Color Palette, Gray and Blush Pink

When I’m designing for my clients, whether on local projects or Edesigning, I love to include an inspirational color palette. I’ll show them a mix of colorful fabrics or I’ll add a photo to their Vision Board, the board they receive before receiving a Storyboard.

I’m having fun creating color palettes using objects I’ve gathered around the house. This is my latest palette – Gray and Blush Pink.

gray and blush pink color palette, alfred and mary interior design,

What’s your favorite color combination? ♥


alfred and mary interior design,

I have a Pinterest board devoted to Outdoor Living but have not had much use for it since we had more snow overnight – looks like a giant snow cone has spilled on the lawns. But with every snowfall, I seem to have the desire to write about something spring-like.

I once came across a DIY bird feeder on Pinterest. It was made from a pretty china plate and I thought if any of my china plates gets a chip, I’ll make the feeder.  Lo and behold, though, I found this package of paper china plates at Home Goods yesterday.

Spode plate,

So I punched a few holes in one of the paper plates, strung some twine and hung up the feeder. Oh, and how cute is that mini bird’s nest I found while walking Harry-Beast. Filled with our mini daffodils, it’s adorable.

DIY bird feeder,

DIY bird feeder, blue and white spode china plate, MBZ Interiors,

I’ll be able to change the feeder and replace the paper plate when the feeder gets too scummy. I hear that if you never clean your feeders, our feathered friends can spread disease to each other. 

I think those birds are going to be mighty lucky to be feeding off a “Spode” plate. Now I’m off to bundle up and go out to buy some bird seed. ♥

Spode dinner plate,


My Go-To Paint Color

Joanna Gaines paint color, Every designer has their favorite paint color. But, since everyone’s home has different natural and artificial lighting, I recommend that you always try sample colors on the wall before painting the entire room. That being said, there is a favorite color of mine that has worked 99% of the time that I have recommended it in my clients’ homes.

And the color is ………. Drumroll please!

Sherwin Williams Palos Heights,

Sherwin Williams “Spatial White” SW6259. It’s a white with a kiss of gray. Yep, that’s how I always describe it. Here are a few samples of when the color has worked for me in my designs …..

Four years ago I used it here when I decorated a home for a rehab flipper …

alfred and mary interior design, sherwin williams spatial white,

and I have used it here in a home in Lombard, IL …

Sherwin Williams Lombard, MBZ Interiors,

and just recently an Edesign client of mine, Nathan in California, used it in his bedroom/apt. studio. He said his landlord kept saying “beautiful, beautiful”.

sherwin williams spatial white, alfred and mary interior design,


All the rooms are lovely, aren’t they? When I start decorating a room that has ho-hum or a “meh” color on the wall, I usually think of Sherwin Williams Spatial White to snap that room into freshness.  I just proposed it to my local client for her powder room – Spatial White combined with Indigo Batik (also by SW) makes a crisp and fresh statement. I’ll let you know if she likes it and maybe, if we’re lucky, she’ll let us take a peek into her house when it’s complete. ♥

bathroom design, hale navy, alfred and mary interior design,



Lumens, a decorator’s magical fairy dust

MBZ Interiors, I am amazed how many people say that they need a new lamp or they wish that they did not have LED ceiling lights because it’s so dark in their rooms.

MBZ Interiors Inc., decorator Orland Park, Franklins Public House review,

Hhhmmm, did you all know that dark lighting is a simple fix – with your bulbs! Nope, it’s not the wattage in your bulbs. Watts are the amount of heat through the wires that your particular lamp or light fixture can handle (this is my unscientific layman’s explanation). That’s why a lamp comes with instructions “maximum watts ___”

MBZ Interiors, Franklins Public House review,

 Instead, it’s all about the amount of lumens a bulb contains. Lumens are the measure of brightness that your eye will perceive.  The more lumens listed on your bulb, the brighter the light. Although not a sponsored post, these are the bulbs we have in our kitchen ceiling. When these are on full blast (we have a dimmer), the lighting in the kitchen is terrific for tasking (cooking, cleaning the sink etc). Notice that there are 480 lumens in a bulb. Usually 300 to 400 lumens will guarantee good task lighting.

Philips Flood light, mbz interiors, best kitchen lighting,

MBZ Interiors Palos Heights, So the next time you are wondering why your rooms are so dark with your artificial lighting, take a look at the lumens listed on your light bulb packaging. Change your bulbs and Let your Light Shine. ♥


A kitchen full of trash and Swedish style simplicity

MBZ Interiors, kitchen chairs, chalk paint, If you used to follow this blog back in the day, you all know that we live in a small farmhouse – in the 1940s, its original owner was our town’s milkman. This home is always going through changes. In order for me to be able to constantly change the decor, I don’t buy very many any high-end furnishings. In fact a lot of our furniture is from the trash or estate sales. 

After the kids moved out a few years ago, we downsized our kitchen table. I had found some fabulous Chippendale style chairs at a garage sale, which of course I ended up painting and recovering the seats. (those seats have had many different fabrics on them since!) I then added some wishbone chairs which never quite fit the space. So I recently sold the wishbone chairs and have been on the lookout for replacements.

