It is always interesting to me to see how different two similar spaces can look. I wanted to share with you this wonderful restoration of an Edwardian Duplex in San Francisco by Marsh and Clark Design. By altering the choices of cabinets, furniture and lighting these nearly identical kitchens each become unique spaces. Designer, Stephanie Marsh Fillbrandt created the first kitchen in a more formal tone with ebony cabinets, marble backsplash and marble counters.
The second kitchen in lighter tones has a more relaxed look. Notice that the space and layout are almost the same but the feel is very different.
This first unit lacked a formal dining room. In this case, it was important to have the dining area and the kitchen itself, take on a more formal atmosphere. The lighting and furniture choices are more dressy and sophisticated. Notice the upholstered chairs, chandelier and pendant lights, all would be equally at home in a dining room.
I love the contrast of the white marble against the dark cabinets. Also notice the steel counter stools. I love the sleek contemporary feeling of this space.
The other unit had a formal dining room, so the kitchen was designed to have a more relaxed, informal feeling. By choosing warmer wood tones and wall colors you immediately can see this space has a completely different feeling than the kitchen above. It is interesting to note that the backsplash and counters are the same marble as the kitchen above.
Rattan and wood chairs, small pendant lights and textured shade chandelier give the kitchen a more warm and relaxed feeling. Here you peek into the dining area. The side area of this kitchen doubles as a wet bar for the dining room. This is a wonderful example of changing wood tones, lighting and furnishings and transforming two almost identical kitchens into two very different spaces. Click here to see more wonderful projects from Marsh and Clark Design.

Finally, after a short hiatus to spend more time this summer focusing on my family, bi-weekly posts at Willow Decor will begin again in September. Recharged, refreshed and more inspired than ever! Exciting things lie ahead!! Glad to be back!!

Thanks to everyone who entered to win the $50 Gift Certificate in the

Ruffles & Cream Giveaway!

The lucky winner

as determined by is...

Aubrey from Little Bits Of Life


For the rest of us...check out these pictures that I found on Aubrey's blog of the birthday party that she recently threw for her 5 year old daughter.

She calls it the "Pinkalicious Birthday Bash"...

If that doesn't scream "Ellison", I don't know what does!

I think I've just found my inspiration for her next birthday.


We're off to enjoy a day of summer sun!

Packing up the kids and heading up to Boulder Lake with my Dad, brother and sister-in-law to go hiking.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

I'm just a little excited about our newest sponsor here at It's The Little Things...

(I say that thick with sarcasm because I am just about as excited as I could be!)

There will be a full introductory post and a giveaway next week, but for now, check this out:

Just imagine the possibilities!

My mind is racing...


To check out BULX for yourself...

The website:

The blog:

On Twitter:

And on Facebook:

Happy shopping!

Progress on the bathroom makeover is s-l-o-w going, at best!

Projects normally happen at a pretty rapid pace around here, but this summer has been different.

With Will flying up in Anchorage so much, and the kids home on summer break, it means projects fall by the wayside and summer fun takes a front seat.

And I'm not complaining! That's exactly as it should be!

(The summer fun, I mean. Not about Will being gone so much. We miss him!)

But I have been wanting to give the bathroom across from our kitchen a makeover for quite some time now, and when I finally convinced Will to cut some wood for me, I had to jump on the opportunity!

The goal:

To make this bathroom fit in with the part of the house that it is most closely connected to - the Family Room and Kitchen. If you have read my blog for any length of time, you probably know that quite a while back we gave our Family Room and Kitchen a big makeover by adding Board & Batten throughout the entire space. A decision that I don't regret and have yet to grow tired of.

The bathroom across from our kitchen has spent the past few years looking like this...

I wouldn't say it's terrible, but just not very special either.

This teeny, tiny 3 & 1/2 by 7 & 1/2 foot space receives no natural light whatsoever.

Not a bit.

If I had my way, a Solatube would find it's way into the ceiling, but Will assures me that this won't be happening anytime soon.


So, to tie this bathroom to the Family Room and Kitchen and bring in the feeling of "light & bright", we put up more Board & Batten...

Here is the Before:

And the...Almost-After:

(like I said, this summer has kept projects from happening quickly! It's not quite done.)

One of my favorite parts of this B&B treatment is that we added something at the back that is perfect for this space. You can't even tell that it's there currently, but once the space is painted and decorated, it will be the perfect addition to make the space more functional.

Can you tell what it is?

It's a shelf at the back, integrated right into the B&B!

A simple 6 &1/2" shelf is just what I need for propping up a frame or two, a scented reed diffuser and a few pieces of decor to bring the room together...

We just ran a piece of trim in front of the shelf, that perfectly matches the rest of the trim and it blends in seamlessly.

I love it and I cannot wait to decorate!

But first, the B&B needs a 2nd coat of paint as well as all of the existing trim and the door.

I'll finish it all one of these days.

If nothing else, school starts in 3 weeks and the projects can commence!

The passion for decorating is a pretty big motivator and I can't do that until everything else is finished.

Stay tuned...

**To see our take on Board & Batten and how we do it, click here.**

*And to see the follow-up to that post, click here.*


Don't forget...

Friday is your last chance to enter the giveaway for the

$50 Gift Certificate


Ruffles & Cream

Click Here to check out all of the details.

**This Giveaway is now CLOSED and is no longer accepting entries.**


It's time for a giveaway!

But first, an introduction.

Please welcome our newest sponsor here at It's The Little Things...

