New Website! Gates Interior Design

Exciting News!

Our Rebranding Announcement Letter

My team and I are proud to announce that we are rebranding the company to Gates Interior Design.

Over the past ten years AB Home Interiors has undergone a significant transformation. In an effort to satisfy existing expectations we continued our traditional business process while simultaneously moving the brand forward to acknowledge market changes, functionality and diversity to meet our client’s needs.

We are excited about our new direction. We have added many new services like Feng Shui, Design by Numbers and our latest product, Design A la Carte, a service that allows you to pick and choose in three easy steps how you want to work with us. Our goal is to continue delivering great value and services to satisfy your design needs all with a more holistic approach.

We wanted to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. My team and I look forward to creating a more balanced and happy home with all of you!

If you have any questions please email us at

Amanda Gates and the Gates Interior Design Team

AB Homes Interiors Blog

Free seminar this Monday at the Brentwood Library

I’m so excited to be offering a free class at the local library. The class is Monday February 10th at 1pm. So what’s it about? How to find style and inspiration to start your project right! Want more info? Click on the link below to sign up to attend or sign up for the free recording.

Brentwood Library Seminar

AB Homes Interiors Blog

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

This is my last farewell for the blog this week. I am off to visit with family and friends and hope all of you have a wonderful holiday season!

Homemade Christmas

Happy Holidays everyone!

AB Homes Interiors Blog

How To Maximize Creative, multi-functional Spaces

As designers it is our job to find new ways to maximize a clients space. Most homes that I go into are bartering for space, having to sacrifice one thing in order to have another….also known as getting real with your priorities. One product that has made life easier for designing kitchens, great rooms and creative spaces is this new product by open close doors.

This new product is designed specifically for the multi-purpose, creative and educational space in mind. A mom and kids dream! I’ve also used them in chaotic offices and conference rooms. Having a dry erase board, cork board and magnetic board all in one display is perfect for a real estate office, brainstorming creative office or anything similar.

They have all sorts of cool configurations to fit your needs and different layouts for the creative space that works for you so it is completely customizable. You can also do fabric covered cork board to coordinate with the overall look of the space.

Tons of different ways to use these and they save space!

What could you use these for?

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The Power Of Restorative Home Design

Many of us often turn to books, workshops, retreats and even vacations to transform our lives… even if for a moment. Some of us constantly seek change while others just struggle to say ahead. The challenge isn’t to seek temporary relief in a fleeting book or workshop but rather to find something that recharges us daily, like home. You can’t eat ice cream every day and then expect a 6 week diet to be the answer to all your solutions. Same goes for clutter. Although many of us do because instant gratification is at the core of our culture.

Whether you believe in Feng Shui or not, it’s practice is simply an intention set forth by you to purposefully arrange your stuff to gain positive results. Period. Call it what you will, cleaning, decluttering, organizing or making shit pretty….the goal is to purposefully do it. Just like eating that ice cream, you cannot expect it (the clutter) not to have an affect on your home; sure you can eat all the ice cream you want, but what happens to your health? When your environment is cluttered up it is essentially like eating to much ice cream. Your energy slows down, you’re lethargic, things in your life are stagnant, you lose sight of goals, you’re unmotivated, chaotic with unclear thoughts, and down right lazy. How can you possibly be inspired when your house feels like it’s taking over?

This room above is the perfect example. According to Miss D the homeowner, “I hate this room. It is uninspiring, I feel unenergized, cold, and blah in this room. I work in here all the time and it’s uncomfortable.” How many of you out there have this same room in your home? The “I hate this room……it feels blah……it’s uninspiring….??

After-Southern Dining room

A well organized space allows the energy to move freely. You are motivated, uplifted and ready to take on the world. Why on earth would you want to seek this on a yo-yo diet basis when you could have it in your home everyday? The above pictures are a terrific example of a a restorative space come to life. Located in the fame section of her home, Miss D wanted a true Southern dining room. One with deep red walls, rich fabrics, comfy chairs and delicious family antiques.  Whether or not this room is your taste doesn’t matter. The point, (and I do have one) is this is what SHE wanted to her core. This is what she LOVES. This is want RESTORES her and makes her HAPPY. At the end of the day we all want different things. We all have different taste. So why on earth do we try to fit our round personality’s in a square shelter magazines “must-haves?” To achieve a restorative home you must remove the clutter and surround yourself with the things that mean the most to you, not your family, not your neighbors, you! And I promise when you do this you you’ll be inspired to write that best selling book just like Mrs D.

What are some things you can do today to uplift the energy in your home and get inspired?

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How to frame kids artwork and change it easily

Many of my clients have young children who love to come home with their latest creations. I love kids and their artwork. Many have no inhibitions and create based on how they feel at that moment. But as a parent who only has so many square feet on their fridge, how do you display it in a fun and decorative way? Enter in interchangeable art frames:

Interchangeable art frames

With hinged frames that easily open, your child’s artwork can be displayed weekly or changed out at any time. Above is an installation I did with a client for her two girls. Children love seeing their creations hung in a special manner for all to admire. And framing them makes your child feel a little more important than shoving them all onto the fridge. Super easy to install and even easier to use.  You can find them here on Amazon.

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AB HOME Phones are down!

Ab Home interiors has moved it’s office and is currently experiencing phone complications! Comcast is struggling to get our services transferred to our new location and has now cut our service completely and can’t figure out how to turn it back on….YES this is happening. If you call either business line 615-750-2763 or 615-750-2768 you will hear an automated service say the service has been disconnected.

I personally apologize for any inconvenience this causes and ask that you please email us at for immediate assistance. We will let you know via the blog and Facebook when our service has been restored. Thank you for your patience!


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Ranch Renovation Week 3

We are rockin’ and rollin at the renovation this week. This weeks agenda was to stain the floors, lay tile and get the paint up. And I have to say, it is really starting to come together! Here is the new stain color for the floors:

Loving the new stain color. So much warmer and richer than the orange stain from the 80′s.

Stain choices

I chose three choices and the homeowners went with Jacobean.


Kitchen floors are complete and the first coat of paint is on the walls. Can’t wait to see this with the gala pink door!

Bathroom floor

New black and white mosaic tile in the bathroom with new paint looks great. Loving it with the new stained floors.

Kitchen cabinets are in production and should be ready in about two weeks. Paint will be finished this week and lighting is being installed as we speak! Stay tuned…….

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Ranch Renovation Week 2

I am happy to report that week two of the ranch renovation was better than week one. The drywall is up, and the floor is repaired. Nothing like a fresh, clean palette!

Ranch Renovation

This week we determined cabinet design, appliance placement, lighting plan, preliminary paint concept and floor finish.

Kitchen door

This door above is the old exterior door that went to the garage. The garage has now been converted to a laundry room that I am adding a craft and activity area to. The original plan was to eliminate the door and replace it with a builder grade generic hollow door. BORING! Luckily, I convinced Richie the contractor to salvage the door, change the door swing and repurpose it to become a focal point. Now I just have to convince the homeowner I want to paint it hot pink….I’m sure she’ll say yes! Crossing fingers and toes!

Hot pink door

Super fun, and every client that has worked with me knows…I always try to get a little pink in EVERY project.

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How to Decorate a Dorm Room

As we approach August many students are preparing to enter into their first year of college. Both an exciting and terrifying experience. On one hand you find your independence and have new found freedom, (yay!) on the other hand you have no idea where anything is and you don’t know a soul (boo!); except the weird over talkative roommate who you are about to cohabitate with for the next four months of your life. Your dorm room, while temporary, should become the most at home experience you can create. It needs to be comfortable, well lit and provide privacy.

Dorm rooms come standard with two beds, a desk and some sort of storage facility for your clothes. Try to split up the space as best as possible with the furniture provided.

Dorm room design

1) Privacy

If the room comes with tall dressers use them around the beds so they create privacy. Also split the desks up so study time is easy to focus on without distraction. Some dorm rooms will allow you to attach things to the wall. In this case I will suspend drapery over the bed for light control and added comfort.

2) Seating

If the room allows, add a comfortable chair for reading and doing homework. Being that dorms are rarely larger than 12′ x 12′ rooms, you will want the option to sit on the bed, sit at your desk and sit on a comfy chair. A bean bag is also a great solution.

