Mama's Got A Brand New Chair

My sweet little nook got a brand new look! And I am so excited about the change that I can barely wait to get up in the morning and ponder over design details. The nook is an open but small space that we hang out in on a daily basis. It's super cozy and if my day is too rushed and I don't get my time in this very corner—I feel a little "off" all day. This is where I read my devotions, plan my yoga classes, do my instagram and where I am currently writing this daily blog #18! I can say with certainty—that everything happens in the nook.

My new chairs are from Wesley Hall and the fabric is different shades of blue and white in a small diamond pattern. I picked it because I was torn between a pattern and/or a solid fabric and this was just the right mix of both looks. It's hard to see in this picture, but I piped it in a contrasting green that matches the fireplace tiles. 

The nook only has three corners. Where the fourth corner should be is an open space that leads into the kitchen. This space has always been difficult for me to decorate. I started with a small love seat to break up the rooms, but something never felt exactly right.

I know what your thinking...But Heather this is cute!? And yes, you are correct, but it didn't solve my corner issue. So, I decided to follow the initial plan for the room, that Nan from The Sitting Room drew out almost five years ago and try four chairs. Nan was right! The corner problem was solved. This picture was taken soon after the movers set the chairs in place. Take a look.

So....A lot is changing in this picture; A rug is on its way, the cute Quatrine ottoman that I bought at 60% off (YAY!!!) is being slipcovered in a yellow (way out of the box for me) and a pretty blue and green Schumacher trim. That tall side table has already been moved. I'm such a visual person that I have to try things out and move them around until I know exactly what I need. I am happy to report that I love these chairs and the way they fill up the space and as soon as the ottoman and rug are done, I will update with a "finished" picture. But truthfully, I'm never truly done.

XO ~Heather


Go Ahead...Get Dirty!

People often say that my home is "comfortable." Someone once even said that it was "emotional," and I knew right away why. My designs are personal (and I find great joy in making them so) which is why I decided to write a post on my own tried and true tips for buying special objects, so that your home can be an intimate reflection of you and your family.IF IT SPEAKS TO YOU...LISTEN!

I've been there, you know, standing in the dusty antique shop searching for something to shout out, "HEY! OVER HERE!" To find the little glass corgi puppy hidden behind the ugly lamp with a three-tiered yellow, ruffled shade. Point is, DON'T GIVE UP! Antique stores require you to be at attention and ready to work. The treasures sometimes find you, but sometimes you have to work to find the treasures. So eat a healthy breakfast, drink your coffee and get ready to work. You won't believe what sweet gems you can find in these little dusty havens.

Disclaimer, not all antique stores are dusty, but some of the best ones are! I love the Buffalo Nickel (great for kids rooms, Red Wing pottery, antique silver, cabin decor,)  Loft Antiques (a good variety of all kinds of styles, I've bought some great shell art here,) H & B Gallery (divine antique furniture, dishes, art, rugs,) The Country Look in Antiques (I have purchased a few of their beautiful antique sail boats-they do not have a website and prefer cash) and well curated (no dust) shops that carry great antiques like, Victory (seriously, one of my favorites) and The Golden Rule (just took home a family of brass ducklings...I know, who knew!)


I know the feeling of finding something really cool and then wondering where in the heck am I going to put this? But if it really is special...GET IT! You'll work out the details later and you'll be thrilled that you did. One of my "trust your gut" moments like that was the time I found two wicker cubes at a garage sale. At the time, I had no place for them, but I'm no dummy, I knew they were special. So I paid the nice lady thirty dollars and hauled off my, I have no place to put these cubes in the back of my truck. For two years they sat in the basement gathering dust (again the dust) until I had a brilliant idea!! I had cushions made and monogrammed them-another great way to personalize something and make a design statement. Now they are a focal point in my bedroom sitting area. 


I don't know why or how or when, but somewhere along the way, I fell madly in love with clipper ships, sail boats, sea shells and all things nautical in nature. I assume it's because we bought a home on the water or my major love for Nantucket, but truly this love has always been with me, and because this post is about personalizing your home, I have to show you some of my favorite nooks and crannies of Mona Bina (Home For All.) Bring on the clipper ships...Okay if you insist!


Your kids made you a special card that you cherish? FRAME IT in a pretty frame and set it by your desk or by your bedside table. Frame those special pieces of art (not all of it though...You have to trust what is worth hanging in your home...I mean your kids are talented and all, but too much would be well, just that...Too much! I framed my son's first pair of glasses and it makes me smile every time I look at them. They are scratched and bent and totally worn and I adore them. Remember here, that trusting your gut is important...You want to display what is meaningful to you. 

