Thursday Spotlight: What’s A Girl to do When Tech Fails? (Could It Be My Skill Set….naw….)

Thursday Spotlight: What’s a Girl To Do When Tech Fails?

Could it really be my skill set?!

Ummmm, yes Ann

Do you ever have those tech days?

You know, the ones that seem to go along fine and then *bam*

When you need it most, somehow your language setting goes from English to…Chinese? And you don’t speak or read Chinese?!

Then, in a moment of brillance you decide to “de bug” yourself, because after all, it is *so easy*

Ha! Say the computer gods……

Is it ok to call in a prayer team for tech issues?!

How about you?

Do you ever suffer from these things?

As a general rule, I embrace tech, even if it is on my Asus Gaming Computer which holds CAD like a baby

But today, after my day of conferencing when I needed the portable (albeit old) mac to work for me and my team, it didn’t

My skill set is not the greatest on the mac, I confess

But still – how in the name of the good and loving God did I change the language on Firefox?!


Spotlight: Sometimes it shines on our weakness!


“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


ps: some great happenings this week in the Decorating World! Be sure to check out Kips Bay if you are in NYC.

Thursday Spotlight: Style Spotting Fav’s From High Point

Thursday Spotlight: Style Spotting Fav’s From High Point

Something lite today! These are all from the High Point Market Style Spotting Pinterest Boards, uploaded & linked via Pinterest & Spotter. You will find the links at bottom of each picture!

Enjoy over a cup of coffee (or tea says my husband) & pin away!


“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann


If you haven’t checked out our upcoming Decorate Like A Pro System, do so! Registration for this online course only closes on Sunday. We are down to fewer than 13 spots for the coaching upgrade & once registration closes, the $495 System price is gone forever. Our beta testers howled at me for pricing it too low….just remember yesterdays post. My heart. Have a great day!!!

Thursday Spotlight: Guest Posting on Custom Made!

Thursday Spotlight: Guest Posting on Custom Made!

Please head over to Custom Made and check out our Guest Post today!!

Comment, share, like!!

We love these guys and are so happy to support their mission.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Thursday Spotlight: Shine It On Your Decorating Successes

Thursday Spotlight: Shine It On Your Decorating Successes

Hard to do, right?

We are always second guessing, always wondering what if…

Here’s my challenge to you today

Give yourself a Decorating Diamond Award

Is there some space that you absolutely love?

A corner you created just for yourself or a loved one?

What is that space, perfect or not, that speaks to you?

As I was/am working on this Webinar Recording…it really struck home how often we judge, second guess & hem & haw at our potential pitfalls

So the spotlight today is about saying something nice to yourself!

Me? Tough one!

I’ll lead the way. This is not easy for me.

My Decorating Diamond today goes to the corner I created in the back of our Lake Tahoe Cabin living room. We jokingly call it The Library.

It is no Library. But I love it still.

Two comfy chairs, one comfy ottoman. No fancy designer fabrics. No fancy designer labels.

Plywood walls with an aged green wash stain.

Low brass lights. Aged. Some fabulous bookends. A few fabulous books.

A gift from some very special friends, I have two of these guarding my books on a shelf made from a recycled plank we found. Very safe. Very low key. Very wonderful. Linked to Levenger.

A Navajo Rug traded for by my Paternal Grandfather.

This is not ours, but the one I have hanging is similar. Circa 1915. Not hugely valuable from a dollar standpoint, but is a blessing to me personally.

I love it. It’s safe. I write there, design there, nap there.

Diamond Award.

Now, you?

The spotlight is on! Do share!

There must be some corner. Somewhere…

Thursday Spotlight. You are better at Decorating & Design than your head & heart give you credit for. I know it!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


PS: I just finished a fabulous book by Dr. Valerie Young called “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women”. It is a remarkable book dealing with The Impostor Syndrome. A must read for anyone. I had the honor of spending a few days at a conference with Valerie. She is humble, gracious & oh so wise.

Dr. Valerie Young

Thursday Spotlight: What Is A Couture Chateau Type of Life?

Thursday Spotlight: What Is A Couture Chateau Type of Life?

I recently had a meeting with a new friend. They asked me….

WHY do you call the Bespoke Interior Design Portion of your Business “Couture Chateau”?

WHY isn’t it Ann McDonald?

For a large segment of my Business, it IS “Ann McDonald”. We (my team & I) are rolling out a new website which will be Ann McDonald “Home Base” so it’s easier for you to find us, the blog, the design…all of it

HOWEVER, when it comes to a HIGHLY SPECIFIC SEGMENT of my business, that is, a Bespoke Fully Serviced Designed Home Space for my Clients, it’s about THEM…not me

Read below…let me know if it resonates…

I believe YOUR custom is about YOUR fingerprint

I bring my gifts & talents to the table to make MANIFEST you, not to make manifest me!

