H. Camille Smith

"Trends come and go but good design is timeless."

Camille is a managing editor for HGTV.com, fine artist and antique furniture devotee. As a former interior designer and Nickelodeon animator, she has a real passion for balanced, beautiful interiors with a touch of whimsy and punch of color. Camille shares a mid-century cottage with two exceptionally pampered pooches and rooms filled with vintage finds.

H. Camille Smith ON PINTEREST

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POSTS BY H. Camille Smith

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If you saw Kayla’s bathroom trends post then you know that we recently spent a few days in the Big Easy for the Kitchen and Bath Industry Show checking out the hottest new products before they hit shelves. Trendspotting at a trade show is always fun but unlike other shows we attend where design is the only focus, kitchens and baths are spaces where form and function are equally important so technology is key. If you’re in the market for a new kitchen, or just thinking about a few upgrades, here are the freshest trends/technologies to make your kitchen really cook!  

Wondering what color to paint your cabinets? I polled a few manufacturers and while white cabinets continue to be tops, gray is the shade they’re betting on to break white’s top spot. This kitchen by Wellborn pairs soft gray cabinets with richly stained wood — combining cabinet colors is another kitchen trend that’s holding strong:
Wellborn Cabinets Kitchen in Soft Gray

Not only is the color of kitchen cabinets changing, but hardware manufacturers like Blum are changing the way cabinet doors and drawers function. These hydraulic, easy-close doors fold up and out of the way with the touch of a button: Blum Hydraulic Kitchen Cabinets

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After recently spending a few (blissful!) days in Charleston’s historic peninsula touring private homes and gardens, I can attest that gardening is a full-contact sport in the Holy City. From manicured formal gardens to rambling flower-lined paths, Charlestonians definitely know how to rock their green thumbs.

In addition to full gardens, flower-filled windowboxes were everywhere: Window boxes in Charleston

Formal gardens boast mounds of color and charming weather-worn statuary: Charleston formal garden

Charleston’s sub-tropical climate provides ideal conditions for South Carolina’s state tree, the Palmetto Palm, and camellias whose ruffly flowers are synonymous with the South: Pink camellias and a palm tree in Charleston

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If you’ve been following my earlier posts (here and here), you know that I’m one lucky online editor who recently took a trip down to gorgeous Charleston, S.C. to attend their annual antiques show and tour a few of the peninsula’s centuries-old private homes. With over 2,800 historic buildings, Charleston is one America’s oldest and best-preserved cities. Founded in 1670 as an English colony named Charles Towne, the city’s peninsula features homes that range from pre-Revolutionary War and Antebellum to Gothic Revival, Italianate and Victorian that were added in the post-Civil War Reconstruction era. Although these architectural styles differ, one common thread of all Charleston’s historic homes is the strong desire to preserve the buildings that make this city so unique. 

I saw so many beautiful interior and exterior details during my tour but here are 5 of my favorites:

Wood Paneling:  Interior walls covered in raised wood panels are a common feature in Charleston’s historic homes. In the years before plaster (and centuries before sheetrock), wood was a functional and decorative wall covering that helped to insulate interior rooms from cold seeping through the home’s stone or brick exterior. In this cozy living room, the home’s current owner meticulously stripped layer-after-layer of paint to restore the almost 300-year-old cypress panels to their original warm finish.Paneled parlor in Charleston historic home

A “Hyphen”: Due to the very real possibility of fire, Charleston’s kitchens were housed separately from the main house. Thanks to advances in cooking in the early 1900′s (food could be prepared in a stove instead of over an open fire) many Charlestonians began to connect the detached kitchen to the main house with a room called a ”hyphen.” These connecting rooms provided additional living space and made cooking less of a chore. Many hyphens, like this one, still feature the old brick exterior wall and pathway that led to the former kitchen.Fireplace and brick floor in historic home in Charleston

Haint Blue Paint: Another common feature of the city’s historic homes is blue paint on the ceilings of piazzas (Charleston’s term for covered side porches). Commonly called “haint blue,” this soft turquoise shade is thought to keep ghosts or malicious spirits from entering the home. Here’s the iconic shade on the Calhoun Mansion, the city’s largest private residence:Piazza ceilings painted blue in Charleston

Hinged Shutters: Although we use shutters on the exteriors of our modern homes solely for decoration, Charleston’s early inhabitants put them to work. Paneled shutters were hinged so they could securely close to protect pricey glass windows from hurricanes.  Windowboxes in Charleston

Lush Gardens: Charleston’s subtropical climate means short, mild winters, hot, humid summers and plenty of year-round rainfall resulting in an ideal gardening environment. Peek through any gate in the historic district and you’ll be rewarded with the view of a stately home surrounded by either a formal or informal garden. Although the plot surrounding each home isn’t large, Charlestonians take pride in filling their yards with masses of blooming plants. Plantation house in Charleston

*Check back next Wednesday to see highlights of the gorgeous gardens I toured in Charleston. 