Also, when traveling, find the antique stores! Some of my favorite purchases are from out of town stores. Keep an eye out for antique markets and special venues like the, "Junk Bonanza," that comes twice a year to Minneapolis. I buy my ticket in advance and me and one of my besties, plan for a dusty adventure. Markets like this can be overwhelming, but once you settle into it, the treasures will start to emerge and make sense. They also serve fair type food, which pairs well with this kind of shopping...A win for all. Who knows, one unique find might lead to an idea and spark the whole design or theme of a room. Keep an open mind and by all means...Beat your friend to the good stuff! Just kidding Ellie!!

A home is a love story, filled with images and memories that carry the heart of stranger through the inner workings of a family. To keep the memories of raising your family in your heart is one thing and to display them in your home is another. It's truly a gift to your guests and to your family to feel the warmth of a well curated home. I believe that every room should tell a story, which is why I love stories and decorating-go figure! 

So go ahead...GET DIRTY! Scour those dusty antique stores, roll up your sleeves at a junk bonanza in your area, hit a garage sale, an estate sale or better yet, see what is collecting dust in your parents basement, your grandparents basement or heck, even your own basement. 

I promise you won't regret it!


P.S Are we friends on Instagram? Let's make that happen. Follow @sweetshadylane for daily doses of home decor love.

Come On In...It's COLD Outside!!!

Every Christmas...And I mean EVERY CHRISTMAS, My husband (bless his heart) questions the size of our Christmas tree. He thinks it can only be 7 feet tall and I always say 8 or 9. Our home has old and new bones with low ceilings, but my theory is - buy it taller and cut from the bottom so you still get a nice full tree. Genius right?  We may look like we're having fun, a happy couple bundled in our winter gear, eyeing one tree after the next, up and down, but kid you not, we are bickering back and forth until Jay finally throws up his hands and says, "Fine, get whatever tree you want." Romantic yes?  At this fun point, I usually go back to the car to get warm as Jay and the nice young men strap the tree I picked out to our car. Magically, by the time we get home and get the tree cut and up, Jay realizes once again, that it is the perfect tree!  Every year I say, "Now remember this next year," but he never does. So it looks like our Christmas tree bickering will continue for many years to come. JOY!

I usually am so excited to get all the decorations out, but this year, I pulled out all of my Christmas buckets and bins and nothing looked worthy. I didn't know if I should  try to recreate what worked last year, or start completely over. I questioned EVERYTHING that I pulled out of those boxes. Is this too old? Does this look country? Why do I still have this? This year, I had to ask myself over and over, "How am I going to make this special again?"

It always starts out as a struggle (just like buying the tree with Jay) and somehow ends up over the course of many days (actually weeks) to be just the right feeling I wanted to portray. The sad part is, I finally get it the way I want and then it's time to take it all down again. Ahhhh...So much work, but so worth all the effort!

living roomThe light off Lake Minnetonka creates a stunning winter warmth. Here, the mantle, in my opinion was still missing something...But what? It would be a few more weeks before inspiration would kick in (Thank you Mark D. Sikes for your book, "Beautiful,") and I added blue and white touches to get just the right look. 

2c630e70-1dfc-476b-8d0b-e19da1c126dfI went through my pantry and decided that this stunning  Juliska soup tureen would be a beautiful touch of blue and white. There is something so fresh and classic about this, that I am just in love with it. The lemon cypress tree was a gift from a wonderful friend and florist, Designer Blooms. 

19b748b5-c9da-4535-87fe-2a80f22bf697I have always been obsessed with boats, clipper ships in particular (I have an obscene amount.) My boys always try to steer me away from antique stores that have boats in them, because who has time to watch mom pick up every boat in the store? Living on a lake, I am now in love with all kinds of boats. My tree shows this love with one of my favorites from John Derrian and Company.  Honestly, if you are in NYC head to the East Village and browse his shops. Yes, plural!! There are three in a row and honestly, it's a wonder people don't see me skipping around like a lunatic. So many sweet finds, this pretty paper boat being one of them. a3ba40eb-5925-4440-876f-08b573275269AHHHH-MAZING isn't it? Also, a John Derrian find! Vintage art painted on wood. Look at him dashing through the snow...Honestly, I think my heart stopped beating for a good ten seconds here, which is a good indicator that this special piece HAD to be a part of Sweet Shady Lane.


More blue and white and can you even stand that it is in a clipper ship container? Again, heart stopped beating! Found this gem at English Traditions in Florida. This charming nautical nutcracker has an anchor on his hat and I love him! Flowers by, Designer Blooms never cease to make me happy!04618497-499f-45fb-bffe-f2dad654a623Traditional greens look too heavy in my house with all the white wood work, so I opt for preserved boxwood to add just the right amount of Christmas magic. I found this particular boxwood on sale (YAY) at Ballard Design two years ago and it has held up very well. I love the different shades of color and depth in the balls that hang from champagne colored ribbon. It's not your traditional red Christmas, but it's warm, classic and inviting. 

img_8842The mantle is finally finished! I added two small blue and white containers with greens to carry out the inspiration from the soup tureen. And now I'm sitting back looking at it all, wondering why I ever questioned myself in the first place!  I have to remember that good design doesn't happen over night...It shouldn't. Let things EVOLVE. Be INSPIRED. And find JOY in the little details.



dd1d3bf8-5e86-47ce-9192-fd2211d595f8 P.S Are you following @sweetshadylane on instagram? Lets be friends.

