Outside the Box with D. Keeley: November Update

I don’t know about you, but I always seem to have items lying around that I just don’t know what to do with. They aren’t my favorite things, but at the same time, I just can’t bring myself to throw them away. Such was the case with a concrete fountain my company removed from a client project years ago. The fountain was a gift from the client’s children, and while it is no longer aesthetically appropriate for his garden, it, nevertheless, holds sentimental value. So, i agreed to keep it safe and sound.

The other day (10 years later!) I stumbled across the various pieces of the dismantled water feature and had an idea: why not give this underused, yet meaningful object, a new life? I decided to transform the fountain into a multi-tiered planter and focal point, fit for the fall season, and thought I would share the metamorphosis with you. I hope it will inspire you, perhaps, to rethink some of those items around your garden that are in need of a new life!


I think the photographs probably speak for themselves, but let me tell you a little bit about the details. Here is what the fountain looked like before:


Now I’m no killer, but be forewarned…the cherub and dolphin go to fountain heaven before the end of this story!

Other than ordering these dual deaths, all I did was to fill the tiered bowls of the fountain with quality potting soil and to plant a mixture of variegated ivy, ornamental cabbages and violas. Then, I scattered miniature pumpkins throughout the foliage to give the display a seasonally appropriate ‘cornucopia’ effect.






For good measure I added a heaping pile of pumpkins around the base of the fountain, as much to hide another dolphin I wasn’t able to harpoon as for any other reason!



And that was about it! While I was at it, I placed a lovely, rust-colored mum on either side of the entrance to the cabana, and for sheer amusement’s sake, scattered pumpkins and squashes randomly throughout what was left of the vegetable garden for an instant ‘punkin patch’. Hey, sometimes girls just want to have fun, right?!





And, that’s all folks…a fun and easy project that gave me new appreciation for something that had gone unnoticed for a long time. Take a look around your own garden, and see what you can find that is in need of a makeover. I guarantee something will call out to you.

Have a wonderful autumn and a very happy Thanksgiving! See you next month.

Exterior designer Daniel Keeley is an Arkansas native and founder/principal of DK Design. His work has won numerous awards and accolades and is featured regularly in various publications. For more information visit dkdesignoutdoor.com.  

Follow the Outside the Box house through the seasons, by reading Daniel Keeley’s other posts, HERE.

Decorating with Cece Fourchy Quinn: Bookshelf Style

There’s nothing I love more than a well-styled bookshelf. My current home (a mid-century bungalow circa 1950) has only one original built-in and it’s sized for 10 books, tops. Not ideal, especially not for two English majors. At this point I’ve got our books stacked sky-high on the coffee table and nestled under a farm table in the living room. I like to think it’s very Bohemian of me (I’ll just keep telling myself that.) So, it’s time to get some shelving. But in the meantime, I’m having major bookcase envy. From designer Jayson Cain’s uber-sophisticated style to more kid-centric and colorful looks, here are my favorites in the shelving department.

Design by Jayson Cain
Photo by Rett Peek
At Home in Arkansas


Design by Bailey McCarthy
Rue Magazine


Design by Lulu deKwiatkowski
Photo by Nicole LaMotte
One Kings Lane


Design by Kay O’Toole
Photo by Patrick Cline


Design by Elaina Sullivan
Photo by Brittany Ambridge


Photo by Tim Van de Velde
Dwell Magazine


Design by JJ Martin
Photo by Todd Selby
The Selby


Design by Alex Papachristidis
Photo by Richard Powers
Elle Decor


Design by Gaia Repossi
Photo by Matthieu Sulvaing
Vogue Russia

What about you? How do you style your bookshelf?

Cece Fourchy Quinn is a native Californian who fell in love with the South during school at Ole Miss. She created her blog, Mississippi Maven, to share inspirations on interiors, fashion and all things stylish. After college she relocated to Little Rock where she worked in design and further honed her aesthetic. Now back in her hometown on the West Coast, she spends her time scouring flea markets for unique finds, hoarding shelter magazines and dreaming of the South.

