Taking Your Home To A Stellar Level



P.O. Box 2009 Lake Arrowhead, CA 92352


Thanks for submitting!

Image by Matt Artz
  • Dana D. McKee

Creating An Unforgettable Home

Updated: Feb 18, 2020

Courtesy of Homelillys

I am firm believer that your home should provide an emotional experience for every guest that walks through your door. Your heart should quicken, at least that's what I strive to do with my own home. I want to inspire and I want to be inspired. I've been in many homes where I had such a reaction and left with an intense need to create, and, they weren't all multimillion dollar homes.

About twenty years ago, I visited a friend who lived in an apartment complex right off the freeway. This was an experimental time in my life in discovering my own design aesthetic and being totally unaware that was I even trying to find it. I bought furniture in sets back then and everything I purchased was impulsive, overpriced, and later, regrettable.

The expectation of my visit wasn't to be wowed by her home. She was an interesting and dynamic person, stylish, and we always had entertaining conversations. I was there simply to have fun. That should have been a clue to me that her home would mirror her personality, but I missed it. So, to the point of the story, I was completely caught off guard when I entered her humble little abode to see her walls covered - floor to ceiling - in vintage art. That frenzied placement of an assortment of works in all shapes and sizes had me mesmerized - I mean, completely mesmerized with color, texture, pattern and the enormity of it all. It was a lot to take in, but I LOVED it. And she wasn't trying to make an impression; every piece that adorned her walls, I learned, had been thoughtfully collected through yard sales and flea markets. There was little furniture - no table or chairs for dining, just a basic couch and chair - and it was clear that THIS - this art - was her passion. And, she conveyed it beautifully. It was such a stark contrast - all that art and sparse furniture - that it left an indelible imprint on my mind. My love for vintage art was born during that visit and I have her to thank for it.

The first salon wall originated in 1667 when recent grads of École des Beaux Arts in Paris displayed their works at the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture in Paris for aristocratic participants. The walls were packed with as much work as could fit, inspiring viewers to take in all they could. Alternative salons began to spring up throughout France, as the desire for enriched cultural engagement spread throughout all classes. The salons became breeding grounds for Enlightenment thought, frequented by intellectuals and the rising bourgeoisie class.
Actual photo of American ex-pat and author, Gertrude Stein's Paris apartment. She moved to Paris in 1903 to live with her brother, Leo. Both began to collect art, as Leo intended to be an art critic. Their home at 27, rue de Fleurus, became home to their Saturday salons. A circle of artists gathered around them, including such notables as Matisse, Picasso, and Gris, who Gertrude and Leo brought to public attention. Her salon is still one of the most famous - and talented - with works by Matisse, Gauguin, Renoir, Gris, and Picasso.
Salon walls are also referred to as gallery walls by design enthusiasts today. Courtesy of Architectural Digest.
A vintage art gallery wall for those who are into the rustic vibe. Courtesy of Style Patina.

What I learned from that experience is to fill your home with things that you are passionate about - that's the key factor in creating a home that you never want to leave and your guests don't forget. For me, that would be vintage art, of course, vintage art glass, and books. The good news is that none of it needs to cost a fortune. Most of my greatest deals were found on Craigslist, OfferUp, Letgo, and in vintage stores in Palm Springs - I need to see it in person, touch, and feel before I buy.

Period colors like smoky grays and vibrant oranges are considered strong examples of midcentury production and are therefore highly sought after by Blenko collectors.

The best way to get that great deal is to know what you are buying before you buy. I studied art glass extensively after making my first purchase at a hefty price. I know enough now to be able to spot a good piece and jump on it. I recently purchased several pieces of Blenko and Viking art glass at an insanely low price. The miracle was that the seller knew what she had and was just looking to downsize her collection. This was a gift and it happens far more frequently than many realize. Bottom line is; beautiful art glass, quality hand-blown art glass, can elevate a room and give it an expensive looking touch without breaking the bank if you shop smart.

TIP: Do not remove the maker's label on art glass. Artist's signatures and maker's labels are visual evidence of provenance and increase the value of the item.

The element of surprise is another ingredient in making a big impact. It could be something as simple as the shape of the furniture style or an unusual use of space, but remember to add at least one detail that stands out and begs to be noticed.

Have a usable nook or cranny not in use? Old books always add visual; interest and I just find them comforting.
Ok - I cannot resist a cute cat photo. This is an example of a stand out FUN detail. Photo courtesy of Houzz.

Mixing furnitures styles and not buying in sets prevents your home from ever looking dated - like the old saying regarding fashion goes, "Fashion is meant to go out of style," so too, can the same thing be said about furniture. If you buy it separately, it eventually becomes vintage, and vintage is always cool. Distribute styles in the room, so they aren't grouped in their same period all together - balance is needed for the number of pieces used. Finally, tie it together with accessories from the same period, so it's a cohesive fit.

Combining a distressed piece with one that is totally flawless creates contrast and balance. Photo courtesy of real

Now a few last words on smell, as it relates to your home. The sense of smell is the strongest sense tied to memory, so the importance of how your home smells cannot be overstated. There is certainly enough conclusive evidence that aromatherapy and the scent of flowers reduces stress and anxiety. How do you want your your guests to feel after they cross the threshold and step inside your home?

Fragrant vines, like jasmine, look so pretty and wild in a vase. Yes, it can be done! Courtesy of Gardenista.

I live in an A frame cabin with a fireplace and we will burn fires up to the month of May, so great smelling firewood is important to us. Cherry wood is considered to be the best smelling wood of all, in that it offers a unique aroma that is sweet and lasting. You can buy cherry firewood online, if none is available in your area. The cost for a box of cherry wood for 2-4 fires is about $59.00, not too bad if you're planning a special gathering. Think about how you want to be remembered by your family and friends that visit your home. Wiill they think of the energizing scent of orange or something woodsy, or will they think of musty and stale?

My daily prayer is to affect people in the best possible way with my words and actions - I apply that same sentiment when it comes to my home. I want my family and friends to feel so great when they leave that they can't wait to visit again.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this blog post and what you do to create an extraordinary space. Thank you for visiting, leave comments, and I hope you will come back every Sunday for brand new post.

57 views0 comments

©2019 by Style Super Nova. Proudly created with