Ruffles & Cream

A Childrens Boutique For Life's Little Luxuries

This chic childrens boutique was founded in 2009 with the goal of finding the best and most unique products for you child. From beautiful nursery and childrens furniture to bedding and decorating accessories to the sweetest and most chic baby and toddler fashions.

You are sure to find something special for the little one's in your life.

Know a special someone with a birthday coming up?

Check out their

Birthday Boutique

There's some serious cuteness going on in there!

Here is just a small sampling of what you will find when you visit

Ruffles & Cream

(Hello, Gorgeous!! I want a bed that pretty!)


Ruffles & Cream will be running new sales every week through the holidays, featuring several of their vendors each month and offering special prices, savings and Free Shipping* to their customers. Sign up for their newsletter to be the first to know about New Arrivals, Special Offers and Sales!

Ready for the details of the giveaway?

Ruffles & Cream is generously giving one lucky winner a

$50 Gift Certificate

to use in their online boutique!

Lucky for you, you've got 4 chances to win:

1. Visit Ruffles & Cream and find your favorite item. Come back here and leave me a comment telling me which item that is.

2. Head over to the Ruffles & Cream Facebook Fan Page and click "Like". Then head back here and leave a comment letting me know that you like them.

3. Follow Ruffles & Cream on Twitter at:
then leave me a comment.

4. Post about the giveaway on your own blog, or on your Facebook. Once again, come back and leave me a comment with the link to your post.

**Each comment will be counted as one entry, so if you qualify to enter more than once be sure that you are submitting individual comments for each entry.**

This giveaway will run from Monday, August 8th through Friday, August 13th at midnight (PST). I will announce the winner on Saturday, August 14th.

Good luck to you all!

And happy shopping!

*Please visit Ruffles & Cream for details on Free Shipping!

That's how many days we have left before the kids go back to school!

We've been busy, busy, busy.

This has definitely been our most fun summer to date!

As I type this, I am surrounded by four boys, ages 6, 7, 8 and 9, who are on day two of their

"Guys Night".

(So cute!! But I'll never tell them that I said that!)

The boys invited their best friends over for a slumber party last night. Ellison stayed at my parents' house, Will is on a trip and I have been staying out of their way letting boys be boys.

Right now...they're playing hide and seek in the house (thanks to the rain). They're loud and fast and the house is full of non-stop laughing!

Ahhh, to be a kid again...

25 days and counting!


I've got a project I'm working on, but I'll admit, it's been slow going. It has been harder than expected to get the big things done with three kids at home, Will based in Anchorage, and all of our summer activities that have been happening. But I am anxious to get it completed! It's happening in the half bathroom across from our kitchen and it's taking on the look of my favorite room in our house.

Can you guess what it is?


And I'll give you a little head's up...

we have a new Sponsor here at It's The Little Things...

Did you notice the adorable new button up there on the left?

I'll tell you all about them in a post that's coming up.

You won't want to miss it because, as always, it comes with a giveaway!!

See you back here tomorrow.

Have a wonderful Sunday!

(Julia Cumes for the Boston Globe)
We just returned from a wonderful trip to Sanibel Island in Florida. Like so many visitors to Sanibel our family got bitten by the "Shell Collecting" bug and we spent much of our time roaming the beautiful beaches hunting for shells. I am a big fan of using natural materials in decorating, especially shells, and one of my favorites items is the giant clam shell.
When I returned home I looked through my files and found that over the years I had several images of the giant clam shell. I wanted to share with you a few of my favorites. The photo above is vignette from the John Derian's summer home on Cape Cod. I love the unexpected texture the shell brings to this simple, rustic antique table.
Perhaps the most obvious way to use a giant clam shell is on a table top. It lends itself well as a vessel for planting or housing a collection of fruit or decorative balls. I really love the example above. I find the contrast of the soft, willowy arrangement very striking against the rough coarseness of the exterior of the shell.
(Elle Decor)
Above is lovely living room of Ali Wentworth and George Stephanopoulos. You can see the giant clam shell in the fireplace.
(Elle Decor)
Here the shot is restyled and you can see a better view of the shell. I especially like the bold color of the back of the bookcases. It provides a wonderful contrast for the other shells which are displayed.
(coastal style living)
These next two bathrooms are designed by Barry Dixon and they are fabulous of examples of using the giant clam shell in the bath. The glass shower creates almost a terrarium like display for the shell and provides a fabulous natural element.
(coastal style living)
Barry Dixon again uses a giant clam shell and fills it with natural sea sponges. I love how the placement of the shell softens the lines of the tub. The chandelier and screen are also beautiful additions.
(Jupiter Granite)
I love to see the shells used in more unique ways like the sink above. I adore this!! Someday I hope to add a bathroom at the beach house with a giant clam shell as a sink. This particular one was beautifully executed.
(House Beautiful)
Here is a more opulent example of using a giant clam shell as a sink. This bathroom, with it's mother of pearl tiles, is located in Southampton, NY. You can read more about this amazing home here.
Finally here is wonderful vignette located on the back wall of the pool house of Antiquarian, Michael Trapp, via Joni at Cote de Texas. The giant shell adds a wonderful burst of white against the spectacular stone walls. This home is really extraordinary. You can read more about it here.

Our Sanibel vacation inspired me add more shells to our beach home decor. We came home with a suitcase filled with our beautiful finds. I am anxious to get them sorted and displayed. More to come!! Hope you all are enjoying the summer!!!


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