Design. Create. Decorate.

Design. Create. Decorate.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Counting Down!

In a little over a week, we'll be moving to Quince Cottage! We're trying to focus on the excitement, not all the things we have to accomplish prior to move date.

We have a mailbox!

We're official! © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
The shutters are on and painted. We'll install shutter dogs later. Capitol City Homes built a fine looking house, don't you think?

March 27 © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Lighting has been installed, the hardwood and carpet are in, as are plumbing fixtures and some of the appliances. Here's a peek at our back hall heading to the laundry, and up to our younger daughter's bedroom/bathroom (floors are covered with paper).

Back Hall & Stairs © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

The fence is almost done...

Fencing almost done! © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Buster and Daisy sure are going to have a ball in their "free range" backyard! They love exploring. Here they are on a trail in Maine.

Jacks, exploring © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Quince Cottage Design Mantra: Create a beautiful, comfortable home that reflects your unique style and personality. 
In our own place, patina is appreciated, rustic rubs shoulders with opulent, and you're sure to get a terrier-style welcome!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Feeling Spring-y!

With all the green grass at Quince Cottage (our home in progress), and Bradford pears blooming like crazy in eastern North Carolina, not only does the calendar say it's Spring, it actually looks like Spring!

Bradford Pears © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

We're still getting used to this concept because we're from Maine, where Spring is usually a bitterly disappointing combo of freak late-season snow storms and unrelenting mud, thanks to the sporadic melting of snow and thawing of the earth. In fact, Mainers joke that they have five seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter, and Mud.

Anyway, all that gorgeous green and sunshine made us feel like making something green and healthy. We turned to Pinterest and found Perfect Potluck Salad from subeeskitchen(dot)com. Colorful and easy.

Corn & Edemame Salad © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

1 8 oz. package frozen shelled edamame (soybeans)
3 Cups frozen corn (approx. 12 oz.)
1/2 C sweetened dried cranberries
1 C pecan pieces
1/3 C chopped fresh cilantro
1/3 C chopped scallions (light and dark green parts only)
1/2 C toasted sesame oil (we didn't have this, so we used extra virgin olive oil)
3 TBS rice vinegar (didn't have this either, so we used apple cider vinegar)
1 C cooked pearled farro (guess what? yep, didn't have that at the store, so we used a microwave packet multi-grain mixture that contained pearled barley, bulgar wheat, brown rice and some other grains)
1 tsp ground sea salt
2-3 tsp honey (or to taste, this is more than the original recipe calls for)
Juice of a fresh lime (to taste, this wasn't in the original recipe either but it gave a nice brightness)

This recipe serves 4 as a main course or 10-12 as a side. We served it with some faux-chicken patties. It's meant to be served chilled, but room temperature is fine too.

1. Sauté corn in a skillet until it begins to caramelize (this isn't done in the original recipe, but we think it would enhance the flavors and plan to do this next time).
2. Combine sautéed corn with all remaining ingredients except pecans, oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and lime.
3. Toast pecans in skillet until crunchy and nicely flavored. Stir into salad mixture.
4. Whisk together oil, vinegar, honey, salt, and lime juice until emulsified. Pour into salad and stir to coat. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Green For St. Patrick's Day!

Okay, so we're a day late in posting, but you know, life...
While we didn't actually wear any green yesterday, suddenly, dramatically, thanks to the hard-working Capitol City Homes landscaping crew, the orange clay surrounding Quince Cottage was transformed into a beautiful, glossy green worthy of Ireland herself! Holy transformation, Batman!


Early March @Rhiann Wynn-Nolet


Wearin' O' The Green © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
Remaining shutters still need to go up. The front door and the existing shutters were being painted when we drove by this afternoon.

You might notice a few other changes...
1. Siding is finished
2. Porch posts and steps are in
3. Driveway and walkway are complete

Bet you're wondering what's happening inside, huh? We'll show you more soon, but here's a photo to tide you over.

Front entry © Rhiann Wynn=Nolet
The actual wall color is somewhere between the two seen in the photo...

We're scheduled to close April 2nd. Woo boy, it's exciting!

Quince Cottage Design Mantra: Create a beautiful, comfortable home that reflects your unique style and personality. In our own place, patina is appreciated, rustic rubs shoulders with opulent, and you're sure to get a terrier-style welcome!

Here are Daisy & Buster, keeping watch for intruders, and visitors, and squirrels.

