Dog’s Day Out

Houndstooth puts dogs first in all they do

Wagging tails and sweet slobbery kisses are just a few of the ways Houndstooth Grooming, Boarding and Doggie Day Care’s customers show their appreciation. And they love every minute of it.

“They are so fun and bring a different energy,” says Karen Caplenor, owner of Houndstooth Grooming, Boarding and Doggie Day Care. “They love life, and I have so much fun playing and spending time with them.”

Her team at Houndstooth offers grooming, boarding and doggy day care at their safe, clean facility. They have three certified groomers on staff who handle everything from cutting nails to full-body trims. And all of the dogs receive personal attention, whether they are staying the night or spending the day playing with their furry friends.

They recently added new boarding cages for smaller dogs, giving them a full range of options for dogs, no matter their size. When man’s best friend stays with Houndstooth, they enjoy a calm environment and full-time staff that constantly checks on and walks them — including during nights and weekends.

“We try to make it as much like home as possible,” she says. That also includes having couches they can lie on, blankets, clean bedding, fresh bowls and toys.

Houndstooth opened in Lebanon in November 2009, and they’ve been in their new 6,000-square-foot, climate-controlled facility for about three years. Besides the focus on safety and cleanliness, what makes Houndstooth so special is the caring, attentive staff.

“You want someone who is thinking about your pet 24/7 and knows how much you love them,” she says.

The Houndstooth team also supports animal rescue groups, New Leash on Life and Old Friends Senior Dog Sanctuary. “We help board some of their dogs for them since they don’t have enough foster parents,” she says. They’ve also given Kuranda beds to Smith County and Hartsville animal controls to keep the dogs from sleeping on the cold concrete.

Houndstooth Grooming, Boarding and Doggie Day Care is located at 531-A W. Baddour Parkway in Lebanon. For more information, visit Houndstoothgroomingandcouture.com or call 615-453-9090.

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Feels Like Home

Capital Real Estate moves to new location

Apple co-founder and innovator of all things “i”, the late Steve Jobs once said, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So, you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future.”  That’s what happened one Sunday in 2016 when Wilson County resident and owner of Capital Real Estate Services, DeAnna Dodd stopped at an open house on Lebanon Road. On that Sunday, at that particular open house, Dodd was exactly where she was meant to be.

“The minute I walked in the front door, there was an immediate connection to the house, but I  wasn’t interested in moving from the home I had just built 5 years ago,” says DeAnna. “So, I let the thought of living there go.”

For weeks, Dodd couldn’t stop thinking about the craftsmen style home nestled on the western edge of Lebanon, even calling to check with the listing agent regularly to see if anyone had expressed interest in the property.

“One Saturday, I went to the house and just sat in the living room. A short time later, I knew what I had to do.”

Even though the house was classified (zoned) as Residential and the lease on her Hartmann Drive office space didn’t end until September 2017, Dodd decided to make an offer anyway. It wasn’t as simple as just purchasing the property, DeAnna was also tasked with applying for rezoning in order to move Capital Real Estate Services to the charming space. She managed to take care of it all in record time. Shortly after closing on the purchase in December of 2016 and the final approval for the rezoning coming in January, the renovations began.

“I can’t imagine being in a better place.  To love what I do and to be able to do it in a house that is so warm and inviting is an amazing feeling.  I see clients having an experience here that is stress free because it’s comfortable.” Dodd continues, “The house is full of life and love and that’s what I want to share with our agents and clients both. We are family here and at any moment, you may catch an agent here with a baby, or a dog, and now with a full kitchen, there will be some office entertaining in the near future.”

As the real estate business in Wilson County is booming, DeAnna is keenly aware that at this time, it’s more important than ever to set yourself apart. She has always operated her business according to one of her favorite quotes by the late Steve Jobs, “You can’t look at the competition and say you’re going to do it better. You have to look at the competition and say you’re going to do it differently.”

Meet the Team

DeAnna Dodd, owner
With 32 years of experience, DeAnna opened Capital Real Estate Services in 2013 with a focus on personal relationships, professional experience, integrity and client services that exceed expectations. DeAnna loves to give back to her community. In 2015, Capital Real Estate provided a new home for abandoned dogs and their puppies at Country K-9 Rescue. In 2016, Capital partnered with Crossroads Church to purchase and rehab a home now called “The Refinery” to help single moms in the community.