Living the Good Life with Chris H. Olsen: More (and More) Uses for Your Pumpkins

What happens the day after Halloween? On the Catholic calendar, that day is All Souls’ Day, but otherwise what do you typically do? Many will turn their thoughts to Thanksgiving and Christmas preparation and decorating, which means giving those pumpkins and squash and gourds the heave. Or at least relegate them to some dark corner until a member of the household shows mercy and carries them out to the curb.

Stop! You don’t have to toss your autumnal seasonal display and immediately turn to sole thoughts of red and green. Why not incorporate those pumpkins and squashes into your Christmas decorating? Heresy, you say. Everyone knows pumpkins can’t be used with Christmas. But take a look at this:


I’ve used an old candle stand to display some vintage ornaments, then brought in two pumpkins and tossed various squashes into the mix. See how well these colors work together? Nothing scary, forced or especially self-conscious, either. And the textures are a nice combination as well.


Use striped ornaments and striped squashes together. Notice the textural contrast and the colors. The tonality works well, doesn’t it? Now, you’re starting to get the picture.


Terra cotta always works well with pumpkins; the smoothness of their surfaces correspond and the colors always blend. Since this part is tried and tested, then add terra cotta to the pumpkin and red ornament mix, for an even more nuanced look. It now makes sense to combine and blend those two major displays.


Now for the real pièce de résistance. If you have three of those ‘major’ pumpkins left—the ones you used at the front of your display this year–three that match somewhat in size and shape, yet are contrasting, then create a snowman out of them. You can stack them for the body, like the three large snowballs you create in your front yard, then create the face and a few accessories. I used red ornaments for the eyes, a conifer seedpod for the nose, a twig out of the yard for his mouth. The buttons? Acorns I found on a walk. I then finished his look by bringing in squash and ornaments and weathered pieces to surround. This effect is so natural, so right—combining fall and holiday—that it makes you wonder why all the fuss. Why do you have to segregate these two decorating opportunities?


Add boughs like always to create your tablescape. Except now, use pumpkins in addition to typical nests of ornaments. They all nestle in nicely.



You created a bountiful scene at your steps with pumpkins and seasonal bits of interest a month ago, and it was especially inviting. You don’t have to remove it all and start again. Bring in the holiday greenery and drape around and among your pumpkins. You can add more holiday color, if you like. ‘Holiday’, as in red and green and silver. But just adding greenery can work well for a Christmas display. And that pleasing round shape of the pumpkins you sourced some time ago echoes the shape of the wreaths at the door.

Isn’t this combination a natural? Since fall and winter and their three major holidays follow each other in a straight line, why do you have to keep each decorating event separate? Why not combine, and let them flow into each other? Seasonal color can cost quite a bit. Use what you already have, bring in distinct elements associated with the holiday, and you can save money. But even better, you’ll get a bit of a thrill by knowing that you’ve done what many people say can’t be done, and used your leftover pumpkins for Christmas. How’s that for sustainability?

Chris Olsen is a nationally known home and garden guru, designer, author, TV personality and public speaker. In his book, Chris shares his landscape and gardening knowledge along with his unique flair for home decor and design.He is also a member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. Learn more about Chris and all of his work at chrisholsen.com.

The Art Fix with Joshua Plumlee: Paintings vs. Drawings

So to start off this month’s post, let’s briefly look at the subtle differences between two different categories of art. This will enable two things: a) for us to be on the same “page” when it comes to discussing artworks on paper (Please, PLEASE forgive the awful puns in this post!) and (b) for you to impress all your friends with your insightful knowledge of the art world.

