Design: Manhattan vs. Chapel Hill House Tour

A few of my friends and loyal blog readers have been curious about my sister’s move (with her husband and four kids) to North Carolina last fall. Their Manhattan home was featured on Style Me Pretty Living a year ago (eek!), but since then, a lot has changed. They’ve been renting a home in Chapel Hill while they kept their eyes on the housing market. Since they were renting, my sister and brother-in-law didn’t make any drastic changes to the house. They did, however, change up the lighting and unpack just about all of their furnishings in order to make the house feel like a home (even if only a temporary one). I thought it would be interesting to show you how they translated their Manhattan style to their Chapel Hill home.

Living room: Manhattan

The Manhattan living room was fairly spacious, and it had to function as a very multi-purpose space (extra bedroom, play room, TV room, etc.).

53879e4d464ff$!900x Living room: Chapel Hill

In Chapel Hill, the living room is a proper living room. The kids play and watch shows in here, but the living room doesn’t have to be a multi-purpose space. My sister and brother-in-law didn’t purchase additional furniture for this large space, but they did make slight changes to their art and accessories collections.

24271178Kitchen: Manhattan

By Manhattan standards, the kitchen was large. They did a lot of cooking in here, and the kids made a lot (a lot!) of messes on these gorgeous wood floors. The kids climbed on the cabinets, opened and closed every drawer and door a thousand times each day. Thankfully, the carrara marble and the Ikea cabinets held up nicely. My sister made the art. Nice, right?

53879f55ca627$!900xKitchen: Chapel Hill

The Chapel Hill kitchen is large and bright! There’s a seat-up bar as well as an eat-in area. My sister and brother-in-law added new furniture to this room (stools, table, chairs, etc.) and installed a new pendant light.

2427118024271186Master Bedroom: Manhattan

Again, by Manhattan standards, the master bedroom was large. That’s a king size bed in there! Plus night stands! It’s pretty luxurious as far as Manhattan bedrooms go.

53879eef98afb$!900xBedroom: Chapel Hill

In Chapel Hill, my sister and brother-in-law hung the art from their Manhattan kitchen in the bedroom (the ceilings are so high!), and kept everything else the same as in their Manhattan bedroom. There is a lot more space to move around the bed in Chapel Hill!

24271205Kids’ Bedroom: Manhattan

In Manhattan, the kids’ room included many fun books and toys, and everything was so neatly organized (until the kids started taking everything out of the shelves…an every day occurrence!).

53879fb379af3$!900xKids’ Bedroom: Chapel Hill

In Chapel Hill, the kids have a lot more space in their bedroom…and they have a dedicated play room, too. As you may remember, the Land of Nod really helped my sister add some interesting pieces and decorations to personalize the room for the kids. The initial pillows are still a favourite of mine, and the kids do actually use the bench. Isn’t it cute? I think they added another crib since the Manhattan tour (who can keep track of all those kids!).

24271248Office: Manhattan

They transformed a deep walk-in closet into an office for my brother-in-law in Manhattan. While I was scared of the black walls at the beginning, I ended up really liking this small space. It looks really clean in the photo below, but, trust me, it didn’t always look this way.

5387a0362649c$!900xOffice: Chapel Hill

In Chapel Hill, my sister and brother-in-law converted the dining room into an office space, and they have been really happy with this decision. They each have a desk, and the new bookcase helps them stay organized. The mirror was originally in the Manhattan master bedroom, and the light and rug were in the Manhattan dining room.

24303508And that’s the tour for now. I think it’s really fun to draw the comparisons between the two homes. In New York, they really needed to think carefully about small space living, and in Chapel Hill, they have a bit more room to spread out. It’s so nice to sit together at the kitchen table (or on their outside deck), and I’m thrilled that there’s an actual guest room for me (and their other guests, too)!

My sister and brother-in-law will be moving again, and I have been excited to share some design advice (as if they need it) with them. The place is already beautiful, but there are going to be some really great changes ahead.

Pop Up! Scotland

by Corie

Last summer my husband and I ventured to Scotland for a few days. It was a huge treat to see the dramatic landscape, meet some great people, try haggis and get to explore a fabulous new (for us!) country.

A trip to Scotland wouldn’t be complete without touring a whiskey distillery so we opted to go to Dalwhinnie, which is located in the stunning Highlands. It was a perfectly moody Scottish day to sit inside and enjoy a dram and stare at the beautiful architecture!

IMG_1473 IMG_1474 IMG_1478 IMG_1479 IMG_1608photos by Corie

Cleaning: Capture Review

Many of you know by now that the love of white actually runs in my family. My sister and her husband’s NYC apartment is white-white-white (remember her artwork) and my parents’ new kitchen is super white too. We all agree that a white space is clean, refreshing, and matches every accent colour. But…for it to remain looking fresh, a white space needs regular cleaning. My sister recently called sharing happy news of her latest cleaning success (yes, we do seriously have these kinds of conversations).

