Children’s Artwork and the Challenge of it All

by Kelly DuByne on September 22, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

I almost made it the entire summer without feeling that it was time for my children to return to their ‘jobs’ of going to school so I could return to my usual mentally stable state.  The last week before school started though, was my downfall.  I found my nerves frayed, my patience thin and a longing for the arguing to end and some peace and quiet to begin.  We made it through that week (and concluded the summer as a whole) and they did eventually return to school and I eventually fell back into my less frantic and quieter routine.

We are now back in the swing of the school year and along with the comfort this provides comes a huge amount of paperwork—we get notices about school events, completed and graded classwork, invitations to classmate’s birthdays, and TONS of artwork.  Yes!  We have a LOT of paperwork and most of it can either be recycled or filed, but what about all of that artwork that they have poured their hearts and souls into creating?  I don’t want to just dump it into a box somewhere, but I am way too much of a type-A personality to want it hanging all over my refrigerator or cluttering up my walls or sitting in piles all over my counters.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love each and every piece they bring me. I want nothing more than for them to feel that what they created is as cherished by me as it was lovingly designed by them, but how can I make that happen and still maintain some since of order?

I have found that if I sit down with them and let them ‘show’ me their artwork and tell me all about it then we can put most of it away while having them feel that their pieces were fully appreciated by mom and dad.  There are a few pieces though that I make exceptions for and, instead of filing them in ‘the box’, I instead frame and hang throughout our home.

I have artwork from all three of our children prominently displayed and they LOVE it.  They are delighted by the idea that they created something that mom enjoyed so much that she made a special spot for it.  They frequently show these pieces off to friends and family when they visit, exclaiming with pride, “I did that!”

Here are a few other ideas for corralling artwork that I have either used, or friends of mine use, that you might want to institute in your own homes:

1.)    Use three pieces of string (4’-5’long) strung between small nails and some clothespins to create an easy-to-change-out art wall.

2.)    You can frame them and group them in one area of your home.  My friend Kelly DuByne uses this technique and has select pieces from her children’s years in school attractively decorating her powder room.

3.)    You may want to get some plain wooden frames from Hobby Lobby or Michaels paint them and hang those on the wall empty and free of glass.  Then encourage your children to tape or tack up their own artwork within the parameters of those frames.

4.)    Another friend of mine has an electronic photo frame she uses.  She takes digital photos of the artwork and downloads it to the frame.  The frame scrolls through the artwork highlighting one piece at a time.  She can then either recycle or file the original.

5.)    Another idea is to use or (or some other online photo printing site) to have photo-books by grade-level made of your children’s artwork.  You can just take digital photos of the pieces and upload them to one of these great companies’ websites and they will create books that display your little ones’ creations.

However you deal with the clutter of the backpack haul, the key to keeping the clutter at bay all while letting the children know their efforts are cherished is to display one to five pieces of art at a time and to store or recycle the rest.

Happy school year to you!

childrens art



Fall in 3D

by Kelly DuByne on September 8, 2014

textures of fall (2)Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger

When I think of the seasons, none spring forth as being more texture-rich than fall.  Fall is full of such amazingly intricate tactile aspects that it is hard not to view it as a beautiful design pallet.

I love this quote by the American young-adult author Lauren DeStefano: “Fall has always been my favorite season. The time when everything bursts with its last beauty, as if nature had been saving up all year for the grand finale.”

As the leaves on the trees turn from green to red, orange, and yellow we find solace and warmth in snuggly cable knit sweaters paired with tweed skirts and ribbed tights.  The bright shiny crimson apples on the trees are ready for harvest, the various-toned brown nuts are falling from their limbs, and the bright cheerful orange of the pumpkins are spotting the fields.  We are busy chopping wood and canning food preparing for the cooler weather.  Flannel sheets replace our cotton ones and afghans are flung over the arms of our sofas in anticipation of nippier evenings.

The summer’s aquas, royal blues, sunny yellows, neon oranges, and crisp whites are replaced with olive greens, burnt oranges, eggplant purples, rust browns, goldenrod yellows, cinnamon reds and winter creams.

Even the scents of the season are unique, bringing with it cinnamon, cloves, oranges, pumpkin, apple, pear and the smell of crisp leaves.  The morning air has a different smell–You know that moment you are awake, lying in bed and the air smells moist and cool?

I LOVE fall.

Each year I spend a little time changing out my décor to reflect all of these beautiful seasonal touches.  I fill the bowl on my coffee table with cinnamon sticks and pine cones.  I light a candle in the evening and replace the linen pillows on my couch with some cozy flannel ones.  I keep a metal three-tiered stand in my kitchen full of beautiful apples and pears from my trees.  Another small metal bowl holds Filbert nuts that my daughters and I foraged.

Consider this season a gift of inspiration.  Walk outside and there you will find a bevy of different design sparks.

We’d love to see how you pay homage to fall by bringing its textures into your home.

Enjoy the season!  It is breathtaking!



Welcome Home!

July 29, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger I know we have talked before about the impact a foyer has on a person’s perception of whether they feel welcomed in a home, school, office or business, but equally important is the effect the exterior of the entry has on the same. We’ve all heard of ‘curb appeal’ (the way […]

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Dust or Bust…

July 7, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Have you ever walked into a wonderful hotel room and been blown away by the design only to notice some unidentifiable stain on the duvet cover and a clump of hair in the tub drain? Or stayed at a quaint bed and breakfast and you involuntarily cooed at the sweet layout […]

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Accent Wall or Art?

June 10, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger I’m done! I’m done! I’m done painting my daughters’ rooms.  Yippee! Completing the painting of these two rooms has been a yearlong project.  A project  that was delayed by the fact that changing the  paint color meant a need to purchase all new artwork, bedding, draperies, etc. I found inspiration for […]

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Coloring Outside the Box in Schools

May 13, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger Here at Distinctive Interior Designs we have been working on color consultations for a couple of local schools and LOVING IT! The entire process is very similar to a residential color consultation, but we are working for about 450 clients ranging in age 5-11 who have no idea we have been […]

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Decorating your Garden Spaces for Spring

April 23, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger There are signs of spring cropping up everywhere!  From the song birds flitting about in the rhododendrons to the blue bells and crocuses that are peeking out from the piles of leaves, it is futile to argue that it isn’t ‘that time of year’ again.  You know the time of year […]

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Elegant Change On A Dime

March 25, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger As I mentioned earlier this year one of my resolutions is to take care of the items haunting me from my ‘don’t-ignore-us-any-longer-to-do-list’.  I am happy to announce that I have checked off yet another one of these long-thought-of-but-never-acted-on projects. Ever since the day we moved in (eight short years ago) I […]

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Inspiration Found

March 4, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger “I just don’t have a clue where to begin.” “You’re so good at decorating.  I don’t know where you find your inspiration.”  “I just don’t have the (decorating) gene.” I hear it all the time from friends, family, acquaintances, delivery people, etc.  People who just can’t see the decorator in themselves […]

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Find Help Fostering Your Innate Style

February 3, 2014

Submitted by Marlie Bilbruck-Boerger My six-year-old asked me the other day if she may look through one of my design books (specifically a book dedicated to bedroom design).   I said, “Of course.  Help yourself.”   I was mainly just excited and a little impressed that she asked to look at a book as opposed to watching […]

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