Pottery barn string lights

3) Lighting

This is a big one. Dorm rooms either come with no lighting or strip fluorescents, neither of which are good. Be sure to add a floor lamp, desk lamp and to create a great relaxing mood, string up lights along the perimeter of the room or along your bed to help with relaxation.

4) Flooring

Dorm rooms always have a poor choice in flooring options. And when it is 20 degrees outside cold tile is not welcoming. Add area rugs for color, and comfort.

5) Bedding

One of the most important factors to make you feel at home. Buy fairly good sheets, a soft comforter and a mattress pad. Add extra pillows that can be used around the room and if possible buy down fills.

6) Misc tips

As I mentioned above most dorms do not allow you to punch holes in their walls, so purchase removable strip hangers from 3m to hang artwork, posters and mementos on the wall. Having an area to display family photos, friends and fun vacation pics are a great way to feel uplifted and happy, especially during stressful times like finals. A hot plate to warm tea, or make coffee is great to have always keep a piggy bank or jar close by to hold change….unless the parentals live close by, theres a laundry mat in your future!

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Pink with envy by Amanda Gates, Brentwood, TN interior designer

After reading the recent Robert Allen newsletter I was super excited to read that the Robert Allen color library is introducing their next collection of fuchsia fabric.

From them:

“The color fuchsia is a stylish pink that shares its name with a popular perennial of the same hue. Bright but sophisticated, this color is considered both warm and cool, making it perfect for use in a variety ofcolor palettes. It sits opposite green on the color wheel, which is whyfuchsia pink and viridian green is a popular color scheme for home décor and fashion.


Fuchsia came into vogue in the twentieth century thanks to fashion designer Elsa Schiaparelli. She introduced the high fashion world to the color in 1937 with a collection that included a glamorous, bright pink dress and the launch of her perfume that came in fuchsia packaging and was named “Shocking!” In 1953 Marilyn Monroe brought it to the silver screen in the movies Niagara, and Gentlemen Prefer Blondes with her performance of “Diamonds are a Girl’s Best Friend.” In 2001, Pantone chose a warmer shade of the hue, Fuchsia Rose, as its color of the year.

Robert Allen Color Library brings this popular fashion color into the home with a collection of Fuchsia fabric. This upholstery collection includes over fifty fabrics in the vivid pink as part of the artistic color collection,Pigment, which also includes ViridianCobalt and Turquoise fabrics, all of which coordinate well with fuchsia.”

Click here to see the amazing new collection

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Atlanta Market-summer 2013

Just returned back from market in Atlanta. SO many fun things to report on. Colors, animals and the next it thing.

1) Birds


Birds were everywhere at the show. Fun ones like above and simple metal ones. I even saw a chandelier with handblown birds on it. No matter what, birds were everywhere!

2) Swings

Porch swings

Swings are all the rage but not for the porch….for the interior of the home. Perhaps in the kitchen, a hallway or the sunroom, indoor swings are a growing trend.

3) Round tables

Round table

Round tables were in every showroom I went in. The most popular was a 60″ round. The one showed above is a 48″ round and one of my most favorites. SO much so it’s going in my breakfast room.

4) Brass

Brass is back

Brass is back and in a big way! This time around though brass is sophisticated, cool and very vintage feeling. Something I love about this brass, it’s being combined with moody greys, rich walnuts and fun pops of color! Me-yow!

5) Color

Orange and blue

Aqua and orange are still really strong. It was ever present in every showroom…and I mean everywhere!

Orange and blue

Another strong combo, raw wood and yellow


It was a fun trip. I always love to see all the upcoming elements in home decor and look forward to using many of these items in my upcoming projects.

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Happy Fourth Of July

Happy Fourth Chest Of Drawers

Thank you to all of the men and women who serve, have served and have fallen for our great country. Here’s wishing all of you a wonderful and Happy Fourth of July.


Amanda, Katie and the AB HOME staff

AB Homes Interiors Blog

Luxury Airpark Home Designed By AB HOME designer Amanda Gates

Want to ditch the design process and simply move into a fully furnished home designed by moi? Well now you can. My client Mr B has decided to put his fourth vacation home up for sale. It is an exclusive airpark home in Swansboro, a city located just outside of Placerville, California. Perfect for the pilot who wants to get away, Swansboro is located 35 minutes from Sacramento and one hour from Lake Tahoe. For more info the house is listed through Sotheby’s Fine Real Estate.

For your viewing pleasure here is a sneak peak. FYI-furnishings are not included in the listed price but all is available for purchase with the home for an additional price.

Exterior of Home

I built this home with the client from the ground up. All exterior colors, garage doors, front door, windows etc were selected by my firm.


This kitchen was originally designed with a peninsula where the additional recessed cabinet is (shown above to the left). I pulled the design out five feet, removed the peninsula, added a ten foot island and removed a wall that would have originally been located behind the barstools. Not shown, behind the barstools is an additional row of cabinets that I made into a beverage/baking area. It houses two beverage refrigerators, an ice maker and two 30″ ovens.

Hearth room

The hearth room located immediately off of the kitchen has four custom Old Hickory Tannery suede leather chairs with a 48″ round custom ottoman from Southwood. A perfect and cozy sitting area for a morning cup of joe or an evening cocktail. The hearth and fireplace stone was handpicked from a local quarry for its color palette and unique design.

Where is the dining table you ask? The client opted not to have a formal dining area and instead we placed a large custom poker table in its place. Located in the upper left corner of the home, this is a great place to hang out, have a 20 year old scotch and play a little black jack or poker with the boys.

Master Bedroom

The master retreat is a large room that is all about added luxuries and comfort. The cabinet at the end of the bed has a pop up TV that can be viewed in bed, or swivel to face the sectional. Originally the closet door swung out into the bedroom making it a nuisance. Instead of working against it, I had a custom door made and stained locally to make it a design feature. Not shown is the custom bathroom with a seven thousand dollar copper tub and exterior slate on the floor and in the shower. It’s amazing!

Not shown are the three bedrooms upstairs, loft and bathrooms.To see more or inquiry about this amazing home contact Autumn Peters at 530-212-0199

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Drapes Without Windows, Yes It Can Be Done

Let’s face it, windows without draperies just look naked. I remember when I was in my twenties living in a house with over 30 windows with no drapes. It was awful. While the house looked unfinished and naked, I refused to have bad drapes for the sake of having them. Now I make sure to buy houses with less windows and always budget for drapery….they are the ball gown or sundress for your windows, and transform a room as much as a fresh coat of paint.

Drapery done correctly can soften a room, help absorb sound and add depth. But have you ever considered drapery on a door way? Using design elements out of context is a great way to add that element of surprise; like using drapery in entrances, hallways and doorways. This space shown below, (photos courtesy of StyleBlueprint yesterday), feature the Phelan house with just that element of surprise. As an added bonus these drapes draw the eye up, and frame a beautiful bull sculpture with horns. A stunning example of draperies used out of context and done very well!

The neutral palette is easy on the eyes and with so many wonderful architectural details the space is hardly boring. What is your favorite part of this room?
Would you like AB HOME to help you with your next project? If you’d like us to help you achieve an amazing interior that uplifts you and helps you live better, contact us to set-up and appointment.
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How to add a little color to your life by Brentwood, TN interior designer Amanda Gates

Better Homes and Gardens

There is nothing I love more than color in an interior. Color speaks to all of us in different ways, but it never fails to make us feel happy! How can you look at this space and not smile? Some of the easiest ways to add color to your life:

1) Pillows-Super easy to change out and add to any space.

2) Art-Whether you like custom high-end art or inexpensive pieces from the flea market the effect is all the same. Use it to add that pop!

3) Accessories-Sprinkle them around the house in fun unexpected colors. Even if you think they don’t go with the color scheme, use it anyways. It’s always nice to have that added surprise!

What are your favorite ways to add color to your life?

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Photo: Better Homes and Gardens

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Top 4 fitness apps for your Windows8X phone

One resolution that many people make for the new year is fitness. Setting goals to eat right, stay in shape and simply be healthy. But how does one keep such lofty goals when SuperBowl Sunday hits you upside the head with delicious wings, pizza and 47 layer dips that are irresistible?