Ok, so drawings vs. paintings. What’s the difference??  Scholars may differ slightly in their varying definitions, but I will do my best to offer us simple, concise definitions…
Drawing: any work using “dry” media (eg, charcoal, pencil, chalk or pastel) – the one exception here being the “wet” media of pen/brush and ink – usually executed on paper, although some artists continually push this limit to include drawings on canvas.
Painting: any work executed using “wet” media, including mixed media wherein any combination of oil paint, acrylic paint, charcoal, encaustic, etc.  A painting can be done on paper, canvas, board, or any surface capable of sustaining the pigments safely over time.
The distinction here is that a “drawing” can quickly morph into becoming a “painting” by simply including a liquid to suspend the pigment on the surface.
Envision this as an example………. picture an artist sketching with charcoal on paper. Then suddenly he reaches for a paint brush, dips it into water and begins to “paint” by smudging the charcoal around the paper with the wet brush, thus moving from drawing into painting.
Again, the scholars out there may be screaming inside right now, and that’s ok. But as an active artist, I’ll tell you that this is often the line of distinction for me personally. This is how I engage my own art process. And it is with this viewpoint that I regard the work of others – whether I’m scouting pieces for clients or simply admiring them in a gallery.
It’s funny – many people consider European, Old-World oil paintings (often, specifically oil and not acrylic!) to be the quintessential piece of “art”. That’s fine. They can think that way.
It’s also funny that many contemporary “painters” out there today are blurring the lines (again, with the shameless puns. Whew!!!) between painting and drawing. Take for instance the artist Scott Ingram. He would probably be considered a painter, first and foremost. But recently he has used nail polish, an atypical medium, and the pull of gravity to make his mark. Check out his process….
By nearly omitting himself and allowing gravity to fatefully pull the vibrant nail polish pigments across and down the paper, Ingram has created something altogether different – part drawing, part painting?  You tell me. But look at how captivating his work can be…
image2 (1)
Notice how designer Suzanne Kasler infuses this highly-traditional room setting with new life by selecting her color palette based on a Scott Ingram piece on paper. It’s truly delightful!
Another artist who blurred the lines of drawing and painting is the late Cy Twombly, whose pieces are at once childlike and intimate, cryptic and profound.
Such a wonderful composition, artwork with furnishings. Great mix.
And here, notice how this monolithic-scaled work on paper presides over this living room setting. The piece is both serene and fragile. There is something very familiar and childlike about being face-to-face with artwork on paper.
In his book Living with Art, author Mark Getlein writes: “In drawings…we have the impression of being present at an intimate transaction between artist and (paper).”
And it’s true, there is something immediate and human about a fragile piece of paper, especially considering that a work on canvas may last centuries longer. Little Rock’s own Arts Center is devoted to works on paper. Did you know that?
Notice how placing a drawing on paper above this mantle provides an air of simple elegance and approachability.
And how this small-scale ink abstract on paper by Franz Kline amps up the power factor in this bold lacquered dining room by Suzanne Kasler…
Good stuff, right??!!
Well, there’s some brilliant art discourse for your day. Hopefully you’re totally in tune with your inner artist by now. Now go grab a pencil or paintbrush and make a doodle, or a sketch, or a painting even. And above the all, learn to value artworks on paper. They’re really so cool. Cheers!
Active in the Little Rock design scene since 2006, Joshua Plumlee is passionate about reimagining elegant interiors with a focus on original artwork and an unconventional approach to luxurious style.

Fall Porch DIY #3: Kathryn J. LeMaster

Today, Kathryn J. LeMaster is giving us step-by-step instructions for recreating two of the handmade elements that made her fall porch design so cheerful, warm & eclectic.

