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The Whitland Avenue Home tour is this weekend; what a fantastic way to spend the day. The neighborhood is one of Nashville’s finest, where kids ride their bikes, trees line the sidewalks and the houses are divine.

However, if you are one of the homeowners with a home on the tour, you may be feeling a tad bit stressed right now.

The lovely Curnutte home at 224 Carden Avenue

It was one year ago that my house was on the home tour.  Similar to the person who quit smoking by overdosing on ten packs of cigarettes in one day, I completely overdosed on shopping for my home. Now, I don’t even open a Pottery Barn catalog.

One year later, I can say my house is in dire need of a serious fluffing.

If you have not heard of the term “fluffing,” it has many connotations—some good and some bad.  In my book, fluffing is getting your favorite decorator to stop by and do his or her magic.

Helen Curnutte’s home, at 224 Carden Avenue, is on the tour. And I asked her if she would open her home to the StyleBlueprint fluff patrol. She agreed and since we are both devotees of Roger Higgins, we asked Roger to be in charge of fluffing Helen’s house.  I will tell you from experience, there is no better “fluffer” in the world than Roger.  It can be painful when he takes your collection of beanie babies and stashes them in a box, but hey, you pay him to make your house look beautiful.

Roger and Helen looking relaxed.

With the fall weather rolling in and the in-laws popping over for visits, I think these fluffing tips will help your entire house feel ready for the holiday parties.

Critically look at the clutter spots: this includes toy boxes, mail pile ups, kitchen appliances, book shelves and table tops.  Get rid of all of your clutter or organize it to work for you.  You probably don’t need most of it anyway.

Identify focal points in your home:  the great table in the entrance hall, the mantle above your fireplace, your dining room table.  You need to add the “wow” factor to focal places and make a statement.  Roger is a huge fan of natural greenery and I am too.  Don’t underestimate the impact of a well-placed orchid or a cutting of fresh magnolia leaves. The palms from Costco are affordable and look fantastic in a corner of a large room. We give a thumbs down on anything fake, except the fabulous succulents on Helen’s porch.

Buy a case of green apples and a bunch of Spanish moss to garnish your home. I asked Roger, why Spanish moss to embellish the potted plants?  “Elizabeth, it’s like Spanx, everything just looks better,” was his reply.  Bravo! I completely agree with him.

Take a critical look at your seating arrangements: do they flow well or does it look like you just threw the furniture in place with no thought of positioning.  If your dog ate a huge bite in your living room sofa, find a gorgeous throw and cover the spot.  Roger suggests turning over your cushions and plumping them up before a party.  Also, give any down pillow the “Kung Fu” chop (Rog’s term) to make them look, well….interesting.

Have a professional hang your art (I have names) and get picture lights for your nice paintings. It makes your paintings look more valuable and adds appropriate mood lighting to your home for a party.  The act of re-hanging your art can give your home a fresh new look.  Invest in dimmers on any and every light switch you have, and when having a party–turn on every lamp.  No 100-watt light bulbs please!

Groupings of things are key; scattered things are distracting.  Group your family photos, your collectibles, your pots on a shelf.  A fabulous grouping of items, can add texture to a room, making it interesting and curious.  One of Roger’s best tips is not to buy chotzkies for the sake of buying them. Translated, this means don’t go out and buy a bunch of junk to fill up your shelves.  If you collect something, even eclectic things like Helen’s fab pottery collection, display them.  When you travel, if something speaks to you, buy it.

Bookshelves are so important in a house and are great for displaying your collections. Try to balance the books with your accessories.  And pull out all of your books from the back of the wall.  If you do not have nice old books, consider turning them around to show the pages.

I adore the way the picture is hung on the bookshelf to add an element of whimsy.

Go forth brave soldiers and “fluff!” Also, don’t forget the Whitland Avenue Home Tour this weekend.

Whitland Avenue Home Tour

Saturday & Sunday, September 25-26 from 1pm-5pm

Tickets available at or at the door.

PS.  I am the co-chair; we need your support.  I want to thank Ashley Hylbert, our fantastic photographer for taking these lovely pictures.

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