The neighbors down the street threw out the perfect pair of chairs. Granted, one chair was orange and the other chair was lime green but I saw past the color and, after making sure they were sturdy, scooped them up and drove them home for a bit of spray paint.

Swedish style ktichen, MBZ Interiors, Palos Heights for sale,

Chippendale chairs, Ethan allen dining chairs, By painting the chairs the same color as the Chippendale chairs, the set is cohesive. I think the chairs look terrific mixed ‘n matched – and let’s face it, you can’t beat the price. Stay tuned to this blog because I am sure by next Spring our little nook will take on a whole new look but for now I love the Swedish influence and simplicity 🙂



Snow be damned! Bring on the blues

MBZ Interiors Palos Heights, gray pillows, The beauty of white walls is that I can change the decor pretty easily in our home. I’ve been waiting and waiting – seems like forever – for Spring to really arrive outside so that I can change the grays in our bedroom and bring out the beachy blues.

MBZ Interiors, Well you can see that the weather is not cooperating and more snow is expected this weekend in Chicago. But ……..

Snow be damned, I’m starting to change the colors in our room! Today it’s on the window seats and I’m easily replacing the pillows. I’ll circle toward the bed when the weather cracks and I’m able to bring out the white duvet to replace the cozy quilt. So for now half our bedroom is in cool blues and the other half is still gray like the sky outside. It’s a hot mess but looking at the window seats makes me happy. Soon I’ll be able to complete this seasonal decorating change and before you know it I’ll be opening those windows for a summer breeze.

Who knows – maybe if we all put out summer colors, the weather will get the hint. How about you? Have you started to dress your home for Spring?  ♥

Under-cabinet lighting, Yay or Nay?

Answer: Definitely Yay! If you are building or remodeling your kitchen, don’t forget the under cabinet lighting.

Our kitchen has lots of natural light but here is the countertop during the day without the under cabinet lights on …

under cabinet lighting, kitchen remodeling,

And here is the countertop with the under cabinet lights on ….

under cabinet lighting, remodeling a kitchen, mbz interiors,

under cabinet lighting before and after, kitchen remodel,

Our lighting is from a company to the “Trade Only” but you can get your lighting through your contractor or interior decorator. We have a strip under each set of cabinets and there are many tiny light bulbs. A quality under cabinet lighting system is not inexpensive but it is definitely worth it. Task lighting is important in any space, particularly in the kitchen where you are cutting veggies, and cleaning and prepping your food.

under cabinet lighting, kitchen remodel,

I highly recommend you put them on a dimmer switch too.  First thing in the morning, I like only the under cabinet lighting on low setting in the kitchen – no other lighting is necessary. I’m able to make the coffee but the kitchen is quietly lit until I shake out of my sleep.

under cabinet lighting, dimmer switch,

Do you have under cabinet lighting and don’t you just love it? ♥

Pretty Woman Review Oriental Theater

pretty woman the musical review, Oriental Theater Chicago, I’d like to give an honest opinion on seeing the musical Pretty Woman at the Oriental Theater, Chicago. Before I review the play though, I have to give a short history about the theater itself.

The Oriental Theater was built in 1926. It was one of the first motion picture palaces and there was also live entertainment. Through the years the theater fell into disrepair and had many lives. Finally in 1998 the theater was restored to its original grandeur. And it is gorgeous! 


Review Pretty Woman the Musical, Oriental Theater address,

Oriental Theater Chicago, review Pretty Woman,

So how was the musical? Was it worth the short wait standing in line in freezing temperatures?

Review Pretty Woman the Musical,

chicago tribune review Pretty Woman, Pretty Woman the Musical, Oriental Theater, Chicago Play

Yes! The musical was amazing! The cast seemed to have a genuinely good time and their spirit carried to the audience. My favorite character was Kit DeLuca played by Orfeh and the best part of the musical was the Opera scene.  Allison Blackwell, the actress who played Violetta, was outstanding. But I don’t want to give too much away so I highly recommend you go see Pretty Woman, the musical. You’ll love it. ♥

Currently Working On…

My clients are empty nesters with a boatload of kids and grandkids. We pulled their color palette from one of the many gorgeous formals they wore to one of their children’s weddings. 

purple mood board, alfred and mary interior design,


The feathers? Found them on my walk at the Lake this morning. Inspiration can be found everywhere, right? And the pillows covers? They’ll be made by my favorite sewist/artisan PoP O Color

purple and tan home color palette, popocolor etsy, pillows

Stay tuned.


behr evening hush paint, alfred and mary interior design,

“Creativity is contangious, Pass It on!” (credit Albert Einstein)

Welcome to Alfred and Mary Interior Design, Inc. I’m Mary Beth – a wife, mom and an interior decorator in Palos Heights, a sleepy little suburb with a big heart located in Chicago. I spend my days decorating for local clients. I also provide virtual interior design services (a/k/a E-design) to anyone in the State of Illinois. Feel free to look around to get to learn more about Alfred and Mary Interior Design, Inc. I’ll be sharing my interior decorating advice through these pages and may occasionally give you a peek into some of my projects.

Thanks for visiting!