Claude Maynard, managing broker
Claude has been the managing broker for Capital Real Estate since its inception in 2013. Under his leadership, he has fostered a culture of honesty, integrity and contributing for the good of the team. Claude’s vast knowledge in residential and commercial development, land acquisition, zoning changes and dividing property for the highest return have served our clients well. Claude specializes in solving difficult problems and has achieved success where others have failed.

Tammy Maynard, broker
For the past 10 years, Tammy has held her Tennessee Real Estate license, practicing in Wilson County and the Middle Tennessee area, and she also maintains her broker license. She loves the challenge of putting her expertise to work for the buyers and sellers of her community. She specializes in listing, selling, short sales, property management, offers notary services and, most of all, serving customers.

Caroline Hutchison, affiliate broker
Caroline brings two qualities to Capital Real Estate Services: trust and loyalty. These qualities are very important to her along with professionalism and excellent client service. Becoming a realtor has let her rejoin the workforce outside of home and let her have that one-on-one client relationship, in addition to meeting new people. Listening and understanding the client’s needs is a challenge that she takes personally and professionally.

Teresa Campbell, affiliate broker
Teresa is a loyal, trustworthy and compassionate agent with a strong work ethic. Her clients have her full dedication. Purchasing or selling a home is an exciting time and one of the biggest decisions of a lifetime! She utilizes her experience and knowledge to understand the client’s needs and guides them through the process of the purchase, sale or investment of the home they are searching for.

Taylor Vandever, affiliate broker
Taylor is a multi-talented member of our team. Not only is he a licensed real estate agent with Capital Real Estate Services, but he also has a license as a certified general appraiser and a license to practice law in the state of Tennessee. His background in commercial real estate, commercial construction and the legal field gives the entire Capital Real Estate team a unique edge over other agencies.

Rebekah Bond, affiliate broker
Rebekah is dedicated to serving her clients well. Prior to her real estate career, she was a professional model since age 13 and learned that working hard and being kind to people went a long way in getting the best outcomes. Rebekah looks for the charm and character in every property she sells to ensure her clients love their options. As a farm owner herself, she has a special interest in historic homes, farms and large properties that can serve as a haven of peace and comfort for her clients.

Josie Nem, affiliate broker
Josie transitioned into real estate after a career in insurance. Her extensive knowledge of property and flood insurance gives her a unique perspective in every real estate transaction. Josie is known to be a strong advocate to get the best outcome for clients, and she leans into problems if they arise to ensure that her clients have a smooth process and close the deal for the price they want.

Debbie Graham, affiliate broker
Debbie has 25 years of real estate experience in Wilson County and a vast knowledge of the horse industry. She specializes in homes on acreage, horse properties and land. Debbie is an avid horsewoman and horse lover herself who enjoys owning, raising and showing the American quarter horse. It is through this understanding of the horse business that allows her to find clients their ideal horse property or farm.

Luke Puryear, affiliate broker
Luke Puryear has two passions in his life: his family and providing his clients with an exceptional experience with his organized and detail-oriented real estate services. Luke knows the sale and purchasing of a new home can be an exciting but stressful time but is able to ease the tension with his excellent communication skills gained from his education background. Not only is Luke a real estate agent, he also has spent the past nine years teaching economics at Lebanon High School. His time as a teacher has given Luke a different perspective as a real estate agent in the community that he loves.

Vanessa Binkley, affiliate broker
Vanessa prides herself on being a 24/7 agent who believes in putting her clients needs first, being accessible when they need her. As an active member of the community leading fundraising efforts for various causes, the Capital Gives Back motto is truly part of her own belief system.

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Man, I Feel Like A Woman — But Which Bathroom?

 

Yep, I’m going there. Well, not literally. I’m sitting at my computer as opposed to sitting on a toilet in a gender-neutral bathroom. It’d be pretty unhygienic writing in a public restroom. That much we can all agree on, yes?

It’s time to get our toilet paper in a wad: No. 2 has become the No. 1 issue. And yes, there will be more bathroom puns, so brace yourself.

You’d have to be living under a rock (or in an outhouse) to not know about the biggest issue facing this nation. No, I’m not talking about Iraq or Afghanistan, the economy, our crippling national debt, the pyramid scheme that is our social security system, Russia, North Korea or China.