MORE ADVENTURES IN ANTIQUING:
Adventures in Antiquing: Charleston Antiques Show Part 1
Adventures in Antiquing: Charleston Antiques Show Part 2
Adventures in Antiquing: (Easy!) Beachy Candle Makeover
Adventures in Antiquing: Repurposed Wooden Tray
Adventures in Antiquing: Crushing On Carrara Marble
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Toolbox Turned Magazine Caddy
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Clock Repurposed as a Frame
Adventures in Antiquing: Classical Busts
Adventures in Antiquing: Vintage Avon Bottle
Adventures in Antiquing: Salvaged Molding As Holiday Decor

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So, have I mentioned lately that I love my job? No? Well, I do! I recently spent a few (blissful!) days in Charleston, SC touring historic homes and checking out their prestigious annual antiques show. I shared a few of my favorite antique finds last week; here are a few more goodies:

I’m obsessed with gilding — shiny gold objects draw me to them like a magnet. Gilding is the process of covering a surface, typically porcelain, wood or metal, with a thin layer of gold. Also known as gilt, gold-leaf and ormolu (from the French or moulu, literally ground gold) this technique is centuries old – early examples decorated the homes of Greek, Chinese and Egytian elite. Left: The mirror in the foreground is one of a pair of George the Third, English Regency mirrors from the early 1800′s  – $17,500. G. Sergeant Antiques To demonstrate the (top notch!) quality of antiques offered for sale at this show, the mirror in the background is the mate to one on display at NY’s Metropolitan Museum of Art — wow! Right: The massive horse’s head is a French trade sign from 1870. The gilding was applied over cast lead and is in amazing condition considering this piece would have been displayed outside a business and spent decades exposed to the elements – $4,500. Cunha St. John Antiques
Antique gold mirror and horse's head at Charleston Antiques Show

Storage that’s both practical and beautiful is not a new idea. Left: What looks like a really tall hat box is actually a cheese keeper. Refrigeration is a technology we take for granted but 100+ years ago, this beautifully embellished pottery dome prevented cheese from drying out while keeping it cool and mold-free, circa  1875 — $9,500 Jerry S. Hayes MajolicaRight: For centuries tea was a luxury that only European, and later Amercan, elite could afford. To protect their stash from rodents or light-fingered servants, small locked boxes were used. Soon, the boxes that held the precious tea became a status symbol in themselves employing exotic and rare materials like ivory and tortoiseshell. English tea caddy, circa 1830 — $5,300 Sallea Antiques
Antique majolica and tortoiseshell tea caddy at Charleston Antiques Show

My two pups are the center of my world and judging from the high number of antiques I spied featuring man’s best friend, dogs have long been considered members of the family. Left: This sweet pencil sketch of greyhounds by artist Felix O.C. Darley may have been a study for one of the many books he illustrated. Darley was one of the 19th century’s top illustrators; his work helped classics by Dickens, Longfellow, Hawthorne, Washington Irving and Edgar Allen Poe (to name a few) come to life — $750, American Eagle Antiques (no website). Right: A pair of skillfully carved mahogany whippets support a Carrara marble top on this Neapolitan console which was crafted in Italy, circa 1820 — $46,000 from Yew Tree House Antiques.Antique pencil sketch and wood furniture at Charleston Antiques Show

*Check back next Wednesday to see some of the amazing private homes and gardens I toured in Charleston.

