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Yesterday was Christmas at my sister’s house, at least, that was my initial impression when I drove over to see how the carpet installation in her basement was working out and one of her twin nine-year-old boys HUGGED me. There was actual physical contact, and it wasn’t a shove or a punch or a kick in the groin.

Because, I mean, that’s how we are as a family. There is an occasional, brief hug here and there, but usually we just bump shoulders or forcibly push someone off of their feet to say hello. We’re safe that way. Because physical affection can be awkward. How long do you linger on a hug until the other person is like, MAYBE YOU NEED THERAPY. We’re always walking that fine line, you know. And yesterday when Joshua hugged me at the door, that line said, “Aunt Heather, I’ll risk it. THE CARPET IS AWESOME.”

Indeed, the carpet is awesome:



We chose a stain-resistant wool blend with a subtle pattern in a small loop. How’s that carpet talk for ya! I had to think about that last sentence about 300 times before I could get the whole thing out.


My sister’s kids were more than a little thrilled about it, and when they took me downstairs to look at it, the twins both took a swan dive onto the floor and began rubbing their faces and arms about as if trying to give it a hug. One of them asked my sister if they could bring down a sleeping bag and use it as their bed last night, and she said, “Dude, that you’re even allowed to look at it right now is a privilege.”

Yes, we refer to our children as “Dude.” At least it’s more endearing than “Spawn.”



One of my favorite parts of the installation is how the carpet and the tile meet at exactly the same plane. There is no tricky or unsightly transition between the two. They are married in peace. Imagine me standing here smoking an imaginary cigarette, rubbing my knuckles on my shoulder, taking credit for this gorgeous detail. In reality, I think it’s a happy coincidence. That won’t stop me from putting this on my resume.


Anyway, any design project like this should probably start with a master plan, and I had one in my head, I did, I just never really put it on paper. And now that two of the major parts of this project are in place, and…. AND… neither one of them is a disaster (PHEW!) I decided to go ahead and create a mood board. A what? A mood board? Is that something hippies use to file their nails?


Basically, it’s a place where you gather your color ideas, your thoughts on texture, your hopes for furniture, and when you put everything next to each other you can see how it all ties together. One of my favorite design bloggers, Holly Becker of decor8, held a mood board contest a couple of years ago, and the winners were stunning. You can see them all here.

Since my sister’s only request was that we reserve one wall for a BYU football shrine, I knew that the BYU school colors would have to be my jumping off point. So I started with blue, wove my way around to a golden yellow, and ended up in a charcoal gray. Behold my mood board:


I’m trying to marry my sister’s very traditional sense of style with my more modern take on things. And If I do say so myself, I think we’re off to a great start.

Want More Heather?

HGTV and Heather Armstrong (@HGTVHeather) invite you to our first “Watch with Heather” Twitter Party! We’ll be tweeting Monday 3/15 during the Series Premiere of “Home Rules.” Join us at #watchHGTV from 9-10pm EST for all the fun.

To make comments and/or replies, please follow @HGTVHeather and include #watchHGTV in your tweet


Design Inspiration

87 Responses

  1. Kimberly says:

    Geez people! This is just the beginning: I can't wait to see how Heather's inspiration board will come into play with this room (that couch is awesome, sources please?). Also, just a side note: Sometimes people just want to see how REAL people decorate. I remember watching a certain 'expert' designer as she plastered MOSS onto an unsuspecting family's bedroom wall. MOSS!

  2. chriss says:

    agreed with kimberly. Not everyone can afford to hire a designer and not everyone wants totally funky looks (yeah, that "moss" wall… she also did a "hay" wall for a family with cats/toddlers. Go ASID designer!). I appreciate that it is hard to do something like this yourself so understand how exciting it is when it turns out…even if it is as simple as tile and carpet matching up!
    There are plenty of "real designers" on here….go read their blogs!

    • Lindsay says:

      Exactly! If you are looking for a "professional" with lots of "schooling" then why are you here? I didn't see it claimed anywhere that Heather is a professional. She's a mom, like a lot of people, who just wants her house to look nice! How dare she???

  3. bigonroad says:

    Good stuff. I wish I could do something like this in our cellar, or even that our cellar looked that bright. Ah, maybe another day!

    Feel free to come to my house!

  4. Rumblelizard says:

    Gracious, there sure are a lot of hatas. Why don't you wait to see the finished project before you rubbish it, all you Crabbypants McHatas?

  5. Mama says:

    You don't need a degree to cook, and clearly you don't need one to be successful or become the money making machine for Food Network like Rachel Ray . The public adores the regular person that can relate to them. Food network has a proven track record with this marketing gimmick. People love the every man and women to teach them home home cooking, and now decoration by the eveywomen HEATHER.

