Today is the last first day of school for my youngest niece, Elizabeth. Where does the time go? It hardly seems possible. Wasn’t it just yesterday that she was getting on the school bus for the first time? She has grown into a beautiful, creative and generous young woman and it is such a joy to be her aunt. During a recent visit to the great Northwest, I took the first round of her Senior Portraits.

MCK Designs elizabethMCK Designs elizabeth159

On a gorgeous evening we had a fun time at the beach snapping some pictures of her with bestie, Rylie.


Dear Elizabeth, you are an amazing young woman.  I am more proud of you than I can ever express. Happy last first day of school to you and all your friends in the Class of 2016.  I can’t wait to celebrate your 18th Birthday at the end of the month and take more senior pictures for you!

MCK Designs senior portrai

May all your wishes come true!  I love you,


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Earlier this year, my friend Denise called me with some sad news…her husband Ken was being asked to take a job in Atlanta. His company had asked him to make the move a couple of other times, but this time they could not say no. So, it was settled, they were moving to Atlanta. After a lot of tears, we began making plans for the move. I have known the Marshall family since 2003 and I have been blessed to photograph their family over the years and decorate both of the homes they lived in while in St. Louis. I was honored that Denise wanted me to go with them to Atlanta to do the same.

They took several trips to find a house and finally put a contract on this one…

house front

Denise and I took a day trip in late May when they were doing the inspections so I could see the house, take some measurements and start formulating a plan for making it their home. The first order of business was to paint the entire main and upper floors.  Jamie and I drove to Atlanta the day before they closed to be ready to get to work as soon as they took possession.  We began by lightening and brightening the dark and dated master bedroom.

master beforeMCK Designs master after

We tried several colors on the walls for the main living area of the house, but they all seemed to be too…something…dark, light, gray, tan, etc.  As I had done for them in their previous house, I mixed some custom colors that were just right. Due to the short time-frame, we hired some additional painters to paint the rest of the main floor.  While the painters did their thing, we unpacked, and unpacked and unpacked.


Once the painters were done, we placed the furniture and decorative items, and hung artwork.  Here are before and after pictures of each room.

dining beforeMCK Designs dining afterMCK Designs foyer-art

The above set of 5 canvases hung in the foyer of their St. Louis home and are pictures I took of flowers in their yard.  It was extra special to hang them in their new home.

fam before2MCK Designs family after2fam before

When I did the living room in their previous house, I asked them to take a leap and make one focal wall bright teal blue.  They ended up loving it, so we painted the same blue (Benjamin Moore Baltic Sea) on the focal wall in their new family room.

MCK Designs family after3
MCK Designs family after

The set of 5 overlapping frames shown above is also something I did for their St. Louis living room.  All pictures that are meaningful to the Marshall family, I was thrilled they could be showcased in their new family room.  I was equally happy they had a great place for the custom pallet table (pictured right above) that I built them.

kitchen before

The only change we made in the kitchen, other than paint (which made a huge difference), was to replace the light fixtures over the table.  I don’t have a before picture of the walk-in pantry… the entire thing was olive green–even the shelves.  I used my handy Wagner HVLP paint sprayer to paint all the shelves (which, though not pictured, are also on the opposite wall). With the HVLP sprayer I was able paint out all the shelves in two coats 4 hours apart each taking about 45 minutes to paint.  If painted by hand, it would have taken all day to paint and would have needed 3 coats.

MCK Designs kitchen afterThe lower level will be teenage boy hangout central.

MCK Designs lower level

I painted all the bedrooms upstairs and did special projects for Matthew (stripes) and Samuel (handpainted baseball).

MCK Designs boys

My final project was to build very simple mudroom cubbies for the boys.

MCK Designs cubbies

I hardly have words to express how amazing it was to get to create beauty in the Marshall’s new home.  Though I am sad they are no longer in St. Louis, I know we will be friends for a lifetime.  I look forward to more fun projects as I visit for years to come.  Marshall family… I am blessed to know you and honored to help make your new house, home.




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2015 is flying past my eyes at an unfathomable speed. Sorry so much time has passed since Part 1! How is it already almost Valentine’s Day?  Speaking of, yesterday I browsed through 2014’s photography, weddings and flowers, and all I can say is that my heart is full.  I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams to get to create beauty and capture memories. Each picture tells a story and has a sweet memory!

