Kitchen Progress

Well, here goes nothing. Or everything. Either way…

Yes, I’m one of those people that starts a project before the holidays, thinking things like “oh, nbd, it’ll be done well before it’s time the put the Christmas tree up.” Well, I was wrong. Yes.

Back in September, I shared this photo of our kitchen, in all of it’s gold, Tuscan glory. Then, everyone told me how much they loved it & I was all “why am I changing literally EVERYTHING again?!” The reaction was not one that I was hoping for but I was thankful for the positive feedback anyway.


Before. Gold Venetian plaster, antiqued cabinets. Certainly not bad, I was just ready for change.

Fast forward to now & a lot has changed! Please forgive the pots & pans on the stove, it’s Sunday & we’re Italian!




Zero styling but this is what it looks like at THIS moment. Better & styled photos to come later!

The cabinets are now two-tone, bases in a deep charcoal gray & uppers in white but not super-bright trim white since I wanted some difference between the trim & cabinets themselves. The island remains the same for now but I’m working on my plan of attack. I’m thinking either some kind of weathered, barn wood look or lacquered, so, ya know, totally opposite things which should surprise no one.


Sorry it’s so dark but you get the idea.


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Don’t mind the weird, chandelier reflection, the wet paint on the wall & the plastic tray on the dining room table. 

The walls are now a light, cool gray that if it were not for the white trim, you’d swear they were white which was kind of my goal. Backsplash and counters will be addressed at some point this year. I’m keep going back to white subway tiles but I’ve recently been looking at Carrera basketweave mosaic & it just won’t leave me alone so we’ll see. The counters will definitely be Carrera or Calcutta marble – kind of just depends on what I find when I go shopping for slabs.

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Pay zero attention to the Christmas tree plug & grey storage container. OMG. And PS: I painted the walls around the tree because, pictures. 

The armoire turned pantry is staying as-is, one of the few things aside from the chandelier & the appliances. Currently it’s Amy Howard “One-Step” Graphite with dark wax & distressing. It’s a perfect juxtaposition with the more transitional feel of the rest of the kitchen. Until I turn that transitional kitchen into a Modern Farm House, of course, then all bets are off & the cabinet will fit in once more but I love a little tension between styles so for now, I’m extremely happy.

Stay tuned for more updates on the continued progress, as well as many other projects that I’ve been working on & will be working on this year!


Christmas 2015 – Home Tour


Here we go! I’m finally finished with our Christmas decor for this year & couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.

Typically, I stray away from the traditional reds & greens & I opt for neutrals with a mix of metallics but this year, I went for it with the red. The inspiration, of course, coming from our custom tree skirt by The Christmas Belle which is a beautiful red velvet, trimmed in white feathers.

I used some natural elements along with the black/white gingham ribbon from last year & added the buffalo check ribbon that I found at Big-Lots for $3 per roll! I couldn’t believe it so I bought all that they had.



This guy was a gift last year & he loves to perch on top of the tree!



I love to use a mix of poinsettias in my vintage, galvanized bucket.

If you follow me on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook, you’ve heard me mention that due to our lack of fireplace, I style our TV cabinet as a mantel. I carried the same buffalo check ribbon into the lighted garland & my favorite addition this year was the metallic gold reindeer from Target, by far my favorite Thanksgiving weekend purchase!


My grandmother made this pinecone wreath a good 40+ years ago & it’s one of my favorite things to use from Fall all the way through Spring. It lives in the guest bedroom the rest of the year but I decided to use my Noel pennant banner on it this year, rather than over the TV.


You’ll also see that I filled an apothecary jar with faux snow & 4 mini Nutcrackers. My grandparents started a Nutcracker collection for me & since my first Christmas, I’ve gotten a new one every year. Typically I style them all together in the dining room but I decided to scatter them around the house this year.

Oh, and I finally found the stockings that I made two years ago, too!



Moving into the kitchen, which now has an entire new look including two-toned cabinets & light grey walls. (Blog post to follow…) As always, I used greenery & pinecones in the chandelier but this year I added a bittersweet kissing ball in place of the crystal ball that is usually in the center of the light. It’s the main thing everyone notices when they first walk into the kitchen. Tied some black & white gingham ribbon around it (mainly to hide the wire that I used to connect it) & here we have it!



The pinecones hanging from strands of pearls in the window, over the sink make me so happy. You’ll see more Nutcrackers here, too! Also, Santa iceskating because that’s what happens on window sills, over sinks, in kitchens, in Greenville.

Maybe it’s because we’re Italian but for whatever reason, I tend to spend the most time decorating in the dining room for Christmas. It’s home to the second tree which is flocked & so fancy that you can, indeed taste its gold. Plus, it has a crown so, yeah, fancy.