    I'm a decorator, and prop master in the union and NOT formally trained. But have an art degree, and studied so and proved my knowledge by sitting for a grueling NABET porpmaster test.
    I can name the period of any chair leg

    Good luck to Heather, you don't need to know the name of every period in furniture history to be a great designer and decorator. I'm looking forward to your show tonight.
    YOu will be great.

  6. Ania says:

    She obviously has enough of a following to showcase her design aesthetic, and you are obviously not one of them that likes it. So why don't you go to another one of the many other pages that HGTV has to offer?

    Seriously, what is with people these days? Does your life suck that bad, Madeline??

  7. Jeezeus peezzus. It's not as if Heather has no experience designing, her blog has won awards for best web design and she's a wonderful graphic designer. You don't need to go to school to become a designer and photographer. Going to art school is not comparable to going to medical school. Use your brain. And I for one am tired of reading about design ideas and techniques i will never be able to afford to implement. Way to got Heather! And if you don't like it, then go read something else and leave all of us who are digging it alone.

    I think HGTV has a place for experienced experts as well as a place for charismatic professional bloggers with a passion for design and a willingness to let us learn from her experiences. Get over it.

    • 3AcresDesign says:

      Lise Ann.
      Web design/publishing layout and interior design are two, very distinct, disciplines. Saying that an interior designer who has gone through the curriculum is not more qualified than an English major that learned HTML in the earlier days of the internet is just irking to anyone that has gone through the process. "Going to art school" (its not "art school, hun) to be a designer is not as trivial as you would like to make it out to be. Knowing that the installers of carpeting *should* make sure that they have shimmed the edge to the joint is elementary and isn't "my resume" worthy, its their resume worthy.

      Unless you think you pulled off that "design" idea yourself. Then your ego is over the top.

      But what do I know, I guess I'm just a jealous hater with no experience or talent or credo.

      The more I see the more I am annoyed. Sorry HGTV, I do not like this woman or her fans.

      • Beth says:

        Yes, when you nitpick over a transition, before the room is even finished, you look bitter and jealous. How would you feel if someone said your work doesn't deserve praise because it's YOUR JOB? I'm a commercial estimator and I say that installer did a mighty fine job without using a Schluter edge (and PS, that's not a shimmed edge, brilliant designer, that's a rolled and tucked transition.)

        If you ARE a designer, you are totally lying if you claim that no one ever asked for beige carpet and beige tile. I just did a job last week where the fancy pants designer used a tile that *literally* looked like poop. You do what the customer wants, and a lot of times it's BLAH because of budget issues, not because you suck at designing. If you saved your critical comments for the end result, I'm sure they would be taken more seriously.

        • 3AcresDesign says:

          See, I'm not nitpicking over the the transition. I'm commenting on how the author is taking credit for the transition. And carpet shims do make a world of difference in smooth transitions.

      • Joni says:

        I find it funny that you keep coming back 3Acres – I think you have a snarky comment on every thread out here tied to Heather….Seems a bit obsessive don't you think?

  8. Julie says:

    I don't think you need special training to "get" how things (whether it be food or design) go together – I believe you either have that talent or you don't.. I have tasted food from "trained" chefs where I personally thought I could do way better, and I have seen "professional" designers on HGTV that don't deserve to be showcased..but do I write to them and tell them so? No, because that's just plain rude.

    I think a lot of regular, everyday people enjoy neutral coloring, and that's why this woman has a voice here. You obviously don't like it, so why don't you just go away?

  9. Shannon says:

    Oh my goodness, people! I love the passive aggressiveness of the internet. It's super awesome. Heather is using what she knows, what she likes and as to the design of the room and colors, its what her sister wanted, too. Perhaps that's been forgotten! Agree with other commenters who have said to wait until you see the finished product. Stop hating people that are successful (looking at YOU, Madeleine and Paige). Heather has worked hard to get where she is. She wasn't given her success, she TOOK it. Sheesh!

    • Elin says:

      You're right, Shannon. She did take it. She's one of those name-dropping, step-on-other-people types who just takes what she wants. She's just a mommy blogger, not a designer. She's gotten to where she is by walking all over others. And no one is more passive-aggressive than Heather B. Armstrong. But, you should coin that term "super awesome" before someone else does!

  10. catalyst says:

    Ok, I'm trying to like this Dooce as Designer idea. I don't want to crush anybody's dreams so I'll try to get with it but could you at least TRY to make it sound professional? I have no problem with the style of writing on Dooce but this is not working here. I want to read HGTV articles about design that do not include kicking people in the groin. I mean, REALLY?!? This should be design injected with personality NOT personality injected with design. That said, I really do hope this venture is successful. Good luck, Heather.

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