Was that a squirrel? © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Friday, March 13, 2015

First Peek Inside!

While progress was being made on the exterior of Quince Cottage, THINGS were also happening inside! There didn't seem to be much point in sharing photos of framing, they don't translate well and usually resemble a hodgepodge of giant Popsicle sticks.

This past week our kitchen cabinets were installed, some trim was added to various rooms, tile went into laundry and baths--it's really starting to look amazing!

Here's a shot of the family room, with gas fireplace.

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

And here's one looking from the kitchen into the morning/dining room. Those French doors lead out to the screen porch.

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Finally here's one of the kitchen. Isn't it GORGEOUS? We were absolutely thrilled when we saw it...
Our current kitchen is very roomy and modern, with super dark cabinets, modern brushed nickel pulls and a standard beige tile backsplash. Wonderful, IF that's your style. It's not ours, but we were severely limited by both that builder's design choices and our budget. The cabinets in our new home are an upgrade, but we think they're really worth it. Capitol City Homes offers WAY more choices for cabinets and granite than our previous construction company. That's one of the reasons we chose Capitol City to build our new home.

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

We've ordered all the cabinet hardware (for both kitchen and baths). Seemingly simple features, like knobs and pulls, can add lots of personality. If design is important to you, t's definitely worth the trouble to find something special.

We'll show you those knobs and pulls in an upcoming post. Sorry, hate to tease, but...

Now how about you? What would your dream kitchen look like? Painted cabinets or stained? Traditional or modern? All one color or mix it up? Tell us in Comments!

Quince Cottage believes in creating a beautiful, comfortable home that reflects the unique taste and personality of its owner. In our own place, rustic and opulent rub shoulders. 
Think gilded mirror against a ship-lap wall. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Choosing Exterior Colors

Making design choices is both fun and torture. 50SOG as it applies to house-building?

There are a two Parade of Homes events in the Raleigh area each year. They are a blast for "homees" like us. Get it? Foodees/ies, homees, homies? Anyway, one area builder caught our eye because they often do white/cream/barely-there pastel palettes. Amid the sea of earth-tones and grays around here, those houses always stand out.
Here's one of their homes, and it served in many ways as our inspiration house. The color in the picture below is not accurate for the shutters, those were a more of a putty color.

Parade of Homes © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

So, when it came time to pick the siding and trim colors for Quince Cottage, we were torn between two options. One we knew would look good (dark gray body, white trim, "color tbd" for shutters and door) OR what we'd fallen in love with during the home tours. Choice A was safe, and reminded us of New England, our motherland, so to speak. Choice B was riskier (would it look washed out, bland, too yellow, too beige?), but also more Southern, which was what we really wanted.

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
In case you're curious, the siding color is Classic Sand with White Birch trim, and the shutters and doors will be Sherwin Williams Dutch Tile Blue (shown below).

While attempting to make up our collective mind, we talked about it endlessly, and we played with some online design tools. The problem is that online sample homes aren't exactly like the one we were building, and in the case of this one, there was no option for shutters. This made us scratch our heads, but anyway, here's an example of what we created to get an inkling of how our color scheme might look. Design 

Between the disgusting weather we had in February and missing windows that had to be installed before siding could begin, nothing much happened on the outside of our house after it got wrapped.
Last time we showed you Quince Cottage, this is what it looked like.

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

BUT this past week it underwent a MAJOR transformation and here's what it looked like yesterday! The first two shots were taken in the morning, after we walked Buster and Daisy.

Gratuitous Cute Doggie Pic © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet


© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

Then we went back in the afternoon and look! Shutters! They're only primed, but since Dutch Tile Blue isn't far off from this color, we have a really good idea of how Quince Cottage will ultimately look.

© Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
We're SO pleased! It looks soft and pretty and has a nice Southern vibe. Our last three homes have been Craftsman style and though we love that look a lot, we wanted to mix things up with this house. While there are still Craftsman elements, this light palette is really fresh. Nothing drab about it!
Shout out to Capitol City Homes for letting clients customize with door/shutter color, choices of clapboard, shingle and board & batten and having a great crew hard at work on our house!

We'd love to hear about your home's exterior color scheme. How did you choose the colors? If you had no choice, what would you have done differently?

Quince Cottage believes a standard subdivision house can be transformed into a beautiful home that reflects the unique taste and personality of its owner. In our own place, rustic and opulent rub shoulders. Think gilded mirror against a ship-lap wall. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Super Fast & Easy Korean Ground Beef with Rice

This tasty recipe (found on BarefeetInTheKitchen(dot)com)couldn't be much easier. In fact, the hardest part was finding chili paste!

