting an electrician to install fabulous pendant lighting to go along with the rest of the new lamps would make the room interesting and one-of-a-kind. A chair for reading by the beautiful window nook and some accessories were the icing on the cake.

king bed, shiplap, alfred and mary interior design, palos heights,

So even though it’s easy to buy a “set” of furniture, if you want a curated look that’s personal to you, you need to put a little thought into the room. It takes a bit of work but it can be done!

Hosting a future in-law get together

Did I tell you that our youngest daughter is getting married? She’s the first to get married out of our group of children and we’re so excited. The husband to be is a wonderful guy and we couldn’t have picked a better match for our daughter if we tried – good thing she was the one working on finding the love of her life – not us 😉

I’ve been googling a lot of information about bride’s parents’ obligations, etc. But truthfully there’s a lot of different opinions out there. I think it is the times we are currently living and “anything goes”. After the engagement (a private affair between just the couple), we received a phone call from his parents. Although we did meet his parents once prior to the engagement, I followed up with hosting a brunch – an official “in-law meet and greet”. Someone told me that was old-fashioned and unnecessary but hey, a party is a party and there’s never a bad time for a party, right?

I kept it a simple brunch – homemade frittata, fruit salad, chicken salad and croissants and mimosas. I even attempted to make homemade chocolate chip cookies for the first time since those cookies are my son in law’s favorites.

Dear Husband and I really enjoyed having our future son-in-law’s parents over to the house and I think they had a good time. They brought us a gift of red gerbera daisies to plant in the garden – daisies are my favorite flower!

So although a lot of online information said no official get-together among future-in-laws is necessary, I’m glad we did it. After all, I think you should entertain anyone at any time for any reason and what better reason than celebrating a sweet young couple in love!

Giving an entry hallway some personality, Wayfair Design Services

We’ve all heard that the entry/foyer is the eye to our home’s soul (or something like that) and, upon entering the house, a guest will or should immediately know something about the someone who resides in the home. Denise came to me through Wayfair Design Services. She had just moved into a beautiful new home that needed some new lighting and her own personality.

Photo is courtesy of my Wayfair Design Services client

When I started the design, I started at the beginning – natch! 🙂 The hall is a whopping 17 feet of real estate. Since Denise’s living room is at the end of the hall and has been decorated in traditional furnishings of blue and tan, I suggested that Denise paint the entry door a beautiful blue. This will make a big statement in a little space and it will hint at the color scheme throughout the house. A beautiful 13′ rug leads the way into the living room that has a complimentary blue floral rug. Above your head, as you enter the home, a gorgeous new entry chandelier lights the way. The existing flush mounts on the lower ceiling will be removed and will be replaced with recessed lighting.

On one side of the entry hall, there will be a bench. I decorated the bench with pillows to bring softness in the hall, and added a large and beautiful print above the bench.

And across from the bench, there will be a sideboard. Denise already had the cherry mirror hanging in the hall. Along with the new cherry sideboard, there will be a lamp and baskets on the shelf underneath for the children to drop items and perhaps even for some pet toys. There has to be tray too to hold keys and mail.

And here is the room all put together on the Edesign rendering.

Design by Mary Beth Zwolfer, Rendering by WDS

Your entry should be functional but feel special and reflect the residents who reside in the home. I wish Denise and her family much happiness every time they enter their home and I thank Denise for the opportunity to design for her.

Kitchen Edesigns

It amazes me how our personalities come out in our home designs. So many clients with different personalities, so many kitchens. Which kitchen is more your style?

CA Kitchen, natural elements – Rattan and kilim rug
Traditional kitchen where we kept existing cabinets but created new breakfast nook
Gardening lover’s kitchen
Gloria’s Shabby ‘n chic Kitchen
French Country Farmhouse kitchen in black & white

Gardening 101 – 1st day of summer celebration

If you haven’t heard, it’s the first day of summer – Whoo Hoo! In celebration, I am giving you two of my Dear Husband’s garden tips (OK, I’m not the gardener over here but I do water the garden for Dear Husband while he’s at work):


Our hydrangea are just coming into bloom and are not yet ready to cut and bring indoors – hence, as you can see, our hydrangea are not in full color yet. But I’m so excited that it’s almost time for their color and to bring them in the house. I love fresh cut flowers indoors! Anyway, if you want to color your hydrangea, add used coffee grounds to the soil around the plant. Make your coffee as usual and just carry out the grounds to the garden – VOILA! instant coloring powder.


If you are having trouble getting your plants to grow and flourish under your evergreen trees, simply add garden Lime to the soil.

I hope, if you’ve never heard these tips, that you find this information useful. Now get out there and enjoy this First Day of Summer, just like Harry-Beast!

Sherwin Williams Spatial White Paint

Sherwin Williams Spatial White, bathroom, black and white,

Yesterday I was in Sherwin Williams returning a wallpaper book and it got me thinking about my go-to paint color – Sherwin Williams “Spatial White”. Is it white? Is it gray? I think it’s white with a kiss of gray. It’s definitely a cool color. Fresh and bright. Here are a few times I’ve used Spatial White ….

coastal home, Sherwin Williams Spatial White, blue and white,
West Facing Living Room
alfred and mary interior design, before and after coastal home, fireplace,
gray and yellow living room, Alfred and Mary Interior Design, Palos Heights Illinois,
East Facing Living Room
Dining Room for family of 7

You’ll notice that the dining room above is for a family of 7 – there are 5 children under the age of 11. Don’t be afraid to go light on the walls, even if you have children. It’s so much easier to wipe down a wall than it is to clean fabric. I always like to suggest to my clients that have a gaggle of children to go with a lighter wall color and darker fabrics.

This is not a sponsored post, but if you’re looking for a light and fresh wall color, give Sherwin Williams “Spatial White” a try.

Easy Peasy Favorite Summer Side – Veggie Kabobs

This is one of our favorite summer sides: Veggie Kabobs. (The 2 steaks are for my 6’4″ Dear Husband, the little steak is for Harry-Beast but 2 of the Kabobs are all for me!)

First soak your wooden skewers. You can have them on the counter sitting in a short bath of water (I put ours in a baking sheet of water) all day if you want to.

Slice: Yellow squash; Zucchini, chunks of Onion; Cherry Tomatoes; and chunks of Red Pepper

Thread the veggies onto the skewers.

Brush the veggies with Olive Oil, and sprinkle Salt, Pepper and dried Basil all over the veggies.

Grill the veggies, turning occasionally until veggies are to desired tenderness – about 20 min. Enjoy!