I have to be honest of all the home decor magazines out there Veranda isn’t usually my favorite. Well next month one of my favorite designers and writer of the blog Velvet and Linen will be featured in this very magazine! UNfortunately Fortunately, I got the months mixed up and picked up the December copy of Veranda excited to see Velvet & linen’s home and instead was met with this:

Veranda Magazine December 2014

This is what I like to call a “Happy Mistake.”  My goodness this house is amazing! It is located in New York’s Hudson Valley and is owned by a European couple who have relocated to the USofA. Believe it or not this isn’t actually an old house… it was built using old wood from a farm in Vermont and made to look old and rustic while still maintaining modern lines and interior elements as well.

Veranda Magazine December 2014

Veranda Magazine December 2014

Veranda Magazine December 2014

I am absolutely in love with the natural color scheme in this house. All the white and wood and terra cotta accents. Its beautiful. This family did an excellent job incorporating their Christmas decor into the natural beauty of the house as well. I am a believer that holiday decor (no matter the occasion… except for birthdays, go crazy on birthdays) should blend well with the rest of your house. Following that rule of thumb will give you a much more pleasing and cozy look for the holidays than an in-your-face-blow-up-Santa in the front yard. Am I right?

Veranda Magazine December 2014

Veranda Magazine December 2014

Veranda Magazine December 2014

Definitely pick up a December copy of Veranda and read this article if you have a chance. The rest of the photos are amazing and you will love reading about this family too!

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I love Thanksgiving. I love the parade and the food and the time that I get to spend with my family away from the normal chaos of life…. but most importantly I like being reminded of the things I am thankful for. This year has been a rocky one to say the least…. but in the midst of this trial I have been very blessed too. Its a strange feeling to be thankful for the worst time in your life and to actually mean it. I’m not thankful for all of it by any means… but I wont count the last 9 months as a total loss either. I have learned so much about life, love, myself, and most importantly I have learned SO much about the Lord and the promises that he gives to those who love him

So thank you to all of you who read my blog, thank you for all of your prayers, thank you for your support and the love and laughter you have given me. I am so overwhelmingly thankful for the people the Lord has put into my life… new and old. I hope that everyone has a joyful Thanksgiving!

Who else can not believe that Thanksgiving is NEXT WEEK?! I dont know about you but I am ready for some good food and a little R&R.

Today, however, I want to get real about Thanksgiving tables. Every single year I absolutely gawk at all of the gorgeous Thanksgiving tablescapes that float around the interwebs making us all feel less than up to par. Being the designer that I am there is such a HUGE part of me that would love to go all out and decorate the heck out of my thanksgiving table… but… I am still of the age where I travel to my parents house and just show up with a box of cookies. Ya feel me? (ok, maybe I am not that bad… I am making a pumpkin bread this year ok? gah, get off my case!).

But, even if I were hosting my very own Thanksgiving (which I will be one of these days) I still don’t think there would be enough time in the day to make my table as perfect as what Martha Stewart would advise. My schedule just seems to fill up to much for that.

Anyway, here are some of my favorite Thanksgiving tables…. and my ideas on how to make them fit your real life.

Thanksgiving Table Scapes | Sarah Barksdale Design

When it comes to Thanksgiving decor you really can not go wrong when you give things a “harvest” theme. Luckily, lots of pumpkins are going on sale now that Halloween is over and all of the stores are gearing up for Christmas. To pull of this look all you need to do is run to your local grocery store and pick up a few pumpkins and squashes; then snag a few branches from the back yard and your done!

Thanksgiving Table Scapes | Sarah Barksdale Design

This table is stunning isn’t it? This look seems a little more intimidating than the last, but it shouldn’t be too hard to put together. Keep things simple. Grab a few similar candle sticks from your attic or from Home Goods. Dont worry so much about the gold accents if you dont have them….you can always pick up a can of gold spray paint from the craft store and spray some baby pumpkins. Once you are done fill a few glass vases with them and you’ll have a glam table in no time.

Thanksgiving Table Scapes | Sarah Barksdale Design

If you have some left over gold paint and really want to jazz things up. Try spraying some fallen leaves from the yard and making place cards out of them!

Thanksgiving Table Scapes | Sarah Barksdale Design

This is one of my favorite ideas I have seen lately. I have a rosemary bush in my yard and it would be so cute and easy to cut a few branches and make tiny wreath place cards with them. I kind of like the idea of incorporating a little hint of Christmas into your Thanksgiving decor. Added bonus:  it would make the table smell amazing!

Thanksgiving Table Scapes | Sarah Barksdale Design

If you are a little overwhelmed with setting a magnificent table, then don’t sweat it. Go simple with the table and style a bar cart nearby instead. It is a smaller area to tackle and it will have just as much impact! Who doesn’t love a good holiday cocktail anyway?

How will you be styling your Thanksgiving table this year?

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Oh, daylight savings…. your killin me smalls! I need a flashlight to find my car leaving work now! It comes around every year, this thing we call daylight savings. Although I understand the point of why we want to conserve daylight hours adjusting to it being dark when I leave work is NOT my favorite thing. I pretty much want to go home and  put my pajamas on at 5:30 everyday which apparently is not acceptable behavior for a 27 year oldworking gal like me. Dang it.