Shania Twain, perhaps the greatest psychic of our time, the Canadian Nostradamus of the 90s with catchy beats and fog machines, foresaw the issue many years ago with her hit “Man! I feel like a woman!” (Although her soothsayer abilities could be called into question in that she did not see her husband and best friend’s affair coming. Although quite frankly, that’s Canada’s problem, not ours).

Does feeling like a woman make you a woman? A similar issue caught national attention with the case of Rachel Dolezal, a Caucasian woman who held herself out as African American, running Spokane, Washington’s NAACP chapter. Later it was revealed that she was not in fact African American, but just identified as such.

If you are a man who identifies as a woman, do you now get to compete with other women for affirmative action positions? Does a high school boy that identifies as a girl now get to compete for the few and far in between female golf or tennis collegiate scholarships, for example? If a man identifies as a woman, does that excuse him from registering for the draft? Does Caitlyn Jenner now get paid 80 cents to the dollar he used to make when he was Bruce? (Maybe the bigger question is why the Jenner/Kardashian crew gets paid anything at all? Alas, I wish this were also Canada’s problem).

So, what’s my position on the bathroom brouhaha? Well, I have to side with the Europeans and pick the bidet over toilet paper, any day! No, wait, wrong issue! Oh, sorry, my son just woke up from his nap and since he’s had a complete No. 2 blow out, changing his diaper is my No. 1 issue. Hold that thought, and your place in line of the bathroom of your choosing, till next time!

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Finding a Healthy Balance

I think I pulled a muscle in my back. It didn’t happen while doing anything that would normally be associated with a pulled muscle like, moving furniture, lifting boxes or the ever-popular CrossFit. In fact, there’s no way it could have been CrossFit. The closest I’ve come to participating is “liking” a Facebook friends “check in” at a local CrossFit gym.

However, exercise could be the reason this happened. I work out on a regular basis. I just don’t do it for any other reasons besides using it as an excuse to eat more and the regular infusion of endorphins I get when doubling down on cardio. Any health expert will tell you that to lose weight; it’s imperative to use a simple checks and balances system. You must eat fewer calories to lose weight. Since I have been adding and subtracting my cardio to food intake ratios based on guessing, I’ve gained a couple of pounds. Ok, 11.

Back to the point of this story. Somehow, I’ve jacked up my back. It’s not a big deal. More of a dull pain. When you gain 11 pounds, clothing starts to fit a little different. Pants get tighter; the muffin top gets fuller; the chin gets chinnier. It’s not pretty.

Last week I found a pair of jeans that I love. They were on sale (double bonus). I took my size to the dressing room. On a different note, I hate dressing rooms. I hate three-way mirrors. I could tell as soon as I tried to button up. I couldn’t even zip them. Could this be? I’ve worn the same size for seven years. Sure, I’ve gone up and down by a few pounds, but I’ve always worn my safety size. I’ve even worn the same size in the same brand of jeans I was trying on.

Maybe they were using a different fabric or new size standards. Maybe they were using a European sizing chart. Maybe the jeans were returned by someone who had the pants taken up before returning them. After confirming that the jeans were in fact, made from the same material, sized American standard sizing and no one had returned the pair I tried on, I decided to make them work. No way I was going up a size. Especially before summer. (Denial is a beautiful thing.)

I pulled, twisted, jumped, squatted and sucked in for so long; I nearly passed out. I twisted one last time, and that’s when it happened. Something popped or pulled. At this point, I was sweating profusely. The victory was I managed to zip up. I had no idea how to get them off. I sat down on the dressing room floor trying to figure it out. My back was throbbing so the twisting, turning, and squatting that it took to get them on wouldn’t be possible when taking them off. I started to panic.

After resting a few minutes, I managed to extricate myself from the jeans. The sales lady asked if I would like to try on a different size. I declined, deluding myself thinking I’ll just lose a little weight and they will fit fine. It should be noted that I own at least 10 pairs of pants and a few dresses that I’ve used this same line of thinking.

I decided then and there that I would start approaching my diet and exercise the correct way. I would be mindful of everything I eat. I would work out for better health and not for the promise of cheesecake after dinner. “I’m in my forties.” I thought. “My body has changed. My metabolism has changed. The next time I pull a muscle it will be from doing something like lifting weights or rock climbing; not trying on a pair of pants.”

A couple of weeks later, my pulled muscle felt healed enough to try working out again. I walked out of the gym feeling refreshed and motivated. Later that afternoon; I was getting ready to eat sliced cucumber and hummus when our office manager announced that there were homemade cupcakes for everyone in the conference room.