Burlap and Twine Banner

1. Depending on how long you need to banners to be, get several yards of burlap (color of your choice) at local craft or fabric store and a spool of twine.
2. Trace out your first triangle on the burlap with a piece of chalk. You can adjust size here too, but mine were about 6-8″ wide across the top to leave room for the holes and about 10-12″ long. So it looks sort of like a “skinny” triangle.
3. Cut out your first triangle, then use this one as the pattern for the rest of them. Continue cutting out triangles. The amount will vary depending on the length of your banner, but I used about 30-40 total. To ge tthe most out of your fabric, invert the triangles right side up and upside down, side by side, to avoid dead space or wasted material.
4. With your stack of burlap triangles now, take the first one and inset about 1/2″-1″ from the top and sides, cut a small hole with scissors and finish “burning” through with a hot glue gun to singe edges, finishing off the edges of the hole with a small ring of hot glue to keep edges from fraying. Do this to all triangles.
5. Take the spool of twine and your first triangle, and thread through the first hole from the back, across the front of the triangle and back through the second hole. Slide it down the twine to the desired length, leaving about an extra foot of twine at the end for adjusting. Continue threading each triangle through the same way and sliding down the twine so they are side by side, about an inch apart. Continue adding triangles until A. they’re all gone or B. you’ve reached the desired length!
6. Leave another extra foot of twine at the other end before cutting from the spool. Mount as desired with small tacks or tape, depending on application.
7. Voila! Enjoy your handmade burlap banner!
Half and Half Wreath (I call it this because it’s half ready made/half hand made to save time but still look home made!)
1. Get a basic grapevine wreath at local craft store as your base to make the wreath bigger.
2. Get a smaller, ready-made faux floral wreath to add some color and fullness.
3. Layer the two wreathes, and bind with floral wire in at least three points to make them appear as one wreath. (mine was brown to camouflage with vines)
4. Add your own variety of fresh or faux stems, leaves, or blossoms to give it a more realistic and handmade look! I used a variety of dried fresh floral stems, such as wheat and other leafy stems and colorful dried flowers. Stick the sprigs in all the way around as desired to mix in with the faux florals and create a more “live” wreath look.
5. Voila! You just “made” a fabulous wreath in half the time with half the effort! :)

Learn more about Kathryn and view her work at kathrynjlemaster.com.

See more images of Kathryn J. LeMaster’s front porch decor in the October issue, HERE.

And find more fall porch DIYs HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Get Real…Estate with Lindsey Binz: Dos and Don’ts for Selling Your Home

Homes are my one of my passions.
Whether it be designing, decorating or helping people buy/sell them.
 When a seller does get ready to market their house, there are many ways they can go about doing it.
It’s always best to keep in mind that the real estate market is
1- A Beauty Contest 
2- Price War
Both of Equal Importance…
Both of the personal homes I’ve sold, got offers with in 1 week of being put in the mls…
It is because we were
REALISTIC when we put them on the market.
We didn’t expect to get more than their FAIR market value.
Not the value that we had in them.
You have to look at your reasons for selling first and foremost.
Please don’t discount that your desire to live in a different house
might actually mean a little bruise to your ego.
So let’s get on with this… What should we do to get our house sold???
First- CALL your Realtor, PLEASE
Yes, you will pay them, but chances are the fee will be well worth it.
An experienced agent can give you lots of tips on what needs to be done prior to photos and marketing. This might and probably will include a call to your designer or contractor depending on the condition of your home.
I don’t recommend doing MAJOR renovations right before you move-
(except in situations where a house wouldn’t sell otherwise)
Chances are the buyer that buys your house, will not like everything you have done, therefore won’t value it as much as you do….Meaning you won’t get as much you think you should.
Now, if you are doing renovations a few years prior to moving, in hopes of marketing your home, this is different. Because you will at least get to enjoy these changes while you live there.
I do recommend adjusting your list price based on what needs to be done.
I promise MOST people would rather pay $25,000.00-$50,000.00 less for a house and get to choose the finishes, than you already do the work and the tile/counter top color not be to their liking.
I am not saying that stained/soiled floors and walls not be replaced or painted.
The Guardian
 Most homes being marketed will require an initial investment to get it up to par and looking good.
This is usually a few minor carpentry jobs and a few weekends of cleaning and decluttering.
There are a few reasons that a house in town should automatically be listed
less than the surrounding comps.  3 that come to mind are:
1- If they are on a busy/main road
just me with
2- If they are on a Hill- up or down slope
3- If they are majorly outdated (Exterior or Interior)
active rain
Design Sponge
Please do not expect to get the same amount per sf as other homes in the neighborhood,
 if yours falls into this category. It’s just not realistic.
These are just a few of the many things to do (or not do) when selling your house.
Let me know if I can help
Lindsey Binz is the founder and principal of Lindsey Binz Home Company,
a firm specializing in helping people find and make their dream home(s).
If they need to sell another one first , LBH can get that done too!
Visit her website at lindseybinzhome.com

4 Ways to Preserve Character When Renovating a Historic Home

Portrait of a Home | At Home in Arkansas | October 2015

Lance Johnston’s newly-renovated, century-old home in Conway is one of the feature articles in our October issue. A certified contractor–and partner in Reform Design + Build, a new home building outfit in central Arkansas–Johnston oversaw the renovation himself. Here are his tips for renovating a historic home in a way that preserves its unique character, while creating present-day functionality.


