Liz Gray

"In search of Eames-worthy style on a Craigslist budget. And pie."

Liz is a Senior Editor at HGTV.com. She lives in a midcentury tri-level that’s stuck in the ‘70s…for now. When she’s not working on remodeling projects with her boyfriend and mystery breed puppy, Miles, you can find her buying impractical hats, scheming mad scientist-style in her overworked kitchen and drooling over Danish modern furniture.

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POSTS BY Liz Gray

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Fall may officially be a few weeks away, but I’m sensing signs of the new season all around: cooler nights, bins of apples at the farmers’ market and yes, even the first fall leaves.

It was fall’s favorite fruit that inspired Kayla to pitch Apple Green for September’s Color of the Month. In her own words: “It’s time to sharpen those pencils, because school is back in session. Forget classic red apples — we’re all about modern green.”

Now that Labor Day’s end-of-summer parties are behind us, this crisp, collegiate color just felt right. Take a look at some of our favorite ways to use this hue, and tell us: Is this color the apple of your eye?

Apple Green Kitchen Artwork From HGTV Magazine

Photo Courtesy HGTV Magazine

SEE MORE APPLE GREEN COLOR INSPIRATION

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If her irreverent personality and great fashion sense weren’t enough to make you love Nicole Richie, just look at her backyard:

Nicole Richie's Outdoor Entertaining Tips
When she’s not acting or designing pieces for her House of Harlow collection, she loves to entertain outdoors at the Laurel Canyon, Calif. home she shares with husband and Good Charlotte frontman Joel Madden, daughter Harlow, 5, and son Sparrow, 3.

She can’t stand the b-word (bohemian, that is), so she designed the outdoor space with a “relaxed and eclectic vibe” in mind. Richie unveiled the newly-revamped space to Domaine Home at a recent dinner party. It’s a stunning mix of classic outdoor elements (like natural stone) paired with modern touches like mismatched, industrial metal chairs.  See the entire space here >>

On her backyard color palette: “It was important to me to keep the color palette strong but not too overpowering. We’re all about having everything be really eclectic and relaxed.” She settled on turquoise, yellow and black as a unifying colorway for her.

On dinner party seating charts: “I’m against assigned seating. I like people to come to my house and feel like they can do whatever they want.”

Nicole Richie's Outdoor Entertaining Tips
On her design aesthetic: “My house has that summery look and feel all year round…luckily for me I live in LA and can get away with it.”

Nicole Richie's Outdoor Entertaining Tips

On her home: “Our house is the one people come to, to hang.”

Nicole, feel free to invite me over anytime! Photos by Justin Coit for Domaine Home

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Last fall, Lili pitched denim blue for our Color of the Month. Sure, I like a good denim shirt, but I wasn’t so sure about this hue in decor. (Grant was another denim doubter.) Fast forward to this year, and well, things have changed. I still don’t want a denim sofa, but I love this true-blue hue mixed with deeper blues and warm grays. It looks especially chic in this living room when paired with a blingy copper chandelier.

Denim Blue Fall Decorating Ideas

Blue and Denim Living Room | Denim-on-Denim Outfit

The best thing about this combination? Just like this cobalt-on-denim outfit, your pieces don’t have to match. In fact, your room will look all the more sophisticated if you layer slightly different shades of blue.

What do you think? Are you a fan of denim decor?

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What’s on your weekend to-do list? My plans include creating my own wall stencil and pulling up some outdated carpet. More on that soon! But this is about you. Please, someone: Spend your weekend making this amazing door:

How to Upholster a Door

If this door looks familiar, you may have spotted it over on Apartment Therapy or Our Style Stories. It’s just one of the amazing features in Meredith Carmichael’s ultra-stylish ’60s ranch-style home. (Seriously, you have to see the rest of the house!) Meredith is the client services manager at Spruce, a vintage-inspired upholstery shop in Austin, Texas, where this door was created.

Amanda Brown Door on Apartment Therapy

Photo by Hilary Rose Walker

“Isn’t upholstery difficult?,” you ask? Not when you have the experts here to help. We asked Spruce founder and upholstery genius Amanda Brown to show us (and you!) how to make this stunning door at home. “I found this diamond in the rough at my local Habitat for Humanity store for $9, which was good as new with a light sanding and fresh coat of paint,” Amanda says.