Because MCK Designs provides a wide variety of design services, sometimes I have the privilege of providing both flowers and photography for weddings. I particularly love those times.


There is nothing more precious than capturing newborns in their first days.


Seniors are fun to shoot…they are full of hope and a tangible excitement for the future.


Ahhhhh, young love…


Autumn is my favorite time of year, not only because it brings with it cooler weather, beautiful trees and my birthday, but it is the time when I get to do pictures for Christmas cards. These are some of my faves from 2014!


Thanks for walking down memory lane with me.  I love what I do…every day.




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It is hard to believe it is already 2015.  The past year has flown by and has been a wonderful adventure of interior transformations, weddings, web/graphic design and photography. Here I will focus on interior and home transformations and will post on weddings, flowers, photography and graphic design in Part 2. And, ironically (because I own a very nice camera), most of my project pictures were taken with my phone….

As you can imagine, one of the best things about my job is that with a little wallpaper or paint and a few hours, I can watch a room transform before my eyes. This past year I did several wallpaper projects with some great geometics.



Stenciling is a very fun way to add chic to any room or space.


For the first time, I experimented with painting furniture with metallic paint and absolutely loved the result!


I also tried my hand at making my own chalk paint (add 4 tablespoons of plaster of paris to a quart of paint and about 3-5 tablespoons of water and mix well).  I finish the pieces off with Annie Sloan soft wax.  Here are some of my creations!


I got to sew a rainbow of window treatments!


And make custom cushions and throw pillows!



I had the privilege of helping a friend recover her couch and chair with paint drop cloths and did some other re-upholstery!


Working with clients to design new homes and spaces is so rewarding.  Here I designed this mudroom space that was “stolen” from part of the garage.  Unlike some mudrooms, I designed this one with fully closed cabinets to create a very tidy space.


One of my favorite things is doing bathroom and kitchen tile design.  This bathroom was a complete gut and turned out gorgeous.


For almost the entire year I have been working with clients Rick and Cheryl on their new construction home. I have helped them with every aspect of the interior design: paint colors, light fixtures, granite, etc.  I painted the entire interior, acid stained the concrete basement floor and designed the bathroom and kitchen tile.  It’s been awesome to watch it come together and when Jack Frost finally moves somewhere else, they will be able to pour the concrete driveway and it will be complete!


Some of my clients encourage me to be creative with their projects and let me learn while I am creating things for them.  I built this table out of reclaimed pallet wood and used a combination of paint and stain to make a statement console table that fits perfectly in the room.


One of the most challenging and satisfying things I did this past year was add decorative molding to the inside and outside of two huge door openings.


And I got to hang this larger than life world map mounted on painted MDF.


People often overlook the beauty of a transformed floor and these two are fab…a garage and an old wood floor!


Finally, during some scarce spare moments during the year, I got to redo my own bedroom. It has pale gray walls, white girly ruffles, purple accents and a display of my flower photography.  It is the place where I work on my computer…where I dream and rest; to be at my best and to give my all.


My greatest passion is to create beauty and my greatest blessing is to create it for other people.  I am grateful to all of my clients who allow me to live my passion every day.  I am excited for what 2015 has in store!



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As I begin writing this, snow is softly falling outside the window!  Winter is here and Christmas is just 6 weeks away. I have already begun decorating homes, making wreaths and centerpieces, photographing families and designing fun custom Christmas cards.  In my world, Christmas starts early.  Last year, I had the privilege of working with the Goodwin Family as they gutted and renovated their home.  We spent 9 months planning, picking out cabinetry, granite and tile, paint colors, furniture, fabric for window treatments I made, doing custom paint in bedrooms and on the entry-hall floor, and putting every last touch on their new home.  In order to ensure things would be done by the holidays, Sarah signed up to be on a Christmas home tour.  It gave us some pressure and the accountability we needed  to keep on task and press on to complete the final details.

It was a blessing and honor to work on every last bit of the house with her and then to get to “deck the halls” for the home tour. It snowed on the day of the tour, which added a picture-perfect back drop to our winter wonderland.  I was thrilled with how everything turned out, and hope you will be too!



Following are before and after pictures that you have to see to believe!


foyer_office_afterkitchen2_afterkitchen2_afterI don’t have before pictures of the upstairs bedrooms, but take a look at these fun after shots.


Thank you to the Goodwin family for allowing me to design and create beauty in your home.  I had a truly wonderful time!



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