That’s when I decided to go up a size isn’t the worst thing that could happen.

Comments?

Email becky@wilsonlivingmagazine.com

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Gone But Not Forgotten

I can stare at this photo for hours.

A few years ago, I had it blown up and hung in the waiting area of our law office. And whenever I passed by it, I stopped and wondered. Who are they? What was the occasion that led to the photo? What ever happened to this family?

The building behind them in the photo has been near and dear to my heart from the moment I laid eyes on her. Built in the 1880s, if only these walls could talk!

During the years, people will stop into the office to share their memories of the old house or the families who lived here, but no one seems to know anything about the ladies and small child in the photo.

The past two months, I’ve been restoring my little diamond in the rough with the help of my friend and designer, Kendra Lester Ray. When we first found the building 14 years ago and moved the law office into it, we tried to honor her past but didn’t necessarily have the time to bring her back to her Victorian bones

And during the years, we have painted and patched to the point where I looked around one day and realized it was time to give our lady a facelift. So with the help of Kendra and my work family, who have given Kendra a run for her money with their own design ideas, we have brought her back to life.

Painters, contractors and cabinetmakers have worked late into the night so we could carry on the business of law during the day. My office family has put down their pens and paper many a day to move furniture, sweep floors and haul things off to Goodwill. Poor Kendra, I’m not sure she realized when I asked for her help that I meant I needed it done tomorrow!

During the week the office is a busy, busy place with work and clients. Saturdays, however, are quiet, but for a ringing phone that goes to voicemail. It’s the day I go up to the office to regroup and when I do, I now find this photo rehung in the newly redesigned conference room.

I still stop and wonder as I stare at the black and white photo — I wonder what the house looked like when this family lived here? I wonder if they’d like what we’ve done to her? I wonder if they were happy here?

During the years, I’ve learned bits and pieces about the various families who, for more than a century, called this building home. It’s been fascinating and wonderful to hear their stories and share in the memories of those who remember those gone but not forgotten.

I still don’t know who the ladies and the little boy are, but my hunch is they were happy here. And, for what its worth, we remember them all the time.

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The Strawberry Patch

How this barn sale got its start in Middle Tennessee

Barn sales have been catching on in other parts of the country, but it wasn’t until Christy Stone created The Strawberry Patch in Hartsville that there was one in Tennessee.

The Strawberry Patch Barn Sale is a staple of the Middle Tennessee barn sale aficionado. It is big, well curated and situated in a beautiful rural spot in the countryside of Trousdale County, an hour east of Nashville. It was listed as one of Country Living Magazine’s seven barn sales to visit in 2015 (that’s countrywide), and in February of this year, it was a Reader’s Choice pick in Flea Market Style Magazine.

Not only does The Strawberry Patch continue to be among the best, but it was quite literally the first of its kind in Tennessee.

“I started having them in my backyard in 2010,” Stone says. “I think I had three at my house in Lafayette. In 2011, we moved the sale to the farm, and that’s when it started to get bigger, quick. I think the first preview party I had in the backyard we had like 50 attendees. Now, we get between 2,000 and 2,500 per event. One year, we had about 3,500 shoppers, but we haven’t come close to that again. We have 40 to 60 vendors.”

This year’s Strawberry Patch spring market will be May 4 to 6 at 1272 Starlite Road in Hartsville. It will run Thursday 5 to 9 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Stone was inspired by some similar events that were becoming popular out in the Oregon and Washington areas. She met a woman named Gina Bishop who was selling at the Country Living Fair in 2009, and the Bishop inspired her with her aesthetic and her “you can do it” attitude.

“She had the cutest booth set up there, and I just wanted to meet her. She and I got to talking, and she was telling me that she had a barn in her backyard and would sometimes sell her own stuff there,” Stone recalls. “And she basically encouraged me. She didn’t know me from Adam, but she said, ‘What are you waiting on? Just do it!’”

In the first year of operating her own sale, Stone also took a scouting and inspiration trip to Washington to see the mother of all sales, called Barn House Boys, which she still says is the best she’s ever seen.

“Never have I seen anything remotely close to theirs,” Stone says. “Everything just flowed — everybody had the same look. I liked it because it was easy on the eye, though I realize people sometimes prefer some variety.”