Htc Windows phone by Verizon

One of the best tools to keep you on track is your smart phone. With so many terrific apps on the market, these fitness tools help you see your activity and keep you accountable. Perhaps even make you feel a little guilty when you can see that yesterday was a little better than your activity was today. Here are my top 4 favorite apps:

1) My fitness pal.

My fitness pal

Probably my most favorite app of all. This one allows you to enter in your daily activity and track the calorie consumption. It almost makes each day fun to see if you can hit your goals and not go over in the sodium or sugar area….but I always do! Harumph! But it’s all about awareness.

2) Gym Pocket Guide

I’ve been working out my entire adult life. Gym equipment can sometimes be intimidating and confusing to use, especially when you are at the gym with professionals who look like they never leave the building. This app shows various equipment and gives you fat cutting, muscle building tips while allowing you to track your own progress. Win-win!

3) Fit bit

I’ve only been using this app for the past month. The best feature of this app is the sleep tracking activity and it shows more detailed activity than my fitness pal. I have found that the two togehter compliment each other well and really help keep me on track.

4) Run Keeper

This is a great app for runners. It helps you not only track your activities but it measures calories and overall distance traveled over time. The interface is easy to use like the other apps but is specifically geared towards the runner. It helps you analyze and monitor your activities in an easy to use platform. Great in combination with the other apps.

What are some of your favorite workout/fitness aps?

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Image 1, 2, 3, 4

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When good design goes bad

Now I often say on this blog that rules are made to be broken. However, let me clarify on that very topic. Rules are made to be broken within reason.

Bad design

Now mixing up chairs is always a good idea….mixing the wrong chairs, well that is a bad idea. There are so many things wrong with this design. The hostess chairs are way to big for this space. In other words scale is all wrong. The side chairs are way to small….making your guests feel inferior to those who sit at the ends. And the style, let’s just say it is good to mix them but this is way off. In my opinion, the one that counts, this room needs help. If this is your room give me a call, I can give you the 411 on how to decorate this space properly and not make your guests feel like midgets.

Good design

Instead choose a scale that is appropriate to your room, and in context with the other furniture pieces, like above. It is good to mix and match, however, not to the point of falling into wonderland….even Alice herself would feel out of place in the first dining room!

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image 1, 2

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Shower Niches

Shower niches

I have done many, many shower remodels over the years and one of the best installments any bathroom addition can have are shower niches. They are easily built into the 2×4′s and can be as tall as you like. It creates a wonderful storage solution for all your shower accessories and keeps them neat and tidy. Having shampoo bottles and soap all over the shower floor and shower seat just looks messy!

While this ledge (shown above) does provide some storage it limits you on overall storage space and can use up valuable shower space; not to mention looks messy. If the option is available always install cubbies to maximize on your shower solutions.

Another recommendation is to add a small shaving niche. If your shower is small and does not have a seat it can prove to be difficult to shave if you are a woman. Add a small cubby for your foot to make shaving comfortable and easy!

What are some of your favorite shower features?

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Happy New Year

…..So here it is 2013. I cannot believe another year has passed! Where does the time go? As We step into this New Year, and we all profess resolutions that we may or may not stick to I hope all of you, my readers have a spectacular and abundant year. Heres to moving onward and upward!




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3 ways to maximize your garage space

Tools for a Harder-Working Garage

While Webster defines the garage as “a shelter for automotive vehicles,” most of us use our garages for much more than that. Dad stores his tools, tires, and to-dos; mom pulls in with the minivan and piles up potential craft projects; and the kids create chaos with endless amounts of sports equipment and toys. In the end, we often don’t even have room for the cars.

Short of shuffling all your gear to the trash, how can a garage fulfill its storage responsibilities when so many users are demanding space? Well, with a handful of creative solutions and clever organizational strategies, you can transform your space into a multipurpose marvel that holds a three-car garage’s worth of stuff in a two-car garage’s amount of space, no garage sale needed.

Use Your Walls to Double Your Space

Clearing clutter from the floor is the first step to getting the garage in working order, and that means utilizing every inch of the walls and ceiling. Here are a few tricks for getting the most out of your available space:

  • For items that don’t get accessed often (such as holiday decorations and luggage), either install a cable-lifted storage rack or create a sliding storage system for rimmed plastic bins along the ceiling. This makes use of previously dead space and gets larger containers off the ground. Pulley systems for raising bikes are also available.
  • Install a two-foot-deep shelf around the upper perimeter of the garage to provide additional storage space for bulk paper items and dry goods, small plastic bins, paint supplies, etc. With the typical two-car garage boasting three 24-foot long walls, mounting shelves like these roughly gains an extra 150 feet of usable space.
  • Pegboards have long been a go-to for garage gurus, but have you ever thought about them three-dimensionally? By hanging several separate framed pegboards perpendicular to the wall on vertical hinges (sort of like leaves in a book), you gain plenty of surface area for hanging tools without taking up much wall space. Plus, the divided pegboards make categorizing items a breeze. Consider painting outlines of the tools in their appropriate spot on the pegboard so everyone knows what goes where.
  • If your garage walls are unfinished, screw small hooks on the ends of neighboring studs, then stretch a few short bungee cords between them to create a makeshift crate for tall garden tools, sports equipment, or balls.

Give Storage Spaces a Dual Purpose

Once you’ve established a place for all of your items, find ways that you can make your garage goods do double duty. With many users vying for usable space, your storage solutions have to do more than just contain things in order to hold their own:

  • Whether you have repurposed kitchen cabinets, plastic bins, or a large metal storage locker, paint the outer doors or lids with a coat of inexpensive chalkboard paint then affix a cup nearby to hold chalk. Kids will love being able to “color” on the garage furniture, Type-A moms can quickly scrawl labels describing what’s inside, and your resident handyman will appreciate being able to jot down measurements for whatever project’s in progress.
  • Enrich your shelf’s life by utilizing the space underneath as much as you do that on top. Screw small hooks to the underside of a shelf to hold hanging tools and toys, or glue the lids to several jars to the bottom surface and twist the containers into them for stowing small items like nuts and bolts, sidewalk chalk, and nails.
  • Save yourself some drawer space and add magnetic strips along the back of your cabinet doors to hold lightweight metal tools and paintbrushes in easy reach.

Give Yourself Room to Grow

On a clear day, punching the garage door opener quickly doubles or even triples your workspace, depending on the size of your driveway, so make expanding to the outside simple and easy:


  • Include one or two mobile workbenches (essentially carts on casters) that can be rolled out into the driveway when needed. Whether you create your own or purchase one ready-made, you can also set larger tools like chop saws and drill presses onto wheeled stands.
  • With little more than a piece of plywood and a couple of hinges, you can build a flip-down workspace that folds out of the way when not in use. Such a desk is ideal for walkways that must be kept clear when you’re not working.

What other ways have you found to stretch the boundaries of your garage as a multi-purpose room?

Jessica Johnson works for and contributes to the Extra Space Storage blog, exploring various aspects of organizing and storing possessions. Extra Space Storage has locations across the U.S., including a Lakewood self storage location.

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The New Windows 8x Phone by Verizon

I’m thrilled to have been chosen again to be a Verizon Ambassador for their new Windows 8x phone by HTC. My role over the next few months is to test this phone and give y’all my honest opinion on how it works, and how user friendly it is. So far so good. Now we did have a fabulous webinar explaining the different applications and functions of our new phones, but I have to say this is the first time I have been excited about a phone since the launch of iPhone.

One of my favorite features so far are the tiles on the home screen. They are easy to customize and they include everything from fun to use aps, to Facebook to the latest and breaking news. I also love the fact that the tiles themselves can be customized. They can be as big or small as I want and I can place them anywhere I choose on the home screen. The best part? I was able to do this without instruction. A phone that is this user friendly and easy to use…one that is what I consider intuitive, is a phone that I can recommend.

Now I am off to use the camera…and BTW, it has photo features to customize my pics and it has different lenses! OMG, I am in heaven!

**As part of the Verizon Wireless Ambassador program, I received a free device and service in exchange for my honest opinions. Thoughts and opinions here are 100% my own. **

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How to choose exterior colors for your home

Choosing an exterior color palette for your home can be tricky because many factors need to be taken into consideration. Mistakes can be made easily and if you overlook three key things you’re sure to fail before you even get started.

