Creating a Focal Point

One of the most common questions I'm often asked is, "How do I go about creating a room that will "wow" people"?

Well, to most everyone's delight... the answer is actually quite simple!
Making a statement in a room.... giving it the "wow" factor... is possible by creating a Focal Point.

Focal Points are areas of a room which draw our attention the minute we enter them. Below, I've given a few ideas of how to create those important areas.

However you decide to create your focal point, make sure the statement that it makes is a personal one, uniquely your own!!!

Blessings, Karla

Perfecting Imperfection

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to open the doors of my home to Columbia Home magazine. The article is beautifully and graciously written and I'd love to share it with you.

One of the most popular questions I am asked continually is.... "tell me what your decorating style is?

What does your home look like?"

Check out the wonderful article online at:


Hidden Blessings

On Saturday, July 30th I was involved in a one car accident. It seemed that I had blacked out at the wheel of my car but thankfully, did not hit anyone and only minor damage to my car.
What has transpired in the last 10 days since the wreck... has seemed like a dream, almost unreal. But, it was real and in this experience I have once again experienced God's Grace and Restoration.

Upon arriving at the hospital, I was admitted and checked from head to toe for neurological issues with most all returning normal test results. Right before they were going to dismiss me, the doctor stated that they were beginning to wonder if this might be a heart issue.

It was a heart issue. After another day of testing, including a stress test, they detected I had gone into VTAC (an irregular rhythm which can be fatal) at one part of the workout. Subsequently, they scheduled a heart cathetorization for the next day. The heart cathetorization was unsuccessful but did reveal the real problem. It was a congential anomoly with my heart that I never knew I had.

I underwent open heart surgery last thursday, August 4th and am happy to say that all went well! I'm home and of course, "itching" to get back to my Grace "A Place of Restoration".
I'm told that the aftermath of Heart Bypass includes a slow recovery often accompanied with much emotional residue. This is foreign terittory for me and so, I know I must take it a day at a time.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to my family who has put up with ALOT from me during the past week in the aftermath of the surgery and been by my side consistently, as well as my customers who have sent such warm and heartfelt notes of care and concern.

We're entering the fall season, a perfect time to set out on some needed walks according to my physician. I believe that we can all use a great outing and encourage you to check out Grace soon.... you'll be amazed. The store has been TOTALLY transformed with layout and treasures!
I am pleased and grateful for the hidden blessings that happen in our life . Let us take time to recognize them.


Decorating Ideas to Beat the Heat

Bringing the Outdoors In... "Decorating Ideas to Beat the Heat"

If you are like I am, you most likely despise the days like today when you open the front door freshly showered and ready to go only to find that you are "wilting" by the time you get to your car! And.... it's only 7:30 a.m.!!!

Perhaps it's my "season" in life (I'm 49) but I would much prefer spending time indoors this time of year to escape the heat. I find an inner "tug of war" however, given the fact that as I gaze out the window at the gorgeous vignette and haven which I have created outside in celebration of summer... I am now but an observer, unable to participate in its actual enjoyment.

The horrendous heat does not have to prohibit you from enjoying your garden pieces and outdoor decor which you so carefully selected and invested in. Consider bringing them indoors to create a summery refreshed look!

I absolutely love the look of a room which utilizes outdoor fixtures, furniture, accents and elements as enhancements to indoor rooms.

Over the past several years, our choices of garden ornaments and outdoor furniture have increased dramatically while the price point has decreased considerably given the numerous selections offered in the marketplace. Consider using iron, glass, shabby wood patio table and/or chairs in lieu of your everyday kitchen table and chairs . Place garden statuaries and concrete urns on dining tables, in bathrooms and entryways to give texture and interest to those areas.

My advice to your inner creative decorator who hates the heat... pull it indoors and enjoy!



The Power of Paint

I love the power of paint! I am an equal opportunity "paint anything" kind of decorator.

Throughout the years, I found that as my decorating budget for my own home was less than prosperous... by painting pieces in dramatic and colorful tones... I could add unbelievable "pop" to any piece- truly giving it "new life". This was, of course, much to the dismay of many who were raised during the era of "never paint over wood".

I was daring, naive and the sky was the limit as far as I was concerned when it came to the boundaries of what could be painted and what could not. I would often joke with friends and clients that "I would paint my kids most likely if they stood still long enough"! Today, over 27 years later, I am the same passionate "painter" that I was many years ago.

