Women Who MAKE: Jane Denton Art

January 25, 2017 Interviews 0 Comments
jane denton art

Ah! Today’s interview gives me a huge case of wanderlust! New Zealand based textile artist, Jane Denton is our creative woman of the hour, and she is sharing her thoughts on creativity, craft and entrepreneurship. When I found out that Jane was living and creating her art in Wellington, the creative capital of New Zealand, I knew I had to reach out to her!

I was lucky enough to adventure and live in this visually stunning country in 2011. Luke and I had year-long working visas, and I had a blog back then too! I really wish I could link to it, but it was an Apple blog and doesn’t really exist anymore. A few old photos will have to suffice, and I’ve posted them at the end of Jane’s interview. Luke proposed to me in Wellington, and all of NZ holds quite a special place in our heart! I’m so happy to have connected with Jane, as her work is so modern and unique, and thinking of NZ brings back many good memories for us.

You may recognize Jane’s work from Emily Henderson’s adorable nursery, which is where I first saw her art as well. Here’s more from Jane and a look at her playful and colorful embroidery!

Photo credit: Tessa Neustadt

Women Who MAKE Interview – JANE DENTON ART

  • Name: Jane Denton
  • Age: 41
  • Current title/company name: Textile Artist
  • Years in operation: 5 years

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The Warwick Reno: KITCHEN REVEAL

classic black and white kitchen

Woohoo!! The big moment has finally arrived. It’s our classic black and white kitchen reveal!

Remember the before photos and the DESIGN PLAN?

Before. What can I say, there are many issues here. Linoleum floor, sagging counter top, stove has to be plugged in with an extension cord!

black and white kitchen design plan

Design board, see details linked in previous post.

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Fashion and Interiors with CoChic Styling

Hey there, I’m excited to share a new monthly post concept and my latest collaborator! Alyssa Doorhy is a Chicago-based stylist and owner of CoChic Styling. I love Alyssa’s approach, which is a combination of instilling fashion confidence in her clients, and showing them how comfort does not have to be sacrificed for style. Feeling like the best version of yourself helps in life and business, and I know I need help from falling into my ruts! Hello mom jeans (I’m not even a mom) and camel colored turtlenecks : )

I’ve aways been a fashion fan (the first two jobs I wanted as a kid were fashion designer or disney animator) and since Alyssa is steeped in clothing and fashion on the daily, I thought we’d dream up some fabulous outfits based on beautiful interiors, even using a few rooms of my own design. Bringing fashion and interiors together just makes me smile. Also, fashion informs me when I’m getting to know my interior design clients. I always ask them where they shop for clothing, and if they personally identify with any iconic brands, such as Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Calvin Klein, etc. These distinctions let me know a lot about what they gravitate towards style wise.

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Save the Date: Lake Forest Show House 2017

lake forest show house 2017

I’m thrilled to be participating in the Lake Forest Show House 2017, along side Relativity Textiles! We are co-designing the back stairway, hall and small bath off the hall. The Lake Forest Show House is always a stunner, and benefits The Infant Welfare Society of Chicago. SAVE THE DATES, April 29 – May 21st when the house will be open to the public to tour! Below is more about our design inspiration and details about the historic property and Honorary Chair Mark D. Sikes.

Here are some of our design concepts for this 40 foot hallway, and modest bathroom. We will be using a custom wallpaper created by Relativity, blue sisal carpeting layered with Turkish rugs, a gorgeous shade of peachy/coral on the ceiling, and we’ll build out a seating nook where there is currently a closet.

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Before & After: Family Room Remodel + White Washed Fireplace

This dated family room got a big update! I’m excited to show you the before and after. I think there are a lot of family room additions with similar predicaments out there right now. Dated paneling, old carpeting, less than desirable brick color on the fireplace – the updates one can make are relatively cost effective and can have a huge impact! Here’s the before photo, list of work to be done and why I recommend these particular updates:

  • This room’s architecture is lovely. Vaulted ceilings with wooden beams, a central fireplace and lots of natural light. There is a lot of potential here. The overall issue is that everything is brown! Another important issue is that this room was cold, and not well insulated.
  • Update 1: Remove old paneling, add new insulation and drywall. The windows were also replaced due to some cracking. If you are opening up walls it’s a good time to replace windows too.
  • Update 2: Add new electrical outlets and boxes. Again, if you are opening up walls and floor, that’s the best time to re-route/ add electrical. We added four sconces and a floor outlet.
  • Update 3: Transform the fireplace. I prefer the look of a white washed fireplace, rather than fully painted white fireplace in most cases, because of the texture, color and bit of warmth that the brick provides even when mostly masked in white. I do recommend having a painting professional do the white washing, because it is an art when it comes to color theory. For instance, this brick was very yellow so we needed to add purple undertones to the paint to even out the color tone.
  • Update 4: With the shell of the room updated, the remaining cosmetic updates included re-painting, new lighting, carpeting, furnishings and custom media center.
white washed brick fireplace


old brick fireplace needs white wash painting




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2016 Review: Popular Posts, Inspiration & What’s Your Mantra?

Happy New Year friends! I’m not one for resolutions per say, but my yearly tradition seems to center around the notion of a mantra for each new year. I love to pause, reflect and reset for the new year ahead. My mantra serves as a guiding principle towards which I steer my energies for the year. If you practice yoga or meditation, you might be familiar with the concept of a mantra, often mentioned at the beginning of yoga class (originally in Hinduism and Buddhism) it means a word or sound repeated to aid concentration. It is similar to the idea of holding an intention, but for some reason, a short mantra really sticks with me better.