In the past few months I’ve been working with a local contractor on his new spec house. (I also helped him with the exterior of his farmhouse.) The colors of this spec house were extremely important to me for three reasons. I wanted something different, I wanted to honor the houses architecture and I also wanted to respect the subdivision. This french inspired home felt fresh, modern and I wanted the exterior to feel the same. When Choosing colors there are 3 things to consider:

1) What is the theme in the neighborhood you live in?

2) What is the style of your home?

3) Where is the homes location? For example, are you in the Arizona desert or Mountains of Vermont?

Choose your main exterior color first. This is the start of your palette.

Choose accent colors for drains and trims, and decide on a stain or paint color for your doors

For me I wanted classic with a spin. Drains and trims were done in a charcoal brown and shutters in a deep forest green. Fresh, different and Awesome!

If uncertain of your color choices paint your blueprints. It’s a great way to get an overall feel of what your color palette will look like.

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How not to light a bathroom

This past weekend I was in a Marriot in Florida and was disappointed to find such poor lighting in their main bathroom off the lobby. Now to the naked eye most would not see the issue, right?

Poor lighting example

It’s like a finding waldo example only this game might end badly when you go to apply your lipstick. Here’s the issue: The can lights are about 3″ past the the vanity. This effect highlights the vanity beautifully, but without additional lighting around the mirror the woman looking to fix her make-up, fluff her hair or pull that object out of her eye is going to be completely in the dark. As soon as I leaned in over the 24″ vanity to fix my lip gloss I might as well have been putting it up my nose because I couldn’t see anything. And when I stepped back to grab some light…..well I was so far away from the mirror I couldn’t tell my nose from my ears.

Design tip: Always layer your lighting especially in a bathroom. Put everything on dimmers and make sure there is plenty of light no matter where you stand. Have questions or comments? Email me at

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Etsy Crafts-Homemade at your fingertips

When I suggest to clients, that I’d like to use a quilt on their bed, I see shifty, questionable behavior with a lift of one eyebrow. “Um, I’m not sure we are quilt people, nor do I think you heard me correctly when we said we are not traditionalists.” I suppose it is wicked of me to see their discomfort but do know that I will not lead you astray. On the contrary, as a designer it is my job to not only mix it up but give the room new life with texture, color and a vitality is has never seen!

Wild-wood tumbler Handmade quilt

This quilt by IMKquilts,(shown above) is by an artisan quilter out of Owatonna MN. I find this piece colorful, fun, something I could use many times over in my own interiors. Quilts do not have to be stuffy, or doddery but many people hear the word quilt and suddenly get slippery with the idea that their room is about to become their grandmothers!

Sherbet Quilt

This quilt by Bungalow quilts, out of Cincinnati is another great example of a beautiful and colorful quilt that I would spec for a bedroom. Quilts are an excellent way to add character to a room but more importently it is also a way to support handmade skill that is threatened by inexpensive knock-offs that are mass produced and sold for pennies on the dollar. These one-of-a-kind quilts add personality and charm that no one else has. And each handmade quilt is made with a level of pride and love that is unique to each handstitched piece made.

Here are some examples of quilts done right, and these are not your grandmas room!

Erinn Valencich interiors

Interiors by Marian Akinloye

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Scale and proportion-How to choose the right lamps by Franklin, TN interior decorator Amanda Gates

I am a huge stickler for using the right scale when decorating a room. I go on and on about how the best thing to do when designing a room is to Go Big or Go Home. Never ever err to the smaller side of things no matter what size your room is. Whether large or small, your room that is, a large scale lamp is always the way to go. Why? Well lamps provide decoration and they also provide light. That’s kinda their main purpose right? So why on earth would you choose a lamp that is so low that the cat couldn’t read underneath it? I cannot stand little lamps and heres why:


Example number one. This room, shown above, is stunning. Great wallpaper (which makes the room I might add), great furniture that is scaled properly to the room and then theres the lamp…..Um, Houston we have a problem. Poorly scaled to this room. Too small and looks like it belongs on a buffet. Not to mention gets totally lost with such a large scaled paper behind it. Instead opt for something like this:

Large paper, large solid lamps that stand on their own and don’t get lost with the paper. lways go bigger and especially solid. Little stick lamps belong on buffets and small areas where they are proportionate to their surroundings. Your lamps should be tall and have some oomph to them. Otherwise they completely make the room feel off and it is such a simple fix. Change the lamps and you’ll change your life!

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Pic 1, pic 2

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18 steps to Design Success

Five years into my design career it occurred to me that few people really understood what it was I did. Now I know the term ‘interior designer’ gets thrown around more than a Las Vegas call girl, thanks to shows like HGTV, and of course every furniture store in town now offers them up as a free gift with purchase. Don’t get me wrong, I can hustle harder than any member of the oldest profession on the planet, but I prefer to do it standing up; if you know what I mean. So what do you do when the hustle has no flow, and every consultation you have is more a cross examination/ interrogation to no where for both parties? Create a checklist, do your homework, get inspired and look at the options in your area.

I also realized that the reason no one knew what an interior designer is, was the term had few perimeters and everyone on the planet was suddenly deemed an interior designer as long as they got a business card that says so. With little credentials, and no experience, anyone could head to vista print and have themselves a snazzy new business card, *and like magic*, a spiffy new title. SO, with so many grey areas, how do you hire a creative professional that meets your needs, listens to your wants, and comes in on budget?

Interview at least three people. You don’t always need the most experienced, most expensive option, but you do need a person that fits you and your lifestyle. The designer’s you meet may have {it}, or they may not. I tell my clients all the time, I may not be the cheapest option, but I guarantee I am the BEST! How do I know this? …because my business card says so!  No, I know I am the best because I am good at my job, and I have 12 years of experience. I can anticipate everything, and expect anything. I always under promise and over deliver. But this comes with experience. Green peas fresh out of school may not be as expensive, but they will take longer, and often make costly mistakes if not guided with supervision. So how do you find the option that is right for you?

Once you have three people in mind, ask these questions:

1). How much experience do you have?
2). Is that experience in the field of interior design? (This one is important. Many times people will feel that because they are an artist, graphic designer, party planner, etc. they can whip out a room just the same)
3). What is your formal education?
4) Where do I buy my products from? You, or through local stores?
5) Do you have references?
6) Are you insured? (this is another big one. Green Peas on their own often have NO insurance)
7) Do you have trades that can help me with all areas of my project? If so, how long have you worked with them?
8) Are your trades insured?
9) Do you have a body of work I can see?
10) How do you charge for your creativity?

Finding an interior designer that {fits} is like finding a pair of incredible shoes that look smart, and feel great. Once you have decided on a designer, these are 8 common questions your designer will ask you to get started, so be prepared to answer:

1) How long do you plan on staying in your present home? (this is important because it will effect the budget)
2) What type of lifestyle do you lead? ( entertain, late nights, church or book clubs, etc)
3) Do you have children, starting a family or retired?
4) What are your storage needs?
5) What furniture do you currently own that you will be repurposing?
6) Have you considered a color scheme, or have a direction in mind?
7) Do you have a style, or know what your style is?
8) How much do you want to spend? What is your budget?

With a designer in your back pocket they can help guide you through the abyss of the unknown and help you make knowledgeable decisions, and prevent costly mistakes. They can help you build an interior concept that can be knocked out all at once, or done in phases. But what if hiring a designer isn’t for you? How can you achieve design success on your own? Here are five things the DIY’er can do to help them acheive success on their own:

1) Create a file, or binder with clippings, samples, color chips that organize the style and colors you are attracted to.
2 Draw a floor plan of the room or rooms you have in mind so that you have a list of things you need.
3) Keep questions in your book of things you need or are unsure of, and develop an inventory list with dimensions to keep in your book.
4) Based on your inventory sheet, develop a realistic budget to help you create a direction and plan.
5) Create a schedule, based on the above four things, on what you will be doing when. This helps keep you focused, and on track

Want more info? Here are some great articles on design:
1) How to get inspired
2) Top 10 design tips
3) How to select the right lamps
4) How to design a room like an expert
5) How to create a focal point
6) 6 people everyone needs to know to learn color
7) Where to go shopping in Atlanta
8) How to design a room on a budget
9) How to find inspiration?
10) 5 Super simple things to update your dining room

AB HOME Interiors is a lifestyle home studio. We specialize in residential and commercial interior design. We are style makers, tastemakers and everything in between. Our goal is to give you a home that is as unique and beautiful as you are. We are creative, talented, fun loving women that love beautiful, charming things, no matter what the budget. And we are here to help you achieve all your interior design goals and more. We can help you with colour, styling, arranging, overall concepts and much more!