I believe in the power of paint to transform a room- walls, ceilings, furniture, lamps, accent pieces... all are perfect candidates for my painter's palette. When I fill my store with unique pieces, they are pieces that I hand pick for their "good bones", and although often scarred, marred and needing lots of help... I see beyond their imperfections to the final result when I complete their makeover with paint as my miracle worker.

When deciding on a color of paint for a room or piece of furniture- be sure to invest in a few sheets of poster board. Cut the poster board into 4 sections and paint each with the paint color which you are considering. Put one swatch on each wall for your review throughout the day and over perhaps several days. I encourage my decorating clients to look at the paint color in the early morning when entering a room for the first time in the morning, the afternoon, and night.

It is also very important to view the color on cloudy days as well as sunny days. You will find that the color looks differently on each wall... even though it is the exact same color! The amount of light and reflections from the ceiling and floor alter the color tone.

My best advice from many years of experience is to not be afraid to experiment with color. For rooms that are very dark or even extremely light... consider going a bit deeper and more vibrant as light and wood absorb color like a sponge. Therefore, light colors tend to be washed out in such room environments.

Lastly, I will give a word to the wise warning... once color is introduced into a home, be prepared that you have now "opened a can of worms" so to say! Suddenly, rooms with simple, neutral tones look empty and in need of a makeover. Color changes are easy to do when using paint and certainly easy on the pocket book.


Tapestries from the Past

I have a particularly strong weakness for things from the past... pretty obvious for someone who owns a store specializing in such treasures. But perhaps one of the things I'm most fond of, enamored with and excited for are antique and vintage needlepoint canvases!

While a Chi Omega in college at Mizzou, I started the awesome pasttime of needlepoint. As memory serves me I began approximately 3 different projects- a bookmark, pillow and small eyeglass case... and never finished a one of them! In fact, I'm quite sure that I most likely sold them in a garage sale at some point. During my first pregnancy I took up the hobby yet again, this time determined to actually complete a piece. I'm not sure of what I was expecting but certainly once our litle "bundle of joy" arrived, the last thing that I had time for was needlepointing!

So... I am a needlepoint guru wanna-be:) My utter amazement and excitement when scouring for treasures is when I come upon an absolutely beautiful, completely finished needlepoint tapestry! You know the ones that somehow have made their way into a small shop, sitting hidden, folded and covered by other relics. A completely beautiful piece which most certainly took someone countless hours to complete! Here is what I have never been able to figure out... why in the world would someone take so much time and effort to create such beautiful pieces and yet let go of them.

Wouldn't you love to know the story behind the artist, the creator... the "finisher" if you will. That dedicated artist who loved it enough to choose the canvas and create the art!!
These needlepoint tapestries can be found in abundance at flea markets, antique stores, booths at malls, even garage sales. Pieces from times gone by, lovingly hand made treasures waiting to be rescued!!!

I will always choose to rescue most of these pieces. My imagination is to use them for framing as a piece of art, upholstery for a chair or bench, making a pillow.... or simply to "have" and to cherish.

So... for those of you that are the dedicated "finishers" of your hobby of needlepointing... I, for one, thank you and salute you for such wonderful works of art that seem to find their way into someone else's life.


Many of you have inquired as to if I have children. Yes, I am delighted to share with you that I am the proud mother of a son and two precious daughters. My son lives in southern California and the girls are closer to home! They are truly my support, help in many ways and when it comes right down to it.... my inspirations!

Today has been an exciting day! We just received a shipment of new treasures which we're diligently working to price and put out for your "treasure hunting" pleasure. The european carousel horse has arrived and is beautifully appointed in our center room.

I'm going to be putting blue ribbons on many items and starting wednesday, will be offering 10% off all blue ribbon items. Such a great time to acquire that larger ticket item you've wanted for so long.... or a small treasure ... perhaps a gift for father's day, summer wedding, etc..

Blessings to you and take a moment to put your feet up and sip a nice cool glass of lemonade:)


Grace "A Place of Restoration": A Sneek peek of reality!

Grace "A Place of Restoration": A Sneek peek of reality!

A Sneek peek of reality!