1/ Pay Attention to Scale

To keep an old home’s charm intact, it’s essential to keep the scale authentic to what’s typical for that time period. Door openings were traditionally narrower, ceilings higher, and windows much more expansive. Functional elements, like fireplaces, should also adhere to traditional proportions: smaller mantels and surrounds were common, whereas fireboxes were much larger.

2/ Dig the Details

“Small” things—like window and door hardware, light fixtures, and switches—can make a big difference. Restore and use any original items you can, if you are renovating an old home, or find sources for distinctive accents. You’ll find unique, historic trim, doors, and cabinets at architectural salvage yards, and—often—it can be a budget-friendly alternative to buying new.

3/ Choose Appropriate Materials

To achieve an authentic look, when making additions or updates, pay close attention to the textures you choose. Original glass in windows, with its rippling and distortions, adds lots of charm. Shiplap, beadboard, or board-and-batten paneling add classic architectural interest. In kitchens and bathrooms, marble, soapstone, and butcher block give countertops a more traditional feel.

4/ Create Natural Additions

In older homes, you’ll usually find more—and much smaller—rooms, which aren’t necessarily very functional for the way we live today. Opening walls but leaving cased openings can give the suggestion of separate rooms yet still give a home a much larger feel. When renovating an older home, consider enclosing an existing porch rather than making a large addition; oftentimes it can add much-needed space in a way that feels more natural. Think about how your family will live in the space, how you’ll entertain, and then create spaces that will encourage togetherness.


Tour Lance Johnston’s home in our October issue, online.

To learn more about Reform Design + Build, Lance Johnston’s homebuilding business, click here.

Fall Porch DIY #2: Jana Hunter

Living in the beautiful state of Arkansas provides a wonderful opportunity to enjoy and decorate our homes as the four seasons change. For me personally, I adore fall. There is something special about the crisp, morning air while enjoying a hot cup of coffee or embracing the cool nights layered with a favorite blanket. Fall’s arrival also brings forth an array of pumpkins, gourds, and colorful mums scattered among front porches.

Front doors are also a fabulous backdrop for additional seasonal décor. Each year, Indian corn is gathered and displayed on my front doors as a fond reminder of my childhood home’s fall decor. You may also create this festive display using the following items: 3 ears of Indian corn, 4 to 5 stems of wheat (I used artificial found at a local craft store), ribbon of your choice (2 varieties), twine, and scissors.


Lay 4-5 stems of wheat gathered together on a flat surface.


Next, fluff the husks on the corn to add dimension.


Place 3 ears of Indian corn on top of the gathered wheat. Ensure the top portion of the corn meets the gathered point of the wheat.


The 3 ears of Indian corn create a triangle when stacked.


Secure the Indian corn to the wheat with a piece of twine tied on the backside.


Cut a 50” piece of ribbon of your choice and tie in a bow on the front side.


For a layered look with a punch of color, add another 50” piece of ribbon tied in a bow.


Backside of the Indian corn and wheat


Display the Indian corn and wheat on your front door by securing the backside of the ribbon onto a brad nail hammered into your front door at an angle.

With the addition of your new Indian corn and wheat front door décor, I hope you enjoy this beautiful fall season!

Learn more about Jana and view her work at janahunter.com.

See more images of Jana Hunter’s front porch decor in the October issue, HERE.


Outside the Box with D. Keeley: October Update

What a gorgeous fall we are having! I can’t believe it is already October, but I am absolutely loving the mild weather and blue skies lately. I hope you are, as well! I decided to take advantage of some of that beautiful weather this weekend to get the front porch and entry dressed up for autumn. I didn’t go quite as big as I have the past couple years, but I still wanted a little something to celebrate the season in style. So, I thought I’d share the transformation with you, in case you are in need of any easy ideas for decorating your own outdoor spaces.