Call our office for a design consultation today and let us help you change the way you live and think about your home. Contact us at or call us at

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Words of Wisdom

I talk a lot on this blog about how we need to slow down as a society and embrace more of the moments in our lives. So many of us rushing around thinking about what we need to do or worrying about what is behind us, instead of focusing on what is in front of us. How many times have you gotten in your car and drove home completely on auto pilot? I did this very thing today! Coming back from an installation all I could think about was all that needed to be accomplished by end of day. Not even realizing that I got off on the wrong offramp. Doh!

Todays post comes from my yoga instructor, Nora, who discusses this very thing:

Have you noticed all of the robots around us?  You might be one of them.

As you read the words on this screen, there are more than 60 wars going on in only 196 countries?

We live in an instant culture of 24 x7 connectivity, profoundly disconnected from truth of our common humanity.

There is something wrong about the suited forty-something too engrossed in his/her iPhone to even acknowledge the bagger at the grocery store when being asked, “paper or plastic?”

These days, friends are available as ‘requests’ and friendships often ‘confirmed,’ yet how many of them are real?

What does this illusion of companionship do for the soul?

What does it mean to have 2,000 “likes” and not “like” yourself?

Why do we spend such great deal of time isolating ourselves and disconnecting from the real world in order to maintain the perception of being connected?

In a culture that is so “time poor” why do we spend such a great deal of our time crouched over a screen or plugged into headphones, alone?

Is it really possible that having a good laugh with someone, a cry, a kiss, a strong emotion can be expressed in a three-letter acronym?

The truth is, that without real human interaction and communication, emotions – compassion, empathy, love, friendship, and companionship – are lost.

Yes, technological advancements in they way we communicate and share information over the last two decades has alleviated much of the world’s fundamental issues.  However, when our basic day-to-day encounters with one another, become lifeless, and the generalized attitude becomes  “it’s not my problem”, it’s time to stop and take note.

We have reached a critical point in civilization where it is not only necessary, but urgent, that we as human beings organize together to accomplish the large-scale, yet simple task of re-connecting with one another.

Let us stop existing and start living life in real life. We cannot get these minutes back. Go fall in love, if you aren’t already. If you have, fall in love with your partner all over again. Abandon caution and let your heart be broken. Or love family members, friends, anyone — it doesn’t have to be romantic love. Love all of humanity, one person at a time.

Not later.

Not tomorrow.

Today, immediately and wholeheartedly.

Color Bar


& I NS I G H T ,

N O R A 

Thanks Nora for your poignant reminder.  We need to slow down and start embracing more of those moments in our lives. Life moves so quickly shouldn’t we slow down long enough to really enjoy them? Yes you should! For more info on Fahrenheit Yoga click here

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Hall of Books-How to decorate a hallway by Brentwood, TN designer Amanda Gates

Was thumbing through the internet over the weekend and came across this lovely book shelf built into a hallway. What a great use of space and a great decorative item to add to a non descript area of the home. Like ceilings, nothing should be left undone including your hallways. Love this! What do you think of this design? Makes me want to start reading real books again!

Can also say I adore the lighting too!

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How to Decorate an Entry

Every home has a point of entry to welcome its guests. Some are small and require creative ways for big impact and others vast demanding key pieces to cement style and grace. No matter which you possess both require five key ingredients to command order for good reception.

AB HOME Interiors entrance

1)   Color- Every home should have flow and your entry sets the stage for what’s to come. Wow your guests with an enticing backdrop that shows you and your personality off. Are you calm and elegant or bold and eclectic? What ever your style it all starts with color!

2)    Art- I’m a huge advocate for art. It is what I consider to be the “wild card”. It can be abstract, traditional or somewhere in between. Choose pieces that you love and create conversation. If ever you invest in art this is one place that calls for quality.

3)    Console-If you have an entry that is plentiful in space, always include a console or side table. It is a great place to dress up your entry with my next suggestion: lighting. It is also a great place to set keys or mail should you need it along with other favorable decorative items.

To continue reading this article click here!

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Designer Do’s and Don’ts by Nashville, TN interior designer Amanda Gates

I would like to thank DefySupply for featuring me as one of their experts for their latest sales infographic. If you are looking for furniture they are the place to go! As one of their favorite designers they stroked my ego by including me in their latest ad. So thanks defysupply, you rock. But honestly, I am pretty great so listen to what I recommend, it will change your life-promise!

Design Do's and Dont's

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Color trends 2012 VS 2013

I find color trends to be a funny thing. All paint companies have them, Pantone being one of the biggest and most followed, but ultimately no matter how much you like or dislike the choices we eventually are all sucked into drinking the kool aid. Why? Because it appears in fashion. We see it in the clothes we buy and it trickles down into shelter magazines and into stores like pottery barn, West Elm and every other home decor store. Without even realizing it you suddenly start liking blue despite never really being fond of the color.

Orange was one of those colors ten years ago. I remember when I lived in Las Vegas my design team and I were starting to put it into our model home projects. It was a rising trend even though everything on the shelves was still red. By the time I moved to Tennessee, many were still hanging on to the red trend but orange was fast approaching every where. Now people love it and dislike red. Funny how that happens.

Pantone’s color for 2013 is Monaco Blue. Eh, can’t say I’m really fan. It’s a bit too beachy blue for my tastes…..or is it? Without even realizing it the last two homes I have built design concepts for have incorporated a strong blue palette. Interesting!

This morning as I flipped through my emails I received Benjamin Moores top color for 2013: Lemon Sorbet

Introducing Benjamin Moore's Color of the Year, lemon sorbet (2019-60).

Eh, can’t say I’m really a fan of yellow…..hmmm, guess we will see where this takes us! What do you think of the proposed upcoming colors? Like or dislike?

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Enticing Entries by interior decorator, Amanda Gates, Cool Springs TN

I am loving all the photos of entry ways that I am seeing on the internet. There are so many great ways to decorate an entry and here are some really great shots of inspiration to get you started in the right direction.

What do you think? Which is your favorite entryway? So many wonderful choices and ideas!

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Images: Cha cha, Inspired room, Southern Accents, horchow

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6 Designing Secrets from an Interior Designer

When it comes to design there are few rules to adhere to. I mean let’s get something straight here, it’s about creative expression and really showing off your true personality. Setting up a list of rules on how you should and shouldn’t design your home is like telling a painter how they should wave their brush strokes. We all do it differently, approach it from all directions but the end result is always magic. So when designing your home, whether you’re a complete novice or fifteen years into the business always live through creativity but keep a few things in mind.

1) Always have flowers

AB HOME Offices

I am a huge fan of flowers and talk of them often here on the blog. Arrangements do not have to be difficult and can make a huge impact on a room with little effort.

2) Every home should shine

AB HOME Interiors

Just like the photo above, all homes and spaces should have some bling. Add sparkle where ever you can. Whether it be chandeliers, candle holders, decorative accessories, any item that reflects light helps lift a room.

3) Add beauty


Simple things in our lives add beauty. It is about honoring your specific lifestyle and the little things that make your house special. It could be an expensive art piece over the fireplace or your five year olds drawing from school. Beauty comes in many things, learn how to define what your is.

4) Buy quality, buy once


My mother instilled this in me growing up. She would wait a year to buy a chair or furniture piece if it meant she wouldn’t have to ever buy it again. To this day she still has all of our original furniture from our small house in California from when I was a kid. To her quality far out weighed quantity.

5) Always buy natural

All natural

I have a particular client who is a bachelor and thought it was high way robbery to spend $40 on sheets. However, his $40 sheets were 100% polyester and sand paper would have been more comfortable for sleeping. When I suggested he upgrade to $400 sheets his 30 year old heart stopped. But when I explained to him that the benefits of all natural far out weighed the price, not to mention he’d sleep better, he was sold. Now he tells everyone he knows that better quality sheets are the way to go.

