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Design Bloggers Conference 2015

Posted by Denise McGaha
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Squeeeee….It’s only ONE day until Design Bloggers Conference 2015.

2015 dbc speakers

While you are reading this, I am hopefully on a flight from Dallas to Atlanta (weather permitting) so that I can attend Digital Day at ADAC on Wednesday and the official kickoff of DBC2015 that evening.  The full agenda is HERE.  I am excited that so many of my friends will be attending and I will be able to catch up over events and dinners with all of them.

I am also excited because this year I will be sharing the stage on Friday speaking with Mitzi Beach and Christina Fluegge.  Here’s the scoop::

DBC2015 Agenda DM


I am looking forward to sharing my story of how a single project propelled my brand and how “Designing with a Deadline” started.  It involves a tent, losing an employee, hitting a low spot in my life and meeting Susanna Salk.  I can’t wait to share the rest of the story in my talk and helping others find that Branding magic that builds a Life Raft when you feel all is lost.

So if you are attending, please let me know in the comments below so I can look for you and say hello or introduce myself.  Looking forward to making lots of new friends and catching up with old ones too!

Travel safely everyone!!



Happy Monday, My Kitchen and Thunder Sleet

Posted by Denise McGaha
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I have so much to tell you since I last posted!  So here goes:

This weekend was full on so many levels.

Frankfurt Airport

First, I have had a lovely case of jetlag.  I usually do SO well when coming back from long trips, but BlogTour Ambiente with Modenus was so packed and full of fun, I guess it took me longer to recover than I expected.


I had planned to blog all weekend getting you up to speed on the beauty I saw while at the Ambiente Fair, but honestly so much other stuff happened and I was so drained, it just didn’t happen.  So you will see all my goodies…. just not today!  More on that to come.

Kitchen remodel

Second, I started my kitchen refresh.  I am calling it that because we are NOT embarking on a full face lift, but rather what I would call a little Botox.  My plans include keeping my existing cabinetry and just painting the maple to brighten the space.  I am also changing out countertops and backsplash, but that’s all.  I am retexturing the walls and painting the trim and walls a new color.  There will be furniture and drapery – maybe.  If I were my client I would hate me.  I am making it so difficult on my darling family.  Should we paint the walls this color or that?  I’m not sure if I want to commit to hexagon, what do you think?  Black island or Navy?  New breakfast table chandelier?  And the worst part?


We ripped out some of the countertops as well already and I spent six HOURS yesterday cleaning out the kitchen cabinets with Mr. M.  It was gross.  And overwhelming.  We have WAY too much and if we don’t start entertaining even more than we do now, we are just being plain wasteful with all the beautiful platters and goblets we own.  I threw away sippy cups that were somehow buried in the back of the cabinet – my children are 11 and 13.  Enough said.  So I will keep you updated on this great little project and I can’t wait for Mr. M to have a fresh new kitchen to create his culinary beauty for our family.


He is the best cook and this was the token “last supper” breakfast before we shut down the kitchen for the remodel Sunday.

Next, all of Dallas and Fort Worth woke up to an ice storm on Monday morning.  The meteorologists were using the words “Thunder Sleet” and all I could think of was Thunderstruck from AC/DC.  You can read all about it HERE.  So we have thunderstorms that are raining sleet that immediately freezes the minute it hits the ground.  Slick, icy roads – nice.


I have had the day to entertain my children, who also have no school today, and juggle an already full appointment schedule for work and try to keep all my clients happy.  Now don’t get me wrong – we have nothing on the Northeast which has just been deluged with snow for like – ever.  So I am not complaining, just sharing how this kept me on my toes for the week.  Stay warm Northern friends!

2015 dbc speakers

Next, I am supposed to leave Tuesday (Tomorrow!) for Atlanta and Design Bloggers Conference.  The amazing agenda is HERE and I can’t wait to hear Nate Berkus, Bunny Williams, Alexa Hampton, Brian Patrick Flynn and Marcus Sheridan speak.  I am so excited to be speaking as well (!!) and will be sharing a little more tomorrow about what to expect from my talk on Friday at DBC 2015.  I can’t wait to see all of my designer and blogger friends from across the country and learn the latest and greatest in blogging and new media trends.

Last – the packing.  Have you tried to pack for a four day trip a mere 6 days after returning from Europe?  A whole new set of great dresses and clothing required.  Everything you really love still at the cleaners or not being delivered due to “Thunder Sleet”.  Nothing that was seen last week in an Instagram photo with group (thank God for black) and comfort as the conference has long days and nights?  So off I go to get packed, juggle my schedule and check in at the airport for my flight tomorrow hoping it wont be cancelled due to  – “Thunder Sleet”.

Stay warm friends.


Design Bloggers Conference 2013 Day One

Posted by Denise McGaha
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Wow, have I been missing out on attending DBC the past two years.  Day one of Design Bloggers Conference was an assault on my senses (AGENDA).  We started the morning with Windsor Smith sharing the details of her path from when she began designing to the present. 


From friends and clients she designed for  in the beginning of her career to the construction and design of her showhome shared on the pages of Veranda.

My favorite bit of advice from Windsor about your blog and your brand was this:

“Remember….Be relevant and current while also archival and timeless”

And that was all before 10AM. 



We also heard from Susanna Salk who delivered wisdom related to sharing your design aesthetic with the world.  Author of many of my favorite books:

“Room for Children”



“Wasp Style”


“Be Your Own Decorator”

the upcoming “CZ Guest American Style Icon”


Susanna has such a wonderful style of speaking and was so comfortable on stage and engaging.  My favorite advice was to do what you love as it relates to social media.   She reminded us of the following:  Don’t write a blog if you start each blog post with dread and concern for how you could EVER do this each day!  Are images your thing?  Then Instagram.  Writing?  Pen a blog.  Don’t feel like you need to be everything to everyone…….such frank and honest advice. 

And more importantly the removal of the guilt that you aren’t doing what everyone else is in relation to social media….its OK!!

And then there were the Design Bloggers Conference Hall of Fame awards!!  So many great blogs nominated and the winners (all of whom you should follow, along with the nominees HERE) were:

Best New Design Blog – Hadley Court by Leslie Wood

Best Design and Graphics – design*sponge by Grace Bonney


Best Writing on a Design Blog – My Marrakesh by Maryam Montague

Best Overall Design Blog – Quintessence by Stacey Bewkes


And I didn’t even mention the great panel discussions:  first up was Cliff Sirlin of Project Decor, Peter Sallick of Waterworks, and Jason Harris of The Design Network, moderated by Stacy Kunstel a.k.a. Stacy Style. 


Second, we heard another panel discussion moderated by Jennifer Powell of Kravet, featuring Jenny Bradley of Traditional Home and Kyle Hoepner of New England Home, along with Beth Greene of Kravet.

Finally, we ended the day with Charlotte Moss speaking on “Blogging in Design with Originality, Excellence and Ethics”.  For a relatively new blogger like me, Charlotte reminded me how important it is to create original content.  She also spoke of ethics in crediting photography and researching your content. 


All in all, I left with a new mantra for my blog.  If I am not sure of the originality of my content, don’t publish it…ever.   Even more reason for me to use my own photos and experiences to share my vision for Designing with a Deadline.   As a reminder of originality, she gave all attendees these great baseball caps…

What an amazing first day!!  I think this is possibly the longest post I have ever written, but I still get to recap Day 2, so maybe that will be even longer!!


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