Tell YOUR story with a vignette!

I'm a story teller at heart. Writing, YES! But also in the way I decorate. I once had a guest say that my home was "emotional," and I can't tell you how much that pleased me. I owe that response to the vignettes I create-the stories that I tell through decor.  With a vignette, everything is considered and placed in a thoughtful way.  I personally relish in the details of pairing and placing special objects in a way that speaks to the heart. 

I PROMISE...It's fun, easy and rewarding and you and your guests will love the thought, character and story vignettes can tell. 

IMG_3826 I love the story this mahogany round side table in the living room tells. Set against a crisp white trellis window, it is a favorite place to showcase personal items and pieces that share a common theme and a contrast that draws a guest in. The anchor piece is the large patina'd lamp that I bought from The Sitting Room in Excelsior (My favorite decorating shop.)

I love adding worn pieces with fresh pieces, like the blue and white urn with a green topiary. My most treasured piece, is a framed hand written note from my Papa Tony to my grandmother. It reads, Dear Dorothy, the fellow that works opposite you on the slatter wants a date with you for Friday night. He hasn't the nerve to ask you, so I ask for him in this note. His name is Tony. The history of my family is written in those words. Can't say enough about how much I love that framed note!!


This is a scene from my "oval office." (You can look at previous pictures to see how it got its name.) The pine table and antique boat are the show stoppers here! The antique books, hand painted sea shell from Nantucket and antique light, add character and softness that are illuminated by the large gold mirror.  The soft pairing of chairs from The Sitting Room, adds just the right contrast to the antique pine. The mood is feminine and comforting.IMG_4348

My front entry piece is an old pine dresser (great for storage and hiding anything quickly before your guests arrive.) I couldn't find the right mirror to go above it, so I had one made. Super easy...Just go to your favorite frame shop, mine is The Great Frame Up in Minnetonka. I picked a classic black with brass trim to highlight the nautical vibe of the lake. The antique brass lamp was a gift from a friend and it pairs nicely with the brass hardware on the dresser. The antique, blue and white clipper ship is new find! I collect clipper ships and absolutely love them, and vignettes are perfect for show casing collections you love!

Because the front entry changes seasonally, I always have flowers, books and accessories that highlight the current holiday. Right now, this vignette is quite simple-as I'm highlighting the anticipation of Spring with hydrangeas.

My two favorite florists are Harvest Home in Wayzata and Designer Blooms. Your front entry is a great place to play and decorate on a whim. Ideas are lamps, flowers, candles and books. Have fun here and show people who you are and what your home is all about! 


Shelves are a great place to be creative! Don't be afraid to take out a shelf or two and hang or display larger items. I love the sailing painting set in the middle of this shelf in my bedroom. When it comes to shelf vignettes, books are an obvious choice and I love the way a collection of feels in a room. Set them upright, on their sides, at an angle or stack items on top of them. You can chose from your favorites authors or collect books that are similar in color that would create a theme. In my oval office, I have all cream, pink and light beige books. The shell boxes add a natural element, but anything from a wood box or a plant would have the same effect. And of course, special photos always convey the emotional heartbeat in a vignette. IMG_4350

I love a collection of art! I've created a vignette on my mantel of my favorites from The Atelier Collection. My friend, Hayley has such a distinct eye for classic, appealing and affordable paintings that I swoop them up as she buys them! She has a site on Etsy, so don't worry, you can buy some too! They come in all shapes and sizes and in the most wonderful vintages tones. Set up a gallery wall or shelf. Stack them, hang them, love them. I know I do!IMG_3827


PILLOWS! PILLOWS! PILLOWS! I love them. Create a mood on your couches or chairs with blankets and pillows that can be changed seasonal. Go all out with custom made or buy them at Home Goods...As long as they speak to you, they'll work. Monograming is a great way to add a personal touch to a blanket or pillow. "Mona Bina" is the name given to our home by the original owners back in 1937. It means, "home for all." 


This is a tray table that sits in my living room. I love the depth in the wood tray and the brightness of the blue and white ginger jars. Of course I have antique books in my favorite colors, a darling match case and three of my kids senior pictures paired in a thoughtful way...This vignette always makes me smile. It's crisp, clean and intimate. 


Sometimes, the smallest items evoke the biggest emotion.Boats, books, an English bulldog and glass container filled with twigs. Simple, considered and charming. 

Remember, if it speaks to you, it works! The perfect vignette piece is one that evokes seeing, feeling and experiencing a moment. I know you have some darling, meaningful objects just waiting to be displayed! If you are so inspired, feel free to send me pictures of your vignettes. I'd love to see them!