Trendsetting in Hartsville

Most of Stone’s shoppers don’t come from the county this sale is held in. They come from Nashville, Hendersonville, Lebanon and other places. Vendors tend to return year after year, having been carefully vetted by Stone’s discerning eye. Still, she likes to have 10 or 15 new vendors every year.

“I know that shoppers want to see something different,” Stone says. “Although many want to come back and buy from those they know, people don’t want it to be the same show every time. It’s not easy on new vendors, because shoppers tend to buy from people they’re familiar with it seems like.

“When I’m considering a new vendor, I’ll look at how original it is — is it something new? You know, everybody wants to make signs, on pallets.”

However, she says she’s still surprised sometimes at what’s popular and sells.

“Some people really just love to buy a T-shirt that they’ve seen a dozen other women wearing. The average person is OK with wearing something that everybody else wears,” Stone says. “I have to remember that just because I wouldn’t wear something others are wearing doesn’t mean other people are that way.”

Fruit Tea Chicks

In addition to keeping up The Strawberry Patch, Stone’s new endeavor has her packing up and taking on the role of a vendor at other sales.

Fruit Tea Chicks is a simple booth with a simple concept: fruit tea from a secret recipe, served over ice with beautiful seasonal garnishes. People love it. Like with The Strawberry Patch, Stone seems to have found success just by packaging and presenting something that she herself was in love with.

“I just found an old diary entry from 2009,” she says, “where I was describing the barn sale and what I wanted to do, and I wrote that I wanted to sell my fruit tea there.”

There used to be a little restaurant and shop in Hendersonville where she would go and sit and read, enjoying their sandwiches and fruit tea. This was a big part of her life back when the sale was in the early stages. Many of the artisans she recruited to her first events were contacts she made at the little restaurant and shop, which was run by friends of hers.

But in the past few years, when she decided to make fruit tea into a business, she brought her own recipe into her home kitchen and started working on it until she felt she had something unique and inimitable, something truly her own. She planned for the Fruit Tea Chicks to be a little business that her teenage kids (Chloe, 14, Kailen, 13, and Stone, 11) could get involved in.

So far, it’s been a success. She recently sold 150 gallons of fruit tea in a weekend — one cup at a time.

Having done a year’s worth of events as a vendor, she’s now taking the Fruit Tea Chicks to another level: She bought a camper and is going to put the whole operation in there. As of now, she says setup can take about four hours — bringing in heavy coolers, carting gallons of premade tea and ice and setting up a tent. Once the camper is set up and everything installed, not only will she be able to set up and tear down quickly and make sales directly from the camper window, she’ll be able to make the tea onsite: a huge time saver.

It seems clear Christy is the kind of dreamer we’d all like to be. She can manage both ends of the creative process: picture something fabulous and actually get it done.

There’s no telling what that kind of a spirit will accomplish in the future.

For more information on The Strawberry Patch, check out their Facebook and Instagram pages, or visit Thestrawberrypatchtn.com.

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Mother of the Prom Date

When my husband proposed to me, we were at Olive Garden. We had eaten there before. I loved their never ending salad bowl.

He asked me to marry him. I said yes.

He asked my dad. He said yes.

My dress cost less than $500. I found it at the first store my Mom and I went to. I don’t recall there being a second store she was going to take me to.

My cousins and I did our own hair and makeup. Big bangs and pink lip gloss, and we were good to go.

And then we got married.

So the fact that I’m having to deal with promposals, multiple dress shops, hair and makeup appointments, spray tans and dress fittings….all in the name of a school dance…is enough to make me want to say “no way” to the dress!

Maybe its because I went to an all-girl high school or maybe it’s because I was a completely awkward teenager who still had braces on her senior year, but for whatever reason, prom wasn’t that big a deal for me. This guy from the all-boy school asked me. I said yes. I bought a pink, tea-length taffeta dress. I never saw him again after high school. I heard he became a doctor. My mother still brings it up.

With one daughter thankfully done and in college, I’m on Round 2 of high school dances and proms. Round 2 is almost as bad as Round 1 except promposals now seem to have taken on a life of their own. Round 3 will be upon us soon enough as our son enters high school next year, and we will then become the parents of the one doing the asking. God help us all.