I've decided it's time to shed the beautifully decorated, "perfect" look image of Grace. Instead, today I wanted to show you a picture of my absolutely favorite, disheveled, dirty and chaotic area..... the workroom!
We call it "the dungeon" and on any given day you will find one of our design assistants down painting a piece that I've pulled in from who knows where... often times the look on their faces when I bring a discovered prize through the door is one of complete disbelief! As if to say... what will she bring in next or has she absolutely lost her mind? LOL
Yes, I can proudly say that I have completely lost my mind and in order to do what we do here.... it is actually a mandatory requirement!!
The dungeon is actually where each prized piece, however broken and to some people "ugly" that it might be, undergoes its complete transformation! It will be cleaned, painted, restructured, repaired, taken apart, stripped or repurposed... whatever mood I seem to be in that particular day makes the decision usually on what it will become.
No, we do not allow admittance into this area.... most of you are thinking "don't worry, I'd never want to venture there"! But I know that for many brave, creative and daring women ... it's a dream come true, a highlight of their day.... if nothing else, it will remind one of how clean and orderly that their home probably is in comparison!
There are few things that come close to bringing me as much joy in my work than when sharing my knowledge and expertise with customers.
This past saturday morning, 16 women joined me at my new Columbia store for the first decorating workshop held at this location. We talked about making your house truly your home with the use of color and accessories.
I'd like to share a few tips below for those that couldn't make it!

Creating a personalized look with color and accessories does not have to be overwhelming! Throughout the years as an interior decorator, I can think of so many clients who were somewhat "lost" when trying to decide on a color scheme. My suggestions are many in reference to color choices... perhaps the most basic, however, is to start in your closet!
Many times, the color inwhich we are most comfortable with are those that we wear.
Keep in mind that some colors are more condusive to certain rooms. The passion of reds, for example, are such excellent choices for rooms such as dining rooms to increase the appetite.
Similarly, northern exposure rooms do well to create visual "warmth" with golden yellow and comfy red tones. Blue.... the infamous "masculine" color isn't just for the guys any longer...
the serene touch that they lend gives a very calming effect. Such an excellent choice for a room needing serenity. Combine red and blue and what do you get..... Purple!!! So regal, so unique.
Perhaps some of the most difficult rooms to design are those that are built around neutral color schemes. Carefully selected lighter tints and darker shades of white, cream, taupe, grey, black are perfectly balanced to create a clean and classic look!
Probably the best advice I can give when it comes to accessorizing is to remember the Decorating BAGG.
Black- Every room needs a touch of it to add depth and drama. Artwork and Accessories...
such a personal choice yet one that sets your room apart from all others. Lamps, artwork, mirrors, candlesticks, urns, baskets all are wondrous choices to finish off your room.
Glass- don't forget when giving your room the finishing touch to include the texture of Glass to lighten up the room. Greenery- so basic, yet sooo missing from many rooms. Bring a bit of the outdoors... in!

Grace "A Place of Restoration": Am I Crazy Yet?

Grace "A Place of Restoration": Am I Crazy Yet?

Am I Crazy Yet?

In the fall of 2009, I was working as a recruiter and traveling nearly 1,000 miles per week. Needless to say, my theme song was Willie Nelson's "On the Road Again"!
I began contemplating change. Change... such a profound word. Five letters, one syllable and a definition which could go on throughout all eternity. Simple, yet overwhelmingly difficult. Rejuvenating, yet completely exhausting to even fathom. My desire for change seemed to be so much deeper than how I spent my work day. There was a desire for change in both mind and motion. I had been through some major transitions of change throughout my life, but most came out of necessity and demand. Could it be that I would actually choose to turn my seemingly normal and "steady" life into one filled with daily uncertainty, passion, creativity and adventure? I came to decide..... YES!

Had it been done before? Absolutely! In fact, I had done it before. Having had an interior decorating business in St. Louis for more than 20 years as my children were growing up.... I experienced the thrill and fulfillment of using my talents to help others decorate... while also engaging in the most important role of my life..... mother, to three wonderfully creative and young children. But now, as I approached my late 40's... single and two of three children "out of the nest"...could I return to that passion and turn it somehow into a paycheck? Would I survive? Better yet... would I thrive? I decided that the "pain" of staying in my current situation was greater than the possible pain in choosing a different path knowing that I might sink versus swim. Thus, my journey began.

The location was an historic former church along the Katy Trail, certainly a once in a lifetime setting! I began setting up "shop". "Shop" was an unbelievably beautiful store filled with antiquities, interior decor and my all time passion..... architectural salvage items. How did I pull it all together in a matter of 45 days to open the doors to my new "home" away from home?Adrenalin, passion, commitment and plain old insanity!!!