Here is the actual page from my site describing that elusive “aha moment”…


Ann McDonald conceived of Couture Chateau in 1989 with a simple mission:

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

Here are some of her musings about opening this once very private door…

I am passionate about Couture Chateau. It’s the proverbial child that has spent decades “behind the gate” with my private Design Clients and dear close friends.

Finally I open the gates a bit and NEW friends and clients peek into the Couture Chateau world…

COUTURE: To layer and sew or build by hand with absolute attention to detail. To use the best available materials and trade fabricators budget will allow

CHATEAU: The place YOU call home

For years my Design Philosophy has been to create Couture Living Spaces, lifestyles really… for Clients. We work to custom make almost every item that isn’t acquired from antique sources or art houses/auctions. We private label for the client.

My Custom Couture Chateau Crewels take at least 5 months to complete. That is for a single commission. Furniture, Upholstery crafted by hand by the best available. Those Couture details from Hangers to Silver Leaf Closets that only a client sees when dressing…private bespoke items that make a house a home.

I have been in COUTURE Yurts…

I have been in COUTURE Manses…

Style and Taste are not the strongholds of the wealthy….they are the STRONGHOLDS of the soul…you can learn to love and live with style at any point in your life.

A I begin to open these very private gates, my passion is to FOSTER my motto: “Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

I believe living intentionally well in any space, any time, under any budget enhances you. It changes the life that comes out of us & contributes to those around us…

Start today living your CUSTOM life.

COME on the journey with me.

Delight (in who you really are). Do (what you were meant to do). Be (what you are supposed to be). Couture (you are custom & therefore worth it). Chateau (the place you call home).


Do you see? Do you “aha”? Do you believe YOU are CUSTOM & therefore worth it?

I do!!

Thursday Spotlight: YOU!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann


PS: Do you have someone who needs to know they are custom? Share this post with them to let them know YOU value THEM “just because they are” not because they do or achieve…but just because they are…

Thursday Style Points: Beta Testing Decorate Like A Pro System To Achieve Excellence

Thursday Style Points: Beta Testing Decorate Like A Pro System To Achieve Excellence

On the heels of the Design Bloggers Conference I can tell you there is nothing like a group of Luxury Interior Designer Friends to hold you accountable!!

There is nothing like a good solid kick with a Prada heel to keep you sharp ;)!


The kick is always preceded & followed by some soft words of GENUINE encouragement. We know we are made better because of each other. Her strength is mine and mine is hers.

We are beta testing even our Free Webinar with a group of women who hold me to the highest standards in both Luxury Design AND Business Ethics. They are an amazing group & tomorrow they will beta test so YOU get REAL VALUE even in this Free 1 hour Webinar & Free 1 hour Q & A

Decorate Like A Pro Package Image

I PROMISE we will have a live Video link soon. For now, if you want to get your email added go here:  This is a BETA TEST SITE so you will be in on the ground floor. Seriously! Only my Mastermind Group has had access to this so far!!! The next live Webinar will not be for two weeks, but if the last test was any radar, the spots will fill quickly. As in really quickly.

Do you have anything you need to “beta test” before it goes out to the world?

Who holds you accountable in your home? In your decorating? In your design? In your life?

Do they hold you to the highest standard with love so you can achieve excellence?

My mother repeated a saying that she wrote down before she died a decade ago…I have it framed:

“Sandwich any constructive criticism with two THICK slices of praise”

she followed it up with “praise to achieve greater heights”

I look forward to the constructive criticism of women I RESPECT with all my heart and look forward to making this excellent for YOU.

Thursday Spotlight: My Accountability Team

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


I am running on travel fumes & want to check in so you know we are jammin’ behind the scenes.

If you know of a fabulous Social Media Intern who wants a job, I am all ears! Just message me at Really not kidding. We have gone entirely remote with our work force so time zone is not necessarily an issue & this is one area we are now light in

Send cover note & resume link. It’s a great opportunity as we are rolling out some big stuff in 2013 & 2014 :).

Thursday Spotlight: A Friend & Fellow Designer Denise McGaha Speaking @ Southern Living Showhouse!

Thursday Spotlight: Friend & Fellow Designer, Denise McGaha Speaking at Southern Living Showhouse in Austin, Texas

Topic: Creating Your Interiors On A Showhome Deadline

Denise is beautiful, smart & oh so fab at design!

Denise McGaha is the real deal. She just gets it. I count her as a dear friend who will speak the truth & listen with an open heart.

A powerhouse Designer from whom I glean much, Denise specializes in creating on a deadline

This weekend she is scheduled to speak at the Southern Living Showhouse in Austin, Texas

This is one of my favorite designs by Denise. She has a keen eye for scale, color & balance. This image was featured in Design Guide. Image linked.

If you are anywhere near, you should make your way over. If I could just wrangle that private plane I’d be on it…

Denise is also in my Mastermind group with Tobi Fairley

Still recouping in my pale pink, trying to save my voice & heal from this nasty flu, may this be a blessing to you today!