Upholstered Door How-To

She then chose three shades of vinyl to create the eye-catching geometric design: Robert Allen Splash in Sapphire for the door’s base and Robert Allen Splash in Carolina and Marine for the two accent hues. After attaching the vinyl base, she draws on a square guide with chalk, then attaches triangles of the two accent shades. She finished the door with 3/8″ French natural decorative nails and a Schlage Siena Doorknob in Antique Brass.

How to Make an Upholstered Door

Ready to make your own? Get the step-by-step upholstery instructions on HGTV.com.

GET AMANDA’S STEP-BY-STEP INSTRUCTIONS TO MAKE THIS DOOR >>

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Though it’s only mid-August, the unseasonably cool weather here in East Tennessee has me plotting for fall decorating projects. I’m a huge fan of the honeycomb pattern trend, and I kind of want to create my own version of the Almost-40-Year-Old Intern’s shimmering wall. The wall is hand-painted. Impressive, no?

Gold and Purple Bedroom Color Palette - Tuesday Huesday on Design Happens

Hexagon Wall Treatment | Lavender Field

Yellow and purple flowers pop up together each spring (remember this Tuesday Huesday?), and this golden grass and blooming lavender is nature’s early fall version. This bedroom evokes early fall’s best features, with bright golds, cozy neutrals and a touch of purple.

What decorating projects do you have planned for fall?

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Almost everyone has that color they love, but can never, ever wear. Mine is neon yellow. It’s bright, it’s cheerful, it’s uplifting…and it looks terrible on me.  Since it’s a no-go for my wardrobe, I make up for that by obsessing over bright yellow interior accents. I especially like the color when paired with classic black and white. (I mean, what other color combo has a whole blog devoted to it?) The bright yellow just draws your eye in, whether it’s on a tabletop or peeking out of bathroom vanity drawers.

Black White and Yellow

Drinks | Vanity

A little goes a long way with this vibrant color, though — I don’t think I’m ready to sport an all-yellow room anytime soon, but I would happily rock a bright yellow barn door.

Get more color palette inspiration from our previous Tuesday Huesday posts.

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It’s almost move-in day for college freshmen across the country! Sure, some dorms are nicer than others (my freshman-year room featured a dormer that left me constantly hitting my head on the 4-foot ceiling) but they all have the same basic elements: white walls, a dresser, a bed, a desk.  The fun part? Making it your own. The challenge? It all has to be temporary.

Since the white walls are there to stay, add color with super-saturated brights, like this easy-to-create artwork from Design*Sponge or a confetti-hued geometric pillow. Or fill a colorful terrarium with succulents that will survive even if you forget to water them until midterms. (Just kidding, water them once every week or two.)

Neon Dorm Room Color Palette Idea

 Artwork | Terrarium | Pillow

Get tons more dorm room decorating ideas from our brand new Back to College feature.

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Congratulations to this month’s winner, Jenna, who says her favorite summer tradition is traveling to her hometown to celebrate 4th of July with her friends and family. Check back on September 6 for another great giveaway!

One of summer’s sweetest rites of passage is the family beach trip. My family was lucky enough to travel to the North Carolina coast almost every summer when I was growing up, and I loved the traditions we established there. We spent our days catching waves, flying kites and searching for the perfect shark’s tooth; the nights were all about listening to the waves and enjoying the freshest local seafood.

Even if your summer is shaping up to be a land-locked one, you can still create a by-the-shore experience at home. The clambake is a beach-side favorite for its sheer simplicity: Just steam just-caught seafood alongside corn on the cob and baby potatoes. (Get our recipe here.)

Of course, you’ll need to set the table for your clambake, so we’ve teamed up with our friends at personalized gift shop Pretty Smitten and online lifestyle shop Waiting On Martha to give one lucky Design Happens reader this set of coordinated table decor perfect for an end-of-summer soiree.

party supplies

Read on to see the whole prize list and enter for a chance to win the entire set.