For those unaware, a promposal is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as follows:

prom-po-sal (noun) An elaborately staged request to be someone’s date to prom, oftentimes concocted by a 40-something-year-old mother whose husband proposed marriage to her at a chain restaurant. In an attempt to rewrite the past, she insists upon collaborating with her son and his prom date invite. The result is a fantastic proposal often accompanied with a lavish array of rose petals, banners, photographers and an audience of friends and family.

The last promposal we experienced consisted of a wonderfully orchestrated light display on our driveway, in the shape of a heart. In the middle were the words “will you be my date to prom?” all lit up. Rose petals were scattered throughout.

I looked at my husband. He shook his head.

“You said Olive Garden was your favorite restaurant!”

Thankfully for him, three kids and six promposals later, I think I’m about to have my fill of elaborate proposals.

Give me a lasagna, salad and proposal, and let’s call it a day!

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Rustic Elegance for Big Day

Creating a personalized countryside retreat at Cedar Springs Farm Event Venue

Couples and their guests will enjoy a truly personalized experience at Cedar Springs Farm Event Venue. The property has been in Dr. Joe Phillips’s family since 1911 when his grandfather purchased the property. When Phillips bought the property 1984, he restored the cabins and structures, creating the perfect countryside retreat for weddings and other events.

Dr. and Mrs. Joe Phillips have restored the property and made it the perfect place for weddings and other events.

Spanning 180 acres in all, there’s a cabin for the bride and bridesmaids to get ready, one for the groom and groomsmen, a large barn for the reception, a grassy area where they can put church pews for the ceremony and plenty of parking space in the adjacent field.

Each cabin is filled with charm and personal touches, including furniture Dr. Phillips made himself. Spring and fall are the most popular times to book the venue for a wedding, and it’s really a blank canvas for whatever couples want it to look like for their big day.

The venue is located at 784 Phillips Road in Lebanon, and you can see more photos of it at Cedarspringstn.com. For information on booking, contact Penny Carroll at 615-330-9521.

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White Done Right

What you need to know before choosing white paint for your home

Each year when our Wilson Living wedding issue rolls around, you can find me doing the same thing. Shaking my head and wondering what I can share about home and design that’s relevant to weddings. One year, my column was on preserving mementos; last year, it was about readying your guest room for wedding guests.

However, this year’s topic became very clear to me when participating in Wilson Bank and Trust’s Southern Home and Garden Expo a few weeks ago: color.

Everyone wants to know about color.

What color is popular? Which colors are trendy? How do I choose the right paint color? Help, I chose the wrong paint color!

These are just a few of the color questions I heard during the weekend at the expo. In fact, this was my fifth year there, and I had more questions about color this year than any other year. But that suited me just fine because I love color, and I love to talk about color.

So how does this tie into the wedding issue? By examining the predominant color of weddings that also happens to be all the rage in interiors right now: white.

White sounds so simple and easy, and it can be, if you learn a bit about selecting it first. White is not just white. There are literally hundreds of shades of white. To choose the correct shade of white to use in your home, you must first understand the undertones of white.

There are five undertones of white, but here are the four most common:

  • Blue-white
  • True white
  • Off white
  • Cream or yellow-white

The fifth undertone of white is gray-white, which can actually appear greige. Whites with an undertone of gray are never a good choice for millwork or ceilings because they will appear dirty. Gray whites are an option best left for walls, and I’ll address that next. Simply know that when choosing white for a space, it will typically be found in one of the Top 4 categories.

If you are selecting a white for an existing space, you must first determine the undertones of the fixed elements of the space. What are fixed elements? Anything that is “fixed” in the space and cannot be easily moved or changed is a fixed element.

Examples of these would be wood flooring, tile flooring, stone countertops and carpet. Look to these elements to discern what whites and undertones already exist in them, and that is how you will choose the category of whites from which to select your paint color.

Once the undertone category has been selected, you must then compare and contrast whites in the category against the fixed elements in the space, and it should be very apparent which white to select. Comparing is best done against a true white, one with no discernable undertone. I use Benjamin Moore Chantilly Lace BM OC-65 when comparing and contrasting whites.

If selecting a white color for millwork, ceilings or cabinets for a new build, it makes it a bit easier, but you should always select the fixed elements first before ever selecting paint colors.

But what about white walls? They are currently trending in every shelter magazine, all over Pinterest and on popular decorating websites and blogs. And personally, I think there is nothing as beautiful as white/greige backdrop with well-selected accessories that pop against it. But again, understanding the undertone of the white is key.