This is a great pale pink. I use it line drawers, linen cabinets, undersides of desks, closets…

Spotlight: Denise & Southern Living!

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”

xo Ann


Tomorrow? My friend and fellow Designer Heather Harkovich…lead Designer for Southern Living Showcase in Austin, Texas & owner of Heather Scott Home

Thursday Spotlight: Happy Valentines Day, My FAV Use of Red in Rooms & I am Grateful For YOU!

Thursday Spotlight: Happy Valentine’s Day, My FAV Use of Red in Rooms & I am Grateful For YOU!

I LOVE the scale, proportion & punch of oversized art, especially on a tremendously bold wall. Image linked.

This is an older image from Arch Digest. Image linked. I love the drama of the space & can imagine having a fabulous cup of tea…

Have you seen this one from Bob Vila’s blog? Serious fun.

Image linked. Drama again. Very fun. Could I actually live here? Probably not, but a visit would be divine.

I love how the contemporary white chairs play off the bold sofa. The slight curve on the leg of the coffee table plays off the straight line of the upholstered wall. Seriously well done. Image linked.

What is your favorite use of red?

Is it an accent? Are you bold enough to use it on a wall? On a sofa?

Or is it one of those “NIMH” colors ;)!….as in “not in MY house!”

Let me know!!

Truth? I don’t actually have any in my main house…..cabin? YES! Main house?….only a tiny bit, barely 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day – from my heart to yours.

I am grateful today….because I get another chance… May today be one where if no one else tells you…I will…YOU MATTER & I am GRATEFUL for YOU. As you are, where you are, who you are.

I am grateful to walk alongside and share this thing we call life.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Thursday Spotlight: Who Am I & How In Heaven’s Name Does That Relate To My Sofa?!

Thursday Spotlight: Who Am I & How In Heaven’s Name Does That Relate To My Sofa?!

Spotlight: Who Am I?

My favorite sofa style for me? High arm, high back, deep cushion…in navy or red velvet……opposite a white contemporary piece….

I love the mix of old & new, contemporary, traditional. For me? Who I am today? In my living room, this mix feels like a great dinner party…enough tradition to keep it real & some spark to make it interesting….

Spotlight: Who Are You?

The roll arm…always a classic. Image from Apartment Therapy. Linked.

And how in the name of anything does that relate to my sofa….

Yesterday, I shared a photo from the TV Series Frasier. We saw how the choice of Frasier’s Bespoke Sofa ala Coco Chanel contrasted to his Father’s choice of recliner.

Both of those pieces were perfect for who the characters were – at that specific time

Knowing who you are so you can be consistent in every area of your life, starting with your “nest” is important

I believe with all my soul that we need each other to encourage, equip & figure it out. We cannot do this alone…we simply can’t

It can equip you or hinder you

This is such a great visual to me….to the ant, THIS is shopping! They work together to find just the right piece to be who they are…so silly & yet so relevant…image linked.

Can you imagine how uncomfortable the character Martin would have been on the sofa & vice versa?


Yes, you know…one of my trademarked systems 😉

1) from a SAFETY standpoint, he had physical limitations. he needed his recliner to accommodate those issues

2) from an ORDER standpoint, he needed the recliner with a table close by for his drink, remote & as an easy spot for his dog Eddie

3) from a BEAUTY standpoint, that recliner had lived with him for years. It was a pleasant memory and comforting spot where he could delight in all that life had handed him. It was beautiful to HIM

Am I telling you to go buy a recliner?


Though this one might be ok. Image linked.

Am I letting you know that it’s ok to decorate for you, today? YES

In 7 years we will re-asses. My Decorating Principle # 1: Decorate with no more than 7 years in mind.

Who are you?

Does your sofa fit?

Does it do for YOU what Martin’s recliner does for him?

Does it do for YOU what Frasier’s sofa does for him?

I hope so

Spotlight. You.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann

Thursday Spotlight: Module 1, Round 2

Thursday Spotlight: Our First Module, Round 2

Yesterday, I recorded part of our First Module in Webinar Form

This morning, more recording & some edits

This First Webinar will end up between 6 – 8 Modules, each lasting an hour + Q/A

This is a ton of work, but am feeling good about getting the information out of my head + heart

We are recording several Modules & making them available in:

PDF + MP3 + MP4 + Live Video

Whew. Ton of work. So worth it. So excited to make this information accessible outside these walls.

This is where my heart is: Design + Training + Equipping Others to…well, you know…live their custom lives 😉

A breakthrough approach to decorating like a pro using retail product. I reserved the domain “decoratewithretail” today for just this downloadable product. Very fun. We will of course offer how to customize just for you as part of this Webinar!

Spotlight. Module 1.

“Live a custom life. There is only one you.”™

xo Ann