ENTER FOR A CHANCE TO WIN

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Remember a few weeks ago when a good part of the D-Happ staff was obsessed with all things watermelon? Kayla made the juicy fruit the topic of her Mood Board Monday. Allie showed us five ways to craft with watermelon. And I even pitched in with a watermelon-inspired Tuesday Huesday. So when Nina, HGTV.com’s entertainment manager, introduced a watermelon-themed Pinterest board to the Color Team, it wasn’t exactly a hard sell. That’s right: Bright, juicy watermelon is our newest Color of the Month!

Juicy Melon Margarita

August is the height of watermelon season: Think big-as-your head slices of fruit pulled straight from the icebox, dribbling down your chin.  Or, if cocktails are more your speed, try this melon-filled margarita recipe.

Dorm Room Message Center

Dorm Room Message Center

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I recently visited The Swag Resort, a mountaintop getaway near Asheville, N.C. In addition to the breathtaking mountain views, rustic suites and direct Smoky Mountain National Park access, the resort also features upscale cuisine inspired by its geography: Think smoked Tennessee mountain trout, pot roast with burgundy sauce and apple-raisin bread pudding with Bourbon caramel sauce. Yum!

Swag Chef Ronnie Potter-Bowers, a North Carolina native, mixes his French culinary training with dishes he picked up in his grandmother’s Southern kitchen. Many of her recipes are on display at the resort’s weekly Thursday night barbecue.

Pork BBQ Meal Courtesy of The Swag
Here, he puts the finishing touches on a barbecued pork butt, soon to be the melt-in-your mouth pulled pork on the plate featured above.

Pork Barbecue From The Swag
Ready to host your own summer barbecue? We’ve got a menu full of recipes from The Swag, including Ronnie’s signature pulled pork, potato salad and the resort’s famous peanut-butter-and-chocolate Swag Bars. Believe me — you don’t want to miss this.

GET THE FULL MENU + RECIPES

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Is there anything prettier than a rustic barn weddingThe trend has been going strong for a while now, but I love each high-style-meets-country affair (like this one spotted over at Green Wedding Shoes) more than the last. Swoon. Whether you’re tying the knot or just a wedding blog aficionado like me (no shame!), consider this yellow, copper, brown and red wedding palette:

Rustic Yellow Wedding Color Palette - Tuesday Huesday on HGTV's Design Happens

Gold Silverware | Bourbon Lemonade | Rustic Wedding | Table Setting

It’s perfect for a late summer or fall wedding, no? And even if you’re not planning a wedding, there’s nothing stopping you from enjoying a Mason jar-full of bourbon-spiked lemonade…in a barn or not.

MORE RUSTIC WEDDING INSPIRATION


Want more color palette ideas? See all of our previous Tuesday Huesday posts.

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Congratulations to our winner, Stacey, who says that the best wedding gift she ever gave was a margarita machine to a fun-loving couple. Check back next month for another great giveaway!

We are smack-dab in the middle of wedding season — one of our very own D-Happ writers is even tying the knot this summer. (Ahem, Briana!) Once you’ve crafted that summer wedding outfit, there’s one more thing to consider: the perfect gift. If you’re still searching for something to delight the happy couple, consider this month’s Freebie Friday giveaway: A Starbucks Verismo machine that will let them (or you!) create favorite coffee shop drinks at home.

Win a Starbucks Verisimo Machine From HGTV's Design Happens Blog

The Starbucks Verismo machine crafts single-serving sizes of the same espresso drinks and brewed coffee served in the company’s stores around the world. With the machine’s specially-formulated pods, you can make everything from lattes to mochas to Starbucks’ signature coffee blends — all in the comfort of your own home.

One lucky winner will receive a Starbucks Verismo 580 machine in their choice of hue: silver, black, burgundy or champagne.  The winner will also receive 12 espresso pods and 12 milk pods.

To enter for a chance to win, answer this month’s question in the comments below: What’s the best wedding gift you’ve ever given (or received)?