MORE ADVENTURES IN ANTIQUING:
Adventures in Antiquing: Charleston Antiques Show Part 1
Adventures in Antiquing: (Easy!) Beachy Candle Makeover
Adventures in Antiquing: Repurposed Wooden Tray
Adventures in Antiquing: Crushing On Carrara Marble
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Toolbox Turned Magazine Caddy
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Clock Repurposed as a Frame
Adventures in Antiquing: Classical Busts
Adventures in Antiquing: Vintage Avon Bottle
Adventures in Antiquing: Salvaged Molding As Holiday Decor

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:Sigh: Charleston — my dream city! I must have lived there in some previous (and terribly glamorous) former life because I feel absolutely at home whenever I visit. The nice folks at the Historic Charleston Foundation invited me down to check out their 10th annual antiques show and peek inside a few of the city’s (amazing!) historic homes and gardens and I couldn’t get my car packed up quickly enough.

One of the nation’s premiere antique events, only select dealers are invited to show each spring in Charleston; independent auditors screen each item before it’s offered for sale to guarantee authenticity and provenance — so, none of my bargain-basement finds here. I’ll share more antiques plus some pics from my home and garden tours later but here are a few of the pieces that caught my eye:

Named for Sweden’s King Gustav III, Gustavian furniture features Neoclassical (Greco/Roman) details and a decidedly French flair — Gustav was a frequent visitor to the French palace of Versailles and modeled his court’s style after the pieces he saw there. Unlike French furniture of the period which was often gilded or shellacked, the Swedish craftsmen continued to paint their pieces in matte, pastel shades — creating the signature look that’s so desirable today. Below:  “Mora” tall case clock, circa 1800 — $8,600 and 1 of a set of 6 hand-carved chairs, signed Sven Anderson — $12,000. All available from Dawn Hill Antiques  Antique Swedish furniture at Charleston Antiques Show

I spied this Queen Anne chest-on-stand from a distance and had to get closer for a better look. It’s gorgeous, don’t you think? The wood is in amazing condition — especially considering this English piece (circa 1710) is over 300 years old. That’s right, this dresser is older than our country. Check out the fanciful arched detail on the skirt — beautiful! — $18,000. Available from Jayne Thompson Antiques Antique wood furniture at Charleston Antiques Show

Although most of the items at the Charleston Antiques Show were centuries old and European, there were a few early 20th century American gems like this charming carved bulldog head that opens up to reveal a brass-lined humidor so a Victorian gentleman could stash his cigars within easy reach — $1,900. A Bird in Hand Antiques Antique tobacco storage at Charleston Antiques Show

 *Check back next Wednesday for more of my trip to Charleston.

MORE ADVENTURES IN ANTIQUING:
Adventures in Antiquing: (Easy!) Beachy Candle Makeover
Adventures in Antiquing: Repurposed Wooden Tray
Adventures in Antiquing: Crushing On Carrara Marble
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Toolbox Turned Magazine Caddy
Adventures in Antiquing: Old Clock Repurposed as a Frame
Adventures in Antiquing: Classical Busts
Adventures in Antiquing: Vintage Avon Bottle
Adventures in Antiquing: Salvaged Molding As Holiday Decor

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I first fell in love with marbleized paper on a college trip to Italy — the swirl of rainbow colors just seemed so magical.  In Florence, a local artist showed us how it was done. It’s an amazingly simple process: You mix olive oil with watercolor or gouache paints then drop the mixture into a shallow pan filled with water, swirl the floating paint to create patterns then lay paper on the water’s surface. Because oil and water don’t mix, the paint isn’t diluted and floats on the surface, creating a swirling multicolored pattern on the paper. I loved the process for its ingenious simplicity and the fact that the results couldn’t be controlled.

With Easter on the horizon, I thought I’d try a twist on the Italian marbleizing technique when dyeing eggs by adding olive oil to the food coloring dye solutions. Here are my results:Try a new twist on dyeing Easter eggs this year -- add oil to the dye to give them a marbleized effect.

I have to admit the polka-dotted effect was unexpected but I really like it so I left several eggs as-is after a single dip in the dye bath. Others I dipped in a second color for a more traditional marbleized effect. Ready to get started? Here are the step-by-step instructions>> Rolling a dyed Easter egg in ollive oil before dyeing it a second color will create a marbleized effect.