The entry had gotten a little drab, to be honest. The begonias I planted this spring were fading, and the door mat had certainly seen better days. The variegated maiden grasses at the stairs are in full bloom, however, and made for a good start!


I began my seasonal makeover by tossing the door mat and swapping out the old begonias for new ornamental cabbages, along with pansies and violas in beautiful red-wine tones.




Next, I decided to use a pair of urns I found recently to anchor the doorway. I love how tall, narrow and simple they are. Filled with these vibrantly hued chrysanthemums, they stand out nicely against the dark color of the house.


The urns are nice in their own right, but they also serve as the base for an arbor of grapevine and bittersweet. To create the arbor, I simply pulled apart a grapevine wreath from the craft store, stuck the larger ends of the branches into the soil in the urns and trained the vines over the door. A small concrete screw and some wire anchor the very top, so it won’t fall down.

IMG_7388 IMG_7390 IMG_7410 IMG_7417

Once the grapevines were in place, I added branches of fresh bittersweet throughout the arbor. The rich colors of the bittersweet echo those in the mums and cause the arbor to “pop” against the dark brick.

IMG_7438 IMG_7434

Next, I hung a natural honeysuckle-vine wreath on the front door and embellished it with more bittersweet to match the arbor.

IMG_7439 IMG_7442

All that was needed then, was the final finishing touch (You guessed it!)…pumpkins, pumpkins and more pumpkins! As I said I took it easy this year, compared to past years, but generous piles of fresh squashes, pumpkins and gourds are a must for me and help tie the whole front porch display together!

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So, one more year’s autumn display is under wraps! I hope my neighbors like it as much as I do, and I hope it helps inspire some of you to Live Outside the Box by enjoying your outdoor spaces, as well as the bounty of the season!

Exterior designer Daniel Keeley is an Arkansas native and founder/principal of DK Design. His work has won numerous awards and accolades and is featured regularly in various publications. For more information visit dkdesignoutdoor.com.  

Follow the Outside the Box house through the seasons, by reading Daniel Keeley’s other posts, HERE.

For more fall DIY door and porch decorating ideas follow the blog all this week, beginning with Cara Hazlewood’s post from yesterday, HERE.

Fall Porch DIY #1: Cara Hazlewood

When At Home in Arkansas asked if I would be interested in designing a fall front porch for their October issue, not only was I flattered that they thought to ask me, but it gave me the perfect excuse to build a quick and easy console table that I’d had my eye on for quite some time. I was totally onboard.

While I’m not a designer by trade, I jump at the opportunity to share an easy and rewarding a do-it-yourself project in hopes of inspiring others to create a home space they are proud of. At Home in Arkansas’ fall front porch challenge sounded like the perfect opportunity to spruce up my friend Alicia’s Hillcrest front porch for fall AND try out this super simple DIY console table, made from just 5 boards. This table is plastered all over Pinterest and I was ready to give it a shot for myself.

Here is a great step-by-step tutorial from thriftyandchic.com.

sofa table

This table had been on my radar for a while, so I was excited to put my toolbox to work and build one for my friend Alicia’s fall front porch. In fact, this little table was so easy to build, I built two for my own house while I was at it!

At Home Porch

Supply List:

1 – 1×12 pine board cut to desired length of the table top (the table in this post is 46” long)
2 – 1×12 pine boards cut to desired table height (the table in this post is 33” tall)
2 – 1×6 pine boards
4 brackets
Wood glue

After deciding how tall I wanted the table to be, I cut the top and two side “legs” to size and attached them together with a couple of brackets to make the table frame, using wood glue at the joints for added support.



Then, laying the 2 – 1×6 boards diagonally across the front and back of the table, I knew where to make the cuts before nailing them into place.

A quick coat of pale blue paint later, and we had the backdrop for our fall front porch scene. Not only was this table a breeze to build, but now Alicia can use it year round in her home.

At Home Porch

 Read the article online to see all three autumn porch decorating schemes > HERE

See Cara’s past DIY projects with step-by-step photos > HERE

Cara Hazlewood is a real estate broker with The Property Group and a devoted do-it-yourself-er. She writes about her home transformations on her blog, Live the Home Life