Ah… now that is the life I want to have once the winter rolls in. Unfortunately this is a little more like my reality since I dont have a fireplace that actually works:


And lets be real! Even this is more glamorous than my actual fireplace. I will say though that candles in a fireplace can add a lot of charm and “warmth” to your living room. They are functional year round since that don’t actually put off any heat. For those of you who have working fireplaces (wood burning… not gas) think about using candles either in the summer or during the winter if you are like me and can’t build an actual fire because you rent and the chimney has been sealed up. Anyone else have that problem? No? Just me…. bummer.

ONE THING TO KEEP IN MIND: if you are going to fill your fireplace with candles. Or set a gorgeous table scape full of candles for Thanksgiving… make sure to use UNSCENTED candles.

Lets all take a moment and imagine if the fireplace above were filled with vanilla scented candles. OMG. Sensory overload. I dont care if vanilla is your most favorite smell of all time and you never get sick of it… do not try using a large amount of pillar candles all at once in ANY scent or you will regret it. And I will be forced to say I told you so. Consider yourself warned.

How are you guys spending your daylight savings time?

Work lately has been busy and crazy in the best way. In addition to starting a photography business, I am working on some really fun interior projects too… and prepping to take over for Rachel when she has a baby in a few weeks. Nothing like your boss having a baby RIGHT BEFORE a huge install. No big deal. I got this… sometimes I feel like I need a reality show.

Anyway, here is a little update on what I have been working on/up to lately:

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Met with a tile rep and fell head over heels for these gorgeous hand painted terra cotta tile. WHo wants to do a kitchen remodel so that we can use some of these?? Not all at once now…

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We installed this sweet back lit mirror in a clients powder bath. (disclaimer: the room really isn’t that dark… i turned the lights off to show off the mirror’s glow. just fyi)

Also…. I have never taken an actual selfie… but if you could mirror pics as selfless, well, then lets not keep score on that.

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Can we all just agree that this is the most killer dining room ever? I have been pulling fabric options to make a small lumbar pillow for each of those chairs. Right now I am leaning toward something velvet.

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so fresh and so clean, clean

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I adore this guest room too. We installed a gray grasscloth on the walls since this picture was taken which really gave the space a nice finished look.

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Sometimes when you are an interior designer you have to wear a hard hat on a construction site. Its a tough job but someone has to do it.

I know I have mentioned this several times but having something live and green in your home can make all the difference. Every time we do a photo shoot of any of our projects we always make sure to include some flowers or greenery to make the space feel… well… alive. Browse any interior design magazine and you will find that this practice is pretty much the standard. The only downside is that some of us dont have a natural green thumb and growing a plant, let alone keeping one alive, indoors can present quite a challenge. Today you are in luck because I Gaddy’s is here to talk about indoor plants that are easy to grow and maintain!


Which Houseplants are easy to grow and fill your Home with Flowers?

If you lead a busy life you probably want houseplants that will look great while at the same time not take a lot of your valuable time to care for. You want to invest your money in plants that give you all of the beautiful results for the least effort. This is certainly possible.

Not every plant takes a lot of time to care for; you can get beautiful blooms around your home and you won’t even really register any effort taken.

The simplicity of an African violet

These plants are full of color with masses of flowers in various shades of blue, pink or purple; there is even a variegated version. The great thing about African violets is that they are exceptionally easy to grow and keep. You don’t need to have a lot of direct sunlight in your home to keep these plants; they grow quite happily in a non-direct bright light.

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Watering African violets is just as straightforward. They should be watered by being placed in a saucer of water for no longer than 30 minutes. This allows the plant to drink up the water. You should not water these plants from above as water damages their leaves. As the flowers grow on the plant the dying flowers should be pinched off to allow for effective growth. An important thing to remember when caring for African violets is that they should always be kept away from any drafts.

Impressive beauty of an anthurium

These attractive blooms thrive in a medium to bright light; they are not lovers of direct sunlight. When anthuriums are growing they need to be kept evenly moist to optimize their growth. If you remember this then you will benefit from the memorable heart shaped leaves and bright red blooms of the plants. Varieties of the plant can also feature flowers of white, pink or lavender. One possible downside of these plants is that they are slightly toxic so you will need to be careful if you have animals or young children in your home. You can visit Gaddys for plant event hire & find something suitable for whatever the occasion.

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A little bit of festive magic with a Christmas cactus

Many houseplants flower during the spring and summer months, so the Christmas cactus makes for a beautiful and colorful exception. Most cacti are known for being relatively easy to take care of and this variety certainly follows the trend. If you have a Christmas cactus make sure that is it kept moderately dry and is housed in an environment with bright light.

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If you do this you will benefit from having a sea of rose, red-orange or salmon flowers around your home. To continue getting a healthy display of flowers you need to make sure that you pinch out the leaves and cut away some of the stems to give room for new growth. Doing this maintains the strength of the plant and helps it to sustain its beauty.