Since the dining room walls are espresso & my parents will never let me forget how much the wallpapered accent wall cost, I’m stuck with working around it but, challenge accepted! I recently added indigo drapes from Restoration Hardware on the dark brown walls & they’re perfect. To reinforce that selection, I set the table with Blue Willow dishes & for some contrast, used fresh oranges in the table arrangement.

I used a vintage, brass urn in the center from Maliasmark with two strands of garland spilling out of either side, as well as fresh cut greenery in the center. I layered in some fresh oranges & clementines, as well as some gilded magnolia leaves & gold ribbon to complete the look.

This is by far my most favorite Christmas table EVER!


IMG_8093.JPGThe rest of the Nutcrackers are on my great grandparent’s Hoosier cabinet in the dining room, as well. IMG_8099.JPGIMG_8097.JPGIMG_8061.JPG

I drew some inspiration from Dear Lillie this year & tried my hand at chalk lettering for this chalkboard above our Nativity scene. I’m not sure if it’s an Italian thing or a Bertolini/Chambrelli thing but it’s a tradition for us to put Jesus in the manger on Christmas Eve.

Just hours ago, the manger itself was a cherry color & quite honestly, in the 20+ years that we’ve had this set, I’ve not been a fan of it so I used some Graphite Amy Howard One Step paint on it. I just dry brushed it to give it a weathered look & I think it turned out great! It’s still more modern than I think it would’ve been but it’s more about the symbolism than it being truly accurate, right?




Holiday Gift Guide – 2015

Hey, everyone! Here’s my final 2015 Holiday Gift Guide. Enjoy!

In order from start to finish:

Savvy ReStyle Market:

Carolina Girl Cooks:

Speckled Cakes:

Orijin Tea:

Willow & Poppy Studios:


Ms. Lillian’s Louisiana Pie Spices:

The Christmas Belle:

Greenville Swamp Rabbits:

PostalAnnex – Five Forks:

Bearded Brothers Tattoo Company:


And, me!


Campaign Comparison

So, lately I’ve been collection, curating, hoarding, whatever you choose to call it, I’ve been doing a lot of that. I recently participated in a pop up market called Savvy Restyle Market. They popped up in my downtown and I felt it was the right time to get my feet wet. I took with me, several pieces to hopefully sell but more to give people an idea of what I do as a designer. I’m all about repurposing things and up-cycling pieces that would have otherwise been discarded.

Well over a year ago, I wrote a post about the “Goodwill Campaign.” Shortly after rehabbing this awesome, old Campaign chest, I couldn’t let go of it so I moved it into my room, under my TV & promptly stocked it with clothing. I used it for almost two years.

I acquired two walnut Campaign chests last year and I’ve been using them as my nightstands and being me, I hate the fact that all of my furniture is the same style. All of that said, I carted this piece to the Restyle Market. Lots of lookers, no buyers so I carted it back home. Bummed? A little. But not defeated, I knew the right person would come along so I posted it all over Facebook. On Sunday, the TODAY Show posted this article ( about Anthropologie’s new campaign furniture with reference to a blog about DIY-ing your own version of it. I immediately posted the link along with the photos of my piece. I had some interest and a few people looked at it but no takers.

Tonight, I decided I’d style it in the photos and do a real comparison between mine and the Anthro piece and it sold within minutes! I’m going to miss this piece but I know the person who is buying it will treasure it and enjoy it now that I’m finished with it! Stay tuned for more furniture makeovers and also more projects that I’m working on!

AnthoCompareTwitter: @jamiebertolini, Insta: @jamiebertolini, Facebook: J. Bertolini – interior design

Thanks for reading!

Interior Trends – 2015

It’s seems like we just did this but here we are again… Happy New Year! It happens to me every year – the holiday decorations return to storage and I want to redo the entire house. I’ll share some tips & some trends to update your spaces without getting too carried away like I’m sure I will at some point this year.

2015 marks the true resurgence of color so this post will mostly revolve around color trends. Our walls are still neutral but that’s about it. While we’re on the topic of color, Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2015 is Marsala.

Marsala is a surprising choice, in my opinion, but I’m sure we’ll see more of it as we move forward. Again, don’t go painting your walls this color or making any permanent changes to anything in your home unless you just really love it.