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 12:00 p.m. ET on July 12, 2013 and 12:00 p.m. ET on July 15, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prizes: $220.90. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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Here at Design Happens, we clearly have watermelon on the brain. Last week, Allie showed you how to make the fruit into 5 adorable crafts, and Kayla based yesterday’s Moodboard Monday on a juicy melon hue. Today: Use watermelon’s bright colors as an inspiration for those kitchen cabinets! I mean, look how fantastic it looks in this Miami guest house:

Watermelon Inspired Kitchen Color Palette on HGTV Design Happens

Guest House Kitchen | Juicy Watermelon Slice

A small kitchen is the perfect place to try this bright, preppy palette. Painted kelly green cabinets take center stage, and the adorable pink knobs provide a whimsical touch. A neutral sink and backsplash help this kitchen from becoming oversaturated.

So, tell me your take: Would you dare to outfit your kitchen with a watermelon-inspired palette? I say, do it!

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We’re two days away from July 4th, so it’s no wonder I’m thinking about all-American colors this week along with fireworks and picnic fare. A red, white and blue palette is festive and patriotic for 4th of July table decor, and it works equally well when paired with rustic wood accents in a bedroom. Patterned fabrics and an array of red and blue hues keep this beach house space from feeling too matchy-matchy.

Patriotic Bedroom Color Palette

Bedroom | All-American Picnic Party

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It’s prime farmers’ market season (not to mention ice pop weather), which means we’ve got summer’s juiciest colors on the brain this month. So it’s no surprise that our top two color contenders for July were HGTV.com trend expert A.J.’s classic orange and tag team Grant and Allie’s peach Pinterest pitch. In the end, we were seduced by the fruit that’s due to make its farm-stand debut later this month. That’s right: HGTV’s Color of the Month for July is bright, summery peach.

Peach Living Room Designed by Caitlin Wilson

Peach Living Room Accents by Caitlin Wilson

When you think “peach decor,” your mind might wander back to the peach-and-teal spaces that were so prevalent in the ’80s. But it can look wholly modern when used as an accent color in neutral spaces, like the cheeky upholstered ottomans and bow-covered pillows in this charcoal-and-white living space designed by Caitlin Wilson.

Peach is a classic bathroom color choice because its orangey-pink hue is flattering to a variety of skin tones. That makes it an equally classic choice for summer fashion. Don’t take my word for it — you can’t deny how fabulous it looks on style icons Jackie O and the Duchess of Cambridge.

Peach Painting From Glitter Guide

Catherine Sheppard’s Dining Room Via Glitter Guide

The color can look equally sophisticated in a dining room, like this one in stylist and blogger Catherine Sheppard’s chic home. Think you love this room? See the entire gorgeous home over on Glitter Guide.

Peach Cake From Pin Cookie

Peach Cake From Pin Cookie

Obviously you’ll need peach desserts to fill your peach-accented dining area. Whether you pick up your peaches at the farm-stand or grow your own, save some for this beautiful fruit-topped cake from Pin Cookie. Aside from being delicious, it really highlights the peaches’ variegated red, orange and pale pink hues.

6 More Ways to Love Peach This July

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I’m humming “Anchors Aweigh” as I write this post. After all, we’re well into boating season, and cool, nautical navy feels just right for summer. Even if you’re stuck on the shore, you can still anchor your bedroom with this summery color palette.

Interior and textile designer Caitlin Wilson swapped classic red for a coral hue in this bedroom, and graphic designer Hannes Beer did the same with this beautiful, vintage-inspired print. Splashes of aqua and celadon make this palette perfect for an ocean inspired bedroom…whether by the water or not.

Nautical Bedroom Color Palette

Nautical Bedroom | Anchor Print

Get more color palette inspiration from our previous Tuesday Huesday posts.


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It’s summer, and it’s hot. That’s all the reason I need to reach for the ice cream. Kayla, I see your popsicles and raise you this peach-covered ice cream terrine. (Make one for your next dinner party!) Aside from its deliciousness, I love looking at this dessert: the vibrant orange peaches, the bright-green mint and the warm-hued vanilla ice cream.

Orange and Green Kids Room Color Palette

Ice Cream Terrine With PeachesOrange + Green Kids’ Room

This delicious, bright palette is perfect for a kids’ room without being either too girly or too masculine. Melissa Esplin created this bedroom (on a $0 budget, no less) as a shared space for her baby boy and young daughter. Isn’t it so cheerful? I especially like the Dachshund lamp. And while the bright colors are kid-friendly, they’re universal enough that your child will still love them long after they transition to a big-kid bed.