You see – Team G (as we affectionately call my sister, her husband, and their three kids) purchased the well-designed Crate & Barrel Petrie sofa, chair and ottoman – in white – about four years ago.

Crate & Barrel Petrie sofa

The pieces are comfortable, fit perfectly in their living room, and have stood up quite well with three young boys climbing on them, jumping on them, and using the cushions to make forts and slides (Oh, did I mention it’s a great place to “hide” jelly beans for an Easter egg hunt? This is what Manhattan living is all about!).

IMG_0951 IMG_1587 IMG_1585 IMG_1831

photos by Corie

Believe it or not, Team G’s white sofa set is still in excellent condition, but, being white, the pieces do need to be cleaned every so often (to maintain my sister’s high standard of cleanliness, I might add). Team G previously hired a professional cleaning company to come in and clean the couches but my sister was less than pleased. So imagine my delight when she called to tell me about a new cleaning product that was inexpensive and actually worked! Hooray!

So what is this “magic” product? It’s called Capture.


I asked Corie some questions about the product and here’s what she had to say…


1. What made you buy Capture? How did you first hear about this product?

After 4 years and 3 kids, my beloved white Crate and Barrel Petrie sofa was looking a little, shall we say, “worn”. Professional cleaning here in New York ranges from $300-$900 a pop and I wasn’t so impressed the last time we took that route so I went online to see if anyone had any clever ideas about how to clean my white couch. Someone mentioned Capture casually and I decided to check it out and give it a shot.

2. What products did you buy? sells a “Dry Rug Cleaner Kit” that consists of a pre-mist, a powder cleaner and a brush.

3. How much did everything cost you?

A mere $25!

4. Describe the cleaning process.

I basically misted each section of my couch then sprinkled the powder on and gave it a bit of a rubbing with my hand. I didn’t use the brush as I was worried the bristles were a bit too hard for the weave of the fabric (I imagine the brush would be terrific for a carpet, however).  Then I let it sit for a while – the instructions say 30 minutes but, I figured “3 kids + white couch” warranted a little longer.  Following the waiting period, I carefully vacuumed all the powder up. Voilà – clean!

5. How long was the process?

About 2.5  hours with the 1 hour waiting time.

6. Describe the end result.

I’m pretty pleased.  Our couch doesn’t look brand new but it looks a lot better now. And it certainly looks better than it did after we had the professional cleaning done a year ago.

7. Was the product successful in getting out stains?

It did a great job of getting out (mostly, not entirely) newer stains and wear on the armrests.  

8. What stains didn’t come out?

Stains that were much older did get slightly better but not significantly so.

9. How does your experience with Capture compare to other products/cleaning services you used?

I’m quite pleased – well worth a few hours of effort and a minor financial investment!

10. Would you buy this product again and repeat this process? If so, how often do you think is necessary (for your lifestyle)?

I used up the entire kit I purchased and intend to purchase a new one to spot treat stains while they’re new.  Following that, I’ll probably undertake the process every 6 months or so – again, 3 kids + white sofa!!! What was I thinking?


Well Sis – I’m thinking that you were thinking that you didn’t want to sacrifice design just because you had kids. I think you made a wise decision. And look – the upkeep of a white couch isn’t so bad afterall, is it? Thanks for sharing your thoughts about Capture! My own couch cushion covers are machine washable so I’m okay there – but my white carpet could use a refresher soon.

Pop Up! Life in NYC

Corie and I often have lengthy conversations about the cities we each live in, what they have to offer, and how we engage with our communities. Sometimes we really do believe that we should trade places – I move to NYC to live the busy city life à la Carrie Bradshaw while Corie’s family of five move to low-key London, Ontario to enjoy the great schools and parks (and space for three kiddies to run!). Living in any city has its ups and downs, of course. Here’s a peek as to what Corie dealt with a couple of weeks ago (and more often than not, truth be told)…


The daily debate about what to do and where to live continues and it is always just a mix of ideas. I had a great day yesterday taking the boys to the Central Park zoo and I was so happy to just be able to leave the condo and go. Completely convenient. We walked up 5th Avenue and because it was fashion week we saw lots of photographers and the fashion crowd. So fun. Then, coming home, we were crossing 8th Ave. and we saw two RATS scurry from the sidewalk into the sewer right in front of our corner Starbucks. In the daytime. What does that mean? Where do they live? My latest fear – that they are setting up camp in our storage unit area?! Life in NYC. Sigh.

White Cabana_NYC_Corie_1 White Cabana_NYC_Corie_2 White Cabana_NYC_COrie_3 White Cabana_NYC_COrie_4 White Cabana_NYC_COrie_5 White Cabana_NYC_COrie_6photos of NYC by Corie, fall 2012


Do you ever wonder if you’re living in the right place for you? Are you ever surprised at the contrasts that you see in your city? Corie and I often joke about how fancy and expensive NYC is yet it can also be so grimy and gross. Compared to NYC, the sidewalks of London, Ontario just sparkle! Kind of.