Grace "A Place of Restoration" was born. Grace.... amazing really. It was certainly through God's grace that I had lived the life of so many blessings. "A Place of Restoration"... salvaging and transforming broken and forgotten pieces of history into beautifully creative treasures. I could identify myself as a piece to be restored... and through this journey over the past year and a half.... I certainly have.

"Grace", is an extension of me. When visitors enter her doors, they are in essence, stepping into my haven in which I work, I live, I love and I share. Countless numbers of women have commented to me that I am "living their dream". (Of which I don't shatter their image by sharing the reality of a day-in-my-life description of exactly what the art of "salvaging" brings with it.... dirt, lifting, hauling...) I smile, both inside and out, and let them know how grateful that I am to be doing what I am doing and most importantly, grateful to be sharing what I do and what I create with them.

I am often stressed, but always blessed. I am often tired and sometimes feel like throwing my hands up in frustration and confusion as to how to grow my business, create even better ideas and treasures and at times.... simly make it through the day. But I am grateful for every single second of it. I am grateful that for today, one day at a time, I am not only living my dream but the dream of so many.


Our New Spring Offerings!!!

I've been busy at work giving several of our newest treasures their "makeover" which has become synonymous with Grace! The "back room" is filled to the brim with beautiful, more formal finds. Best of all... it's soon to undergo a transformation with the installtion of a large picture window!!! The light and brightness that it will bring will be a tremendous addition to our store.

Our "middle room" is home to Votivo candles, Elizabeth W lotions, fragrances and lavender bath sachets as well as DeShawn Marie organic soaps. And of our course.... our front area is as stunning as always! If you haven't been in lately... you MUST visit soon. Be sure to check out our online store as well via our website

Thank you to all of my continued and loyal Grace Customers for the wonderful comments and excitement about our new location! As you can imagine... it has been a work in progress and I am so proud of all of our hard efforts. My design assistant team is complete with Heather, our veteran assistant who has been with me since the beginning, Jacquelyn (a very talented Interior Design student from Mizzou), Natalie (a wonderful "people person" who will be graduating from Mizzou in May), Dina (our soon to be European traveler for the summer), Becky (my customer service guru and superb welcoming face to the store) and last but not least... Meredith (my new right hand who will specialize in growing our online store presence. What fantastic, talented women who were so carefully chosen for their diverse talents which they bring to Grace!

Now that we're "moved in"... I'm finding that my creative juices are flowing and I am nearly overflowing with new and exciting ideas to bring to you at Grace. God continues to bless me so very much in awesomely surprising ways and I am thankful for his grace and blessings!

We're in!

Well, sometimes in life they say that if we have too long to think about something... perhaps we'd never do it! That being said... our "quick" decision to move to downtown Columbia is almost done! We opened our doors on January 24th and I must say that Columbians are greeting us with open arms and excitement that we're here!!! I've been diligently attempting to complete our second and third rooms only to find that we needed to have new flooring layed before we could do that. Snow, snow and more snow put some "kinks" into our schedule... but I'm happy to say that tomorrow we're told that the carpet layer's will be here at 8:00 a.m. to "knock it out"!!! I'm off to a buying trip, busily preparing to add to our current treasures.
Here's a glimpse of one of my favorite views of our front room. Be sure to stop by to say Hi! We're open Monday through Saturday 10 am to 6 pm
Blessings to all,

We're Moving...

Happy New Year to all of our customers! With the new year comes exciting changes... I am pleased to announce that Grace "A Place of Restoration" is MOVING to 918 E. Broadway in Downtown Columbia, Mo. (Former location of A la Campagne) Our location will be twice the size of our former Rocheport store enabling us to offer you twice the unique treasures as well as a Decorating and Design Center for Workshops and Decorating Consultation Services.

Join us for our GRAND OPENING CELEBRATION Monday, January 24th 10 am - 6 pm I look forward to our expansion, enhancement to our online store offerings and generous space to conduct our decorating workshops and design consultation.

Stay tuned for more! Thank you for your loyal patronage this past year as Grace was getting started. I look forward to welcoming you to my new location. Karla Winchester, Owner

Grace "A Place of Restoration"

918 E. Broadway Columbia, Mo. 65201

(573) 442-7466

(New store number as of 1/17/11)