My big secret is that every year I change my email password to my mantra. There is nothing I type more through out the year than my password, and it serves as a great reminder almost daily. As a details person, it’s often hard for me to see the big picture and my mantra is BIG PICTURE and SIMPLE. My mantra for 2016 was, “MAKE IT WORK.” 2016 was really my first “official” full year in business as Centered by Design, and there was a lot of putting my head down and working, period, working all the time. MAKE IT WORK, was my big picture reminder. Yes, I did steal this phrase from my favorite, Tim Gunn, on Project Runway. In summary, I think 2016 was basically one long “make it work” moment.

I’m happy to report that I think I did pretty darn well at making it work!!! My top nine Instagram photos are representative of two big highlights:

  • My Lake Forest Guest House project was selected by HGTV for the Fresh Faces of Design Contest. I didn’t win the online voting competition, but it was pretty awesome to be recognized in the Pattern & Texture category and selected by HGTV judges!
  • We bought a house!! And started some really cool renovations, including completing our kitchen, living room, dining room, mud room, entry, home office and guest room. There’s still a lot to do, including an entire upstairs, but I feel like Luke and I have found our groove and can’t wait to finish the interior in 2017.
  • Also, personal highlight to write two articles for Domino Magazine online, including this gorgeous table top which I styled at the home of a talented local painter.

Some of my most read blog post included:

I’m also incredibly grateful to my amazing clients and friends/vendors who made so many of this year’s design projects fabulous. I love this FAMILY ROOM, this BEDROOM, and this CONDO.

I have decide my mantra for 2017 is BEING FEARLESS. Running a business can be scary, especially when you’re new at it, and perfection also holds me back from living fully and authentically at times. This year, I’m ready to live from the heart, without fear, and ask myself “do I really want to do this.” If the answer is yes, then I’m going to make it happen. And, I’m starting with two big leaps:

  • One leap is my first space in a designer show house – more to come on this soon!
  • The second is a women’s trip to Morocco! This will also serve as a buying trip for said show house, and I’m so excited to travel out of the country again, as it’s been five years since our big New Zealand/Australia adventure.

The big question is, what will be your mantra in 2017??? If you close your eyes, and take 10 slow deep breaths does anything come up for you? If there was one thing you could do to be closer to your authentic self, what would it be? Take an art class, quit your day job, spend more time with friends, go to more raves? : )

Whatever you’re seeking this year, I truly hope you find it! I’ll keep dishing out design and I’d love to hear from you below. What do you like to read on the blog? More DIY? More interior design / styling advice? More interviews? More renovations / before + afters? I want to write content that actually helps and inspires you, so tell me what you need! I’d love to know : )




Women Who MAKE: Justice of the Pies

December 19, 2016 Interviews 0 Comments

I gathered a group of my entrepreneurial gal pals this fall and headed out to Grace Bonney’s book tour event. I was excited to hear from new voices in the local girl boss community, and enjoyed listening to the panelist’s advice on running their own businesses. I loved Maya-Camille Broussard’s straight-forward and no nonsense advice, it sounded like she had a lot of confidence in herself and in her product. I wanted to meet her and taste her pie!

Fast-forward to December’s Renegade Craft Fair (btw Renegade founder Susie Daly was also on the book tour panel!), where Maya and I had the opportunity to connect over a quick piece of pie and shoot a few fun photos during the craft fair madness. I was pretty impressed with Maya’s ability to balance her pie booth, an assistant, an interview, and a photographer! Enjoy Maya’s interview and if you’re in Chicago, you can pre-order these kick-ass pies until end of day Tuesday, December 20th.

Special thanks to Anna Sodziak for the photography.

Centered By Design: Women Who MAKE Interview – JUSTICE OF THE PIES

  • Name: Maya-Camille Broussard
  • Age: 37
  • Current title/company name: Owner, Justice of the Pies
  • Years in operation: 2 ½ years

What are your first memories of making/being creative?

This is an extremely hard question. It’s like when someone asks you, “how did you come up with that?” You don’t think about it…you just do it. When you’re a creative, you just get into the zone of making without thinking about it or realizing that you’re “being creative” at the moment.

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Holiday Ornament DIY

December 16, 2016 DIY Projects 0 Comments

If you are looking for a grown up and kid-friendly holiday DIY project, look no further! This classy ornament, complete with easy to use template, is a holiday ornament diy for the whole family. Relativity Textiles helped bring this project to life with leftover wallpaper from my entryway install, and Domino.com shared the tutorial!

Head over to DOMINO.COM and to see the step-by-step tutorial!

And don’t forget to gather the necessary materials:

  • 8.5×11 sheet/s of Wallpaper
  • Downloadable Template
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Transparent Tape
  • Ribbon or Thick Thread
  • Tassels
  • Beads
  • Threading Needle


holiday ornament craft project

Enjoy getting crafty!!


New Work: Portfolio Update

interior design inspiration

Holy moly, it’s almost the end of the year!! Web site updates usually take a back seat around here, as just blogging is often hard enough : ) but today I was determined to make some updates to my online portfolio. Not everything is up quite yet, and there are still a few of this year’s projects to be photographed – but I made a nice dent and have some pretty pictures to show you!

Here are a few of my favorite images from this year, and the projects they belong to. There are lots from my most recent shoot at The Ashland Project, so many pops of color and artwork from three local ladies. Hey, oh hashtag #womenwhomake!! Colorful prints by Hapi Art and Pattern, pastel abstract by Lily Niederpruem, and modern weaving by Prophet Gypsy Robot.

The Ashland Project:


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The Warwick Reno: Living Room Reveal

December 6, 2016 Interior Design, Warwick 0 Comments
gray velvet vintage sofa

Sit back, relax and get ready for a long post folks! We are going back to the beginning at The Warwick Reno with BEFORE photos from April and the design plan from June. Okay, okay, here’s a pretty after photo to get you to hang on for the ride:

gray velvet sofa centered by design

The Living Room…after!

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