Chili Paste © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
Finally tracked it down at our local SuperTarget. AND got a Cartwheel deal on it too... There are chili paste substitutes if you absolutely can't find it, but especially when trying a recipe for the first time, we try to stick pretty close to the original.

Korean Beef with Rice © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
We hope you enjoy this dish as much as we did. It's sweet and spicy and filling. Can't wait to eat the leftovers!

1 lb. ground beef
1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 tsp minced garlic
1 TBS minced ginger
1/4 C brown sugar
2 tsp cornstarch
2 tsp chili paste
1/3 C soy sauce
1 C frozen peas
scallions (for garnish)

1. Saute the beef in the oil until browned and crumbly. Drain excess liquid.
2. Add garlic and ginger and stir over heat for 2 minutes or so. Smells SO good!
3. Whisk sugar, cornstarch, chili paste and soy sauce in a small bowl until blended. Add to beef and simmer until sauce has thickened (3 minutes, give or take).
4. Add peas and stir until peas are heated.
5. Serve over cooked rice (we used brown because it's healthier). Garnish with chopped scallions.

Quince Cottage style is all about global roots and traditional Southern charm
When it comes to recipes we like them tasty and goof-proof whenever possible! 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Let There Be Lights, Lots Of Lights!

At Quince Cottage we believe the right lighting can do for a living space what the perfect piece of jewelry can do for an outfit. One of the first things we did when decorating our current house was to replace the builder fixtures. Now that we're about to put that house on the market, poor Mr. Quince Cottage, aka Ron is busy uninstalling the ones we bought and re-installing the originals. There may have been a moment or two of regret about the sheer number of crystals that had to be detached, and will have to be reattached. Bling comes at a price (aching neck, bleary eyes, and sore fingers).

Anyway, back to the topic of replacing standard lighting. We scoured the interwebs and local stores for fabulous (discounted) pieces, because the only thing better than a beautiful decorative accent is one you scored at an amazing price, right?

Capitol City Homes, the team who's building our new home, had some great basics to offer us, and we're taking full advantage. Fortunately they're also willing to install lights we bring to the party!

We thought it would be fun to share those with you...

This one was from Gallery74 ($99). It was in my office, but will be adorning our younger daughter's bedroom.


And here's another one from Gallery74, this time for our older daughter's bedroom. Be sure to check Gallery74's $99 and under page for beautiful fixtures. Having ordered them, we can also say they are good quality as well as affordable.

We found this one on clearance at Lowe's for $69! We added the twine around the center post and the candle arms to enhance the "Nature" theme it already had going for it with those green beads. It will continue to work as the master bedroom overhead light.

Master Bedroom © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

At we purchased this fixture (times 2) for the master vanity. We liked the graceful, clean lines and pillar shades.

Z-Lite Cardinal from 

Here's another steal from Lowe's clearance. Won't it be lovely in the entry? It's a good "intro" to our mash-up style of rustic/agri-industrial with sparkly.

Lowe's Deal © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
We'll have two of these in hallways that lead out from the main entry. Again, Lowe's clearance finds, for under $25 each. Check those endcaps in the lighting department!

Schoolhouse Light © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

In our current house this illuminates our breakfast area, but in the new home it will be in our office. It's a slightly more modern interpretation of our design aesthetic. We got this beauty online at  At the time it was on sale for about $100.

Office © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet
This one's currently hanging over our dining room table, and it will grace our new dining area too. $199 at The simple, spare silvery-bronze framework along with the crystal beads were exactly what we were looking for.

Dining Room © Rhiann Wynn-Nolet

For $89 each, these pendants from Home Decorator's will add a little opulence over our kitchen island. They don't even have to be hard-wired, they're available with an adapter for can lights. How cool is that?

Home Decorator's
This Kathy Ireland piece will go in our living room - it's way prettier in person (but currently still in pieces in a box, awaiting installation). Can you believe we found this impressive fixture for $180?

Kathy Ireland Chandelier - sorry about the grainy photo, had to take it from the LampsPlus website

At the moment our bonus room looks like a lighting store warehouse! In an upcoming post we'll show you these pieces in their new home, as well as the builder fixtures we chose.

Lighting provides excellent opportunities to showcase your style, and it doesn't have to brake the bank!