Proudly display your finished eggs in a handmade nest or bed of excelsior: Try a new twist on dyeing Easter eggs this year -- add oil to the dye to give them a marbleized effect. MORE EASTER IDEAS:
15 Easter Egg Decorating Ideas
Our Favorite Easter Decorating Ideas
Easter Kids’ Craft: (Cute!) Painted Pail With Ribbon Roses
Weekday Crafternoon: Easter Wreath With Paper Flowers
Printable Bunny Ears — Free Printable PDF
Hatching Chick Egg
Kids’ Craft: Dyed Easter Egg Animals — Free Printable PDFs
How to Make Cascarone Confetti Eggs

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Welcome back, spring — I’ve missed you so! The weather here in Knoxville has (thankfully!) warmed, birds are singing and flowers are popping up everywhere. My backyard is abloom with crocuses, daffodils, tulips, forsythia and lenten roses putting on a colorful show. I’m a flower picker from way back. There’s hardly a photo of a preschool me where I don’t have a bunch of wildflowers (and honestly, sometimes just plain weeds) clutched tightly in my chubby fist. So when my yard breaks into bloom, I break out the scissors and head outside to claim some spring color to brighten up the indoors.

I’ve also always been fascinated by that other harbinger of spring: bird’s nests, eggs and baby birds hopping about. Obviously, I’ve no plans to bring those inside — but – in under an hour I can turn aluminum foil, moss and hot glue into a realistic looking bird’s nest that adds a sweet spring touch:Jute twine, Spanish moss and aluminum foil are all you need to make a lovely faux bird's nest for spring celebrations.

Pretty, huh? It was actually easy to make – get the complete step-by-step instructions here>> The tiny robin’s eggs are easy to craft too, my instructions include how to paint and speckle them.

You can make your nest any size you like. I made this one large enough to work as an Easter basket of sorts:Jute twine, Spanish moss and aluminum foil are all you need to make a lovely faux bird's nest for spring celebrations.

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Easter celebrations are right around the corner — time to banish winter blahs and freshen up indoors and out with a few springy touches. We’ve gathered 25 of our favorite Easter decorating ideas to inspire you. From quick-and-easy centerpiece ideas to a clever way to glam up your Easter eggs to a free, printable Easter banner — we’ve got you covered.

All 25 ideas have the official Easter Bunny stamp of approval (seriously!) but here are my 5 favorites: 

Delight Easter guests with this creative place setting idea featuring cute (and oh-so-fluffy!) feathered chicks and candy eggs:Set your Easter table with a creative place card like these cute (and oh-so-fluffy!) chicks and candy eggs

Weather permitting, bring your dining table and chairs outside and enjoy Easter dinner al fresco surrounded by Mother Nature’s changing scenery.
Weather permitting, bring your dining table outside and enjoy your Easter dinner al fresco.

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Can you believe it’s only 3 weeks till Easter? Time to hop to it and get crafting! For a fun twist on a traditional Easter basket, try a painted pail instead — it’ll look great filled with treats on Easter morning and is just the right size for stashing toys or craft supplies the rest of the year.

All you need is a metal pail, spray paint and round stickers. Get step-by-step instructions here: Easy Kids' Craft: Cute Easter Bucket With Ribbon Roses

The ribbon roses may look complicated but they’re actually a snap. Wired ribbon and scissors are all you need — no sewing necessary. Learn how to make them here:
Easy Kids' Craft: Cute Easter Bucket With Ribbon Roses

So, are you ready for Easter celebrations? No? Well then you’re in luck — check out the project ideas below and keep checking Design Happens for more Easter inspiration to come!

MORE EASTER IDEAS:
Printable Bunny Ears — Free Printable PDF
Hatching Chick Egg
Kids’ Craft: Dyed Easter Egg Animals — Free Printable PDFs 
How to Make Cascarone Confetti Eggs

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My sister bought a fixer-upper beach house almost two years ago which we’ve slowly but surely been hammering back into shape. In addition to a long list of structural changes, we needed to find a house full of beachy furniture and accessories on the cheap. I hail from a family of bargain hunters/diy-ers so the beach house has been a fun challenge for us.

Before: We started in the main living area which was dark, crowded and just plain sad. Sunny yellow trim did nothing to brighten up the driftwood gray paneling. Unfortunately, you can’t see the pitiful greenish-gold shag carpet which, thanks to leaking windows, had mildewed and actually smelled worse than it looked (hard to believe, I know). Dark, dated and dingy beach house living room before makeover

See the Afters

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  • Clever, DIY #Easter Basket Ideas for Kids + Adults

  • Popular makeovers from the HGTV hit series, Property

  • Popular makeovers from the HGTV hit series, Property