6) Get rid of the clutter

Clean and easy

So many homes I go in are stuffed with unnecessary things. Over cluttered with paper, magazines and items that rarely see the light of day. A space needs to breathe and be enjoyed. Choose items carefully and chuck the rest. You’ll be amazed at how well you feel!

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Soothing decor to help you sleep

When designing a bedroom space it is always wise to choose colors, items and textures that promote rest. It may seem like a great idea to follow that new trend of flaming red on one wall, but ultimately it won’t be a wise choice so always start with things you love. I just met with a new client this past week that was a prime example of outside influence taking charge. Her mother-in-law loves red and kept advising she too put red in her living room. Problem was she hated red. But it wasn’t until she removed all the red accents from the room and replaced it with her love of blue that she realized this. Your bedroom should be decorated the same. Surround yourself with the things you love to promote a place of rest.

Brooke Giannetti

1) Choose soft colors-

They are always soothing and help lift our spirits. We lead hectic lives so simplicity is key. Don’t choose harsh colors that will agitate or raise your energy. This is a space to relax and allow you to unwind.

2) Don’t over clutter-

Clutter in a bedroom does not promote rest and sleep. In fact people who bring their work into the bedroom are less likely to sleep the entire night through. Paperwork and computer emails play on the mind even once the computer is closed. So avoid bringing anything other than fun magazines, a good book or a journal into your room.

3) Lighting-

Always use lamps in your bedroom as the main source of light. Overhead lighting can be harsh unless on a dimmer. Keep lighting low and comfortable to help warm up your space and help you unwind.

4) Easy fabrics-

A bedroom should not be decorated with complicated fabrics. Keep it simple. In fact, most of your fabrics should be all natural materials of Cotton, linen, or wool. Don’t underestimate the power of an all natural fabric. They are easy to care for, and feel great on your skin.

5) Furniture

I am a huge fan of upholstered headboards in a bedroom. They are comfortable to lean on when reading in bed and can easily be changed up for the seasons. I am also a huge fan of comfy seating in a bedroom. Even if you can only fit one chair in your space, it is a great place to throw on some shoes, read a book or catch up on blogging.

Love Joy design

Another tip, always have two nightstands. I go into so many homes that only have one nightstand. Sorry folks, this is a big party foul. Even if it is small like the one shown above, each side of the bed should have a place to set a book or a cup of coffee, there is always enough room!

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Trove Wallpaper

I recently visited one of my favorite blogs, Quintessence and was introduced to Trove wallpaper. Wallpaper is red hot and I am using it everywhere, so I was excited to find this new resource. So many awesome papers to choose from and nothing run of the mill or cookie cutter.

Like this one shown above called Chroma. It looks like DNA to me, but love the blur and movement of color. This paper would be excellent in large room or powder room.

Love this one called NYX. How great would this be in an entry way, mudroom or hallway? Love this and the fact that it’s muted in color, allows you to use it in many different applications.

Another favorite is the Navi pattern. I am working on putting together a pink office. This pattern would be stunning in an office, bedroom, or bathroom. Of course I love the pink!

For the original article and additional information on this paper, visit the Q Blog. What do you think of this paper? Could you find a place in your home to use it? Um, I think so!

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Clever and Fun Ways to Update Your Home

There is nothing I love more than fun and clever ways to update my home, especially when they make me smile. Here are some fun and quick updates that are inexpensive!

1) Maps

Maps are inexpensive and easy to find. Use them to line drawers or hang on the wall for interesting and easy art.

2) Create an outline

With ease of a contrast paint, outline doors or molding for a deep contrast and added drama!

3) Use Wallpaper

Many design places sell wallpaper remnants. You can also call a local paper hanger for left over rolls. Use them in smart ways to line bookshelves, make framed art or create a smashing closet door!

4) Change out Shades

Shades are easy to find and inexpensive. Change them out for a quick update and a splash of color.

What are some of your favorite updates that are quick and easy?

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Bonus Spaces for Quiet Solitude

Many of the main spaces in our homes are designed for social gathering. However, there is no denying that with our hectic, busy lives we crave solitude. Many homes provide natural nooks and crannies within their architecture, perfect for creating a small space for any activity carved out for one. When designing your space for one don’t always default to an easy chair and lamp. Think of the many possibilities a special space can bring you and suddenly the restful quiet opportunities are endless. When designing your new space take a few things into consideration.

1) Discover your space

Harley's nook

Harley's Nook

Our homes are filled with them. All sorts of little areas just dying for attention. No matter where the location, determine the best nook in your home. It can be in a hallway, bedroom, stair landing, living room, corner or even a closet.

2) How will you use it?

Once you have determined where the nook will be, you’ll need to determine what it will be for. This is important when selecting furniture and accessories. Will you be reading, journaling, listening to music or napping? Choose your furniture pieces accordingly. For example, if this space will be for listening to music you will probably want a comfortable chair and a place for equipment.

3) Decorate your space

Allow your space to reflect your special interest. Decorate for the activity you will do most in this space. For example if you want a quiet reading nook you may also want to indulge in a cup of tea. This will require a small tea table next to your chair to place a cup of tea and your novel if necessary. Maybe you would like to have flowers in your space. What ever it is create a laundry list of things you’ll need to make that space cozy and comfortable for the perfect afternoon of solitude!

Do you have a nook in your home? What do you use your special and quiet space for?

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5 ways to dress up your linen closet

Linen closets have become little jewel boxes in our homes. They store all the important things in our lives that equal decadence. Here are 5 things you can do to instantly spruce up your linen closet to feel organized and snazzy.

1) Add shelf liner

Shelf liner is a great way to add pattern and style quickly and affordably to your space.

2) Bundle your sheets

Fold sheets into one of it’s matching pillowcases for easy storage and grab on the go. For an added bonus include a lavender sachet for a good nights sleep.

3) Keep things fresh

Have linen sprays and eco cleaners on hand for quick clean-ups and fresh aromas.

4) Contain it.

To make life easier, fill bins with your guest in mind. Have towels, wash cloths, soap, sprays and other toiletries within the bin. Easy to grab and place in their room when guests arrive.

5) Quilts and Blankets

Always keep extra blankets and quilts handy for over night guests, or to snuggle up on the sofa for a great movie. To keep them neat wrap them in scraps of old ribbon or fabric scrap to keep them frsh and organized.

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Verizon’s Samsung Galaxy III

It’s been about five weeks now as a Verizon Ambassador. I really enjoyed having my phone with me while in San Francisco and also in Houston. The kindle feature as I have mentioned before is one of my favorite features. The phone has an enormous screen making it easy to read, but it is much smaller than most electronics making it very easy to carry. A true win, win. It also takes great photos!

Us girls had a fantastic time in San Francisco getting into all sorts of trouble. We went to the beach (above just before we went) and we went to a great bar called the office, where we met some great locals to party with,

After I got home from San Francisco I was off for Houston. Where I laid by the pool, and enjoyed mamas favorite kool aid

All in all a great little vacation before the eye of the storm: Better known as Holiday season for interior designers! My phone worked great! Pics are easy to take, email and share with friends in a snap. It is also easy to create video and share amongst friends and family too!

I have slowly started using it to text…but the auto spell on it drives me nuts! It never spells the words I want and I waste a lot of time getting to accept the word I want, rather than the word it wants me to have. If you know how to turn this feature off, let me know!

Disclosure: I am participating in the Verizon Wireless Ambassadors program and have been provided with a wireless device and 3 months of service in exchange for my honest opinions about the device

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Bean bags – Out of the Den and Into The Living Room

Bean bags are not just for kids and college students anymore. Companies such as Bean Bag Boss have pioneered wide assortments of colors, prints and fabrics (from cotton to faux leather to stain-resistant), making it hard to find a reason not to explore these alternatives. The modern bean bag chair has more support and stability than they did in the past, as well as durability. They are easy to shop for, with the advent of online shopping and easy shipping, and simple to move around the house to find the perfect spot.

armchair bean bag chair position

Bean bags are great for flopping down on in front of the tv, a quiet reading nook, or for putting a few of them together to create the ultimate at home experience (popcorn is extra). If you suddenly need a seat for an unexpected abundance of company, you can bring out a bean bag chair from another room with minimal fuss.

horsy bean bag chair position

Modern furniture trends are moving towards the breakdown of casual and formal furniture into a lifestyle that fits you and your own style. No one wants to have a room full of furniture that isn’t practical in day-to-day life, or enjoyable to use. Bean bag chairs bring people together, young and old, for a fun time among friends and family. For more info click here: Bean bag chairs.