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Everywhere I look, I’m seeing beautiful, watery blues. Last week, I revealed our agua-inspired Color of the Month, Paradise Blue. Yesterday, I spotted this cerulean blue moodboard over on Camille Styles. Isn’t it like a beach vacation for your eyeballs? Then today, I spied this crazy-beautiful dining room at housetohome:

Monaco Blue Dining Room Color Palette

Mediterranean Sea From MonacoMonaco Blue Dining Room

This room would fit right into my Monaco Blue Pinterest board: The deep blue pendant light and modern plastic chairs have the same reflective quality that’s so appealing in the deep blue sea. A striped rug brings even more blue hues into this cool dining nook.

What do you think: Is there too much blue in this monochromatic space, or are you ready to grab a paintbrush?

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Update: Congratulations to this month’s random winner, Christina Z. Check back next month for another great giveaway.

Father’s Day is around the corner — have you found the perfect gift yet? If your dad is more into tablets, apps and surround sound than golfing and fishing, this Freebie Friday giveaway might be the perfect present. One lucky winner will take home this high-tech toaster from Magimix.

Freebie Fridays - Magimix Vision Toaster

The Magimix Vision Toaster is the only model with a viewing window to let you watch the toasting process in action. Quartz heating elements produce crisp, uniformly brown toast, and the model comes in three glossy colors: black, red and almond cream.

This is sure to be a showpiece in your dad’s high-tech kitchen. Already got Dad’s Day covered? It would be an equally cool gift for a new college grad’s first apartment, or a gift to yourself for being savvy enough to check out Design Happens’ monthly giveaway. The choice is yours!

To win a Vision Toaster in your choice of color, answer this month’s question in the comments below: What’s the best Father’s Day gift you’ve ever given (or received)?

You may only comment once to be considered, and you don’t have to purchase anything to win; a purchase will not increase your chances of winning. Odds depend on total number of entries. Void where prohibited by law. Only open to legal residents of 50 U.S., D.C. or Puerto Rico, and you must be at least 18 years of age to win. All entries (comments) must be entered between 12:00 p.m. ET on June 7, 2013 and 12:00 p.m. ET on June 10, 2013. Subject to full official rules. By leaving a comment on the blog, you acknowledge your acceptance to the Official Rules. ARV of prizes: $199.95. Sponsor: Scripps Networks, LLC, d/b/a HGTV, 9721 Sherrill Boulevard, Knoxville, TN 37932.

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It’s no surprise that the modern wallpaper trend is still going strong: Wallpaper is a (relatively) simple and inexpensive update, and today’s patterns are a far cry from the ’80s florals and farm animal borders of the past. I got to see some of the newest playful patterns in person at the recent International Contemporary Furniture Fair. These are some of my favorite designers and patterns.

Retro Patterns From Dupenny Designs
From pinup girls to strongmen to jazz-era flappers, Dupenny Designs mixes retro artwork with cheeky humor to create wallpapers that are both fun and impactful thanks to their black-and-white designs. This bathroom-perfect paper is outfitted with groups of bathing-capped synchronized swimmers.  

Modern Wallpaper by DuPenny Designs

Splash Wallpaper by Dupenny Designs

Graphic Abstractions From Alyse Solomon
Artist Alyse Solomon starts her wallpaper design with photographs of everyday objects, then transforms them digitally into repeating abstractions.  The results, like this pattern entitled “Acid Wash,”  have a soothing kaleidoscope effect.

Modern Wallpaper by Alyse Solomon

Acid Wash Wallpaper by Alyse Solomon

Bright, Large-Scale Florals From Camilla Meijer
The bold color combination of this iridescent floral print drew me into Camilla Meijer’s ICFF booth like a moth to the flame. Hand-drawn and hand-screenprinted in London,  these bright, large-scale florals are perfect for a focal wall or a small powder room.

Modern Wallpaper by Camilla Meijer

The English Garden Wallpaper by Camilla Meijer

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