We’ll be seeing a lot more color in our interiors for 2015 and moving forward. Keep an eye out for indigo. It was popular in 2014 but will carry us through 2016. John Legend & Chrissy Teigan’s living room, featured in Architectural Digest, exemplifies flawless use of indigo accents. Something else to point out is that nearly every good trend is happening in this space. The brass, the indigo and the painted ceiling just to call out a few things. (see slideshow)

Also, while we’re at it, stop with the accent wall. It’s over. Paint it, NOW! A wallpapered accent wall; however, is perfectly acceptable.Hard to believe but wallpaper is back with a vengeance. Gone are the small-scale patterns and miniature florals, enter are geometrics and larger scale patterns with a lot of contrast. One more thing to toss, the vinyl cut outs with inspirational sayings stuck to your walls. It was never really here but it too, is officially over.

Black is back in a big way for interiors. Black is being used on everything from walls to trim, doors to cabinetry, and even on furniture in ebony wood tones. For all of you that are sick of polishing, black kitchen appliances are making a comeback as a nice alternative to stainless (isn’t that a joke) steel. Highlight your black with gold. It’s here again, but it’s more antiqued, not so shiny. Copper is also trending as the go to metal for accents.

Light, bleached wood finishes are still on the rise. According to Elle Décor, this finish is here to stay! Grays are still very popular and are showing no sign of slowing down. They are the go to neutral because of their versatility and the range of hues/ saturations and the colors that they can resemble without using that color in its purest form.

2013 in Review.

Did anyone note the whirlwind that swept through 2013?

I mean, where did it go?

Is this what it’s like to be 25?

Days, weeks & months just fly by? I mean, I just put up the Christmas Tree (November 16) and now we’re going to take it down (next weekend?)

I feel like I just finished Christmas shopping (started in October) & we opened presents a week ago, already! Okay, I digress but I can’t be the only one that feels this way. Anyway, here we go!

So, 2013 started on the heels of what I now refer to as the “shake up.” I’m not going into details but our lives changed & friendships ended – a “clearing of the runway” occurred. Similarly, so many positive things & blessings, even in disguise at the time happened.

I’ll start with January. January 15 marked my parents 25th wedding anniversary. I casually mentioned to a friend that I probably had to make a big deal out of it, to which she agreed & also agreed to help me pull it off.

I decided that I’d arrange for someone to preach for my dad that Sunday & I’d book a room for them at our only 4-star in Greenville, The Westin Poinsett for the evening, after they enjoyed a Greenville Road Warriors victory. But could I leave it at that? Oh, of course not. Instead, I “went to work” that Saturday (I don’t work on the weekends) & when they checked into the hotel, I’d transformed it from an already beautiful room, to a room lined in silver (25th Anniversary is Silver), a huge, white (Lisa Vanderpump, Villa Blanca-style) floral arrangement, petit fours arranged under a glass dome & a chilled bottle of champagne awaiting them. Now, did it go off without a hitch? Of course not! Ha – I used their sterling silver toasting glasses on the night stands of the room & in mom’s, I put chocolates & my dad’s I put Runts, since they’re his favorite, and they spilled, ALL over the room – keep in mind, they’re waiting in the lobby because “the room isn’t ‘ready’ yet” and they have no idea that I’m even in Downtown Greenville, let alone in the room they’d be walking in to just moments later. They had a great time & I enjoyed it just as much putting it all together for them. I met them Sunday morning for brunch at Roost, our first experience there & Roost’s first brunch EVER. – AND I wanted this to be more pictures than words so I’ll shut up now 😉 OH! And the Westin even sent them some strawberries, a thoughtful touch for sure!


In 2013 I got into this mode where if I found a good deal, whether at Goodwill, thrift shops, CraigsList, etc. I had to jump on it as if it would be gone forever. Some of these purchases were put to good use when I decided I was going to give the Tattoo Shop a little facelift…

You’ll notice the campaign bachelor’s chests – really just being stored at the tattoo shop until I redo my room, later this year. The red chest in the entry? A $20 Craigslist find from a couple of years ago. I’ll post before pictures of the shop later on, the walls were green & the trim & walls were a yellow-tan color. The trim is white now, walls are grey & the doors & casings are black.


My main motivation, and some of you don’t know this but my dad was approached by a production company to film a sizzle (5-10 minute “episode”) for a reality show – it was focused on dad, the church & the tattoo shop & was not picked up yet (probably a blessing, honestly) but I don’t need much of an excuse to redo any space.