Every one of these plants adds a great array of color to your home and is easy to maintain.

Today I am so excited to tell you all about a new venture that I am starting! I have been working toward starting a photography business in addition to my interior design career! Photography has been a passion (and hobby) of mine for about 6 years now. I got my first real camera in college and quickly fell in love with it. I love taking pictures on trips or of friends around town and about a year ago I started working toward turning this passion of mine into a business. Life got a little crazy and things got put on hold, but over the summer I started working toward my goal again.

Sarah Catherine Photography

Sarah Catherine Photography

My main focus will be doing family and children’s pictures. But I will also be happy to do senior pictures, engagements, product or branding photos and some events.

Sarah Catherine Photography

Sarah Catherine Photography

Sarah Catherine Photography

I am currently booking photo sessions for Christmas card pictures. So if you or anyone you know is interested in having those done please contact me anytime!



Thank you to all of my readers who have been so loyal and so supportive of me and my work through the years. I have loved sharing my interior design work with you and I am SO excited to start on this new journey as well! I am also working on a whole new website/blog which will be coming in the next few months. So stay tuned for that as well.

xo, Sarah

In the words of the great Garth Brooks: “Life’s a dance you learn as you go.” Sometimes I feel as if truer words have never been spoken. I have had to learn the hard way recently that it doesn’t matter how many plans you make for you life, sometimes the dance falls apart and things no longer look even remotely like that are supposed to. That is what makes me so thankful to serve a God to goes before us. He knows the plans he has made for us and he knows what our dance is going to look like far before we do. Praise the Lord that I do not have to do this life on my own! I am far too much of a mess to be trusted with my own plans and my own future. Jesus take the wheel… please!

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This quote was written by a good friend of mine and when I saw it the other day it hit my smack in the face. This is how I feel!!! Is anyone else with me? Its crazy to by put in a position in life that tests your faith beyond anything you have ever experienced…. and to come out of it still holding on with a tight grip. I have wrestled with God so many times over the last 7 months (bless all of you who have sat with me during those times and gave me words of wisdom and encouragement). Courage really is exhausting. And sometimes faith is too vulnerable of a position to live in day in and day out. But man, we serve a God who loves us so much more than our little hearts can handle. He looks on us as his children in our times of fear, anger, doubt, grief etc and he doesn’t expect us to have it all together…. he wants us to live by faith in him and sometimes that means not have all any of the answers but trusting him to take care of us anyway.

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Last week was a tough one for me in terms of doubt and fear. I doubted God’s power and plan for my life because it seemed as if nothing around me made sense. Nothing was fair. Everything hurt…. I told my mom that I felt like I was trapped on an island with the Lord… God was with me in my bubble, and I was safe, but as far out as I could see in any direction looked like dark, evil shark infested waters. “When do I get to be taken to the promised land Lord? I feel you here with me, but all I can see is a waging war of sin everywhere and it is wearing me out!” I need a vacation from this. GET ME OFF THIS ISLAND! (who has been there?)

Well, I have no doubt that the Lord heard my cry… because the second half of last week I learned a lot about my “island” and why I am still there. I need to learn to let go of hurt and forgive. (gulp) I need to hand my future over to the Lord and trust him with it. Not just say I am trusting him, but really do it. He cant bring me to the promised land if I am constantly fixated on my hurt and basically handing Satan all the ammo he needs to wage a full on attack against me. The Lord has, and is protecting me through my struggles…. I know he is. He can shower me with light, but I wont feel it or see it unless I learn to let go of the darkness. Man, talk about a life lesson.

As soon as the Fall rolls around I start getting the itch to bust out some plaid. Everywhere. There is just something about plaid that makes me feel like snuggling up with a warm mug of cider on a brisk day. I would say my favorite plaid is the classic red, but I also love a good hunter green or navy blue too. One of the best (and easiest) ways to make your home feel warm and welcoming for the Fall/Winter season is to add a few plaid throws here and there.

Plaid Throw | Sarah Barksdale Design

You can drape them over a chair in the dining room. Or drape one over a sofa in the living room.

Plaid Throw | Sarah Barksdale Design

I love how this one is just peeking out from the basket under the table. Notice how everything in this room could work during any of the seasons… you dont have to redecorate your home to make a seasonal transition. Its all about finding ways to accent the pieces you already have.

Plaid Throw | Sarah Barksdale Design

I absolutely adore this plaid blanket on this bed. It just warms up the whole room and accents the brass bed from so well. I would honestly keep this blanket on the bed year round in this room to keep that cottage feel.

Plaid Throw | Sarah Barksdale Design

…Of course… there are always way to go way overboard on any design idea. Thats a whole lot of (permanent) plaid.

Sarah Barksdale Design

Did I also mention that I love to wear plaid in the Fall? Well, I do. This scarf is amazing.

If you are looking for a couple plaid throws to add to your Fall decor, Pendleton is a great resource. You can also find vintage ones on Etsy. Cable knit throws are another great option if plaid really isn’t your thing. Pottery Barn has a great selection of those.

Cable Knit Throw | Sarah Barksdale Design

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