Article by Sophie Tardiff

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AB Homes Interiors Blog

Black Bean-Quinoa Burgers

Today’s Vegetarian Times recipe is a black bean quinoa burger. Quinoa is a terrific seed that is often used to replace many meat dishes for terrific vegetarian alternatives. It is a wonderful protein-packed food and has a very slight grain/nutty taste with a texture similar to goetta…if you have ever had that.  Quinoa is quickly becoming known as a super food because it is a protein powerhouse, has low cholesterol, it is rich in fiber, builds bones and contains a great amount of iron. It is also yummy as a burger….something all Americans should not miss out on simply because they don’t eat meat.

Black Bean-Quinoa Burgers

Serves 8

Here’s a delicious veggie burger you can whip up from scratch. Any steak seasoning (which is just a combination of herbs and spices) will work to give the patties a rich, hearty flavor. Stash a few in the freezer for busy weeknight meals. For super-easy cookouts, bake the patties ahead, then reheat them on the grill. Serve with your favorite burger fixings.

½ cup quinoa
1 small onion, finely chopped (1 cup)
6 oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and finely chopped (¼ cup)
1½ cups cooked black beans, or 1 15-oz. can black beans, rinsed
and drained, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
2 tsp. dried steak seasoning
8 whole-grain hamburger buns

1. Stir together quinoa and 1 1/2 cups water in small saucepan, and season with salt, if desired. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (You should have 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa.)

2. Meanwhile, place onion and sun-dried tomatoes in medium nonstick skillet, and cook over medium heat. (The oil left on the tomatoes should be enough to sauté the onion.) Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until onion has softened. Stir in 3/4 cup black beans, garlic, steak seasoning, and 11/2 cups water. Simmer 9 to 11 minutes, or until most of liquid has evaporated.

3. Transfer bean-onion mixture to food processor, add 3/4 cup cooked quinoa, and process until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in remaining 3/4 cup quinoa and remaining 3/4 cup black beans. Season with salt and pepper, if desired, and cool.

4. Preheat oven to 350°F, and generously coat baking sheet with cooking spray. Shape bean mixture into 8 patties (1/2 cup each), and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake 20 minutes, or until patties are crisp on top. Flip patties with spatula, and bake 10 minutes more, or until both sides are crisp and brown. Serve on buns.

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AB Homes Interiors Blog

DIY holiday scents for people magazine Cool Springs, TN Designer Amanda Gates

Stovetop Holiday Recipes

1)    Cinnamon Clove delight

3-5 Cinnamon Sticks

3-5 Whole Cloves

1 Orange Peel

½ gal Apple Cider

1-2 C Bottled water

Fill saucepan with liquids and bring to a boil. Add cinnamon sticks, cloves and citrus, Reduce heat and simmer for a wonderful holiday scent.

2)    Double happiness- Vanilla Cinnamon Spray

1 C Water

1 C Vinegar

4 tbsp Vanilla extract

5 Whole cloves

3 Cinnamon sticks

1 tsp Nutmeg

Combine liquids and bring to a boil. Add cloves, cinnamon, nutmeg. Simmer on low heat. Keep on stove for an hour or so to create a wonderful aroma throughout the house. Allow to cool and then strain ingredients into a spray bottle for a lasting room spray


1)    Holiday Potpourri



Cinnamon sticks


Apple Rinds, cores

45 drops peppermint

Sprinkle all ingredients in a dish of your choice. Quantity is based on size of dish, have fun with it! Drop 45 drops of peppermint essential oil on above ingredients. Make large batches and put dishes throughout the house for a wonderful holiday season scent. Note: Dish should be made of china or pottery for best results

2)    Country Potpourri

1 Mason Jar

Dried Apple slices

Dried pomegranate slices

Cinnamon sticks

Rose hips

Orange Slices


Put all ingredients in a large bowl. Grind up some of the cinnamon sticks and sprinkle over mixture. Douse mixture with Vanilla extract or favorite essential oil like peppermint, spearmint, or pine. Mix all the ingredients together and pour mixture into mason jar. Poke holes in the lid with a hammer and nail to allow aroma to waft through the house. Wrap decorative ribbon around the lid with dried orange or apple for a decorative addition.

3)    Pine Cones

Collect pinecones from out side and place in a decorative bowl. Douse with pine, peppermint, cinnamon, or spruce essential oil for a wonderful tabletop display that smells like the holidays.

Holiday Pomanders

1)    AB Home’s Holiday Diffuser

1 Partially Dried Orange

20-40 cloves

½ C Ground cinnamon

8 wooden skewers

Vodka Peppermint Mixture

Take Orange and press the points of each clove into the orange in a pattern of your choice. Continue until orange is covered well with cloves. Take ground cinnamon and spread in a large dish; roll a lightly damp, cloved orange in the cinnamon until completely covered in cinnamon. Let this sit for at least 48 hours, preferably 72 hours. Meanwhile, soak skewers in Vodka Peppermint mixture for 24 hours. Once orange is ready put marinated skewers in orange for a lovely bergamot mint, holiday scent. Re-soak skewers as needed.

2)    Holiday Orange Balls

3 Cinnamon Sticks

3” Foam ball

Partially dried Orange peels

Attach thin orange peels to the ball with hot glue. (You can also use bridal pins to secure them to the foam if necessary) Break up cinnamon sticks in small chunks and place at bottom of bowl or dish. Place Orange ball on cinnamon sticks. * Can also substitute bay leaves or cloves

Light Bulb Rings

1)    Holiday Light ring

Purchase a brass or porcelain light bulb ring

Peppermint essential oil

Place 15 drops of peppermint essential oil on the ring. Only do when cool not when light is lit. Place on light bulb for a lovely peppermint aroma. Can also place around a candle of the same diameter.

Aroma Lamps (container heated by a votive candle)

1)    Holiday Forest

5 Drops Rosemary

5 Drops Coriander

6 Drops All Spice

4 Drops Clove

Combine oils in water and add heat with a votive candle.

2)    Winter Forest

8 Drops peppermint

8 Drops Eucalyptus

4 Drops Orange

Air Freshener Spray

1)    Peppermint Air Freshener Spray

1 C Vodka (non Flavored)

5 C Distilled water

35-40 drops peppermint essential oil

In a spray bottle combine all ingredients and shake well. Can be used on just about anything. Vodka helps moisture evaporate quickly leaving a lovely scent.

2)    Peppermint Dish

3 Tbsp Vodka (non flavored)

3 Tbsp vinegar

30-45 drops peppermint oil

Combine all ingredients in an attractive dish and place in living room, or any room that needs fragrance.

3)    Woodsy Dish

40 Drops Cypress

30 Drops pine

30 Drops Eucalyptus

20 Drops Sandalwood

Combine all ingredients in an attractive dish and place in living room, or any room that needs fragrance.

AB Homes Interiors Blog

Happy Fourth of July

Wishing everyone a fantastic and safe holiday this Fourth of July!!

Eat, drink and be merry today…and don’t forget to enjoy those fireworks.

Happy Fourth of July!

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image: Martha Stewart, El Civic (feature photo)

AB Homes Interiors Blog

Delicious Vegetarian Burritos

This delightful recipe fell into my inbox today via Vegetarian Times. A perfect recipe for our hot summer days, with a cool beer (vodka for me) and it has all the right ingredients, equalling yummy!

Green Chile burrito

Steamy vegetables melt the cheese to just the right gooey consistency in this chile verde burrito. The star ingredient is chayote, a member of the gourd family. Chayote has a pear shape and a texture similar to zucchini.