I also gained two new cousin’s in 2013 – Luciano & Adriana. No pictures of them until I clear it with their parents 🙂

2013 also marked my 25th Birthday. I had no idea what I was going to do as far as celebrating & honestly wasn’t really into thinking about it. I figured I’d go to Charlotte & go out with friends or something but I never could’ve imagined how that first week of May would’ve turned out. A lot of you know that we became friends with several of the Greenville Road Warriors players last year, one in particular that was hurt but then went home to Canada when he was cleared. My parents told me that we had to go to Charlotte to pick him up since he WASN’T medically cleared so on Saturday, April 27 we went & met my friends Michelle & Joseph, Michelle’s father & his friend at one of my favorite places in Charlotte, The Sleepy Poet – one of the best antique malls I’ve ever been to. If you’re in Charlotte, go there! Anyway, we then left for the airport. I’m looking out the window, my parents are saying “oh, there he is!” I couldn’t see him. I continued to look & I said “that looks like my grandmother… I still don’t see him!” Well, that’s because it WAS my grandmother. She was visiting for my 25th birthday, incidentally the first surprise of many that week. One week from that day, my 25th birthday, I took my grandmother shopping & then met my parents at the tattoo shop and we were going to dinner, so I thought. I was then blindfolded & we drove to our destination. I felt some familiar bumps in the road, literally but didn’t give them too much thought. Turns out, we were driving on the very road that I take to work every day, on our way to what turned out to be a surprise birthday party at friend’s of my parent’s home! When we were walking up their steps I knew where we were but still had no idea why. When we walked in, there stood my friends from near & far, my co-workers, with my parents & grandmother by my side. It was insane! We had a Photo Booth too. AND my mom stole pillows from my room, pictures from the gallery wall & other misc. accessories from the house to decorate for the party.


Toward the end of May, we met my aunt & uncle (mom’s brother & SIL) in Charleston. It was the first time I’d been back to Charleston since I was young so a.k.a. the first time I could have a Bloody Mary in Charleston. Just calling it what it is… We went to Hyman’s Seafood which is a Charleston staple, you have to go at least once. We walked around all of the antique stores & down to the Battery to see all of the unbelievable houses!




July was one of the most amazing months of 2013 – my Noni turned 100 years old. We travelled to Connecticut to celebrate with her. Since it rained here all summer, I was thankful for the heat wave for the week we were in Connecticut! Spent more time in my uncle’s pool than I did my own this summer! We had a lot of “times!”



August was a busy month but it was a great month. After a very close friend of ours was diagnosed earlier in the year with lung cancer, we redesigned her bedroom & had a benefit pasta dinner for her. The bedroom turned out amazing & her reaction to it blessed us more than we could ever have imagined! Here’s just one photo of their bedroom since I don’t feel it’s my place to show their entire bedroom to the world. This is her “jewelry nook.”


In September we vacationed in Hilton Head Island, SC with my grandparents. We had the best time – ate a lot, including but not limited to chocolate covered bacon & lobster macaroni & cheese and spent a lot of time at the pool & at the beach. I also binge watched Orange is the New Black. Um, hi, is it Spring yet? Time for season 2!


Also – I forgot to mention that I was the Bravoholic of the week in July – it was a great experience even though there was some shade thrown at times. For my non-Bravo watchers, The Bravoholic is basically someone that gets to run a Bravo TV-owned account for a week, tweet with fans, Bravolebrites, etc. Andy Cohen asks a question on the air of yours and also, your tweets are on TV all week & they mention you from time to time.




It was a lot of fun & they reward all of the ‘Holics with “Swag.”

Oh, and on September 16, the Legendary, Ms. Britney Spears mentioned & followed me on Twitter. So, there’s that.


October is really the beginning of the end of the year for me. Holiday-specific decor takes over & I think that’s my main focus until January 1. Then it starts all over!

As you’ve probably noticed from Instagram, I treat our TV cabinet hutch as a mantle since we don’t have one, yet. So this was the end of September/beginning of October.


Toward the end of October, I went to Charlotte to go to Scarowinds with my best friend Michelle. Why? Because we like to be scared $h*tless, apparently. Also, roller coasters. And Michelle’s boyfriend, Joseph works there so it’s fun watching him scare people.


Also, for Halloween, we dressed as pirates & turned my mom’s Navigator into a pirate ship for our church’s trunk-or-treat! Forgive the blurry picture, not sure how that happened.


November brought even more surprises when one of our hockey player friends, Marco returned from Denmark & showed up at our door on a Tuesday night. He wanted to surprise my dad & he was successful in that! His lovely fiancé, Alex joined us for Thanksgiving dinner & the three of us went Black Friday Shopping since they don’t have Black Friday in Canada. Incidentally, this is the same player that was the “ploy” to get us to Charlotte to pick up my grandmother from the airport!

Alex & I baked pies for Thanksgiving & then after dinner on Thanksgiving, we turned the dining room into an art studio & painted some canvases!