White walls should only be used in rooms with plenty of natural light. Using white in a space that does not have abundant natural light will make the room look dim and dirty, not light and bright.

Those beautiful images online and in magazines? They were professionally photographed by a photographer who specializes in interior photography, with an understanding of light and how to capture the shot to get the most appealing results.

That doesn’t mean the specified color does not work in that particular space but that you need to make sure you have adequate light to support white. I’ve only touched on color selection, but if you use these general guidelines, you should be able to get white….right!

If you still lack confidence, give me a call. I’ve been trained in color specification by the very best in the business, and I’d love to help you. The chart below gives examples of each of the categories I mention, and it’s easy to see the undertones as they are beside each other.

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Presidential Perspective

Experiencing country’s changing political climate first hand

The 2016 presidential election was undoubtedly the most tumultuous of my lifetime, so after receiving tickets to sit on the Capitol grounds with my high school classmate living in Northern Virginia, I booked my flights to Washington.

Stepping onto the DC Metro at Reagan International, I was greeted by typically irritated commuters along with the sights and smells of public transportation in a major city. Though born and raised in the South, my time living in New York City cemented the unspoken rules of mass transit — don’t speak to strangers, keep your head down and most importantly, don’t make eye contact.

I took my standing position in the corner when several large men stepped onto the train in full Texan regalia: three-piece suits, cowboy hats, shined boots and large Donald Trump buttons on their lapels. The typical train atmosphere of silence, screeching brakes and smartphone screens was filled with laughter and southern drawls as the Texans discussed with other supporters from throughout the South and Midwest about the various inauguration balls they were planning to attend.

The presence of these Republican Texans on a crowded Metro train packed with citizens of the District of Columbia, 90 percent of which voted for Hillary Clinton, was a microcosm for the entire inauguration weekend. Supporters of Mr. Trump had won the battle, and they were here to celebrate the victory.

Wandering through the National Mall, it was as if the entirety of the District had left town for the weekend, leaving a void to be filled by Republicans for the first time in nearly a decade. Vendors sold buttons and cheap scarfs, and the sidewalks were swarming with peoples of all kinds, each wearing a bright red hat reading “Make America Great Again.”

At 4:30 a.m. on the morning of the inauguration, my friend and I took the Metro into the city. During inauguration festivities, the DC Metropolitan area essentially closes for business, but the Metro was teeming with energy from Mr. Trump’s supporters from all around the country.

Arriving at our checkpoint at Union Station, we stood in line for the 6 a.m. opening of security, being conducted by the always-joyful Transportation Security Administration. We walked through metal detectors, had dogs sniff us and the officers even made us take our wallets and smartphone cases apart. Finally, we took our seats in the front row of Section 11 at 7:15 am to await President Trump’s Inauguration.

It was a typical January morning in Washington — cold and damp with a drizzling rain. There were no protestors here, just a sense of unity for all of those who had fought to secure Mr. Trump’s place in the White House. Many around us had volunteered hundreds of hours to the campaign in battleground states, so this victory was personal.

Soon enough, the choir began to sing “God Bless America,” and the ceremony began. It was filled with prayer and excitement, though a momentary speech by Democratic Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer brought boos and an uproarious chant of “Trump, Trump, Trump.” When Mr. Trump finally took the stage, the aura of unity in the crowd was unlike anything I had ever experienced, as the National Mall exploded in cheer and applause.

His inauguration day will be the only time in his presidency that President Trump will be surrounded by supporters in Washington, DC. By the next morning, many had returned home, and Washington began to erupt in a wildly different tone.

My friend and I knew the Women’s March had been scheduled for the next day, so we decided to take the Metro into the city. With no bright red caps in sight, we instead saw a wave of pink hats and picket signs — hundreds of thousands of angry Americans protesting everything from women’s rights to environmentalism and gun violence. No longer did the people gather to chant for the president, but instead, they began to say “No Trump, No KKK, no Fascist USA!” Pouring down the National Mall and Pennsylvania Avenue from the Capitol to the White House, the protestors were never violent, but undoubtedly angry.

The 2017 presidential election was a turning point for the United States political sphere. The momentum that carried President Obama and the Democratic Party to victory in 2008 and 2012 could not be passed onto Mrs. Clinton, and President Trump stood ready to address the grievances of millions of Americans. Though time will tell of his ultimate success, his inauguration weekend proved his election is the most polarizing in decades.

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