2 tsp. vegetable oil
1 small onion, halved and sliced (1 cup)
1 small chayote (6 oz.), peeled, seeded, and cubed, or 1 medium zucchini,
2 cloves garlic, minced (2 tsp.)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
⅓ cup cooked or canned black beans
1 Tbs. diced green chiles
2 Tbs. chopped cilantro
⅔ cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese, divided
4 8-inch whole-wheat tortillas, warmed
4 Tbs. crumbled queso fresco, optional
1 lime, cut into 4 wedges

1. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and chayote, and cook 12 minutes, or until chayote is tender and onion begins to brown. Stir in garlic, then corn, beans, and green chiles; cook 5 minutes, or until heated through. Stir in cilantro, then stir in 1/3 cup Jack cheese. Season with salt and pepper, if desired.

2. Divide chayote mixture among warmed tortillas. Sprinkle remaining 1/3 cup Jack cheese and 1 Tbs. queso fresco, if using, over filling. Roll up tortillas, leaving one end open. Serve with lime wedges.

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Want more designer tricks, tips and trade secrets, delivered to your inbox, all for FREE? Click here for our monthly newsletter, and receive our top tips on “How to accessorize and where to shop!” And be sure to register for my powerful FREE teleclass, 3 Design steps to a more Productive and Profitable Office.

AB Homes Interiors Blog

3 Steps To a More Productive and Profitable Office by Nashville, TN Interior designer Amanda Gates

I am so excited to be able to present to you the following teleclass:

To listen to the recording click on the links below. Feel free to download this teleclass.

MP3 Version

Wav Version

Don’t forget there will be a special offer at the end – you won’t want to miss this!!

AB Homes Interiors Blog

Smokey Eggplant and Melon Wraps

One of my favorite new super foods is eggplant! It is such a versatile vegetable and is so tasty. I was excited to find this recipe in Vegetarian times today.

Makes about 24 wraps and takes approximately 30 minutes to make

1 Medium eggplant

1/4 C olive oil

2 Tbs soy sauce

2 Tbs apple cider vinegar

2 Tbs brown sugar

2 tsp smoked paprika

1 1/2 tsp cumin

2 tsp kosher salt

2 lb cantaloupe  peeled and cut into chunks

Quarter eggplant lengthwise and slice into 24 long, very thin strips. Whisk together olive oil, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, paprika, cumin, and salt in a 9in baking pan. Add eggplant strips and let marinate. Heat gas grill and grill 2 minutes each side or until strips are tender. Wrap 1 strip grilled eggplant around each melon chunk and secure with a toothpick.

Makes for a terrific snack or appetizer for your next get together. And fantastic for a summer treat! Recipe from Vegetarian Times, June.ñ

AB Homes Interiors Blog

The Million Dollar Mindset

I recently started chatting up a fine fellow here in Nashville about education and what it’s worth. Interestingly enough most Americans are spoon fed that education is everything…and yet those who have degrees and hundreds of thousands of debt to prove it, are not sure they would do it all over again. While they love the idea of saying they have a Masters, or like this fellow, a fancy PhD an education doesn’t always compute to guaranteed success and or money.

For example, most recipients of a Masters degree average sixty to seventy five thousand dollars a year. Depending on locale. Those with PhD’s can get upwards of $150K, depending on profession and locale, however, it also comes with the high price of school debt, and various loans. Not to mention various insurances, continuing education requirements etc.

9 gag

Now fast forward to the question of whether you think education and is it worth the cost. Is it? I for one believe that the first few years of college are absolutely necessary. It teaches us so many things like people skills, responsibility, resourcefulness and valuable friendships. And I have to say I had no clue what my social security number was until I had to repeat five thousand times over the course of four years. But I digress. College for me taught me how to tip toe into reality and become an adult. It also gave me an education of sorts because I barely paid attention in high school…who has time for all that non sense when there are cute boys, basketball games and proms to prepare for.

What I find fascinating is this concept that education, dangled like a carrot for those who crave success, is the magical answer. As if it is the golden key in the magical land of fast cars, driven results, and super stardom, is simply education. The reality is success is not measured in text book studies. Steve jobs, Bill gates, Richard Branson, Ralph Lauren, Mark Zuckerburg and Michael Dell are just a few names that did not finish out their education in the proper societal channels. Would they not be considered the epitome of what Americans consider success?

This topic has been on my mind for months. Especially from a woman’s perspective. I have spoken with so many women entrepreneurs over the past couple of years and interestingly enough many women fail to believe they can be “successful” because they don’t have the proper education. Which has nothing at all to do with what they are capable of. The aforementioned are proof of that. It comes down to belief, and a dream, knowing that you have a product that people want and selling it. For women this often becomes a worth issue. Not feeling like they are enough to play with the big boys. In reality it has nothing to do with education, it has to do with taking risks, working your ass off, good customer service and not buying into the ideal that you have to fit a square shape in a round hole. In fact most successful entrepreneurs today barely passed high school, could never make it through college and would be considered least like;y to succeed. Hmmm, and most likely to succeed from the class of 84, where is he now?

AB Homes Interiors Blog

Yoga, flow and emotion

I started doing yoga over a year ago. At the time I had not worked out in over five months and that little voice within me was really kicking in, wreaking havoc on my thoughts, especially when I went straight for the fries and cakes, instead of the salad. I had done yoga before but wasn’t really impressed. However, prior to my five month lapse I had been working out consistently at a gym for six straight years; and frankly I didn’t want to see another treadmill or bench press again. No longer hiding in sweaters, as I walked to the pool I was really beginning to see those tasty cakes and fries taking shape on my……insert imagination here.


I can’t tell you why I ended up in a yoga studio, but I can tell you I wanted a different experience than the gym. And I am also very lazy when it comes to things outside of work so if it’s convenient even by one mile I’m sold! I decided to start doing bikram hot yoga. It’s miserable, really. For an hour and a half you flow through 26 asanas in a room that averages 110 degrees at 60% humidity. Many of the poses are based on your own body weight which helps build strength,and even breath. While my goal was to loose those extra “cakes and fries” there was something else I was loosing too, my emotions.

Core power yoga

yogi jessi

Recently I added flow vinyassa yoga to my practice. Not only does it combine meditation within the practice but it is much faster paced and focuses on breath and chakras. Every time I would get into childs pose or the instructor would guide us to our heart center my emotions would bubble up within me. “Why on earth is this happening? What is wrong with me? Am I loosing my mind?” Well a few days ago Yoga Journal released a wonderful article on this very thing. According to Joan Harrigan, Ph.D:

“Yoga is not merely an athletic system; it is a spiritual system. The asanas are designed to affect the subtle body for the purpose of spiritual transformation. People enter into the practice of yoga asana for physical fitness or physical health, or even because they’ve heard it’s good for relaxation, but ultimately the purpose of yoga practice is spiritual development.”

This development depends on breaking through places in the subtle body that are blocked with unresolved issues and energy. “Anytime you work with the body, you are also working with the mind and the energy system—which is the bridge between body and mind,” Harrigan explains. And since that means working with emotions, emotional breakthroughs can be seen as markers of progress on the road to personal and spiritual growth.” Read article here

Bikram has been my Everest. Some days I can get half way up the mountain and others days I barely get across the lowlands. Vinyassa however has been a great addition, and I consider it to be my Grand Canyon. Sure there are difficult parts but there is so much beauty and enjoyment in it I hardly notice that I am doing 400 push-ups, and it has really allowed me to tap into those subtle energies for spiritual growth.

Have you tried yoga?

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Design Steps to a More Productive & Profitable Office, register HERE

AB Homes Interiors Blog

Upcoming events-My personal note to you

I am excited to announce some of our upcoming events here at AB HOME Interiors. Mind you, it took about five takes to make this video and I am beginning to think it would have been faster to type it…but my coach keeps telling me y’all prefer video. So for all of those that would rather SEE and HEAR me in person, this is for you! :)


Want more designer tricks, tips and trade secrets, delivered to your inbox, all for FREE? Click here for our monthly newsletter, and receive our top tips on “How to accessorize and where to shop!”

And don’t forget to register for my upcoming teleclass: 3 Steps to a More Productive and Profitable office. Register HERE

Find out more about Virtual Interior Design HERE

For more information feel free to contact my team here

Find us on facebook or Twitter!!

AB Homes Interiors Blog