Yes, my Christmas tree was up before Thanksgiving but I’ll post it after the Thanksgiving pictures just to make everyone happy. I simplified the Christmas decor this year but I think it turned out better than ever before! I’ll do an entire post on how I executed our Christmas decor later on but you have a sample for now. 🙂

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I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas & I’d like to wish everyone who reads this post (or at least looks at the pictures) a Happy New Year! I’m ready to make 2014 my… well, you know. 😉

Follow me on Twitter, @JamieBertolini, Instagram: @jamiebertolini & subscribe, if you’d like!

IMG_7584Just one more: Me, Mom & Dad with Santa 🙂

How to: Cleaning a Crystal Chandelier

Time for some background –

No less than a million years ago, my grandparents took this chandelier down from their dining room for some reason that I’m sure my grandmother is still trying to figure out. Every time she visits she talks about taking it back… it’s not happening, Dolly! (She’ll read this so I had to say it.) 🙂

ImageAnyway, it was the early 1990s & our entire house was Hunter green & other various  jewel tones. Counter tops, window treatments, carpet, everything. This chandelier was black with gold, wax “drips” on the candles so my dad spray painted it green to “match” our house & that, my friends, is where it all began.

Fast-forward to 1997 when we moved to South Carolina & the chandelier still worked with the décor of that house so it was installed there too.

Not to bore you with details but basically this chandelier is my sister is what I’m getting at so obviously, she moved with us to this house too. Before it was installed in this house, a coat of black spray paint was necessary. Hunter green was OVER.

Now, that was 2007 so I was in design school & couldn’t just leave it solid black so I finished over it with metallic silver paint, then color washed the entire thing with black so it looked like pewter & that’s the way it’s stayed & I’ve added the tear drop light bulbs from Restoration Hardware, as well. A splurge but they’re so classic & add a little something extra.

Wait a second, isn’t this a post about cleaning a crystal chandelier? YES! I promise you, I’m getting there.

So, here’s the thing. It’s kind of a show-stopper especially since our house isn’t a chateau nor is it a Jersey McMansion, it’s a pretty casual house but with little moments of glamour. Being that our entire living area is open, this chandelier is visible from most all of the rooms – you can imagine that we like to keep it clean since it’s really one of the first things people notice upon entering the house.

This is what happened today: I was all “I know how I clean the chandelier but I wonder how others do it.” So I grabbed my iPad, went straight past Go Google to Pinterest, where else & I couldn’t find a single, good tutorial on how to clean a crystal chandelier! Can you believe that? Especially since they’ve been trending for the last few years, you’d think someone would’ve done a post on it by now. Also, there was one person who said that they recommend a professional for cleaning a chandelier. Um, ain’t nobody got time… you finish the rest of that.

Anyway, here it goes. It may not be “right” but it’s how I’ve done it forever & it works.

To start, you need to remove all of the crystals. If you don’t know your sister chandelier like I do, you may want to make a list of where the crystals go, for instance, on the “leaves” of our chandelier, all of the crystals have pointed facets on each side where the ones that hang around the candles have a flat side. It’ll just make it easier to put it back together after it’s clean.

Now, place the crystals into a colander. We’re Italian so we have a few of those hanging around here.


Then, stop the drain in your sink & fill the sink with warm water & a few tablespoons of dish detergent, fully submerging the crystals.


Meanwhile, letting the crystals soak, go find an old towel or drop cloth to lay beneath the chandelier to catch the dust from the light itself. A natural bristled paintbrush will be your friend for dusting off your chandelier. I never use liquid on the light itself but the paintbrush manages to rid it of dust & spiderwebs with a relative amount of ease.


Rinse the crystals with warm water, using the hand sprayer. After that, spray the crystals, in the colander with glass cleaner – this is very important so that you don’t end up with spots on the crystals. Once they’re all sprayed, rinse them again with warm water using the hand sprayer.


ImageHere comes the time consuming part – if you’re still with me! Take a soft cloth, (I used a disposable, dish cloth this time but you can use anything that’s relatively dust free) & spray it with glass cleaner. Take each crystal, wiping them down with the cloth sprayed with glass cleaner, then dry with a paper towel & immediately hang it back on the chandelier with the paper towel covering the larger part of the crystal if you’re neurotic & hate finger prints as much as I do. Repeat this 30,000 times until all of your crystals are back on the chandelier & you’re done!


I know it’s time consuming & I know it’s kind of a pain in the ass but look how it sparkles when it’s clean! It’s worth it & really it only took about an hour from start to finish and there’s roughly exactly 64 crystals plus the one crystal ball that hangs in the middle of the chandelier.


Hopefully my run-on sentence of a post made sense & will help you in cleaning your chandelier!

Tweet me @JamieBertolini

Stay tuned for more – not more housekeeping posts though, promise!